As a follow-up to my posting about Key West last week I'd like to give a
shout-out to Al Nelson, a fabulous bartender who I met down there. Nice
work, Al--it was brilliant to meet you. (Al works at
P.S.: Did I mention that this year's Annual Manual for Bartenders is on
the shelves? Click here for details
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Dear Discerning Drinker,
Here's what's in this week's digital CLASS magazine:
- New bars in London: we've been to Karpo, Cicchetti Bar
and the newly enlarged Vista
- Going loco for coco: how does market leader Malibu
stand up against its rivals? Check out Take Five
- I am...Charles Vexenat: we catch up with France's
finest export since brie, and he's just opened a bar
- Heated Debate: are bartenders too focused on the past?
New York modernist Albert Trummer takes on London classicist Adam Freeth
- Reviews and ratings for two new gins, two new
whiskies, sherries, rums, liqueurs and an English sparkling wine
- Meet the parent: the founder of the Manhattan Cocktail
Classic on what to expect from this year's festival (it's next week)
- Wayne's World: Maxxium's Wayne Collins minds his Ps
- The Brand Perspective: Jade Liqueurs' Ted Breaux on
overturning the US absinthe ban
- Bar Icon: a tribute to the Paris Ritz's head barman
To read this week's issue
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gaz regan's Annual
Manual for Bartenders, 2012 is the go-to book for professional bartenders
worldwide. The Joy of Mixology, regan's groundbreaking 2003 work, has become
required reading for staff members at many of today's top cocktail lounges. This
new book is, in many ways, a sequel to that best-selling title. But it is so
The success of gaz regan's Annual Manual for Bartenders,
2011 proves that point, reaching No.4 in the Top 50 Spirits & Cocktails Books
category on Amazon.
gaz regan’s Annual Manual for Bartenders, 2012 is directed
specifically at working bartenders, not consumers, and this not only makes it
stand apart from every other book in this genre, it also adds appeal directly to
the men and women who actually hold forth from behind the mahogany. The Annual
Manual is a book that bartenders can call their own.
Bartender chapter in last year's Annual Manual sent waves throughout the
global bartending community, and regan followed it up with Mindful Bartender
presentations in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Beirut, and Dubai.
This year, the chapter highlights some of the bartenders
who employ mindfulness at work, and have had some amazing results, along with
more essential wisdom from gaz himself.
The chapter titled
Bartender Quotes of the Year highlights what thoughtful, caring, and sharing
bartenders have said in print over the past 12 months; words that are sure to
inspire the best in everyone who stands behind the stick.
A new section titled
Bartenders' Bartenders of the Year
features this year's “best of the best" dedicated professionals as recommended
by their peers and colleagues. Out of the 500+ suggestions received by gaz, the
nine featured bartenders exemplify qualities that truly are top shelf.
Recipients of the 2011 "Fabulous
Bartender of the Year" gazzer Awards held during the Manhattan Cocktail
Classic—including Andy Wells, Anthony DeSerio, Chad Doll, Duggan McDonnell,
Jackson Cannon, Jason Littrell, Jessica Gonzalez, Lynnette Marrero, Lynn House,
Neyah White, Salvatore Calabrese, and Stan Vadrna—are now joined by an
international bevy of 19 new recipients who now possess a coveted gazzer
bobblehead of their own.
This year gaz also presents some of the
Best Bar Bloggers of the Year and
highlights some Fabulous Bar Geekery before he signs off on a more personal
Autobiography, Part Two makes this a veritable compendium of a book, put
together with love and kisses by a bartender, for bartenders.
For bartenders everywhere, no library is complete without
this book, a mixer's and collector's reference book that will get frequent use
for years to come.
Order yours now. Buy your copy direct from Mixellany
Limited for £14.95 GBP ($21.95 US) plus postage and handling.
FOR BAR MANAGERS, BAR OWNERS, AND BRANDS: Order 5 or more copies and get a
25% discount plus reduced shipping and handling. Click here for details.
Another fine book from your friends at Mixellany Limited.
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Our Drink du Jour column is sponsored by the good folk at
Liquor.com, and we think that you're going to enjoy what they're bringing to the
In Defense of Drinking Vermouth
has come a long way since its days gathering dust on back bars.
