Friday, October 31, 2008


I'm just going to say that the picture speaks for itself. If you have ever wondered why Cantina is one of my favorite bars, now you know. On a totally unrelated note, doing shots at Clock Bar with a guy in a hot dog costume is hilarious! Also check out those sweet pantyhose!

Comments always welcome or feel free to e-mail us at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

A couple of years ago, well before Ed and I shambled onto the blog-o-kleinbottle, Paul Clarke of The Cocktail Chronicles founded Mixology Monday -- A monthly gathering of cocktail enthusiasts who used their blogs to come together and share their takes on a set topic. Since I've been following it, the MixMos (as they are affectionately abbreviated) have provided some great reading, and introduced me to more blogs with which I can waste my day. However, Ed and I have yet to participate in one seeing as I have a terrible propensity to forget pretty much everything, and Ed is the only known case of a person born with no capacity to remember anything, ever (to compensate he developed sight beyond sight. Mum-Ra, and the UCSF girls dorm are not pleased.)

The latest MixMo that we missmo'd (comedy!) was guilty pleasures, which I found really interesting, because I like both guilt and pleasure. This one I had actually really wanted to remember, but clearly didn't. However I see no reason why I shouldn't expose you all to my shame anyway. I mean, that's what blogs are for right?

Cheap Beer -- Coming of age in the Pacific Northwest during the micro brew explosion, and being this guy's friend makes it all but impossible for me to not love good beer. More often than not, however, when I'm out and about you'll find me sucking on some classic, shitty, American macrobrew. It pretty much comes down to price, because most of the taps at the places I frequent for my non-cocktail needs pour beers that I've had hundreds of times. They are tasty brews to be sure, but they don't hold any excitement for me, and if a beer isn't going to excite me I'm just gonna grab whatever's the cheapest. You know, to wash down the Jameson. Sorry Rob.

Irish Car Bomb -- This is a double whammy of embarrassment. Not only is the name deplorable, but it is one of the iconic "amateur" drinks in the cannon. The problem is that it is also delicious. The first time I tried one I was resistant, insisting to my friend who wanted me to give it a go that it was a stupid drink for stupid people. Eventually I relented, just get him to shut up. A few messy seconds later, and I was recanting my previous statement. I pretty much only drink these when somebody else proposes a round, and often times I'll front that I'm not really into "those things", but everybody can tell I’m lying.

The "Chill Pill" -- I really shouldn't admit to liking this shot composed of equal parts Green Chartreuse and Peppermint Schnapps. The name alone screams "you have no business being in a bar, much less leaving your dorm room", and the presence of Peppermint Schnapps in anything is generally a sign of a liquid apocalypse. As much as I love Chartreuse and think it can save anything (even the rec. center), this drink seemed all kinds of wrong to me when I was exhorted to try it. In my defense I really resisted trying this one, and it wasn't until my friend Francis placed me under great physical duress that I relented.

Look, I'm not even going to try and defend this, because in name and recipe it is almost impossible to do so, but I will say this. During a recent Thursday Drink Night (a weekly, virtual gathering of cocktail geeks that I highly recommend, and really should write about) I threw this bad boy out to the wolves. It's name was promptly changed to Merde Vert, but there was one brave soul who was willing to try it. You can see in the comments that he declared it tasty! In the chat he also indicated that he wouldn't have to use mouthwash for a week. Obviously the only way to interpret that is positively.

My Own Horrifying Creation -- Recently I was at home thinking that I sure could use a cocktail. I also had that nifty swizzle stick I got from Whiskeyfest that had so far gone unused so a swizzle it would be! Staring at my screwy liquor cabinet (more on that never) I began to assemble a drink kind of willy-nilly. In the end I had a "drink" composed of Plymouth Sloe Gin, Hayman's Old Tom Gin, kumquat gastrique, and a few dashes of Fee Brothers Cherry Bitters. I took a sip and blushed -- It was everything I hate in a cocktail. It was way too sweet, and so fruit forward that the nuances of the liquor had been blasted out of the glass via a monkey navigated rocket car. It tasted like a Wild Shameberry Blast(tm) Jolly Rancher, and it was fucking delicious. To sip upon this drink is to know the exquisite pleasure of evil.

Now -- Why don't you all make me feel better about myself by tossing your guilty pleasures in the comments.

