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August 2009

Two New Contests for Consumers

TravelOregon is sponsoring an essay contest in which the winner gets an all-expenses-paid "cuisinternship" in one of seven professions, including brewmaster, chef, rancher, winemaker, and distiller. Sweet! Contest entries (you have to make a video) due Sept 18th. Details here. To launch Martini & Rossi’s new Sparkling Rosé, they're giving away a 3-night spa weekend in New York City, so this is kind of the opposite contest. I'm not sure when the contest ends, but all you need to do is sign up here. Read more →

Bartenders Hitting Their Hoes

For some reason, the San Francisco Chronicle didn't choose the above title for my story that comes out Sunday August 30th. I can't think of why. More bars growing own cocktail ingredients Camper English, Special to The ChronicleFriday, August 28, 2009 Victoria D'Amato-Moran grows tomatoes, Asian pears, Fuji apples, blackberries, roses and many herbs in her South San Francisco garden. Sooner or later, everything in it winds up in her cocktails. "Except the zucchinis," she says. "I haven't figured out how to use those yet." The Bay Area has long been home to the farm-forward cocktail movement - initially personified... Read more →

Does Distilled Water Freeze Clearer than Tap Water?

In my last set of icesperiments, I froze, melted, and refroze (tap) water to see if it became clearer on successive refreezings. It did not. This time I compared tap water with distilled water to see if one would freeze more clearly than the other. I froze it, then melted and refroze it four more times. Though neither froze super clear, there were differences: The tap water seems to freeze either clear or not clear, where the distilled water freezes in more of a bubble starburst. But in the end I'd say there's not enough of a difference to matter.... Read more →

Gin Definitions

A few months back I attended a seminar hosted by Plymouth and Beefeater gins. This was held on the same day the new EU definition of London gin became law. The law sets down three categories of gin by production method- not by flavor. They are: Gin- Can be basically vodka with flavors added at bottling time. Distilled Gin - Flavors are distilled with the neutral spirit, then additional flavors may be added after distillation. London Gin - Flavors (must be natural, not artificial) are distilled with the neutral spirit, then nothing may be added after distillation except more neutral... Read more →

SFO <- -> OAK

It's time for Bay Area residents to start making plans for Labor Day weekend Sept 4-7. Why? Because the Bay Bridge will be closed for seismic upgrades. This is not a bad thing at all: BART will run trains 24 hours during the interruption, and that means drinkers can party in either city and get back home safely. For city residents, a visit to Oakland is probably long overdue. I know it is for me. Here are some suggestions of places to visit from my own "bars to visit" spreadsheet. (Of course I have one, don't you?) Camino: A restaurant... Read more →

Alcademics Giveaway: The Bubbly Bar

I'll be giving away five copies of Maria Hunt's book The Bubbly Bar: Champagne and Sparkling Wine Cocktails for Every Occasion . To be eligible to win, just sign up for the Alcademics A-Plus email list here. I'll pick a random winner from the list later this week. Author Maria Hunt is responsible for the website TheBubblyGirl.com. She's also a CIA-certified wine professional and freelance writer. I first met her when we judged a champagne cocktail competition together. The Bubbly Bar, which comes out August 25th, is a recipe book for cocktails made with champagne, other sparkling wines, and sparkling... Read more →

Does Refreezing Ice Make it Clearer?

I am trying a series of experiments to find the best and most practical way to make clear ice in my home freezer. Future experiments include distilled vs. tap water, boiled vs. not boiled, hot vs. cold water, different shapes of containers, etc. For this experiment, I started with plain tap water. I then froze it, took a picture, let it thaw back into liquid, and repeated the process. The test was to see if freezing and refreezing tap water would make it become clearer on successive freezings (due to the release of oxygen trapped in the ice) each time.... Read more →