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February 2011

A couple weeks ago I was in Dublin, Ireland with Jameson Irish Whiskey. While there I made sure to check out all the pubs and cocktail bars I could, because that's what I do. My hosts were Aaron Wall on one night and Paul Lambert on another- thanks guys! I was staying at the Fitzwilliam Hotel, so that's where we began, and several other nights in Dublin that's where I ended up. Most of the pubs close early- midnightish- and even the places with late-night licenses were closed during the week, but the hotel will serve you all night long,... Read more →

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I tried to answer that question as best as I could in my recent post for FineCooking.com. Four hundred years ago, the Dutch were some of the world’s greatest traders and, not coincidentally, great distillers. They’d preserve the spices, herbs, and fruit brought home on ships in flavored liqueurs and other spirits. Curacao was one of those liqueurs, flavored with bitter orange peels from the island of the same name. At the time, the liqueur would have had a heavy, pot-distilled brandy as its base. Then the French came along (a couple hundred years later) and invented triple sec. The... Read more →

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

Sherry and tequila are showing up together on more and more cocktail menus. I wrote a story about that in the Sunday, February 20th San Francisco Chronicle. (Del Rio cocktail by Josh Harris of the Bon Vivants. Photo: Craig Lee) More drinks including Tequila and Sherry Camper English, Special to The Chronicle Sherry and Tequila are having a love affair. Bartenders are using more of each ingredient lately, but increasingly you'll see the two sneaking off in a drink together, canoodling in a corner of the cocktail menu. One of the first outward signs of this attraction came in the... Read more →

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

In early February I visited the Jameson Irish Whiskey distillery - actually two of them. The original Jameson distillery is in Dublin, but it is no longer made there. In 1971 it moved to the Midleton distillery in Cork. The reason is because in the late 1960's Irish Distillers was formed, a merger of Jameson, Powers, and Cork distilleries. In Dublin there is a visitors' center and restaurant. We went there first. I've got to admit, they did a really good job making a non-working distillery look working, using dioramas and original distillery parts but with fake ingredients pumping through... Read more →

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Cocktail Menu: Prime Meats in Brooklyn, New York

Here is the cocktail menu of Prime Meats in Brooklyn. For those of you in San Francisco, you can have a taste of a few of the drinks from bartender Damon Boelte, as he's guesting at Beretta on Tuesday, February 22 and at sister restaurant Delarosa on Wednesday, February 23. The Documentary$10 Aged rum lim mint & branca menta rinse Old-Fashioned$9 Rye whiskey & house made bartlett pear bitters Clement's Shrub$13 Bourbon, fig preserves, lemon, cinnamon, apple cider vinegar, apple cider & crackled black pepper Applejack Sazerac$9 Applejack, absinthe, maple syrup & peychaud's bitters The Good Word$12 Unaged wheat whiskey,... Read more →

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Some friends who meditate told me about the movie Into Great Silence, which follows the Carthusian monks of the Grande Chartreuse in the French Alps. As I barely stop talking you can bet they weren't telling me about its depiction of the silent lifestyle of the monks as something of interest, but because there is footage of them making the famous liqueur Chartreuse. So I rented the movie and the bonus disc on Netflix. I fell asleep watching the main disc (twice!) and didn't see anything about the liqueur. But on the bonus disc, which you can rent separately and... Read more →

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

Another magazine I write for that is not usually online is Caviar Affair, for which the tagline is, "Celebrating wordly indulgences and luxury living." That's so *me*, right? Actually it really is, except that other people indulge me in the luxury to which I've become accustomed. Anyhoo, they did put the new issue online. Unlike much of what I write for other publications, there is a definite emphasis in my stories for this magazine on stuff that you can buy, rather than, say, ruminations on flavor combinations and the deeper meaning of cocktail culture. The whole issue online is here.... Read more →

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

Fat-washing is the technique by which bartenders infuse the flavors in fatty substances into alcohol. Usually that's a pork product such as bacon. The meat is put into alcohol and infused for a time, then the liquid is chilled and the fatty part, which floats to the top, removed. The flavor of meaty death stays behind in the liquid. But, vegetalians, it doesn't have to be animal carcass that is washed. Shawn Soole in Victoria, BC, Canada fat-washed a grilled cheese sandwich into Mount Gay rum and made a Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Martini. Read about it here and... Read more →

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