Mint Tea Gin & Tonic
Fizzy. Minty. Alcoholy. Perfect . . . y.
MUAHAHA, not even herbal tea is safe from my drinking habits! While surfing the world wide interwebs a year ago, I happened upon some instructions on how to create flavored liquors with teas. The instructions were pretty simple (Step 1: Add tea. Step 2: Wait. Step 3: Drink.) but the possibilities that they opened up were endless. Infusing liquor, or any other liquid, usually takes time, effort and patience. If you want your rum to taste like apples, you’ll have to wait for at least a week before you get past the, “hmmm, this kinda tastes different,” stage. But with teas the waiting time is cut down to about an hour at the minimum.
So I set off to discover how I could improve on some of my favorite cocktails, starting with my favorite, the Gin & Tonic. After some failed experiments (horrible, horrible failures, one of which used Earl Grey, that ruined the gin entirely, although I still drank all of it) I found a combination that worked splendidly. Peppermint fuses well with the flavors of gin, and the drink turned out to be very refreshing.
Mint Tea Gin & Tonic
- 3 bags of Peppermint Tea (I prefer Stash Tea, but any will do)
- Mint Leaves
- Tonic Water
I love cocktails, so few ingredients. Now I wouldn’t use a very expensive gin with this. I don’t mean to tell you go to the bargain barrel (because I’d like you to, you know, stay alive) but to take something like Bombay Sapphire (my favorite gin) and alter the flavor is a waste of money. Infusing can take mediocre liquor and make it something spectacular, but it can also ruin it if you’re not careful. For me I go with New Amsterdam gin as it’s a decent gin that comes at a very decent price, but any middle of the road gin will do.
- Put the three tea bags in a large glass.
- Pour gin over tea bags.
- Let the tea steep for a minimum of two hours, up to a maximum of a few days.
- Remove tea bags, squeezing out all the liquid.
- In a tumbler, crush some fresh mint leaves. (Don’t crush them too much. I got a little vigorous with my mint leaves, which left me spitting little bits of leaves every time I took a sip.) Place ice in the tumbler.
- Make a G&T with the infused gin.
Concerning mixing: You may have noticed that my measurements are not exact. I like my drinks a little on the strong side, because while I wouldn’t step over my mother’s body to get to a drink I would certainly drag her along with me as I went to it. For my cocktails, measuring is all in perspective of the ice. My tumbler has enough room for two ice cubes stacked on top each other. I fill my glass with liquor until just before it reaches the top of the first cube and then I fill the rest with mixer. This method gets more interesting as the ice melts so you have to estimate on where you would have stopped if the ice was still whole. It also gets more interesting the drunker you get as you just stop giving a shit altogether.
The end result will depend on how long you let your tea soak. If it’s just for a few hours, the gin will be mint flavored. If you let it soak for a few days it’ll be tea with a kick. However, adding the tonic will help to bring out the flavors of the gin so it’s not a waste. In this particular instance, I let the tea steep for about three days and so my end result tasted more like a hard iced tea. But because it was made with real hard liquor instead of malt liquor like you might at the store I was fairly tipsy by the time I finished. Feeling weird drinking tea from a tumbler, I took my second Mint Tea Gin & Tonic from a tea cup. I felt like some English lord drinking like that. Maybe it was tea cup, maybe it was the liquor (I was drunk after the second glass), maybe it was the top hat and the monocle that I was wearing (I mean I was drunk after my second glass). But it was refreshing and pleasant, and would have gone well with cucumber sandwiches or shortbread cookies.
And what do you mean by “black”?
I have sworn off sequels. They anger and disappoint me. It’s like if one had just finished a very good meal and instead of trying to make it better, they just shit onto a plate and call it The Meal 2. In no uncertain terms, I believe sequels are ruining everything. Everything.
Not just sequels though – prequels, remakes, re”envisioning”s, based on’s, adaptations, Americanizations, regurgitations, and sometimes just plain, good old fashioned thievery. These have taken over the box office of the American movie theater. The film openings a few weeks ago; two remakes no one was asking for (Conan the Barbarian and Fright Night), a sequel to a franchise we all thought died a decade ago (Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 4D), an adaptation that’s probably good (One Night) but like anyone is going to go see it, and then two originals that sound very intriguing (The Invisible Griff and Amigo) but which have a “limited release”. That means that although my lucky Los Angeles ass has access to it, most of the country won’t even know about it let alone see it. Even typing that depresses the shit out of me.
