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August 2007

July 2007

Speaking of small-batch spirits

The Associated Press has a good story on the trend, focusing on Tuthilltown Spirits in New York. Here are some key facts. They saw their chance in 2002, when New York introduced a new class of distilling license for small producers that carries a fee of $1,450, as opposed to $50,800 for the old license. (Woo! Let's move to New York!) "It took us about 2 1/2 years from a dead stop knowing nothing about it until 'We can turn this thing on and make alcohol,'" Erenzo said. (On the other hand, I don't have that kind of patience.) Small-scale... Read more →

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The lines, ever-blurring

Yesterday I went to the Hangar One Vodka/ St. George Spirits distillery in Alameda for a party. I've been to their tasting room before but never back to where the stills are. (The area is only open to the public for the Saturday tour.) They have what looks to be three itty bitty little stills back there. That seemed a bit small to me for all the vodka they produce, and it turns out not everything that gets bottled there runs through them. Most smaller gin and vodka distilleries operate like this one: They buy column distilled vodka from a... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

Terrible News!

Imagine my horror when I picked the Sunday newspaper off my neighbor's front steps today and read the headline: "A LIFE WITHOUT BARS"After I stopped screaming I looked closer and found it was an article about a once-battered woman who killed her abusive husband and how she's now been freed from prison. Oh, okay then. I don't think it's right to scare a person like that. Labels: funny, news Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

Tonic Taste Test

In my tonic article in the Chronicle, I only briefly mentioned the tastes of the tonics neat, not having the time to do a full taste test with different gins. But how often do you drink tonic without gin? In a lucky coincidence, Time Out New York did a taste test of three of the tonics I mentioned in my story- Fever Tree, Stirrings, and Q Tonic Water, with three different types of gins. Read it here. On a separate note, I would like to call for an official moratorium on publications calling their booze stories "Raising the Bar." It's... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

Mixing New Orleans cocktails

Thanks to Todd Price on eGullet who pointed out these videos. In them, Chris McMillian of the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans demonstrates how to make some famous local cocktails. In the Ramos Gin Fizz video he tells us that some people add a couple of drops of vanilla to the drink, and also shows that for egg white drinks such as this one, you should first shake the drink without ice, then add ice and shake it more. Good info here. In the Sazerac video we learn not just how to make it, but this piece of trivia I hadn't heard... Read more →

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Boutique Tonic Water

Finally my tonic water story came out in today's SF Chronicle: The Evolution of Tonic Water In the quest to make better cocktails, today's bartenders rethink each ingredient in a drink and try to improve it -- from the cheap, mass-produced version, to a higher-quality version, to the artisan version, to the locally made artisan version, and finally to the homemade version. We've seen this with spirits (from Tanqueray to 209 Gin) and juices (from bottled juice to locally grown fruit). But until a few years ago, nobody had given too much thought to tonic water. This bitter, sweetened, carbonated... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

Wine-Finished Bourbon

Another piece by me in today's Chronicle: Bourbon with a Chardonnay chaser Over in Scotland, wood-finished whiskies are all the rage. Most Scotch ages for years in barrels that previously held bourbon or sherry, and recently several distillers have been transferring the whisky in its final years to barrels that held Port, Madeira or Burgundy, where it picks up additional flavors. Now American whiskey producers are giving it a try. Jim Beam released Port and Cognac-finished whiskies several years ago as part of their Distillers' Masterpiece collection. This month, Woodford Reserve bourbon is rolling out a limited-edition Master's Collection Sonoma-Cutrer... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

Summer camp- at a special discount

In today's Chronicle: Summer camp for cocktail drinkers The Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay hosts a Mixology Weekend Aug. 3-5 as part of its "Inside the Kitchen" summer series. The hotel offer five 2-hour courses taught by some of the Bay Areas best bartenders -- Thad Vogler (Jardiniere), Todd Smith (Bourbon & Branch), Scott Beattie (Cyrus), Greg Lindgren (Rye), and David Nepove (Southern Wine & Spirits, pictured at right). Each session tackles a different topic ranging from Farm-Fresh Cocktails to the Spirits of Latin America, and all classes include hands-on cocktail-mixing instruction for several drinks. Students can attend courses a... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.