Saturday, April 30, 2011

“Last Night” – Movie Review




This week in my movie class, we saw a drama titled, “Last Night”, starring Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington and Eva Mendes. 


When a married couple are briefly separated during a business trip, will they remain faithful to each other?


Upon returning home after a party attended mostly by business colleagues, Joanna (Knightley) wrongly accuses her husband Michael (Worthington) of cheating on her with Laura (Mendes), his sexy co-worker, who seems to be unusually attentive to him when the two are left alone for a moment.  A heated argument ensues where Michael vehemently denies any infidelity on his part, but Joanna has difficulty believing him.  With a short business trip to Philadelphia looming where he will be accompanied by Laura, Joanna is increasingly concerned about their marriage, but ultimately is convinced by Michael that nothing is going on between them.
While Michael is away, Joanna runs into Alex (Guillaume Canet), her ex-boyfriend visiting New York City from his home in France in order to meet with his publisher (Griffin Dunne).  With her husband out of town, Joanna decides to meet up with Alex for cocktails that night; over drinks, it appears that although Joanna is now married, neither she nor Alex have ever completely gotten over each other.  Their mutual attraction no longer deniable, it would seem that their romance is well on its way to being rekindled.  As the evening wears on, it’s beginning to look like Joanna will be the one to cheat on Michael. 
During his business trip, Michael winds up spending time alone with Laura and discovers that she is in fact attracted to him and, despite knowing that he’s happily married to Joanna, desires an affair with him.  Flirting with Michael at a bar, she then leads him back to the hotel where they are both staying during their excursion; she next tries to seduce him by suggesting that they both go skinny dipping in the indoor pool after hours.  With both spouses enticed by the opportunity for an illicit tryst, will they succumb to temptation or can they both somehow manage to keep their wedding vows? 


This movie recently played to some acclaim here in New York City at The Tribeca Film Festival, which is now winding down.  One thing that is remarkable about “Last Night” – and this was pointed out by our instructor prior to the screening, but it certainly does become evident on watching the film – is that it was done by a woman who is a first-time director.  Usually, such “first-timer” films are a bit rough around the edges due to the filmmaker’s inexperience and – especially with an independent film – corners surely do seem to be cut in terms of technical quality.  But this was not the case with “Last Night”, which had the look and feel of a major studio release. 
In spite of this, however, I am unable to recommend the movie as something to rush out to see in theaters, but may be worth a download/rental or viewing when it hits cable TV.  The reason for this is due to the fact that I found the film to be somewhat plodding – an odd thing to say since the movie is only about an hour and a half long, but my justification for this is because the story seems to take a while to get going and even then, you’re not quite sure exactly where it’s headed.  Our instructor remarked that it almost had the feel that the script could’ve been a stage play and perhaps that’s the problem in a nutshell – it maintains something of a static feel to it without very much of the forward movement you expect from a film, but might be more prepared to experience with a play. 
Prior to the screening, our instructor interviewed Massy Tadjedin, the film’s writer/director.  A young woman with a fascinating background – she was born in Iran and her family moved to California when she was only two years old – she grew up in the American culture but speaks both English and Farsi fluently.  Following an Ivy League education, she has both written and sold several screenplays, but chose to have “Last Night” as her directorial debut.  Despite being a first time director, she apparently found no issues as far as working with the actors or making decisions about how and where to put the camera as she said that she specifically didn’t want to make an overuse of handheld cameras because she wanted to give the film an almost voyeuristic look and feel, where the viewer is nearly intruding or stumbling upon observing something intimate which was not intended for them to see. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

“Exporting Raymond” – Movie Review



This past weekend, my movie class had a bonus screening of the documentary Exporting Raymond, about the attempts of the creator of the hit TV series, “Everybody Loves Raymond” trying to bring the sitcom to Russia. 




“Everybody Loves Raymond” was a hit sitcom that ran for nine seasons on CBS.  Sony Television, which produced the show, decided that they could boost their revenue by putting the show on in different countries.  So, they sent Phil Rosenthal, the show’s creator, to Russia to help in the casting, translation and overall supervision of the show to present to a foreign audience.  Believing that family is universal and that the show’s success was due to the fact that it was about an average guy, Rosenthal was confident he would have yet another hit on his hands.

