Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oude Fashioned.

So I was given a rad gift by my co-worker who recently took a trip to the Netherlands.

Flanders, which since its partition has straddled both Belgium and the Netherlands, is the home of jenever (genever in Holland, genèbre in Belgium and genever in the UK; traditionally also called Schiedam or Dutch Gin).
Genever's origins are attributed to Franciscus Sylvius, a professor of medicine at Leiden University, whose distillation of the spirit was first recorded in 1572. However, some publications mention de Boe, another 17th-century professor at Leiden, as inventor of the 'eau de vie de genivre'. During the 14th century, when the Black Death reigned in Europe, monks discovered that the juniper berry was effective against kidney and bladder diseases, and that it might cure prostate problems and strengthen the immune system. Based on these records, Sylvius produced an inexpensive medicine by distilling the juniper berries with spirits. In only three years, Sylvius' all-purpose medicinal drink became a popular social drink in Holland, so much so that French philosopher and encyclopedist Denis Diderot (171384) described the Dutch of this time as 'living alembics, distilling themselves'. Among the first distilleries founded were Bols in 1575, de Kuyper in 1675 and Wennecker in 1693. Many more followed. English mercenaries who had fought for the Dutch in the Thirty Years War and returned from the Low Countries introduced genever, which they called gin, to England. They had used genever to overcome fear before entering the battlefield, hence the expression 'Dutch courage'. In England  like in Holland before it  gin became so popular that its excessive consumption presented a social problem, as depicted in Hogarth's famous engraving Gin Lane. Until the Napoleonic wars, genever was the only gin produced, and it was produced only along the waterways and coast of Flanders. Some 85% of genever production was exported, mainly to England, France, Spain, North America, the West Indies and Africa. But the Continental Blockade disrupted this lucrative trade, and new distilleries were established in foreign countries to fill the needs previously met by imports from Flanders. After the Napoleonic wars these companies provided sharp competition for the export of genever. Distillation techniques improved with the newly introduced continuous still. To reduce production costs, instead of distilling malt or other suitable grains like rye or wheat, cost-efficient industrial spirits were made from cheaper organic materials such as molasses, the by-product of sugar production from sugar cane or sugar beets, or corn, which has always been cheaper than other grain. These new industrial spirits were neutral in flavour, lacking the malty taste of the alcohol made from distilling fermented malt. With the use of these neutral spirits, the traditional style of genever could not be maintained, and a new style evolved. However, due to lower production costs and lower excise duties, genever became cheaper and more popular in Flanders than the imported French brandy (also a Dutch invention!) or the omnipresent beer. Between 1800 and 1820, genever ousted beer as the national drink in the Low Countries.
On the continent genever, like kmmel, aquavit or schnapps, is consumed as a digestive, as a chaser between beers or food courses, or as a social drink. No such custom exists in the UK, where genever is known virtually only to sommeliers and the trade. The last public trace of genever in the UK, a lonely entry for Filliers in the gin section of the Harpers Wine and Spirit Directory 2004, has now disappeared with the 2005 edition. Quod non est in actu non est in mundo (What is not on paper does not exist). What a pity.

Definition of genever

European Regulation number 1576/89 states that 'genever is a distilled beverage obtained when ethyl alcohol, from agricultural products and/or grain spirits and/or grain distillation, is flavoured with juniper berries& The taste of the juniper berry is not required to be perceptible in these products.' Thus the use of spirits derived from potatoes, sugar beets, grapes or wine is permitted. But an alcoholic drink cannot be sold as genever unless juniper berries, or juniper-berry flavouring, have been added during production. If juniper berries have not been used, the product will be sold as an aquavit, or as a korn (grain) or a kmmel (caraway) in Germany. If made exclusively from grain alcohol, the product may be marketed as roggen (rye) or korenwijn (grain spirit).

Traditional production

Traditional genever is still made from barley, rye or wheat. For high-quality genevers of the traditional style, the percentage of barley is high. Genever made with corn or rice, and nowadays with neutral industrial alcohol, is considered to be of inferior quality. First the grain is ground, mashed and fermented to make beer, which is then distilled (first distillation) to make 'maltwine'. Nowadays the majority of genever producers buy the maltwine from big distilleries. In both Holland and Belgium, only two producers of genever are left who still produce maltwine. Those distilleries that make or once made their own maltwine are called branderijs in Holland and stokerijs in Belgium. The producers who have always bought maltwine and neutral alcohols call themselves 'distilleries'. For the second distillation, the maltwine is mixed with juniper berries and other botanicals, such as orris, gentian, angelica, licorice roots, lemon and orange peel, cassia bark, caraway, coriander, cardamom, anise or fennel. Each producer has his own secret formula, and triple distillation is quite common. If triple distillation takes place, only the juniper berries are introduced in the second distillation. The other flavouring agents will either be added to the third or even fourth distillation, or the alcoholic vapour may pass through a layer of herbs before condensation. Prior to bottling, the distillate is diluted to an alcoholic content of 3050%. Other flavouring agents may also be added at this stage. For many centuries, genever was stored and shipped in wooden vessels, as people realised that the quality of the spirit was enhanced by letting it mature in oak casks. Today most high-quality genevers of the traditional style are matured in casks for a number of years to give them a rounder and softer flavour.

The 'cold method'

To keep production costs low, many producers avoid distillation, working as blenders only. This method of production is called the 'cold method'. They buy grain alcohol for their better products and neutral alcohol for the cheaper brands, dilute it with water and flavour it with a herbal extract. If the extract is obtained by distillation of juniper berries, herbs and spices in a still, it is called 'esprit'. If produced without any distillation, the extract is called a 'tincture', obtained either by maceration (soaking in alcohol) of the flavouring ingredients, or by infusion (brewing as for tea). This process is well known from the production of bitters and liqueurs. It works because neutral alcohol absorbs the colour, flavour and taste of any herbs, spices, roots, fruits and seeds. Top-quality genever can be made in this way if top-quality ingredients are used.

Two styles of dry genever

There are two styles of genever: oude in Holland or vieux in Belgium, and jonge in Holland or jeune in Belgium. These denominations have nothing to do with the age of the distillate but with the antiquity of the method of production. Oude represents the traditional style of genever. It is normally malty-flavoured and full-bodied. Its pungently sweet flavour and taste derive from the malt and from a slight addition of sugar or caramel. It is straw-coloured and a bit oily in texture. It may be aged in oak casks for many years and sold at a premium price. Jonge represents a lighter, more modern style. It lacks the malty character and dense texture of the traditional version, because it uses a much smaller quantity of malted barley. Its style comes closer to the gin produced in Britain and the US. If very small amounts of juniper berries are used, jonge is rather elegant and neutral in taste and comes close to an aquavit or korn. Most genevers are sold in glass bottles, which are sometimes green. If matured in casks, they and the pure grain spirits called korenwijn may be sold in sturdy stoneware bottles or jars in a tradition dating back to the 17th century. The reddish-brown to reddish-yellow colour of these vessels is due to the ferriferous clay of the German Westerwald, where they have been made for 2,000 years. Some producers also use these stoneware bottles for their jonges. (A caveat: a stoneware bottle is not necessarily a guaranty of high quality.)

