Happy Hour [28/4/23]

I Can See Nothing But Grimmer and Grimmer Shades of Gray Haunting My Bleak Existence. Oh, And A Delicious Coca Cola!

brollop punsch
Trademark registration by E. Kane & Son for Bröllops Punsch brand Cordials / 1888 / https://www.loc.gov/item/2020710061

What Is Happiness But A Futile Salve In A Grim And Ashen Landscape?

When Hannibal asked for a volunteer to fill in for Happy Hour, I said I’d do it, with the warning that “I can’t promise they won’t be morose, Bergmanesque takes on nihilistic subjects.”

Well, last week’s subject was T.S Eliot, his grim masterpiece The Waste Land, April is the Cruelest Month, a strange encounter with Groucho Marx, and his heavy indulgence in gin.

This week, let’s cheer up with Mr. Sunshine himself, Ingmar Bergman!

To be fair, despite his dour reputation, Bergman could be sunny, and was capable of comedy like Smiles of a Summer Night. But let’s pretend we didn’t know that, and focus on the November in Stockholm aspect instead.

Here’s a funny parody of Bergman, imagining what if he directed a commercial for Coke.

It appears that Bergman wasn’t much of a drinker, or really indulged in much in the physical world. Well, unless you count his five marriages and multiple affairs. But according to this profile, he ate simply, with nothing but sour milk (yogurt?) strawberry jam and cornflakes for lunch. He only occasionally had so much as a glass of wine.

So what to do for a Bergman-inspired Unhappy Hour? Well, inspired by the video above and this article, let’s go with Aquavit and Coke. A Sweden Libre, if you will.

Or maybe not. That sounds pretty disgusting. Just the thing to choke down mixed with the spiteful tears of your miserable family. Or maybe what you drink when you’re a teen raiding the back of the family liquor cabinet and looking for a pale liquor you can water down to hide your tracks.

But straight ice cold Aquavit is good! It’s bracing, basically gin except with caraway instead of juniper. Sort of like liquid rye bread.

Here’s a post on the 1967 Time/Life book The Cooking of Scandanavia and Max Von Sydow, one of Bergman’s favorite actors, who demonstrates how to launch a proper Swedish Skoal with a shot of straight Aquavit. And from that same source, more people showing off their Skoal, including luminaries such as The Roots, Paula Wolfert, Masaharu Morimoto, Regis Philbin, Dick Cavett, and Merle Haggard.

Anyway, Deadsplintermopers, is there a drink that puts you in a grim Scandanavian mood? Pretend it’s not spring and the flowers aren’t blooming, and you’re trapped in a snowbound cabin with a person you despise. What are you drinking to survive?



  1. sour milk is not yoghurt

    most likely talking about buttermilk… (or karnemelk over here)

    its the same density as regular milk…..just tastes like pure evil death

    seems like the kinda thing a swede would like

    (old people over here too)

    its….uhhh… lets go with its an aqcuired taste

        • Thanks for mentioning that “yummy” thing, Farscy!


          Because I fiiiiiinally remembered to Google Buttermilk thanks to your comment, annnnnd now I grok why there are such differing *opinions* about “Buttermilk“😉😁💖

          I always wondered why the stuff in the stores was so much thicker than the stuff we drank as kids, when we’d make butter in class in Elementary School–from some fresh milk one of the farm kids brought into school–basically straight from the Bulk Tank on their dairy farm…

          Turns out, the stuff we drank as “Buttermilk” *isn’t* the thick, fermented nastiness everyone always seems to complain about, when they think of Buttermilk.

          Ours was the fresh, sweet version–less the butter, and *also* less than 24 hours old–thanks to that whole “coming straight out of the Bulk Tank,” and basically only being cooled down after coming out of the cows…

          Sweet, tasty, and light–not sour, thick, and pasty!


    • When I lived over in the Bundesrepublik there were a couple of heavily subsidized cafeterias open to students and faculty only. You had to show an ID, and you paid a small fee to get a meal. There were always three options, and they varied slightly in price. Depending on which one you picked, you got a different colored token, which you would present to the cafeteria worker [this was in West Germany, not East Germany] and they would load up your tray. For some reason buttermilk and unadulterated yogurt were kind of given away, free for the taking. I, thrifty as I was, used to drink a lot of buttermilk, but I haven’t since my return to USAmerica.

