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Blog

Welcome to our blog!
As we said before we actually run a website – not to be confused with a blog.
But this is the blog for the website where we post breaking news, announcements and thoughts.
For more of our adventures in alcohol all over the world please visit our Adventure Pages

Jim Beam Single Barrel

RATING: 8
VALUE: 7
Type: Single Barrel
Classification: Bourbon
Distillery: Jim Beam Global Spirits and Wine, Clermont , Kentucky
Importer: Domestic – No Importer
Age: Selected by flavor profile rather than age. Best guess for most is between 5 and 7 years old
Price: $34.99 750 ML
Price Range: $30 – $40

A premium single barrel version of an old standard.

Notes:This is a new release of Jim Beam in a limited release Single Barrel at 95 proof. This is a bit of a departure for Jim Beam as a brand if not the company. While they have released various higher end, and single barrel brands as a company under different brand names (Knob Creek, Bookers, etc.,) this is the first time the Jim Beam line itself. The Jim Beam line which was mainly a shall we say value brand, has released just released their Signature Craft Series the Spanish Brandy and 12 Year Old Bourbon, a boost to the brand image in and of themselves, and are now releasing a single barrel. We have reviewed a number of their other products in the past but right now we want to concentrate on this entirely new product of theirs and what they intend to do with it.
Important distinctions will be the ability of visitors to be able to bottle their own bottles at the distillery, a bit later the ability to sample and pick their own barrels to bottle, and a forum that is being set up so people can write in and compare their impressions of bottlings from different barrels.

Appearance: Clear honey colored ,on swirling it displays a nice oiliness to the body leaving a medium thick coating on the glass with a clearly defined edge line or meniscus with droplets morphing into slow forming legs.

First Impression: Unmistakable grain, dried fruit, and honey notes show the DNA of a Jim Beam product, not just the distillery and it’s many products but the very specific nose profile unique to the Jim Beam lineage

Taste: A slightly oily, silky entrance with a touch of sweetness and a drying,woody finish of medium finish. Flavors include vanilla,dried apricots,oak char,honey, leather.

Drinks: Makes a great Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and Whiskey Sour. Has the balls of Jim Beam with a bit more finish

Bottle: Nicely done glass bottle that is similar in shape to the signature line to distinguish the from the standard Jim Beam Bottles and give them a luxe look. Label looks a lot like the Jim Beam White Label but smaller with a brown stamp type tag the identifies barrel number and bottled date specifies barrel number so you can write in and/or collect more and different barrels to try out the different ones out there or identify and buy more of your favorite barrels.

Cigars: A good medium bodied cigar with a natural wrapper would do nicely.

Final Thoughts: A nice and much better expression of a Jim Beam product. Very much the difference between a cream versus a homogenized product ( think of milk differences). In the final analysis it still is a Jim Beam – just a more finished version chosen to faithfully reflect all of the Jim Beam characteristics. So, if you like the regular, somewhat lesser Jim Beam expressions you will love this one as the best possible expression of the line while still full of life. The 12 year old is nice but lacks the punch and liveliness of this expression but is mellower and a bit more restrained. If you want a full on Jim Beam experience chose this one.

Website: http://www.jimbeam.com
While not listed on the homepage as yet it will be. In the interim the website has a lot of information on their other offering and an interesting device to compare their bourbons ( in the Jim Beam line only- no mention of their other lines)

Lake Distilling, Kings Ferry, New York Visit

We have just come back from our visit to one of New York States larger new distilleries in Upstate New York near Ithaca.
An impressive facility that while compact, is capable of making over 1 million cases of spirits a year. Lake Distilling is very much state of the art being computerized and the plant itself being mostly stainless steel column stills, tanks and very impressive filtering arrays. Pictures from our tour can be found here.
Lake Distilling stated about one year ago and its main product is vodka from local white winter wheat both organic and non organic, along with grain neutral spirit (GNS) , gin and other products by contract distilling and bottling services.
One of the more interesting points about the distillery is their sealed and fairly cold fermentation of their wheat mash. As David Smith the managing director points out – if you do a colder and slightly longer fermentation you get a more controlled fermentation with less by products such as congeners and other products that you would have to filter and distill off afterwards, so by be careful and controlled you are starting with a cleaner product in the first place leading to a cleaner and higher quality spirit.

They are also coming out with their own vodka product lines in a few weeks.

The link to their website is here

New Gear Sections Added

We are now adding to Spirits Review some new categories  to cover our reviews of gear related to adventures in the pursuits of spirits to include ( but not limited to: Cameras, Photography Gear and Accessories, Travel Gear, and Electronics ( for recording and documenting adventures . The items we will be reviewing are oriented to adventures and with emphasis on utility, value, and durability in the field.