Spiderman remakes, Superman remakes, Blade Runner and Total Recall remakes, Mildred fucking Pierce remakes. Why? WHY?! Why why why why why?! What purpose does all of this serve except to make some rich assholes more money and to make the rest of us look like ignorant, uncultured, uneducated morons? Let me help you with that one: IT DOESN’T SERVE ANY OTHER PURPOSE. Hollywood has become even more about making money, which is a hard thing to do because that’s all it’s ever really been about. The business model “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” is dominant these days and it’s showing. If a movie makes enough money, well shit, let’s make it again! And again! And again! They’ve done this so much that a fear of trying to do it differently is now inherent in the system.
Now now now. Yes yes yes. I can hear all of your arguments from here. Almost all of the major influential films in America are adaptations of other works (The Godfather, The Shawshank Redemption, The Wizard of Oz.) Remakes and reimaginings will always occur when an influential work hits a large audience or is discovered by a new generation (Seven Samurai to The Magnificent Seven, Internal Affairs to The Departed.) And like it or not, sequels have always been around especially in the horror and comedy genres (Nightmare on Elm Street, American Pie, Rocky). Even a complete remake of your own work is not unheard of as Hitchcock did it with The Man Who Knew Too Much and Ridley Scott is going to do it with Blade Runner. And just because it’s not original doesn’t mean it will be bad; The Dark Knight and Star Trek are shining examples of it done right.
It’s not the existence of these things but their emergence as the majority that bothers me. But can we really blame Hollywood? They’re just doing what they’ve always done. Could they take more risks on creating new icons and works rather than bank off of old ones? Sure, but it’s not just the studio bigwigs, directors and actors that get a share of those profits. It’s also the gaffers, the production assistants and the make-up artists. Hollywood is funding a whole league of people dedicated to entertaining you, oodles of people much further down on the chain that work their asses off to support their families, themselves and their dreams through this industry, and an artistic risk may also be a payroll risk. Sticking with the status quo, no matter how low the bar, ensures people get paid. The root of the problem is not with them. The problem is us.
The greatest enemy to my generation is itself. Through civil advancements made by our forebears, technological advancements taught to us by our teachers and the advancement of the standard of living provided by our parents, my generation has all the tools it needs to change the world we live in and yet we don’t. It’s not that we don’t care but that we’re lazy. I don’t know anyone who likes all these goddamn sequels. They’re tired of Pirates of the Caribbean, they’re sick of Shrek and most of them seriously want Michael Bay to stop making movies all together. But these same people will flock to theatres to see the latest installment of any franchise while simultaneously hating it. The youth population is one of the largest in the country. If we all banded together and started to demand a change, Hollywood would have no choice but to follow suit. Hollywood continues to make these shitty-ass sequels because we let them.
But I do not believe the answer is in altering the current system to fit our needs. I believe the answer is in creating a whole new system. See, there’s this thing out there called the internet and it’s changed everything. It’s made a global community and that is the world that my contemporaries and I have not only lived in but have been raised in. We are beginning to realize that the old system doesn’t work in the new world. The internet introduced us to the idea of the free exchange of knowledge and information and there is no turning back. It’s time to collapse the structures that our parents built, throw out the rule books they wrote and replace it with something that will work for today and our future. A revolution.
My arguments are going to break down now (or rather, they were breaking down from the beginning and I’m just now noticing it), because I’m not sure how this revolution is going to manifest itself as a whole. As far as entertainment, I think the revolution has already begun.
The entertainment machine is based around the principle that you must pay before you get to see the product and that the deal is more or less final. If you don’t like it, well tough, because you didn’t pay to see a movie you liked, you paid just to gain access to a movie. The fee is in no way based upon satisfaction. What other product based industry works like this? You get to test drive a car, and you can return that breadmaker if you don’t like it and get your money back. Not with movies, or any other media. But thanks to P2P (Peer to Peer), Bit Torrent and online streaming, the audience’s attitude about this is already changing from, “Here, take my money,” to, “Show me it’s worth my money.” How many people download a movie illegally only to go see it in the theatres afterwards? Probably not many. But how many people download a movie and then buy it on DVD when it comes out? Quite a few. The movie (or album or television show) is no longer the product for sale, it’s the DVD/bluray that is for sale. I would much rather pay $25 for a movie I know I like rather than pay $12 for one I believe will be bad. This is not being unwilling to take a risk on a movie, it’s about not being guaranteed to lose money in doing so.
