Log Date

A whiskey adventure for you and me.

  1. Old-fashioned Hyperlink

    Fight the flu
    The Drink: 

    The End Is Nigh

    from Cure, New Orleans
    The Cure: While Varnelli Amaro Sibilla is no longer used as an antimalarial drug, its high concentrations of gentian, a bitter herb, and quinine, an alkaloid found naturally in cinchona-tree bark, may still reduce fever, curb pain, and ease digestion.

    The Ingredients
    11/2 oz Rittenhouse bonded rye
    1 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quina aperitif wine
    1/4 oz Varnelli Amaro Sibilla
    2 dashes of Angostura Bitters

    Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Stir 40 revolutions and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

  2. Old-fashioned Hyperlink

    #1 Choose a Spirit

    A great cocktail has to start with a great spirit. We believe in using the best ingredients you can buy in every stage (the sum can only be as good as its weakest part). Also, choose a spirit that either:

    a)      Makes sense for the drink. OR

    b)      Challenges convention tastefully.

    If you were to use lime and tonic, for example, then gin or vodka would be obvious choices for your spirit (option A). You could opt to use a spirit like soju (a Korean rice liquor) that challenges convention, but does so tastefully (option B).

    By contrast, using something like a cinnamon whiskey would neither make sense nor challenge convention (tastefully).

    #2 Something Sour

    By definition, a cocktail must have at least two ingredients in addition to a spirit. In many cocktails, the secondary ingredient is something sour. The sour could come from citrus, but it’s more likely to appear as triple sec or some other orange-flavored liqueur. A great liqueur can bring another layer of complex flavor to the mix.

    #3 Something Sweet

    Next, you’ll want a little something sweet in your gourmet cocktail recipe. A little sweetness can go a long way. Adding some simple syrup to your cocktail can give it the right amount of balance without dominating it entirely.

    #4 Make It Unique

    Lastly, it’s up to you to make your drink recipe unique. 

    Notes: 5 notes

    Tags: bartending article

  3. Old-fashioned Hyperlink

     ”In one case, a New Jersey bar allegedly mixed rubbing alcohol with caramel food coloring and served it as scotch.

    In another, a bar is accused of pouring dirty water into an empty bottle and passing it off as liquor.

    Those are some of the details state officials released today after a year-long investigation called “Operation Swill,” which culminated Wednesday when more than 100 investigators raided 29 bars and restaurants across New Jersey on the suspicion they had been serving cheap alcohol disguised as premium brands.

    'What these 29 establishments have allegedly done threatens the integrity of the alcoholic beverage industry as a whole,' state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said at a news conference today in Trenton. 'This alleged scheme is a dishonest ruse to increase profits, and it is a slap in the face of the consumer. The consumer should have the peace of mind to know that when they pay for something, they get exactly what they paid for, no exceptions.'”

    Stay classy, Jersey. 

  4. Old-fashioned Hyperlink

    The Sazerac is one of the oldest cocktails in the modern repertoire, but don’t let its unassuming presentation fool you: it is a complex drink that requires attention to detail, proper technique and the right proportions to fully reveal its brilliance.

    Do use a single dash of Angostura bitters in your Sazeracs. You’ll be surprised how much this opens up the flavors. While it may enrage some purists, you can always counter with, “If it was good enough for Thomas Handy, it’s good enough for me.”

    Do not use orange bitters in a Sazerac. I’ve seen this done and I can’t possibly understand the rationale.

    Do stir the drink gently with ice.

    Do not shake your Sazerac. Remember, shaking a clear drink is like shaking a baby: first there’s going to be a lot of foam, and then you’ll be staring death in the face.

    Do not serve a Sazerac on the rocks.

    Do not serve a Sazerac in a cocktail glass.

    Do serve your Sazerac neat, in a rocks glass that is large enough to accommodate some breathing room. Your drink will thank you as you swirl it in the glass.

    Do not drink your Sazerac in one gulp. It might look like a shot, but someone hopefully put a lot of work into that drink. Sip it, you monkey.

    Do not use bourbon in a Sazerac. Only the spiciness of a good rye whiskey will do. Cognac is also acceptable if you’re trying to be historically accurate.

    Do use this recipe to make your Sazeracs.

    Do squeeze a nice, wide lemon peel over the drink. The oils from the lemon are a crucial component to the cocktail.

    Do not drop the lemon peel in the drink. Throw it away after you’ve expressed all the oil.

    Do not use Pernod to rinse the glass, if you can avoid it. Pernod’s sweetness is going to compete with the sugar in the drink.

    Do use Herbsaint, if you can find it, or – even better – a proper absinthe. The higher proof and dryness will make perfect sense to you once you try it.

