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September 2009
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November 2009

October 2009

Glossy Booze is a regular Alcademics feature in which I cover the liquor coverage in glossy magazines. Bon Appetit (October)lists a recipe for the Highland's Fall from Peter Vestinos, available here. Also, a story on dry cider and one on dessert wines. In November St. John Frizell has a recipe for the coffee/rum drink Koffie Van Brunt. Everyday With Rachael Ray (October) has a story on "gum cocktails"- not something you get at Tailor, but combining flavors of gum to make new flavors. GQ (September) had a big feature on the six best drinking cities in the US. They were... Read more →

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

G'Vine gin is sponsoring a big contest for bartenders here, but even non-professionals may want to do the online study part to learn more about the history and production of gin, spirits tasting, and cocktail development philosophy. The contest was developed by Philip Duff of door74 in Amsterdam, my favorite bar I've never been to. This contest emphasizes not just G'Vine's production, but that of other brands, with the goal being to create or reward an international gin connoisseur/ambassador. (There are quizzes, and essay, and cocktail creation portions of the exams.) At a contest briefing in San Francisco, they told... Read more →

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

During Whisky Week in San Francisco I attended a tasting session in Elixir's classroom space hosted by Gardner Dunn for Yamazaki Whisky. One thing that makes Yamazaki unique is that they use five kinds of barrels from three types of wood in their single malts. We were able to taste a 12-year-old whisky aged in each of American, Spanish (ex-sherry), and Japanese oak to compare. The Japanese oak has a dryer, sandalwood-spice (and "green olive felt" according to my tasting notes that make sense only to me) character that carries through to the final blend. We talk about Scottish whiskies... Read more →

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

I met with a stack of Bowmore scotch whisky folks for lunch and a tasting at One Market: Eddie MacAffer, Distillery Manager, Andrew Rankin, Master Blender and Operations Director, Jamie MacKenzie, Regional Manager, plus Robin Coupar, US Brand Manager for several of the whiskies in the Skyy Spirits portfolio. Bowmore is an Islay whisky and one of only five remaining in Scotland where they malt their own barley. (Not all of it, but they say more than most.) Malting is process of preparing grain for fermentation. Barley is brought in, soaked in water to begin the process of germination, then... Read more →

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

The hardest part about judging cocktail contests is going out drinking with the contestants afterward. Monday evening I helped judge, along with Carlos Yturria and David Nepove, the Laphroaig cocktail contest at Rye in San Francisco. I had a feeling bartenders were going to bring their A-game to this contest and I was correct (as usual!). All of the top five drinks were contest-winning quality, which made choosing between them very difficult. It also made going out barhopping with the non-winners slightly uncomfortable (luckily, there were drinks to fix this), as explaining why you chose one awesome drink over another... Read more →

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

I received a copy of the new book edited by whiskey superstar Charles Maclean, World Whiskey . The book was released by publishing house DK that is known for their heavily illustrated books, and this one is no exception. Most of the book is bottle shots, information, and one-sentence tasting notes per each of over 700 whiskies mentioned. In between is information on things like blended malts, whiskey glassware, independent bottlers, spotlights on a few of the larger distillers, and whiskey tours- maps of where distilleries are located in different regions around the world. I was impressed by the number... Read more →

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

Over the history of cocktails, certain flavors have become trendy during particular years. First the cocktail was invented, then the "fancy" cocktail, then the "improved" cocktail. These variations added liqueurs like curacao, maraschino, and absinthe to the regular formula. In the early 1900's, grenadine was all the rage and suddenly you'd find a splash of it in all the drinks. A hundred years later, the same thing happens and I run around and try to document it. In 2007 and 2008, what cocktail menu didn't suddenly have three drinks with St. Germain on it? We're currently seeing a revival in... Read more →

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