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August 2008

A week in the life

What a week! Monday was relatively quiet- I met a PR friend for lunch at Fritjz (we talked about gin, absinthe, and Tales), then another friend for drinks at Dalva later on. On Tuesday, though, things got crazy. My friend and fellow booze writer Amy Zavatto was in town so we hit Cantina then Bourbon & Branch for some cocktails. I hopped in a cab late for dinner at Mangarosa in North Beach, where I was dining with Matti Anttila, president of Cabana cachaca. Our dinner was paired with drinks curated by Anthony Dias Blue, who is kind of hilarious.... Read more →

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Sinfully delicious

In last week's Wall Street Journal story on the Planter's Punch, Eric Felten wrote of the accolades it received in the press. One such quote was: In July 1906, the Washington Post recommended Planter's Punch as "something cool, something novel enough to excite interest, and above all something that will quench thirst." In my insomniatic state, I read that as "something novel enough to excite incest," which would be one heck of an endorsement. I love how tiki bar menus usually come with a description like, "The Monkey Cooler will have you swinging from the trees- have two and you'll... Read more →

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Oh rickey, you're so fine

Jason Wilson has a nice story in the Washington Post on the rickey cocktail. I didn't realize it was named after a person and invented in DC. He also took a bar tour to taste some local variations of the drink as part of Rickey Month in DC. This one is my favorite: I take my hat off to Justin Guthrie, bar manager at Central and winner of the rickey contest, who made a delicious black pepper-lime soda, simply mixed with gin over ice, that also ratcheted up the rickey's flavor quotient. Mmm, pepper. Read more →

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Booze stats

Nick Passmore has a big story in Businessweek on who is drinking what where in the world. He's also got a run-down of the most popular spirits in several different countries here. A few quotes I found interesting: By far the most popular category of liquor in the world was vodka (3.7 billion liters), thanks to Russia's immense appetite for the stuff, followed by whiskey (2.1 billion liters). Sales of Scotch in China grew tenfold from 2002 to 2007. The U.S. is also, and somewhat surprisingly, the largest market for cognac. In contrast, the French, while embracing Scotch, have fallen... Read more →

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Technology vs. Terroir

In Lawrence Osbourne's The Accidental Connoisseur he discusses California wine history and how innovation was the name of the game. Initially the producers in America believed that modern technology could win over old-world techniques and produce better wines. The technology developed (and still is developing) to improve wines or to match specific popular flavor profiles. Later, some vineyards began introducing old-world concepts like closer row spacing that would necessitate hand-harvesting, and delicate presses to replicate hand-pressing. He visited Opus One and found that at the heart of the high-tech operation they were using old, labor-intensive operations to actually produce the... Read more →

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