Genever in the Netherlands and in Belgium

The northern part of Flanders, which forms part of today's Netherlands, was the cradle of genever production, and once had 13 malting houses and almost 400 distilleries in the town of Schiedam alone. Nowadays about 20 producers of genever can be found in the Netherlands. Only two of them, Bols and UTO Nederland, make their own maltwine. De Kuyper, Wennecker and Nolet are the other producers with a reputation for high quality and purchase their maltwine for further distillation with botanics. In volume of production and export, Bols is by far the most important Dutch producer of genever. In Belgium there are about 20 distilleries producing some 150 name-brand genevers. Two of the distilleries, Van Damme and Filliers, make their own maltwine. The other producers buy in their maltwine.

The O'de Flander seal of quality

In 1990 the producers of the traditional genever in East Flanders (Belgium) created an Association of Master Distillers with the aim of safeguarding the quality of their genever and promoting it. The provincial authorities supported this move by establishing a quality stamp, O'de Flander, for their products. This name refers to eau de vie and can also be interpreted to mean 'ode to the distillers'. To obtain O'de Flander status, the genever must comply with a number of requirements and must undergo a rsonance magntique nuclaire (RNM) test, which shows the base material of the alcohol used. There are now 11 members of the association. The best-known producers with the O'de Flander stamp of approval for all or part of their production are Braeckman, Bruggeman, Filliers, Rubbens, Van Damme, Van Der Schueren (VDS) and Van Hoorebeke (Fourcroy-Renglet). Some of the other reputable producers of Belgian genever are located outside East Flanders, such as in Radermacher, in a German-speaking enclave in the east of the country.

Contemporary consumption

Although genever is an ideal digestive, and even better as a trou Normand between courses, these continental customs have never been adopted in the UK. In Flanders genever is also for family celebrations. However, in Flanders and all over western Europe, the consumption of traditional genever, as with all other dry spirits, has gone down, as drivers shy away from drinks high in alcohol. The younger generation prefer long drinks, and neutral or flavoured vodkas are very popular, since they are so well suited to the fashionable mixed drinks. Traditional genever is unsuited for mixing with tonics or juices, or jonge with vermouth in a Martini. On the other hand, jonge is a good mixer and could appeal to the younger generation.
Instead of promoting jonge, producers do the mixing of the final drink themselves. To get a share of the market, they offer a wide range of fruit-flavoured drinks. Jonge is flavoured with sugar and fruit concentrate, and the alcohol level is brought down to around 20% so that these drinks can be sold without an alcohol licence.

So tonight I'm enjoying an.....

Oude Fashioned.

Monday, December 14, 2009

MxMo XLIV : Money Drinks

Happy Holidays Everyone! Thanks again for getting in the writing mood and sharing. Here's the roundup for MxMo December 2009.

Edward over at Wordsmithing Pantagruel made some people go bananas with the notion of Monkey drinks, but that wasn't the case. I say he petitions Paul for the theme Simian Sips sometime in 2010. Hey took fat washing to another place with a Vieux Gras with Foie Gras-Infused Cognac.

When it comes down to pleasing crowds, Fred over at Cocktail Virgin Slut does what many a bartender would do when it comes down to pleasing a crowd. He extolls the virtues of St Germain with a drink called the Red Rot Cocktail


Citations and footnotes aside, I haven't made her a drink yet, but we've chatted on the same side of the stick several times and Stevi Deter at Two at the Most offers up a recipe that truly has me green with envy. The Vanilla Whiskey Royale sounds delicious. I missed last weekendsHouse Spirits Distillery open house due to work and I really want a bottle of each.... even the white dog Stevi missed.

Vanilla Whiskey Royale

Paul Clarke at Cocktail Chronicles is the overlord and supreme deity in the MxMo galaxy and he blessed/cursed me with this months roundup, and since it was late to begin with, and I'm late in writing, and he thinks blogger has a problem with its timestamp.... everything is fine. Paul went East India and waxes poetic about growing up and being weened on Lucerne.

I Can attest that Paul Flinton at Ganymeda is true to his blogger tagline of making his liver work for a living. He is a national man of mystery and always comes and goes as he pleases..... no matter how much Fernet I throw his way. What can I say, He's an old fashioned kinda guy.

Kevin Gray at Cocktail Enthusiast is preaching to the choir here, but for those of you who don't know the powers of a French 75 on a hazy morning during brunch are sorely out of sorts. To qoute "Composed of gin, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and Champagne, the French 75 is a light, refreshing cocktail that subdues the wary gin-drinker while still packing a sizeable boozy wallop. This tart, tasty concoction has made even the most dubious skeptic rethink their distaste for gin, without alienating fans of the spirit. "

eGullet.org is an amazing site where people who wish to write about food or drink can do so for our little MxMo rabble. Chris Amirault wanted me to note:
The highlights include a lot of brown spirits: Katie Loeb's fine Manhattan with Michter's Rye and Carpano Antica, Andy Arrington's fine Manhattan with George T. Stagg and -- yes -- Carpano Antica, Dave Viola's Rob Roy with Macallan cask strength and my Rum Old Fashioned with Inner Circle Green and Jerry Thomas Decanter bitters. Dave then offered up a Hemingway Daiquiri with Rhum JM 1997, and I wrapped with a Marteau absinthe Gasper: yum.

Felicia over at Felicia's Speakeasy thinks Eggnog ( I say that it's one word ) is money during the holidays. the Eggnog Martini is offered up, as well as just spiking the morning Joe.

Since we're talking about it, Shawn from Rejiggered crafted a holiday cocktail that features lemon and orange sour flavors with the earthy caramel appeal of dark rum, tempered with fizzy dry champagne.

Food on the Brain is in the holiday spirit as well with a Runabout Cocktail

I think me and this Daniel chap from Gin, Not Vodka would get along splendidly, it sounds like he likes a smokey Blood and Sand as much as I do and surmises, " I find that scotch can be easily one of the biggest hurdles for a new cocktailian, so this drink allows the drinker to come to terms with scotch and scotch cocktails in a way that is mellow, fruity and sweet enough to be accessible, but still so complex that it never loses its edge after having them time and time again. "

The Opinionated Alchemist is getting sour on this months theme in a good way. Go check it out. The Maple Rare Breed Sour is all sorts of my favourite things in one glass.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start your engines! Tristan Stephenson of The Wild Drink Blog took a drink that was money to old school sailors and deconstructed it into a GT Turbo.

A Mountain Of Crushed Ice made me notice one thing... the rum aficionados have some great bottles. as stated "So i want to upgrade a drink and i know what i want to make, i want to mix up the best Cuba Libre or Rum & Coke ever!" The Spiced Sugarcane Rum & Coke is the result.

