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Delicious Small Hand Foods syrups have been hard to get in most parts of the country/world, but as of now it will be a little bit easier as the new web store has launched. Small Hand Foods is the brand by Jennifer Colliau, a Bay Area bartender who began making authentic orgeat and pineapple gum arabic (for Pisco Punch) when none was available on the market. She expanded the line to include grenadine, unflavored gum syrup, and raspberry gum syrup (plus the occaisional surprise). The small (8.5 ounce) bottles run for $12, which is less expensive than you'll find on... Read more →

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

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.

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 →

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

It is frustrating when I find a product I want to write about only to learn it is only available in New York or one other metro area. I feel guilty writing about it because it's not practical for most consumers to try the product. On the other hand, when I clearly state where something is available, people won't go into their local liquor mart looking for something that is nowhere in the state, and if they really want to try it they can seek it out online. Disclosure is key. But often, the availability or lack thereof is not... Read more →

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