GSN Alert: January 31st – National Brandy Alexander Day

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.


GSN Alert: Coming Soon – 2015 Cocktail Books (April-June)

Here are some GSN recommended books to be on the lookout for in the next few months.

indexWild Cocktails from the Midnight Apothecary: 100 Recipes Using Home-grown and Foraged Fruits, Herbs, and Edible Flowers by Lottie Muir  (April 5, 2015) Lottie Muir is the creator of the Midnight Apothecary pop-up cocktail bar, set in a roof garden in the heart of London, where she also grows many of the ingredients for her mixes. On Saturday nights she sheds her gardening gloves and dons her apron to become the Cocktail Gardener mixologist. Moving from flowerbed to bar, she rustles up seasonal plant-powered cocktails, made with the harvest from her garden and from foraging trips nearby. Starting with The Cocktail Cabinet, Lottie explains both gardening and cocktail-making basics. She tells you what botanicals you will need year-round, including edible flowers, and gives tips on getting the best from your growing space, as well as advice on foraging if you want to venture further than your back garden.
indexTea Cocktails: A Mixologist’s Guide to Legendary Tea-Infused Cocktails by Abigail R. Gehring (April 7, 2015) In classy bars and cocktail lounges across America, tea is making a big splash. Absolut has launched a line of tea-infused vodka, companies such as Owl’s Brew are springing up with teas crafted specifically as cocktail mixers, and foodie magazines such as Saveur and Food & Wine are featuring hot chai toddies and gin-spiked iced teas. Here organic tea company Teatulia partners with Gehring to provide a stunning collection of hot and cold tea cocktail recipes sure to impress any mixologist or tea lover. Learn how to balance the unique flavors of herbal and black teas with just the right spirits to create drinks.
indexDistilled: From absinthe & brandy to vodka & whisky, the world’s finest artisan spirits unearthed, explained & enjoyed by Neil Ridley & Joel Harrison (April 7, 2015) Harrison & Ridley are at the forefront of providing expertise and innovation in the spirits world. From whisky to gin, cognac to exotic drinks, the duo has a wealth of knowledge to share with audiences across the globe. They write about whisky on their award-winning website and regularly pen articles and whisky features for a number of different publications such as Whisky Magazine, Imbibe and the Evening Standard, as well as becoming judges for the World Whisky Awards and the prestigious I.W.S.C. awards. Joel and Neil approach the drinks world with an irreverent, independently-minded spirit and, in the last two years, the duo have hosted over 250 whisky and other spirits tastings around the world from Japan to Lithuania.
indexImbibe! Updated and Revised Edition: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar by David Wondrich (April 7, 2015) The first edition, published in 2007, won a James Beard Award. Now updated with newly discovered recipes and historical information, this new edition includes the origins of the first American drink, the Mint Julep (which Wondrich places before the American Revolution), and those of the Cocktail itself. It also provides more detail about 19th century spirits, many new and colorful anecdotes and details about Thomas’s life, and a number of particularly notable, delicious, and influential cocktails not covered in the original edition, rounding out the picture of pre-Prohibition tippling.
indexClassic Cocktails (revised) by Salvatore Calabrese (April 21, 2015) Salvatore “The Maestro” Calabrese is one of the world’s foremost cocktail experts—and drinks lovers will salut this expanded version of his classic guide. The New York Times called the original edition “a must-have,” and now it contains even more: new chapters and loads of new images; up-to-the-minute information on the most exciting cocktail trends, tastes, and techniques; and newly uncovered historical tidbits (like the true origin of the Bloody Mary). Fifty new recipes include long-buried favorites like the turn-of-the-century New Orleans classic Absinthe Suissesse, a barrel-aged Blood and Sand, and the Prohibition-era The Angel’s Tit. This elegant volume also includes DIYs for essential cocktail ingredients like Velvet Falernum, recipes for flavored syrups and homemade shrubs, and advice on throwing the very best at-home cocktail parties ever.
indexThe Tippling Bros. A Lime and a Shaker: Discovering Mexican-Inspired Cocktails by Tad Carducci & Paul Tanguay (April 21, 2015) In The Tippling Bros. A Lime and a Shaker, Tad Carducci and Paul Tanguay, who collectively have 55 years of professional experience in the beverage industry, step in to provide their expertise on Mexican cocktails. Their 72 exciting recipes go past the classic margarita and include traditional, craft, and spicy drinks such as the Blood-Orange-Cinnamon Margarita, San Fresa Frizz, and Smokey Pablo. The authors also cover the history of tequila, explain the difference between different tequilas, and offer bonus recipes for aguas frescas, syrups, salts, and some of their favorite Mexican dishes. With vibrant photographs throughout, this is the must-have book on the subject, perfect for home cooks, bartenders, and those who just want to know more about tequila and mezcal.
indexBitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails: Restorative Vintage Cocktails, Mocktails, and Elixirs by Warren Bobrow & Philip M. Dobard (May 1, 2015) The Cocktail Whisperer, Warren Bobrow, has been using bitters and shrubs in his quest for added zest in many of his craft cocktails, adding depth and mystery to a generic mixed drink. Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails will send your taste buds back in time with 75 traditional and newly-created recipes for medicinally-themed drinks. Learn the fascinating history of apothecary bitters, healing herbs, flowers, fruits, vegetables, and vinegars that are making a comeback in cocktail and non-alcoholic recipes. If you love vintage cocktails, you’ll surely enjoy this guide to mixing delicious elixirs.
indexThe Negroni: Drinking to La Dolce Vita, with Recipes & Lore by Gary Regan (May 5, 2015) The Negroni is one of the simplest and most elegant drink formulas around: combine one part gin, one part sweet vermouth, and one part Campari, then stir and serve over ice. This bitter, sweet, and smooth drink has inspired countless variations as well as legions of diehard aficionados. In The Negroni, Gary Regan–barman extraordinaire and author of the iconic book The Joy of Mixology–delves into the drink’s fun, fascinating history (its origin story is still debated, with battling Italian noblemen laying claim) and provides techniques for modern updates (barrel aging and carbonation among them). Sixty delightfully varied and uniformly tasty recipes round out this spirited collection, which is a must-have for any true cocktail enthusiast.
indexThe Craft Cocktail Party: Delicious Drinks for Every Occasion by Julie Reiner & Kaitlyn Goalen (May 5, 2015) Julie Reiner, the co-owner of The Clover Club in Brooklyn and The Flatiron Lounge in Manhattan, has written a book that provides inspiration for the rest of us, not only the cocktail geeks. She wants to balance the needs of the everyday drinker with those of the passionate mixologist. Recipes are organized around seasonality and occasion, with different events and themes appropriate to the specific time of the year. Each section will include a mixture of holiday-inspired drinks, classic cocktails, and innovative new drinks, all along with fun cocktail lore. Tricks, tips, and techniques–such as batching and infusions, tools of the trade, notes on spirit types, and easy substitutions to utilize what you already have on hand–will round out the amazing amount of information in Reiner’s book.
indexCocktails & Dreams: The Ultimate Indian Cocktail Book by Yangdup Lama & Gitanjali Chaturvedi (May 15, 2015) Cocktails and Dreams is put together by people who represent the modern, young India a bartender and a well-travelled development professional in some senses an unlikely cocktail. It comes at a time when India now exposed to the outside world does not consider drinking as a social taboo but enjoys a fine cocktail or two. With a significant change in urban lifestyles, the fifty original recipes help people to look beyond the traditional whisky on the rocks and rum and Coke.
indexVermouth: The Revival of the Spirit that Created America’s Cocktail Culture by Adam Ford (June 1, 2015) Previously fallen from grace, vermouth is once again the next big thing in spirits. Over the years, vermouth has fallen from grace, but the truth is, without vermouth, your martini is merely an iced vodka or gin. Now, once again, vermouth is being touted as the hottest trend in spirits. It is showing up in copious amounts on the best cocktail menus in the best cocktail lounges around the country. Vermouth has a rich history, deeply intertwined with that of America, and this book offers the first-ever detailed look into the background of this aromatized, fortified wine, as well as vermouth’s rise, fall, and comeback in America.
indexThe Cocktail Chronicles: Navigating the Cocktail Renaissance with Jigger, Shaker & Glass by Paul Clarke (June 15, 2015) From Paul Clarke, the 2014 Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer and founder of the groundbreaking spirits blog, The Cocktail Chronicles, comes an approachable guide to the cocktail renaissance thus far and—as the name implies—a chronicle of the cocktails that have come along the way. The Cocktail Chronicles is not a lab manual for taking the cocktail experience to a molecular level; nor is it an historical monograph tracing the details of our forebears as they developed and mixed the drinks we enjoy today. Instead, The Cocktail Chronicles is a collection of approachable, and easily replicable drinks that all share the same thing: a common deliciousness and a role — both big and small — in the ongoing and thriving cocktail renaissance. This collection of expertly curated recipes represent a photo album of sorts—snapshots of people encountered over the years, with some close friends and family members depicted alongside a few dimly remembered strangers.

