Here’s Mud In Your Eye

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Slim Paley photo

A muddled raspberry, cointreau & vodka cocktail at the Four Seasons Biltmore, Santa Barbara


Cocktail-making is an adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence.  It inculcates purity and harmony.  The mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order.”  From BonAppetit 2008

Um- ya…what they said.  Plus, they’re just really, really good :)

Slim Paley photo (not altered in any way)

What the sunset looked like after  the cocktails :)

Happiness is the cocktail hour isn’t it?!

A post in honor of delicious libations and the places from which they are dispensed…

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A little Sinatra with your drink? please click here;


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Greece

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This is, without a doubt, my #1 Favourite Cocktail mixing book ever.  Published in 1939, it is an absolute delight; an armchair trip back to seductively slower times when One lazed around in rattan Planter’s chairs, the kind with those swivel arms for ankles to drape over in the breeze, ceiling fans whirring quietly overhead, drinking muddled gimlets into the night while reading month old New Yorker magazines and gossiping about Somerset Maugham.  Ahhh- The  ‘Slow Movement’ at it’s finest.   Sadly, the book is  very difficult to find.  At the moment, I can only see a few available online- ranging from $200 for “Good Used” condition to $999 for “Collectible- Like New”.   Word to the wise would be whenever you find yourself in an old bookshop always ask if they have a copy.  Ya never know.

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Gin Fizz

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Excerpt from the Forward.

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Cocktails and a cigar at the Amansara hotel, Siem Reap, Cambodia

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“One comfortable fact gleaned from travel in far countries was that regardless of race, creed or inner metabolisms, mankind has always created varying forms of stimulant liquid-each after his own kind. Prohibitions and nations and kings depart, but origin of such pleasant fluid finds constant source.” Charles H. Baker, Jr.



On my Champagne Bucket List of places I’d like to go; The Pegu Club in NYC

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Perhaps when NY Son turns 21 we will go there together for his VERY FIRST DRINK!!  :)

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A few more cool NYC Watering Holes:

Milk n’ Honey

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Apotheke NYC

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Painkiller – an old fashioned Tiki bar with supreme drinks, so I’ve been told.

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Are purported to be exquisite.

In Long Island City. (where is that?!)

You know what? I’m going to find out, in April. Personally, I’ve always loved the Dutch.

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An Emergency Martini Station in my living room

Southern Comfort…ish

The “Impractically Comfortable” side chair

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Biggest Best martinis in LA?   Lola’s on Fairfax.  Do NOT forget your Designated Driver!

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Most generous martinis in Santa Barbara-  Lucky’s in Montecito  (also,  fair to medium possibility of Josh Holloway sighting)

Hey, wait! come back, at least finish reading my post!)

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Make your own spritzers and many other fun concoctions with

Iso Twist ‘n Sparkle  available at Williams & Sonoma

I want to get one of these! Looks like fun

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Slim Paley photo

Evening sun sets on the portable bar in my den/TV room

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If you really want to make cocktails like a pro, you might want to consider investing in these ice ball molds. Spheres of ice are preferred by serious on the rocks drinkers because the reduced surface size causes the ice to melt at a slower pace.  I bought plastic molds but my ice balls looked like Tootsie Pops with berets on- sort of cute, but nothing like the one above. Made by Taisin $169

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credit unknown

What a gorgeous wine cellar- not quite sure how you get down there, or even more importantly, how you’d get back up, but it sure is gorgeous

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Nice Kitchen bar via Food & Wine Magazine

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Have you tried these “Instant Wine Breather” machines?  My brother bought us one- they work- You can really taste the difference.

Also available at Williams & Sonoma or on Amazon


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Emergency Libations Station in the library (regular readers might recognize; also home of the drunken Christmas Tree Angel)


I saw these at BEVMO which we now have in Santa Barbara.

There is a God.

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Beer at BEVMO

Strangely, I’ve even come to enjoy the occasional beer in the last couple of years.  To be honest, I think I enjoy trying to pick them, as much as drinking them

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Kitchen drink caddy this Christmas

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Probably the most infamously Enthusiastic Cocktail Hour Couple…

Nick & Nora Charles Have  a Drink…or 10 Please click  :)

unless, of course it was

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Have I missed any obvious ones??

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Love a good Girl’s Reunion

Name YOUR poison

Bottoms up my Lovelies :)

xx

SP

Speaking of Angkor Wat…

Angkor WatSlim Paley photo

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Mentioning Angkor Wat in yesterday’s post reminded me that it was exactly this time last year that I made my first, but hopefully not my last visit to Cambodia.  The trip was organized by my friend Penelope Tree, who is passionately involved in Lotus Outreach International, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the education, health and safety of vulnerable women and children in the developing world.

The world needs to grow many more Penelope Trees!

