14 August 2018

# From the bartender’s corner – Barkeep’s Whimsy

To the mezcal, one adds apricot brandy, genever and absinthe (the last one is used to rinse the insides of the glass and not as an ingredient poured in)

13 August 2018

# Running is a close second…

As much as I love running with Nikita (to the extent that I will often run twice in a day to make sure I can join her), nothing tops doing math together.

School has started. And so has our sitting together with a few pieces of paper and a math book. Right now, her school has her attending math classes two grades higher than her actual grade but what I like most is doing math problems from outside the school curriculum.

I am always amazed and impressed by the difference in which math was taught to us versus how they learn it in the US. Even now, when I see how my nephews learn math in India, I realize that the focus is on the formulaic part – with a lot of tests.

Kids in US seem to be lot more focused on actual application of the math concepts. They are more worried about if the kids can translate a real world problem to the correct mathematical formulation rather than solving the formula itself.

Many of the math problems for my daughter encourage them to approximate or estimate, as an example. In India, we had to come to the exact answer to the nth digit if we hoped to get full marks.

I thrived in the India system. I think I would have struggled in the US system.

In any case, this was last evening – by the pool side, understanding rotational speed and linear speed. (At some point of time we had turned the food cart – see next to the fire chimera – upside down to study the big wheels and the small wheels to check the concepts first hand).

Pure joy!

12 August 2018

# From the bartender’s corner – Mezcal #1: Mezcal Sacrificio (Reposado)

Region: This Mezcal is made in the Oaxaca state (where most of Mezcals in Mexico is made). The specific area where the agave comes from is Tiacolula. Disteleria Sacrificio was started only about 7 years back.

Agave: This is the 100% espadin variety of agave – which is incidentally the most common agave used to make mezcals in Mexico. Usually the agaves are picked once they reach maturity around 8-10 years.

Roasting: The “pinas” of the espadin agave are slashed and then roasted in underground pits. Mesquite wood is lit up and burnt for two days for the pinas to get roasted.

Smashing: The slushy pinas are then smashed using a big rock wheel and a mule that keeps going around in circle.

Distilling: The resulting liquid and some amount of the fiber is then distilled. It is first distilled in steel and then distilled again a second time in copper stills. By law, all mezcals have to be distilled twice. I guess use of steel in distillation explains why they say “Artisanal” in the label.

Ageing: The output at this point of time is what traditional mezcal looks like. This bottle is “reposado” – which means the mezcal was further aged in barrels (about three months) before the mezcalero decides that it is done.

This particular bottle is diluted to 40% (to cater to the US tastes – normally is much higher).

This is my first full bottle of mezcal. So, I am still growing my taste in it. I can certainly say, the earthy nose and finish is unmistakable. There is the smoky accent throughout due to the ageing as well as the burning underground. Not very stiff. Rather smooth finish.

12 August 2018

# First bike ride thru some good rains

Nobody in our group was ready to bike today. Luckily, Avi’s tennis match was canceled – else I was going to have to ride all by myself.

Rode up to Helen and had lunch at a restaurant by the river. The real fun was on our way back. For about 5 miles, we got completely drenched by a good bit of rain. Unfortunately, we were on the highway by then and there were not too many places to pull over to. We just kept going.

The low visibility with the raindrops splattering on the helmet visor made sure our speeds were slower than normal. I, of course, was scared stiff of any hydroplaning. But what was really making me miserable was how cold it was feeling on the skin – drenched like a drain rat and then the wind hitting us continuously (we were riding at around 60 mph (100 kmph)).

We kept pulling thru – all the time I kept myself warm thinking of how I was going to jump into the hot tub once I reached home.

This being, Atlanta, I did not have to worry about any such thing. In about 5 miles, we hit broad sunlight. There was not a drop of water on the road. Back to hot and humid weather.

With speeds picking up and the sun beating down, the clothes were dry before we knew it.

That was a good trip, all in all. Gained a little more confidence in riding in the rain…

12 August 2018

# Great runs on a Sunday morning.

The first run was a 5K with Nikita. I am loving the runs with her – although, I have to admit, she is kicking my butt in the last couple of K’s. I absolutely need to take a break in the uphill portion of the run but she just keeps ploughing thru.

To prove that I am not completely done, I went back for another 5K run by myself…