GSN Alert: Third Annual Just One Shift – March 16th-22nd, 2015

JustOneShift-Bill-Inserts-orange-red-page-001gaz regan, the bartender previously known as Gary Regan, announces the third annual Just One Shift, which raises funds to fight the water crisis via Wine To Water, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Doc Hendley, an ex-bartender and CNN Hero.

Currently, 800 million people lack access to clean water, and 2.5 billion people lack access to sanitation. Water-related disease kills a child every 21 seconds. Wine To Water is a movement dedicated to providing clean water and sanitation to those in need around the world.

World Water Day is on Sunday, March 22nd, so the 2015 program will kick off on Monday, March 16th and run through that day. During this week, bartenders and servers worldwide are asked to donate all or part of their tips from just one shift.

New this year, the top two donors will have the opportunity to attend an all-expenses-paid Wine to Water service trip to the Dominican Republic on dates of their choosing. These individuals will gain a unique cultural experience while providing clean water to those who need it.

A similar trip will run from August 22-29, 2015, open exclusively to bartenders and servers who participated in Just One Shift 2015. Full information is here.

In a past year, $41,872.67 was raised, which provided clean water to 40,000 people for an entire year. Just One Shift bartenders and servers donated an average of $244.87 each to achieve that figure. Texas Roadhouse was a particularly proud supporter and in 2014 raised more than $19,000 in two weeks at their North Carolina restaurants. “We encourage every restaurant in the country to participate,” urges Kirsten Sands, Regional Marketing Director for Texas Roadhouse. “Our guests and staffs were more than supportive of this initiative, and our North Carolina locations have raised the bar and committed to raise $30,000 more in 2015 starting in the month of March.”

To sign up, please visit Just One Shift; the site maintains a list of participating bars and restaurants sorted by state, as well as a calendar of shifts. At the end of the given shift, the bartender or server makes his or her donation via the honor system, online.

gaz, who has a network of more than 20,000 social media followers, says, “Bartenders and servers have been changing the world via the Just One Shift/Wine to Water campaign for the past few years; they have helped save the lives of thousands of people they’ll never meet. I know for sure that these bartenders and servers will continue to change the world, and hopefully they will encourage their friends in the industry to join them.”

GSN Alert: gaz regan’s “Just One Shift”

image002Bartenders Worldwide Unite from May 12th-18th to Raise Money for Wine to Water

New York / April, 2014:  gaz regan, the bartender previously known as Gary Regan, is pleased to announce the return of Just One Shift, which plans to raise $100,000 for charity in a one-week time period by inviting bartenders worldwide to donate all or part of their tips from just one shift.

The 2014 program will take place Monday, May 12 through Sunday, May 18; the first shift kicks off at 7 p.m. on May 12th at The Dead Rabbit in NYC’s Financial District where gaz will be a special guest bartender.  All earnings are given to Wine to Water, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Doc Hendley, ex-bartender and CNN Hero from North Carolina.

In 2013, its inaugural year, 327 bartenders in 34 countries participated, raising $40,000. The charity reports this amount can save 40,000 people from death due to water-borne illness for a full year.  Specifically in Uganda, $40,000 can provide 10,000 people with clean water for 10 years.

The first step to joining forces with some of the country’s finest individuals is for bartenders to sign up on the Just One Shift site which will maintain a running list of participating bars sorted by state, as well as a calendar of shifts.  At the end of the given shift, the bartender will personally make the donation online.  If unable to attend any of the listed shifts, anyone may make a donation online.

gaz, who has a network of over 20,000 social media followers, says, “Bartenders can change the world and last year’s success has proved it. If we meet this year’s goal I will shave my head.”

For more information, please visit and; @gazregan will also tweet; refer to the hashtag #justoneshift.

Imbibing Mr. Boston: Bobbo’s Bride Cocktail

IMG_4424-800One of my favorite aspects of the Imbibing Mr. Boston project is hearing the stories behind the drinks from their creators.  Bobbo’s Bride has a rich history involving Gary & Mardee Regan, the Drinkboy cocktail forum and a couple from down south.  I’ll let Robert and Laurel Semmes tell the story in their own words.

Robert: “I am “Bobbo” and Laurel is my bride of 22 years. Laurel created the drink the night of August 18, 1999 while I was away in Atlanta. Gary’s then wife Mardee called me Bobbo for some reason on Robert Hess’ online cocktail community called DrinkBoy. (He may have all that archived somewhere. I can’t remember how Mardee got to Bobbo as a nickname from Robert.) There may be some discussion on the drink as well in that archive. That is where Gary got it for his (David) Embury-inspired book, “The Joy of Mixology”. He included my “Big Pine Key” as an example of a New Orleans Sour and Laurel’s drink as an Orphan. The drink is actually called Bobbo’s Bride Straight-Up, which is allusion to “Senora Baker Gin Bride-on-the-Rocks” from Baker’s South American Gentleman’s Companion. That drink is also a bit of an orphan and was created by Baker’s wife. Laurel mostly drinks Manhattans and isn’t particularly fond of citrus juice in her cocktails so the myriad sours that you make up on-the-spot don’t really work for her. We had experimented quite a bit with using other things besides citrus to balance out the sweetness of liqueurs and weak bitters like Campari work well. The Campari also goes really well with the peach. I think she probably got the vodka/gin mix from the Vesper.   The thing works well with other liqueurs. Gary modified it some for drink size, etc. The original was really specific:

1.5 oz Boodles gin
1.5 oz Skyy Vodka
0.5 oz Mathilde peach liqueur
0.25 oz Campari

Stir with cracked ice and strain to a cocktail glass. Garnish with a thin slice of fresh peach (Laurel likes the white-fleshed ones for this).”

