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November 2011

Cocktail Menu: Jimmy at The James in New York City

Here is the menu from Jimmy, a bar on the 18th story of the James hotel in SOHO, NYC. I see: pumpernickel salt, cinnamon ice block, and one drink with beer, moonshine, orgeat, and Coke. What? It's hard to guess how these drinks taste from the menu as there are a lot of sweet flavors involved but a delicate hand can work wonders. Let me know if you've been there. SPECIALTY COCKTAILS HUDSON VALLEY HI-BALLL aird's Applejack, Bison Grass Vodka, lime, cranberry juice with a splash of gingerale, garnished with an apple slice and thyme $17 GRAPES OF WRATH Crop... Read more →

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Japanese Whisky Backgrounder

This November I visited Japan courtesy of Suntory whisky. It was an amazing trip and I've got a lot to share over a few blog posts. The History of Whisky in Japan After US Navy Commodore Matthew Perry helped open Japan to the West in the 1850s, there was a trend of the Japanese making fake foreign products including whisky. These were not whisky. But in 1918 Masatake Taketsuru, a Japanese chemist, visited Scotland and trained at several distilleries. After he returned to Japan, Shinjiro Torii (I would guess his name is the basis of the company name Suntory) provided... Read more →

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Book Review: Drinking Japan

I received a copy of Drinking Japan: A Guide to Japan's Best Drinks and Drinking Establishments by Chris Bunting a few months before I visited the country. The book is useful even if you have no intentions to do so. The majority of the book is reviews of 122 bars in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and other cities. Most reviews are given a full page with pictures. It is divied into sections and bar reviews by the type of drink: sake, shochu, awamori, beer, whisky, and wine. There are also sections in bar etiquette, styles of bars, liquors stores, etc. There... Read more →

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New Bar in San Francisco: Azucar Lounge

Currently in soft-opening mode with the official opening this Thursday Nov 17th is Azucar Lounge, brought to you by Jon Ojinaga, formerly the beverage then food/beverage manager of the Redwood Room at the Clift Hotel. The space is the former Shadow Lounge (and several other bars before it) location at Ninth Street and Folsom in SOMA, San Francisco. The corner cantina is outfitted for comfort, with lots of sofas and plush chairs for seating. There is a small room with a another couch off to the side that can be reserved for parties of 20 or so people. There is... Read more →

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Cocktail Preview: Plum Bar in Oakland, California

Plum Bar, located next to Plum, opens tonight in Oakland. The drinks are by Scott Beattie, he of Cyrus/SpoonBar and Artisanal Cocktails fame. The Bar Manager is Michael Lazar, co-author of Left Coast Libations . The space is one long bar with a good amount of room for standing between it and the wall behind, plus a small back area with couches. With the quality of both the food and drinks I tried, I think this is going to be a very popular bar. I went for a press preview night and tried some of the drinks. Overall they are... Read more →

Get Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF.