London and Plymouth pics
How to lose a drinking contest


I emailed with Dushan Zaric, an owner of Employees Only in New York, to ask about the rumor of a San Francisco outpost that's been going around town. The word is:
"We are currently not working on a SF Employees Only although it is in our plans to eventually open up an EO there...a lot of people have been asking but I have no idea how they got this information."
I have to admit that I'm glad to hear it. Though I have no problem with spreading a good thing around, local pride may may cause a little "We don't need New Yorkers to show us how to make drinks!" angst.

That said, the lines between New York drinks and San Francisco drinks are already starting to blur, and I think SF bartenders are practicing more professionalism and consistency, and NY bartenders are increasing the amounts and varieties of fresh juices and herbs in their cocktails. In another year, much of the regionalism may disappear from these two cities. In another year, New York may have a few dedicated tiki bars and and SF may have membership clubs.

I've been thinking about this a lot recently, getting ready for my talk at Tales of the Cocktail on Regional Trends in American Cocktails on Saturday morning. Last year at Tales, it became very clear that there were regional differences in cocktails between the coasts and that each brings something to the game. This year, we're moving beyond just SF and NY as cocktail centers, seeing amazing things in the Pacific Northwest, Southern California, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, and DC. Next year at this time, with the opposing forces of greater awareness of national cocktail culture versus the increasing amount of regional micro-distillers and focus on local ingredients, I'm not sure what will happen.

In the end I'm glad that there there isn't yet a homogenized idea of what good cocktails are, what they taste like, and in what types of bars to get them.

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