Troubles begin before Rosenthal even leaves the United States – as a wealthy American, he is strongly encouraged to take out Kidnapping & Ransom Insurance in the event he is abducted while abroad.  Upon reaching Moscow, he learns that his driver is a tough guy who once served in the Russian army and later may have also worked as a hit man for the mob.  Fortunately, he is paired with a young woman to serve as his translator in whom he is able to place an immense degree of trust as she also acts as something of a guardian angel during his stay.  Among the challenges he faces while trying to make a Russian version of the show are casting choices being overruled by the TV network and the fact that the humor fails to translate for the Russian sensibilities – add to that the fact that the show’s costume director wants to glamorize the housewives’ outfits so that they don’t look quite so frumpy and Rosenthal is certain he’s headed for disaster. 

With the cultural differences becoming increasingly apparent, Rosenthal is enormously disheartened, especially when he believes that the show’s staff is at odds with him and unable to produce the show in the best possible light.  Sony has put considerable pressure on Rosenthal to ensure the show is successful in Russia because they want to introduce more of their American shows into that market.  But can Rosenthal gain the trust of his co-workers and get them to appreciate how the true source of the show’s humor can make it a hit?




Admittedly, I was not exactly the biggest fan of the show “Everybody Loves Raymond” – which is not to say that I hated it, I’m just saying that it was never a program that showed up on my radar as something I classified as “must-see TV”.  Despite that, however, I want to assure you that you definitely do not need to have been a regular viewer of the show in order to appreciate this movie – however, if it turns out that you in fact are familiar with the show, then you’ll like this movie that much more when you see how certain scenes somehow managed to survive the Russian interpretation. 

Without a doubt, this is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a really long time and as a result, I highly recommend it to you.  Even if you are someone who doesn’t typically like to watch documentaries, I strongly feel that you’ll like “Exporting Raymond” anyway.  One of the things that is truly priceless about this film is the fact that Rosenthal – the writer, director, star and narrator of the documentary – has such an incredibly expressive face; watching him react to some of incredible situations he encounters is funny enough, not to mention the ridiculous nature of some of these predicaments. 

Following the screening was an interview with Rosenthal himself.  As you might expect from a professional comedy writer – but don’t always get – he is quite naturally funny and is able to amazingly extract humor from just about any occurrence and weave a fascinating and hilarious tale out of it all.  During the interview, he told of a rather disastrous screening of the movie a short while ago where everything that could possibly go wrong did, in fact, go horribly wrong.  And if we hadn’t just sat through a real life story about all of the bizarre circumstances in which Rosenthal finds himself, we would’ve doubted it was true – but, of course it was … except for the fact that when seen through his eyes, it becomes a wildly comic event. 



Friday, April 22, 2011

How Classics Endure: Movies & Cocktails



Which stirs my passions more? Classic films or classic cocktails? It’s too hard to decide – and that’s why I’m glad The Astor Center in New York City recently presented a wonderful class called, “Classic Cocktails, Classic Film”, a cocktail course brilliantly presented by Nora Maynard. The class combined mixology with cinematic greats and please believe me when I tell you it was a lovely way to spend a Friday evening – for fans of classic cocktails, classic movies and especially both!

To start things off were martinis and Gibsons – we were actually treated to a pre-mixed Gibson prior to viewing a clip of “The Thin Man” from 1934, although the clip we viewed was of an “instructional video” of how to make a martini … .



The significance of the emphasis of alcohol in this movie was based on its timing: the movie was made in 1934 and Prohibition ended only a year before in 1933, so people were eager to catch up on experiencing all of the alcohol they had been missing in the previous years.

Then, we sipped a Gibson while we viewed a clip from the movie “All About Eve” – make sure to look out for a young Marilyn Monroe in a small role while watching this scene!




The Gibson was a variation on the martini and was said to have been named after an illustrator named Charles David Gibson, who was known for drawing something that became known as “The Gibson Girl” – a picture of a young woman with loose hair which was tied up on top of the girl’s head. He used to drink regularly at a place called “The Player’s Club”, which was located in the Gramercy Park section of Manhattan. The Gibson we sampled this evening was made the same way the Martini was made in “The Thin Man” – 3 parts gin (Plymouth) to 1 part dry vermouth, but instead of garnishing with an olive, you use a cocktail onion.

In the 1954 film “Sabrina” (directed by the great Billy Wilder) there is a scene where an older gentleman is in Humphrey Bogart’s office and encounters immense difficulty when trying to mix a Dirty Martini because he can’t quite get the olive out of its narrow jar. The Dirty Martini is a martini made with the olive juice from the olive jar.