Comments always welcome or feel free to e-mail us at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Scott Beattie Book Signing Update

While busily forgetting to get more info on the Scott Beattie event I recently wrote about, Camper English over at Alcademics was kind enough to do the work for me.

When: November 3rd, starting at 6pm.
Where: Cantina, 580 Sutter.
Miscellaneous: There will be a $40 cover, but that's gonna get you a signed copy of the book and (last I heard) a couple of Beattie-tails. I just wrote Beattie-tails, what the fuck?

I'll be there until a ton of people show up, and I start to feel as though the walls are closing in on me and I am forced to flee in terror. Woo!

Thanks Camper, you're the best!

Comments always welcome or feel free to e-mail us at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Twitter? Why the Hell Not.

There are a great many times in the history of the internet when I have seen things that I thought were ridiculous and stupid. Things that nobody would use. Things that go on to be hugely popular. If you're currently working on some internet widget thing, your best bet for success is to develop something I would deride. Why am I telling you this on a booze blog? Because we have bowed down to the demon twitter.

When twitter first showed up, I thought it was one of the most ridiculous things ever. Live journal for the ADD set -- Awesome! But then, post-whiskeyfest, I discovered that one can update their twitter account via text messages. It occurred to me then, that perhaps using twitter for special occasions on the go might actually be useful. And that I might starting writing inane things just cause I could. Then I would be cool.

So here we are, wrapped in the Succubus arms of a 140 character limit. Should you like to watch us spiral out of control our username is, surprisingly enough, drinkaweek.

If you're a twitter using booze lover feel free to inject your username in the comments. Maybe we'll feel better if we know we're not alone.

Also, with the exception of the upcoming, we will never use the word "tweet". That is objectively, scientifically, stupid.

Comments always welcome or feel free to e-mail us at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Last week, thanks first to Ed and then to H., I was able to attend Whiskeyfest. Given the seriousness of my journalism, I'm sure you've assumed that I have an extensive batch of tasting notes with which to share with you. Of course, you would be wrong. I made the boozefest mistake of a rank amateur -- Thinking, full of hubris, that I would have no problem remembering what I drank. That was problematic on two fronts; my memory sucks as it is, and we were drinking. A lot. We weren't riotously drunk, but when one starts hitting booths that are only offering spirits you drink on a regular basis, it's a pretty safe bet that the tasting notes are going to be murdered within the fog by liquor fueled leper zombies.

Nevertheless, since there were notable things that I remember, and now that I've got a bit more of my hand back, I need to get back to updating this damn thing it's share time!

I've been to some other whiskey shows in the past, and was somewhat disappointed in what felt to me an exclusionary air. The feeling was that those who weren't in a position to increase the market share of a whiskey weren't worthy of much attention. Whiskeyfest felt the total opposite. Every exhibitor we spoke with was incredibly friendly, and more than happy to answer my frequently dumb questions.

At the Rhum Clement booth Ed helped me score a swizzle stick. Like, the real deal West Indies swizzle stick. I know I sound like a freak for being exited about such a thing, but they are both hard to come by and awesome. So there. As I was admiring my stick (see what I did there?) a familiar face appeared at my side -- None other than Underhill Lounge's Chief Awesome Officer Erik Flannestad.

As we were standing at the Rhum booth, Erik if I had been to the Ron Zacapa booth yet. Having heard much of this rum, but not having jammed any of it in my pie-hole previously I went post-haste. That rum, my friends, is fucking delicious. It's got a lovely, buttery smooth mouth feel, and a clean "rum" flavor with a smooth finish. A damn fine sipping rum it is. Suffused with the glow of tasty rum I felt it was time to lower my guard, and open up. Right then and there I came out to Erik as a rumophobe. Sure, I loves me some rum, but as a category it frightens and confuses me. It felt good to get that out in the open.

