The atomic number of zirconium

Today is my birthday. This year’s honored co-celebrant is Serge Koussevitzky, who would have turned 137 today, if only he had actually put his arms into the sleeves of his overcoat more often. Get past the credits of this late-1940s bit of USIS propaganda, and you can see the man in action, conducting Beethoven’s Egmont Overture:

There’s a story behind this film: it was a single-camera shoot, so Koussevitzky and the BSO pre-recorded the overture, then played along with the recording for several takes; Koussevitzky apparently grew increasingly angry that he couldn’t deviate from his own interpretation.

My lovely wife threw a party last weekend to mark my implacable aging. You are sad that you weren’t there! You can, however, simulate the occasion via drink. Here’s what I concocted for unsuspecting guests:

Second Score

1 oz (30 ml) rye whiskey
⅔ oz (20 ml) pineapple juice
⅔ oz (20 ml) lime juice
⅓ oz (10 ml) apricot brandy
⅓ oz (10 ml) rosé vermouth

Shake well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; top with

2 oz (60 ml) cold champagne

Cutting down on alcohol? Good heavens, why? Have you seen what this world is coming to? Nevertheless, here’s one for kids of all ages; name courtesy of Jack Miller, who also baked the birthday cake pictured above, a cake that will be spoken of for years to come in hushed, awestruck tones.

Four For Tea

1 oz (30 ml) double-strength green tea
1 oz (30 ml) pineapple juice
⅔ oz (20 ml) lime juice
2 tsp (10 ml) pomegranate molasses

Shake with ice, strain into a glass, and top with

2 oz (60 ml) sparkling apple juice or seltzer

Pomegranate molasses can be found in the Middle Eastern aisle of your local supermarket, or at least where all the couscous and falafel mix gets shelved, I would think. I also used it as part of the brine for twelve pounds of pulled pork, and it worked really rather well. Shahia tayba!


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