Category Archives: cocktails

The Brilliant Math of Jenny Adams and Drinking in Airports

My friend Jenny Adams, the most deadly of all Jenns, once posted a brilliant piece of logic on Facebook.  She defined the odds of our particular tribe of travelling boozehounds running into each other and plying each other with drinks using the tools and extras that we seem to always carry.  It was a set of odds approaching unity.  It was kind of amazing.  However, failing that kind of happy serendipity how about sliding up to an airport bar and getting a drink?

I spend a lot of time in airports, running to airplanes, getting patted down, and hanging out in airport bars.  Airports aren’t exactly a haven of great cocktails – though there was a really wonderful bartender at JFK in T5 who went above and beyond and went scavenging for ingredients to make me a rum milk punch last year.  However, over the last year or so and in talking to other booze travellers a list of go to drinks has emerged that you can get anywhere and any time that you can assure yourself are pretty much impossible to make badly.  After all when your flight has been delayed again, or you find yourself stranded by the Oh God of Missed Connections you really need a drink.

Allow me to digress for a moment.  Terry Pratchett, the author of the Discworld series once invented the Oh God of Hangovers. His reasoning for having it being an Oh God was that whenever you have a hangover you invariably say “oh god.”  Thus a deity of whatever scale, whose purview is made up of things that are not exactly desirable to encounter will almost always elicit cries of “oh god” or similar sentiments. Therefore, if such a deity were to exist, would it not make sense to call them an oh god instead of a god? Anyhow, tangent over, back to the matter at hand.

What can you rely on to slake your thirst, while away the hours, and please the palate?  What drinks will sooth your dire needs for anaesthesia and drive away the ennui of the halls of transportation?  Most importantly, what can you get anywhere that will be tasty and satisfying, well at least not bad.

Bloody Mary, Red Snapper, Bloody Caesar, Bloody Maria

Maximilien 06

It’s pretty hard to screw up a Bloody Whatever, even ones made with a boring pre-mix can be easily doctored with that bottle of Tabasco and Worcestershire at the bar.  Even without those options, it’s pretty hard to have a bad Bloody Whatever.  Varying it up by adding gin to make it a Red Snapper, or tequila for a Bloody Maria help to keep it from getting monotonous and add options to the list.  I won’t deny that a really great Bloody Mary is a wonderful experience.  It is blessed to be like cold pizza for breakfast, you have to actively try to make a bad one in order to not be somewhat satisfying.

Gin and Tonic

No matter your views on colonialism, mercantilism, chartered companies, and empire, Great Britain left a few legacies that we can all savour to this day.  In order to combat malaria, scurvy, keep crews of their ships complacent, and any other myriad maladies that might befall them in the Fever Islands as the West Indies were sometimes known, Africa, and the Indian Sub-Continent, various spirituous beverages became commonplace and made the taking of medicine easier.  One of these was the gin and tonic.  Three ingredients, that’s it.  Absolutely impossible to screw up, refreshing, and crisp.  The gin and tonic is a tribute to simplicity and its benefits.  Even when you have nothing but gun tonic and slightly aged lime wedges, it still does the trick. Continue reading

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AYCJ California Adventure

My All You Can Jet travels would begin in San Francisco.  Taboo Absinthe in hand, it was nice to visit a familiar city that I had been to many times in the past to kick off the long trek.  I visited a multitude of bars by day hawking my hooch, and then visiting even more by night for “research” purposes.  I would get a lot of “research” done over the course of the month, a lot of research.  Familiar places and new, there had been some really great new openings in San Francisco in the recent past.

One of the ones I was most excited about was Bar Agricole.  Rum is my first love among all spirits and rhum agricole is first in my heart among r(h)um.  Bar Agricole if you can’t tell from the name makes an especial emphasis on rhum agricole, making my heart leap with joy and anticipation. There is a phenomenal patio out front, exactly the most perfect place possible to have a refreshing beverage on a late summer night.  I knew I’d be spending many visits here in the future.