Speaking of rum. I had the fine pleasure of hanging out with
Rumdood, Matt Robold last week and His entry is the 300$ Mai Tai. He says " I know it might seem a bit crazy to put such expensive rums into a cocktail, but when you consider that the original Mai Tai called specifically for Wray & Nephew 17 Year Old Rum, and that today that rum goes for about $60,000US, you’d have to say that the $300 Mai Tai is a real bargain, right?" I couldn't agree more.

Dr. Bamboo writes us about the Tailspin and says " I pulled the Tailspin from the 1936 edition of the Old Mr. Boston DeLuxe Official Bar-tender's Guide and it looked like a winner: Gin, green Chartreuse, and sweet vermouth in equal proportions all topped off with a dash of orange bitters. I like all those ingredients, so it was the perfect drink to spruce up with some of the spiffier denizens of my liquor cabinet. " The details of the recipe history over the years from the Mr. Boston guide is fun to see.

Drinksnob purposes "Both Benedictine and Chartreuse are what I would call “problem” ingredients. Tasted by themselves they are overwhelming, especially Chartreuse. Not what you want to spring on someone, unawares. I would argue that the Widow’s Kiss is a “money drink” if there ever were one, for wrapping these difficult ingredients into a drink that somehow tastes mostly of spiced honey and the warm, slightly stuffy attic of some archetypal grandmother, comfortable and headachey, with surprises hidden around every corner."

Scomorokh at Science of Drink actually surprised me with a comprehensive history on the bane of many bartenders existences, the Cosmopolitan. There's a reason its money.

The fine folks over at Intelligent Bartender have a whole slew of great recipes and pretty pictures. Gavin states: We've got a few including but not limited to KFC Sazerac, Crown XR Manhattan with JT's Decanter Bitters and Amarena cherries + 4 more."

Jacob Grier brings in the money with his H'ronmeer's Flame. There is nothing wrong with naming a cocktail after a comic reference if you ask me.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My computer's back and yer gonna be in trouble.... hey na, hey na.......

Official MxMo post:

Monday December 14th, I will be hosting this months roundup, and as a longtime participant, i feel honored. I will have one roundup posted on Monday Dec. 14th and add late additions by the following Wednesday. Please Email submissions to Kevin.Langmack[at]gmail[dot}com with MxMo in the header.

I pitched it to Paul Clarke a bit back after the "When your 401k turns" post and we we're slated to go in November, but my Mac was still out for the count. Sorry the November MxMo didn't happen.

Money Drinks.

So there are a couple of interpretations I have thought about and would like to see.

I feel a "Money" drink is something you can put in front of anyone, regardless of tastes or distastes about the spirits involved. Come up with a drink or a list based on spirits about drinks that would appeal to anyone. example: turning someone onto a Corpse Reviver #2 when they like lemon drops.

For those of us with access to top shelf spirits, Make an upscale twist on a classic. To quote an email from Paul,

"Along with what you mentioned, I'm thinking it could include stuff along the lines of "there are some drinks that really prompt you to break out the good stuff", including ways people upgrade drinks for special occasions -- having old friends over, birthday drinks, etc, for example mixing your regular Sazerac, but breaking out the Red Hook Rye and the Jade Edouard absinthe for a Sazerac capable of breaking the sound barrier." - the only rule to this one is you actually have to make it -

I would also like to hear stories about top notch drinks that people have had from good bartenders and what convinced you to try that first premium drink.

Any other interpretations are valid and have fun. Happy Repeal day

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Workers Reward.

So I splurged tonight and wanted to share.


2 oz. Black Maple Hill Rye
1. oz. Carpano Antica
2 dashed Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters
Large orange twist.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

MxMo : Dizzy Dairy

Dizzy Diary:
Any drink using a dairy product is fair game: milk, cream, eggs, butter, cheese, yogurt, curds, you name it. Given the importance of dairy products in drinks dating back centuries, there are lots of opportunities for digging through vintage receipts for a taste of the past, and as always innovation is highly encouraged.

We hope that you'll measure out your portions as best you're able: better to indicate a tablespoon or ounce of egg white, for example, than to say "egg white." In addition, be sure to share any tips and techniques that benefit your booze -- "dry" shaking without ice for a good meringue, say, or stealing Society member Dale DeGroff's whipped cream trick for Irish Coffee. Disasters as well as successes are heartily encouraged. Finally, prepare to respond to the anti-dairy lobby by giving us reasons why your libation is just this side of mother's milk.

So once again MxMo crept up on me and I'm winging it last minute. I've put up enough recipes lately so I'll just offer some working class tips..... in free form.

I hope your bar carries both half and half and heavy whipping cream, as well as eggs.

When mixing up whip cream I like to use about a 3 part half and half to 1 part heavy whip mix and in a pint glass add the spring from a hawthorne strainer ( as you would to dry shake egg whites, but wait that's in a bit ) as well as any liquors that make great flavors, i.e. creme de cacao and frangelico for a chocolate hazelnut whip.

Half and half is essential for Alexanders. Also keep tabs on expiration dates. Sour half and half is foul.

Egg whites are a very fun additive to drinks and there a few ways to go about emulsifying them. One is the aforementioned removal of the spring of a hawthorne strainer and putting it in with the ingredients and "dry shaking" which is without ice, and then shaking again with ice added.

So two big breakthroughs happened to me recently. Actually fairly simultaneously. I bought a set of the Tavolo ice cube trays and started using them at one bar for old fashioneds as well as starting at a new bar that was using Kold Draft ice. I learned that when using large cubes they keep their shape and act in the same way the spring does in emulsifying, hence saving a minute of "dry shaking".

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I hope this drink is worth ten thousand dollars.

So I figured out my recipe for the Domain de Canton contest and regardless of whether it wins the big prize I'm really stoked on it and will be making it at my bars.

Built over large cubes.

Same recipe built over crushed ice and swizzled is a...

Charente Swizzle

2oz. Domaine de Canton
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
Dash of Grapefruit bitters. ( I used Scrappy's )

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Review! (not really a review)

I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell - Tucker Max

So I came across this what seems several years back. I was on a metro to the bowling alley and saw a friend with his headphones on reading and laughing uncontrollably every few minutes. I changed seats and said hey and found out what he was reading. I picked up a copy and burned thru it in a day or two.

I saw the movie tonight and will recommend that guys see it but don't bring a date.

Post script:
The state finally had Carpano Antica in the shelves and me and a close friend picked up bottles. Tonight I'm enjoying a fine Martinez as a nightcap.

1.5 oz. of Martin Miller Westbourne gin
1 oz. Carpano Antica
.25 Maraschino
2 dashes orange bitters. (I used the Agnostura orange I got at a seminar at Tales.)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

unofficial stories.

Had a first and hopefully last time experience tonight. I am not sure what happened. to shorthand the infrastructure of the space, there is 8 living spaces above us. i dont know if a water heater sprung a leak or if someone O.D.'d while running a bath, but water was running two floors above us and around 9pm on a Saturday it started raining indoors. I am extremely proud of how we handled the unexpected occurrence. Our man Pablo, whom I call Guapo, was an all-star.

