Crimes of passion



Martin Cruz Smith, in his breakout novel “Gorky Park,” profiles a beverage called chifir. His protagonist is chugging it to stay awake.

“Chifir was tea concentrated not twice or 10 times but 20 times,” Smith wrote. A man without food, Smith continued, “could work three days straight on a few cups of chifir.”

Chifir came to mind with our initial slurp of 19 Crimes 2016 Dark Red, a narcotically strong blend from Australia. Full-bodied? Oh, ho ho. As in Kim Kardashian or a 20-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger. How they stuffed such a densely alcoholic fluid into a normal bottle is a major medical mystery. If you altered one, single molecule of 19 Crimes the liquid would become a solid.

It is BIG with a massive, rich, fruit-forward flavor that takes up all sections of your mouth, tongue, deltoids, pecs and hamstrings. Why are we not surprised that this two-fisted, beef-eating, bull’s blood beverage comes from the land of Crocodile Dundee?

You probably already knew that Australia was colonized by English convicts — wretches found guilty in 18th and 19th century British courts of one of the 19 crimes punishable by “transportation.” They were a rough crowd, which is the conceit of 19 Crimes Dark Red: sissies, aesthetes, connoisseurs and dainties need not apply. All that is required is $9.99 (Hannaford) and a criminal past.

Stephen Fay

Stephen Fay

Managing Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Fay, managing editor of The Ellsworth American since 1996, is a third-generation Californian. Starting out as a news reporter in 1974, he has been an editor since 1976, working in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont before settling in Ellsworth with his wife and two daughters. [email protected]