I don’t want to get rid of movie theatres but let’s just start to think of different ways. With Netflix people have grown comfortable with paying a fee for a service that allows them almost unlimited access to any movie or show ever made. Why not have something like that for movie theatres? Instead of buying one ticket every single time, why not have something like a season pass? Lay down some larger sum of money and get a ticket to every movie that shows in that theatre as many times as you want for the rest of the season. If you’re into blockbusters, get the summer season ticket. If you want to be up to date with the Academy Awards, go for a winter season one. Don’t want to spend that much money, how about a day pass where you can see as many movies as you can in a single day? If you don’t like that, then the option to buy one ticket at a time could still be made available. And there are endless options and combinations that could be made, all at varying prices. I’m not saying it’s the answer, but at least it’s an idea.
For now we have to work with what we’ve got. I know I’m never going to pay to see another Bay, Shyamalan or Paul W.S. Anderson film. I use Netflix to access all the small and independent films that got looked over by the system. I will stream and pirate until I find something I like and then I will buy it or go see it in the theatres (I have actually done that, although I haven’t in a while because all the movies look like they suck right now.) You see, I love movies and I love going to the movie theatre. But I stopped going when the magic I felt there vanished (the exact moment was about an hour into Transformers 2.)
I want to go back. I want it to be worth my time and money. But something needs to change, and as it is with all things, the change needs to happen in ourselves first.
A dart shoots out of the tress and hits Gena, who fall down asleep. Another dart shoots out at Baebo, but misses. Two men walk out on either side. Baebo slashes at them and roars. They each shoot him, but Baebo keeps on fighting, trying to protect Gena. One man shoots him again, and Baebo finally lies down. A Woman walks out and looks at the two bears. She kneels down and tags them.
All right. Call them, and tell them to bring the crates.
The humans walk out as the sound of a helicopter descends. Three concrete walls descend from the sky and cage the two bears. The light and trees, looking alive and full of wonder before, now look fake. On top of the wall, people and tourists walk past, stop, look down and continue walking. Gena wakes up first.
Whoa. What’s going on? Baebo? Baebo?!
She searches through the leaves until she finds him, knocked out cold. She shakes him.
Baebo? Are you okay?
Baebo stirs a little, and then wakes up with vicious speed. He puts Gena behind he back and slashes at the air around them. He spins in a circle quickly to get a basic view of the place. He stops and looks around again, noticing the walls. He then looks up.
Gena, are you all right?
I’m not sure. I feel like I am in a dream. What’s going on?
I don’t know. (he looks around) I don’t know what’s going on.
He starts to walk over to the wall.
What are you doing?
He goes up to the wall and pats it lightly. Then he knocks on it with his paw. He scratches at it, but only faint marks are left.
What is it?
It’s stone. Hardest thing I have ever felt.
It’s so flat.
Baebo follows the walls with his eyes.
They’re all around us. We can’t get out.
Gena spins to look with him.
What is this? I don’t understand.
Voices can be heard from atop the wall. A group of people, led by Woman, walk along.
. . . and here are our prize possessions, one male, Ling Ling, and one female, Xang Xang. We found these two at least 20 miles from the nearest pack in a secluded part of the forest. If we had not come along and they might have been lost forever.
What are those? I’ve never seen anything like them before.
They’re only walking on their back legs, and so little hair.
Do you hear those noises they’re making?
And we are hoping that these two will mate, creating cubs that can reel in big media coverage and maybe even be used as trade with other countries to ease international relations. We are hoping to have our own little panda family. And if you continue walking with me, I can show you another animal that makes this collection very special . . .
The group of humans walks off. Gena and Baebo stand there, still looking up.
They were just looking at us. I don’t like this.
Silence. Baebo suddenly runs at the wall and tries to climb it, but he can not do it. The more and more he tries to climb, the more and more frustrated he starts to become. He gets so angry that he stops trying to climb and starts to slash at the trees.
LET US OUT!!! YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO KEEP US!!!
Gena crawls into a corner and out of Baebo’s path. People have started to gather and watch Baebo enraged.