The cocktail called The Manhattan is celebrated in another Billy Wilder movie, “Some Like It Hot” from 1959. The Manhattan has been around since the 19th century; a whiskey cocktail, it was originally made with rye, but in the post-Prohibition era, it was made with bourbon, which gives it a natural sweetness due to the fact that it’s predominantly made of corn. Perhaps best with sweet vermouth and bitters, here’s something of a makeshift version from the movie …




“Live & Let Die” was a James Bond movie starring Roger Moore – in it, he went to a bar called The Fillet of Soul where the Sazerac cocktail was featured.



The Sazerac is widely regarded as the first cocktail. It was invented by Emil Peychaud (of bitters fame) in 1830 New Orleans. An apothecary, Peychaud worked with roots, bark and herbs to create bitters that provide an additional flavor/aromatic profile different from Angostura. The drink contains a rinse of absinthe, which was made legal in the United States relatively recently (2007). If possible, use an atomizer to add the absinthe because it’s there primarily to enhance the aroma with its anise.

“The Nutty Professor” starred Jerry Lewis as Buddy Love, the “Mr. Hyde” of his “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” dual roles; some consider the character to be a representation of Lewis’ former partner and Rat Pack member Dean Martin. The movie introduces a fictitious cocktail called The Alaskan Polar Bear Heater; the instructor provided us with the recipe, but was quick to add that when she tried it for some guests once, it was poorly reviewed -- as a result, she does not recommend this one.



A movie titled “Dead Reckoning”, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lizabeth Scott is the definitive film noir style and it seems to favor The Ramos Gin Fizz – something I like to think of as “The Milkshake Of Adult Beverages” due to its combination of egg whites and cream that give it a thick, frothy consistency. One of the problems with making this drink, however, is the fact that it’s labor intensive – you have to shake the mixture a long time in order to make it properly. In fact, the instructor said that the best way to tell if you’ve made it well is by inserting a straw in the middle – if it stands up straight on its own without tipping over, then that means it’s good and thick.



Finally, The White Russian was featured in the cult hit “The Big Lebowski”. In terms of preparation, this, I assure you, was a welcomed respite after breaking a sweat over making the Ramos Gin Fizz. By comparison, this is incredibly simple to make – to say nothing of quick – which almost makes sense as to why the character of The Dude liked it so much. After all, this is something of a slacker’s recipe and Dude was a slacker himself.



Got any other classic movies with classic cocktails? If so, then please be sure to leave a comment to share with the rest of us!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

“The Double Hour” – Movie Review

This week in my movie class, we saw a thriller from Italy titled, “The Double Hour” (“La Doppia Ora”).

A couple get victimized in the course of a brutal robbery – but in the aftermath, one of them suspects that they may have been set up by the other.

Sonia is a lonely young woman who currently works as a chambermaid at a very upscale hotel in Turin, Italy.  When not keeping in shape by swimming at her gym, she spends her time attending speed-dating sessions in desperate attempts to find a man with whom she can share her life.  Eventually, she meets Guido, a widower who now works as a security guard at a gated mansion.  They seem to hit it off and wind up spending a bit of time with each other after the evening’s speed-dating.  Later, they decide to to go out together – a fateful decision that turns out to be an epic bad first date. 

Taking her to the estate where he stands guard, Guido carelessly disables the electronic security system upon entrance to the property so that he and Sonia can stroll all by themselves through the expansive wooded area behind the property.  Just as things are about to get romantic between the two of them, they are interrupted by a team of robbers who ransack the house and cart off all the ornate furnishings and expensive art into a moving van.  During the course of the robbery, Guido incurs a gunshot wound from one of the robbers; upon the bullet’s exit, it glances off Sonia, grazing her forehead and causing her to go into a coma for several days. 

Despite both of them being injured in the course of the robbery, Guido begins to suspect that Sonia may have been behind the scheme and intentionally implicating him in the crime.  As a direct result of the theft, Guido loses his job and while looking for new employment, he spends an increasing amount of time with Sonia even though he has doubts about what was behind the robbery.  When a police investigation appears to confirm Guido’s worst fears, will he turn in Sonia unless she can prove her innocence? 


