Saturday, December 27, 2014

A New Tradition

The Christmas Star which has topped Mom's tree since I was a little boy.
While I have a couple of hours in which to catch my breath before heading out into the world again, I figured I better get a post ready for Saturday. A day in which The Missus Herself and I will arise well before dawn and begin yet another holiday adventure.

No doubt the cats, Anya and Sasha, will be furious and shun us when we get home again. They were excited that we were back home but the quick turn around between trips will no doubt irk them beyond belief.

It's as if we launched a couple of hours ago, trapped and refueled and taxied back over to get shot off the bow once more. (Okay, I've never done that but the book I'm reading now makes me want to. A lot. At least once.)

We had a great time up north with Mom, The Olde Vermonter with his tribe and The Musician. My brothers seem to be aging far better than I. Well, they are at least within a few pounds of their high school weight. Hair-wise we are all a lot grayer than we used to be. The Olde Musician and I don't need to spend a lot of money on shampoo. If you know what I mean.

One new thing for the holiday was a beverage a native Rhode Islander that I work with tipped me off to. (I'm sure the grammar in that sentence is terrible. For now that is something with which you will have to up with put. To misquote Sir Winston.)

First of all I must tell you that as an outsider, it seems to me that everything in Little Rhody seems to revolve around coffee. At least it seems that way to me.

For instance, in my town by the bay, there are three Dunkin' Donuts outlets, with a fourth under construction not a quarter mile from one of the established three. But it's necessary, the old one is on the right side of the road when you're heading north. Tough to get to when you're headed south during what passes for rush hour in the morning. So the new one?

Yup, on the other side of the road. So there's one for each direction. Just like the town immediately to our north. Two Dunkin' Donuts, not a quarter mile apart. So if you want coffee in the morning, doesn't matter which direction you're going. You're covered.

Oh yeah, there's another local coffee and donut emporium in these parts, Sip-N-Dip, which I'd never heard of before coming to Little Rhody on the Bay. They are not bad. Not Dunkin' Donuts, but not bad.

Did I mention Starbucks?

Nope. We have them but Dunkin' Donuts rules. They are, in fact, thriving.

Oh yeah, coffee, more specifically, coffee milk, to wit:
Coffee milk is a drink made by adding a sweetened coffee concentrate called coffee syrup to milk in a manner similar to chocolate milk. It is the official state drink of Rhode Island in the United States of America.

While the precise origin of coffee milk is unclear, several sources trace it back to the turn of the 20th century and Providence's Italian immigrant population. The first coffee syrup was introduced by the Silmo Packing Company of New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1932. Coffee syrup is produced by straining water and sugar through coffee grounds. In 1938 Warwick, Rhode Island-based Eclipse Food Products began heavily promoting its own coffee syrup product, with Lincoln, Rhode Island's Autocrat Coffee coming to market in the 1940s. Autocrat purchased long-time competitor Eclipse in 1991 and today produces both brands of syrup.

In southeastern parts of New England it can be found in store dairy cases by other flavored milks. It is also a common item on diner menus, university dining halls, and paired with hot wieners at New York System restaurants. The popularity and availability of coffee milk remains concentrated in the New England region.

The State of Rhode Island named coffee milk its official state beverage in 1993, after a competition with Del's Lemonade, another Rhode Island institution.

In Australia, it is a common flavor of milk alongside banana, chocolate, and strawberry. (W)
Autocrat Coffee syrup is most important as a component of coffee milk. Also a most important component of...

Yup, Narragansett Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout.

Was I hesitant about trying this? No, not really. Buck's tales of chocolate stout and such set me up to try this. (Also I do love my coffee, preferably iced...)

The verdict? Delicious, absolutely superb. From the brewery's website:
‘Gansett’s limited-edition Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout, a unique collaboration between two iconic Rhode Island companies, is finally here. A custom blend of Narragansett’s bittersweet milk stout with dark, delicious Autocrat Coffee makes for a delightful beer that is more Rhode Island than Roger Williams himself. Since the 1890’s, Narragansett Beer and Autocrat Coffee have been home-grown Rhode Island favorites. With more than 100 years of shared heritage, the two local legends joined forces to celebrate the art of craft brewing and bring New England an emblematic brew that pays homage to their history. The full-bodied milk stout is enriched with the robust flavor of Autocrat Coffee to achieve an extraordinary taste experience. Brewed under the supervision of award-winning Brewmaster Sean Larkin, Narragansett’s Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout delivers a flavorful, smooth, dark brew with notes of roasted barley, chocolate malt and rich crystal malt. The exacting touch of hops provides just the right amount of bitterness to balance the sweet notes of the malts and milk sugar.
Yup, what they said. I loved it.

Apparently this is a seasonal thing (from what the website says and according to my buddy) so I'm thinking I have a new tradition. At Christmastime, make mine a 'Gansett Coffee Milk Stout.

Then again, eggnog with a bit of Wild Turkey 't ain't bad neither. (I know Buck, I know...)

Yes, I do believe I had some of that as well while in the Homeland.

(Or was it Wild Turkey with a bit of eggnog? Six of one...)


Great time, got to see some folks I care greatly about at a time of year that I love.

Christmas with family.

Nothing beats that.

Mom's Living Room
Some of these decorations are as old as me!
(Yeah, yeah, I know, antiques!)
Mom's cat Pepé, named after Pepé Le Pew. He likes his little comforts.
Mom's cat Spookie, all black, skittish but affectionate nevertheless.


  1. I'm pretty sure the cat's pique will end with the proper presentation of Dinner. At least that's all it takes for the outsiders to be our friends again. Glad you had a good time with the family, as did we. The stout sounds excellent and I'm pretty sure the Coffee Milk would drive my blood sugar insane. I also like iced coffee, but only during the summer. No, it does not involve hot coffee poured over ice. Make the coffee the day before, cool to room temp, refrigerate over nite, then pour over ice. Undiluted that way.

  2. Coffee beer??? A bridge too far for me... :-)

    1. I like my coffee and I like my beer, but together???? Think I will pass.

  3. FWITW - ...a beverage to which...

    Someone has to be the pedant...
    ...and yours truly is as unqualified as anyone. [insert silly saccharine smile here].


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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