Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Gimlet

Channeling Uyeda-san.

I taught piano for many, many years. It's fairly routine - all parents want to believe they're raising the next Mozart, but no, sorry to take a dump on your lawn, your kid is just adequate. People lose all common sense and perception of reality when it comes to the little ones, don't they? And suddenly I'm the asshole when I try to tell them the truth. No, piano (and music) is pain and suffering, and endless, endless repetition. As is all the 'arts'. There are no epiphanic moments, no such musical genius - no one has the ability to get on stage and let the music come to them. Great musicians and pianists are the result of hard work and practice, dedication and sacrifice.

And it all starts with the fundamentals.

Scales and chords and finger exercises are certainly not pleasant, but for those who are serious about music, they're absolutely a necessary evil. Discount this kind of training, and you're simply confirming that you're not that serious about music. Parents who expect their kids to suddenly be able to play like an angel are exposing their ignorance, and their true purpose for forcing their kids to learn music - it's all about ego. They want their kids to look competitive against their friend's kids, their relatives, their neighbours. So when I teach, I teach fundamentals to the little ones, but I'm also teaching the parents to step back and understand what it takes to actually learn music. Few can hack it, even as amateurs.

But what about those that can? Those that take the time and effort to master the fundamentals? Are they musical yet? No. Because truly being musical, just like being artistic, requires an inner feeling, a deeply personal understanding and mastery of first the subject matter, and second the ability to inject yourself into what you're producing/creating/performing. People think that's the easy part. Hardly. Without mastering and having a foundation of the basics first - how can you add your personal expression onto it? It's a falsehood; a lie.

And so we come to the Gimlet. A deceptively simple and classic cocktail, a true throwback. Mastered by the Japanese, and a favourite of the legendary Uyeda-san of Ginza's Tender Bar. He's made countless of these, but yet stays true to its recipe. Like all other Japanese culinary arts (see Jiro Dreams of Sushi), these artisans believe in repetition and the pursuit of perfection through daily, incremental improvements in their execution. A true inspiration. Before putting yourself into it - adopt a spirit of humility, and aim for a simple perfection.

The Gimlet

Gordon's London Dry Gin
Fresh lime juice
Sugar syrup (1 : 0.75 sugar to water, simmered until dissolved)

In a cobbler shaker, fill to the top with fresh, clean, large chunks of ice 

Using a jigger, pour: 2 ounces of gin, 3/4 ounce lime juice, and 1/2 ounce sugar syrup

As per Uyeda-san, employ the 3-step hard shake for 25-30 seconds until shaker frosts over

Strain into glass

Lime wheel for garnish


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