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November 2012

In 2011 I visited the Cointreau distillery in Angers, France. I wrote about that here. After I returned I realized I had a few more questions. Luckily, Cointreau's Master Distiller Bernadette Langlais was in San Francisco last night so I had a chance to clarify some questions about the centrifuge part of the process. To recap, Cointreau is made by steeping orange peels in high-proof neutral beet sugar alcohol and distilling it. This 'raw alcoholate' is reduced with water, centrifuged, then reduced with more water, more neutral alcohol, and sugar before filtration and bottling. The centrifuge step was curious to... Read more →

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

Philip Greene's book To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion was released last week. It is full of good stuff. The book is organized by cocktail, and for each one it tells the story of how the characters in Hemingway's books consumed the drink, or how Hemingway himself consumed the drinks based on information from his letters. It ends up being a Cliffs Notes study of Hemingway's books and life through the lens of the cocktails in them. We learn a lot about the man in the process and just how fussy he was when it came to... Read more →

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

Balance in Cocktails

This post is sponsored by PAMA pomegranate liqueur. Typically when we talk about balance in cocktails, we're talking about the balance between sweet and sour. We'll leave the talk about balance between strong and weak for another time. The category of 'sours' in cocktails (which should really be called 'sweet and sours' but whatevs) is enormous and includes pretty much every drink with citrus juice. This includes the Margarita, Cosmopolitan, Pisco Sour, White Lady, Daiquiri, and so on. Sour ingredients include lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, and pomegranate juices, but other ingredients are acidic as well. Michael Lazar measured the pH... Read more →

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

In my latest post for Details.com, I talk about the Negroni. That poor cocktail is less famous than the Martini and Manhattan, yet suffers more at the hand of bartenders. "Everywhere you look, the Negroni is being deconstructed, smoked, solidified, gelatinized, flamed, dehydrated, foamed, carbonated, frozen, clarified, and subjected to other forms of mixological torture." The story then goes on to describe some bars in which the Negroni is currently being tortured. Check it out on Details.com! Smoky Negroni at Hakkasan Read more →

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

As I mentioned in a post about my visit to Laphraoig, only a few scotch whisky distilleries do their own malting. Floor malting is the historic technique of preparing barley for fermentation; turning it into malted barley. Most of the 100 distilleries in Scotland purchase malted barley from commercial malting plants, and most (all?) of the distilleries that do floor malting also purchase additional malt from commercial malters. Read more about floor maltings here. Today I just read about another scotch whisky distillery re-starting their floor malting, so I thought it would be good to create a list. Distilleries that... Read more →

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

A few weeks back I was talking to Charles Joly, beverage director of The Aviary in Chicago, about ice. (This happens a lot.) We were talking about the cooler method I use to make clear ice. The Aviary has a Clinebell machine that makes 300 pound blocks of sexy, clear ice that they then cut up into various shapes for drinks, so they don't need to use the slow-ass cooler method, BUT they also have a blast freezer. I'd always wondered if you could make clear ice fast using the cooler method in a blast freezer, and luckily Joly was... Read more →

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

I keep seeing bottles with oversized labels. The most common is Angostura Bitters, which was created that way by accident. (The full explanation is here.) The other bitters with an oversized label (typically consumed as a digestif rather than in cocktails) in Underberg. Then there is Basil Hayden's bourbon, which has only a partially oversized label. More recently, this line of wines was produced for Safeway grocery stores. The details on it are in the press release here. And even more recently, I saw this aquavit, which may or may not come from the bar Aqua Vitae in Oslo, Norway.... Read more →

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

Cocktail Menu: Workshop in Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs has a new restaurant and cocktail bar. The website is here and the cocktails are below. CLASSICS 9. AVIATION, gin, fresh lemon juice, maraschino liqueur, crème de violette. around here when the phrase “classic cocktail” is uttered most of us think about this hugo ensslin original created at the hotel wallick in times square and published is his 1916 recipes for mixed drinks. PAINKILLER, silver rum, fresh orange & pineapple juices, house made coconut cream. a traditional favorite coming from tortola in the british virgin islands. “it’ll cure what ails ya, and ail what cures ya”. FOGCUTTER, silver... Read more →

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