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June 2011

When I was in Florence with Bombay Sapphire, we had an education session by Luca Picchi. Picchi has taken it upon himself to study the history of the Negroni cocktail and the man who inspired its creation. He published a book, "Sulle Tracce Del Conte" about the life of Cammillo Negroni. The book has been translated into English and may be available at Tales of the Cocktail this year (Picchi will be there) if they settle some international copyright issues. According to Picchi, Negroni was an Italian playboy who fathered an illegitimate child and decided it was best to skedaddle.... Read more →

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As we know, the Americano begat the Negroni when the bartender replaced the soda water in the drink with gin for Count Cammillo Negroni. Then supposedly another bartender mistakenly poured prosecco into a Negroni instead of gin, and the Negroni Sbagliato was born. (Image courtesy of Campari.) I think if that happened to me (though I can't imagine how I'd confuse gin with sparkling wine) I would still name the drink the Deluxe Americano (or its Italian equivalent) as it seems more true to that recipe than to the Negroni. But I don't make the cocktail naming rules, yet. Anyway,... Read more →

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

Cocktail Menu: Belden Taverna in San Francisco

Victoria D'Amato-Moran is the new bar manager at Belden Taverna on Belden Lane in San Francisco. Here is her menu, containing a few classics and a whole lot of homemade syrups. Belden Taverna Cocktails ~*~On the Stem~*~ ~ Carciofi de Aperitivi~ Cynar, Pineapple Juice, Cherry Syrup, Rhubarb Bitters , Lemon Juice ~Negroni~ Gin, Campari, Sweet Vermouth, Orange ~Brandy Crusta~ Brandy, Lemon, Cointreau, Bitters ~Tutti Santi~ Campari, Vodka, House Made Morello Cherry Syrup, Grapefruit Juice, Lemon Juice ~Tuaca Sour~ Tuaca, Ginger Liquer Lemon, Sugar, Egg White ~*~ Over Ice~*~ ~Alley Cat Cobbler~ Sherry, Sugar, Orange, Mixed Berries, Cinnamon Tincture ~Summer Swing~... Read more →

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

In Tuscany on a botanical trip with Bombay Sapphire, we learned how the orris root is grown and processed to use in the gin. Orris root is the rhizome of the Iris flower. Here in Tuscany they are grown on sloping hills between rows of olive trees. Nice space. These iris flowers are not grown for their beauty, unlike other iris varieties, but for the quality of their rhizomes. The rhizomes are bulbs on the base of the plants. Skinny roots shoot off the rhizomes. These are cut off. The plant tops, with a tiny portion of the rhizome attached,... Read more →

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

In May I visited Italy to learn more about the botanicals used in Bombay Sapphire. From Tuscany they get both the juniper berries and orris used in the gin. In the rolling hills of Tuscany at high elevations where there are few trees and many wildflowers are found the juniper bushes. They're kind of ugly, sprawling little bushes. They're full of clusters of berries- more than I'd expect. We were there during the off season, so not many are the blue color of ripe berries. Juniper is harvested by hand, using wide round baskets and short sticks. They stick the... Read more →

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

And the Nominees Are

Hooray! I am a finalist in the Tales of the Cocktail Spirits Awards for Best Cocktail Writing. This is my second time being nominated for this award. Here's the full press release: Nominee Finalist for the Tales of the Cocktail® 5th Annual Spirited Awards™ New Orleans, LA - June 1, 2011 -- Nominees have been chosen by a group of esteemed members of the cocktail industry for the prestigious Spirited Awards™. The Ceremony will be held in New Orleans on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater, as part of the international festival, Tales of the Cocktail® have... Read more →

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

One would think that the Singapore Sling served at the site of its creation, the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, would be the best version ever. Alas, when I was there a couple of years ago for a Cherry Heering competition the bartenders were using a mix to make the drink. And as much as I like free drinks, I could only stand to have one of them. So in this week's column for Fine Cooking, I post a recipe for the Sling to make at home. Go get some! (Photo courtesy of Cherry Heering.) Read more →

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