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


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 »


The home bar: Part 1


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.
Read more »