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November 2010
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January 2011

December 2010

In November I visited seven tequila distilleries in Mexico. Here are some pictures and notes from my visit to theHerradura distillery in the town of Amatitan. (Here they split the agave in two before baking.) (The magic of Herradura is that it ferments naturally- no yeast is added.) (Sleeping tequila.) Agave grows for 7-10 years before harvesting Jimadors work for 6 hours a day and harvest about 120 plants They use clay/brick ovens, each one holding about 48 tons Agave cooks for 26 hours then cools for 24 They use a rollermill to shred the agave after cooking, then a... Read more →

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In September 2010 I visited several sherry bodegas. Here are pictures and a few notes from Bodegas Osborne. (The logo for Osborne is the silhouette of a bull. You see it all around.) (This is barrel with a clear end so you can see how flor (a layer of yeast) lives on top of the sherry. The yeast consumes nutrients in the alcohol, and also protects it from oxidation in fino and manzanilla sherries.) (Aging sherry.) (After the Osborne bodega visit, some local food to soak up the sherry.) Huge company with biggest selling products port, water, ham, etc. Their... Read more →

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Blackbird is the little bar that could. Located near Church and Market Streets at the edge of the Castro district in San Francisco, the bar has a mixed straight and gay clientele. Though most gay bars have cocktail lists, they're pretty much all written by the distributors in the formula of flavored vodka + citrus modifier + filler. But Blackbird has made an effort to embrace better cocktails from opening day when they could probably make a larger profit selling flavored Cosmos and Mojitos. Beyond that they took everyone by surprise when they became the first bar in the city... Read more →

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

In November I visited seven tequila distilleries in Mexico. Here are some pictures and notes from my visit to the Jose Cuervo distillery in the town of Tequila. (First we visited an agave field.) (The jimador harvested the agave plant to get the pina, or pineapple, center.) (I planted my own agave from the cuttings of a mother plant. I'll need to go back there in 7 or so years and drink that sucker.) (After harvesting, they load the agave pinas into the ovens. I didn't notice at the time, but it appears they put the whole agaves into the... Read more →

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

In September 2010 I visited several sherry bodegas. Here are pictures and a few notes from Bodegas Grupo Estevez. (Sherry sleeping peacefully in the bodega.) (One of the warehouses is named for flamenco dancer Lola Flores.) (Horse stables and ring behind the bodegas. Jerez is home to flamenco, dancing horses, and sherry.) (The interior is a fancy place with fine art and marble statues.) Tio Mateo, Agostino, Tesoro, La Gita are some of their brands They used to have several bodegas, centralized them all to the one we visited 20 years ago One bodega named after flamenco dancer Lola Flores... Read more →

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Winter Cocktail Menus in San Francisco

Below are new menus for cocktail bars in San Francisco. Rickhouse (New menu goes live Friday, Dec 17.) Bar Manager Trevor Easter says of his new menu, " Living in California (specifically coastal towns) I'm not familiar with actual extreme season changes. So I felt it wasn't fair to the rest of the country that actually has snow and blazing heat to act like we are suffering through the same changes. "I specifically wanted to stick to drinks that either contain familiar flavors like baking spices that tend to exist in our meals around the holidays, and or drinks that... Read more →

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

Last week in Louisville, Kentucky with Four Roses bourbon I stopped in to a few bars, most notably Proof on Main and 732 Social (twice). Proof on Main was our last stop on the first night so it was empty besides our group and local cocktail consultant Josh Durr, who joined for a nightcap. 732 Social, which we also hit at the end of the shift on the first night then again for dinner the next, has seriously sexy ice. Here are their current cocktail menus, pasted from their respective websites. 732 Social Bronx Cocktail Plymouths Gin, Vya sweet Vermouth,Vya... Read more →

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

In November I visited seven tequila distilleries in Mexico. Here are some pictures and notes from my visit to the Cazadores and Corzo distillery in the town of Arandas. (Autoclaves cook agave much faster than traditional brick/clay ovens.) (It's a huge operation here. The liquids travel in pipes through a tunnel beneath a road separating parts of the distillery.) (Stainless steel stills.) In 1922 the recipe for Cazadores reposado was created They process 200 tons of agave per day in the distillery The autoclaves cook agave for 10 hours at 120 Celsius. Soon they're reducing the cooking time to 8... Read more →

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