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Angkor WatSlim Paley Photo

Some of the real highlights of our trip included visits to schools and homes that were providing education and shelter to these lovely young women.   Our first stop was Phnom Penh, the capital and largest city in the country. We stayed at the beautiful old Colonial Raffles Hotel Le Royal.  That vaguely familiar smell of musty, ever so slightly moldy humidity greeted me like an old friend. If smells have a colour, this is a verdant green. I love it!  Give me intense moist heat, a ceiling fan, a Gin & Tonic and a lizard crawling up the wall and, well, actually, you had me at Gin & Tonic.

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Raffles Hotel, Phnom Penh Slim Paley Photo

Raffles  Phnom Penh

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.Raffles Hotel, Cambodia

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Cambodia

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Phnom Penh is quite a beautiful city (It was known as The Pearl of Asia in the 1920′s) with an abundance of Khmer and French Colonial inspired architecture.  Unfortunately I don’t think it will ever emerge completely from the shadow of it’s ghastly history.  As painful as it is to visit Tuol Sleng prison, it somehow felt very wrong not to.

  The gentleman in the photo below was one of only a handful of prisoners to survive Tuol Sleng.  He lost his entire family there but was spared death himself only because he was a machinist and the guards needed his expertise.  When the Pol Pot regime fell he vowed he would come back to the prison every single day for the rest of his life until at least one of those responsible for his family’s murders was brought to trial.  A little less than two weeks after I returned home that finally happened!  I love knowing that he no longer needs to make his daily trek there, to sit ever patient vigil amongst the ghosts.

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Tuol Sleng, CambodiaSlim Photo…………………………

Tuol Sleng courtyard

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The second leg of our journey brought us to Battambang, where we stayed at a very charming French Colonial Bed & Breakfast most memorable for the moment when I told the waitress that my drink tasted reeeeeally terrible (like ditch water, though I didn’t say that) and she insisted on drinking some herself, then taking it back to the bartender who proceeded to partake  as well before deciding that yes, I did still have to pay for it.  Hilar.

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Cambodian bar

The Stinky Drink Hotel

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hotels CambodiaSlim Paley Photo

The Stinky Drink hotel room.

Not bad actually…I told you I’m a push over for old fans and mosquito netting.

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Cambodia

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Lotus Outreach CambodiaSlim photo

The beautiful young ladies sponsored by Lotus Outreach

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CambodiaSlim Paley Photo

Rush hour Battambang

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Casual Friday in Battambang

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River life, CambodiaSlim Paley photo

Life on the river

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net fishing, CambodiaSlim Paley photo

Enormous fishing nets

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Slim Paley Photo………………….

Oh dear- whose suitcase could that possibly be??!!

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.Slim Paley, Cambodia

There are a lot of stairs in Cambodia!

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Our third, final and by far best destination after our glorious day-long journey down the river was Siem Reap.  This is a place you should see in your lifetime.  Let me clarify that- if you are willing to get up a couple of hours  before the crack of dawn in order to see some of the most incredible sites you’ll ever see, then you should visit Siem Reap.  We stayed at The Amansara Resort so trust me when I say that dragging myself out of  bed at ungodly hours was not an easy feat.

That being said, The Bayon at daybreak when there isn’t another soul around is a profoundly moving experience.

Coming back to the hotel for Chai tea, yoga and a massage…priceless.

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The Bayon, CambodiaSlim Paley photo

The Bayon  before sunrise

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Moon over the Bayon, CambodiaSlim Paley photo

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Amansara, Siem Reip

The Amansara guest lounge

Enjoying a cocktail, wearing my omnipresent green fatigue pants and trusty Uggs, when who should float by but Anne Bass in, oh I don’t know, Oscar De La Renta Resort 09? and custom made ballet flats, toes pointing out. When I walked by her table I too tried to walk with my toes and hips out, dancer style (why?  Vod. & Ton. perhaps?) but I think I only succeeded in looking like something wet had fallen into my Ugg.

Oh well…I’ll never see her again.


My room at the Amansara, which was sleek, sexy and smelled divine.

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Our Lotus folding class at the Amansara

folding lotus flowersSlim Paley photo

Alright, so these aren’t ours, but we did take a lesson, laughed a lot and mangled some poor lotuses into deformed bellybuttons.

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Angkor WatSlim Paley photo

Angkor Wat

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Angkor Wat, CambodiaSlim Paley photo

One of largest and most well preserved religious monuments in the world, dating back to the 12th century

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Angkor Wat, CambodiaSlim Paley photos.

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Siem Reap

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Motor biking through the jungle

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The River of a Thousand Lingas, Cambodia

Taking tea at the river of a Thousand Lingas

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Cambodia

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Monk in Siem ReapSlim Paley photo

And now for some Monk Music. This was playing in my hotel room when I first arrived and I can’t listen to it now without feeling very emotional.


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Sunset in CambodiaAll photos taken by Slim Paley

……………………….Sunset over the infamous fields of Cambodia taken from a little bamboo train

click here for Amansara Resort

PLEASE

Click here for info on Lotus Outreach International

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Books

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