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October 2013

September 2013

I helped judge the San Francisco semi-finals of the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience this week. The competition took place at Tradition in the Tenderloin, and my co-judges were Dave Smith, distiller at St. George Spirits, and Mollie Casey. Director of Spirit and Fortified Wine Sales for The Henry Wine Group. The goal of the contest was to make the best Manhattan variation using Woodford Reserve. Points were given for appeal of the drink, creativity/originality, appearance, and taste. When I think about what makes a Manhattan a Manhattan, I think: Serious, Somewhat Strong, Sweet, Bitter, and Balanced. (Sorry for the cruddy... Read more →

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

Toronto Cocktail Week runs October 1-7, 2013. I'll be there for part of that week and giving three talks at the Drake Hotel, and they're all *free* so come on up! TCW ICE ICE BABY SEMINAR A look at the ice obsession Ice is an element in nearly every cocktail in the world; it's kind of a big deal. But until the mid-1800s, it wasn't a factor in drinks at all. We'll take a look at the history of ice and how it changed cocktails forever, creating the category of Juleps and Cobblers in particular as well as "American drinks"... Read more →

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

Today's post is written by Lou Bustamante. Lou is a contributor to publications including the SF Chronicle, SF Weekly and Wine & Spirits. Taking over a funky neighborhood spot known for its kitschy décor, drag shows, and cheap drinks to turn it into sleek bar led by well-known bartenders requires some brass balls. When Brass Tacks, the bar owned by Anthony Healy-London (of Churchill), Josh McAdam, and Matty Conway (Nopa, Absinthe), took over the former Marlena’s space, the trio worked diplomatically. Getting the blessing from former Marlena’s owner Garry McLain helped, but so did keeping most beers at $5 or... Read more →

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

In my latest post for Details.com I wrote about how we went from 0 to 8 maple-flavored whiskies in no time flat. The piece also looks at the flavored whiskey trend in general that really kicked off with Red Stag then went through cinnamon and honey flavor phases. This fall it's all about maple though. Check out the story here. Related articles Rare Macallan Scotch You Didn't Know Existed How Column Distillation Works: Pot-Column Still Edition Read more →

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

In the industry publication FSR Magazine (as in Full Service Restaurant) I have a story about after-dinner drinks. Finessing the Grand Finale SPIRITS // CAMPER ENGLISH After-dinner drinks explore new directions On many restaurant menus, after-dinner drinks are also an after-thought. But as the cocktail renaissance continues, bartenders are rethinking the dessert and digestif menus from the ground up. Some are pairing cocktails with desserts so that the drinks are better integrated into the overall dining experience. Others are collaborating with the artisan coffee roasters to boost the buzz. Yet others have expanded their menus to include unusual after-dinner spirits,... Read more →

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

The cocktail bar Bergerac will open this Saturday, but I had a small preview of some of the drinks on the menu courtesy of Russell Davis who is the mixology consultant on the project. Davis worked at Rio Grande, created the program at Ice Cream Bar, and is a guest expert on the television show Bar Rescue. The drinks at Bergerac are not all his creations, and he brought in some from Yael Stormborn (winner of last year's Speed Rack competition who recently relocated from LA) and possibly other members of the team that includes Alex Velez (recently relocated from... Read more →

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

I'm researching tonic water for a story so I purchased the book Quinine: Malaria and the Quest for a Cure that Changed the World by Fiammetta Rocco. The book was previously published with the title The Miraculous Fever Tree, so don't be a dummy like me and order both. The funny thing about the book is that despite 300+ pages on the history of malaria and quinine, it covers just about everything except tonic water. Or rather, the mention of the creation of Schweppe's and Gin & Tonic are a mere two sentences out of the book. The other way... Read more →

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

This post was sponsored by PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur but written by me. I was thinking about the definition of a cocktail modifier recently and it inspired further thought: a modifier is defined by its use rather than what is in it. Last year I tried to come up with a definition of a modifier and here's what I decided: 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. Examples of modifiers include liqueurs like triple sec and creme de menthe, and... Read more →

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