That’s not to mention the regular derision from “Martini”
drinkers who would ask their bartenders to give but a curt “nod
Indeed, we are now in the midst of a vermouth revolution. The
classic fortified, aromatized, oxidized wine—sweet or dry, but
always boasting a telltale smack of botanical-driven
bitterness—has new purchase. You can easily buy niche brands
like Dolin, Vergano and P. Quiles, as well as upstarts Sutton
from California and Imbue from Oregon. I often overhear
mixologists debating the qualities of different vermouths for
specific cocktail recipes.
But I’m here to recommend that you approach vermouth with the
ultimate respect a liquor can receive: as a drink unto itself.
First of all, most vermouths are perfectly balanced, complex
products. Carpano Antica Formula’s unctuous sweetness is tamed
by a satisfying bitter turn at the end. The overwhelming
headiness of Dolin Dry’s ethereal perfume is pleasingly grounded
by the nutty robustness of its palate. See for yourself: As
enjoyable as they are mixed with gin, rye whiskey or
Campari, these bottlings are thrillingly delicious
And conveniently, you probably have an open bottle sitting
around, good for moments when you don’t feel like uncorking a
new bottle of wine or fixing a cocktail. Similarly, vermouth’s
strength lies between those beverages, giving it a unique spot
in a balanced drinking progression. And finally, that complexity
and sweet bitterness gets the appetite churning.
All together, these factors make vermouth the ideal aperitif. A
couple ounces in a
Duralex Picardie Tumbler, with a cube of ice, is the
perfect sipper while I’m cooking dinner. Or while basking in the
warm light of a vanishing afternoon. Or as a quick pour while
waiting at a restaurant’s bar for my late friend.
We’ve come far in learning to appreciate vermouth. Now it’s time
to drink it on its own.
Jordan Mackay is a San Francisco-based writer and co-author of
the James Beard Award-winning book
Secrets of the Sommeliers.
Behind the Bar: Tequila Cocktails
history of tequila drinks is actually a relatively short
one. Until the recent cocktalian movement, just a
handful of recipes defined the category.
Margarita, of course, was the leader of this
very small group. It was the first tequila concoction to
gain widespread recognition and is still going strong.
But the origins of this classic are as difficult to
establish as the origins of the
Wealthy American socialite Margaret Sames claimed it was
the signature cocktail at her summer home in Acapulco.
Whether or not she invented the Margarita, she pioneered
the use of
Cointreau, and I’ve made her formula for 30
Another theory is that Danny Herrera, owner of a
watering hole in Rancho la Gloria, was its progenitor.
According to lore, he created the Margarita for showgirl
and film star Marjorie King in the 1930s. And
award-winning author and Liquor.com advisory board
David Wondrich argues the drink was the
result of a mistake.
A bit later, in the 1970s, the
Tequila Sunrise seemed to be everywhere. The
modern recipe is a dumbed-down version of what was
served during Prohibition at the Agua Caliente Racetrack
in Tijuana, which also included crème de cassis.
Paloma, lately popular in the United States,
has been a longtime favorite in the Mexican town of
Tequila. The tipple’s invention can be dated to the
release of the grapefruit soda Squirt, which provides
its key flavor. Mexico’s best-known bartender, Don
Javier Delgado Corona, owner of La Capilla in Tequila,
is famous for his similar Batanga, a combination of
tequila, lime juice and Coca-Cola.
Today, tequila and mezcal cocktails abound, and there
are a number of establishments, like New York’s Viktor &
Spoils, that specialize in them. Pair a chilled shot of
Sangrita Green or
Sangrita Tradicional Pomegranate with a shot
of your chosen tequila and salute this short but tasty
Get the recipes for the
Sangrita Green and
Sangrita Tradicional Pomegranate on
Master mixologist Dale DeGroff is the author of
The Essential Cocktail and
The Craft of the Cocktail. He is also a
How to Cocktail: Margarita,
Paloma and Spiced Old Fashioned
wouldn’t be a proper Cinco de Mayo party without
some delicious tequila cocktails.
And to ensure you’re ready for this weekend’s
celebrations, we got agave-spirits expert and
Liquor.com advisory board member
Jacques Bezuidenhout to host our next
set of short videos. Watch his Margarita, Paloma
and Spiced Old Fashioned tutorials, and you’ll
soon be shaking like a pro.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Bezuidenhout’s tasty recipe for this classic
calls for just four ingredients: tequila, fresh
lime juice, agave nectar and water.