Laurel: “All that Robert said is a good reflection of the process. I’ll say that when I read Embury, I related most closely with the aromatics. I am not big on the drinks that hide the liquor – I’m ok with a mixed drink (G&T or something like a Planters Punch), but I HATE modern sour mix. And, would truly rather sip on an aromatic than fuss with a tall drink. Hence my preference for a good Manhattan.
We truly love this drink, though. Proof is the fact that we morphed it into a champagne drink, opening it up to a morning beverage. We modified the proportions some, mixed it with a good cava, and named it the Gypsy Song after a (Jimmy) Buffett tune called Bring Back the Magic (with lyrics saying “red sky at night, oh such a sailor’s delight; red sky at dawn, gypsy’s song comin’ on”).
Originally, Bobbo’s Bride (as a champagne cocktail) (26 June 2000), the drink then was modified into the Gypsy Song (15 October 2006). Note that we later reversed proportions of the Campari and liqueur in the champagne drink. The Regans seem to have upped the Campari over time as well in the Bobbo’s Bride (I suspect that is because their receipt calls for snapps, which is decidedly sweet compared to a good French liqueur.)
Bobbo’s Bride Champagne
2 bar spoons gin
2 bar spoons peach liqueur
1 bar spoon Campari
Top up with Cava in a hollow-stem champagne saucer
Gypsy Song
1 Regan’s Bitters No. 6-soaked sugar cube
1 tsp orange brandy (like Grand Marnier)
2 tsp Campari
Build in a 6oz frozen champagne flute and top up with cold cava (brut).
Twist fresh lime peel over drink and dip to remove oils and discard.
Much credit to my husband, the consummate cocktail master. I’m good at shooting in the dark, but he is the master at research and laying the foundation for classic elements and proportions.  I just know what I like!   ;-)”
And here, is the recipe as published in the Mr. Boston 75th Anniversary Bartenders Guide.

Bobbo’s Bride
1oz gin
1oz vodka
0.5oz peach liqueur
0.5oz campari
garnish: fresh peach slice

Stir with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with peach.

Imbibing Mr. Boston: The Bitter, Dark & Stormy Cocktail

IMG_3526-800Basically a bitters enhanced D&S, this is a creation crafted by Ted Henwood.  Here’s what he had to say about it: “My inspiration was the Gaz (Gary Regan), who is all of those and yet quite impish, images of Portuguese seamanship, and my own rage during the demise of my marriage — not to mention a great rum.”

When making this at home, I used Gosling’s dark rum and Regan’s orange bitters.  They add just enough of an edge to make this a more brooding drink.  Good one, Ted.  Hope you’re feeling better now.

The Bitter, Dark & Stormy
2.5oz dark rum
5 dashes orange bitters
ginger beer
Garnish: lime wedge

Pour rum and bitters into ice-filled highball glass.  Top with ginger beer and stir.  Squeeze lime into glass and add wedge.

GSN Alert: gaz regan Debuts “Just One Shift”

justoneshiftNew York / January, 2013:  gaz regan, the bartender previously known as Gary Regan, is pleased to announce Just One Shift (, a plan to raise a quarter million dollars for charity in a one-week time period by inviting bartenders worldwide to donate all or part of their tips from just one shift.  The beneficiary will be Wine to Water (, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by a bartender, that focuses on providing clean water to needy people worldwide.

The 2013 program is scheduled for Monday, April 8 through Sunday, April 14.  Any company may purchase logo placement on; 100% of those proceeds will go to the charity.  Consumers can support the program by attending the noted shifts and tipping generously.  Or, anyone may make an on-line donation.  gaz’s social media following is over 20,000 members, and the aim is to engage 2,500 bartenders, with each being able to raise $100, in order to reach the $250,000 mark.

As explained by gaz, “This idea was borne of one of my favorite quotes from the Dalai Lama, which in fact had been my email signature line for years:  ‘The capacity to devote yourself to the welfare of others yields otherwise unobtainable … potential for good,’ which is exactly how I would like to use my network.  For years I’ve been telling everyone who’ll listen that bartenders can change the world and together with Doc Hendley, the ex-bartender who founded Wine to Water, we’re about to prove it.”

The first step is for bartenders to sign up at, which will maintain a running list of participating bars sorted by city, as well as a calendar of shifts.  At the end of the given shift, the bartender will personally make the donation on-line, via

For more information, please visit and; @gazregan will also Tweet.  For Tweeters, please hashtag #justoneshift.