Feel free to contact us about reviewing your products and check for our field test and recommendations as we put gear to the test in our continued exploits to document our adventures in alcohol, when we visit distilleries, spirits judgings and events, bars and restaurants, etc.,

First Night in Paris or the 2000 Euro Ramos Gin Fizz

We are on a trip[ to France and stopped in Paris for a few day.
We contacted Forest of 52 Martinis (http://www.52martinis.blogspot.com )
and made a date to go to Curio Parlor on Bernadins St.

We had some lovely drinks there such as the English Garden ( Hendricks Gin,Creme de Violette,Cane Sugar lavender Infusion Lemon Juice) and and a No Kotoba ( Last Word in Japanese ) (Whiskey Nikka White Single Malt, Yellow Chartrreuse, Maraschino and lemon juice )Forrs t chose the Smoky Crusta (Rhom Eclipse Mt Gay Lemon Juice, orange juice sugar cane juice and infusion of Lapsang souchong). We also played around with a Pisco Last Word we developed .The Bartender tried and and a variation he made using less Chartreuse.
We got to sign the recipe book and took a number of pictures. We then wandered off to Bar 47 at the Chateau Frontenac Hotel. this is where all our troubles began….

Bitter Math

Bitter Math
or How Much Does it Cost to Use a Good Bitter vs. a Cheap One?

This is to settle an long standing question and try to at least attempt to frame a methodology for deciding on cost benefit analysis on cocktail ingredients. In plain English – just how much more does it cost to mix a cocktail from top shelf ingredients than bottom shelf artificial crap
As Gary Regan, famous author and bartender pointed out to me – I would have to analyze hundreds if not thousands of recipes to come up with an average serving for ingredients. So I rapidly abandoned that approach. Instead here are some calculations and formulas based on cost and quantities of bitters per drink. Depending on the measurements ( drops, dashes, ounces, etc.,) it is fairly easy to do the math. Below is a table showing yields:

Bottle Size
Shot Size
# of Drinks
1 Ounce
1 Drop
480
1 Ounce
1 Dash (6 drops)
80
1 Ounce
2 Dashes
(12 drops)
40
1 Ounce
3 Dashes
(18 drops)
26.66
1 Ounce
4 Dashes
(24 drops)
20
2 Ounces
1 Drop
960
2 Ounces
1 Dash (6 drops)
160
2 Ounces
2 Dashes
(12 drops)
80
2 Ounces
3 Dashes
(18 drops)
53.33
2 Ounces
4 Dashes (24drops)
40
4 Ounces
1 Drop
1920
4 Ounces 1 Dash (6 drops)
320
4 Ounces
2 Dashes
(12 drops)
160
4 Ounces
3 Dashes
(18 drops)
106.66
4 Ounces
4 Dashes (24drops)
80
8 Ounces
1 Drop
3840
8 Ounces
1 Dash
(6 drops)
640
8 Ounces
2 Dashes
(12 drops)
320
8 Ounces
3 Dashes
(18 drops)
213.33
8 Ounces
4 Dashes (24drops)
160

 

If we round these off for the sake of simplicity,

Size

Size

# or yield

@$1

@$5

@$10 @ $15 @ $20 @ $30
1 Ounce

1 Drop

480

1/4 ¢

1 ¢

2 ¢

3 ¢

4 ¢

6 ¢

1 Ounce
1 Dash
( 6 Drops )

80

1 1/2 ¢

6 ¢

12 ¢

18 ¢

24 ¢

36 ¢

1 Ounce
2 Dashes
( 12 Drops )

40

3 ¢

12 ¢

24 ¢

36 ¢

48 ¢

73 ¢

1 Ounce
3 Dashes
( 18 Drops )
5 ¢

18 ¢

36 ¢

54 ¢

72 ¢

$1.08

1 Ounce
4 Dashes
( 24 Drops )

20

6 ¢

24 ¢

48 ¢

72 ¢

96 ¢

$1.44

2 Ounces

1 Drop

960
1/2 ¢
1 ¢
1 1/2 ¢
2 ¢
3 ¢
1 Dash
( 6 Drops )
160
3 ¢
6 ¢
9 ¢
4 ¢
18 ¢
2 Dashes
( 12 Drops )
80
6 ¢
12.5 ¢
19 ¢
25 ¢
38 ¢
3 Dashes
( 18 Drops )
53.33
9 ¢
18 ¢
27 ¢
36 ¢
54 ¢
4 Dashes
( 24 Drops )
40
12 ¢
25 ¢
36 ¢
50¢
75 ¢
Size

