I love cocktails. The art of a well-mixed and finely balanced cocktail is a pleasure that didn't come to me until I was well into my thirties, by which I had already established a love for smaller, well-made things over, well, quantity. When the world of craft cocktails opened itself to me I jumped in head first, buying and trying all varieties of different combinations. Some of them worked. Many of them didn't. Over time I developed a personal aesthetic of booze that remains with me to this day.
Tottenham Hotspur, if we are to continue this analogy to its logical conclusion, is in some ways like a cocktail -- each player has unique characteristics and these players can represent various elements in combination. In a cocktail they are sweet, sour, bitter, ice, fruit, spirit, etc.* And like a cocktail, if the individual elements are combined in harmonious proportion they become, invariably, pleasing and delicious. Out of proportion, they can be an unmitigated disaster. It's the difference between a fresh margarita made by your local craftsman, and the one you can get by the vat at Chili's on Fajita-Rita Tuesdays.
*These are NOT the elements of individual Tottenham Hotspur players. Especially since Lewis Holtby was the sweet and he's gone now.
5 Stars: Old Fashioned
Ignore the fruit-laden Mad Men-style drinks out there -- the Old Fashioned is a perfect cocktail, if you take it back to the 1800s era recipe. A good Old Fashioned has four ingredients: spirit, sugar, bitters, ice. Add a twist if you like. Switch up the bitters. Experiment with different brown liquors - I quite like anejo tequila with agave nectar and orange bitters. Pure perfection in a rocks glass.
Christian Eriksen -- As bad as his first half performance was (and it was pretty bad), he more than made up for it in the 2nd half, putting on a clinic and running Spurs' side as its main engine. He demanded the ball as Spurs increased pressure, and his winning goal was cool and collected, as though he'd been working on that very shot for weeks. Come to think of it, he probably has.
4 Stars: Julep
Who doesn't love a nice mint julep on Derby Day? A well-crafted julep is a perfect melding of the spirit and the mint, with enough ice to make it cooling on a hot day. There are enough decent variations on it, too -- brandy juleps or blackberry juleps are all nice combinations. Try the traditional bourbon-based mint julep, though - even basic bourbons like Evan Williams or Buffalo Trace work well here.
Vlad Chiriches -- When Pochettino put Vlad on for Eric Dier, I actually laughed out loud, thinking that Poche had gone "full YOLO." Whatever, it worked. Vlad's inherent "Luiz-iness" worked to his favor at right back where he had license to get forward and also put in a number of nice passes. So long as Kyle Walker is recovering, I think we might have just found our emergency right back.
Aaron Lennon -- Lennon was supposed to come on for Erik Lamela until Soldado picked up a knock forcing a Spurs formation change. Whatever, Lennon played well. He provided all the things that Spurs were lacking up to that point: width! directness! speed! -- and was one of the sparks that led to Tottenham's resurgence.
Harry Kane -- Our on-form striker continued God's work on Sunday. When Kane gets service, he knows where the net is. His goal was a combination of good luck and excellent vision to find Eriksen's deflected shot and put it away. He seemed to work well with Roberto Soldado, too. Strike partnership?
3 Stars: Gin & Tonic
A gin and tonic is a perfectly acceptable cocktail useful for almost any situation. If it's intermission at the opera and you need something in your hand, or you're at a bar and just aren't sure which cocktail to order, you can't go wrong with a good gin and tonic. Find yourself a good botanical small-batch gin and even the crappy Segrams tonic water will hold up. It's not flashy, but it's not sizurp, either.
Federico Fazio -- Fazio is still a bit of a mystery to me. I'm not sure he's quite worked out a good relationship with any central defense partner. He's not quick enough to do the high press, and he's prone to the occasional red-card derp. All that said, he wasn't awful today, even if he did get caught out of position a couple of times and looked a little bewildered.
Hugo Lloris -- My first inclination was to put Hugo at 4, but while he had a couple of good stops, he made a couple of uncharacteristic errors on a few rush-outs and really didn't play that well. He might have done a little better on Livermore's goal, too. It's telling that he had his worst game this season and he's still a three-star. Still love you, Hugo.
Erik Lamela -- Lamela's work rate is never in question. But for whatever reason he's not making things work to anyone's liking on the pitch. I fell like he needs to scuff a goal in off of someone's ass just so that the confidence can start to flow.
Ryan Mason -- Another solid outing from Mason. He's not doing anything particularly wrong, it's just that whatever he's doing it's damaging to the person playing beside him. He's a puzzle that I'm only starting to see for all the pieces. Let's start him next to Stambouli, maybe?
Roberto Soldado -- If we hadn't paid £26m and weren't expecting Soldado to bang in 20 goals every season and instead viewed him as a playmaker, I think we'd all be a little happier with his production. But we did, and he's not. Roberto had a nice match before being subbed off late with a knock, but he HAS to start scoring.
Jan Vertonghen -- Jan was the best part of a back line that was absolutely dreadful for most of the match. He didn't make many mistakes, and he was a part of getting Gaston Ramirez sent off. Even of you think that he embellished the contact (I don't, for the record), he didn't initiate contact and he certainly wasn't the instigator.
2 Stars: 'Tinis
Let's be clear: a well-executed martini is a classic and belongs up in the 4 star category. No, I'm talking about the carmelo-chocotini sour-appletini pumpkin-spicetini abominations that dominate the local bar and club scenes. THOSE ARE NOT GOOD DRINKS. They are crimes against humanity. See an attractive woman at the bar holding a frozen sour-apple-tini made with Pucker? Do yourself a favor and put a real, honest-to-god fresh-made daiquiri in her hand. You'll thank me later. (See an attractive MAN at the bar holding a sour-apple-tini? He's almost certainly gay. Which is fine! But he still shouldn't be drinking that.)
Mousa Dembele -- Mousa was shocking. As I've written before, playing without a DM against a club like Hull isn't a terrible idea, but Mousa and Ryan Mason just. Did. Not. Work. I'm not sure if the key to unlocking Mousa's ability lies with the right central midfield partner, or if he's just not good for us anymore, but it just didn't click out there on Sunday.
Eric Dier -- Dier was bad today, but it's hard to really fault him because he's even now STILL not a right back. He's doing his best in a tough situation, and I really want to see him at his best in the center of defense.
Ben Davies -- He didn't exactly light the world on fire. While not abject, he did try to get forward but left acres of space to be exploited by the Hull midfielders. He's still not better than Danny Rose at this point either, which is in itself a disappointment.
1.5 Stars: Sex on the Beach / Anything served in a hollowed-out coconut with an umbrella
I get that there's titillation involved with ordering one of these "sexy" drinks like this one or a Long Comfortable Screw Up Against a Wall, but a pina colada is really the only marginally acceptable drink to be served inside a coconut vessel. And if you're not ACTUALLY ON A BEACH RIGHT AT THAT INSTANT you have no business ordering one. Ever.
Paulinho: Man, I don't even with this guy. He waits how long for his chance to make an impact and he spends it lollygagging around looking like he's actually at the beach holding a hollowed-out coconut. Ship him back to Brazil, I'm done.
1 Star: Rum & Coke, any/all mixed shots
This is a catch-all category meant to encompass all frat party well liquor + juice drinks, anything involving non-ginger ale pop, or shots that have more than one ingredient. And yes, I'm including rum & cokes. If you have a half-way decent rum, why the hell are you polluting it by mixing it with crappy Coke made with corn syrup? These are all universally awful and you should be ashamed of yourself.
None of our players were as awful as a rum & coke or a mixed shot.