Recent Posts

Blog Post

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 wrote a piece on rye whisky and quotes Bismarek (sic – most likely Bismarck) as […]

Cocktails

Bourbon & Birch

Another Mixology Monday is upon us, with the topic being Bourbon and our host being Scofflaw’s Den. When I think of bourbon, I sometimes reminisce about the perception it has compared to Canadian whiskies. Bourbon is bold, fiery and strong; Canadian whiskies are light, easy going and smooth. Obviously this isn’t going to apply to all whiskies from either category, but a lot of people on both sides of the border, have this idea stuck […]

Blog Post

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 point, we should probably have some refinements, meanwhile, I’ve been doing some digging around and […]

Science

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Part I

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is all the rage these days. Actually, its more likely to cause opinionated rage, at least on the Internet. In the summer of 2006, I was going to discuss this topic but got distracted by all the boozy goodness. Then Scott, at Scott’s Rum Pages, brought up the point about HFCS in the Rum and Coke post. This reminded me that I was going to write something about this to […]

Science

High Fructose Corn Syrup Pt. II

What is it about High Fructose Corn Syrup that makes it different from other sugars, like common table sugar? Obviously, the sugars come from two different plants corn and sugar cane/sugar beets. But the key factor and the one that causes the most discussion is that the sugars produced from corn are products of a multi-stage enzymatic process that breaks down corn starch into simple sugars. For sugar cane, and sugar beets, the simple sugar […]

bar

Bartending Pet Peeve Number One

When you work behind a bar, there are many things that the customers / guest don’t get to see or don’t understand. Sometimes we don’t want you to see things, it is part of the magic, other times we would like to let you know about something. Here’s one of those things that everyone should know. When you come to a restaurant and you are waiting in the lounge area until your tables is ready, […]

Whisky

A Story About Whisky

The subject of whisky is one of those topics that can go on forever. There are magazines and websites dedicated to just one particular whisky region, there are zealots who defend their brand with the same heart one would defend a country. Then there are those who scream blasphemy at the thought of adding anything to a single malt scotch, since it would “ruin” it. Then there are people like me, who appreciate everything for […]

Science

HFCS Research

When you publish a website, you often leave yourself open to public scrutiny, which often leads to “Fan Mail“, as I like to call it. Most of the time I ignore it, but sometimes I feel compelled to reply. This is one of those occasions. Now, the topic is High Fructose Corn Syrup, again, but it has become a kind of crusade for me to bring logic into this odd, enduring, little topic. I basically […]

Blog Post

Spirit Resources

If you’ve found an old bottle of whisky, rum, cognac or wine in a dank old basement, it might be worth something. Below is a list of sites that might be interested brokering the sale of the product or offering an appraisal. Important Notes! 1. You will need to provide a clear photograph of the product to these sites if you want to get their attention. Don’t waste their time otherwise. 2. If the bottle […]

Bitters

Malta Knights’ Bitters

Presumably this is a bitter named after the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem founded around 1023 as the Knights Hospitaller and eventually just the Knights of Malta. In 1119 the Knights Hospitaller and the Knights Templar were formed, but when the Templars were disbanded in 1312 most of their assets went to the Hospitallers. After being chased around the Mediterranean they would eventually settle on Malta and be hence forth know […]