I love the fact that Alder Yarrow over at Vinography is so unabashedly exuberant about "orange wines." Some of his quotes from the last year: "Regular readers know that every once in a while I wax poetic about an orange wine here on Vinography"; "Orange wine is nearly always a good sign!"; "Orange wines aren't easy to come by, but to my mind they represent some of the most exciting wines being made on the planet."
Is the cocktail world showing bias against the West Coast cocktail scene—and San Francisco in particular?
In support of such an idea there is the following evidence:
Just last night, while tending bar at Cantina (which I do most Mondays), I chatted with a lovely young couple on vacation from Tuscon. With plans already to see Alcatraz, etc, they asked me what I thought they should do while in town. "Get out and walk the neighborhoods," I told them. "That's where the heart and the identity of San Francisco is. And it's the most fun you can have to see what they're all about."
Just in: Clock Bar, Michael Mina's gorgeous and sophisticated watering hole in the Westin St. Francis, is celebrating its first anniversary all week. (It hurts that its head barman and celebrated cocktail master Marco Dionysus just had his last day there.) But Clock Bar roars into year two with an impressive list of guest bartenders and high-octane sponsors this week. Here's the sched:
This is a big week for my inner Francophile. For one, tomorrow is Bastille Day—one of France's most important National Holidays and always a big, boozy fête. Two, the second half of the Tour de France kicks off tomorrow, and the drama is high as to who will take it—comeback story Lance Armstrong or Alberto Contador (his feisty teammate) or someone else altogether.
Just finished my tour of Rickhouse, and I have to say, it's absolutely beautiful. With one wall that's made of bricks and is holdout (ash and all) from the 1906 fire and the rest of the walls and ceiling being lovingly built from reclaimed wood and old bourbon barrel staves, the design of the new bar from the folk at Bourbon & Branch is stunning.
San Francisco bars are going to be lonlier places this week. That's because a sizable proportion of our city's most prominent bartenders are heading south and east to the annual Tales of the Cocktail conference in New Orleans this week. Yes, they will be networking, taking in seminars, lectures, participating in discussion groups. But, well, even more time will be spent consuming Pimm's Cups, Juleps, Daiquiris, Dixie beer, shots of Chartreuse and about every other form of alcohol you can imagine. And in sweltering heat too! But it's a lot of fun, if you can survive it. I went last year to this bibulous event, and my liver has yet to forgive me.
There's no better way to serve a crowd than a punch. It might take a little preparation, but so does potato salad. And once you've got it all together, you can just sit back and enjoy the day. Here's an adaptation of one of my favorite recipes—a classic, going back to the golden age of punch in the 18th century England (no, the woman in the photo is not from the 18th century, although she could be), when tea and rum were prized commodities for the seafaring nation.
Serves about 16.
4 bags of green tea or 4 teaspoons green tea leaves
1 cup superfine sugar
2 cups brandy, try VSOP cognac
3/4 cup dark rum
1/2 cup light rum or cachaca