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International Whisk(e)y Day was first announced in 2008. The name is used with the parenthesis to indicate support of Scottish, Canadian, and Japanese whiskies (no e) as well as Irish and American whiskeys (with an e). The day publicly supports Parkinson’s Disease research in addition to enjoying Whiskey.

Participants are encouraged to raise one up on the day and drink whiskey for the love of the drink as well as to celebrate legendary writer Michael Jackson‘s life. Others participate via social media using the #whiskyday2017 hashtag. Various bars may have specials on 27 March to celebrate the day.

Taken from the International Whisk(e)y day’s website, “International Whisk(e)y Day is a non-profit celebration of whiskey which receives no funding and is run entirely by the passion of whiskey fans from around the world. So if you love whisk(e)y and want to help spread the word, then go ahead and tell someone about it.”

For more information go to: International Whisk(e)y Day

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keep-calm-and-wait-for-march-24thOf course every day is Cocktail Day, but now there’s an official holiday!  

The history of the cocktail starts over 425 years ago in 1586. At that time, people drank an incredible amount of alcohol every day, much more than we do now. They drank beer or other beverages for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Children drank it, pregnant women drank it, monks and priests drank it. It touched every part of life.

And this was especially true on board ships. Ships of the time would be at sea for months sometimes without seeing land or taking on new supplies. So rum, beer, wine and other beverages were really important to keep sailors healthy.  Why not water?  The reason was that water was typically unclean from lack of sanitation, but using it to create alcohol of some kind killed the germs that made people sick.

In 1586 the English privateer Sir Francis Drake was pillaging the Spanish settlements in the Caribbean. The English called him a hero, but to the Spanish he was nothing more than a pirate.

On one fateful trip to sack Havana, Drake found his men suffering from malnutrition and scurvy, so he sent a shore party to land in the southernmost tip of Florida called Matecumbe to find local natives who could show them nearby medicinals that would make his men better.

And that’s just what the locals did.

They mixed the bark from a tree called chuchuhuasi with distilled sugar cane juice, known as aguardiente, raw sugar cane juice, lime and mint. (click here for the recipe)

Do these ingredients sound familiar?

This is the precursor to the Mojito, which was supposedly invented in Havana. As it turns out, it was simply modified in Havana not invented. They just dropped the tree bark from the drink and used rum instead of aquardiente.

The concoction worked, by the way. Drake’s men got better, and they went about their business, attacking Fort Augustine not long after.

So here we have the first recorded mixed drink—what we’d consider a cocktail (strong, weak, sour, sweet and bitters).

Information courtesy of Bucketlistbars.com

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art_nouveau_absinthe_poster_by_mybeautifulmonsters-d4ya3ntWho would have guessed that there would ever be a National Absinthe Day?  Since it was banned in the United States in 1912, and prohibition nailing the coffin shut in 1919, it is really a miracle that absinthe is back on the market.  2015 marks the ninth anniversary of this new holiday devoted to the Green Fairy.

In celebration of this event, here is the traditional way to enjoy a glass.  And no, you don’t light it on fire!

  • Pour a measure of absinthe in an absinthe glass
  • Place a sugar cube on a flat perforated spoon on top of the glass
  • Drip ice-cold water on the sugar cube to slowly dissolve it
  • Add three to six parts water to the glass
  • Take your time, sip. The slower, the better

If you’re looking for a cocktail that calls for absinthe, try this one from the classic Savoy Cocktail Book published in 1930.

Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail
Absinthe
.75 oz Plymouth Gin
.75 oz Cointreau
.75 oz Lillet Blanc
.75 oz Lemon juice
Rinse a chilled cocktail glass with absinthe and set aside. Add the remaining ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into the prepared glass.  Be revived!

 

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1953_12Interestingly enough, the first printed recipe for the Margarita shows up in the December 1953 issue of Esquire magazine (pictured at left) Here’s what they had to say about it: Drink of the Month – “She’s from Mexico, Senores, and her name is the Margarita Cocktail–and she is lovely to look at, exciting and provocative.”

1 ounce tequila
Dash of Triple Sec
Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon

Pour over crushed ice, stir. Rub the rim of a stem glass with rind of lemon or lime, spin in salt–pour, and sip.

Anyone today would certainly recognize that recipe, albeit in a more definitive form (more Triple Sec, no lemon, and no crushed ice).

But, the origins of the Margarita go back much further, probably about 25 years earlier.  No one knows for sure who created the drink, but my favorite theory about the name is that it was originally called a Tequila Daisy.  The Spanish word for daisy is Margarita, and a Tequila Daisy was basically a Margarita (tequila, orange liqueur, sour mix).  In any case, it has become one of the top 10 cocktails of all time.

Here are some modern versions crafted just in time for your celebration:

GildedHareThe Gilded Hare (Courtesy of Matt Grippo at Blackbird in San Francisco)
1.5oz Suerte Blanco Tequila
.5oz Gonzales Byass Amontillado Sherry
.5oz Cinnamon Syrup
.5 Grapefruit
.5 Lime
5 Drops of Bittermens Hellfire Shrub
This winter influenced margarita is a tad complex. Suerte Blanco tequila, amontillado sherry, lime, grapefruit, cinnamon and habanero. Big bright tequila flavors up front and a warm lingering finish of spice and wood with just enough kick to warm your mouth without the burn.

image012 Lemon Basil Margarita (Courtesy of Cointreau)
1 1/2 oz. Blanco Tequila
1 oz. Cointreau
1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
1/2 oz. Lime Juice
3 basil Leaves
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Shake and strain over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with basil and lemon wheel.

