Saturday, March 31, 2007

What's Behind the Cocktail Explosion?

Jeffery Lindenmuth has written an interesting piece on the rising popularity of cocktails for The Beverage Network. A little bit about what people drink, a little bit about drink lists, and a little bit about Jimmy's Cocktail Hour. Check it out if you have a chance.

Most states are covered by the Beverage Network, in California we call it the BIN book. It might be called Beverage Journal, Beverage Guide, or Beverage Advisor in your state. The article is also available online as a PDF. (Registration may be required.)


Friday, March 30, 2007

Last Chance: Whiskies of the World Expo

Tickets are running out for the 8th Annual Whiskies of the World Expo. Don't procrastinate any longer, get you tickets now! Order your tickets on-line at or call Riannon at 1-888-748-2400.

8th Annual Whiskies of the World Expo
Saturday, April 14th 2007
The Palace Hotel
San Francisco

Don't miss out.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Simon Difford at Bourbon & Branch

Simon Difford shakes things up at Bourbon & Branch.

Simon Difford, the man behind the awesome Difford's Guides, was in San Francisco this week. He took time out of his busy schedule to get together with 20 or 30 top bartenders from the local area. We all met at Bourbon & Branch and talked about bartending, Difford's Guides, and the new St Germain Liqueur.

St. Germain is an Elderflower Liqueur that Simon has been working on with Robert Cooper. We tasted the liqueur straight, and then Simon shook up a few cocktails.

On it's own, St. Germain offers up lovely floral aromas combined with citrus rind and grapefruit. It's not too sweet, and the elderflower is subtle and doesn't smell artificial.

The cocktails we tried were mostly twists on classic cocktails. We tried Elderflower Margaritas, Elderflower Sours and Elderflower Sidecars. These were all nice, but why gather a bunch of skilled and creative bartenders and show them these simple modifications. With a liqueur this interesting, my mind was racing with ideas for new creations I could come up with to feature the unique flavors.

On the other hand, maybe that was the idea. A very cunning plan Mr. Difford. I can't wait to get my hands on a bottle to work with. Right now, St. Germain is available in California and New York, with wider distribution in the works.

The St. Germain Cocktail
2oz Sauvignon Blanc (or substitute champagne)
2oz St. Germain
2oz Soda Water
garnish with a nice lemon spiral, serve over ice in a highball.

This signature cocktail highlights the crisp refreshing character of St. Germain.

More St. Germain cocktail recipes here once I get a chance to experiment a little bit.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Rye in the San Francisco Chronicle

Gary Regan's got a nice article about Rye Whiskey in the Chronicle. He also mentions my Bergeron (Rye Tai) cocktail. Thanks Gary.


Monday, March 12, 2007


The topic this month is shooters. We don't sell too many "shooters" at the bar. We do, however, sell a fair amount of tequila neat. As a nice touch I like to offer a small glass of sangrita with the tequila. Sangrita is a traditional accompaniment to tequila in some parts of Mexico. Generally served side-by-side with a nice premium tequila.

For this month's Mixology Monday I offer my Sangrita recipe and the Vampiro Shooter.

One of the best ways to enjoy the sangrita is to take it and the tequila in alternating sips, each enhancing the other. Another way to enjoy the sangrita is by mixing it with the tequila and enjoying them together. This is called El Vampiro.

El Vampiro Shooter
1 oz. top quality tequila (I used the new Partida Blanco)
1 oz. sangrita

You can also make a tall Vampiro in a chimney and try it the next time you're thinking "bloody mary."

6 oz. tomato juice
3 oz. orange juice
1 oz. lime juice
5 dashes tabasco sauce
5 dashes Fee's Old Fasioned Aromatic Bitters
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

It's best fresh, so use it all or drink it. It's good for you and you need those B vitamins after you try all the shooters in this month's Mixology Monday. It's being hosted this month by Rick at Martini Lounge. Head over there for the wrap-up, and all the shooter recipes.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

World's Greatest Bartender

The "World's Greatest Bartender" has been crowned! Frederic (Eric) V. Martinez, a bartender in Makati City, Philippines has triumphed over "eight of the best mixologist from around the globe" to take the title for a year. Eric wins 10,000 USD and bragging rights for a year.

Congratulations, Eric.

I'm not sure what drink Eric is making in this photo, but it seems to be quite an achievement from the looks of things.

Eric's favorite drink is beer, and he likes to make Bahama Mama's.

Bahama Mama

(Adapted from Eric's recipe)
1/2 oz. Gold Rum
1/2 oz. Coconut Rum
1/2 oz. Banana Liqueur
1/2 oz. Grenadine
1 oz. Orange Juice
1 oz. Pineapple Juice

(This drink sounds horrible to me, but you can't argue with success)

All the details can be found in the press release here.
Videos and photos can be seen here.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Vegas Bar Show

Jeffrey Morgenthaler is in Las Vegas this week for the bar show. He's been posting entries from the field for those of us who can't be there. I sent him on a quest, and you can live vicariously over at