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Mojito Kits: A Lovely Idea, But the Reality...

This is how the p.r. query read for this summer's release of the 10 Cane rum mojito kit: "This summer, 10 CANE presents a limited-edition 10 CANE Mojito Kit that allows aspiring mixologists to enjoy fresh notes of mint, sugar cane and lime juice at home without the hassle of muddling, cleanup, and embarrassing mint stuck in their guests’ teeth. Just fill glasses with ice, add contents, stir and ... remove shoes."

Antique Ice Crusher: My New Favorite Toy

If you see something like this, buy it. My friend Lisa found this in some of her old stuff and knew that it was some sort of bar or culinary implement, but she didn't know exactly what it was. I instantly recognized it as an old-fashioned ice crusher and gladly took it in. The thing works wonderfully, in seconds pulverizing dozens of hard cubes into a finely crushed texture. I've seen them in antique stores all over, for cheap.

The Corpse Reviver Cocktail: Morning of the Living Dead

Most mornings, my wife, Christie, likes to sleep in. She works late into the night, so it's understandable, yet at the same time she does often need some encouragement to emerge from the cozy confines of the covers. Today, it was especially difficult for her to get up, since we had stayed up late talking. At a certain hour, I came in and joked to her resistant ears that she resembled a corpse and I’d decided to make her a Corpse Reviver to help her get out of bed. A drink first catalogued in the Savoy book by Harry Craddock, it's a strong, hair-of-the-dog type of concoction. I thought it would be just the thing.

Anchor Brewing and Buena Vista at SFO

Going through airports is as bad as it’s ever been. I don't mind taking off my shoes in security--it's the belt that's annoying. One thing that's made flying better, however, is the appearance of local food and beverage vendors in the terminals. I noted this trend a decade ago in my native Austin, TX, as its then-new airport sported such local favorites as Matt's Famous El Rancho (Tex-Mex), Schlotzsky's (sandwiches) and the ever-popular Salt Lick BBQ, whose airport location is closer to the original restaurant (and its pit) than downtown Austin is, so you know the meat is fresh.

Historic Cocktails Tour of SF: History in a Glass

San Francisco bartenders were treated to a unique experience a couple of weeks ago: the first (that we know of) SF historical cocktail tour. It was sponsored by Plymouth Gin and Simon Ford (the brand's ambassador; below, at left) and conducted by Dave Wondrich (below, right), the undisputed authority on American cocktail history and author of Imbibe.

Cocktail ABCs: How Not to Make a Daiquiri

Thanks to friend and cocktail fiend Alex for this gem.

Watch this video, and then tell me that you would ever would ever put that drink in your mouth. There's so much that's wrong with the way he makes this drink, it's scary, but we'll just mention some of the highlights:
Try not to pick your nose while chilling your cocktail glass.
Try not to use only one ounce of rum in a cocktail--at least give 'em an ounce and a half.
Try not to completely botch the measuring of your ingredients.
Try not to pick your nose again.
Try not to use prefab sweet-and-sour mix.


...cocktails made in one hour (in Las Vegas, by Beam Global Spirits master mixologist Bobby G) to set the Guinness record. See the video. That's a lot of drinks. I'm not sure what the Guinness record is for drinking cocktails in an hour, but I have to believe it's a bit lower. I hope so, anyway.

Stompin' at the Savoy

This was the scene last week at the Alembic, the best cocktail bar between Van Ness and Japan, where intrepid bartenders Thomas Waugh and Daniel Hyatt (in ties and vests) had suspended the use of their standard cocktail list and replaced it with the entire 293-page Savoy Cocktail Book. Originally published in 1930, this volume is both a valuable historical clue to the vibrancy of a distant age and a still-relevant compendium of drinking fun. A dozen copies of the book were available at the bar, and drinkers were invited to simply thumb through it and find something they wanted to drink.

Fever time at the Grotto

The Grotto, the writer's collective of which I am fortunate to be a member, was paid a visit by the ever charming and convivial Tim Warrilow of Fever-Tree. Fever-Tree is a new English brand of mixers that uses natural botanicals and flavourings (my nod to the Brits) and less sugar. The desire to start this company came from the experience that Fever-Tree's founders had in running Plymouth Gin (SF's favorite artisanal brand these days), a lovely and complex product that is easily—as any good gin is—desecrated by bad tonic.

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