    Do muddle a sugar cube soaked in bitters and a splash of water to sweeten the drink.

    Do not let anyone give you grief for using simple syrup in its place. There is no difference between a fully-dissolved sugar cube and simple syrup.

    Do send an email to Senator Edwin Murray atmurraye [at] legis.state.la.us asking him to approve Senate Bill No. 6, which will designate the Sazerac as the official state cocktail of Louisiana.

  5. Old-fashioned Hyperlink

    So you have to inform your guest that you can’t serve them any more liquor. It’s a delicate situation, but the most crucial part of the rest of your time together. There are a few points that you need to convey:

    1. You’re not comfortable serving them any more alcohol. This is important because it places the weight of the decision on you. Why are you uncomfortable? Because you’re concerned about their safety. Because you want to make sure they get home safely. Because they’re your guest and you genuinely care about the direction the rest of their night takes.
    2. You want your guest to continue enjoying their time at your bar. Offer them a coffee, offer them water, and if you can swing it, some food from the kitchen on the house. It makes such a big difference and shows that you actually care about their time spent at your bar.
    3. You want them to come back. It’s embarrassing to get cut off at a bar, it makes you reconsider visiting again. I like to tell people that their first drink on their next visit will be on me. It’s a hospitable way of saying, “This isn’t a personal issue, and I look forward to spending more time with you in the future.”
    4. You need them to get home safely. Offer to pay for a taxi home. Help find a ride from a sober friend. I’ve even known bartenders who have personally driven people home while the other bartender covered the bar in their absence. This is the very definition of hospitality.” 
  6. Old-fashioned Hyperlink


    Many mixologists talk about putting away the brown spirits and switching to the clear ones in warm weather, but the fact is that both Scotch and gin taste the same in December as they do in July. Instead, focus on what’s truly in season: fruits and vegetables like grapefruits, pomelos, strawberries and rhubarb. “Once it’s really coming out of the ground and not [from] hydroponic farms or hothouses, it’s so much better,” Thrasher says.


    While you can certainly get fresh herbs year-round, Thrasher says they’re at their most flavorful right now. He particularly likes featuring different basil and thyme varieties in his creations. Try his savory Thymes Like These recipe that calls for gin, sweet vermouth and a house-made thyme-lime mixture.

    GO RAW:

    Strawberries are some of the season’s first fruits and are often turned into shrubs and syrups for drinks. Just be careful: “Cooking changes their flavor,” Thrasher says. His Strawberry Smash (pictured above) incorporates a mix of strawberries, basil, sugar and lemon juice that he crushes with his hands and allows to macerate, drawing out its essence into a tasty liquid that doesn’t require heat.


    Raw rhubarb juice is a fantastic cocktail ingredient, but the stalk’s fibrous texture wreaks havoc on electric juicers. Thrasher’s solution is to puree it in a blender with water, lemon and sugar, and then strain. Inspired by a Restaurant Eve dish combining rhubarb and olives, he uses this mixture in a clever take on the Dirty Martini that he calls the I Have an Idea, Let Me Make You a Cocktail.


    Most citrus varieties peak in the winter, but these sweet and juicy specimens are at their best in late spring. Thrasher likes to roast both peel and fruit until caramelized to form a burnt-orange syrup that pairs beautifully with bourbon, as in his Oh My God Maria’s Leg is on Fire.

  7. Old-fashioned Hyperlink

    "Jarosz’s team offers an intriguing glimpse at how an alcoholic buzz prompts intuitive insights into problems that require searching pre-existing knowledge, says psychologist Mark Beeman of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Further studies with intoxicated volunteers should employ complex problems that require information gathering and recognition of novel patterns, key features of many real-life problems, Beeman suggests.

    Intoxication may aid verbal creativity partly by lowering the ability to control one’s thoughts, comments psychologist J. Scott Saults of the University of Missouri in Columbia. He and his colleagues have found that alcohol reduces recall of sequences of sounds and images but leaves working memory unaffected.

    Saults’ team has also reported that intoxicated individuals become less afraid to make mistakes, another possible creativity booster.”

  8. Old-fashioned Hyperlink

    Modern Drunkard had compiled a list of “The 86 Rules of Boozing.” While some of them are a bit of antiquated bullshit (really fellas, let’s ease up on the “nancy boy” rhetoric and declaring some drinks “girly,” come on now) but many are still worth rehashing: 

    2. Always toast before doing a shot.

    5. Buying someone a drink is five times better than a handshake.

    6. Buying a strange woman a drink is still cool. Buying all her drinks is dumb.

    7. Never borrow more than one cigarette from the same person in one night.

    8. When the bartender is slammed, resist the powerful urge to order a slightly-dirty, very-dry, in-and-out, super-chilled half-and-half martini with a lemon twist. Limit orders to beer, straight shots and two-part cocktails.