Size

# or yield

@$1

@$5

@$10 @ $15 @ $20 @ $30
4 Ounces

1 Drop

1920
1/4 ¢
1/2 ¢
3/4 ¢
1 ¢
3 1/2 ¢
1 Dash
( 6 Drops )
320
1 1/2 ¢
3 ¢
5 ¢
6 ¢
9 ¢
2 Dashes
( 12 Drops )
160
3 ¢
6 ¢
9 ¢
12¢
18¢
3 Dashes
( 18 Drops )
107
5 ¢
9 ¢
13 ¢
18¢
27 ¢
4 Dashes
( 24 Drops )
80
6 ¢
12 ¢
18 ¢
24¢
36¢
8 Ounces

1 Drop

3840
1/2 ¢
1 ¢
1 1/2 ¢
2 ¢
3 ¢
1 Dash
( 6 Drops )
640
3 ¢
6 ¢
9 ¢
12 ¢
18¢
2 Dashes
( 12 Drops )
320
6 ¢
12.5 ¢
19 ¢
24 ¢

38 ¢

3 Dashes
( 18 Drops )
215
10 ¢
18 ¢
28 ¢
36 ¢
46 ¢
4 Dashes
( 24 Drops )
160
12 ¢
24 ¢
36 ¢
48 ¢
72 ¢

So if you add up the ingredients based on this formula you get the total cost to compare a low end to high end cocktail. For more expensive ingredients, just add whatever increments you need (example: for a $40 bottle add the $10 and $30 together)

As bitters are usually in added as 2 – 3 dashes at most so anywhere from 12.5 ¢ to 38 ¢ cost (2 dashes) per drink difference between a $5 bottle of cheap stuff and a premium, like Urban Moonshine. So the price difference between the two runs between 25 ¢ per drink (based on two )

Personally I think my drink and my friends’ drinks are worth it.

New Web Service We are Using to Create Best of Lists

Using Bagcheck (http://bagcheck.com/) to generate a lot of interesting lists and cross pollenate lists for Spirits Review. The Bag it function lets you grab things from a webpage or blog easily so it makes it a LOT easier to do those best of lists I’ve been meaning to write !
Not to mention all those other odd peripheral lists of every damn thing that crosses my mind.
It is also quite useful as a reference when researching all sorts of gear, computer apps and just general shopping .

bagcheck.com

Help others achieve greatness by sharing lists of the gear you use. Grow your own powers by discovering what gear others are using. What’s in your bag?

Fathers Day Ideas from Spirits Review

A couple of quick suggestions for good spirits for Fathers Day.

If he likes tequilaespecially for margaritas,palms and such  I highly recommend Avion  Blanco  a fairly new tequila on the market so he probably doesn’t have a bottle yet. Another great one is Siembra Azul but it is proving to be much harder to find these days .
For Pisco hands down I recommend Macchu Pisco  an all natural, organic and more importantly ( to me ) a lovely tasting pisco (yes, they do exist)
For rum I would say the Diplomatico Reserva or Zafra among others such as the Ron Cartavio series.
For bourbons try anything from Buffalo Trace , but the Elmer T.Lee is a standout for the value among their portfolio. There are of course a number of new white dog whiskeys that are quite good also, and you can’t go wrong getting him a bottle of rye either. And don’t forget the craft distillery varieties ou there too- Finger Lakes Distilling makes some great bourbons and ryes if you can find them.
As to gins- Aviation is a great one, along with Ransoms Old Tom and Citadelle  Gin – especially the Reserve.
In cognac we recommend Louis Royer ( a very nice if very overlooked brand – especially their single growth bottlings) , Pierre Ferrand – all very nice and outstanding for the money, and Delamain as our favorite picks.

As a side note we are now using Bagcheck to write up lists of our favorite things (by category)and will be using it to do lists of spirits among many other things.

The 2000 Euro Ramos Gin Fizz Part 2

                                                  We got to the Bar 47 @ Hotel Chateau Frontenac around 10 PM or so. Lovely Bar on the corner and attached to the hotel. Nice selection oof spirits, very n ice drinks menu and wonderful liitlle bar set in this 4 star hotel. Ugo Frabbeti is the bartender there- a excellent, world class bar tender and outstanding host. Ugo will do anything and will meet your most demanding and elastic desires  in order to make sure you have exactly what you want.
It is because of this that the title is what it is.
Joan ordered a Ramos Gin Fizz- both because she loves them and it was on the menu.. 