Having felt we finally had our fill, Ed and I were standing out on the street corner when he had the bright idea of heading over to Clock Bar, and I had the bright idea of thinking that was a bright idea. It turned out that Ed was quite prescient, as it wasn't long after we received our first drink that one Mr. Flannestad was standing next to us. With him was cocktail blogger/writer Paul Clarke. Fortunately I was not quite the gibbering loon I was the I was the last time I ran into him, and can say with confidence that he's a fine gentleman to share a drink with. Ed and I had a few more, and watched as the bar began to fill up with Whiskeyfest refugees whom I'm sure were quite happy to take our vacated seats when we left.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I think I'd have to say that it wasn't so much the booze that fogged my memory, but the fact that I was having too much fun talking to random people, bartenders, and distillers to really focus all my attention on the booze. I definitely many great tastes, but it felt more like hanging out with friends than a time to take notes. Damn, when the fuck did I get all sentimental? Somebody get me a bottle of Jameson and a Clutch album stat!

Comments always welcome or feel free to e-mail us at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Scott Beattie -- New Book -- Party!

Some, if not all, of you know that Scott Beattie (the one time cocktail wizard at Cyrus) is about to release his first cocktail book. Per what I am sure is a byzantine contractual agreement he's doing a few of the requisite book signings around the area -- Since I only care about me, and fear all places beyond the boundaries of San Francisco proper, that's all I'm going to talk about. First up, on Nov. 3rd will be what I can only assume will be more of a party than a book signing at Cantina. I'm still trying to get final details about some things, and will pass it on when I get it.

Mr. Beattie will be back in San Francisco on December 3rd at Macy's Cellar. I don't know anything about this one, because it's not a bar. So, you know.

Comments always welcome or feel free to e-mail us at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bols Genever Gin: Welcome to Flavor Country!

Last Wednesday, thanks to Ed, I was fortunate enough to attend the San Francisco launch event for Bols Genever. For a brain blast of info you might want to check this out, but to oversimplify as I like to do, Genever Gin is made using a grain base (called malt wine) as opposed to the neutral base of London style Gins. What you end up with, for lack of a better description, is a spirit which has the characteristics of both a Whiskey and a Gin. During the formative years of the America's love affair with the cocktail, Genever was the Gin to use, and was the foundational spirit in many of the timeless libations that those of us of the cocktail geek persuasion so adore.

There aren't many Genevers currently on the market here in the states, so any addition to the lineup is good stuff. Moreover, the brands that are out there now are not the easiest to get a hold of, and having a company as large as Bols re-introducing their Genever means it should be less of a pain in the ass for our brethren to get some of this delicious, delicious business. Prior to the "unveiling" we were treated to some cocktails which were being whipped up by H. Joseph Ehrmann (proprietor of Elixir) and his band of merry mixologists. First out was the oft talked about Improved Holland Gin Cocktail -- Both Ed and I were well pleased with this one. My previous run ins with this particular drink had used Anchor Brewing's Genevieve, and much like their Junipero it's got a pretty bold kick to it which isn't bad, but it was nice to see the effect on this drink of a mellower Genever.

The big revelation for me was the next drink that was served, a Collins (I believe they were making them thusly: 2 oz. Bols Genever, 1 oz. lemon juice, .5 oz. rich simple syrup (2:1 sugar to water) -- Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice, and top with soda water). I've had my fair share of Collins', and it is a perfectly fine drink, but not one I am wont to order on any kind of a regular basis. It just never really pops into my head when I'm concocting at home, or out at the bar. Both Ed and I felt the Genever added a significant new dimension to the drink, and it reminded me of the first Caipirinha I had -- Looking at the ingredients, I had thought it would be a fairly plain drink, but the ephemeral alchemy of the mix made it more than the sum of its parts.

Ed and I were pretty happy when they started bringing around straight samples of the Gin. On the nose it was malty, with the botanicals coming through at the end. The taste pretty much mirrored the nose, with the mild malt flavors giving way to the botanicals in a nice intermingling. The finish was crisp and clean, but didn't make me feel like I was being cheated out the twilight vapors of a good tipple. The rest of the evening was spent mingling with cocktails in hand (things, uh, started getting hazy so you'll forgive me if I don't remember the other drinks that were served), and was generally a ton of fun. During the presentation there was talk of Genever being a perfect substitute for any Whisky cocktail -- I'm not sure I'd agree with that, as I think it requires a bit more consideration when making substitutions. Still, it's a damn tasty product that I'm glad I've got on my shelf, and is worth trying in any number of early American cocktails.

On a totally unrelated note, Ed and I ended up at the same table as David Wondrich, and totally had a geekgasm. Because, you know, I'm a huge dork.

Comments always welcome or feel free to e-mail us at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.