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Just In Time For Your Holiday Party, Learn to Make Classic Drinks This Wednesday

No doubt by now you've been to several holiday parties already, and are probably planning your own as well. This means you'll need to mix up some drinks to knock their socks off. Get ready for the big night with the help of a true pro, H. Joseph Ehrmann (proprietor of Elixir and Nightclub & Bar Magazine's 2010 Bartender of the Year), who's putting on a Mixology 101 class this Wednesday, December 15th.

Thad Vogler of Bar Agricole Speaks

A modern, undulating ride of LEED-certified design, Bar Agricole might be the most stunning tavern to ever touch down in San Francisco. The fact that the high-concept, farmcentric tavern is located on one of the most scrappy blocks of the city makes it all the more fascinating. We talked to Thad Vogler, the mad genius behind it all. Just don't call him a mixologist.

Flowery Mom-Proof Cocktails for Mother's Day

So it's Mother's Day this weekend, which usually means a buttoned-up brunch involving pastel-wear. Why not spice things up this year with a few mom-proof cocktails? Here are three recommendations from Liquor.com.

Kiwi Kwencher

Contributed by: Frankie Thaheld

A Trio of Top Bartenders Now Bringing the Party to You

I'm in St. Helena for an excellent conference at the CIA. I spent my morning listening to powerful talks from sustainability pioneers Fedele Bauccio of Bon Appetit Management Company and farmer Lee Jones of The Chefs Garden. What an inspiration those men are. But that's another story for another day.

Ice is Nice

After a spate of great weather, it looks like we’re in for a chilly and wet New Years. The return to cold weather got me thinking of a subject I love—ice. We were perhaps the first to chronicle the emerging ice mania of SF cocktails bars over a year ago, and it hasn’t stopped. Around town bartenders, in passionate belief that the ice seriously impacts the drink experience, are still obsessing over their cubes and chunks and spears of frozen water.

Classic Cocktails, Twitter Taste-Offs: The Drinking Trends of 2009

1. Cheap and Cheerful
The economy has got people drinking cheaper bottles of wine. But learning something along the way. As a sommelier in a high-end restaurant told me, “Maybe wine drinkers are learning that often what makes wine expensive is not only high quality, but things like fashion and availability.”

2. DIY Everything
Bartenders started the DIY trend a couple of years ago by making their own bitters. But now witness the portfolio of shrubs (syrups made from fresh fruit and vinegar) from Nopa’s Neyah White and the tonic water made with cinchona bark and assorted herbs and flowers from her backyard made by Pizzaiolo’s Cate Whalen. What’s next? Glass blowing?

The Rum of the Ancient Mariner: Smuggler's Cove Worthy of Hype

Dutifully, I attended the Smuggler's Cove press preview last night. Stupidly, I forgot any sort of camera, so I don't have any images for you. But, happily, I can report that after a long wait, much anticipation, a lot of hype (from me) the place will live up to its high expectations.

NYT Smuggles Tiki Talk into Rum Discussion

The better part of Wednesday's Dining section in the New York Times was given to their coverage of so-called winter drinks. But instead of toddies and warmers they talked instead about rum, though not the hot and buttered kind that would seem appropriate for this time of year. Rather it was aged rum in a tasting column by E Asimov and an article on the revival of rum-based tiki cocktails puncturing the mustachioed seriousness of the hardcore bartending set.

Best Thing About December: Afternoon Drinking

I'm so happy it's December 1. Well, I mean, it's true that the year has raced by faster than ever, and I puzzle over where exactly it went. And it's true that we're getting into that hectic crush where end-of-the-year projects collide with holiday shopping only to be buried by an avalanche of social obligations. But we're also in the month that allows us a coping mechanism for the madness: the afternoon drink. Naturally, I'm writing this with a martini in hand (one of my favorite afternoon cocktails -- 2 parts Plymouth, 1 part Noilly-Pratt, lemon twist, stirred). I hope you're reading this with same.

The Exploratorium Goes Adult with "After Dark" Tonight

We're not ashamed to admit it—we love the Exploratorium, the interactive science museum that caters to kids but inevitably delights visitors of all ages. Now that we're grown up, however, we have to confess having some fantasies about hitting the Tactile Dome after knocking back a few adult beverages. Wish granted! Based on the success of the California Academy of Sciences' "Nightlife," the Exploratorium now has a new "After Dark" series, where the fun of playing with their exhibits meets the fun of hitting the bar. Just think: You could meet that special someone while you toy with the Tesla coil.

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