I haven’t been back to Birmingham since I lived there in the last decade, but the place has been sprucing up like crazy (there’s a swank new central library (sadly, already feeling a money pinch) and the post-apocalyptic shopping mall New Street station now looks a colony on Mars.

And more people want to live there! The place is trendy! That’s still so weird to me as its reputation remains pretty grim; 9 times out of ten if I mention having lived in Birmingham to a Brit (either here or in the U.K.), they say ‘Oh, I’m so sorry.’

Yeah, things weren’t great for quite a while, despite what Telly Savalas says.

I really should go back at some point, even though I’m only in touch with one person there. Not only because it sounds like a brighter place than I remember, but because of this tidbit I learned today that makes my boozy heart happy because it combines two of my favourite things:

(From Wikipedia)

There is a considerable history of Earl Grey tea being used as a drink mixer, in particular for gin, within the British Isles, somewhat similar in principle to the Irish coffee, though this is seldom practiced today. During the later 19th century, poorer working class households began to combine the drinks as a minimum proof alcohol volume began to be meaningfully applied, following an 1855 revision to the Weights and Measures Act, to the relatively inexpensive spirit, making it unpalatable when taken neat…The drink became associated briefly with middle-class – particularly, female – alcoholism during the interwar years of the 20th century; it was during this time that the preparation was first referred to as a ‘Moseley Tea Service’, after the bourgeois area of Birmingham. Although the drink was never to achieve the ubiquity of the irish coffee, it continues like many retro cocktails to be offered as a niche item in some contemporary bars and restaurants.’

I wonder if it’s a good chaser for a balti.

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