Saturday, December 24, 2011

God Jul och God Booz!

It's the evening before Christmas Day, or Jul Afton as the Swedes would say.  I'm a reluctant Episcopalian and reluctant Pagan.  By upbringing I observe Christian holidays but by nature I tend to follow the more ancient rhythms of the earth: the changing of the tides, the rising and setting of the sun and moon, the turn of the seasons, the migration of birds and animals, the shortening of day light, evergreens, the winter solstice (my birthday) and so on.  Luckily for me both traditions embrace a common element: booze.  I've been to Swedish Church earlier today and after a bit of quiet introspection and drinking I'll soon be off to an Episcopal evening service.  Two doses of Jesus in two different languages in the same day.  What does all this mean?  I have no idea and am still trying to work out all the strange juxtapositions of good and evil, hate and love, joy and suffering, life and death, but in the meantime you can take a look at some of the earlier elements of my day.

This is our Julbord before the meal.  Diaristwoman works very hard to present a festive table.
Your sinful old Diarist also works hard.  This photo is for Gunnar.  The Rimmersholms Svenska Nubbar collection ("little Swedish tacks") is a nice introduction into the realm of snaps and can be had at almost any Systemet the next time you're in the old country:  Both the Herrgårds aquavit and Hallands Fläder are fine accompaniments to the Julbord.  I find the Jägermeister to be useful at the end of the meal if one goes once too often to the Julbord...
Beyond snaps there's wine, beer and rum to be considered.  We didn't have a chance to sample beers or ales tonight (but the Jul season is just beginning).  However we did sample two wines: Cycles Gladiator Merlot and a nice South American Malbec by Jean Bousquet.  Both were met with great enthusiasm.  Afterwards we rounded off the evening with rum while opening presents.
Good old Grogham
To sweethearts and wives--may they never meet...
We didn't sample this jug tonight.  I enjoyed it's contents years ago.  I don't normally save each dead soldier I manage to empty but I do save the more interesting ones.  Henry McKenna was a lovely sour mash Bourbon made by a very small distillery in Kentucky . I used to loyally drink their product back in the '70s and '80s but sadly there was a fire and the distillery was a total loss.  This jug now holds only air and pleasant memories.  What does it have to do with Christmas?  It is a totem for shared pleasures.  Simple as that.  I'd hang it on my Christmas tree except it would break the branches.
This last "Spirit of Christmas Past" is a little green bottle in which Pennsylvania "Old Cabin" Whiskey once resided. 
The maker was Edmund Booz, a man who's surname has been incorporated into the English language.  This particular bottle is not that old, dating to the end of production in the 1950s--but like the very much more collectible bottles of 100 years earlier, this one was made by a small glass works in the sandy pine barrens of southern New Jersey for the same distiller.  Like Henry McKenna, Edmund Booz is now just a pleasant memory.  And so with these and other pleasant thoughts dancing in your heads, I bid you a good night, a very Merry Christmas and En Riktig God Jul!


  1. George: Next year I'll expect an invite. Quite an array of libations which I love to see. Merry Christmas Mad Mothist!

  2. I think you did better than we did - except for maybe that church thing. Nice selection of libations though.
    Our Christmas celebrations peaked shortly after our child and the children of relatives and neighbors first came of drinking age. They embraced their Scandinavian traditions, food and drink, with a terrible vengeance. Now they are they are grown mothers and fathers and are scattered to the four winds. But our Adena is back home for a few days this year and that is certainly a good thing. Be well.

  3. Baydog: Let me know if you're ever down this way. It may not be Jul but a couple of quiet beers won't hurt either one of us regardless of the season.

    Gunnar: Wandering kids coming home for the holidays sounds like a good time to me. Enjoy her visit! Hopefully along with "embracing" those food and drink trads, she's also learned how to make a few of the various dishes! I can't imagine Jul without a good Jansson's Temptation bubbling in the oven! Our son is clueless but his sister is paying attention to her mother's and grandmother's tuition.

  4. Rod--give me a break! It's been too hot for glögg this year! However, I've got it made up and it's "resting" in the back fridge. As soon as we get a decent shot of cold weather I'll warm some up and invite you over!

    This afternoon I took the sprite out for a run to the liquor store with the hood down. I've never run the bugeye this deep into December because of the salt on the roads. None of that so far this season. Compare that to my first post on this blogspot exactly one year ago. Last year I was digging out the beach house on this day with snow drifts over the driveway gates.