Showing posts from December, 2006

Happy New Year! Now for the hangover.

Well, a Happy New Year to everyone, it seems that it was only a year ago that I was saying that to all of you. Time sure does fly!

About a year ago, I also wrote the only guide you need to handle your hangovers. No need to improve on perfection!

So, drink safe and stay off the roads if you can. Apparently, there are still quite a few morons out there who haven't seen a drinking and driving commercial.


DH Krahn Gin Review

It's always a happy day in my house when a cylindrical box shows up on the doorstep. My wife knows that, on that night, I will sample a new alcohol product and one of the closets will get half-painted before I pass out and she can dress me up in her clothes.

Well, as soon as DH Krahn launched this November my wife went shopping. She knew that it wouldn't be long before she'd need a new wardrobe to dress me up in and when I saw the box waiting at my door I immediately headed out to find some sensible pumps as they had sent not one, but two bottles.

The Bottle
The long, tall bottle with art deco markings could easily be mistaken for a new vodka, but that's really the last thing we need, don't we? It's got a long, sleek look that will look great at any bar.

The Smell
DH Krahn is all about subtleties. I made myself a martini and sniffed it all in. The smell of Juniper was definitely there but it was a gentle, mellow scent that had a crisp and clean feel to it, the …

Pittsburgh-Post Gazette says I'm an expert!

An article appearing today in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quotes me talking about O2 Vodka, among other things that are expected trends for 2007.

This picture of me illustrates my surprise, mostly of the fact that I was sober enough to answer coherently anything the reporter asked me.

Just as a point of clarification, I did tend bar, but never in San Francisco.

Read the article here.

Van Gogh recipes on WGN

Well, the new version of Blogger seems to blow pretty hard at times. It keeps making it so I can't upload any pictures.

However, you can watch this video over at that has celebrity chef Jon Ashton doing a recipe with Van Gogh vodka. He also has a piece on making some drinks for New Year's.

Cooking with Van Gogh

Van Gogh Martinis

Bulldog Gin Review

Not so long ago, I introduced you to Bulldog Gin. The gin in the short, squat bottle that was released to coincide with the Chinese Year of the Dog. Shortly after the introduction, I received a bottle. Shortly after that, I drank pretty much the entire thing.

The Bottle
I sat this on top of the bar at my watering hole and pretty much every single person that came in asked what it was as one of their first questions upon entry. The short bottle is a far cry from all the other alcohols out there trying to to look lean and svelte.

The Smell
Man does this stuff smell like gin! This is a good thing. Bulldog isn't trying to be a crossover drink for vodka lovers. It doesn't want to make beer lovers feel all warm and cozy. Bulldog is a gin and damned proud of it. You can smell the Juniper and a few other flowers the second you take a whiff.

The Taste
To quote one of the other tasters "It sure is ginny." This London Dry Distilled Gin flaunts its flavors and makes you tak…

Bombay Sapphire Glass Competition

I thought last year's winner sucked pretty hard, but this year is already shaping up to look a lot better.

The Bombay Sapphire Designer Glass Competition always brings out the artists and allows designers to enter their glass and get a chance to represent their country in Milan.

If you win your region, you also get a $3000 certificate to an Apple store. If you win the world competition you get all kinds of good stuff including your glass shown in a Bombay Sapphire ad, worldwide.

They have 2nd place prizes too, but remember, 2nd place is just first place for losers.

Bombay Sapphire Designer Glass Competition

Gluten-free beer

I have a few friends who are allergic to glutens and you may too but may not even know it, it seems to be a fairly popular allergy.

Anheuser-Busch has rolled out a gluten-free beer that's made from Sorghum, which doesn't have the proteins in it that cause the gluten reaction in people. RedBridge is the first nationally-available gluten-free/wheat-free beer as there are a bunch of local brews that can make the same claim. Obviously it's a big enough market that the A-B folks think they need to cover it.

The reviews so far are positive, though I'm sure it's because people who used to not get beer at all are now allowed to enjoy one.

RedBridge Beer

The end of drinking and driving

I never really understood the link between an alcoholic drink and driving at 180 MPH, I guess the money talked for NASCAR and Busch sponsored them for 25 years, even naming it the Busch Series for the last 3 years.

