Monday, January 5, 2009

The digrizfiz

Some time ago I was extensively involved in the testing of a formidable cocktail. The last time I checked, I was unable to smell the mixture with any equanimity, and this was a full 8 years after an episode culminating in what I knew (from experience) to be alcohol poisoning rather than the more humble hangover. That the road is thus blocked to me is a matter of some frustration, because the recipe is patently in need of refinement. The most pressing reason for this is that the current mixture is, frankly, pretty foul tasting.

In this brief posting I shall describe the recipe, make some observations about the effects of the cocktail, and call for further experiments.

The digrizfiz (yes, that is the correct spelling, and no it isn't capitalised) is named in honour of the Stainless Steel Rat in the series of science fiction books by Harry Harrison. The anti-hero of those diverting works goes by various names, most notably and commonly James Bolivar DiGriz.


In the canonical form the drink is served in a highball glass, with at most a few ice cubes, and comprises equal proportions of dry white sparkling wine, and bourbon. (It really is a waste to use genuine Champagne, which tends to be over-priced anyway.)

It is permissible, indeed advisable, to take it in a short glass, with a corresponding reduction in volume.


In dosages greater than or equal to two large ones, the digriz fiz is known to lead, inter alia, to accidental swimming face first into the side of swimming pools as fast as you can, leaping off low balconies, leaping into foliage including thorny shrubs, yelling, and ill-advised experiments in echolocation (involving sprinting with eyes closed making chirping noises).

The need for further research

(1) As already noted the digrizfiz tastes bad. It is possible that the addition of small quantities of something else (bitters, mint leaves, industrial solvents) would improve matters. No additions that take the result too far from the 50:50 sparkling wine and bourbon essence should be contemplated.

If it really makes a major positive difference, a different spirit could be contemplated, but this would mess with some of the key design principles of the digrizfiz, which includes a mixture of old world and new, and also the purported alcoholic drinking error of mixing grain with grape.

(2) If the taste problem is solved, and the drink becomes the sort of thing you can sip, instead of chucking back to get the experience over with, its tendency to warm up will be a problem. This may be an argument for making the short glass canonical, or even switching to a glass with a stem, that prevents the hand from warming the drink. This is a minor matter compared to the taste problem.


I was roused from my dogmatic slumbers to the extent of writing this posting because I'm reading Kingsley Amis's "Everyday Drinking". I'm reading that, in turn, because I thought some homework would help me form a credible plan to keep my New Year's resolution to consume more alcohol in 2009. Amis's book is splendid stuff, and it includes the following awesome recipe:
The Tigne Rose

1 tot gin
1 tot whisky
1 tot rum
1 tot vodka
1 tot brandy
The drink, we are told "owes its name to Tigne barracks, Malta, where it was offered as a Saturday lunchtime Apértif in the Sergeant's Mess of the 36th Heavy A.A. Regt., R.A., to all newly joined subalterns. The sometime 2nd Lieut. T.G. Rosenthal, R.A., from whom I had the recipe, says he put down three of them before walking unaided back to his room and falling into a reverie that lasted until Monday-morning parade."

Note on the picture: It is increasingly my policy to select an image for a blog post by taking one of the first things that come up for a Google Images search with a few key words relevant to the post. On this occasion the policy led to a very happy accident. The picture above is a bit of laboratory equipment, more specifically a Stainless Steel Rat Brain Slicer, made and sold by Zivic Instruments. If ever there was a brain slicer in a glass, the digrizfiz was it...


wdc said...

Not a very promising starting point, but a mild bourbon like Makers Mark, a neutral-tasting bubbly, and a dash of soda might result in a slightly less horrible digrizfiz.

Anonymous said...

Vanilla may help, according to this:

Doctor Spurt said...

Thanks, both of you. The mail bourbon angle will very likely help, and the vanilla angle is well worth trying. The digrizfiz is, pretty much, a champagne cocktail but with the main ingredients in a 'cage fighting' sort of ratio...

So we should get together, down a Tigne Rose to get into the mood, and then switch to brain slicers...

Doctor Spurt said...

BTW: I've just read that the Tigne barracks building was demolished in 2001...

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