This is one of the most refreshing drinks we
know of. You’ll be enjoying the combination of
tequila, grapefruit soda and a pinch of salt all
spring and summer long.
Spiced Old Fashioned:
While we usually make this standard using
American whiskey, Bezuidenhout proves that it
also works well with aged tequila—especially
when you add hot chile pepper. (And it’s the
perfect concoction if you’re watching the
Kentucky Derby on Saturday.)
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Here's where we bring you links to boozey stories from all
over the place (and where we've placed a picture of Harry Craddock, author of
one of the world's most important tomes, The Savoy Cocktail Book):
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Chased by Two Fingers of Rye
"Helen Luther once watched a rider step on a scale, only to see that he
was over his horse's assigned impost (weight).
He shouted to the clerk of scales to hang on, raced to the bathroom,
emerged a moment later with his pants still at half mast, and made
weight. Such results could be
had from a variety of products, including a stomach-churning mix of Epson salts
and water--chased by two fingers of rye to stop the gagging reflex . . . . "
Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand.
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Trace Distillery Releases Fifth Round of
One Year Into Experiment, Which Barrel is
in the Lead?
One year ago Buffalo Trace Distillery unveiled its Single
Oak Project and its quest for the perfect bourbon. Now as the fifth round of
Single Oak Project Bourbons are released, there has been much excitement and
many reviews, but still many questions to be answered.
The fifth round of experiments will focus on three
variables, the recipe, rye vs. wheat; the entry proof, 105 vs. 125
proof; and wood grain size, tight, average, or coarse. All of the
other variables such as barrel stave seasoning, aging warehouse, char level, and
tree cut (top or bottom) remain constant.
As with the other four releases, Buffalo Trace hopes
whiskey enthusiasts can continue to rate each whiskey they taste online at
www.singleoakproject.com. To date,
more than 1700 accounts have been created online, and nearly 1,550 reviews have
been given on the four various releases so far.
The whiskey reviews have been tallied and the leading
barrel after one year is…. a three way tie!! Barrels #10, 106 and 184 are
all tied for first place. With all three of those barrels having different
variables, it seems the only thing the three have in common is that the oak was
harvested from bottom half of the tree! The other six variables of the
leading barrels vary.
“Quite a mixed bag so far,” said Kris Comstock, bourbon
brand manager. “It seems the only thing people can agree on so far is that they
like bourbon aged in barrels made from the bottom portion of oak trees, opposed
to the top half. Good thing we have 3 more years, 144 more barrels, and
thousands more reviews to come!”
After a consumer reviews a bottle online, they will
be availed of all the aging details and provenance of the barrel. They can
interact with others who’ve also reviewed the barrel, compare their reviews, and
even learn for themselves which characteristics they enjoy most, in order to
help them select future favorites. Participants online will earn points
after each review and most importantly, help Buffalo Trace Distillery create the
The Single Oak Project is part of an intensive research
project Buffalo Trace Distillery started conducting in 1999 by hand picking 96
trees with different wood grains and then dividing them into a top and bottom
piece, yielding 192 unique sections. From there, staves were created from each
section and were air dried for either 6 months or 12 months. After all the
staves were air dried, a single barrel was created from each tree section,
resulting in 192 total barrels. These barrels were given either a number three
or a number four char and then filled with either wheat or rye recipe bourbon.
To further the variety of experiments, the barrels were
filled at two different proofs, 105 and 125 proof. And if this wasn’t
enough, two completely different warehouses were used, one with wooden floors
and one with concrete floors. In total, seven different variables were
employed in Buffalo Trace’s ultimate experiment.
For eight years the Distillery continued with its tracking
process, creating intricate databases and coming up with a potential of 1,396
tasting combinations from these 192 barrels!
The Single Oak Project Bourbon is being released in a
series every three months from 2011 through 2015 until all of the 192 barrels
have been released. The first releases hit select stores in 2011. This
fifth release will reach stores towards the end of May. Like all the other
releases, the quantities are very limited. Every case will contain 12 bottles,
each from a different barrel. The fifth release is made up of barrel numbers 1,
17, 33, 49, 65, 81, 97, 113, 129, 145, 161, 177. All releases will be packaged
in a 375ml bottle. Suggested retail pricing per bottle is $46.35.
