Mezcal, press, and kitchen experiments

Posted in Events, Mezcal with tags , , , , on July 13, 2011 by wryoldfashioned

So.  I just delivered a new recipe to the good folks at the LA Times for an upcoming event, July 24, at Más Malo for National Tequila Day.  I came up with a recipe for a habañero sage limoncello a few months ago, and decided this plays really well with Mezcal Enmascarado 45.  So I tinkered a bit and now present you with The Masked Breakfast Ball:

  • Mezcal Enmascarado 45
  • Housemade Habañero Sage Limoncello
  • Prosecco
I’m quite pleased with the results and hope you can join us on the 24th to try it out!  More details on tickets and times to follow.

Living out of suitcases

Posted in Travel with tags , on July 7, 2011 by wryoldfashioned

Just got back from Mexico DF, where I spent the end of June/first part of July working with my partners on some exciting new developments.  Every time I’m there, I get recharged a bit.  There’s so many great new restaurants, bars, and clubs there.  Watch GridSkipper for more on that very soon…

Mezcal Road Trip

Posted in Mezcal, Travel with tags , , , , on June 30, 2011 by wryoldfashioned

Several weeks ago I put together a piece for GridSkipper on some of my favourite places to find mezcal across America.  Earlier this week, I found out that it went over so well, Eater National asked if they could run with it.  Don’t mind if I do!  So we tweaked it a bit and here is the final product.

I will say, there are so many other quality spots I wanted to add that did not make the final map.  My first draft was very heavy on the West and East Coast, so we wanted to spread it out and shine a light on some of the other markets.  If you didn’t make the list don’t take it personally at all, this was meant to be a sample of my top picks.  And I’d love to hear suggestions for more places to check out.  At any rate, I hope this helps you find more of the good stuff.

Best Bars in America?

Posted in Business, Media, Travel with tags , , , on May 22, 2011 by wryoldfashioned

Esquire’s sixth annual list of Best Bars in America is out now. Big congratulations to Silver Lake’s Thirsty Crow, opened only last April, for getting profiled. Although the Complete List is now a compendium of the past five years, as I look over it in it’s entirety I’m a little confused as to why a number of great LA bars didn’t make the list, and why some of these did, but I’ll let you guess which ones: Copa D’Oro, The Varnish, Veranda Bar at Hotel Figueroa, The Tar Pit, The Edison, La Cita, Golden Gopher, Broadway Bar, Brennan’s Pub, Polo Lounge at Beverly Hills Hotel. Two OC bars also made the list: Blackie’s by The Sea and Beach Ball. I’ll agree on some of those, for sure. I’d also be interested to know how many LA bars the Esquire folks have actually been to… but I digress. You can see the complete list here.

The real question is, no matter the city, which bars would YOU have put on the list? Which ones do you think should have been left off? Fire away.

You can also cross reference the Esquire list with Travel+Leisures’s “America’s Best Cocktail Bars” (May 2011), Food & Wine’s “America’s Best New Bars” (March 2011) and GQ’s “25 Best Cocktail Bars in America” (October 2010).

SoCo Beach at Harvard & Stone – Monday May 23

Posted in Events with tags , , , , on May 22, 2011 by wryoldfashioned

Tomorrow night at Harvard & Stone “lifeguards” Steve Livigni and Dave Fernie join forces for SoCo Beach, mixing up a list of Southern Comfort cocktails all night behind the R&D Bar dressed in–according to the Facebook event page–”tiny shorts and tank tops.”  I dare you to come up with something better than that to kick off the week with.

SoCo Beach at  Harvard & Stone

5221 Hollywood Blvd

LA, CA 90028

8PM til close

Alabama Slamma’s
Peaches N Cream
Soco Lime
Catfish House Punch served from a Super Soaker
Blended Hurricanes

The Bitter Boom? Let’s hope not…

Posted in Recipes, Supplies with tags , , , on May 20, 2011 by wryoldfashioned

Not too long ago, small batch bitters were hard to come by, so you either had to take to crafting your own or be lucky enough to know someone who had. I’ve done both with varying degrees of success. In the last couple years it seems there are new bitters brands sprouting up everywhere. I couldn’t be happier, so long as it doesn’t impede my ability to get them for myself.

Some of the brands I’ve favoured over the last few years (Scrappy’s, Urban Moonshine, Boker’s, Regan’s) have long been available at specialty bar-supply boutiques like BarKeeper here in Los Angeles and Cask in San Francisco, but are now becoming a bit easier to come by. Fortunately for those of us who are more selfish about supply, not too easy. has tracked “the bitter boom” for a while, and gave a good update earlier this week on some of the newest offerings including, Brooklyn Hemispherical BittersBittercubeThe Bitter EndBittermens, and recently-opened NYC “bitters tasting room” Amor y Amargo.  Check out the piece here for more details on each.

I’m getting back to work on a few bitter experiments so hopefully I’ll have more to share on that in a bit.

New Distilleries and How To Start a Cult

Posted in Business with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2011 by wryoldfashioned

When I noticed the other day that Grant Achatz mentioned Aviary was offering pairings of small bites with flights of Old Rip Van Winkle Bourbon, I was reminded of this CNN profile on the label back in the winter, dissecting how they’ve created “the ultimate cult brand.” It’s a fascinating story but I also believe that there is no hard and fast formula for creating a cult following. Of course, if there is, Mr Achatz could certainly shed some light on that topic as well. There was also a great piece in Inc on how to bring an alcohol beverage to market, profiling a few great emerging brands like Hudson Whiskey, Bluecoat Gin, and Combier. These are some great examples of small brands with amazing product, carving a real niche for themselves in what has historically been one of the most difficult markets to crack. Fortunately, these small success stories have also encouraged a whole new crop of inspired entrepreneurs to start distilleries across the country. According to this story last week in USA Today, new distilleries have been opening at a rate of one per month in the past year alone. I can’t wait to see how many of these brands become the next Van Winkle or Hudson, and hope great chefs like Achatz partner with them in creative ways to help make it so.


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