Indy Digest: Aug. 19, 2021
Sometimes, when the going gets tough, the tough stop and make a shrub.
It all started several weeks ago, when we stopped in Louisville, Kentucky, to visit family on the way back (?) from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia conference in Boston. Seeing as I am a big fan of bourbon, my uncle tried to arrange for us to go on a distillery tour—but it was a Monday, and all the distilleries were either closed, or the tour tickets were sold out. However, he did find a brandy distillery tour that was available. At the end of the tour came the best part—the tastings. The “normal” brandy, made with grapes, was OK, but I really enjoyed the apple brandy … and that got me thinking about shrubs.
I first learned about shrubs back in 2016, from Independent cocktail scribe Kevin Carlow, at the first, so-far only, and way-ahead-of-its-time Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Week’s Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Championship. As Liquor.com explains, “Cocktail shrubs combine water, fruit (and sometimes other botanicals), sugar and vinegar to create an acidic syrup that adds depth and complexity when mixed into a cocktail.”
Ever since tasting the shrub Kevin made—it had strawberries, if memory serves—I’ve been hooked. However, due to time constraints and whatnot, I’ve only made my own shrubs a couple of times since. But when I tasted that apple brandy, I immediately thought of how it would pair with an apple shrub.
After we got home, I spent a couple of minutes researching online apple shrub recipes before heading to the grocery store, where I picked up three Red Delicious apples and some apple cider vinegar. When home, I cored and grated the three apples, and placed them in a sealed jar with a cup of apple cider vinegar and 3/4 of a cup of sugar. After a good, vigorous shake, I stuck the jar in the fridge for four days. (I’d take it out and give it a shake once a day or so.) In the meantime, I went to the liquor store and purchased a bottle of apple brandy.
After the four days were up, I opened the jar and strained out all of the solids—and I had my apple shrub. I then combined equal parts of the shrub, the apple brandy and club soda into a glass, over ice. I gave it a quick stir and took a sip.
Mmmmmm. It was soooo good—like a cool apple cider with pep. (If you’re a non-drinker, you should know this beverage without the apple brandy—yep, just the shrub and the club soda—is almost equally delicious.)
The shrub didn’t last long—some visiting friends found the cocktail just as delicious as I did—so last weekend, I went to the store and got more apples.
There was only one problem: This is deadline week for the September print edition. As a result, I’ve been sequestered in my home office, editing and chasing down ads and etc. There has not been a lot of time for shrub-making. Oh, there’s another reason we’ve been sequestered: My husband I have felt pretty crappy all week … with what tests tell us is the flu. (Not COVID! Yay! But flu, boo.)
But yesterday, as I slogged through a pile of emails and whatnot, I said, well, screw it. If I made shrub on Wednesday, I’d have tasty apple brandy-shrub cocktails on Sunday.
So I did. And if the print edition gets sent to the printer a little late, that’s why.
From the Independent
The XX Factor: Meet Jessica Taylor, a Renowned Singer Who Came to Rancho Mirage to Start Over in Her 60s
By Kay Kudukis
August 18, 2021
Jessica Taylor became a mom at the age 15—before enjoying fabulous careers in both the medical field and music.
Giving Fighting Chances: Via His Free MMA Gym in Cathedral City, Jarred ‘Bear’ Fiorda Offers Classes and Space to Anyone and Everyone
By Kevin Fitzgerald
August 18, 2021
Jarred “Bear” Fiorda’s Free MMA gym, in Cathedral City. is truly free and open to all.
Vine Social: Dust Off That Fancy Decanter You Inherited—and Start Using It to Make Your Wines Taste Better
By Katie Finn
August 19, 2021
Should you decant white wine? Old wine? Young wine, sparkling wine or cheap wine? The simple answer is: Yes. Decant your wines. All of them.
By Theresa Sama
August 17, 2021
This month, for the more-experienced hikers and avid outdoor adventurers, Theresa discusses really cool but strenuous trails—involving the two highest peaks in Southern California
Cannabis in the CV: A Major Party Is Finally Trying to Decriminalize Cannabis at the Federal Level—but the Historic Effort Is Likely to Fail
By Jocelyn Kane
August 18, 2021
The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act would finally end the federal prohibition of cannabis, once and for all—but the historic Senate bill is unlikely to become law.
Mexican With Flair: Chef Andie Hubka Offers Baja-Inspired Fare—and a Lot of Tequila—at Tu Madres Cantina
By Andrew Smith
August 17, 2021
With Indio’s Tu Madres Cantina and Grill, renowned east valley chef Andie Hubka is now bringing her signature flair to Mexican cuisine.
August 19, 2021
Topics tackled on this week’s comics page include Billy Joel, clay Chinese warriors, stopping for pedestrians, fossil fuels, and much more!
• People who have received either Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 shots will soon be eligible to get a third booster shot. However, CNBC reports the plan is receiving a mixed reaction from scientists. Here’s what’s going to happen: “U.S. health leaders say they are preparing to offer booster shots to all eligible Americans beginning the week of Sept. 20. The plan, outlined Wednesday by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci and other health officials, calls for a third dose eight months after people get their second shot of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.”