There has been some things said around town regarding a certain feminine bachelorhood party where someone got flak about ordering a round of lemon drop shots. Granted I've been eschewing vodka lately by making ketel one old fashioneds and lemon drops with egg whites but I had my world rocked by E.Hack when he made me a Bison sour which is apparently a Milk&Honey recipe.
Upon further review its a flavored vodka egg white sour, which for as uncool as it sounds it absolutly delicious.
2oz. Bison Grass vodka
1/2 oz. lemon
1/2 oz. simple
egg white
Cinnamon garnish

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

cover a shift, meet someone cool.

I've been covering shifts left and right between the 3 places and last night had the pleasure of making drinks for Eden Algie, Brand Ambassador for The MaCallan. Made a few scotch heavy blood and sands and also whipped up this number that I was happy with.

2oz. MaCallan 12 (considering it was the Ambassador I should have used the 18 - really when is someone going to do a cocktail with that?)
.25 Benedictine
.25 Maraschino
.25 St. Germain
Flamed Lemon zest.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

You know what? Life does a 180@ya sometimes.

So just to start out..... This is the second official post from my Iphone.

My beloved computer which has been my sidekick for the past year and eight months has gone into a coma. The power is there but the screen is blank all the time now. I'm working on a replacent but also don't want to lose data from that machine. All of the seminars and photos from NOLA #TOTC were on there.

So in keeping it short while I don't have the use of my lappy I am just going to post recipes for the next little time being while I'm confined to my phone.

Starting soon.

Monday, August 10, 2009

MxMo : Vodka is my what?!?!?!?

Augusts MxMo is being help over at Felicia's Speakeasy and the theme for this month is Vodka is your friend.

The theme of August 10th’s Mixology Monday is “Vodka is Your Friend.” The recent high profile bashings of vodka interspersed with a few weak “yeah, buts…” left me wondering, is vodka the axis of evil, our most dangerous enemy? While it may not be the life of the party, experts agree: Vodka’s obituary does not have to be written just yet.

Yup.... I'm one of the haters. I've done my time drinking vodka tonics by the pint and worked high volume bars where vodka sodas are 90% of liquor sales. I'm not going to elaborate much more. However, here's a recipe that I've been putting in front of vodka drinkers

Piece de Resistance


2 oz. Vodka ( It has to be Grey Goose, or Ketel One,or Ciroc, or...... ah what the hell is the difference.)
3/4 oz Cointreau
1/4 oz Benedictine
Dash of orange bitters

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Good News!

Things just keep being great.

I was informed today that i will be working at Tavern Law ( http://tavernlaw.com ) one day a week and keeping my schedule otherwise set.

Monday, August 3, 2009

One year older.

10 years of legal drinking! a new reason to celebrate being 31.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fuck You South Beach. I wish I made this up.

Granted after Tales I wanted to be more professional in my writing but some stories are too good not to share.

I was having a relatively slow evening until around 10 pm when the bar went from empty to full in a matter of 20 minutes. At the time of this story every table and every bar seat was full.

This guy came in with his entourage and stood just inside the door waiting to be seated, granted we don't do table service and its first come, first serve at the bar this may seem unusual for out of towners. After 5 minutes he snapped his fingers a few times and said ( yelled over the music ) , " Can we get some drinks over here?"

I was closing out 2 tabs and making 3 drinks, but went over and explained what I was doing and if he wanted, he could come over to where the service area was and I'd be right with him. So when it was his turn he flipped ( I mean he got a good 1080 degrees on his card before it laid out on the bar before me ) his card on the bar Yup, this jackass had a black AMEX.

For those of you who don't know what a black AMEX is, it is the highest level offered by American Express. THE CARD IS MADE OUT OF FUCKING METAL. It has a minimum of $500,000.

At this point I was extremely happy to politely slide the card back across the bar and say " I'm sorry, we accept visa and mastercard." I know the east coast regularly accepts amex everywhere, but our little unrecognized backwater burrough does not. He gave me a visa card in its place. If you have the black amex you better be damn well carrying something else or..... maybe.... cash you fucking bigshot.

I carded everyone and he was sometime in the 60's and the girl he was obviously was with was '81. They were all from Miami.

She asked if I know how to make a Razmatini. I said I have never heard of such a thing, but had Raspberry flavored vodka and could do something, but he got upset and ordered two Grey Goose Cosmos and a crown and coke for their friend who actually was the least masculine of the group.

They stormed outside and I went back to my 5 deep line and less than 10 minutes later came right up to the bar and he demanded to be closed out.

I said I'd close him out as soon as I was done with the drinks I was making and his response was "Fuck it, keep the card"

Minutes later the girl came back in and said they needed the card for the rest of their trip an closed out with a zero tip.

I just want to publicly say thank you for coming in and spending your money at my bar.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Back at it.

Back to the grind. 10 days off followed by 5 nights on is not advised. However I had a great work week. I worked Spur Gastropubs 1 year anniversary and had the busiest monday ever at Sun Liquor. I may be adding a 3rd spot in the mix rather soon. I'm still figuring out how to take the .aiff files and turn them into mp3's and finding a site to host them, but some more content from tales will be up in the future.

Anyways I was hanging with a friend who said something about her friend drinking risky. Upon further explanation I found it to be a combination of rum and whiskey. This could be a whole new field.

Risky cocktail #1 ( parenthesis denote what I used, but feel free to play around )
2 oz. Rye ( Sazerac )
1 oz. Rum ( Mt. Gay )
Barspoon Cherry Heering
Half barspoon Absinthe


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Well, that was fun.

Tales is done, and for my insides, not a moment too soon. ( Not having is as rough as Waldbauer, but close. ) I have a bunch of fun stuff like seminars that I recorded and lots of photos that will be put up over the next little bit. Some funny stories, but most of those needn't be public record. I would have written more while here but the interweb isn't the best at my hotel, and I lost phone service for 3 days.

Favourite quote of the week:

"Have you met me? Google me bitch!"

Friday, July 10, 2009

My mind just was blown.

So for those of you that just saw this blog at the bloggers seminar, welcome. I didn't know it was going to be up there but big thanks to Paul for including me. Remember everything he said about ACTUALLY reading these things and not mass emailing me with stuff. However, the part about sending two bottles and not the god damned airline bottles, I fully endorse.

So, I'm wearing one of my favorite t-shirts today which has "Shalom Y'all" and some hebrew on the front, and after leaving the Seminar saw Chris McMillian and wanted to say Hi. Turns out that this shirt is actually from NOLA. It was an old advertising campaign for one of the oldest Jewish business in this town. I'm wearing this shirt in the last official family picture before my brothers passing and its always been dear to me. It had always been a mystery to me about its origins and now knowing and learning about it from McMillian was rad.

