Recent Posts

Soda

Murder, Soda and Intrigue

We all know the history of alcohol’s prohibition, but did you know that the soda fountain also had its own prohibition? When I was writing Fix the Pumps, and detailing the effects the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 had on the soda fountain, I wondered what effect pulling all those drugs from circulation had on the mood of […]

bar

Tavern Culture (1966)

Lately, I’ve been looking into old research papers on bars and the people who frequent them. One that I found fascinating is transcribed below and was published in 1966. The paper deals with a typical New York dive bar called the Star Tavern, the people who sit in the chairs and an Irish bartender. The paper was written by a […]

Tequila

The Genesis of Tequila’s Bad Name?

While researching some drink history in old newspaper archives, I came across this great article/story about tequila. Though I’m sure it was written in a humorous "tongue-in-cheek" style, it doesn’t paint tequila in a very good light. However, we have all heard the stories about how tequila causes hallucinations and crazy stuff happens when people drink it, but there has […]

Travel

Tales 2013 – Message from the Underground

Tales is in full swing and to no one’s surprise it gets bigger, better and more interesting. This isn’t the quaint event it once was, but I am more than fine with that. When events get this big it means we, as the cocktail community, have had a measure of success in change the drinks world for the better, and […]

Science

Oxidation, Buzz Management & Stepping Out

Tales of the Cocktail is a few weeks away, which means it is time for me to tell you what is going on with me while I am down there. As usual I will be lurking around the Hotel Monteleone and scarfing down some food at Coops or some other delicious eatery. Really, if you want to survive Tales you […]

Blog Post

Tempus Fugit’s Cease & Desist (Abbott’s)

The inevitable has happened. Tempus Fugit Spirits have sent me a cease and desist letter asking me to stop using the Abbott’s Bitters name as they feel they have a legitimate trademark on it. I disagree, and I will explain why below. Though the letter is polite, like all cease and desists, it is implied that it will get much […]

Bitters

Abbott’s Bitters

After 3½ years of extensive research, Abbott’s Bitters is just about ready to be revived. This is not a reverse engineered project, this is based on an old recipe I found that had an Abbott’s name on it. For the full history of my Abbott’s research, check out this slidecast. I am taking pre-orders for bottles of Abbott’s which should […]

Soda

From Soda Fountain to Bar

The soda train keeps on rolling and this time it stopped in Antwerp for the 2013 edition of the Belgian Bar Show. The show is a fun 2 day event with presentations spread through out each day. I was the opening act for Ian Rum-Ambassador Burrell, on Tuesday. Below you will find a slightly modified edition of my presentation. So […]

Blog Post

The Hangover

Tis the time of year for hangovers. This also means it is time for my annual message about the myth of caffeine and hangovers. If you drink coffee, tea or other caffeinated beverages your body has already adapted to the very mild diuretic effect of caffeine. In fact, scientific studies show caffeine does not have any diuretic effect at less […]

Blog Post

Patent Medicine, The Endless Search

One of the historical blights on the soda fountain was the cure all patent medicines that were hocked for every know illness. Some were marketed as health supplements, while others were cures for specific ailments. The one common thread they all shared was their spurious health claims. This didn’t go unnoticed and many publications from the period made barbed statements […]

Blog Post

Old Bitter Labels

Bitters are big business in the cocktail world and historically a cocktail wasn’t a cocktail without bitters, so it only makes sense. We often associate bitters with bars because of the cocktail, but the reality is that bitters were most likely sourced from the local pharmacy prior to prohibition. Even when bartenders were making thier own bitters, they probably sourced […]

Blog Post

Bourbon Ads

Digging through old photo archives can lead you to some interesting discoveries. In this case I found a couple of interesting bourbon ads. The first is a trading card, printed for Big Spring whiskey, sometime between 1880 and 1920. What makes it interesting is that the subject is a naked woman. The second is for “Belle of Nelson Old fashion […]