Friday, March 9, 2012

Le Mixeur Sharky Menu - Philip Thompson: De Daumier-Smith's Blue Period

"The bare truth is as follows: If you do not learn a few more of the rudiments of the profession, you will only be a very, very interesting artist the rest of your life instead of a great one. This is terrible, in my opinion. Do you realize how grave the situation is?"

Le Mixeur Sharky: Nine Stories is Sunday, March 11, 5-10pm, at Inner Chapters Bookstore & Cafe, 419 Fairview Ave N, Seattle. Tickets are $25 (includes 3 cocktails) and should be pre-purchased here:


Here's a little lineage that explains Philip Thompson's place in the grand ole scheme of bartending things:

1) Philip's first name is the same as the middle name of fellow Le Mixeur Sharky contributor Ben Perri. They even spell it the same way, with one l. In case you have extremely short capacity for thought, the name we're talking about is, "Philip."

2) Philip's last name is the same last name as my Barbados brother David, who went with me to my first ever Tales Of The Cocktail , David was a friend of Chesterfield Brown of Mount Gay Rum, who once famously said, "MOUNT! GAY! RUM! WITH COCONUT! WATER!"

Actually he said it about 20 times, at a seminar at Tales that David Thompson and I were at.

3) Philip used to work with fellow Le Mixeur Sharky contributor Nathan Weber, AKA The Laughing Man, at Tavern Law. On more than one occasion while working together, these two mans were seen laughing.

4) Philip now is lead bartender at The Coterie Room, owned by chef duo Brian McCracken and Dana Tough, who also own Tavern Law, and Spur, which is less than a block away from Coterie Room. Fellow Le Mixeur Sharky contributor Marley Tomic-Beard, AKA Uncle Wiggily In Connecticut, used to work at Spur. But neither Philip nor Marley actually has an Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut.

5) Nathan Weber, Dana Tough, Brian McCracken, and Marley Tomic-Beard have never had a blue period. I asked Philip if he has had a blue period. He wouldn't say. That to me sounds like the response of a man who has.

All I'm trying to say is that Philip Thompson is one of the great bartenders in our fair city. He makes wonderful drinks and is an impeccably cordial host. He has excelled in some of Seattle's all too rare establishments where world-class food and world-class drink peacefully co-exist and actually enhance one another. And he has now invented a drink interpretation of De Daumier-Smith's Blue Period. What could possibly be next?

Well, how about the damn recipe?

AKA "Le Chat de Schrödinger"

1 ½ ounce of (whiskey or gin or vodka it is not known until it is made)
½ ounce blue curacao
½ ounce lime juice
dash of angostura bitters
dash of orange bitters

shake over ice and strain into a...


"I went upstairs to my room and lay down on my bed. Some minutes, or hours later, I made, in French, the following brief entry in my diary: 'I am giving Sister Irma her freedom to follow her own destiny. Everybody is a nun.' (Tout le monde est une nonne.)"

De Daumier-Smith's Blue Period is a story of a precocious 19 year old, recently returned to New York after nine years in Paris, who fibs his way into a job in Quebec providing correspondence art instruction to students of the art school of M. Yoshoto. Unimpressed and mostly depressed by the submitted works of most of his students, he finds himself smitten with the simplistic work of Sister Irma, commissioned to study art by Father Zimmerman at Les Amis Des Vieux Maitres. He especially adores her watercolor depiction of Christ being carried to the sepulchre in Joseph of Arimathea's garden.

So inspired is he by her work, he immediately writes her a letter even more long-winded than this blog about what she must do to refine her painting and achieve genius status. When she doesn't respond and instead Father Zimmerman writes to say he has reconsidered his decision to allow Sister Irma to pursue her art at Les Amis Des Vieux Maitres, De Daumier-Smith (not his real name) writes another long-winded letter even more desperate to corral Sister Irma's artistic spirit.

He then takes to the streets and observes a young woman in the display window of a shop, working hard to re-dress a wooden dummy with a truss. In the course of his observation and interaction with the female stranger, she reacts strongly to his appearance, and he experiences an epiphany. We are not sure what exactly this epiphany is, but when he returns home, in his own mind and diary he permits Sister Irma her freedom.

Mr. Philip Thompson interprets Smith's actions, and his statement "Tout le monde est une nonne" to mean everyone can make their own choices. And to quote Phil, "De Daumier-Smith came to this conclusion by witnessing an event in which the act of watching affected the outcome."

And so with the drink Le Chat de Schrödinger, inspired by De Daumier-Smith's blue period, everyone can make their own choices. You choose your base, mix with Blue Curacao for your blue, and add in lime and the bitters because, as is always important, it will make it taste good.

Freedom! It tastes good!

What does Le Chat de Schrödinger mean? I don't know. I think it sounds like it means a cat named by a guy named Schrödinger. What's the deeper meaning? I intentionally didn't ask. Now you all have to come to Le Mixeur Sharky and ask Phil himself. He'll make a choice as to how to answer. And each answer will be true.

No comments: