Category: Booze

At The Bourbon Bar

April 3rd, 2009 Permalink

We stayed at the Talbott Tavern in Bardsville, Kentucky. The tavern operated as a stage coach stop throughout the 19th century, and has been in continuous operation for over 200 years. The bar has an extensive selection of rare and small batch bourbons.

At The Bourbon Bar

We stayed at the Talbott Tavern in Bardsville, Kentucky. The tavern operated as a stage coach stop throughout the 19th century, and has been in continuous operation for over 200 years. The bar has an extensive selection of rare and small batch bourbons.

The Bitter End

March 26th, 2009 Permalink

Last night, I lurked around in a chat room at http://bar.mixoloseum.com/. They have a regularly scheduled event called Thursday Drink Night, where everybody comes up with a drink based on the theme. There are some very creative and talented bartenders and enthusiasts that participate, and they come up with some interesting combinations. I didn’t want […]

The Bitter End

Last night, I lurked around in a chat room at http://bar.mixoloseum.com/. They have a regularly scheduled event called Thursday Drink Night, where everybody comes up with a drink based on the theme. There are some very creative and talented bartenders and enthusiasts that participate, and they come up with some interesting combinations.

I didn’t want to just lurk all night, so I came up with this (with some input from others). I call it The Bitter End:
Edit: Modified the recipe. Much nicer now:
1 oz gin
.5 oz Aperol
1 oz Carpano Antica
.25 oz absinthe
Dash of Fee’s rhubarb bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass.

2009 Challenge, Day 45: Tuscan Sidecar

February 15th, 2009 Permalink

Day 45/365 of the 2009 Challenge. The theme is "Cocktail".

Tuscan Sidecar

Day 45/365 of the 2009 Challenge. The theme is "Cocktail".

Hotsy Totsy Grand Opening

February 5th, 2009 Permalink

The Hotsy Totsy Club, a dive bar that has been in Albany, California for many, many years, has reopened after being sold and remodeled. The new owners have done an outstanding job restoring and cleaning the interior without destroying the feel of the place. The shuffleboard table is still against the wall, and the awkward […]

Hotsy Totsy Club

The Hotsy Totsy Club, a dive bar that has been in Albany, California for many, many years, has reopened after being sold and remodeled. The new owners have done an outstanding job restoring and cleaning the interior without destroying the feel of the place. The shuffleboard table is still against the wall, and the awkward tables in the middle of the room are still there. The jukebox has a good mix of music, and the pool table waits in the back room.

Hotsy Totsy Interior, Plate 1

Their grand opening is tomorrow, February 6th and Saturday, February 7th. Come out and see the changes, say hi to the new owners and bartenders, and have a good time!

Hotsy Totsy set on Flickr

Beverage Academy: Gin

November 13th, 2007 Permalink

On Monday night, Melissa and I attended the first Beverage Academy class at Bourbon & Branch. This class focused on Gin, and was taught by Todd Smith, the bar director at Bourbon & Branch. [Todd Smith] The class was held in the room they call the Library. The room has high ceilings, and shelves lined […]

Pick Your Poison

On Monday night, Melissa and I attended the first Beverage Academy class at Bourbon & Branch. This class focused on Gin, and was taught by Todd Smith, the bar director at Bourbon & Branch.
Todd Smith
[Todd Smith]

The class was held in the room they call the Library. The room has high ceilings, and shelves lined with books. At one end is the bar, and for the class they set up a long table in the middle of the room to accommodate the 12 students (5 gals, 7 guys). The table was prepared with a mixing glass, shot glass, strainers, a muddler, cocktail glasses, some tasting glasses containing gins, and a nicely printed booklet for each student. There were several bottles of spirits, big buckets of ice, and botanicals used in gin making — such as juniper berries, orange peel, and coriander — were sprinkled on the table. It was a first-class setup.
Lined Up And Ready To Go

Todd talked about how gin is made, and we tasted three gins blind: Plymouth, Tanqueray No. 10, and Distillery 209. Each of us had our favorite, and used it to make our first cocktail, the classic Gin & Tonic. We also tasted Bombay Sapphire (a gin they don’t carry at Bourbon & Branch, because it has such a light flavor), a Genever style gin that came in a cool looking porcelain bottle, and a Genever style gin from Anchor Steam Distillery that is not yet available (apparently it pays to be a well-known and respected bartender!)

