Sunday, October 21, 2012

Taken from Paul @CocktailChron

You know I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing without having sat in front of Murray for hours on end.

Help Murray Stenson

It’s not an exaggeration to say that if it weren’t for Murray Stenson, my career, and my life, would be disappointingly different.
Murray Stenson. Photo by Dan Crawford.A longtime Seattle bartender — most recently at Canon, and for much of the decade before that, at Zig Zag Cafe — Murray first got in touch with me in the summer of 2005, when this blog was only a couple of months old and my readership numbered, maybe, five cocktail-centric individuals with questionable taste in Internet browsing. Murray had stumbled across my blog via a comment I’d left on Chuck Taggart’s site, and invited me to come down to Zig Zag to geek out a bit about cocktails.
I did, and we did, and really, nothing’s been the same for me since.
Type “Murray” in the search window to your right and several pages of results will come up, with good reason: in the more than seven years that have passed since our first encounter, I’ve sat across the bar from Murray Stenson more than I have any other individual bartender on earth. During that time, he taught me about cocktails and spirits and all the assorted mechanics of mixology, but more importantly, he taught me how all this stuff isn’t what really matters.
Over the years, as I sat on a barstool across from Murray, he might occasionally mention a drink I wrote about on this blog or, more frequently, would introduce me to an obscure oldie that I’d then run home and blog about. But the blog post Murray remarked about more than any other was one from 2006 that had absolutely nothing to do with cocktails and absolutely everything to do with those sparkling, magic moments that happen when friends, acquaintances and strangers are all together in the unique social environment of the bar.
Without Murray, this blog would be depressingly flat. Without Murray, my skill — and my career — as a drinks writer would be weaker. Without Murray, my Wednesday evenings — which for years were (and to a certain extent, still are) my regular nights at Zig Zag — wouldn’t have been one of the highlights of my weekly calendar; they would have been, well, Wednesdays — the blandest night of the week.
Over the years, Murray demonstrated his endless patience with me, not just by tolerating my incessant cocktail-geek questions, but by putting up with me as I started bugging him with questions for articles I was writing. I used Murray as a source many times — for Imbibe, for the San Francisco Chronicle, and probably for stories I’ve forgotten ever writing. Over time, I shoved him more into my journalistic spotlight, as I did in profiles of Murray for Imbibe and for Shake/Stir, and in an essay I wrote in 2009 for the New York Times.
This is all to say that Murray’s given me a lot. And if you’re at all interested in cocktails and bars — and really, why are reading this blog if you’re not? — then he’s given you a lot, too, because this story I’m sharing about how Murray’s influenced me can be echoed by dozens of bartenders, bloggers, cocktail enthusiasts and others who enjoy relaxing in a bar, not only in Seattle but around the world, as well.
Now, it’s time to give something back to Murray.
Here’s the scoop: Murray has a heart condition, and may require intensive surgery. As with bartenders everywhere, Murray doesn’t have medical insurance, and he’s unable to work while incapacitated with this condition. Evan Wallace, a longtime friend of Murray’s, set up a MurrayAid page on Facebook, where people like me and you (hint, hint) can make a donation via PayPal to help defray Murray’s medical expenses.
Here’s what you can do:
  • Make a donation to MurrayAid. (duh)
  • Help spread the word — Murray doesn’t use Twitter or Facebook, but you probably do, so inform everyone in your networks of this issue and point them toward the donation page.
  • Cocktail bloggers: roll up your sleeves and write. Mix yourself a Last Word and post something on your blog about Murray — even if you haven’t dusted off your blog in months, break it out now and get your readers to donate.
  • Bartenders & bar owners: consider hosting a benefit or having a special that will raise funds to help Murray. “Like” the MurrayAid page on Facebook and post details of your event there. There are already benefits planned at Zig Zag Cafe on November 4 and at Paratii Craft Bar in Ballard on October 27 & 28, and those are only the events I know of right now — get on board, and make sure the word gets out.
Murray’s done so much for the cocktail community over the years, and as I blathered above, he’s done a lot for me. Let’s help him out in this time of need.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Sorry if I've been MIA as of late, so here's the skinny.

The lappy died again and so did my iPhone so I've been living in a backwater state of technilogical stupor ( think like the Appalachias of the interweb ). I got screwed over by a wine bar and have thankfully landed at another great little cocktail bar, so hopefully soon I'll be remedying all of my issues before the end of the year.

Monday the 25th of October is marking Vessels 4th anniversary and its gonna be a party with all the bartenders that have worked there behind the bar on the same evening running a menu with a special cocktail for the night. Jamie Boudreau, Jim Romdall, Andrew Bohrer, Zane Harris, Anu Apte, Keith Waldbauer, Michael Bertrand, and myself would love to see you. Here is my drink (picture to come soon)

Peychaud Flip
1 oz Peychaud's Bitters
.5 oz Plymouth Gin
.5 oz Cherry brandy
.75 Lemon
.25 Agave
Whole egg
Smacked mint on top

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

MxMo XLX : Brown, Bitter, and Stirred


This month Mixology Monday is hosted by the wonderful Lindsey Johnson from Lush Life Productions. I am going to take a bit of liberty and allow that swizzling is a type of stirring. If you got a problem with it you are tough outta luck, cause Bitter Black Buck don't take no guff from no one.

Bitter Black Buck

2 oz. Cruzan Blackstrap Rum

1/2 oz Angostura bitters

1/2 oz Lime Juice

1/2 oz Demarara syrup

Ginger beer to top, The spicier the better


Crushed Ice

Add ingredients except ginger beer into a tall glass and fill with crushed ice, stir, add more ice, stir, top with ginger beer, stir, top with ice, grate nutmeg on top.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Je voulais hier

1.5 oz Cognac
.5 oz Amaro Ninino
.5 Swedish Punch
.25 Green Chartreuse
.25 rich simple
Heavy lemon oils zest.

Papa Dolce Vida

Partook in TDN and threw this in the Zaya mix.

2 oz. Zaya
3/4 oz Grapefruit
1/2 oz Lime
1/4 oz rich Demarara
3 dashes Mole bitters

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Violet Fizz

Egg Whites, Equal parts creme de violet, dolin blanc, lillet blanc, & lemon juice. emulsify, shake, strain and top with soda.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Frozen Banana Recipe.

So my chef asked me to make him a drink after work, but with unusual flavors and not too strong.
I decided to throw some random things together and it actually worked on the first try.
1.5 oz Xante
.5 oz Licor 43
.5 oz Creme de Cacao
1 oz heavy cream