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Chasing the Jungle Bird

Nothing says “jungle movie” like a sound track with plenty of evocative “ka-dawing” bird calls and monkey yelling. Throw in the occasional tiger roaring in the darkness, and you have a convincing, if clichéd, aural impression that transports us right into the exotic elsewhere of the tropical jungle.

When I hear a soundtrack done well, I can feel the heat. I can smell the mud and the trees.

When it’s done right, the movie soundtrack is a powerful thing.

Of course, it can be done wrong, and all that power flows in the opposite direction.

Continue reading “Chasing the Jungle Bird”

Planter’s Punch

There are many names for this version of rum, citrus and sugar: “Planter’s Cocktail,” “Jamaican Rum Punch,” and most commonly, Planter’s Punch.

Planter’s Punch is more of a drink category than a single recipe. In its simplest form—rum, sugar, lime (or lemon), water, perhaps some tea, and spice or bitters—it is clearly the direct descendant of the classic rum punches of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Continue reading “Planter’s Punch”

Have one in Havana — the Hotel Nacional Special Cocktail

In the 1930s, the Hotel Nacional de Cuba was one of the world’s grandest. Rising from a rocky ridge overlooking Havana Harbor, it was new, gorgeous, and imposing. Its stately opulence attracted celebrities, politicians, gangsters, and wealthy travelers from all over the world.

And it helped to reinforce Havana’s reputation as a comfortable cocktail destination for Prohibition-weary Americans. Continue reading “Have one in Havana — the Hotel Nacional Special Cocktail”

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