Well, the jig is up. Anheuser-Busch has decided they're no longer going to sponsor the 3 hours of turning left and instead use those marketing dollars somewhere that they see a better fit. Hopefully they use it to make the beer not taste like poo. That's right, I said it, poo.

A-B to end Busch NASCAR tie-up

Cigars for wine

Most cigars "murder" the wine you're drinking, according to Mike Ratcliffe, producer of the Vilafonte wine label. So rather than search for cigars that are complimentary, he made one of his own.

The Series X cigar is designed to compliment the red wine you're drinking rather than overpower it. It uses a Dominican wrapper and Cuban seed tobacco, this combination gives the cigar a lighter and sweeter taste than most of the cigars out there.

He's still focused on the wine and is doing this as more of a hobby, so don't think they're entering the market. You can tell because in order to get them you have to e-mail an "offer to purchase" to them. I'm sure they'll get right back to you.

Vilafonte Cigars

Beer Machine 2000

Tired of going over to your friends house and drinking his crappy homemade beer? Now you can make your OWN crappy homemade beer and without all the effort of understanding hops, barley and all those other nuisances.

The Beer Machine 2000 may be 6 years too late, but it's strictly now, baby. Just take their plastic brewing machine and pour in the powdered mix and in a little bit you have your own homemade beer! It's like Tang, except beer. They should call it "Astronaut Beer."

The Beer Machine 2000 - A$249.95

Book recommendations

Two book recommendations made by others came to my attention and they both look like good ones so I thought I'd pass them on.

Miss Charming's Guide for Hip Bartenders and Wayout Wannabes: Your Ultimate One-Stop Bar and Cocktail Resource is a fun, go-to source for drinks and entertaining and all the way to complete bar management. The best part is that the author's real last name is Charming. You know she's got the goods to make this one happen.
via Days That End In Y

Hemingway & Bailey’s Bartending Guide to Great American Writers is written by Mark Baily and Ernest's grandson, Edward Hemingway. If I was writing papers in college and I had that guy's name, I'd just sign it "E. Hemingway." How DARE they give me anything but an A????

The book is all about your favorite authors and what they drink/drank. It even goes in to the recipes, so you can make sure you're drinking the right thing. What Bourbon goes with Old Man and the Sea, anyways?

Salma Hayek on Campari's 2007 Calendar

Campari is a mild bitters-type apéritif, often drunk with soda, orange juice, or in mixed drinks and it's development is a pretty big secret. It's built to make some pretty interesting drinks and has a flavor profile that keeps you guessing.

Salma Hayek is hot as Hell and from what I've been told by people who believe in Hell, that's pretty hot.

They've come together for a limited edition calendar called "Hotel Campari" that features our favorite Mexican actress, producer, hottie in several scenes.

Don't expect to get your hands on one though, only 9,999 were made. They were going to make 10,000 but shipping was just too expensive.

Hotel Campari

Puriste Vodka

In the name of tapping every conceivable water source that might make for good marketing, Puriste arrives on the scene, direct from the Austrian Alps.

This one happens to have some pedigree though. Alois Kracher, winner of the Best Winery in the Last 5 Years, and Leo Hillinger, Best Red Wine Winemaker of 2005, worked together to create Puriste through hundreds of tastings until they finally came up with something they liked, which includes being distilled six times.

Puriste is available in Europe and should be making the rounds in the US very soon.

Puriste Vodka

Virtual Body Shots

The smart marketers are gearing up for the massive travel money that Spring Break can bring. STA Travel is helping you get in the mood by offering the virtual body shot.

You can pick your person (girls and guys) then pick the drink you want to take as a body shot. You can find the hotty you want to shoot off of and they make comments through the entire thing. Some are cliche but a few are pretty funny, including the nerd girl and the brunette hotty.

Sta Body Shots

Save the Mistletoe! (Drink Smirnoff Ice)

Okay, so I've gone to flat out pimping a product. I got yet another e-mail that says it's "viral" and I bought it and here it is. The difference here is that it's from the same people that made the hilarious "Tea Partay"

This one, however, brings some of your favorite actors of old together in to one out-of-tune song. Erik Estrada (C.H.i.P.S), Joyce Dewitt (Three’s Company), Lou Ferrigno (Incredible Hulk), Lark Voorhies (Saved by the Bell), Mindy Cohn (Facts of Life), Kato Kaelin, Larry Thomas (Soup Nazi from Seinfeld), Tiffany Darwisch (80’s pop star), Jeremy Miller (Growing Pains) and “Downtown” Julie Brown (MTV).

