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December 2012

AQ has launched their winter cocktail menu. I see: infused vermouth, redwood tincture, Fool's Wager. Looks goood. Menu below. Aperitifs TEN DOLLARS CHURCHILL’S BANE winter gin botanical infused vermouth juniper tincture, lemon twist PISCO TI PUNCH pisco, lime, rose, sugar Seasonal Classics TWELVE DOLLARS OLD FASHIONED eagle rare bourbon, (winter bitters) sugar, twist of lemon MANHATTAN (citrus infused bourbon) sweet vermouth, angostura bitters SAZERAC (cacao nib infused rye) sugar, peychaud’s bitters (green chartreuse) RED *WOOD* HOOK « courtesy Enzo Errico » rye whiskey, punt e mes (redwood tincture) maraschino cherry liqueur OVERPROOF GIN MARTINI choice of a navy strength gin:... Read more →

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After reviewing the literature of grenadine in cocktails, I have a few observations. Grenadine Use Was Probably Influenced by Europe We know that pomegranates had been grown in the US since the 1700s, and that they were grown commercially before 1917. But as far as I can see, grenadine as a cocktail ingredient really came from Europe. They were certainly more familiar with it there (and we'll see in a future post how this figured into an important court case about whether grenadine needed to contain pomegranate at all). From a journal called The Chautauquan, a monthly magazine in 1894,... Read more →

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When was grenadine first used in cocktails? I thought this would be a simple question to answer, but not so much. Along the way to figuring this out, I've had to split up this one blog post into several. First we'll look at the cocktail books from 1862 - 1930 and see where grenadine is called for in recipes. Then we'll try to draw some conclusions from that. And then we'll look into what the grenadine that bartenders were using really was: made from fresh pomegranate or artificially-flavored? So let's get busy. From Nowhere to Everywhere In Jerry Thomas' How... Read more →

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A "drink-through" is when you drink all of the cocktails on a menu to see what they're like. I didn't quite do a true drink-through at Rich Table, the newish restaurant in Hayes Valley, San Francisco, as I only had 8 out of the 11 drinks on the menu. I'm a lightweight I guess. As mentioned previously, the cocktails here are developed by Jason "Buffalo" LoGrasso. Here are some fun facts I learned while drinking through the menu: LoGrasso doesn't believe in always listing every ingredient in a cocktail on the menu. The Lands End, for example, only lists two... Read more →

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My latest post for the Details.com Daily Blog is about acid phosphate and its popularity in cocktails. I mention Darcy O'Neil's Fix the Pumps book, of course, as well as his line of acid phosphate and lactart. I name-check a few bars serving acid phosphate drinks as well, including: The Ice Cream Bar in San Francisco The Franklin Fountain in Philadelphia Honor Kitchen & Cocktails in Emeryville Russell House in Cambridge, Mass Still & Stir in Worcester, Mass Anyway, check out the post on acid phosphate over at Details.com! Read more →

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This post is sponsored by PAMA pomegranate liqueur and written by me. In a previous post I tried to come up with a definition of a modifier, finding that others didn't match my expectations. I proposed the following: A modifier is a cocktail ingredient, usually alcoholic and typically a fortified wine or a liqueur, that both softens the base spirit and adds flavor to the drink. In-demand modifiers change over time. After the original cocktail (spirit, sugar, water, bitters) was created, the modifiers orange curacao, absinthe, and maraschino liqueur created the new categories of "improved" and "fancy" cocktails. These three... Read more →

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In the December issue of Oakland Magazine, I have a short piece about Japanese drinking culture in Oakland. The story is centered on UmamiMart, the online and brick-and-mortar shop selling Japanese bar (and kitchen) tools. I also mention big ice (of course) at places like Prizefighter, and Japanese whisky like Yamazaki, Hibiki, and Hakushu at the traditional Ippuku and at Acme bar. The magazine is available for reading in one of those online reader formats. The link is here and the story is on page 21-22. If you like Japanese whisky and bars, here are some other blog posts I... Read more →

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