This is a movie that’s tough to describe in part because it’s a bit difficult to follow and also because any description might include spoilers, either intentionally or not.  One thing I feel that’s incumbent upon me to tell you upfront – only because some folks find this an issue when it comes to seeing foreign films such as this one – is the fact that the movie has subtitles.  In all honesty, I don’t mind subtitles in a movie, but if you as a filmmaker are going to use subtitles, then either do it right or don’t do it at all.  Unfortunately, this movie does not do it right – the subtitles are in white lettering which frequently makes them difficult to read during the all too brief periods of time when they appear on screen while up against light colored backgrounds.  The far better choice – something which disappoints me when filmmakers don’t do this – is to use the color yellow for the lettering because the subtitles can be easily read regardless of whether or not they are put up against a dark or light background. 

Enough about the subtitles, back to the movie itself.  The actual story is honestly a pretty clever idea, but maybe a little too clever because it’s difficult to pull off and still keep a coherent film that people can follow without it being overly demanding on the audience.  Our instructor pointed out that one of the goals of a thriller is to keep the audience off balance -- “Double Hour” accomplished this task, but maybe a little too well for my taste because by the time of the movie’s big reveal – which ends the second act – I’ve invested so much time trying to follow what originally appeared to be the main story that I came away confused and angry that I was forced to watch the “wrong” story.  Add to this that the ending was a little unsatisfying – especially given what we were set up for – that I felt the movie was something of a letdown.  As a result, I can’t really recommend going to see this in the theater, however, it would probably be better off as a rental, provided you wanted to go back and watch it a second time to really figure it out by seeing what you missed on the first view.

While there was no one from the movie to be interviewed either before or after the screening, we did, however get treated to an interview with show business icon Shirley MacLaine prior to viewing the movie; you may have seen her on TV recently as she has been making the usual TV talk show rounds in order to promote her new book, I’m Over All That, her twelfth.  Although she talked extensively about her metaphysical beliefs, what I found most interesting in her interview were the stories she told about working with such movie legends as Alfred Hitchcock and Peter Sellers.  She worked with Hitchcock on “The Trouble With Harry” and found him to be difficult to understand because he give much of his direction in a type of Cockney slang (e.g., “Genuine Chopper” meant “Relax” and “Dog’s Feet” meant “Pause”).  MacLaine co-starred with Sellers in “Being There” and she said that he spent much of the shoot convincing himself – and others, apparently – that he and MacLaine were engaged in a torrid love affair, although she claims that it was completely untrue because he was not her type. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Glass With Class


Hey, there, part-time weekend mixologist!

Sure, you know the difference between a shot glass and a beer mug, dontcha?

Of course you do!

But do you know the difference between a coupe and a flute? Or even what the heck the purpose of a nosing glass is, for that matter?

Fear not, O cocktail rookie! Because this here very blog post will serve to straighten out all of this for you! If you're still serving your cocktails in Solo plastic cups, then it may be time for you to put on your big boy pants and start presenting them to your guests properly.  Today’s post will talk about using the right glass for the right drink – as well as exactly what makes it the right glass in the first place.

Why are the different types of glasses so important? Well, for one thing, the right glass for the proper cocktail tends to show off particular drinks to their best advantage – whether to display color, garnishes or other attributes. But often, it can be more than mere looks alone – some have actual practical reasons, such as to maintain the drink’s temperature or to enhance its aroma.


Let’s start with the generically-named cocktail glass – which you might know better as a martini glass. These glasses generally tend to hold anywhere from four to six ounces or so, although I’ve seen some much larger. According to the Web site Best Coctail Recipes, “The shape of the glass helps keep ingredients from separating, and the stem allows the drink to stay cool while holding.”


OK, now here’s a question for you: if you’re going to serve either Champagne or sparkling wine to your guests, would you pour it into a flute (left) or in a coupe (right)? Well, of course, either one is correct, but the coupe is the old style Champagne glass that has been replaced by the flute. As you can see by the picture, flutes tend to be tall and narrow and generally hold anywhere from 7 – 10 ounces of the bubbly. The site Best Coctail Recipes states that the purpose of the flute is to help “preserve the carbonation of champagne, while the stem helps keep it chilled”. While it has been believed that the coupe glass was patterned after Marie Antoinette’s breast, the Web site Tim’s Wine Blog completely shoots down that theory. He states that the popularity of the coupe was instead due to the fact that given its broad, shallow bowl-like shape, it was simply easy to make.