drinkCRUZ Citrus Margarita (Courtesy of CRUZ Tequila)
2 parts CRUZ Silver Tequila
¾ parts agave nectar
1 lime squeezed
½ lemon squeezed
½ orange squeezed
1-2 parts filtered water
A couple sprigs of mint
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.

image001Cucumber Lavender Margarita (Courtesy Tortilla Republic, West Hollywood)
2 oz. Casa Noble Organic Tequila (or other 100% agave silver tequila)
2-3 ½ Inch Cucumber Slices, muddled
1.5 oz. Fresh Squeeze Lime Juice
0.75 oz. Lavender-Infused Simple Syrup
(soak 4-5 sprigs of lavender in simple syrup for 2-3 days, or purchased at Farmers’ markets and specialty grocers). Shake. Pour into a 12.5 oz. glass on rocks. Garnish with cucumber and fresh lavender blossoms.

image006The Milagro Blood Orange Margarita (Courtesy of Milagro Tequila)
1 ½ parts Milagro Silver Tequila
¾ part Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
1 part Fresh Lime Juice
¾ part agave nectar
Pour all ingredients in a Boston Shaker with ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice in a salt-rimmed rocks glass. Garnish with orange and lime wheels.

image003StrawBeerita (Courtesy of Licor 43)
3 oz. chilled beer, lighter-style lager
1 oz. Licor 43
1 oz. tequila
1/2 oz. lime juice
3 Strawberries
Lime
Directions: Cut strawberries and a few lime slices and muddle in a shaker. Add tequila, Licor 43, lime juice and ice and shake. Pour mixture into a margarita glass and top with beer. Garnish with a strawberry slice and lime wedge.

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c9b29f44-8d0e-4d67-8a95-1eb17483c764What is Cane Camp? 

Cane Camp is a cultural immersion program set against the vibrant backdrop of Puerto Rico. Over the course of the program, you can expect to learn the ins and outs of rum production and craft brewing, and experience the rich history of this beautiful island. While beverage production will take center stage at Cane Camp, expect a strong focus on conservation, climate and environmental issues. We will be visiting the diminishing Bio-Bay, exploring the intricacies of responsible rum production and experience a snapshot of the current state of the environment in Puerto Rico.

744476db-52c2-4567-a89b-431bc0ec046aHow do I apply?

Follow this link to complete the Cane Camp 2017 application:
cane.camp/apply

0808b8ca-d19c-43aa-8c71-5f02f111c6c0Please keep in mind that there are only 50 spots available for this experience and applications close at 11:59 EST on February 23rd, so make sure you take the time to carefully consider and fill out each field of the application. We read these blind (that means we can’t see your name or bar) and base all of our decisions on the creativity and care you put into your responses.

 

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brandy-alexander-290x290Sure, we’ve all had at least one Brandy Alexander in our lifetimes.  But rarely does anyone wonder who the eponymous Alexander was.  My good friend Gary ‘gaz” Regan wrote about the origins of this dessert-like concotion a few years ago.  Here’s what he discovered.

“One of the earliest known printed recipes for the Alexander can be found in Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks. The cocktail, according to historian Barry Popik, was likely born at Rector’s, New York’s premier pre-Prohibition lobster palace. The bartender there, a certain Troy Alexander, created his eponymous concoction in order to serve a white drink at a dinner celebrating Phoebe Snow.

Phoebe Snow, I should explain, was a fictitious character used in an advertising campaign for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad. The company wanted to get the message across that it powered its locomotives with anthracite, a clean-burning variety of coal. The ads emphasized this by showing Ms. Snow traveling while wearing a snow-white dress.

Getting back to the Brandy Alexander, I should note that it was first known as the Alexander #2. Want to know the secret to making the drink? Go heavy on the brandy and light on the sweet stuff. My recipe is a decent jumping-off point; you can play with it to make it your own. Try the original gin-based Alexander, too.  It’s a mighty fine drink.”

Here’s gaz’s recipe:

Brandy Alexander
2 oz Cognac or other fine aged brandy
1 oz Dark crème de cacao
1 oz Cream
Garnish: Freshly grated nutmeg
Glass: Cocktail

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

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Jameson Irish CoffeeAlthough we’re celebrating National Irish Coffee Day today, the actual date of its arrival on our shores was on 11/10/52.  It was imported from Ireland to San Francisco via Stanton Delaplane who first had a taste of it at Shannon Airport.  The creator was Chef Joe Sheridan.

Here is Sheridan’s original recipe.  “Cream as rich as an Irish brogue; coffee as strong as a friendly hand; sugar sweet as the tongue of a rogue; and whiskey smooth as the wit of the land.”

In case that is too vague, here are some recommendations for you.  Use a heavy whipping cream, all the better if it comes from grass-fed cows.  The coffee should be French Press pot using a Full-City or Vienna roast.  I prefer to use Demerara sugar cubes, and the whiskey should be Jameson’s or Powers.

Dale DeGroff also has this to say: “Never use canned cream in an Irish Coffee. Whip your own cream without sugar by placing a stainless steel bowl or pitcher in the fridge until it is very cold . Start with very cold heavy cream and whisk or whip to just under stiff so the cream has no bubbles and will still pour slowly. Always sweeten the coffee using brown sugar or brown sugar syrup. Finally don’t drown the drink in coffee, about 4 ounces is all you need. Try to find the classic stemmed Irish Coffee glasses, because of their size they will force you to use the right amount of coffee. Those are the tricks we use in the business to make drinks bartender proof.”

Irish Coffee
1 1/2 oz. Jamesons Irish Whiskey
1 oz. Brown Sugar Syrup
Coffee
Lightly Whipped Unsweetened Cream

Combine Whiskey, coffee and syrup in an Irish coffee glass. Ladle one inch of cream on top.

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