I now have to decide between attending the fine art of tending bar seminar or guest bartending at a strip club.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tales post

So far, even being the cynic I am I just have to say this is he best vacation I could have asked for so far. My only disappointment has been the fact that my 650$ lanyard doesn't get me access to the swag room. Seriously WTF?!?!? Guess I just have to boost my media presence.

I've met a LOT of rad people and ran across some others I know so far. I got to meet and shake hands with Dale Degroff, Met David Wondrich, who was with Tito. Met Anne who is putting on Tales. One of the Fee Bros. Numerous others who I will remember later, sorry I can't name ya now.

Looking forward to the swag off tonight. I'm sorry this isn't more cohesive, but its fuckin tales and I been drinking since 2 days ago. Might have to learn to be a better blogger..... oh wait that is tomorrows seminar.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

NOLA here I come....

Flying out to tales tomorrow and am happy to be on vacation. I decided to give in and use twitter for the trip and feel free to add me as drinkingbits. If you are there say Hi.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Do Be Careful.

I was caught and slightly inspired by a story recently about variations on classics and I will admit that finding old recipes and making the basic recipe work for what we can get on hand is always a fun challenge. I found this recipe in Boothby's 1934 World Drinks and How to Mix Them.

Tho original recipe states:
Gin.... 1/3 jigger
Cointreau ... 1/3 Jigger
Grenadine.... 1 spoon
Lemon......... 1 spoon

So I haven't done the research to know what a jigger was in 1934 and I'm not sure what kind of spoon Mr. Bill was using but the recipe calls for equal parts gin and cointreau and equal parts grenadine and lemon. I've tinkered a bit and want to report the following:

Using shitty ingredients like well gin, triple sec, sweet/sour mix, and rose;s grenadine makes this a bad drink.
Using a higher proof gin like Junipero or Bellringer to offset the sweetness of the Cointreau works amazingly.
If using a london dry change the ratio to 2 to 1 and go a touch heavier on the lemon and aslo the grenadine.
Using Lime instead of using Lemon makes for another nice variation on this old school spring time classic.


I've also been a fan of garnishing by taking a lemon (or lime) wheel and cutting like 10% out and spearing with a cherry.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Closing out.

I'm ready for my vacation. ready to get the hell out of town. I've been sworn to so much secrecy its driving me nuts. I made a decision that I want to see if I can stick to. I know I cant but we'll see. I wish I could just say the witty thing and not worry about the funny situation. I think I want to spend a day or two alone. I want to have people over. I want this to all make sense.

Actual cocktail related posts coming soon.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Can't sleep, update time.

I worked the past 4 nights, forgot to have dinner last night , and so I went out and had a Deluxe NY steak and baked potato for lunch today.. which led to me napping til 8pm. I haven't had a decent sleep schedule lately.

So Update stuffs...

I will be attending Tales this year and am looking forward to it very much. There is too much to want to go to, but I think I'll be happy with my selections of seminars and tastings. Had dinner last wednesday courtesy of Bacardi, where Willy(ie?) Ramos was there answering any questions about rum and Bacardi in specific. It was a pleasure to see him go head to head with everyone at that table. Some mouths were bigger than others. I have been asked to be a part of the new venture that will be Tavern Law and am looking forward to working down the street from my good friend Casey at Barrio whom I met up with at zig zag tonight before heading to the Irish house for what developed into an evening of gambling on bar touch screen games. Really fun times.

The Ginger kid is stlll in the works.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Exercises in Futility....

1.5 oz Cruzan light rum
.5 oz Yellow Chrtreuse
dash Campari
dash Agnostura
dash Absinthe

Build in glass over Ice.

Citrus may help.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mailbag time! Food and Wind Cocktails '09

Tonight was pretty much a 9, the extra 1 would have been if I wasn't sleeping alone again with the pooch.

Today in the mail at work was the new edition of Food and Wine Cocktails for the 2009 year. I am extremely proud to say that Sun Liquor was named in the best 100 bars in the country. ( I love how this is my follow-up to a rant about bullshit reviews. )

Joining that barstaff has been the best thing in a while to ever happen to me personally and professionally.

Personal aside:

June 1st marked the 4th anniversary of my brother Steve being killed in action in Iraq. After his passing I turned to the bottle pretty hard, subsequently I lost 2 jobs, couldn't handle a relationship, and my music career wasn't the same passion it once was.

I am thinking tonight I may be feeling a bit like my old self.

Back to work:

Tonight I had a friend in town from San Diego who brought a ton of friends and kept happy hour lively. I saw a ton of old faces tonight, not that they are old, but I saw some people I hadn't seen in a few years. During this time someone who for the sake of argument I will label "Bartending Friend #1" henceforth referred to #1, bring in one of his employees during happy hour and enjoyed our patio. I had hung out not too long ago with said employee at someone who will referred to as "Bartender #2"s 30th birthday party. #1 had already closed out when #2 showed up, but re-opened his tab with beers and shots. A few rounds of drinks went back and forth and hopefully a good time was had by all. A bit later #2 gave his girl a piggyback ride down the street. Said employee had already closed out #1's tab and left #1 in a heated discussion with my roomate who I also work with at job #2. #`1 was talking about how knowing recipes does not constitute being a good bartender. I fully agree. "How many Margarita's can you make in 5 minutes???"

Personal aside #2

Me and the roomie have come to fisticuffs in the past and tonight was the first time I saw that same fire in his eyes directed at someone else and I'm glad nothing happened. #1 was talking as much trash as he was talking sense but was a pleasure to watch and be on the other side of the stick ( you did tell me the importance of the bartender being the most sober person in the room. ) and..... although he was trying to make a point of how much he had taught me, I will reiterate we have never worked behind the same bar. I hold him in the upper echelon of people I have learned from while sitting at a bar, but the first people to ever teach me anything about working behind a good bar were Erik and Will from Sun.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Do You Still Hate Me?

I meant to write this up a few weeks back when Tank was in town, but the timing didn't seem right, or more so, we were up every night drinking and I didn't have time, and subsequently forgot to mention it. Its been a bit since I spun a yarn so being awake and dehydrated I have no other option.

I want to talk about the power of bullshit reviews.

Yes, I'm pointing at you Yelp.com-ers. "See you on Yelp!"... See you in hell.......

I'm also shaking a finger at last months Seattle Met which named the top 25 bars in town. Ya, you got some things right, However, I feel half your list was simply the people that pay for advertising. You left off some very good places and featured some that frankly couldn't make a proper drink to save their life. The magazine said its all about classics these days. So I made a point to visit a few and give them the drinkboy challenge of an old fashioned, followed by a classic, followed by dealers choice. There was a ton of let downs. You loved the new speakeasy in town and name dropped one of their bartenders, guess what..... she isn't there anymore ( however their new guy is a SOLID hire ), you loved the *uck, guess what, fuck the *uck, it fucking sucks. The hotel bar celebrating its 100th anniversary? the guy they brought in to revamp the program quit because the management is awful. Press doesn't understand what constitutes good and bad in most cases, because they aren't doing what they are writing about 90% of the time. What a lot of these bullshit writers don't realize is a lot of new business owners actually pay attention to the bullshit you are saying. Which makes working in these places a lot more harder for some people.

