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September 2008

Bay Area's best mixologists leaving bars for brands Camper English, Special to The Chronicle Friday, September 19, 2008 While you're still likely to run into many of San Francisco's best mixologists in the usual cocktail hot spots, increasingly they'll be standing on the other side of the bar. That's because many local bartenders have accepted full- or part-time positions as spirits brand ambassadors, bar consultants and sales representatives. David Nepove, Jon Santer, Jacques Bezuidenhout and Todd Smith are some of the top talent who are working behind the stick one night per week, if that. Even more are bartending three... Read more →

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Check it

As you read this, I am in Bardstown, Kentucky. Yeehaw, y'all. But I have a story in today's San Francisco Chronicle on bartenders who are no longer bartending. Controversy! Run screaming to your local newsstand to pick up the story (with exciting graphics, they assure me), or scroll down on this link and look for it. Read more →

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If you're in San Francisco, pick up this week's SF Bay Guardian newspaper, as I have a story in it on new booze I like, including Plymouth Sloe Gin, Remy Marin 1989 Cognac, Square One Cucumber Vodka, Pisco 100, Dimmi Liqueur, Tequila Ocho, Pernod Absinthe, Old Forester Repeal Bourbon, and Loft Liqueurs Tengerine Cello. Read more →

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It's time for the monthly-or-so round-up of booze stories in glossy magazines. In Tasting Panel, an industry magazine to which I'm a regular contributor, I have three stories in the September issue: One on Tales of the Cocktail, a quick blurb on Appleton and Kobrand, and a story on savory cocktails with quotes from Jackie Patterson formerly of Orson in San Francisco, and Stephen Kowalczuk of Room at Twelve in Atlanta. Bon Appetit (October) has a recipe for the Moscow Mule and a round-up of ten wine bars. There is also a largeish feature on blended whiskies that I don't... Read more →

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Celebrity booze

In today's Washington Post, Jason Wilson discusses celebrity booze- brands by Willie Nelson, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, Danny DeVito, Donald Trump, Sammy Hagar, Vince Neil, Marilyn Manson, and Lil John. He also talks about cocktails named after celebrities, like the not-so-delicious Paris Hilton, MC Hammer, and Flava Flav. As usual, a fun read. I still think a bar or crafty manager at Planet Hollywood should rotate their drink menu to match the celebrity news of the day. So one day you might get the LoSam Kiss made with vanilla vodka, ginger ale, and two cherries, and another day you'd get... Read more →

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I would like to organize my liquor cabinets (I'm up to six now) by spirit, but that's just not possible anymore. Not because I have so many of each, but because brands are all competing to have the tallest bottle on the shelf. I only have a couple of extra-high shelves so these all go there and screw up the organizational system. Frustrating! They achieve their heights without increasing the volume of the liquid inside in a number of crafty ways. Some, like Pallini liqueurs and Pinky vodka, just make a really long neck. Some, like Luxardo maraschino liqueur, use... Read more →

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The announcement that the Wall Street Journal was starting a wine club got me thinking: There sure are a lot of publications with wine clubs these days. In the UK, there is the Sunday Times Wine Club, but as with many of these clubs, the connection to the publication in the name is unclear. Like the Wall Street Journal's wine club, this one doesn't link to the original publication. There is also the Official Courier Newspaper Wine Club somewhere in the UK I think, but since it doesn't link to the Courier Newspaper (not an uncommon name) I'm not sure... Read more →

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The three tier system: necessary?

This story in the Modesto Bee discusses the three tier system that keeps alcohol producers, distributors, and retailers legally separated. The story is concerned with all the exceptions that have to be granted to the law each year, such as: When, for instance, the Bronfman liquor family (Seagram's) bought Universal Studios some years back, it had to obtain a tied-house law exemption because Universal City restaurants sold liquor. When movie director Francis Ford Coppola, who owned a winery, wanted to open a restaurant, he had to do the same. And the argument here is that the law is silly because... Read more →

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