• Meanwhile, other medical experts think a third shot may be all some people ever need. MedPage Today breaks things down: “… A longer duration between the second and third dose may provide stronger and longer-lasting immunity, experts said. Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said on CNN Monday night that a 3-week interval between the first and second doses of Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine, for instance, may not have been enough time to spur an extended immune response, with the initial shots acting only as a primary immunization. An 8-month lag, on the other hand, could boost immunity significantly, Hotez said, with the potential to yield high levels of virus-neutralizing antibody and an immune response that is ‘really robust. That may be it for a while, we may not need annual boosters,’ Hotez said. This could be the third and done.'”
• Mandatory masks on airplanes and at airports are not going away anytime soon. The Associated Press explains: “Federal officials are extending into January a requirement that people on airline flights and public transportation wear face masks, a rule intended to limit the spread of COVID-19. The Transportation Security Administration’s current order was scheduled to expire Sept. 13. An agency spokesman said Tuesday that the mandate will be extended until Jan. 18. … The mask mandate has … led to many encounters between passengers who don’t want to wear a mask and flight attendants asked to enforce the rule. The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday that airlines have reported 3,889 incidents involving unruly passengers this year, and 2,867—or 74%—involved refusing to wear a mask.”
• And in the case that passengers do get unruly, United Airlines has issued a memo telling flight attendants that they should NOT use duct tape as a restraining tool. Yes, really; these are the times we are living in now. SFGate reports: “According to a statement from United Airlines Vice President John Slater first obtained by Fox Business, ‘tape should never be used” to restrain passengers on flights. Please remember that there are designated items onboard that may be used in difficult situations, and alternative measures such as tape should never be used,’ Slater said in a memo to employees. This comes as flight attendants at other airlines deal with an onslaught of unruly passengers. Some airline workers have been disciplined for resorting to the duct tape method of subduing travelers for alleged transgressions such as groping and punching flight attendants.”
• Refusing to wear a face mask on a plane is dumb … but do you want to hear about something even dumber? If so, Kaiser Health News has this story for you: “The nation’s roiling tensions over vaccination against COVID-19 have spilled into an unexpected arena: lifesaving blood transfusions. With nearly 60% of the eligible U.S. population fully vaccinated, most of the nation’s blood supply is now coming from donors who have been inoculated, experts said. That’s led some patients who are skeptical of the shots to demand transfusions only from the unvaccinated, an option blood centers insist is neither medically sound nor operationally feasible.”
• You may have heard about the state’s new rule that anyone attending an event with 1,000 or more people must either have proof of vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours. However, CalMatters’ Emily Hoeven points out that there may be some politics involved with the details of the new law: “The state Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that, starting Sept. 20, people attending indoor events with 1,000 or more guests must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test from within the prior 72 hours. (A similar rule had previously applied only to indoor events with 5,000 or more attendees.) That means the new policy won’t go into effect until six days after the Sept. 14 recall election—and it’s slated to end less than two months later, on Nov. 1. The timeline suggests that Newsom may be trying to thread the needle as voters contemplate whether to keep him in office.”
• Moving from COVID and political news to, uh, seafood news: If you have frozen shrimp in your freezer, you really need to check to see if it’s been recalled. CBS News explains: “More than two dozen shrimp products sold nationwide by retailers including Target and Whole Foods are now being recalled in a salmonella outbreak that has stricken nine people in four states, hospitalizing three, federal authorities say. Avanti Frozen Foods Private Limited India agreed to recall additional packages, sizes and brands of frozen cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp, some sold with cocktail sauce, according to a notice posted Friday by the Food and Drug Administration. … The recalled food was distributed nationwide from November 2020 to May 2021, but may have been sold in stores more recently.”
• Finally, ProPublica came to town and produced a compelling piece headlined: “Postcard From Thermal: Surviving the Climate Gap in Eastern Coachella Valley
In the climate crisis, it’s possible to live in the same place but inhabit different worlds.” The piece’s intro: “The first thing to know about Thermal, California, is: It’s really damn hot. Already, at this early date in our planetary crisis, 139 days a year are over 95 degrees Fahrenheit in Thermal. Over the next 30 years, temperatures will rise 4 to 5 degrees more, and by the end of the century, more than half the year there will be hotter than 95 and nearly a quarter will be hotter than 112. The second thing to know about Thermal, California, is: It’s a cartoonishly horrible expression of a moral and practical issue that exists, at some level, in every society on earth. The climate crisis is an inequality magnifier. The heat and the hurricanes, the flooding and the wildfire smoke, slam down with full force on the disadvantaged. Meanwhile, the more privileged remain comparatively safe, protected by money and power. That difference in suffering is known as the climate gap, defined by researchers in a foundational paper on the subject as ‘the disproportionate and unequal impact the climate crisis has on people of color and the poor.’” The story is worth a read—but if you’re a regular reader of the Independent, you’ll recognize we’ve covered a lot of similar ground in our pages before.
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