November 18, 2011

Diet Coke + Espresso = .....

Legend has it that Earl Grey tea was first made by accident, the product of tumultuous waves rocking a boat carrying both black tea and bergamot oil. When the product, soggy and astringent, made its way to England, it found reprieve on the palate of Earl Grey himself. So smitten was he with the concoction that he made it his daily tea. Others, prone vulnerable to the influence of a powerful man - and, perhaps, a decent tea - followed suit.

That's the legend. The truth is somewhere, hiding from a more-interesting story.

True or not, happy accidents are a time honored tradition in the culinary world. Put this and that together, see what happens. You probably won't die, and you may even find the next great thing. With that in mind, it's the rare barista that hasn't tried to put espresso where it doesn't belong.

Early Grey, born of a random mash-up, was attempted yesterday. The result was predictably awful, the oil turning violently bitter and leaving an aluminum coat on the tongue. I looked at the other leaves, trembling in their clear containers, and decided that none could withstand espresso.

My eyes turned to the right, however, to the fridge in which we keep our soda and juice. Espresso is potent stuff, strong and hearty. But it cannot melt corrosion off of car batteries. For that, you need coke - regular or diet will do. I opted for the latter, because whatever dangers aspartame may hint at, it's probably better (or at least less deadly) than corn syrup.

I poured a can of diet coke in to a cup, with ice, and pulled two shots. They were - thanks, in part, to my new baskets - lovely. I had left a little room in the cup, but not nearly enough, as it turns out. The coke fizzed, bubbled, and a tan head spilled on to the counter. It looked like a chemistry experiment, which I suppose it was. Once separated, the aesthetic was similar to a dark beer - black body, rusty orange head.

I sipped the froth first, and found it thick, almost chewy. It was not pleasant, but not offensive either. Seeking consistency, I stirred it in, and tried once more. This time, the flavors meshed better. It was bitter, sweet - bittersweet, you might say - and just a little flat. It tasted like I had left the coke out for too long, and something had gone ever so slightly rancid - but in the least awful way possible.

Still, I'd never put this on the menu as anything other than a novelty. Cold press and coke would almost certainly work better, though I can't be sure. At least, it probably wouldn't produce dishwater soap on top. I guess I'll just have to try.

And on running shoes: My last post discussed my looking for a workhorse/racehorse, a responsive shoe with enough underfoot to handle 50-70 miles a week, 20+ mile training runs on pavement, rocks, and dirt, that doesn't feel like a brick or a slipper. I can't say that I've found it, but the Mizuno Wave Musha 3 is the closest I've come. I'd prefer a lower heel and more flexible midfoot, and its trail performance has yet to be tested. Still, I've never run in something so pavement/treadmill friendly. It neuters the impact, without dampening your response. Now, if New Balance would sneak the MT110 out the door just a little early, I'd have a perfect, two-shoe stable.

1 comment:

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