Mar
31
2014

Hacked By Imam

Hacked By Imam with Love


Dec
19
2013

Test-run: Arctic Chill muddler

Artic-Chill-Muddler

Arctic Chill recently sent us their muddler to try out. A small company born by a couple bros (actual brothers), Arctic Chill has set out to manufacture the highest quality bar ware and kitchen products. Read more »


Sep
17
2013

Cest la vie, Summer

Summer-Selection

Summer is drawing to a close, so I figured now’d be a good time to share my summer menu at Grand Cafe. I wanted to use familiar flavors for the warmer months, with lots of fresh fruit and house-made syrups and cordials. You can find all of the drinks on our recipe page here, but a few of my favorites are as follows.

Bluegrass Sunshine is a variation on the classic whiskey sour using vanilla syrup and sunshine bitters to spice things up a bit. I love how these flavors play together.
Read more »


May
24
2013

Gin tasting with Kevin Diedrich

—Christian

Gin-with-Kevin-Diedrich

One of the perks of working for a large hospitality company is having access to talent across the network. In this case, Kevin Diedrich, the bar manager and lauded bartender of Jasper’s Corner Tap and Kitchen. If you’ve met him, you know that Kevin is the nicest guy in the world and an expert in the field, so I was very excited when I found out he was going to be doing a gin tasting at Grand Cafe. Here is what I learned.
Read more »


May
08
2013

An Enthusiasts guide to DIY bitters: vol. 1, part 2

—Christian

Three weeks passed and it’s time for step three! First I strained the liquid out through cheesecloth. This initial infusion is very strong on the tongue. There are strong overtones of cardamom with definite notes of clove and citrus (ed. note: the Imbibe recipe calls for coriander, but the author was not 100% sober when he put everything together. Some mistakes may have been made). There is also a big punch of bitter: sour/tart from the dandelion root and deep from the gentian. The wormwood appears to provide a smoothness, like tea. The mint is subtle, at best, although there is a slight menthol effect present. Ginger appears to have been omitted (see note above). Read more »


Apr
17
2013

An Enthusiasts guide to DIY bitters: vol. 1, part 1

—Christian

I’ve thought about making bitters for a while now. So I was quite excited when the Jan/Feb issue of Imbibe magazine (thanks, Amy & Phil!) included a recipe for grapefruit bitters. I’d already been toying with gentian flavors in the form of Salers Gentaine aperitif and really want to understand the potential of bittering agents better. What better a way than to directly work with them myself?

The fundamentals of bitters are essentially the same. Combine bitter things with herbs, spices and other flavorful components in high-proof alcohol and let them sit for a period of time. These bitter things tend to be the roots of flowers, with the gentian root being perhaps the most recognizable (think of the bitterness in Campari, Angostura and Fernet). Salers is a bottling of just that flavor cut with a little sugar, and will give you the full depth of flavor the root has to offer. The recipe (below) also calls for dandelion root, wormwood and whole coriander—among other things, so I headed over to Rainbow Grocery, the SF goldmine for random stuff in jars, to stock up. Read more »


Mar
09
2013

Really old booze. Or: What you find when you help your 94-year-old grandmother empty her liquor cabinet

—Marissa

My family has a bit of a morbid streak and likes to way over-prepare for people’s imminent deaths. My grandmother, for instance, is 94 years old and as fabulous as ever. She actually performed better than I did on a stress test at the cardiologist. Sorry, pride, you lose this round. Anyway, ever since she became the last living of six children a couple years ago, she’s been cleaning out her house so that we’ll have less stuff to throw away when she dies. Giving away jewelry, tossing old Christmas decorations—things of that sort. This last time my sister and I went home, we had the lovely task of cracking open the liquor cabinet.

Now this liquor cabinet probably hadn’t been opened since before I was born. Her husband used to be an alcoholic (a real one, not the enthusiast type), but gave it up some time in the late 70s if my calculations are correct. And my grandma, while she loves herself a glass of White Zinfandel, isn’t really the type to chug hard liquor on her own. There was a lot of dust and weird smells in that cabinet and, sadly, every single bottle—except for the pomegranate grenadine—was open. We took them all out, sniffed them, lost some brain cells and some lung function, and poured them down the drain. If you ever get the chance to take a whiff of 50-year-old rum that’s been chilling in a cabinet unsealed and half-drunk, OMG DON’T DO IT. Seriously. Read more »


Mar
06
2013

Drinking at the office: How I added to our arsenal of imbibing

—Otto

Zacapa tasting group shot

Cheers to drinking at work!

After a long hard day at work it’s nice to hit the bar for happy hour. But it’s even nicer, and more relaxing, to have the bar come to you!

That is the concept behind a new, 2013 initiative that I launched at my work, the San Francisco office of branding and design firm Landor. I call it Sip ‘n Learn™—and I think the name says it all.

It’s great to drop by the local bar with some co-workers and it’s nice to have occasional internal happy hours, but I wanted to offer a little more: a high-quality cocktail experience presented in a salon format. Read more »


Jan
24
2013

New beginnings

—Christian

My interest in cocktails blossomed my senior year in college. Flush with a little money from a summer job, I dropped probably $600-$700 outfitting my dorm room closet with spirits, modifiers, barware, and glassware of various kinds. And we lived it up for the first couple months of school, while supplies lasted. It was then that I learned how to mix a Manhattan, a proper Martini, and White and Black Russians. I also started to appreciate the nuances of liquor that came from glass bottles with corks vs. plastic ones with removable pour regulators.

Pabst-baby

Prior to that my drinking included the usual high school and college nonsense. I acquired a taste for Old Crow and would go on about how each batch was different and it really varied from bottle to bottle. I loved (and still do) Pabst Blue Ribbon, the hipster champion that actually packs a healthy 5% ABV punch. And I’d occasionally experience cocktails in the company of my ex-bartender parents who appreciated the classics. But it was that dorm closet bar that gave me the first twinges of pride about drink. That made me invest in quality and making sure “it was done right.” And from there a love grew. Read more »


Jan
08
2013

Hide that hangover!

Josey & Loosey Goosey (& L.G.’s sister)

Ladies, while science (pffft…whatever, science) may say we can’t drink as much as men—apparently that sexy extra fat we carry makes our bodies metabolize booze at about half their rate—we as females have a distinct advantage in hiding our hangovers from the world’s judgiest-judgers: makeup.

Here, from guest Enthusiast Loosey Goosey (ed. note: NOT HER REAL NAME!!!) and your very own Josey (ed. note: me) are some tips to help you take advantage of the cosmetic tools at your disposal.

(Ed. note: Oh and men can totally wear makeup, too if they want. Something about gender!!! I’m being PC! I’m being PC!!!!)

hungover josey

Look how good I am at hiding my wretched hangovers! #notconvincing #reno

1. First thing’s first: Drink lots of water. Also coconut water. Trust us, your skin will be soooooo much less hideous when it’s (semi) rehydrated. Cause hungover you look like, 30 years older than you actually are (ed. note: no offense). Read more »


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