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December 2009

Things About Bartending I Did Not Know Until I Tended Bar

Until recently I was one of the most over-trained bartenders who had never really tended bar. I've passed BarSmarts and the full B.A.R., attended zillions of little classes at places like Tales of the Cocktail and Bourbon & Branch's Beverage Academy, watched and reviewed about a dozen bartending DVDs, and even won an online cocktail contest or two. Then a couple weeks ago I actually got behind a bar to work. It was a large private party and I was one of many San Francisco bartenders hired to work the gig. We didn't have to take money, people weren't eating... Read more →

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

Remember in June when I received pretty much the best press kit ever- an empty bottle of liquor? It was from Knob Creek in a press release called "Thanks for Nothing" about the shortage of Knob Creek. They'd run out of barrels of the stuff to bottle. Word on the street is that there were plenty of supplies of it already in bottles so I don't think any stores actually ran out of it, at least not in California, so it was more of a potential shortage than a real one. Anyway, last week I got another package from Knob... Read more →

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

I love eggnog and I don't care who knows it! Below I'll print some eggnog recipes sent in by brands and bartenders. The recipe list will grow and I'll refresh this page with new ones. Feel free to add your recipes in the comments below. A super simple recipe from Van Gogh Vodka: Eggnog Martini 2-1/2 oz Eggnog 1 oz Van Gogh Vanilla Vodka 3/4 oz Amaretto Combine ingredients in shaker and shake over ice. Strain into chilled martini glass. Dust with freshly grated nutmeg or cinnamon. Eggnog from Knob Knob Creek Eggnog 6 large egg yolks ¾ cup sugar... Read more →

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

Last week at the Indy Spirits Expo in San Francisco, I had the chance to try the new Tequila Corrido. The initial launch of this brand is in a few states for now. They're launching with just a blanco and an extra-anejo bottling. The tequila is made at the PRASA distillery in the highlands of Jalisco, where the agave is also harvested. After harvesting, it's cooked in stainless steel ovens, shredded, fermented using "all natural agave yeast", and double-distilled. The blanco ("Christalino") is unaged and tastes of overripe fruit like mango with dry a black pepper finish. It reminds me... Read more →

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

Smuggler's Cove, the San Francisco tiki bar by "Shoeless" Martin Cate, opens in San Francisco on Tuesday, December 8th. I got a sneak preview along with other members of the press on Thursday night. To give you an idea about the level of excitement around this bar opening, some cocktail nerds drove up from Los Angeles or flew down from Portland to witness it in person, assuming they'd see it now before it is packed for the next few months as the very enthusiastic tiki crowd swarms in. Smuggler's Cove has a gorgeous menu featuring 80 mostly rum cocktails and... Read more →

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

I don't think of the spiced rum category as anything too special- it's just rum flavored with things like caramel, vanilla, and chocolate. Todd Thrasher's recipe makes it sound more complex and actually spicy- his homemade version includes ginger, peppercorns, and nutmeg. But honestly I'd rather have additives mixed in the glass rather than the bottle. Of brands on the market I've tried Captain Morgan's, Kilo Kai, and Sailor Jerry. I can't say I love any of them, but then again spiced rum is basically designed to be mixed with Coke and I rarely drink that (and never in a... Read more →

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

Another day, another awesome lunch with a boozemaker: A few weeks ago I had lunch with Richard Paterson, the Master Blender for Whyte & Mackay. White & Mackay is the company that owns The Dalmore and other single and blended scotch whiskies. We didn't get time to discuss whatever exciting things may be happening in the back end of the company, as since 2007 it has been owned by Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya, a guy who wants to get laws changed to be able to sell flavored scotch. (Ain't gonna happen.) The Dalmore is located in the Northern part of... Read more →

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

The Great Tiki War of San Francisco

This week is Tiki Week at Heaven's Dog in San Francisco. Naturally you'll assume that with the opening of tiki bar Smuggler's Cove next week that their evil plan is to run the bar out of business before they even open. It's true! Okay, that's totally not true. In San Francisco everybody is so darn nice to each other that this week's tiki celebration at Heaven's Dog is actually being held in honor of Smuggler's Cove. Hugs! The secondary reason for Heaven's Dog's tiki celebration is a pre-release of two new Small Hand Foods products- the cream of coconut and... Read more →

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