I know what you're thinking: "I didn't know Tiffany's last name was Darwisch!!!" I did though, I must have been a bigger fan than you. I'm her BIGGEST fan.

Save The Mistletoe

A bottle of wine and a glass, to go!

Australia's grape glut is creating some amazing marketing efforts, including this one by Hardy Wine Company, Australia's biggest wine producer.

"The Shuttle" is a single serving of wine that comes with it's own plastic cup attached to it, making it easy to take with you just about anywhere, though I have a feeling that the big money here is selling it to the airlines. The concept was initially designed for the Australian season of Cirque de Soleil so that they could make sure that no glass containers were in the crowd.

When you twist the top it opens the bottle and releases the glass at the same time. The easy-to-use wine comes in Shiraz and Chardonnay and is only available in Australia right now with a launch in the UK later in 2007.

Firm combines wine bottle with glass

Cognac-Davidoff Classic Review

Liquor Snob has a review of the Cognac Davidoff Classic. That's right, everyone's big time cigar maker is doing stuff with grapes.

If I read the review without knowing it was a Cognac, I would have guessed Brandy. Maybe they're trying to go a little mainstream with their flavors.

Check it out over at Liquor Snob.

Top 5 wines at $5.99 or less

When your wife wants extensive plastic surgery for Christmas, your mistress wants a new ring, and your kids from 2 marriages all want Tickle Me Elmo Xtreme, the last thing you can do is afford some of that high-end wine that you keep reading about in Robb Report.

Cooking@AOL hooks you up with the top 5 wines that are under six bucks. These can help you drown out the noises that your in-laws make throughout the holidays or are great if you're just inviting over a lot of people and don't want to break the bank on wine.

The 5 best are:
Trader Joe's Coastal Cabernet ($4.99) Amaicha Torrontes ($4.99) Banrock Station Shiraz ($5.99) Barefoot California Merlot ($5.99) Barefoot California Chardonnay ($5.99) Hey, it beats Thunderbird, that didn't go over so well last year, did it?

Top 5 wines at $5.99 or less
via Slashfood

Swan's Neck Vodka

Grape based vodka's seem to be quite the vodka fad and now Roth and Idol Vodkas finally has some competition here in the U.S.

Swan's Neck Vodka is made from French grapes that is turned in to wine, then twice distilled and comes straight from Napa, just like Roth and Idol. Well, I think Idol is technically in Marin, but you get the idea.

I'm already a fan just because it's a website that didn't immediately inundate with me Flash. You can get an 80 proof original or a 70 proof Lemon Zest, which makes for a whole other flavor profile that I'd look forward to.

Swan's Neck Vodka - US$42

Kajmir Liqueur launches

Centerra Wine, who owns just a ton of stuff like Woodbridge wines, Mondavi, and Almaden, has launched a liqueur perfect for the comfort feeling.

Kajmir is a mix of brandy, vodka, and warm vanilla, which seems like a great combination of flavors. I imagine that this is one of those that's going to best be served on the rocks but might be nice straight-up or mixed with something like a bit of Goldschlager to give it some cinnamon.

Introducing Kajmir - US$18.99 for 750ml

Top 10 New Bars of 2006

It would seem that when I recommend a bar to the fearless faithful of The Martini Lounge, that I do not steer you wrong!

MSN CityGuides has come out with the Top 10 New Bars of 2006 and my favorite watering hole in all the world, Bourbon and Branch, is sitting pretty at #1.

My slogan for these guys is "The French Laundry of alcohol." The bartenders are friendly, smart as hell, and seem to remember everyone that comes in there. When I'm in there, it seems that they have a following of near cultish proportions.

Last night, Plymouth Gin sponsored the alcohol and there was quite a crowd that turned it from subtle Speakeasy in to a lively bar crowd.

This place is a destination bar. If you're in San Francisco, there's no reason you can think of that should stop you from visiting this place.

Remember, reservations only, via the website. Tell them you heard about it here, it helps my street cred.

Top 10 New Bars of 2006

Wunderbar is wunderful

Dispensing things is important work and there should be a Nobel Prize for the best dispenser of things each year. If there was, the Wunderbar would surely win this year's prize.

