This past fall I took the B.A.R., Beverage Alcohol Resource, five-day course in New York. The course has two levels- "Ready" and "Certified", with the only difference in the number of drinks one has to make within a certain time on the practical bartending exam. The course ran for about 12 hours each day for the first four days, with nearly a full day of testing on the last day. It was a real butt-kicker. People seemed to come away with different impressions of the course, but what stuck out most to me was what you need to know not... Read more →
I recently received a review copy of Drunk: The Definitive Drinker's Dictionary by Paul Dickson. It is both a book and a Guinness World Record holder for the largest collection of synonyms for any term in the English language. Does anyone need a book with 2,231 synonyms for "drunk"? Absolutely not, but it's fun reading. I made note of the terms that made me laugh out loud but had to stop as there were too many. Between "A" and "D" I noted: above par, all in, badgered, baptised, beyond salvage, bricked, chateaued, colored, debacled, discumfuddled, dog-sucking drunk, dribbly, and drunkulent.... Read more →
All this week I'll be posting book reviews here on Alcademics, and at the end of the week I'll do a giveaway on the Alcademics A-Plus email list for one of five copies of either Kara Newman's Spice & Ice, Mr. Boston's Holiday Cocktails, or Whiskey and Philosophy. I pretty much read every cocktail, spirit, and drink book I can get my hands on. My just-drinks bookshelf is long overfull and I find myself trying to cram more stuff onto it all the time. I've now taken to decorating with cocktail books, putting them beneath plant pots, stacking them under... Read more →
Over the history of cocktails, certain flavors have become trendy during particular years. First the cocktail was invented, then the "fancy" cocktail, then the "improved" cocktail. These variations added liqueurs like curacao, maraschino, and absinthe to the regular formula. In the early 1900's, grenadine was all the rage and suddenly you'd find a splash of it in all the drinks. A hundred years later, the same thing happens and I run around and try to document it. In 2007 and 2008, what cocktail menu didn't suddenly have three drinks with St. Germain on it? We're currently seeing a revival in... Read more →
Within the spirits industry, there is a lot of toasting, often at the beginning and end of dinner, while thanking the hosts and chefs, when greeting visitors, before taking shots, before moving to another bar or restaurant and then after arriving there, when saying goodbye, between courses, etc. It can be a bit much, but worse than that is this the notion that you have to clink glasses with everyone in the room and look your fellow toasters in the eye. Sure, it's polite, but it's not always practical, especially when you're doing it 20 times in an evening with... Read more →
Camper English is a cocktails and spirits writer for publications including Saveur (Contributing Drinks Editor), Details.com (Cocktail Columnist), Whisky Advocate, PopSci.com, Drinks International, and many more. Learn about Camper and Alcademics, or read clips of his published work.