I was inspired by this footage of Spencer losing his shit at Sasquatch.

So the recipe:


Do you still hate me?
2 oz. 100 proof rye
1/4 oz. Benedictine
1/4 oz Maraschino
3 dashes Peychaud bitters
One barspoon absinthe
3 large cubes of ice

Combine all ingredients in a double rocks glass and stir. No garnish.

So the song:

So the lyrics:

Been hearing about you.
All about your disapproval.
Still I remember the way I used to move you.
I wrote you a letter.
I heard it just upset you.
Why don't you tell me?
How can I do this better?
Are you out there?
Do you hear me?
Can I call you?
Do you still hate me?
Are we talking?
Are we fighting?
Is it over?
Are we writing?
We're getting older.
But we're acting younger.
We should be smarter.
It seems we're getting dumber.
I have a picture
of you and me in Brooklyn.
On a porch, it was raining.
Hey, I remember that day.
And I miss you.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Today was pretty rad.

first of all Spur got a great write-up in the paper and was on the front page, where I was named on the deep bench of talented mixologists we have there. While I was feeling good about that I got a text from Mr. Morganthaler saying he was in town with the Preacher, aka, Danny Shoe, also known by Daniel Shoemaker. Prefunctory cocktails at Vessel, followed by dinner at Spur, followed by a long stint at the Zig Zag. I had probably the most fun I've had today in a while. A long evening of drinking has made me a bit short-winded, but there is nothing better than a fun evening with some great like minded people.

Monday, May 18, 2009

MxMo : Amaro

So this months MxMo is being held over at Chuck's site and the topic is Amaro. I didn't cross paths with Chuck when he was in town, but heard quite a tale or two.

The topic for this month is Amaro, which refers to the bitter liqueurs usually drunk as an after-meal digestive, either alone (neat or on the rocks) or in some kind of mixed drink or cocktail. They tend to all share certain characteristics -- drinking bitters are generally made of alcohol with any number of herbs, plus sugar and some kind of coloring. The word "amaro" means bitter in Italian, and although the more famous drinking bitters tend to come from Italy our amaro theme this month is most certainly not limited to that country. Amaro, amer, amargo, what have you. Italy, Spain, France, America, Serbia, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland ... wherever somebody drinks a bitter liqueur, that's a source for your drink this month.

I could wholly write this bits in praise of Fernet-Branca, but instead have something else fun in mind for you. I like the process that occurs when someone is becoming a fan of something that is not in their usual taste portfolio, i.e, a bitter. Too many of us were weened on sweet and there's a whole wide world of flavors out there.

So to be obligatorily contradictory I wanted to show off a drink that I made a while back. It uses Averna, which is a sweeter than usual amaro. pictures will be up this friday.

The Blanchard.

Take three strips of orange zest and place them in a pint and cover with a quarter ounce of simple syrup. Using a misto, roast the orange zest. Add 2 ounces of Laird's Applejack, a half ounce of Cointreau, a half ounce of Averna, a barspoon of orange juice and a barspoon of Peychaud bitters. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


<a href="http://www.joost.com/159mevy/t/Drinking-in-the-Shower">Drinking in the Shower</a>

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Moar updates soon.

I've always wanted to maintain the fact this blog is strictly a personal endeavor that somehow saw the light of day. I have a few bits in the hopper that I just need to write out, but I've been busy doing things that I haven't wanted to write about. Once in a while I see some really cool things when working, tonight was one of em, and I want to share.

I had a semi-know local bartender who happens to be a brand rep for St. Germain who was hanging out with a rep from 42 bleow and also this young lady, as well as the local rep for the Sazerac company taking up 4/7 seats of the bar.. Meanwhile a few other great bartenders were at tables while members of the L.A. Galaxy FC were having dinner.

Hell and Yes!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Now with updates!

I been on a bloogng kick, so what about it?


The fine friends of Leopold's came and showed us some really nice products at this weeks wsbg.org meeting. I was a amazed at the new york apple whiskey and remarkably surprised at the french press espresso liquor they had. Everything we tried today was great in my opinion. That includes the Bakon that a friend brought in.

Friday, April 17, 2009

T.W.I.B. - This week in bartending

So since I've been in the mood of rehashing old bits, and its baseball season again, AND I am going to Ichiro bobblehead night tomorrow with an old friend that was the first person I was happy with as a manager and taught me the importance of being fast, I figured I'm awake at three with nothing better to do once again.

T.W.I.B. #8 - Uninformed customers.
Its part of the job, and I'm working on better customer service. I know when I sit down and order a beer and a shot, I want a beer and a shot.. I want a beer and a shot and don't want to be upsold to some beer and whiskey mix. However some orders are still funny to hear.

a. " Can I have a Lime Margarita?"
yup, yes you can
b. "How much is well beer?
uh, well is usually a term used for liquor while beers are usually either on tap, or referred to as draft.

T.W.I.B. #9 - Bartending is the new Rock n' Roll
The parallels are there. I spent ten years chasing that dragon and still have the itch to play music but I've been over analyzing this personal connection moreso lately. You still want to have people show up and have a good time, however people who go to bars are spending on booze and not shirts and cd's. Instead of a catchy song it is a delicious drink. I didn't get to see the guy at work, because I was working as well, but the people at Vessel had Erick Castro from San Francisco in town and I got to hang out two of the nights and it had the same feel from back in the day when I'd host touring bands and we'd talk into the late night at shitty late night diners. I'm looking forward to next week when Daniel from the Teardrop will be in town.

Monday, April 13, 2009

MxMo : Superior Twists - The Bookers Blazer

So this months MxMo is being held over at The Wild Drink Blog and the topic is Superior Twists

This month’s Mixology Monday is all about twists on classic cocktails, that for one reason or another do an even better job than the drinks upon which they are based.

This could be as simple as a classic Margarita with a dash with a special touch that completes it, or maybe as complicated as a deconstructed Hemingway Daiquiri with a homemade rum foam/caviar/jus/trifle. It might be taking a classic like a Manhattan and using Tequila instead of Bourbon?

I've lately been tackling the blue blazer as its been becoming ever more popular around town and hey, I wanna do em too! Thing is a lot of people aren't fans of scotch and even more so of a peaty cask strength scotch. So this is just basically a twist on the blazer, or even moreso a twist on the prep of a hot toddy. Its sacrilegious to some to vary on a Jeremiah Thomas recipe, but I'll say I like this bourbon version a tad better.