What they neglect to mention on the menu is that the hotel does not supple Ugo with eggs.
So…..

Ugo has to break into the kitchen to get his egg, Crawling through a window and around other thing s to actually gain access to the refrigerators where they lock down the egss. When he was coming out egg in hand (left) someone else  came in and the door whacked his hand – breaking his hand in 2 places.
While we were unsure about this at first hoping it was just a sprain or minor dislocation , he was in extreme pain but he did not lose or crush the egg. He also gamely insisted on trying to make the Ramos , and when shaking proved too excruciating other help was pressed into service- the clerk from the front desk.
Meanwhile I stepped behind the bar and poured Ugo a double gin for the pain and we iced the hand in the hopes of reducing the swelling and pain.

After the clerk proved to not be suitable ( and he had to go back  to the desk) I took over bartending until around 2 AM Which was a lot of fun, as the bar only had a few people and we were able to keep them served no problem . At some point someone ordered in some pizza and the bar continued until the end around  Ugo remained bravely and gamely on station until the end. At which point he went to the emergency room to have his hand  looked at – hoping there would be a beautiful nurse he could fall in love with- more on that later.

It’s 4 AM at Tales

Went to the shaker and barware symposium at the Museum of the American Cocktail which was a lot of fun and very informative. For the full batch of pictures please go to our flickr page for some of the photos of the barware and the people doing the presentations. On the way back Johnathan Forester and I realized we must go to Meyers hat shop – about 15 minutes before they normally close. After much discussion we end up buying some hats.This for me is a stellar event. I ever can find a hat that fits me. Ever.We got to talk to Mr Meyer himself and get fitted out with some outstanding hats.

My two new hats, One is a straw fedora and the other is a tweed porkpie with the old style 2 inch brim. Luckily Mr Meyer ships so you don’t have to risk flying them home
Mr Meyer Himself- In business since 1937
Meyer the Hatter Hat Shop

After this major shopping adventure we headed back to the hotel. After a quick rinse off we went on to the Beefeater Party around 7 PM – not bad in the scale of things — not as crowed as last year but less food and the drinks were not quite as interesting. The theme was a Alice in Wonderland – a sort of William Burroughs version of Alice and Wonderland.
Alice was a rather tired looking lingerie model version, with the Mad Hatter looking like a Johnny Depp on a bad day and the Red Queen reminding me of the old saying ” There is never a prostitute too old or too ugly to make a living in Paris” Substitute Drag Queen for Prostitute and the location for New Orleans and you get the picture.
After staying there long enough to be polite we decided to make our escape. On the way out we encountered a line of Ford Model A  cars parked at the curbside and snapped a few shots of them . Not sure why they were there but they did add some nice texture to the scenery as it were

After jumping on the bus and discussing the crew from extreme makeover with the bus crew (who had worked with them recently) we got back to the hotel and ran over to our dinner date at G.W. Finns with the CEO of Van Gogh Vodka Norman Bonachick. Who is a really nice gentleman and gourmand.
The meal we had there was outstanding and quite reasonable. I would definitely recommend the place if you are looking for a higher end but not too pricey place to eat during Tales.
We are falling asleep at the keyboard so we will continue this chronicle in a few hours,

Tales Day 2

Ed Hamilton The Minister of Rum

Up early Kahlua Coffee Bar and Cocktails at 8:30 AM followed by Breakfast at the media room compliments of Oxley Gin.Potato cakes, scones , ham scrambled eggs. Great Irish cheese also – Just not quite up to solid food today and so early.
Hanging with the Minister of Rum. Wireless network at Monteleone is not working at all it seems- going with a cellular modem to get a signal out.
Tried the Oxley Gin- Interesting but not overly impressed. Also they never seem to answer inquiries so I doubt if we will ever get to review them formally.

Outlaw Blogging At Tales Day 1

Got in Early and promptly took up residence at the Carousel.3 drinks later (Sazerac, Veiux Carre and a Manhattan) then off to d.b.a for a tasting of small, artisanal spirits.
Some real stand outs from Haus Alpenz. Also a aged grappa that was quite a revelation.
Then off to the Alibi for the Bloggers in exile anti reception. Alibi has outstanding gumbo by the way as we had that for a quick dinner after meeting up with some PR people. Afterwards we went to the Drambuie Rusty Nail event at the Roosevelt which was lightly attended.
I think everyone went to the Cointreau Burlesque Show.

