Drink in the New Year

Tonight is New Year’s Eve and, for me, that’s kind of a big deal. You see, this is the first year since I’ve been of legal drinking age that I’m not employed as a bartender and thus, have the evening (and tomorrow, for that matter) to enjoy a tipple or two of my own! It’s snowing here now and I’m on my way out of the office, but I’ll be stopping into the grocery store to pick up some raspberries for this tasty delight. I suggest you give it a try yourself and toast to a happy, healthy New Year! Cheers!

Raspberry Bellini

2 oz. Leblon Cachaça
6 raspberries
A dash of lime juice
2 tsp. superfine sugar
Top with Perrier Jouet champagne

Muddle raspberries, superfine sugar, and fresh lime juice in a shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and add Leblon Cachaça. Shake vigorously. Strain into a champagne flute and top with Perrier Jouet. Enjoy!


Christmas Cocktail

Looking for a tasty tipple to serve to your Christmas guests? Try this classy cocktail from Leblon Cachaça -The Cafe Mocha. Yum!

Cafe Mocha:

2 oz Leblon Cachaça

1/2 oz Kahlua

2 oz Half & Half

1 oz Chocolate Syrup

Shot of Espresso

3 coffee beans

Shake all the ingredients sharply with crushed ice. Then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a sugared rim and three coffee beans.


8 Crazy Nights with OVAL Vodka

Like my artwork? Hanukkah officially begins this Monday, December 22nd and if you’re looking to throw a party that caters to all your guests, keep OVAL in mind. OVAL Vodka is a structured vodka, distilled from Italian summer wheat and made in Vienna, Austria. It also just happens to be certified Kosher! Try OVAL in this winter warmer:

Warm Spiked Cranberry Cocktail:

2 oz. OVAL Vodka
4 oz. cranberry-orange concoction*
½ tsp. grated nutmeg
Orange peel (for garnish)

Heat the cranberry-orange concoction and pour into a coffee mug. Add OVAL vodka and stir. Garnish with a little fresh nutmeg and an orange peel.

*Cranberry-orange concoction:

4 ½ cups cranberry juice
1 ½ cups orange juice
8 whole cloves

Combine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes and discard cloves. (Makes 6-8 servings)

Enjoy & Happy Holidays!!!

Artisanal vs. Industrial Cachaça

Curious about Cachaça? Check out this video from Leblon, which features interviews with some of the leading authorities on Brazil’s native spirit. Here, they talk about the important differences between Industrial and Artisanal Cachaça.


Visit to Western Carriers Warehouse in NJ

For those who aren't aware of it, Western Carriers is the dominant warehousing and logistics company in the US beverage alcohol business. They have two huge warehouses (actually a complex in NJ) and handle just about every supplier and brand wine and spirit sold in the U.S. Western was one of the sponsors of the U.S. Drinks Conference 2008 in London. I had the pleasure of getting a tour of the facility in NJ from Mike Hodes who joined us in London and runs the Western operation along with Marc Cohen.

A couple of observations of note:
-People: It's what makes the difference here. I know, we've all heard that a lot but MBWA (Management by Walking Around) is the defining management strategy and I bet we saw about 200 people during the tour and Mike knew everyone by first name, and had a personal comment for each and every one.
-Scale: Western is huge, with something like 8 warehouses in NJ and a big operation in CA as well. Pretty much every distributor in the U.S. is getting deliveries from Western at least once a week and many once a day.
-Business scope: They not only handle receiving and distribution of imported goods coming into the country but also have divisions that deliver to retail accounts throughout the metro NY area. Standing in the control room for that operation was like being in Minority Report...super high tech.
-Wine Collections: A big part of the biz is with the auction houses...much of what gets auctioned through Christy's and Sotheby's passes through Western's careful quality control.

So, a big thank you to Mike, Marc, Joel Rubins and Joe Pollack for taking the time to show me around, and also for sponsoring the USDC.


Happy Repeal Day!!!

Happy Repeal Day! Everybody's talking about it. Today is the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, which lasted for 13 years in the United States. So, raise a glass and share a toast because....you can!! Here are a few links to what other bloggers have to say about Repeal Day:

Matt Robold, a.k.a. Rumdood discusses the long-term effects of Prohibition on bartending and cocktail culture in America over at the Mixoloseum Blog.

Jeffrey Morgenthaler, king of Repeal Day, will most likely be covering his Repeal Day adventures in Washington, DC on his blog.

Camper English explores the “Upsides of Prohibition” on Alcademics.

Natalie of The Liquid Muse offers a prize for the person who sends in the best photo of their Repeal Day celebrations.

Michael Dietsch of A Dash of Bitters has put together a Repeal Day Playlist.

Erik Ellestad provides you with a Repeal Day Round-Up of events in San Fran. Enjoy!


The New York Times on Booze

The New York Times had a couple of great articles in Wednesday’s Dining Section (thanks to Paul Clarke of Cocktail Chronicles for bringing this to my attention). I especially enjoyed “Let 100 (O.K., 8) Bartending Philosophies Bloom,” which taught me that I’ve been wrong in my discussion of “pre-prohibition” cocktails and cocktail culture. It should really be referred to as “pre-repeal” as there were a whole lot of cocktails invented during prohibition. Touché NY Times, Touché.

I also liked “A Brotherhood Formed with Cocktails and Ice,” which celebrates cocktail geekdom. I’ve got to say though, I understand where Dale DeGroff is coming from when he mentions some of the new bar scenes are “getting a little too sacred.” Check out the article and you’ll see what I mean.