A voyage comes to an end. Vessel will be closing for the final time this week. Vessel has been my school, my inspiration, my anchor for the last few years. It’s where I was able to really start learning the craft of bartending. I shook my first Ramos Gin Fizz and stirred my first Sazerac for someone who was paying for it for the first time there. Without Vessel and the family that came together there I would not have my life as it is today.
Tag Archives: cocktails
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.
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.
.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.
Things we take for granted, there are a lot of them. Some you use or encounter often, others you don’t even notice intersecting with your life. The familiar becomes comfortable, it’s there, you don’t really give it a second thought for itself. It’s always there, ready and predictable, available at a moments notice. Take the Ramos Gin Fizz, how many of us who drink and/or make one regularly really think about it other than, it is tasty, it is cool, and it can take a long time to make? Don’t lie, seriously, who out there really sits down and thinks about it except as something you need to learn to make if you are serious about booze and cocktails. I’m not talking variations on a theme, not a new twist, but thinking about the original, what it entails, how to make the best one you possibly can.
I was in New Orleans last week, birthplace of the Ramos and the city where Chris McMillian tends bar. He’s a bit larger than life, for a guy like me, it’s like Thor decided to hand out the mead himself in Vallhalla one night. I don’t mean that to kiss his ass, enough people kiss his ass, or try to at any rate. I mean, he’s a presence behind the bar, a font of experience and knowledge that few of us will ever get a chance to accumulate. It takes a lot of years behind the stick to achieve his level of gravitas and also his level of humility. The Ramos is his drink as much as the Last Word belongs to Murray Stenson, or the cheeseburger belongs to In-N-Out, they didn’t invent these things, they just keep them alive as a living thing and make them as best as they can.
Every now and then I come across a video on the internet that makes me smile and sticks in my head like a Lady Gaga song. Oh, admit it you find her songs fun and oddly ear worm-y, don’t deny it. Anyways, a couple years ago when Team Fortress 2 was released – yes I’m that nerdy, they set up a whole bunch of videos introducing the characters. They were all great, funny, fast paced and with some really awesome lines. My personal favourite was for the Demoman.