Alibi Lounge July 20th (Day 1 of Tales)

Bar at the Alibi
This is the scene from the Alibi Lounge (815 Iberville) . The Alibi is my second home or base during Tales each year. Contrary to popular belief, I do take a hotel room and do not actually live at the Alibi itself during Tales. I do go to my hotel about twice a day to shower, change clothes, and on rare occasions lie down. It has many advantages over a number of other bars or even the media room for a writer ( or anyone else) who needs a good ( notice I didn’t say nice) place to drink, eat, and hangout with friends at all hours and not be bothered.
The beer selection is one of the best in the area there, they serve good bar food 24 hours a day and even deliver, and it is a service bar so most of the clientele are bartenders, wait staff and off duty strippers.
So guys, if a woman expresses an interest in you there you know they are serious as they are off duty.
Another advantage is because they do escort services for customers carrying fair amounts of cash (see above), the staff are armed – so like a cop bar it’s a safe place to be- it has a reputation and the local criminals (at least the robbery types) know to avoid it. Downside is don’t ask for a Sazerac or any other mixed drink that needs much in the way of ingredients or mixology skills- won’t happen. But otherwise it is at least 1/2 the price of the Absinthe House and much less crowded. It is also relatively isolated being around the corner from Bourbon Street – so you don’t get all the amateurs and riffraff that you get on Bourbon Street.

Uploaded by www.cellspin.net

We Will Be Outlaw Blogging at Tales

I will be blogging at Tales of the Cocktail. No, I am not part of the club that does it. I tried a number of times to become part of it and gave up. Including last year when I was supposed to be a “Guest Blogger” but they never bothered to acknowledge or publish my dispatches or answer my emails as to why not.
I will be an outlaw ( as in beyond/outside the law/rules/society/organization). In the spirit of Hunter S. Thompson and William Burroughs I will attempt to report on what is going on without dressing it up or making it pretty and more acceptable. I will continue to be the “Contaminating Antiauthoritarian Element”.

Fathers Day Suggestion – Or Any Time You Need a Nice Bottle for Someone

As my role as a “Spiritual Adviser” I am asked a lot about what bottle to get for someone who already usually has a well established private bar collection of their favorite whiskeys. Some of these are bourbon, a lot of them single malt scotch and a few Irish whiskeys as their focus. Problem is, it is getting increasingly hard to get someone something different that they will like. Most people seem to have fairly established collections and tastes, and chances are over the years between what they buy for themselves and what they have gotten as gifts you run out of options.
I recently found a nice alternative to all of the above whiskeys with a spirit that Dad probably doesn’t have, or certainly not this particular expression. Remy Martin 1738 Accord Royal 2 is a lovely blend of over 240 eau de vies of cognac the minimum age is 4 years and the oldest 20 years. This makes it a bit short of an XO but on the flip side less than half the money ( around $50 or so), more importantly it has many of the aroma and taste characteristics that whiskey lovers -be they Scotch , Bourbon or Irish enthusiasts-enjoy . That coupled with the fact that in many cases they can use this cognac for their familiar cocktails ( swapping the cognac for their usual)  for a somewhat familiar but new taste and all the cognac cocktails they can easily make also.
We found the Remy 1738wasn’t just good in a snifter ( which it is) but mixed and tasted well in a number of cocktails. Both in price and overall characteristics it closer to a whiskey ( in many nice ways) than a cognac is traditionally thought of. Not only an opportunity to get a father something he doesn’t have but would like (unlike a tie) but a chance to teach him some new tricks and expand his horizons a bit.

Disclosure Statement

Below is the disclosure statement I came up with for my various sites (primarily the website).
Everyone feel free to use this. Please cite or credit me as the inspiration if you like and feel free to use it as a template for your own disclosure piece.
In a way it was therapeutic to write it and it clarifies a number of questions about myself and my webpage both to the world and to myself- or at least sets it down in writing.
Samples and Disclosure Statement

DISCLOSURE STATEMENT:

As noted in Samples (below) we solicit samples for review. Otherwise we could not afford to do this. Unless otherwise noted assume that someone, somewhere, sent us whatever it is in the hopes we would review it – and hopefully like it. Just because someone sends us something does not mean we will show any mercy. We will do a fair review of whatever is sent but the mere fact it was free does not buy us or even rent us. We review products with objectivity and professionalism wherever and however they were acquired.

We do not currently accept advertising but when we do it will only be for items we feel are of excellent quality and something we are not embarrassed to accept advertising from, endorse , or otherwise be identified with,and nothing we feel would be compromising to our integrity, tastes, or values. Again, we are open to offers in the future but will only accept those of products we liked in the first place. We will not change ratings or enhance them in any way in exchange for money or product. Likewise our endorsements are not paid or for sale – we review a product for free and you can quote us for free – the only condition we do ask is you cite us and/or hyperlink to our page as the source.

