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November 2008
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January 2009

December 2008

I had drinks the other week with Robin Coupar, the US brand manager for The Glenrothes. I've sampled The Glenrothes at various whisky events in the past and noticed that they vintage date their expressions, but hadn't thought much about what that means. It means a few things. What follows is a whole lot of blather about that. Most major single-malts are dated by age- they have 12-year, 18-year, 20-year, or other expressions. This means that the whisky in them is at minimum the age on the label, but usually has a lot of older stuff mixed in to help... Read more →

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New Year's Eve Events

Since I was getting many press releases for New Year's Events, I started putting them together on one page- it's over on the right under "Hot Links," or you can just click here. I'm not trying to cover everything, but taking the lazy approach and putting up the listings for events sent to me in email. I'll add to the list as mail comes in. I"m focusing on San Francisco events, since it's close. To list your event, Contact me with the basics. Read more →

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The Searchable Savoy

Conventional cocktail book indexes are poor substitutions for databases, because in very of few of them can you look up a drink by ingredient. And when you can, it's only by base ingredient- gin, vodka, etc., instead of the mixer or modifier. I often want to look up drinks with ingredients like grapefruit juice or Creme Yvette, so this doesn't help. Most online drink databases, on the other hand, are easily searchable but have too many drinks and no credits attached to the recipes. So you get 300 versions of the drink but don't know if someone just made it... Read more →

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I recently spoke with Erik Adkins (Slanted Door, Flora) who is the bar manager of the soon-to-open Charles Phan (Slanted Door's chef/owner) restaurant next to the Soma Grand building on Mission Street. After much wavering on the name (the code name was "Phantom" at one point, get it), they seem to have settled on Heaven's Dog. That's pretty rock and roll. Also great is the list of bartenders who've signed on to take shifts at the place: Thad Vogler (Slanted Door, Jardiniere, Beretta, the forthcoming Agricole) Eric Johnson (Eastside West, Bourbon & Branch, Beretta) Jackie Patterson (Orson, Zinnia) Jennifer Colliau... Read more →

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Congratulations to San Francisco's Neyah White, who took home the top prize at the 2008 Vinos de Jerez Cocktail Competition with his Sherry Shrub. As we know, a shrub usually equals vinegar plus a fruit of some sort. I don't know what the other ingredients were in the drink but hopefully they'll be published soon. Neyah beat out contestants from six states, including fellow San Franciscan Joel Baker who makes a mean sherry cocktail himself. Neyah wins cash (a rare treat in these things), a scholarship to the B.A.R. program next September in New York, and trip to Jerez in... Read more →

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Moet & Chandon has a new service where you can bedazzle your bottle with Swarovski crystals for gifting or keeping. You can choose from a 750ml or 1.75 liter bottle and a couple of types of champagne, and pick one or (on the 1.75) two lines of text up to seven letters each. Bottles are ready in three business days and shipped from New York. The price starts at around $100. At the MyMoet website, you can play with the application and see how it looks. Here's a bottle I made. I also made some others with swear words, because... Read more →

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Gift Week on Alcademics continues with Frivolous Friday- the day for expensive and awesome stuff! Eventually you fill all of your kitchen cabinets and need to start storing bottles in the living room, which is where this Modine Bar from Pottery Barn comes in. It has hidden wheels, a built-in drip tray, and stores tons of booze as well as bartending accessories and glassware. Be sure to order it by December 15th to get it to my house by Christmas. Want something a little smaller? Then how about this three-pack of Dom Perignon? It has one each of Dom PĂ©rignon... Read more →

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We interrupt Gift Week on Alcademics for a very special announcement. The second installment of the Fifth Floor's "Three on Five" pairing battle will take place next week! For a chance to win TWO tickets to this event, see below. On Wednesday, December 17th at 7:30PM, a new pairing challenge will take place at the Fifth Floor Restaurant. Like gladiators with glassware, three beverage experts will compete to see who can pair wine or beer or cocktails better with food. Last month the Fifth Floor's Master Sommelier Emily Wines emerged victorious. This month she faces two new and ferocious competitors,... Read more →

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