Jan
06
2012

An Enthusiast’s guide to cocktails: the Sazerac

–Christian

Sazerac Bar—Roosevelt Hotel, New Orleans

The Sazerac is one of the oldest cocktails still commonly consumed today. Invented around 1830 in New Orleans (where all the classics seem to have come from) by a Creole apothecary from the West Indies named Antoine Amadie Peychaud, the drink’s original recipe called for cognac, bitters, sugar and a dash of water. Incidentally, this concoction was pretty much the only cocktail recipe back in those days—something now referred to as the Old Fashioned.

Antoine’s particular approach and proprietary bitters were so popular that bars (or “Exchanges”) all over NOLA started serving it. Legend has it that a man named Sewell Taylor, owner of Merchants Exchange Coffeehouse, was serving the drink at his bar when he became the sole importer of Sazerac-du-Forge et fils Cognac. Shortly thereafter Aaron Bird took over the Merchant’s Exchange from Taylor, who had gone full-time into importing, and changed the name to Sazerac House after the liquor in their signature drink. And the first branded cocktail was born.
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Oct
28
2011

The home bar: Part 1

—Christian

Every September San Francisco is host to a wondrous occasion know as Cocktail Week. Classes, lectures and bar-hosted events are held all around the city. This past cocktail week your humble Enthusiasts attended a seminar on a topic that has always been of great interest to me: the home bar.

Our gracious hosts were none other than Jon Santer­—founder of Bourbon and Branch (among many other prolific San Francisco bars) and David Nepove, aka Mister Mojito—currently a bar advisor by trade, but a long-time San Francisco cocktail guru. Between the two of them, it’s needless to say we were in good hands.

In this multi-part series I will take you through everything we learned. From how to build a bar; to the tools you’ll need to outfit it with; to the various ingredients you’ll want to keep behind it. In Part One we cover the bar itself. And depending on budget, the sky really is the limit.
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Aug
12
2011

How to make the Summer Tremble

Our first happy hour event was a great success. After setting up at HANGR 16, I mixed drinks like crazy for almost three hours.
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May
05
2011

An Enthusiast’s guide to cocktails: the Margarita

—Christian

While there is much debate about the exact history of the drink, the lore that surrounds the Margarita is rich and interesting. Initially tequila was not used in cocktails. Rather, it was served straight in a shot glass with a side of lime and salt (sound familiar?). Starting in the mid ‘30s, examples of mixed drinks that include distilled agave began to pop up. In fact, the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book includes not one, but 15 different tequila concoctions. One of which is called the Picador, which calls for 2pts tequila, 1pt citrus, 1pt Cointreau (note the absence of salt). Also, around the same time there was a well-known cocktail called the Tequila Daisy that combined tequila, citrus and grenadine. Incidentally, the Spanish word for “daisy” is margarita. Coincidence? I think not.

So clearly this combination was not completely original in the late ‘30s—early ‘40s when it was purportedly “invented” in the Americas.
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Apr
04
2011

An Enthusiasts’ Guide to throwing a hotel afterparty

—Josey

There’s an event—maybe a show. Or a birthday party, or a New Year’s. Or a Halloween. And it’s out of town. Or it’s in the same city where you live, but on the other side of town, too far to drunk-stumble home from, and in a neighborhood devoid of cabs past last call. Or it’s next door, but your upstairs neighbor calls the cops when there’s more than four feet wandering the rugs past 11pm.

And then when last call is called or the cash runs out or it’s time for a more intimate setting or some better music or to change out of whatever hot-but-miserable outfit you’ve donned for the celebration—we retire to the hotel afterparty.
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Mar
09
2011

An Enthusiast’s guide to cocktails: the Ramos Gin Fizz

—Christian

Yesterday was Fat Tuesday, the culmination of all that is Mardi Gras. In honor of (the day after) this auspicious drinking occasion we wanted to share a classic New Orleans cocktail, the Ramos Gin Fizz. Not to be confused with standard Gin Fizzes, the Ramos is a unique pleasure that was originated down in the Big Easy back in 1888 by a man named Henry C. Ramos.

At the time it was simply called the “New Orleans Fizz” and was so popular that Ramos had to hire a crew of “shaker boys” during busy times just to keep up with demand. In recent years the cocktail’s popularity has dwindled (likely due, in part, to a specific and essential ingredient that is rather hard to come by). Although I personally grew up drinking them with my family every year on Christmas morning.
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Dec
06
2010

Enthusiast of the Day: Albert Trummer

—Christian

Sometimes a bartender takes it to the next level. The bartender in question here is named Albert Trummer, and he was the mastermind behind Apothéke, a Manhattan bar recently mired in scandal and intrigue. Transplanted from Austria in the ‘90s, Trummer has been working in New York for over ten years and quickly gained a reputation as a mixological savant. What sets Albert apart from the rest?

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Jun
24
2010

An Enthusiast’s guide to drinking in public

 

Waking up to the hot-ass sun painfully penetrating one’s hung-the-fuck-over frontal lobe is enough to make any Enthusiast want to start throwing sheets to the wind. It’s summer, and street fairs, parks, playgrounds, public beaches, marathons, county fairs, and the slightly-less urine-soaked bus stop in front of your girlfriend’s stepmom’s apartment complex are looking ripe for the boozing in.*

In a pinch, any alcoholic substance within grabbing distance can (and should) be consumed outside—but there are certain hassles and risks involved when said outdoors is in what the courts define as “public.” So, if  you have some imbibe-preparation time, here are a few insights to help your load stay light and legal record squeaky clean:

1. A 16-hour supply of beer is bulky as FUCK. For the Enthsiast on the go, that backpack of beer is your cross to bear. Same problem with bottles of wine, and the bladder from the Franzia box is a tad too conspicuous.

2. Liquor is quicker—but let’s face it: flasks don’t hold enough booze. Even the stylishness of this sneak-a-swig doesn’t compensate for the fact that you’re going to be out of Early Times before your first funnel cake.  And you have to suspect that around each woven-goods stall in Anytown Main Street Fair USA a cop could be waiting—waiting—for you to pull that bottle of Taaka out of your bag so he can escort your enthusiastic ass across the car-blocking barricades in full view of curious, face-painted children and/or tipsy adults, uncomfortably waiting for Porta Potties.
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