Next up, we made a cocktail called The Rolls Royce:
The Rolls Royce
1.5 oz gin
0.5 oz sweet vermouth
0.5 oz dry vermouth
1 tsp Benedictine
Combine in a mixing glass, add ice, stir well, strain into a cocktail glass.

After that was Todd’s favorite cocktail of all time, the Negroni:
Negroni
1 oz Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth
1 oz gin
Combine in a mixing glass, add ice, stir well, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with flamed orange peel.
This cocktail was delicious. It has a wonderful bitterness from the Campari, which is balanced nicely by the sweet vermouth and the botanicals in the gin.

While we were making these cocktails, Todd talked about the history of gin, including the dark time in American history known as Prohibition. He also talked about some of the great local distilleries, gave us some advice on stocking our own bars, and shared some of his favorite infusion recipes. After we had made 2 cocktails, Todd made us a Lonsdale (gin, lemon, apple, simple syrup, and a muddled basil leaf), and the cocktail that he is most known for making: the Cucumber Gimlet (cucumber infused gin, lime, elderflower, orange bitters, float of Champange). The cocktails were very different from each other, but equally delicious.
Todd's Cucumber Gimlet
[Todd’s Cucumber Gimlet]

Todd was a great instructor. He kept things casual and interesting, and obviously really enjoyed sharing his passion for gin and cocktails with us. I asked him how he felt about sharing his signature cocktails and infusions, and he replied, “I love it! What am I going to do with them?” That attitude of being willing to share his knowledge with us really made the class something special. If you are interested in attending one of the next classes, I recommend that you keep an eye on the Bourbon & Branch blog and sign up quickly when the classes are announced; they sell out quickly.

We had very high expectations for the Beverage Academy based on our prior experiences at Bourbon & Branch, and I am happy to say that we were not disappointed. We are looking forward to attending another class soon — most likely a bourbon or Scotch whisky class will be our next choice. As you can see, they had no objections to photography, which I greatly appreciated. I would like to say a special thanks to Todd for allowing me to shoot his portrait after the class. Thanks to Todd, his assistant Melissa, and the whole staff at Bourbon & Branch for making this class such a success!

Update: Photos from the night can be seen here.

City Beer Store

August 6th, 2007 Permalink

Friday night we had a rare night out late in the city. One of the places we hit was an great little beer store on Folsom, the City Beer Store. The City Beer Store is one of those amazing gems that are almost too good to be true. There are several interesting beers on tap […]

By The Light Of The Beer Cooler

Friday night we had a rare night out late in the city. One of the places we hit was an great little beer store on Folsom, the City Beer Store.

The City Beer Store is one of those amazing gems that are almost too good to be true. There are several interesting beers on tap (which change regularly), as well as several coolers full of interesting and unusual beers from all around the world. You can buy your bottles to go, or, for $1.00 extra, grab a table and enjoy your beer at the store.

The interior of the store is sparse, but quite comfortable. There’s no pretentiousness, or any fancy trend-of-the-month feeling inside. You will, however, get the feeling that Craig Wathen (the owner) and his wife really have a passion for beer. Craig obviously knows a lot about different kinds of beers, and it is a pleasure to talk with him about the different beers that he sells.

I’m a fan of strong, dark beers, and he steered us towards a bottle of Old Viscosity Ale. This was a strong (10.5%) beer, very thick and dark, but with a lot of sweetness and notes of chocolate. It was an excellent recommendation, and Melissa and I lingered over the several glasses of beer that came out of the large bottle. This was not a beer to rush through!

City Beer Store StoutOld Viscosity Ale

If you’re a fan of beer, you owe yourself a trip to the City Beer Store. You won’t be disappointed. Just give yourself plenty of time to peruse all the interesting beers that are available. It could take a while!

City Beer Store
1168 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
415.503.1033
http://www.citybeerstore.com