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May 2013

Always-mobbed pizza-and-cocktail hotspot Beretta in San Francisco has released a round of spring drinks added to the menu. I have already had the Grand Larceny twice it was so good. Grand Larceny at Beretta. Photo: Wes Rowe Port of Spain (Dominic Alling)mezcal, lime, orgeat, angostura Spent some of my childhood growing up in the capital city of Port of Spain where my family is from. My mom would give me shots of Angostura as a child whenever I had an upset stomach. This drink uses a heavy dosage of ango, half an ounce to be exact, but is balanced out... Read more →

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

The Drunken Botanist: The Plants that Create the World's Great Drinks by Amy Stewart is a truly impressive and important book that I'll be referring to for years to come. The book is an entertaining encyclopedia of the plants that are used in fermentation and distillation, in flavoring spirits, and in accenting cocktails. Though botany is the primary focus, Stewart also explains how these ingredients are used in spirits and how fermentation, distillation, and different sorts of infusion work mechanically. From the first chapter on agave I knew the book would be revealing. Though I've been to Mexico a bunch... Read more →

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

Another useful resource in my exploration of water in spirits and cocktails is Darcy O'Neil's book Fix the Pumps. The book focusses on the history and mechanics of the pre-Prohibition soda fountain. Though largely filled with information on sodas, it includes a chapter and some recipes on mineral waters. Before global shipping became easy, soda fountains made their own soda and mineral waters, with the carbonation being the main attraction. Here are a few things I learned from the book: Club Soda is a trademarked brand. Seltzer water was a brand but is now generic. Carbonation's sensation on the tongue... Read more →

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

In my research on the Paloma I have come across many variations on the drink, so I thought I'd link to them here. Typically the Paloma is made with tequila (always use 100% agave!), grapefruit soda such as Squirt or Jarritos, a squeeze of a lime wedge and a pinch of salt. Esquire's standard recipe is here. A version using fresh grapefruit and soda water is here. Here are some Paloma variations from around the internet. Blood Orange and Thyme Paloma by Airda Molenkamp [recipe] Nuestra Paloma by Thad Vogler of Beretta, SF. It contains St. Germain, bitters, Cointreau, and... Read more →

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

One of Alcademics' readers figured out a simple way to make perfectly clear ice balls by using a silicon ice ball mold, a piece of wire, and a pot of water. His name is Craig Belon and so he calls it the Belon Method. No actual parrots are required. [update: Check out easier ways to make clear ice balls at the Index of Ice Experiments] Artwork by Craig Belon, as are all photos in this post except the next one. The method is this: 1. Get yourself a silicone ice ball tray like this one that comes in a pack... Read more →

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

In the Water Project here on Alcademics, I'm looking at what is in commercial brands of sparkling mineral waters and reconstructing them. To do so, first I looked at how to get all the dissolved solids out of tap water. Then I measured properties of commercial mineral waters - pH and dissolved solids- and compared them with publicly available information. The next step was to examine what each mineral in mineral water tasted like on its own. Again referring to the information on Khymos.org, I could see that the primary minerals in mineral water are Calcium, Sodium, Magnesium, and Potassium.... Read more →

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

I am now writing for FSR Magazine, an industry magazine for full service restaurants. In my first feature I tackle the topic of why a head bartender is essential to a successful cocktail program. If a drink menu is out-of-date or overly-simplistic and the bartenders can’t speak intelligently about the cocktails, I know two things about a restaurant: That there is no lead bartender in place, and that I’ll be ordering a beer. In ths story I write about promoting-and retaining- lead bartenders. I interviewed Leo Robitschek from Eleven Madison Park and Benjamin Schiller of Chicago's Boka Restaurant Group. Read... Read more →

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