The Fourth Estate


January 20, 2011 (Day 355) — The Fourth Estate

Was on the road for a little bit today for work, meeting some great people. I really do love my job. But, you always have to pay credence to your past. Being a former gumshoe journalist and eventual editor, there are some things about the journalism industry that never leave you. They are writ in blood. Or, at least ink mixed with blood. Ink the veins. What have you. I’m struggling with metaphors right now, but you get the point.

Some call journalism the “Fourth Estate.” But why? Here’s our always trustworthy friend Wikipedia with the answer:

The term in current use is now appropriated to the Press, with the earliest use in this sense described by Thomas Carlyle in his book On Heroes and Hero Worship:

Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all.

Yes. Yes indeed. No matter how tattered the vestments of journalism seem to become in this day and age, I’m proud to say I was once a reporter for a newspaper, one of the ink-stained muckrakers. A famously hard-drinking lot, even to this day. In fact, journalists tend to have one of the highest rates of alcoholism and divorce for many professions. Not that that’s much to be proud of. But, truth be told, had I not left the news racket, I could easily see how. It wears on a man’s soul to have to report on the crimes man visits upon his fellows. I like to think of myself as a pretty optimistic guy. Crime journalism works hard to change that.

But, you didn’t come here for me to reminisce like some old newsroom veteran. You came for drinks, which is what I have to offer! In honor of journalism (and journalists who still do their true job), I give you the Fourth Estate.

The Fourth Estate

1 oz sweet vermouth

1 oz dry vermouth

1 oz gin

.25 oz absinthe

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake well, and strain into a chilled martini glass. If you’re feeling like a smartass, garnish it with a pen on the side of the glass.

This is hard to describe really. It’s a tasty drink, but defies description. The sweet and dry vermouth combine in a lovely way, and if you’re a true member of the shambling masses known as journalists like me, you used a rot-gut gin. Of course, the absinthe adds its unique flavor, because you really don’t need much for it to assert itself in the drink. All in all, I would say I like it. Just like a real journalist though, you best watch out. This one may have ulterior motives. And you’re more than likely to accidentally either lie your ass off or spill the dirty truth.

Good night, and good luck…

— Mark

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