The Wunderbar comes in 3 versions. One that can't cool anything, but can keep the cool for US$105 and runs AA batteries. That's right! Small batteries! The top of the line one used sub-zero tech in order to cool your beverages and keep them cold, but will set you back US$238. They have a middle-of-the-road one as well that is perfect for picnics and such. The Wunderbar can store 4, 5, or 6-liter kegs and has a selection of over 300 beers, so you're bound to find one to keep handy.

Wunderbar Cooler - US$105-238

Wine Buyer's Wine of the Year

Now, don't moan. It's just the beginning of all the Crap of the Year awards that we're going to see like crazy over the next 45 days or so.

The nice thing about this one is that they've picked a great one. The Bodegas El Nido Clio Jumilla 2003 is a Spanish wine made by an Australian winemaker and selling like crazy here in America.

Robert Parker gives the stuff 93 points and expects to drink at it's best in 2-3 years. This is a great wine for those special parties where you want to impress but without breaking the bank.

El Nido Clio Jumilla 2003 at Wine Buyer - US$34.00

Video of Iceberg Vodka

We've already talked about the ultra-elite Iceberg Vodka and how it's made, now our Thirsty Traveler buddy over at Travelistic has gone the next step and actually gone to make video of how it's made.

If rogue Velociraptors ever kill the Thirsty Traveler guy, I'm sure they'll want me for the job.

Iceberg Vodka at Travelistic
via Drink of the Week 2.0

The Champagne of Lagers

Well, it's actually a Champagne AND a Lager and helps you with those Champagne tastes on a beer budget. The drink is designed to help those that are stuck on beer to branch out a bit to the bubbly.

The beer is bottled then injected with Ale yeast. The cork is then conditioned for two weeks and voila! You have champagne/lager/beer/bubbly stuff.

A bottle is the same size as a wine bottle and is expected to be sold at clubs and other upscale places that will charge you lots for it. The stuff sells as "King Cobra" in the rest of the world, but trademarking wouldn't allow them to do it in the U.S. So they went with Krait, which is another snake in the Cobra family. That's right! Martini-Lounge helps you impress your friends with random facts!

Krait Prestige - US$13 for 750ml bottle

Everyone's Drinking More!

According to an article over at, people are just flat out drinking more.

I don't know why people get Finance MBA's and spend all of their days trying to figure out Key Economic Indicators. Is drinking going up? Then the economy's doing great! Is membership in A.A. going up? Bear economy!

40 per cent of those surveyed say they're going out more and 40 per cent of those say they're ordering more booze when they do go out. Though all booze is taking off, wine is the real winner, with 22 per cent of people saying they're ordering more wine than they were a year ago.

Let's hope the boys over at The Federal Reserve Board don't hear about this or interest rates will be going up for sure.

Bottoms Up

The Art of the Bar Recipe Book

San Francisco's Absinthe Brasserie and Bar is one of the penultimate drinking places in The City. It is to drinking what Michael Minna is to food and tends to be a lot friendlier as well.

Bartenders (I hate the term "Mixologist") Jeff Hollinger and Rob Schwartz have collaborated on a new recipe book that not only includes recipes for the classics, but plenty of new drinks as well as spins on the old classics. The book also takes a look at the history of many of the drinks, stories behind them, and anecdotes and reflections from their days at working at the bar.

The Art of the Bar - US$24.95

More Web 2.0 Drinking

Along with a completely Webified 2.0 logo, bottletalk gives you all the social aspects that you love on other sites, but focused on wine.

At bottletalk you can:
store details of the wines you have drunk and what you thought of them in your personalised areashare your wine experiences with friends, family and other wine loversrate and tag wines for easy referencediscover new wines you'd like to drink and store these in your 'wanted' sectionbuy wines easily from online retailersI like how they've implemented tags by flavors, that is actually one of the more helpful ways I've seen a site give you a chance to find some other wines.

Good luck bottletalk!

bottletalk (Beta)

Rolling Wine Barrel Bar

Oak barrels are the greyhounds of the wine world. Once they've completed their often short lifecycle, they are quickly discarded, never to be heard from again. With over 800,000 barrels thrown out every year only the lucky few will find a new home aging tequila, or some other alcohol that needs their unique flavors.