We will also happily accept travel expenses to visit a distillery, tasting, or whatever else to cover it for the webpage, blogs or other forms of media and will disclose who paid us if/when that ever happens (hasn’t happened yet – but see above on our conditions to accept offers).

Samples

I am always looking for new products to review and/or feature on Spirits Review. I will not only sample a product, but any variations or line extensions of the same product. So please feel free to send examples of different bottlings, expressions, etc. Also please send any shelf talkers, literature, or other sales merchandise you feel may be useful.

How to Get Your Product Reviewed

Shipping Instructions/Suggestions:

1. Wrap the items carefully (lots of bubble wrap!).

2. If possible, please send via FedEx (They seem to do the best job) or UPS.

3. Quantities: spirits and wine (minimum 375 ml per item to be reviewed); beer (minimum 2 12-ounce ounces per brew or type to be reviewed). Part of our reviews is on packaging, we like to include drinks as part of the review and we do our own photos/bottle shots this is all difficult with minis. Please see our About page for further details on what we do. Also please send any shelf talkers, literature, or other sales merchandise, POS etc., you think we might find useful.

4. Please email me so I know to look for your samples.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me via email: Chris(at)spiritsreview.com

Please forward sample(s) to:

Samples can be sent to:

Christopher Carlsson
86 Nunda Blvd
Rochester, New York 14610
USA

Cheers,
Chris

“We Don’t Have Things Like This In The Third World” III


“Tales crowd is doing its best to kill the night and greet the morning” Around 6 Am or so some stripper from a local club (sorry won’t say which) tried selling my English mate some methedrine (his accent marked him as not from around there and unlikely as law enforcement ). He had an outstanding rejoinder (no wonder he gets all the action) No, thank you. I deal in something much more dangerous – alcohol but I do it very responsibly (went on to explain bartending) chatted up the two pneumatic blondes quite nicely for a bit. Finally sometime after the sun rose and before it got to bright we all headed back to the hotel, another night gone and a new day at Tales beginning.

(Apologies for breaking the story up but it seems the only way to be able t0o post the photos Anywhere near where I want them.)

“We Don’t Have Things Like This In The Third World” II


Eventually ( as the opening was running late) we were all greeted by Charlotte Voisey – Hendricks Gin Ambassador who, even more so than usual , (given the costume and circumstances), looked like a slumming angel .

Charlotte , who always is a good sport about such things, wore her costume with grace and poise, greeting all of the guests into the darkly lit room beyond the golden doors.

I ran into David Suro ( Of Tequilas Restaurant in Philadelphia and Siembra Azul Tequila) and Dr Rodolfo Fernandez (Noted expert on all things Agave and more) at the burlesque show – Rodolfo had a great line as we were watching the whole spectacle – “We don’t have such things in the third world ” a pause then, “But we do have American TV which can be similar”

The burlesque show itself was, at turns, amusing and scary, depending on the acts – some of which reminded me of a old saying about prostitutes in Paris but I digress as usual.

Following the Hendricks party I caught a ride with David and Rodolfo to Herbsaint down the street. Bottles of Mezcal somehow appeared from out of a briefcase someone else brought and we are drinking it from the bottle on the sidewalk at the cafe. After getting some more refreshments and a desultory conversation or two we went back to the Monteleone Carousel till it closed down for the night. After that it was off down Royal and somehow ending up at the Erin Rose around 4 AM or so.

The place was unbelievably packed and people of every possible type, persuasion and state of sobriety were there,a major player in the business was there , hooting,raving falling over and having a good time, locals, tales goers of all stripes, it looked like the Meet Cafe from Naked Lunch, some many people of so many different types and enthusiasms were packed in there it was hard to tell who was doing what to me , if they were just being friendly,something more or just trying to let someone else go by. It really didn’t matter really, everyone was getting along just fine. We bumped into numerous old friends, made new ones and finally, regretfully, headed down to the Alibi to decompress a bit and await the dawn with a few of a die hard friends.

