Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Jason Wilson wrote a great piece for the Washington Post on the Speakeasy/Prohibition theme that modern cocktalians are so obsessed with (myself included.) Just check out the matching outfits Marcos Tello, Eric Alperin and I just happened to put together.

Just Horrible

Trashy, but I totally want a pair.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cougar Bourbon

I just had a friend ask me about Cougar Bourbon. I had never heard of it so naturally, I get to digging. As best I can tell it is an Aussie-only brand that is contract distilled in Indiana at the old Seagram's distillery that Pernod-Ricard purchased then sold to Angostura's parent company, CL Financial. I have absolutely no clue to how it is, I am just posting it because I think it is fascinating that there is still more whiskey out there to discover.
Also, here is an ad I found on youtube...not bad.


I am just home from a weekend in Los Angeles where I helped tend what must be California's first Genever bar. The event was Wolfgang Puck's American Food and Wine Festival. The location was the back lot at Universal Studios. The product was some beautiful Genever courtesy of Bols. These were all good things.

The company I had however, was inspiring. Next to me was Eric Alperin and Marcos Tello, two absolutely devastating bartenders and just plain beautiful people.

This 'cocktail thing' we got going on just keeps getting better and better.

Friday, September 26, 2008

My First Atempt at Mobile Blogging

Looks the The Torture Museum has a temporary exhibit at the Oakland Airport....It's a trophy case of vintage machines designed to humble and frustrate bartenders.

Sent using only the power of my mind.


Read it, learn it, drink it, love it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

From my Dad

If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in Delta Airlines one year ago, you will have $49.00 today.
If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in AIG one year ago, you will have $33.00 today.
If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in Lehman Brothers one year ago, you will have $0.00 today.
But, if you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the aluminum cans for recycling refund, you will have received a $214.00.
Based on the above, the best current investment plan is to drink heavily & recycle. It is called the 401-Keg.
A recent study found that the average American walks about 900 miles a year.
Another study found that Americans drink, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year.
That means that, on average, Americans get about 41 miles to the gallon!

Makes you proud to be an American!

Dr. Bamboo

Dr. Bamboo never ceases to amaze me. Check out his blog on the Tiki art of Ice Cones.

If only we could harness his power for good....

'The Worst Hides the Best'

A wine maker in the Languedoc has recently used self-derision in a pretty bold way to draw attention to his new bottling's. An article in Wine Business International launches 'Vin de Merde,' or Shit Wine.

Pretty funny.

I was particularly drawn to the phrase 'The Worst Hides the Best.' This can be so very true. A good example for me came in the form of a cocktail book from the early 40's called 'Here's How,' in one edition and 'Just Cocktails' in another. Over all these are just plain bad books. Many mislabeled drinks and screwed up recipes are one thing. Truly racists and sexist cartoon illustrations in the margins are another. They are actually why I kept reading the book the first time I saw it. I couldn't believe how bad it was getting.

Then I came across this gem.

The Derby:

2 oz. Rye Whisky

1/2 oz. Benedictine

Bitters (I like Peychaud's here)

Hmmm. That didn't actually sound too bad. Well those who know me, know I have completely fallen for this drink, even after finding out it really should be called a Monte Carlo (I sticking with Derby though). I think of it as a smart Manhattan and slip it in on people who profess to not like whisky drinks. It borders on being my signature drink and I found it in one of the worst vintage books in my collection. The worst hides the best indeed.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ardbeg Fun

The guys at Ardbeg sure are having a good time marketing recently. I just got word of the Blasda today. A very lightly peated Ardbeg? I look forward to trying it and am very curious to see how it is received faithful peat-heads.

The pic is of me and the boys digging peat on Isaly.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Future

These guys hung out at my bar last night and we had a blast.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Drinks of The Teardrop

The last two nights at Nopa, we have had Alyson Dykes from The Teardrop Cocktail Lounge in Portland visiting behind our bar and it has been great. We featured some drinks from our friends to the North with much success (went through almost 2 full bottles of Yellow Chartreuse in 2 nights....c'mon now, what bar does that?) and Alyson took to making our drinks with aplomb.

I forgot to take a pic of her behind the bar so imagine the above is her.
We are going to send my boy Matt Conway up to complete the exchange soon and then start shopping around for more guests. Phil Ward from Death & Co. definitely got the exchange thing rolling early this year when he swapped with Thomas Waugh from The Alembic. Like all ideas that I love, I have knocked it off.

Here is a sample of the menu:

Vow of Silence (top seller!) Martin Miller's Gin / Grapefruit / Lemon / Yellow Chartreuse / Averna Amaro / Gomme Syrup

Venial Sin Partida Blanco / St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur / Luxardo Maraschino / Yellow Chartreuse / Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal / thai chili tincture

Empyrean Sazerac 6-yr Rye / ramazzotti / luxardo / del maguey minero mezcal / lemon / flaming orange

Insufferable Bastard Sazerac 6-yr Rye / Aviation Gin / Cynar Amaro / Lime / Ginger Beer

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Wondrich and I like Hats.

The above pic (provided by the excellent Mr. Eric Alperin) is of a certain cocktail historian and myself listening to the Master Distiller, Paul Wanrooij, at the Wynand Fockink Distillery in Amsterdam (yes...I know, I know, I am a big fan of Wynand Fockink too). These guys specialize in the herbal distillate that is the flavor component of Genever as well as making liqueurs and bitters.
To be blunt, I was in heaven here. All the flasks behind him are infusions he is playing around with as he designs new flavors and such. Mr. Tal Nadari even sneaked me a pour of his potato spirit which was so much more than any vodka I have ever had. Not being constrained by faulty focus groups and marketing suits, he didn't strip the nuance and terroir of the spuds with over filtering and smootheners but rather left the spirit a natural and true expression. It was delicious.
While this was actually the last stop on our series of tours, I definitely learned the most here. The history of the place along with the passion of the distiller are palpable in the air. If you can be in the building and not be inspired by it...well, I just don't think that would be possible.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Ebay Problem

Many who know me know I have a slight EBay addiction that I am dealing with. The above is an advertisement I bought late one night that was waiting for me when I got home today.

I love it.


I am just back from a very cool trip to Amsterdam and am still gathering my thoughts as far as posting goes. Here is a taste of what is to come.

I am not saying they drink a lot over there, but just look at the size of their jiggers.