Eater Inside: Bar Agricole

Photo courtesy of Bittermelon a Flickr

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Tales of the Cocktail 2010 Day Five – Make it Stop!

Tales of the Cocktail 2010 Day Five, please make it stop.  Today, I go home. but not before one more round of booze breakfast, tasting rooms, classes, a last ride at The Carousel, and a run to Cochon Butcher.  Seriously, who the hell invented mornings?  They need to be wrung through one of those ridiculous mangling machines you see in the movies, you know, the ones with flamethrowers, pneumatic crushy things, rollers with spikes, giant swinging scythes, and probably sharks with frickin’ lasers.  I need this booze in my coffee like I need another hole in the head, but, but you don’t see it stopping me, or anyone else here.

Today’s class is on how to use social media to build and manage your brand, whether that’s your bar, spirit, or yourself. Yes, I said yourself.  I know that it sounds like the height of pretension, ego-tripping, and douche-baggery to say that you need to manage yourself as a brand.  The reality is that in today’s connected world where we keep up with each other via Facebook and Twitter, we have a closer connection to each other and give credence to an establishment, brand, or service based on what we know of each other and the reputations that we have built for ourselves.  Like it or not, once having achieved a certain level of visibility we are brands unto ourselves, and like any other brand, you want to safeguard your image.

This is not to say that we should overly spin ourselves, you’ll just as quickly get called out for peddling bullshit.  It’s also easy to see when someone is overly managing their online persona.  I can understand needing multiple personae, but the one that’s supposed to be you, if it’s over managed, it just rings false and you better believe people can tell.  Anyways, that’s the practical stuff.   Remember when you were in grade school and you and all those around you were passing notes around?  Yeah, via the magic of Twitter, that’s what part of this session devolved into.  It was like we were all in 2nd grade again offering up a real time peanut gallery that we could all take part in.  Props to Paul Clarke and Lindsey Johnson taking it all in stride and making it a part of the class.  Oh, and there was booze, duh. Continue reading

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Tales of the Cocktail 2010 Day Four – Energizer Bunny, Still Going

Tales of the Cocktail 2010 Day Four. Dear, sweet, baton twirling, Lucifer, we’re still here. This morning began much more smoothly than the last one. Back on the routine of hitting the media lounge for coffee and breakfast and the first hit of booze before hitting the first class of the day for me. Rolling out the Red Carpet for Rookies led by Michael Dietsch, Robert Hess, and Adam Lantheaume was a really well put together discussion on how to engage and draw in new customers and fellow bartenders into this thing that we do without seeming like a bunch of jerkholes. After all, it’s all too easy to start expounding, and saying I don’t want to make that, and going ewww, that stuff is gross. Not everyone is looking for a didactic experience when they come into a bar.

I love sharing with a guest anything they might want to know that I can provide, but that’s not the end all and be all of why you came into a bar. You came for a drink, a bit of escape maybe, a pause from the day, who knows, but you probably didn’t come to hear me wax poetic about the virtues of rhum agricole, but if you did I’m happy to oblige.

Then, to more tasting rooms, Mt Gay Rum, Laird’s, Brandies of Jerez, and Sazerac, a serious gauntlet to run through in the short time available before the next class. In a completely predictable move, the next class for me is Tiki Now!. Much tiki was talked and consumed, chatter on Twitter by attendees, bets placed on how many time Bair Reynolds would plug his own Trader Tiki products, and at one point a shoutout to yours truly for my night of completing Rumbustion Level One in a single sitting.