At the conclusion of the Single Oak Project, the Distillery
plans to take the top rated barrel based on online consumer feedback, make more
of that product and launch it under the Single Oak Project nameplate.
About Buffalo Trace Distillery
Buffalo Trace Distillery is a family-owned company based in
Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. The Distillery's rich distilling tradition
dates back to 1787 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T.
Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee. Buffalo Trace
Distillery is a fully operational Distillery producing bourbon, rye and vodka on
site and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Distillery
has won seven distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications as
Whisky Magazine, Malt Advocate Magazine and Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
It was named Whisky Magazine 2010 World Icons of Whisky “Whisky Visitor
Attraction of the Year.” Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than
200 awards for its wide range of premium whiskies. To learn more about Buffalo
Trace Distillery visit
www.buffalotrace.com. To download images from Buffalo Trace Distillery visit
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Camper English is a San Francisco-based
freelance writer and
specializes in cocktails and spirits, with a touch of travel thrown in.
Arthur Shapiro's Booze Business Blog
Our old friend Arthur Shapiro spills some fabulous booze-related tales on
his blog, Booze Business. Go pay him a visit.
Art of Drink
Art of Drink was spontaneously created in
October 2005 as a way to document information on all things drink related.
Currently Art of Drink is ranked among the top, if not the top, cocktail
blogs on the Internet.
Don't forget to pay Uncle Brian a visit at the barkeeper. This guy has stuff
on his blog that you'll never find anywhere else in the world. Don't say we
didn't tell you.
Bay Area Spirits is
the David-vs-Goliath blog that focuses on craft distillers and artisanal,
handcrafted and hard-to-find spirits and cocktails.
for Thought is a blog by Charles Hardwick that's based on the belief
that the best garnish for a great cocktail is a good story. And
Charles tells a good story.
The Cocktail Chronicles
The Cocktail Chronicles is updated somewhat
regularly by Paul Clarke, a Seattle-based cocktail enthusiast . . . I’ve
taken the “roll your own” ethic of
David Embury to
heart, spending countless hours reading about, mixing and studying an array
of cocktails, with a special emphasis on early- and mid-20th century
The Cocktail Guru
Wanna See What Jonathan Pogash is Up To This Week? Go worship The
Drinks Ink Blog
Wherein a sharp-tongued boozehound (Jack Robertiello) shares what he thinks
about what he drinks, among other things.
"Fork & Shaker
is a metaphor for two of my great passions in life –food & drink. Maybe this
site will make you thirsty. Maybe it will make you hungry. Maybe it will
show you that the world of cocktails and other fine libations can be found
all over the world. But if it does nothing more than help you appreciate all
that is beautiful and unique when the crossroads of food and drink meet,
then that will make me very happy," Naren Young.
Spirits News reports on the latest trends in mixology from around the
world. reviewing spirits, liqueurs, and bitters, the best new spirited
publications, bartender competitions, and cocktail events. The site
also includes interviews with the likes of gaz regan, Paul Pacult, and Dave
Wondrich. to name but a few.
writes about bartending and mixology from Portland, Oregon.
Jerry Thomas Project
is the re-creation of all of Jerry Thomas' cocktails from Jerry Thomas'
Bar-Tenders Guide: Receipts for Mixing in their purest form.
The Liquid Muse
was launched in 2006 by Natalie Bovis, a cocktail book author, freelance
writer, and mixologist. With 20 years experience in front-of-the-house
hospitality, Natalie now shares her favorite cocktail bars, spirits, and
wines from around the world via her website, radio, video, and television.
Cocktail -- David J. Montgomery is a former
newspaper columnist and professor of History. He writes about cocktails and
spirits at Professor Cocktail, including reviews, recipes, and essays. His
work has appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, The Daily Beast, and
other fine publications.
Cocktails by Jamie Boudreau. Jamie’s
thirst for cocktail minutia is infamous, and if conversation turns to a
subject that he is unsure of, you can be assured that he will research
it as soon as possible. He has a love for the classics, but at the same
time is always looking for new, exciting ingredients with which to try
out new recipes.
Reviews of booze, books, and barware. Also 4,500+ links, 400+ RSS feeds and
extensive "Adventure" section chronicling adventures in alcohol in various
forms. "We aim to be the google of booze"
Small Screen Network
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