The Bookers Blazer
It is preferred that at least two of these are ordered as more liquid means an easier time pouring and keeping the stream of liquid fire going.
You will need 2 metal containers preferably with angled pours on them. At one bar I use coffee milk steamer tins and another place I use metal water pitchers. If you want to, you can go out and find classic pewter mugs.
2 oz. Bookers Bourbon
Hot Water
Lemon Wedge
1/2 oz Honey Syrup

Fill one metal container with hot water (boiling water works best) Allow the metal container to warm and then transfer hot water to the other metal container as well as the glasses you will be using for the drinks. Add Bookers Bourbon to the first warmed metal container. After the second container and the glass are warmed empty the container and put the water from the glass into the second container. Squeeze lemon wedge and add honey to the glass. Carefully set the Bookers afire and pour about half into the container. Carefully pour the (hopefully) flaming mix between the two containers and hope for a pretty blue stream of fire. Pour into glass and smile.

p.s. cheers to Andrew for the conversation we had at the zig zag, both showing up by ourselves, but sitting down and talking shop for an evening.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter - Peter Cottontail

I love how fucking cosmic things seem sometimes.

I mentioned this drink a log time ago and since its Easter, aka the celebration of the dead rising like a zombie, (oh hush, I was raised catholic) I decided to post about it. Also there was a last minute decision to close for this Sunday.

On a funny sidebar:
I was hanging with an old roommate, someone who I also worked with in the service industry, share the same birthday with and took to a bar for their 21st ( all the same dude ) that I haven't seen in a few months and went for an absolutely delicious dinner at Branzino. As for the food, I am big on good Italian. My first job was as a dishwasher for Pizzuto's at age 14 and have dug italian food ever since. After words I wanted to show him the gastropub. The chefs and the manager were sitting down and we sat down alongside them and ordered our drinks. Back to the bunny.....I've been making this drink a bit often and for the first time that I've seen it was ordered for table service. Not at our table, but one a few down. The fall out was the guy working thought I had ordered four egg white drinks during the middle of a rush. Egg drinks take time and I don't recommend them when its busy time.

So instead of a molecular cadbury bunny....

I give you the Peter Cottontail.

2 oz Gin
1 oz lime
1 oz simple
egg white
dash of Rhubarb bitters

hand blend the above ingredients and in a pint glass add 2 slices of cucumber and ice. Add mix and shake vigorously. Garnish with a floated cucumber slice or if feeling festive use two slices as rabbit ears.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


So to start its simply one of my favourite records of all time. I've heard tales of musicians drunk at house parties sitting down with nothing but an acoustic, a bass and a snare drum and playing this record front to back. For a lot of the musicians that I was around this was The Last Word. Everyone wished they had made this record. To sum it up Jimmy Eat World just did a tour where they played the album Clarity from front to back and just released the live recording via their website at Jimmyeatworld.com. Seriously if you like this record you need to pay the 8.99& and download it.

One Small Instrument.

2 oz. Cazadores
.5 oz Heering
.5 oz Licor 43
.5 oz Benedictine
1 dash Rhubarb bitters ( not pictured )
Stir and strain into a chilled, absinthe rinsed glass.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Opinions are like Assholes. V.5.

So its been since like last june since I did a rant. I found out a few people actually read this thing, and doing the natural "oh I don't want to offend anyone" attitude I kinda dropped the O.A,A. bit but I am reviving it, cause I had a few conversations that could be beneficial for the general non bar familiar crowd.

Tip Your Bartender

One of my farourite songs from one of my fav bands, and I actually carded Daryl at one part of my bar career.

Advice on tipping.
This is a taboo subject, it should not be talked about, but ............I'M GOIN THERE!!

p.s. I heard state restaurant tax went up???(unconfirmed) if it is 10% like I heard then a 20% tip is easy math.

1. Mr. I'm buying drinks.
I fully respect and have totally been the guy that says, "can I get 10 shots of *fillintheblank* and they are all on me!
ex: 10 shots @ 6$ = 60$, 20% Should be 12$ but that is f*cking ridiculous. 10 looks good and 5$ is a minimum. Yes I'm talking to you, Ms. I'll have 8 shots of awesome german liquor jagermiester @ 6$ each and leave a 50$ looking like a bigshot.

2. Ms. Everyone is giving me cash and its gong on my card.
I really do love u lots. It is SO much easier to run just one card, but the thing you always fail to realize is that a cash tip is better than tipping on your card. Cash at the end of the night can mean not walking home or lunch the next day. Remember cash is king.

3. The buyback
This was a hot topic on Jeff's site, ( i made the mistake of signing up for email responses and got one for every post. ) but had one of my most curious new customers ask me about it tonight, which brought about this whole post.

I really should know this guys name by now, but our conversation is minimal. He usually comes in and gets a rye Manhattan or a red hook with rye off the shelf, reads a book, has a second of the same, the for a third will ask for something rye based.

Tonight I made:

2.5 oz. Rittenhouse 100
.5 oz. Benedictine
3 dashes Peychaud's
Stir above and strain into a chilled Fernet-Branca rinsed glass
Flamed Lemon garnish.

So he asked me proper etiquette about tipping when a bartender bought him a drink.

Semi-flummoxed I gave him my opinion. If a bartender buys you a drink take it at face value. If that bartender is not a douchebag and a thief they are actually paying for that drink and that monetary value is actually the bartenders responsibility. Leaving a tip equivalent to the cost of that drink is proper.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Its nice to treat yourself sometimes. V2

After rejoining the world of the working (7 out of the past 10 days) , I decided to treat myself today, and had a very fine night of cocktails tonight. Went to the Zig Zag and had a Blanton's mint julep, a Jack Rose with the Lairds 12 year (made with Scrappy grenadine) and finished up with a Zaya Hemminway daiquiri. All were outstanding. The daiquiri had a chocolaty taste that was totally unexpected. Finished up back at Spur with another Hemmingway and a bison burger fixed with caramelized onions, Tasmanian peppercorn ketchup, and provolone.

Tonight was good.

Monday, March 23, 2009


About a month ago I remembered I had a bottle of neutral grain stashed away and I decided to start up a batch of bitters of some sorts... Like most things I do it was not planned out ahead of time. I made a trek down to the market and pondered the selection at Tenzing Momo, knowing only I wanted something that sounded funny.

Bam.... Sassafras

Walked out with a dried ounce and at home added it to four liquid ounces of neutral grain spirits in a mason jar. I left it alone aside from a general shaking every so often for a month. During that month I decided on how I would finish the process and decided to stick with using molasses like I did for the batch of Broken Hibiscus Bitters.

Molasses + Sassafras =


Strain the liquid from the mason jar mixture several times through cheesecloth to remove as much debris as possible. In a separate container add one ounce of full flavor molasses to seven ounces of boiling water, as to fully disolve the molasses. Combine molasses mix and sassafras mix together to finish. This recipe made just enough to fill an empty mid-sized Agnostura bottle.

Now just to find a good use for it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Back in the Blazing Saddle...

Oh wow, I just went there....

So what some others have referred to as my "retirement" is coming to an end. After 3 months of just mondays and scant shifts between, I'm rested and ready to gat back at it. Thing is times are tough all over and a lot of people who have bartended in the past are applying. I went on a cattle call of an interview that had 300+ applicants.

