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spirits

Gin and Tonics: The Great Tonic Showdown

One of the recent warm evenings, I decided to pit the two boutique tonic waters now on the market head-to-head. Fever-Tree has been available for more than a year, but Q is just coming into the market and I was sent a sample last week.



Both are trying to make the experience of that classic drink, the gin and tonic, better by improving the oft-neglected role of the mixer. Fever-Tree is made in England, with ingredients sourced from around the world. Q is made, best I can tell, in New York. The gin?

Martinis: Shaken V. Stirred



The science in this article, which claims that a shaken martini has a measurable advantage in salubriousness over a stirred one, seems highly dubious to me. The article recaps the findings of some British scientists (who probably have too much time on their hands) reviewing research done in 1999 by some Canadian ones (who definitely have too much time on their hands):

A Cucumber Vodka Cocktail: The Watermelon Refresher

Cucumber, perhaps my favorite vegetable, is the supreme food for summer. Light, crisp, a mixture of sweet and bitter, cucumber is just made for eating … and drinking. As my colleague Sara Deseran pointed out last week in her Bits and Bites posting, Square One, the locally masterminded organic vodka company, has just released its cucumber-flavored vodka, and it's a winner. Normally, I don't get particularly excited about flavored vodkas, but this one is novel and very well made.

Hard Cider: How D'Ya Like Them Apples?



Ever since I was 15 and traveling through France and Britain with my family, I've loved European dry, alcoholic apple cider. This is probably because my parents wouldn't let me drink beer, scotch or (much) wine, but they would let me get the occasional buzz off cider. While there, I developed an affection for the dry, crisp apple-y taste of the stuff.

Tony Abou-Ganim's Cable Car: A Signature SF Drink

Last night was the kick-off event for cocktail week. It took place at the Starlight Room, where many of SF's best and brightest (like Marco Dionysus, pictured here) got behind the bar, making drinks for the masses.

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."


Shochu in Japantown: A Bar Named Ikkyu

While wandering through Japantown in search of big ice cubes for an upcoming 7x7 column, a friend and I found ourselves in Ikkyu, a lovely little room on the ground floor of the easternmost building of the Japan Center. An oddly festive place, it wasn't open when we first stopped by, so we returned after 7 p.m., and it was open, though mostly empty. This was a good thing, as it allowed us to chat with Kako, the spirited owner, who had come over from Japan to take over the bar (which, it turned out, had been previously owned by a man with a big ice cube machine … must have taken it with him when he left).

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.
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