When we were invited to join the folks at Crown Royal to be their guest at the 2012 NASCAR Crown Royal Brickyard 400, we knew it was going to be an incredible experience. Our first day at the track today was very enlightening, as we ate a hardy breakfast at the Crown Royal motorcoach, took a spin on the famous track in an Indy pace car starting from the south pit, enjoyed the fan experience with music and games, checked out the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, and saw the pre-race spectacle from behind the scenes.
For anyone who hasn’t been to an IMS or a NASCAR race, I can tell you first-hand that television does this sport little justice, as there is an energy at the track that is obviously invigorating, and today was just the qualifying race. Can’t wait until tomorrow for a full day of NASCAR while enjoying some Crown Royal with my friends from other digital / social media outlets and taking it all in. Stay tuned for more!
It’s Saturday night and you need something to watch. Never fear, Hidden Netflix Gems is a new weekly feature designed to help you decide just what it should be, and all without having to scroll through endless pages of crap or even leave the house. Each choice will be available for streaming on Netflix Instant, and the link below will take you to its page on the site. Look for a new suggestion here every Saturday.
Everyone who’s kept up with Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim comedy block over the past few years has heard of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, the masterminds behind “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” And everyone who’s watched the show knows that after seeing it you’ll a) never be able to watch commercials the same way again, and b) notice how much influence these two fellas have had over what is now considered “mainstream” comedy.
“Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” was a sketch show that ran from 2007 to 2010. It was freakin’ weird, to say the least, and its surrealistic, satirical humor mocking advertisements, public-access television, and everything in between has since spawned a spin-off, “Check It Out with Dr. Steve Brule,” which stars John C. Reilly, and the full-length feature “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie” (B$M).
Here’s the thing about Tim and Eric: you seriously don’t understand what I mean when I say “weird” until you’ve seen their work for yourself. Their brand of humor takes some getting used to, and there’s a reason each episode of the show only ran for 11 minutes. I’m about to wow you with a brand new saying, but sometimes, less is more. As a result, I’m somewhat skeptical of recommending “B$M” as your first dip into the T+E pool. You really should get your feet wet first with sketches like “Griddleman,” “Prices,” “Free House for You, Jim,” Tairy Greene’s ActingSeminars for Children, and some of Brule’sRules, and maybe even watch a few full episodes of the show (there are always a couple streaming on the Adult Swim website) before committing yourself to 94 minutes of this stuff. That said, there’s a reason Tim and Eric were the best kept secret in American comedy for so long. And a lot of the best-known names in the genre, guys like Ben Stiller, Paul Rudd, Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and, Zach Galifianakis, made appearances on the show (the last three went on to star in the movie). The full list of cameos is certainly jarring, you might look at it and wonder how the hell you’d never heard of a show with that many big names before.
Tim and Eric are hilarious, but certainly not for everyone, and their humor is almost unexplainable until you experience it firsthand. If you watch a few sketches and find yourself enjoying them, then check out the trailer for the “Billion Dollar Movie.” But their stuff is often hate it or love it, so don’t say I didn’t warn you if 30 minutes in you feel like you’re watching the worst film ever made. The thing is, anti-humor is part of the shtick. Tim and Eric’s work (but the film especially) is meant to provoke a strong reaction one way or the other. They were actually trying to repulse just as many people as they entertained. And in that, they’ve inarguably succeeded. Just look at the Netflix user reviews, they’re nearly all five stars or one, with very little in between.
“Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie” was released earlier this year through on-demand TV and web services—which I believe is the future of movies, why pay $10 each to sit in an uncomfortable theater when you can pool the money together without leaving the couch? But that’s a story for a different day. Anyway, I’ll give you the synopsis, but it’s really irrelevant. The fact that the guys could even string together a semi-coherent plot line to go along with their “jokes” is nothing short of amazing. What you need to know is this: It’s Tim and Eric. It’s a movie. Great job!
Tim and Eric are given a billion dollars to make a movie, but squander every dime… and the sinister Schlaaang corporation is pissed. With their lives at stake, the guys skip town in search of a way to pay the money back. When they happen upon a chance to rehabilitate a bankrupt mall full of vagrants, bizarre stores and a man-eating wolf that stalks the food court, they see dollar signs-a billion of them.
So, Drink of the Week Central has about completed its cross So-Cal move northward from far-away Anaheim and through the Orange Curtain to Van Nuys, gateway to Reseda and Studio City. I’ve also recently completed my boozeriffic Comic-Con special assignment.
At last, it is time to resume business as usual here at DOTW. We return with a drink that feels classic but is actually a rank newcomer from this still very young century.
First, however, let me say that this week’s column is brought to you by whoever was kind enough to send me a bottle of Knob Creek‘s brand spanking new rye. I know Knob Creek’s bourbon, which I like but also fear for its fire. If anything, I have to say I like their rye a lot better. Much as I love my standby 100 proof Rittenhouse Rye, the similarly potent Knob Creek does bring an extra touch of class and drinkability to the game. On its own, it’s about as sippable as I can imagine a 100 proof rye being, though records were made to be broken and all that.
Of course, give me a bottle of booze and I’ll start looking for cocktails to make with it. And so we come to a beverage that was named one of the best cocktails of this century’s first decade and is credited to bartender Enzo Errico. When a Manhattan just won’t quite do the job, it’s time to head for Brooklyn and today’s drink.
The Red Hook
2 ounces rye whiskey
1/2 ounce Punt e Mes
1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
1 maraschino cherry (optional garnish)
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with lots of ice. Stir for a good long time — most say about thirty seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail class. Add maraschino cherry if you’ve got one. (I didn’t.) Sip and toast new beginnings. (It might actually be a small improvement, if heretical in some quarters, to shake this drink, but I was feeling traditional this week.)
While my attempts certainly turned out well using the new Knob Creek Rye, I imagine this could also work very nicely with the aformentioned Rittenhouse or, for those seeking mellower refreshment, 80 proof Old Overholt or Pikesville might well be terrific and perhaps have a less bitter edge.
Speaking of a bitter edge, I should add that this is also DOTW’s first use of Punt e Mes. It’s a more high-endish vermouth with a nice bite. It comes across as almost a more restrained, less syrupy variant of Campari and it’s delicious on its own. It’s also the reason today’s beverage doesn’t require any bitters, though some recipes call for them. I tried the Red Hook with a dash of Angostura and Regan’s Orange Bitters. Too much bitter, I thought.
I also started out with a recipe calling for equal parts Punt e Mes and maraschino. Too maraschiny. Mr. Errico’s version is better.
I should also emphasize, once again, that maraschino liqueur should in no way be confused with the syrup in which those inexpensive preserved cherries in your supermarket are packaged. Confusing the issue slightly is the fact that maraschino brand Luxardo markets its own brand of maraschino cherries. They’re anything but cheap but also quite tasty and I’m sure would be marvelous in a Red Hook, though I actually have nothing against the bright red supermarket sweetness bombs most of us grew up with.
In fact, the more I write about this, the more I wish I’d actually had a bottle of those lovely cheap cherries to complete my Red Hook on hand. Next time.