“We Don’t Have Things Like This In The Third World”


Wednesday July 8th Evening – Thursday July 9th Morning

“We Don’t Have Things Like This In The Third World “
-Dr Rodolfo Fernandez

The evening started tamely enough and slowly decayed into another another walking into the dawn, “I swear I will never do this Again!”, debacle .
Dinner was with the crew from Baddish PR and Remy Cointreau at Mr B’s across the street from the Monteleone – surprisingly a number of people in the dinner party were drinking Tourment Vert (the only absinthe/pastis on the menu admittedly) including myself. It really did taste fairly good with lots of ice (OK I was dehydrated and ready to drink almost anything at that point that was cold – but still…).
After a lovely dinner with the crew it was time to go out and see what parties there were on offer for the night- funny the idea of sleep doesn’t occur during Tales for most of us it seems…
First there was the Beefeater 24 party at the Roosevelt, a somewhat jarring change from the plush , classy and and low key celebration they held last year for Desmond Payne’s Jubilee . This one was full of techno music,suckling pigs, and lots of dancing (in no particular order). The new Beefeater 24 was the spirit of the hour and many different types of drinks were available to showcase this new gin – all of which seemed quite nice and were presented in great profusion to any and all who wished to sample them.

It probably was a particularly bad omen that we were dancing with a mime before 9 PM – dancing with a mime at any hour would have been a bad omen of things to come but before 9 well….
After that lamentable spectacle we proceeded downstairs to await the opening of the Hendricks Burlesques Show, bumping into several luminaries such as Dale DeGroff and Simon Difford. We also knew at this point that if Gary Regan was not here, at this event, he was either dead or seriously MIA.

First Night at Tales – Where All My Troubles Began

This Post was submitted to the to the Blogging Tales crew and never got published there, so I finally decided to publish it here.
O.K. The plan sounded reasonable at first blush, get to Tales early ( by noon from the East Coast ) the day before it all starts (Tuesday ), Yes it did involve getting up at 5 AM , but the thought was , well I’ll just have a little lie down before my 6 PM dinner plans with some friends.
That would have worked well if I had gotten more than 3 hours of sleep that night and also if I had not been told upon arrival that my room would not be ready till 4 PM.
Great I thought – all ready sleep deprived and no place to go – back part of the Carousel is shut off and too hot and sunny to sleep in a park.
So I belly up to the Carousel Bar and order an Abita, checking to see if I recognize anyone else.
A few people are already filtering and we have some desultory conversation and look over our paperwork (registration is not open yet either) and try to come up with some plans in lieu of sleep.
The desk staff at the hotel swear they will call me when the room is ready- It’s around 4:30 when I get the call.
I retrieve my gear, settle in a bit, have a quick shower, then peruse my maps and contact lists,
I make a few calls and make sure the arrangements for a Fernet Branca 2 pack hung on my doorknob each morning till Sunday is set – there are priorities here.

I met up with the Bartenders Apprentice group – these are the bartenders that do all the heavy lifting , behind the scenes work prepping, and preparing the hundreds of gallons of cocktails for various functions and presentations.They are in a sense similar to the “Black Gang – the workers who shoveled coal into the boilers of steamships – never noticed by anyone but absolutely vital to the operation.

Remy Cointreau has set up an appreciation night for them in advance and I was invited to tag along. First there was some team building games and some competitions – including one that involved guessing the contents of a bag of very disparate items- which later became props for a number of people to wear later in the evening…..

First stop was Arnauds a short distance away for drinks and in some cases cigars. Followed after a bit by the Old Absinthe House then was Tujaques which was a lot further away than many people realized.

A number of us eventually ended up at our usual haunt the Alibi – a place that never closes (Actually they do close for one hour a year for cleaning whether it needs it or not) and is the service industry bar near Bourbon St.

Party breaks up around 4 AM or so with some of us still hanging around till 6 or so.

So much for an early night at the beginning of Tales.

"We Don’t Have Things Like This In The Third World"


Wednesday July 8th Evening – Thursday July 9th Morning

“We Don’t Have Things Like This In The Third World “
-Dr Rodolfo Fernandez

The evening started tamely enough and slowly decayed into another another walking into the dawn, “I swear I will never do this Again!”, debacle .
Dinner was with the crew from Baddish PR and Remy Cointreau at Mr B’s across the street from the Monteleone – surprisingly a number of people in the dinner party were drinking Tourment Vert (the only absinthe/pastis on the menu admittedly) including myself. It really did taste fairly good with lots of ice (OK I was dehydrated and ready to drink almost anything at that point that was cold – but still…).
After a lovely dinner with the crew it was time to go out and see what parties there were on offer for the night- funny the idea of sleep doesn’t occur during Tales for most of us it seems…
First there was the Beefeater 24 party at the Roosevelt, a somewhat jarring change from the plush , classy and and low key celebration they held last year for Desmond Payne’s Jubilee . This one was full of techno music,suckling pigs, and lots of dancing (in no particular order). The new Beefeater 24 was the spirit of the hour and many different types of drinks were available to showcase this new gin – all of which seemed quite nice and were presented in great profusion to any and all who wished to sample them.

