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March 2008

WoW Report

Live from the Denver airport (kudos for the free wi-fi), my take on last night's Whiskies of the World in San Francisco: Eades "Double Malts" is a lame advertising term to describe the combination of two single malts, married in an additional cask. However, their Islay blend, made with Bowmore and Caol Ila and finished in a Zinfandel cask, is going in an interesting direction. I think I like it when people put a sweet and soft spin on a macho spirit, kind of like a drag queen with a beard. The new Ardmore single malt (previously it went mostly... Read more →

World whiskies, then world travel

Posting will be infrequent if not non-existent over the next week and a half. I'm headed to the Whiskies of the World tasting event tonight in San Francisco, then to Vail early in the morning for the Navan/Grand Marnier Mixology Summit, then to Martinique with Rhum Clement to drink rhum agricole right from the source. Work, work, work. Labels: rum, travel Read more →

Uslurper and vinegarwatch sighting

Paul Clarke has a story on pimento/allspice dram in today's SF Chronicle. The title: "Hot Dram!" Included in the story is a recipe from Martin Cate of Forbidden Island, and included in that recipe is the magic ingredient: vinegar! Labels: liqueurs, trends, tropical Read more →

On the organic happy hour circuit

Kuleto's, which has the first and only all-organic cocktail menu in San Francisco, has expanded their program. Now from 3-5 PM on weekdays they offer an Organic Happy Hour with reduced prices on orgo cocktails, wine, and beer. They also deny you plastic straws and paper napkins to rub it in, err... set the mood. And as an after-party for that, the W Bar at the W Hotel is starting an "ecolicious" happy hour in April. The party goes from 5:30 to 7:30 (so walk slowly from Kuleto's) on weekdays, serving two each of organic wines, beer, and cocktails. The... Read more →

Belgian showers

The Toronado, a bar that normally specializes in Belgian beers, is celebrating Beglian Beer Month in April, with, I assume, even more Belgian beers than usual. I bet between this bar and La Trappe and The Trappist and Monk's Kettle you could try nearly every Belgian beer on the market. Not a bad way to spend your April. Labels: beer, SanFrancisco Read more →

At Beretta, less is more

When Beretta opens (currently scheduled for April 1), cocktail fans will recognize many familiar faces behind the bar. Thad Vogler (Slanted Door, Jardiniere, Bourbon & Branch) is leading the bar program, and some of the people taking shifts there will be Jon Santer (Bruno's, Range, Tres Agaves, B&B), Todd Smith (Cortez, B&B), Ryan Fitzgerald (Tres Agaves, B&B, Brick), and Eric Johnson (Eastside West, B&B). Vogler says it's coincidence that they were all looking to pick up a shift or two, but I'm already nicknaming the venue the Valencia Street All-Star Bar. Though not finalized at this point, Vogler gave me... Read more →

A big month for vodka flavors

Smirnoff just added two flavors to their line of vodkas: white grape and passion fruit. Now the line stands at 13 flavors. Then Skyy Vodka announced they are reformulating their flavors to use all-natural flavorings and now calling them Skyy Infusions (including grape and passion fruit flavors- coincidence?). I asked for specifics on the flavoring process but am not convinced by their answer that they're doing anything but purchasing natural flavors instead of artificial ones. The Skyy flavors don't come close to the whole-fruit taste experience of flavors by Hangar One and Charbay, but you don't really expect them to.... Read more →

Rumors of its demise have been greatly exaggerated

There's been a rumor that San Francisco's 209 Gin shut down its operations, but it's not true, says 209's distiller Arne Hillesland. He said he's not sure where the rumor originated, but thought it might be a misunderstanding about an employee who left. In fact, he says they're distilling this week and shipping 300 cases of the product to London. Since I last checked, they expanded their distribution from just west coast states to many in the midwest and on the east coast, including New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Phew. In this case, no news is good news. Labels:... Read more →