After class, I contemplate the Pig and Punch fundraiser but I have another class soon so instead it’s a quick run to Parkway Tavern and Bakery for po’ boys and fries covered in debris. Fries covered in debris is one of the most glorious things ever, consider this, a big heap of well executed fries, crisp and hot, then smothered in the gravy that roast beef was braised in, within that gravy is a ton of bits of that self same roast beef. The juices permeate the fries, making a big soggy, delicious mess, with cheese curds on top melting in and binding it together, poutine should die of envy. All of this attention to the fries does a disservice to the po’ boys – quite probably the best ones in New Orleans in my limited experience. After lunch it’s back to the Monteleone for more classes.TOTC10 233 Continue reading

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Tales of the Cocktail 2010 Day Three – We’re Still Here

Tales of the Cocktail 2010 Day Three, at least I’m pretty sure it’s day three.  It’s starting to blur together.  This morning is my turn to be a bit lost to the world.  I am in a bit of a towel induced fugue, I miss a tasting room or two, maybe it was three, who knows anymore.  I slowly pry myself out of bed and sit in the shower for a good 15 minutes, very thankful that I have a stock of water, Gatorade, and 5-Hour Energy in my room.  I fortify myself, grab a slug of rum and then make my way to Antoine’s for a lunch hosted by Bulleit Bourbon.  Into my haze comes the bright whirlwind of awesome called Hollis Bulleit.  Remember the song Jump in the Line made famous by Harry Belafonte in Bettlejuice?  She’s definitely a hurricane in all kinds of weather, she sweeps into a room and instantly the energy level is turned up to eleven.

TOTC10 203 Continue reading

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Tales of the Cocktail 2010 – Day 2, More Crazy

Tales of the Cocktail Day 2, we embrace the asylum.  On this day, some of the first time attendees and a few of the less well prepared are starting to look a bit worn.  No matter how many stories you tell and how much you try and get everyone who will be attending to train and prepare their bodies for the marathon, a few will choose to sprint headlong into the maelstrom.  There’s not a whole lot you can do for them besides make sure they have energy drinks and painkillers close at hand the next day.  For many attendees, there is a day lost to the Tales flu, you burrow into your bed, lounge by the pool, drink cheap beer and sugary slushy drinks, this is also known as a day in the life of Jeffrey Morgenthaler.

Another morning for me, and my roommate is still feeling a bit under the weather.  Once again my day starts in the caffeinated and breakfast provided media and sponsor lounge.  As always there’s also more booze, it’s the default state of just about everything this week.  Seriously, thank Todd for this room, it is my anchor and bedrock this week.  It provides a routine stop in my day that I can cling to.  As the week goes on, I can see my compatriots in the room get a bit more haggard each day, as I’m sure I look increasingly worn as well.  This morning brings such mundane tasks as offloading pictures from your camera and uploading the to the internets, well, actually first comes about 15 minutes of swearing at the craptacular wireless internet service provided banging your head against the wall of the connecting to the network and hoping it actually works for once. Continue reading

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Mixology Monday – Brown, Bitter, and Stirred

Mixology Monday Brown, Bitter and Stirred is brought to you by the incomparable Lindsey Johnson of Lush Life Productions.  She often tours the country trying out all of the bars that I want to visit and often inspiring me to find a way to get to some of them.  Her usual modus operandi – which also causes to many to become immediately enamoured of her, is to slide up to the bar and ask for a drink that is brown, bitter, stirred, and as mean as you can make it.  This has caused fights behind the bar as bartenders scramble over each other to fulfil the request.

As the host of this month’s Mixology Monday it only felt right that she would make her order the theme.  So here I sit at Teardrop Lounge in Portland with Johnson along with the equally incomparable Allison Weber producing our drinks and photographing them as time ticks down to the midnight hour on the Monday of the deadline.  My drink is a tribute to these two wonderful ladies a shameless plug for some of the products that I now represent.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Product Placement.

Product Placement

.75 oz Corsair Artisan Distillers Barrel Aged Gin

.75 oz Averna Amaro

.75 oz Amaro Montenegro

4 dashes Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters

Build over ice and stir, serve up with a lemon peel.  Hopefully collect paycheck.

Brown Bitter and Stirred 6

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