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Historical Drinking & Driving Ads

We often see drinking and driving as recent problem (last 30 years or so) however the deadly combination of alcohol and motor vehicles has been know for over a century. When cars became common place, it didn’t take a genius to realize that driving while intoxicated resulted in serious consequences. One of the earliest observations came from Puck magazine in […]

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Detroit Soda Fountain

This photo is a great example of what a classic soda fountain/pharmacy looked like around 1910. The picture was taken by the Detroit Publishing Company around 1910, but no information was provided on where it was taken, though it assumed to be in Detroit. Sandy Levine of The Oakland bar in Detroit suggested that it looks similar to the space […]

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Age of Drugs

If you’ve read Fix the Pumps, you may have noticed that one of the reoccuring themes was the competition between saloons and pharmacies (bartenders and druggists) to hook the people on their tonics. Until 1906, when the Pure Food and Drugs Act was introduced, the local pharmacy/soda fountain had no restrictions on what they could serve and the taxes were […]

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Cognac Oil

The world of alcohol is fraught with risks and great bartenders know how to manage them. One method is to insert a low or non-alcoholic drink into the mix. Unfortunately, most non-alcoholic drinks suck, though things are getting better. One area that offers a lot of potential is essential oils and soda fountain techniques. The actual “Holy Grail” would be […]

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French Press Coffee

When it comes to drinks, a good cup of coffee is probably at the top of the list for many people, mine included. Like cocktails, there are decent cups of coffee, bad coffee and great coffee. A decent cup of coffee would be from a coffee shop chain like Tim Horton’s or Starbucks (suspect coffee quality with me). A bad […]

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Cocktail Blogging is Dead

There, I said it. Actually, it was pointed out to me by SeanMike on Twitter that I have been saying this since 2010 at the first Portland Cocktail week. Before I said it, Rick Dobbs prophesied it back in 2008. Let’s say the writing was on the wall and today the coroner is just about to sign the death certificate. […]

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Bitter Recipe List is Back

For those who don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I have finally recreated the bitters recipe database. It was originally “lost” when I migrated from one hosting company to another, but I have managed to find most of the recipes and have put them back together. I have also been adding more recipes from sources I discovered while writting […]

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The Bourbon Box

In the glory days of drink writing (2007-2010) it wasn’t uncommon to receive a couple of deliveries from the “booze fairy” every month. Who’s the booze fairy you ask? That would be whoever was responsible for dropping free spirits off at my door, usually the FedEx guy. Considering most mail is bills, advertising junk, cease and desist letters and demands […]

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Announcing the “Jerk Off”

It is with great pleasure that I announce the first ever “Jerk Off” which will be held during San Francisco Cocktail Week (Sept. 17th to 23rd). If you’ve read my book, Fix the Pumps, you might understand why this competition is called the Jerk Off, and if not let me explain. A few months ago drinks genius Russell Davis emailed […]

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Why Prohibition Didn’t Work

It’s one of those often repeated debates that goes nowhere: Why didn’t prohibition work? Both sides of the debate ante up and henceforth argue ad nausea. So with the help of Google’s Ngram Viewer, I’m going to provide a simple, visual explanation of human nature and why prohibition failed. If this doesn’t explain it, nothing will. Google’s Ngram Viewer is […]

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Beverages De Luxe (1914)

Just prior to prohibition, a great little booklet was put out by The Wine and Spirit Bulletin called Beverages De Luxe. It is a collection of articles, and recipes, written by owners of distilleries and others in the business. Some of the contributors include George Brown (Brown and Foreman) and A.M. Hanauer (Hamburger Distillery, Pittsburgh, PA) among many others. Hanauer […]

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Layman’s Guide to the 100 Point Wine Scale

When I was at the Moscow Barshow (September 2011) I had the opportunity to judge the cocktail competition that pitted the best bartenders in Russia against one another. Robert “Drinkboy” Hess was also one of the judges and afterwards, we had a discussion on the best way to rate cocktails in a competition. The discussion is ongoing and at some […]