Monday, February 15, 2010

Sazerac Jello Shots - An Experiment

So, with Black and Gold Super Bowl and Mardi Gras, Wal-Mart was out of Lemon Jello. But this is what I did. I normally use 1 cup hot/1 cup liquor, but recently I've been branching out to other mixtures (for instance, tonight I'm going to try something with Pama pomegranate liqueur).

You need:
1 Regular Size Jello - Orange Flavor
1 Cup Boiling Water
1 Cup Rye Whiskey (I used Jim Beam Rye Whiskey in this experiment)
1 Lemon
Absinthe (I used Lucid in this experiment)
Peychaud's Bitters

Put the bottle of Rye Whiskey in freezer overnight (not strictly necessary to chill it so much, but you use this instead of the cold water, so it helps cool the jello down - it will not freeze - I have no idea if it hurts the Rye)

Zest a lemon - keep the lemon for juice

Boil your cordless electric kettle (this is the primary tool for making Jello shots - when you're ready for the next batch, you just hit the switch)

Coat the inside of the jello shot containers with Absinthe - just keep pouring it out of one and into the next until they are all coated

Put a few zests of lemon in each container

Measure a cup of Rye Whiskey, add a few splashes of bitters - it should look just like you're making a real Sazerac

Squeeze lemon juice from the lemon you zested into the cold Rye

With a small box of Orange (I'll try lemon next time) Jello (1 cup hot/1 cup cold are the recommended directions) dissolve the Jello in 1 cup of boiling water by stirring for 2 minutes as normal

Add the cold Rye/bitters/lemon juice mixture to the dissolved Orange Jello and stir to mix

Pour into shot containers and put in fridge to set - takes 3 hours or so.

The first batch tasted basically like a regular Sazerac, so I'm going to call it a win.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Schwarzschild Radius of New Orleans

After my quantum mechanics post last week, I had been ruminating on other physical phenomenon and their relation to the metaphysics of New Orleans. I had hoped to have time to post this before the Super Bowl and therefore to seem to be a wise prognosticator of all things related to the blessed event. But since I wasn't attempting any soothsaying anyway, I shall compose it and post it tonight with my wife out celebrating and the kids safely in bed.

One of the big things that came into my mind was the impenetrability of New Orleans which commenters to the QM post and on twitter and other bloggers have always alluded to. It is only possible for people to understand New Orleans once they have been New Orleanians for a time. It might not take a long time, but presumably it has to occur on a visit where you don't know when you are going to leave.

A certain similarity to the Schwarzschild Radius (sometimes more commonly known as the event horizon especially in terms of black holes) immediately presents itself. The Schwarchild radius only applies to non-rotating spherical masses, of course. Although it was often thought that nothing escapes a black hole, Hawking predicted that due to quantum vacuum fluctuations, a black hole actually emits radiation and can evaporate due to this, yet no information can escape a black hole - the famous "no hair" hypothesis.

In the same way, although a person can live in New Orleans and leave New Orleans and tell other people about it, people who have not passed within the Schwarzchild radius of New Orleans cannot understand New Orleans without experiencing it themselves, no matter how much explanation and examples are foisted upon them. Perhaps those of us who live inside the horizon appear differently to each other than we appear from the outside. No one really knows what the inside of a black hole is like. We know at a mechanical level what the theory tells us about time dilation and gravity and space-like and time-like intervals and geodesics, but we don't know in our hearts - humans have no intuition because, like quantum mechanics, no matter how true and accurate, these models are too strange for our minds. Of course, just as black holes aren't black, people outside New Orleans can see that something is going on, something which seems to lure them in, just as curious as cats to a paper bag.

So here's another commentary from inside the radius which will go out into the aether and no information will likely be extracted from it by those who have never been New Orleanians:

At the parades today, it was self-evident that the Super Bowl was not the only event with meaning today. In fact, we had an election and parades last night as well. Although election turnout was poor yesterday, I put that down to the parades more than the Super Bowl. Today, the parades were perhaps a warm up to SB XLIV, but like any true New Orleanian would tell you, the parade event, an act of celebrating together with friends and strangers, living in the moment and coming together and sharing a joke, a dance, an appreciation for satire, and the mocking of the carefully cultivated royalty-peasant relationship is a pure innocent pleasure. Begging for, fighting over or sharing trivial objects like beads and stuffed pink monkeys and laughing together is a wonderfully human endeavor.

Since I won't even suggest we're talking about spherical cows, suggestions as to the shape and size of the Schwarzchild radius (or perhaps, more accurately, the irregular boundary which almost certainly has a western upper bound as the Sabine River) are welcome in the comments.