Many others find themselves with nothing to do, often turning to a life of crime just to get by. Here's where YOU can make a difference

For the price of 18 cups of coffee a day, you can give this classic wine barrel a new home, a new purpose on life. It opens nicely to display two shelves for glass and bottle storage. It also has rolling casters on the bottom to help you easily move it around the house, insuring that it will never be in your way in its new, permanent home.

Rolling Wine Barrel Bar - US$689

The MySpace of Wine

As everyone is trying to push how they're the next MySpace, it was only a matter of time before someone started doing it in the wine world.

The Wine Experience allows members to upload articles, blogs and a daily audio Podcast of The Wine Experience Radio Show. They can also comment on existing articles and participate in a variety of wine forums.

Creating community and allowing for lots of user input is a fantastic idea and Wine Experience seems to be getting it on a good way to do that for people that like to drink the fermented grapes.

But wait! Look! Another site that prides itself on how they're not wine snobs! THAT IS SO CLEVER! I'm so over how the latest wine blog/site/forum tries to sell itself on being for the everyday joe then gets inundated with commenters/members that laugh everyone else off the site by talking about how their latest bottle of 1985 AssGrape is clearly a result of excellent tannins.

Unless you're proving it everyday, like HipTastes, then…

Wine Fill Truffles

As the holidays are about stuffing your face and drinking, why not kill two birds with one stone?

They've basically managed to stuff just about everything they can inside a truffle at this point so I'm rather surprised that this hasn't made more rounds yet, but the wine filled truffle sounds totally decadent.

Maybe I'll run a hot bath with bubbles, some scented candles, then sit with a white wine spritzer, a good book, and some Cabernet filled truffles. You know, some Rick time.

Wine filled truffles - US$25
via Slashfood

Thrillist Contest

Some of the lady readers of this blog are probably Daily Candy subscribers, the daily e-mail newsletter that talks about what's hot in fashion, beauty, and other things that girls seem to care a lot about. It's actually through one of our female readers that subscribes to Daily Candy that I found my favorite bar, Bourbon and Branch.

Well men, no need for vagina envy, Thrillist has you covered with a daily newsletter about stuff YOU care about, like food, drinks, gadgets, and grooming. Well, I've met some of you, grooming may not be that high up on the list. And unlike the mail sitting in your inbox which is mostly about making money on real estate foreclosures or someone trying to get your password to your favorite porn sites, this is an e-mail you may actually read.

They even have a nice incentive for you to sign-up. Sign-up right now and you'll be added in to their contest to win a few bottles of booze to help stock your bar in their weekly "Win-A-Bar" sw…

Ice Cider

You may or may not have heard of ice wine, a sweet, dessert like wine from the north that is made from grapes that are harvested after the first frost. Ice wine has really started to take off on the international scene and there are some pretty stellar drinks out there.

So, what happens when you do the same thing with apples? Better yet, take 80 apples from six different varieties and cram it in to one bottle, you then get Domaine Pinnacle Ice Cider.

The goods have about the same alcohol content as some wines (12.5%) and works perfectly as an aperitif or maybe even to balance out a spicy dish.

Domaine Pinnacle Ice Cider

Happy Birthday

It was one year ago today that I first put my drunken ramblings in to the Ether. That's a lifetime in Internet years!!

It just so happened that this is also Repeal Day!! Coincidence? Absolutely!

Repeal Day

Okay, so Dewar's sent out this press release to, I assume, all the alcohol blogs, reminding us of Repeal Day and giving us some Dewar's related recipes to tack on.

What's Repeal Day? It's the day Prohibition ended and the world rejoiced, allowing us to get so sloppy drunk that we'd ask our cousin for a hummer. Well, Prohibition didn't really stop that from happening, but it did stop you from doing it in a very public place.

To that end, Dewar's made a video about what it would be like if Prohibition never ended. A scary thought indeed.

Holiday Drink Recipes

Holiday parties just ain't holiday parties if you don't have holiday drinks. You know, the special ones loaded with sugar and things to make it look festive that insure that you'll be heaving your guts up the next day if you have too many. Yay for December!

Over at Drink of the Week they've rounded up quite a few of the holiday faves for easy access and planning. Try something new this year! People are already pretty tired of your mulled wine.

Holiday Cocktails