It probably was a particularly bad omen that we were dancing with a mime before 9 PM – dancing with a mime at any hour would have been a bad omen of things to come but before 9 well….
After that lamentable spectacle we proceeded downstairs to await the opening of the Hendricks Burlesques Show, bumping into several luminaries such as Dale DeGroff and Simon Difford. We also knew at this point that if Gary Regan was not here, at this event, he was either dead or seriously MIA.

In Praise of Vodka

My friends would politely label or name me as an anomaly . I am many different things and capable of having multiple enthusiasms about disparate issues, causes and substances.
One of these many things is beverage alcohol in it’s many splendid and multifarious forms.
Some of my chief enthusiasms for that subtle poison for without which life would become rapidly unbearable are for whisk(e)y, gin, brandies and eau de vies. But I also have dedicated a lot of time and attention to vodka. By last count I have almost 200 of them of every conceivable type from all over the world. They all are interesting (some if only in a bad way or humorous way), different and worthwhile in some way. And yes they even have a sense of terrior , a Russian vodka from the Yaroslavl area is as distinctive from an Estonian vodka as an Islay scotch is from a Highland,
It’s just more subtle and in a narrower range of difference. I have Russian friends who can not only tell you what distillery but what shift made the vodka at Russian distilleries. It’s a matter of attention to detail. Example:
A cola drink has roughly 50 + flavor notes to it. A lemon /lime clear soda (7 Up, Sprite etc.,) has only about 7 – but of course you can tell 7 UP from Sprite . Same holds for mineral water – the differences between most are quite remarkable , Gerolsteiner tastes nothing like Perrier and so forth.
Vodka can and does have unique differences that make it interesting, subtle yes, but interesting.
As to drinks think of it as a blending or catalyst agent. It is absolutely necessary for the mouthfeel, weight and mixing of some ingredients to make a successful cocktail, but many were you don’t necessarily want a extra taste(s). If one were to use only alcohol containing eau de vies in a drink rather than juices or other non alcoholic liquids you would be either making very small drinks or a rapidly mind numbing cocktail. Vodka does serve a vital purpose as something to facilitate blending of ingredients and to give a feel and taste to a drink.
Also it serves a very useful function which I rapidly learned to appreciate while socializing with my Russian friends.
When you are eating a Russian smorgasbord type of meal with friends there are a huge variety of heavy, protein rich, foods that each would cling like grim death to taste-buds interfering greatly with the appreciation of a new item.The only way to clear your palate for the next course (O.K outside of slices of cucumbers , but what fun is that?) is to do a Russian Shot of Vodka – this is not some 1 oz shot or even a 1 1/2 oz jigger but a 4 finger 100 ml (that’s 3.38 oz minimum) of vodka to clear and rinse the palate.
Above is a prefilled Russian shot glass – tear off top as you won’t need to reseal it (they always unscrew a cap of a liter bottle and throw it over their shoulder too – but that is another story).
Such pieces of glassware -and the vodka to fill- it is an indispensable part of a proper Russian gathering both for the enjoyment of the food, conviviality and comradeship that will break out.
Using any other form of alcohol just does not work, nothing clears a palate like a large shot of clear cold mineraly vodka – leaving the palate refreshed and ready for more. Another point is hangovers – if you are doing things properly and having many toasts , you need something exceedingly clean of any other chemical compounds (the ones that lend color,taste, and mouthfeel in other alcohols) because you are going to do a lot of it – you just can’t do them in the same quantities.
As my favorite drink for vodka (or at least the way to drink it) many times it is something my many Russian friends ( Paratroopers, ex Partisans, Chekists,) taught me- just a glass of pure vodka at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit (too cold and it loses too much taste) in a Russian shot glass you clutch it in your hand and bump fists with your friends so you don’t alert anyone – (Army Officers, Fascist Invaders of the Motherland, or whoever ) that you are drinking . You are simultaneously celebrating life, relaxing, and getting one over on authority – what could be better?

World Breastfeeding Week Cocktail

World Breastfeeding Week Cocktail
Regan Gin Fizz (Variation on of course Ramos Gin Fizz)
Named after Gary Regan – the ONLY reason being that Gary always tells me I have to much time on my hands when I indulge in strange or pointless projects- no other reasons expressed or implied.

2 oz Aviation Gin
1oz agave syrup,
.5 oz fresh lemon juice,
.5 oz fresh lime juice.
1 egg white
1.5 oz human breast milk (hind milk is best)

Shake madly with ice for 2 minutes.
Read the rest of the story at:

http://www.halogenlife.com/stories/2984-world-breastfeeding-week-time-for-a-cocktail