The Nosing Glass – also known as The Glencairn Glass – is perfect for sipping drams of whiskey, especially Scotch. Due to its tapered mouth, the glass makes it both easy to sip and appreciate the bouquet of different kinds of whiskeys. The shape of the glass almost looks like an old incandescent light bulb; the design with a wide bowl at the bottom exists to have a larger area for the whiskey to spread out so that its aroma can rise as well as provide an opportunity to examine the spirit’s usual amber color.

Have any other cocktail glasses you want more information about? Leave a comment and let us know – maybe they’ll get covered in a future post.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

“Henry’s Crime” – Movie Review



This week in my movie class, we saw what you might call a comedy/caper flick called “Henry’s Crime”, starring Keanu Reeves, Vera Farmiga and James Caan. 




When a man falsely convicted of robbing a bank decides to actually rob that same bank once he’s paroled, he enlists the aid of some unlikely accomplices – but will an unanticipated romantic entanglement spoil his plans?




After a year in prison for a crime he did not commit, Henry (Reeves) slowly begins to try to insert himself back into society following his parole. Although acquaintances deceived him into being the driver of the getaway car for a bank robbery, Henry wound up doing time anyway – which is how he met friend and mentor Max (James Caan), a now “retired” con man who’s quite comfortable with the notion of spending his remaining years behind bars. But once on the outside, Henry becomes obsessed with the exact same bank the police think he tried to rob and winds up planning a real heist of his own. Realizing he can’t do this by himself because he’s not truly a career criminal, Henry successfully convinces Max to get paroled, too, so that he can help him both plan and execute the job.


When they realize the easiest way to the bank’s vault is actually through a nearby theater, Max volunteers to work for the acting group who perform there so he can have easy access to the space for the purpose of casing out the environment. During a rehearsal of Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard”, one of the actors quits; Henry then seizes this opportunity to audition for the part so that he can join Max at the theater. Winning the role, Henry gets a dressing room that’s in close proximity to the bank’s vault; together, they start digging towards the vault through a wall in the dressing room, but soon realize that the job will be too much for them. Henry then recruits the slow-witted Joe, the guy for whom Henry’s ex-girlfriend dumped him. While Joe and Max proceed to dig towards the vault, Henry finds he is also falling in love with Julie (Farmiga), the actress who’s playing the lead role in “The Cherry Orchard”.


Before long, Henry reveals the truth to Julie, who is concurrently horrified and thrilled by the notion of now being an accomplice to a crime. Julie, trying to remain loyal to her new boyfriend, doesn’t reveal to anyone what she knows. As rehearsals progress and the thieves dig their way closer to the vault, they soon realize that the timing of their crime must unfortunately coincide with the opening night of the play – otherwise, they’ll wind up losing out on millions of dollars. At this point, Henry must make a very important decision: Should he go through with the bank robbery and bail out on the play, causing him to lose his girlfriend? Or should he remain with the play in order for he and Julie to stay together, which would risk the big score that could change everyone’s life for the better?




Typically, when a movie takes many leaps of faith – or “suspensions of disbelief”, if you prefer – I wind up disregarding it as asking too much from its audience.  For some reason, however, I did not do this with “Henry’s Crime” and hours after seeing the movie, I’m still not exactly sure why.  Perhaps the real reason may be due to the fact that this story is so unique and creative and original that I was willing to overlook some things that didn’t quite logically parse.  Ultimately, I suppose that’s why I want to recommend this movie to you – but if you’re not as in love with its quirkiness, then maybe you won’t be quite so willing to forgive its flaws.  That’s a decision you’ll have to make for yourself. 


Albeit cautiously recommending this film, I enjoyed so much of it that I do hope it will be reasonably successful because unusual works such as this one certainly deserve some degree of recognition, no matter how modest.  When you look at the casting on this flick – which, aside from the stars, also includes the wonderful Fisher Stevens and Bill Dukes in smaller yet nevertheless quite crucial roles – that will make you want to see “Henry’s Crime” … and rightly so.  Is this a movie that might get lost because it’s an “indie” with a meager advertising budget?  Perhaps.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be ignored.  Quite the opposite, in fact – make an effort to check this out and you’ll most certainly be glad you did.