MAY OCACIEA STRIKE YOU DOWN!!! WHO ARE YOU TO IMPRISON US?! MAY SHALOOWE STRIKE YOU DOWN!!!
By the time he runs out of steam he has stripped many of the leaves from the trees. He falls to his knees. Gena goes behind him and puts her arms around him and shushes him. Gena looks up to the human crowd that gathered to watch Baebo’s fit. Pause.
Why are they doing that?
Baebo looks up at them. Pause. The crowd disperses.
I’ve never seen such a reckless animal. If you can even call them animals.
We should have never left the pack. That “paradise” was a trap set up by these monsters. We would have been safe if we had stayed put.
I think, one by one, we all would have ended up here.
Gena looks around at the new habitat.
Trees, sunlight, protection from the outside dangers. Not a bad place to raise a family.
What? Gena, nothing about this place is real. It’s like you said, like we’re in a dream. A bad dream. Yes, there are leaves . . .
Baebo picks up some leaves, eats it, and grimaces at the taste.
They might keep us alive, but they won’t fill us up. They won’t satisfy us. It tastes dead, like dried mud.
He hands Gena the leaves and she eats them. A grimace soon comes across her face.
Even the sunlight doesn’t feel good. It’s not warm, it’s not bright. It’s like an imitation of Quada’s light. Like the Gods don’t live here. How could they? There’s no open space, no balance to be upheld. How could they, in this stone tomb? How could we?
But we’re still alive.
Not if we stay here. We’ll end up like these leaves, only a dream. We have to get out.
Gena sits beside Baebo and lays her head down on Baebo’s lap. He scratches her ear.
I’m really scared.
I know. But they can’t keep us forever. We’ll find a way out of here and then a way back home. We’re going to start our own tribe, just like we planned.
Baebo nods his head. Pause.
You won’t leave without me?
Never. Never in life.
Pause. Suddenly, the woman’s voice comes out over a loud speaker system.
Welcome to The Zoo! Have fun watching lions and tigers play in their natural environment. Watch elephants and giraffes as if they are in your own living room. And make sure to catch our panda exhibit over by the Green Pits, a new addition to our family that will hopefully be with us for a looooooooooooooooong tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime . . .
Fade to black.
It’s hard enough just getting by in this world, let alone trying to do something. But when someone comes along and starts spouting condescending, parental-sounding bullshit advice then you suddenly have to deal with murderous rage alongside everything else. Please forgive the general truism, but if you are to succeed in any venture a definite structure must be set into place. God, I feel dirty, excuse me while I take a shower.
Unfortunately, it’s true (truism . . . true . . . oh, I get it). We had no solid structure to how we went about producing. Oh, I tried to keep a calendar and notes of when we talked, but these were feeble attempts when a key element in the structure was missing: Hierarchy. In AirSWAT, each of us held the same amount of power as the others in every aspect of the project. This was fine in general as AirSWAT wouldn’t have existed if we each hadn’t been involved, but in regards to each particular production it was a detriment. Going from my POV for a moment (unlike the rest of the article which should be considered straight from the mouth of THE LORD), working endlessly on the script from conception to realization only to have one of the others argue against a crucial plot point during production was more than just aggravating but truly upsetting. And I’m sure that this happened vice versa as I would argue/comment about an area that I did not have experience in, such as the actual filming process. Undermining each other is a natural part of this set up.
If for every production we had said, “Okay, Nic and Pete, you write. Matt, handle direction and filming. Mark, just . . . just . . . just act, man. You’re good at that,” then a hierarchy would have been set. We could have written, directed and produced without getting in each other’s way, thereby forgoing many of the issues that we ended up having with each other.
But there’s more to it than the practical. Now here comes another truism, but this one doesn’t make me feel like some corporate stooge so I won’t need to take another shower.
On a creative project, you can wear many hats, but you can not wear them at the same time. You can not write as an editor or you will spend all of your time nitpicking and the writing will suffer. You can not act at the exact same time you are directing others or else you won’t be in the moment and the performance will suffer. You can not produce and promote at the same time or the project will suffer. You can do all of those things, but you must do them separately or else the quality of the work will lessen. The separation between duties and roles is vital to the success of a creative endeavor.
Here is another PSA, the only one we didn’t film in a garage with a parachute as a back drop. To his credit this was one of Mark’s ideas, and it was the last PSA that we filmed that actually could have a genuine message to it.