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April 2008

The coming anti-garnish movement

The Wall Street Journal's Eric Felten is all up in the Bay Area's business lately. Last week he wrote about Eric Ellestad's Savoy Project. This week he tackles the heavy issue of garnish and quotes Greg Lindgren from Rye on some of the sillier garnishes he's seen in their monthly cocktail competitions. Personally, I fall into the pro-garnish camp, with some reservations. I am fine with purely ornamental garnish as long as it: Doesn't get in the way. I hate it when garnish pokes you in the mouth or prevents the flow of booze into my gullet. Edible flowers and... Read more →

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Drinks at Fish and Farm

There's another organic cocktail program in town at Fish and Farm. Mixologist Brian Livesay uses spirits like Square One vodka and 4 Copas tequila in his drinks, along with some brands not certified organic but that use organic ingredients. Some of the fresh herbs in the drinks are grown on the chef's rooftop garden. The drink list includes some interesting elements like rosemary and citrus-infused gin, but seems largely dependent on fresh juices and mint. The real creativity, however, comes from the modifying ingredients. Since there are no commercial organic vermouths or triple secs, Livesay makes his own using an... Read more →

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The scotch whisky world is all a flutter with changing international markets. There's a growing demand for scotch in India and China, without enough scotch available to meet expected demand. Many distilleries are ramping up production and beginning to release single malts without age statements (allowing them to combine younger and older whisky together to make it taste mid-range) . A lot of the industry's stress comes from one guy: Vijay Mallya, the Indian billionaire who bought Whyte & Mackay last year. From what I've read, whisky isn't very regulated in India, with some local producers even making "whisky" out... Read more →

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Booze art, booze fashion

I like this trend. Booze companies are getting involved in art and fashion beyond sponsoring events and hiring spokesmodels. Just this week I heard about three different spirits sponsoring art projects: Tanqueray is auctioning off original artwork on ebay.com from graffiti artist Stash. [via UrbanDaddy] 1800 Tequila is putting out limited edition bottles with hipster art on them. Also, matching billboards and sneakers. [via Complex] And Courvoisier's Exclusif is doing a pop-up shop concept in a few cities where they'll showcase a new line of fashion and cocktail accessories from LRG. Labels: design, trends Read more →

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Bottle service busted in Boston

I hate bottle service, but I know it makes a ton of money for nightclubs. Recently the Boston Herald reported that the licensing czar in Boston started busting clubs for offering bottle service, saying it violates the state's prudish laws that also ban happy hour discounts because it encourages people to drink more. Licensing officials have cited two clubs - Mantra and Rumor - in recent days for alleged violations connected to bottle service. Pokaski said the practice violates so-called “happy hour” laws that ban serving more than two drinks at a time to a patron. But Pokaski argued that... Read more →

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Grappa in the SF Chronicle

By me, in today's SF Chronicle Italy's Fiery Grappa the Latest Spirit to Go Upscale by Camper English Several spirits have overhauled their previously negative reputations in recent years. Tequila lovers now pay up to several hundred dollars per bottle, and consumers who wouldn't touch gin three years ago now shake it with egg whites into frothy cocktails at home. But upon hearing the word "grappa," many drinkers still wince. A beverage program built around the fiery spirit is thus a risky proposition, but that's what you'll find at Bar 888, the lobby bar that also serves the Italian restaurant... Read more →

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