Obiter Dictum

Woman's virtue is man's greatest invention --- Cornelia Otis Skinner

Tuesday, June 13

My desk looks like crap

Seriously. There are catalogs all over the place. But, there is also this gem. It came in the magic box of advance copies. Its hilarious! My favorite so far is:

IZOD vs. Lacoste

The dilemma: you want to look preppy. But how?

People you can impress: everyone at the country club, polo players, Republicans.

The Quick Trick: Get a Lacoste shirt and you'll have the best of both worlds.

There, there is a little two page explanation of the differences. "As it turns out, Lacoste is a subbrand of IZOD. As Aristotle would put it: All Lacostes are IZODs, but not all IZODs are Lacostes...." Hilarious.

My other favorite is:

Idiot vs. Moron

The Dilemma: You want to assail someone's intelligence, but you don't know quite which word to use, which calls into question your own intellect.

People you can impress: Well, idiots and morons both, for starters. But also psychologists. And you really, really need to impress psychologists, because -- as you'll see -- you don't want them to think you're an idiot.

The Quick trick: These days, the words are completely synonymous. But back in the dark days of psychology (which is to say until about 30 years ago), there was a difference, and here's the quick trick psychologists used: Ask a question. if your subject answers, they're a moron at worst. If they don't answer, you might have an idiot on your hands.

And, lastly, for your weekend:

Cordial vs. Liqueur vs. Schnapps

The Dilemma: After several glasses, you don't much care what the difference is, but we're here to tell you anyway!

People you can impress: gourmets, gourmands, bartenders, dates, and your more refined alcoholics.

The Quick trick: liqueurs are for nuts (hazelnuts, almonds), cordials are for fruit (lemon, orange, etc.) And schnapps -- well, just remember they're not schweetened.

And since I still have your attention (or not) here is the rest of the article because its actually very interesting!

The explanation:
If you're looking for a basic rule of thumb, try this: Cordials are liquors made from fruit or fruit juice, while liqueurs are alcoholic drinks made from seeds, herbs, or nuts. So, triple sec, sloe gin, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Curaco, brandy, kir, framboise and Chambord would all be cordials. On the other hand, Jagermeister, Pernod, Kahlua, Amaretto, Frangelico, Strega, and Chartreuse are liqueurs. (and for those of you looking for a good time across the pond, beware! In England, the world cordial usually refers to a sweetened drink that is not alcoholic -- Rose's Lime Cordial being a prime example.)

But back to the happy juice. Cordials and liqueurs aside, you've got some drinks that fall into a weird gray area, being made from things that are neither fruits nor nuts nor herbs. Advocast is a creamy, liqueur made of eggs (i.e,n it is both a drink and a hangover cure). And Drambuie is a scotch whisky-based liqueur made with honey, herbs, and spices. Other whiskey-based liqueurs include Bailey's Irish Cream and Southern Comfort (which is cordial-like because it contains fruit, although there's nothing cordial about what it does to your gut).

To further confuse matters, there's a whole category of liqueurs called anisees, which are made with anise, which tastes like licorice. Absinthe is the most famous anisee. Banned in America because of the hallucinatory wormwood in it, absinthe's traditional nickname is the Green Fairy, which should tell you a bit about its effect on the drinker.

But what about that other syrupy headache inducer, schnapps? Most Americans would think there's no real difference, but Germans would take considerable umbrage at that. True German schnapps are clear, distilled from fruits, and are not sweetened. The American versions however, marketed by companies like DeKuyper, are heavily sweetened and unfairly give true schnapps a bad reputation.

Its a great book. You should check it out when its released next month. Until then, they have a web site.


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