Long story short I was happy to say yes when Dave Nelson from Spur Gastropub called me up and asked if I'd be interested in one or two days a week. I am already familiar with the program, won't be overworked, but can cover at both jobs if need be, and will get to cook and dabble with things at the molecular level again, which frankly I have missed. I'll be at Spur on Saturday and Sunday, while still doing my thing on Mondays at Sun.

p.s. I have a drink called the Blazing Saddle now....

Sunday, March 15, 2009

In the morning...

Tomorrow the WSBG is having an event on vermouth. I don't know too much so I'll try to get my learn on. Tonight was the first really busy night I had worked in a while and it was fun to hustle again. I just wish I hadn't painfully reminded myself of the incorrect way to hold citrus while using a y-peeler. Nice gash on the left thumb to match the two nicks on the right.

Anyways, the cocktail...

I hope I can claim this. If its known by another name I am unaware, and trust me I looked. I prefer it on the rocks, but it holds its own in a cocktail glass.

Le Matin
2.5 oz. Rye
.25 oz. Maraschino
.25 oz. Benedictine
3 dashes Peychaud's

Monday, March 9, 2009

MxMo : The First Time - The Green Swizzle

This months MxMo is being held at The Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails and the topic is thus:

What drink do you suggest for the delicate palate of the cocktail neophyte? Something boozy and balanced, sure - but one wrong suggestion could relegate the newbie to a beer-drinker’s life. To which go-to cocktails do you turn to when faced with the challenge?

As a working bartender I face this often on a nightly basis. I believe 90% of people who get vodka sodas are doing it cause they don't know any better. There is nothing better than that first time you get someone to try gin, whisk(e)y or rum for the first time, and they cannot believe their previously held notion any longer. There are a ton of ways to lead people further in their path to cocktail glory, these are just some that I like. Its about finding the Menu of the Heart.

"I only like vodka."
These are usually less fun and more of a challenge, but a moscow mule or fresh squeezed greyhound or screwdriver will get you some more leeway.

"Can I get a Jack and Coke"
Yes ya can, but might you want to try a whiskey sour, old fashioned, or a sazerac for the daring individual.

"Gin and Tonic"
I'm glad gin has been increasing in popularity. A corpse reviver #2 or Last word usually does the trick. I am a personal fan of gimlets with a bit of muddled cucumber.

"Margarita please"
Oh hell yes you can. If you haven't had an El Diablo that might be good next.

"Can you make a Malibu and pineapple?"
Don't laugh... I've been asked that. I'll also ask if they want a cherry. Other rum favorites are Mai Tai's, Pina Coladas or dare I offer a Mojito. But there was a rum drink that opened my eyes to the fact that a well made drink was a thing of beauty.

The Green Swizzle.
This was the first drink I ever had at the Zig Zag. It kind of took on cult status within my friends and we all held up this or a similar recipe as the standard.

The Legend of the Green Swizzle

Bertie Wooster has this to say of Green Swizzles:
I have never been in the West Indies, but I am in a position to state that in certain of the fundamentals of life they are streets ahead of our European civilization. The man behind the counter, as kindly a bloke as I ever wish to meet, seemed to guess our requirements the moment we hove into view. Scarcely had our elbows touched the wood before he was leaping to and fro, bringing down a new bottle with each leap. A planter, apparently , does not consider he has had a drink unless it contains at least seven ingredients, and I'm not saying, mind you, that he isn't right.
The man behind the bar told us the things were called Green Swizzles; and, if ever I marry and have a son, Green Swizzle Wooster is the name that will go down in the register, in memory of the day his father's life was saved at Wembley.

from "The Rummy Affair of Old Biffy,"
by P. G. Wodehouse

"taken from the original recipe found by Andrew and given to me one and a half years ago:
1 1/2 oz. rum
1 oz. fresh lime juice
5 drops of Angostura bitters

shake and strain over ice into a tall glass, fill with soda water

Float 1/2 oz. green creme de menth
Garnish with fresh mint sprg.

Allow customer to do the final mix

7 ingredients. I think that I added the sugar / simple syrup somewhere along the way. That's where the confusion resided."

Recently , since the return of Absinthe to the market, I've begun to believe that the green fairy was the inspiration for the green swizzle, and not creme de menthe.... or at least thats what I want to believe. This is something I've been making lately and have been calling it the Green Swizzle Wooster.

"I have never been in the West Indies, but I am in a position to state that in certain of the fundamentals of life they are streets ahead of our European civilization...A planter, apparently, does not consider he has had a drink unless it contains at least seven ingredients, and I'm not saying, mind you, that he isn't right. The man behind the bar told us the things were called Green Swizzles; and, if ever I marry and have a son, Green Swizzle Wooster is the name that will go down in the register.."

there is a lot of debate on the history of his drink, and the recipe I use is what me and a friend think it may have been like.

Green Swizzle Wooster.

2 oz white rum
1 oz lime
1 oz simple
10 mint leaves
1 dash Agnostura
2 barspoons absinthe or anisette
crushed ice

Add mint and simple in a pint and gently bruise mint to release flavors.... gently. add rum, lime absinthe and bitters, shake with normal ice, then strain into a collins style glass. add crushed ice until glass is full. garnish with a mint sprig or lime or both.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mailbag time! Horni-huh?

Dear KL,

Hope you are well!

Looking to shake things up on the biggest drinking holiday of the year? This St. Patrick’s Day, trade your shamrocks for mint leaves and green beer for Tequila and try your luck with a specialty “Hornijo” from Hornitos™. A unique new spin on the classic Mojito, the Hornijo features Hornitos Reposado, a premium 100% agave tequila versatile enough for mixed drinks.

Whether throwing your own party or enjoying a pre-parade cocktail, show off your creative side this March 17th with a festive and green Hornijo!

Please see below and let me know if I can send you additional information or a high-res image.


2 tsp sugar
6-8 mint leaves
Club soda
1 lime, halved
2 oz Hornitos Reposado
Mint sprig for garnish

I don't want this to come across like I'm dissing Hornitos. I am a huge fan of using it in cocktails, order it often and fully enjoy it. However this promotional campaign is a touch offensive to me. Taking a trendy traditional rum drink and subbing your product of a different spirit ( yes, i'm looking at you, the bars that have vodka infused mojitos on the menu ) just in time for a traditionally Irish holiday is weaksauce.

The name Hornijo is fun to say though, I can imagine across the country as barstaff ask big burly redheaded Irish dudes (stereotype!) if they'd like a horny ho.

I've had this tequila recipe for a bit but haven't been able to name it the horni-huh?
egg whites
2 oz. Hornitos Tequila
1 oz orange juice
1 oz pineapple juice
.5 oz lime juice
.5 oz Honey or Agave syrup
Ginger beer

Add all ingredients in a pint along with a hawthorne strainer spring and dry shake vigorously. Add ice, remove spring and shake vigorously again. Strain into a chilled collins glass and slowly fill with ginger beer.