Curiously, there were in-class  interviews both before and after the film – I suppose this was due to scheduling conflicts.  Prior to the screening, we were treated to an interview with one of the movie’s stars, the talented and extraordinarily sexy Vera Farmiga.  Having both seen her – and fantasized about her – in so many incredibly good movies, experiencing her being interviewed in my movie class was absolutely a dream come true.  She spoke quite extensively about her background as a Ukrainian American and the fact that she originally did not set out to be an actress – in fact, she wanted to have a career as an optometrist!  After the screening, there was an interview with the film’s Director (Malcolm Venville) and one of its Producers (a woman whose name, I’m ashamed to say, has slipped my mind).  They talked about the difficulties of shooting (the Producer, in particular, mentioned an extraordinary scene at Niagara Falls) and scenes shot but omitted from the final cut of the movie (the Director hinted that an epilogue of the characters might appear on the DVD version of the movie).



Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Tainted Virility





Hey, men – when was the last time you felt virile when you told someone you were two inches?  I’m guessing never … but now you CAN!

A recent study shows that if your taint is at least two inches, you’re totally rockin’ the whole masculinity thing.  Less than that and, well, women won’t want to make babies with you. 

You doubt me?  Thought so!  Here’s an excerpt from an article published by Time Magazine about this stunning development – please click the link below to read the entire report:


Guys Are Right: Size Matters, When It Comes to Fertility

It turns out it's not penis size that's significant, but the length as measured from the anus to underneath the scrotum, known as anogenital distance, or AGD, according to research published this month in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

AGD is associated with semen volume and sperm count, according to study author Shanna Swan, a reproductive epidemiologist and professor in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Rochester.

The median AGD length is about 2 inches; men with a shorter measurement stand a seven-times greater risk of having fertility problems as opposed to men with a longer AGD. They are more likely to be sub-fertile, which generally indicates a sperm count of less than 20 million per milliliter.  Men with sperm counts in this range are only half as likely to succeed in getting a partner pregnant as men with more typical sperm counts in the range of 50 to 60 million sperm per milliliter.


So how does your taint “measure up”, so to speak?  Can you either prove or disprove the findings from this study?  Post a comment and let us know!



Sunday, April 03, 2011

Springtime For Sake





Recently, a local liquor store conducted its annual spring Sake tasting -- bitterly ironic given the recent tragic events in Japan.  With this in mind, I attended the tasting to sample a variety of Sakes and this blog post will describe a few of them.  Normally, this liquor store discounts the wines and spirits at its tastings by fifteen percent or more – however, due to the occurrences in Japan, the store decided to forego its usual discounts that it passes on to its customers and instead, kept the prices at their normal level, taking the discounts they would typically give and donating them to The Red Cross for assistance to the Japanese people during these troubling times.

First up was Dewazakura Tobiroku Sparkling Sake – called “The Festival Of Stars” because of its sparkling quality, this is a new sake and as a result, is not yet very popular because it has not been out on the market for very long. Referred to as “The Champagne Of Sake”, it is harvested only one time per year and has been on the market for a mere two to three years. Most of its presence has thus far been on the Japanese market, but it is slowly making its presence known here in the United States.

Next up – for me, anyway – was something that was nicknamed “The Happy Bride”. If you prefer your sake with a low alcohol content, then this may be something that you might want to consider trying. Officially, it’s called Kamoizumi Komékomé Specialty Sake and comes from the Hiroshima Prefecture. Due to the low alcohol content, it has an extremely light taste and it is suggested to use it as an aperitif to serve before your meal in order to enhance the taste buds. Slightly spicy with a very mild bit of sweetness to it, some have actually compared it to a Kabinett-style Reisling sort of wine (for those of you who, unlike myself, are wine connoisseurs). The distributor, World Sake Imports, described it as being quite rich in amino acids, which is believed to be promoting both good health and a rosy complexion.





Last for me on this afternoon was something commonly referred to as “Summer Snow”. Its official name is Kamaoizumi Nigori Ginjo Sake, it also comes from the Hiroshima Prefecture, just like the above – mentioned Happy Bride Sake. If you are a fan of nigori sake, then this is an absolute must. Considered a premium sake, it is quite rich and creamy, due to the fact that it is what is known as an unfiltered sake. Its natural flavor is mildly sweet, yet rather robust nonetheless. If you are new to sake, then this one would probably wind up being an excellent introduction to this particular libation. Compared to Happy Bride, it has a noticeably higher alcohol content and pairs well with many kinds of foods – including and especially fish. According to its distributor, this is the type of sake you might be better off chewing rather than drinking!

While you are in all likelihood sick of hearing this by now, it is nevertheless worth repeating that if you are so inclined to want to make a contribution in order to provide assistance to the people of Japan in these tough times, then please contact your local Red Cross for information and recommendations.