gaz regan's


May 3, 2012



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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 Sunset Pier

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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The CocktailianThe Cocktailian




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 and Qs
  • The Brand Perspective: Jade Liqueurs' Ted Breaux on overturning the US absinthe ban
  • Bar Icon: a tribute to the Paris Ritz's head barman Frank Meier

...and more.

To read this week's issue click here.

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Bartender's BookshelfBartender's Bookshelf

It's Here!


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 much more.

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.

What's inside?

The Mindful 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 note.

His Serialized 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. 

SPECIAL DISCOUNTS 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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Drink du Jour

Our Drink du Jour column is sponsored by the good folk at, and we think that you're going to enjoy what they're bringing to the party.

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In Defense of Drinking Vermouth

Contributed by Jordan Mackay

Turn images on to get the full picture.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 toward France.”

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 straight.

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

Contributed by Dale DeGroff

Turn images on to get the full picture.The history of tequila drinks is actually a relatively short one. Until the recent cocktalian movement, just a handful of recipes defined the category.

The 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 Martini.

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 years.

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 advisory board member 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.

The 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 the bar’s Sangrita Green or Sangrita Tradicional Pomegranate with a shot of your chosen tequila and salute this short but tasty agave history.

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 advisor.

How to Cocktail: Margarita,
Paloma and Spiced Old Fashioned

Turn images on to get the full picture.It 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 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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harry craddock

Craddock's Corner

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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Potent Quotables

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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Whiskey Watch




Buffalo Trace Distillery Releases Fifth Round of

Single Oak Project Bourbon

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 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 perfect bourbon!

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 To download images from Buffalo Trace Distillery visit

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Hot LinksHot Links

  • Alcedemics  Camper English is a San Francisco-based freelance writer and consultant who 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.

  • Booze 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 classics.

  • The Cocktail Guru
    Wanna See What Jonathan Pogash is Up To This Week?  Go worship The Cocktail Guru.

  • 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.

  • Good 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.

  • Jeffrey Morgenthaler writes about bartending and mixology from Portland, Oregon.

  • The 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.

  • Professor 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. 

  • Spirits and 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.
  • Spirits Review   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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