Saturday, December 30, 2006

recipes for fun

hey mt, and indeed, greetings to all from snowy ontario,

kalhua is a liqueur. you can buy it anywhere that sells alcohol. comes in a brown bottle. it tastes like chocolate and is a major component in my favourite cocktail, the "white russian", with which i have been reacquainting myself frequently on this trip. i had 3 last night while on a girl's night out while my dad and brother went to see the toronto raptors v chicago bulls. they were some of the best i've ever tasted, ie the ratio of alcohol to mixer was damn near perfect.

basic recipe:
pour equal parts kahlua and vodka over ice and then add as much
ice cold fresh milk as you like. some bars serve in a highball but i prefer a whiskey tumbler. i suggest experimenting til you find the glass and dilution you prefer. this is all done in the glass, no need for a cocktail shaker.

note 1: make sure you don't put in more vodka than kalhua. this error makes it look watery and the vodka overpowers the kalhua, if in doubt and you don't have a drinks measure, be more generous with the kalhua.

note 2: this is sometimes served with cream rather than milk. the northern whig used to serve it this way. frankly i think it's disgusting as all you can taste is cream. if in any doubt, ask your bartender what their recipe is. particularly if they are cute.

point of information: this drink made with skimmed or semi-skimmed milk became known in hollywood in last couple of years as a skinny white russian, (according to heat magazine)

advanced technique:
a white russian is typically garnished with a cherry. i am rather particular, and if it's not a maraschino cherry, preferably with stem attached, i think it's a waste of time. plain cocktail cherries taste of nothing, or perhaps like plasticine. a maraschino cherry (you'll find them in jars in the supermarket) sits in the bottom of the glass and is a real treat when you drain your glass. (stemmed are better 'cause they're easier to pull out of your glass and perhaps you might even wish to tie said stem in a knot using only your tongue a la audrey horne in twin peaks (serve with equal parts seduction and coquettishness).


i always thought monopoly is a long game. but the other night i discovered the art of trading, which i had never done as a child (i reckon it's been 20 years since i last played). the game is traditionally long i think because it's not competitive enough and played 'safe' - to win you need to make your opponents run out of money and property. to do that you need monopolies so that each time they land on your 'street' with a 'hotel' they are forking out lots of rent. to make the game more exciting and faster, buy everything you land on that's available to buy and then as game progresses at the beginning of your turn you trade properties with your opponents so you build monopolies, upon which you build houses and hotels, again, as fast as possible. if everyone plays like this the board has sections where there are massive rent costs - think of them as
'rapids' in kayaking. if you are paying more rent than they are taking in they will run out of cash and have to mortgage or sell your property and eventually hit bankruptcy.
decide at the beginning of the game exactly how you will move around the two boards (we sat them with the go squares side by side) and how many times you will be passing 'go'. we stuck with only twice, ie collect $200 twice in each full journey round board) but you could increase this (to 3 times/$600 or 4 times/$800) so you collect more money with each full journey round the board. but note, the more money you are receiving from the bank the longer the game will last.

note: jail, chance, community chess, free parking (see below) are all played on the board you are on - e.g. if you land on go to jail you go to the jail on the same board. however, properties can be traded across both boards, e.g. you can trade the ewok village for krustyland studios.

six players with two boards was ideal and, if nothing else, having contrasting boards makes for more comedy value.

my dad suggested that we could have started half the players on one 'go' square and the other half on the other. this would have meant that rather than everyone buying star wars properties and then simpsons, it would mix it up a little by getting both boards in play straight away.

the thing to do is put two boards together and walk your way through it. make up your own rules.

one of the rogue rule we used that was cool:
when you have to pay chance and community chest fines or taxes on the board, put the money in the centre of the board you are playing at the time, rather than paying the bank. when someone lands on free parking - they get the 'pot'. the bank donates $500 do the pot on each board at the start of the game and each time the pot has been emptied bank puts in another $500. note: when you are awarded money in chance or community chest, e.g. you've one second prize in a beauty contest, recieve $20, it is the bank that pays you, not the free parking pot.

best played with copious amounts of kalhua.



  1. ok so i have just had the pleasure of the father's company with yer brie n' walnuts thingame. mmmmmm. we used tia maria though. everyone appreciated the sugary yumness on top of the cheese....

    as for monopoly, yes, hardball rules are definitely the way to go and none of this non-competitive crap (at least this is always how i feel until i start losing). my favourite tactic used to be to buy the two dirt cheap brown ones near the 'go' at the start and then fill them with hotels. it was also quite a coup to get the two really expensive ones (park lane and....?). hmmm. i think new year's eve might see me playing monopoly actually...

    top tips! cheers!

  2. yup - tia maria would indeed be a perfectly acceptable replacement for kahlua.

    glad you enjoyed it.

    and i think monopoly would be a fine way to see in the new year, or indeed any board game. i'm not very competitive when it comes to board games (i'd much rather everyone had fun). it's not so much i don't want to win, i just don't have the gene that makes one want to beat one's opponent. but monopoly definately requires one to dig in and find one's inner gordon gekko.

    as for me, i shall be having dinner in the revolving Restaurant 360 up in the CN Tower overlooking toronto. here's hoping for a clear night so we can see the city.

    have fun,