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Japan in Oakland: UmamiMart, Whisky, and Ice

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 →

A Protector for your Yarai Pitcher

Japanese mixing glasses are beautiful but they don't travel so well. Brand ambassadors and other traveling bartenders have come up with various creative solutions to this problem, but finally a commercial version goes on sale this week. Phillip Mauro, Vince Toscano, and Jon Gasparini, who work at Rye in San Francisco, created an insulated mixing glass case that fits not only the popular Yarai pitchers, but also the plain Japanese mixing glasses and even chemistry beakers that some bartenders use. It's made in the San Francisco Tenderloin. They call it the Pitcher Protector. There are two colors for now: a... Read more →

Better Tools for the Dry Shake

The "dry shake" is a technique that bartenders use to emulsify the egg in egg white drinks to give them a nice foamy head. Before adding the ice, they put the egg white and other liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker and give it a good shake. Then they add ice and shake again. Many bartenders also put a spring into the shaker with the liquids to help the dry shake along. This spring is taken off a Hawthorn strainer and used. This is a pain in the butt though. Audrey Saunders (owner of New York's Pegu Club), speaking at... Read more →

Gifts from the Internet

Here are some things I liked reading. The Washington post has a rare story on bars in DC- rare in that it reveals the profits of each bar. Most people who collect wine probably have more than four bottles if they need a separate wine refrigerator, but you'd be pretty much the coolest cocktailian on the block if you used this under-cabinet wine cooler to store four separate types of vermouth. The Boston Globe takes on one of the great questions of our times: is it a beer cozy or a beer koozie? And here's a handy home craft for... Read more →