        • Oh, no offense taken! When I got kicked to the curb from my last corporate job I was 48 and as part of my buyout was provided with the services of an outplacement firm. They offered classes on interviewing skills and resume writing and networking tips. I thought I’d just jump right back in, but after about a month of seeking traditional, salaried office work, I thought, “I work in an industry that is chock full of freelancers, and they seem so happy. And it’s all word of mouth and friends-of-friends. I’ve hired dozens over the course of my career. Maybe I will join them.” So I did.

          To this day my friends and family refer to me as being “semi-retired,” even though I work a hell of a lot more productive hours than I ever have, BUT what I do is enjoyable and of my own choosing, even if I gripe about it sometimes.

          • ha..i would love to freelance

            good money to be made in that line of work for me

            you know….if i could afford all the fucking tools i need

            its frustrating

            but im glad i didnt offend

            • The cohabitator has told me to my face to “fuck off” a couple of times in the last couple of years and my only response is something like, “I was thinking of making chicken Milanese for dinner. Why don’t you find something we can watch in the living room, and while you’re at it, pass by the bar and pour out a big glass of that Svedka.”

              I’m not easily offended.

                • I think one of the the best bitchiest comments I ever made was when Better Half invited this crazy bitch along to a dinner we threw. He, the crazy bitch, is very wealthy and successful and had designs on my life’s helpmeet. When he walked in the door he came over to me, I was at the stove, of course, and I said, “Hi! I’m so glad you could come! Oh my God, what happened to your mouth? Were you attacked or something?” “What do you mean? Of course I wasn’t attacked.” “It’s just that the right side of your mouth…I’m making pork chops, but they might be a little difficult for you to chew. I’m also making pasta alfredo, which is kind of mushy, so you won’t go hungry.” That sent him into the bathroom to examine his face and filled him with paranoia. He was also very vain. When dessert time rolled around I put out these Linzer cookies I had picked up, and I said to this frenemy, “We have some vanilla ice cream so I can get that for you. I think we also have chocolate chip, but maybe you shouldn’t really have that…”

                  I should join the CIA. No one is better at psy-ops than gay men.

  2. anyways….if im trapped in a cabin with a person i despise….i will probably follow the wise words of zappa

    eat the white snow only…got it

    also…,murder my cabin mate and drag him off somewhere whilst its still snowing so the tracks get covered

  3. Mopey drinks? I don’t really have one of those. I have my “conflict” drink for when I’m anticipating trouble: Whiskey shot. Johnnie, Jack, or Jim. Just something about those makes me want to kick somebody’s ass.

  4. You would drink Svedka vodka. That’s the brand I always have in the Casa Encantada. I used to stock Smirnoff, which has won many international taste-testing awards, but then I switched liquor delivery services to a local retailer and they don’t stock Smirnoff, but they do have Svedka.

    In fact, the last time I got into a slight argument with my cohabitator, it was like Max von Sydow playing chess with Death himself in The Seventh Seal. I was drinking Svedka, and Death was drinking Bombay gin with a splash of San Pellegrino lemon-flavored soda water, because we had run out of tonic water, an unforgivable sin on my part. We were arguing over who was going to call this mutual friend of ours to decline his request to stay with us. I lost, and made the phone call. I used suspicion of Covid as our excuse, which Death heartily approved of.

    And PS: Covid has not actually gone away. I know of at least four people who contracted it within the last month. It doesn’t seem to be as lethal, so it might be like permanent flu season, but apparently it really does a number on you. We’ve been spared, thankfully.

  5. Hmmm a mopey drink for me is all about location like beer at dive bar frequented mostly by depressed alcoholic regulars or red wine in my bathtub. If I’m drinking red wine in the bath, I’m not in a good headspace.

    • You have three small children, isn’t that true? If I were you I’d rarely leave that bathtub and arrange it so that one of the taps flowed with red wine. Just have nanny or the governess bring the children in to visit briefly twice a day maybe. Some boarding schools will take them as young as seven or eight, so soon enough you could leave the bathtub free and clear.

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