    9. Get the bartender’s attention with eye contact and a smile.

    10. Do not make eye contact with the bartender if you do not want a drink.

    11. Unacceptable things to say after doing a shot: Great, now I’m going to get drunk. I hate shots. It’s coming back up.

    28. If you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to drink in a bar. Go to the liquor store.

    29. If you owe someone twenty dollars or less, you may pay them back in beer.

    32. You can have a shot of your roommates’ hard liquor only if the cap has been cracked and the bottle goes for less than $25.

    34. If you bring Old Milwaukee to a party, you must drink at least two cans before you start drinking the imported beer in the fridge.

    37. Try one new drink each week.

    41. Anyone on stage or behind a bar is fifty percent better looking.

    49. If you do a shot, finish it. If you don’t plan to finish it, don’t accept it.

    50. Never brood in a dance bar. Never dance in a dive bar.

    54. Never lie in a bar. You may, however, grossly exaggerate and lean.

    55. If you think you might be slurring a little, then you are slurring a lot. If you think you are slurring a lot, then you are not speaking English.

    64. The people with the most money are rarely the best tippers.

    71. It’s acceptable, traditional in fact, to disappear during a night of hard drinking. You will appear mysterious and your friends will understand. If they even notice.

    72. Never argue your tab at the end of the night. Remember, you’re hammered and they’re sober. It’s akin to a precocious five-year-old arguing the super-string theory with a physicist. 99.9% of the time you’re wrong and either way you’re going to come off as a jackass.

    73. If you bring booze to a party, you must drink it or leave it.

    75. Beer makes you mellow, champagne makes you silly, wine makes you dramatic, tequila makes you felonious.

    79. If you are 86’d, do not return for at least three months. To come back sooner makes it appear no other bar wants you.

    80. Anyone with three or more drinks in his hands has the right of way.

    83. The bar clock moves twice as fast from midnight to last call.

    85. On the intimacy scale, sharing a quiet drink is between a handshake and a kiss.

    86. You will forget every one of these rules by your fifth drink.

  9. Old-fashioned Hyperlink

    A barrel of Jack: Arguably America’s most recognized whiskey, Jack Daniel’s is one of the few distilleries that allow you to buy by the barrel. A barrel of Jack will set you back anywhere between $9,000 and $12,000 (equivalent to some $40 or $50 per bottle), so you might want to split it with friends. Why no fixed price? Because it all depends on the ‘angels’ share,’ the term used to refer to the liquid that evaporates as the spirit ages.

    If you’re going invest in an entire barrel, you may as well splurge on a trip down to Lynchburg, Tennessee to select it. You’ll get to meet with Master Distiller Jeff Arnett, who will help you pick a barrel that best suits your taste. If you can’t make the trip, he’ll happily choose one for you. Once your barrel has been selected and bottled, you can expect to receive about 250 hand-bottled decanters, each displaying the individual barrel number it came from, the date it was bottled and a medallion proclaiming it yours. You also get to keep the actual barrel as a trophy.

    A barrel of bourbon: To buy a barrel of Four Roses bourbon, the first thing you’ll need is a licensed retailer to act as a middleman. (It’s the same deal with Jack Daniel’s and other distilleries that sell by the barrel.) Of course, the good folks at Four Roses can always help you find a local retail connection, if necessary. Master Distiller Jim Rutledge will help you hand pick your bottle, but only after much sampling. You’ll taste your way through more than a dozen pre-selected barrels that Jim sets aside before you arrive. (If you can’t make it to Kentucky, the distillery will send you samples.)

    Once you’ve narrowed it down to your favorite, simply sign your barrel and head home knowing that a ton of bourbon is headed your way. The bottles will arrive with a special label that identifies the bourbon as hand-picked and hand-bottled. You’ll also get the barrel, which you can use for anything from a side table to a badass planter.

  10. Writing on the coaster

    Debatable: “Bartenders: Stop Making (Up) Cocktails”

    Creativity is not always what it’s cracked up to be
    by Derek Brown

    Among the worst instincts known to man is that of creation. Though creativity as utility or inspiration may well be a virtue, it is the incessant need of man to create infinite variations that steers away from the better practice of purposeful or thoughtful endeavor and heads straight over a jagged little cliff scattered with the wreckage of shallow, knee-jerk reactions coupled with unfulfilling, poor simulacra. And very, very bad cocktails.”

    [Read on…