A Bartending Icon Decides To Share All of His Secrets, Starting With…

This is a special time for me, both as a bartender and as a writer. I've spent the past 18 years behind the bar, obsessively learning all I can about my chosen craft, then the last two years committing that knowledge to paper. Last week, all of that hard work culminated with the release of my first book, The Bar Book:… » 6/19/14 8:17pm 6/19/14 8:17pm

The Classic Daiquiri Is an Ideal Summertime Cocktail

Up here in the rainy Pacific Northwest we don't see much sun until roughly mid-July, but this year we've been treated to an unseasonably warm spring. I've altered my weekend beverage schedule accordingly. You see, while April and May are usually set aside for Mint Juleps at my house, this glorious sunshine has me… » 5/29/14 4:56pm 5/29/14 4:56pm

The Essential Tool That Most Home Bars Are Sorely Lacking

No home bartender disputes the importance of a quality shaker. Opaque cocktail ingredients like cream, fruit juice, and egg whites need to be shaken hard to be incorporated into a drink. It provides a light, delicate experience; a cocktail full of tiny air bubbles that dance on the tongue. Well, that shaker alone… » 5/22/14 12:00pm 5/22/14 12:00pm

Rescuing the Long Island Iced Tea From Its 1970s Origins

Let's just admit it, the Long Island Iced Tea is a bit of a joke. The drink had its heyday in the 1980s and 1990s, but ordering one now will get you laughed out of half of America's so-called craft cocktail bars. That's a damn shame. Because when it's made well—with the proper balance of spirits and fresh ingredients… » 5/15/14 2:06pm 5/15/14 2:06pm

11 Great Spirits You Should Be Drinking Right Now

One of the highlights of my year comes every March, when 38 of my colleagues and I convene in the Bay Area for a weekend to blind taste nearly 1,500 spirits from 64 countries. It's a great time to hang with some of the best bartenders, wine experts, writers, and spirits professionals in the business. But for as much… » 5/08/14 6:58pm 5/08/14 6:58pm

El Diablo: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with This Tequila Cocktail

Cinco de Mayo has become, in my opinion, something of a farce holiday here in the United States. Originally celebrated by the Mexican state of Puebla to commemorate a victory over the French in 1862, the day has been co-opted by huge liquor conglomerates to pour cheap, mass-market tequila down the throats of frat… » 5/01/14 4:34pm 5/01/14 4:34pm

The Effervescent Delight of a Properly Made Tom Collins

College is generally a dark time for cocktails. I remember a summer back in 1994 when all I ordered at my local watering hole's Dollar Drink Night was my newly discovered favorite: the Vodka Collins. The surly bartenders we descended upon in droves would throw a slug of the cheapest liquor available into a glass,… » 4/24/14 5:20pm 4/24/14 5:20pm

The Cocktail Scarlet A: Reclaiming the Honor of Apple Booze

Once upon a time, apple cocktails had a great reputation. Or better put, they had a great reputation until the late 1990s. That's when DeKuyper launched the awful Jolly-Rancher-like liqueur Pucker. (Before Pucker, DeKuyper was best known for its "Hot Damn!" cinnamon schnapps; it should have stopped while it was… » 4/10/14 12:30pm 4/10/14 12:30pm

Guyana Manhattan: The Cocktail That Will Change Your View of Rum

I would wager that when most people think about rum, they imagine tropical cocktails—Daiquiris, Mojitos, Piña Coladas, all manner of big, fruit-forward drinks in the Tiki tradition. And there's nothing wrong with that. I mean, who doesn't love a Mai Tai? But rum has so much untapped potential beyond your… » 4/04/14 3:00pm 4/04/14 3:00pm

Give It A Whirl: A Great Home Bar Requires a Great Blender

In the age of mixology, blenders are easily the most maligned piece of bar gear—and for good reason. Reason number one: The noise. Nothing disrupts a sedate cocktail lounge more than the high-pitched wailing of a commercial blender as it chews through large ice cubes. Reason number two: Over the last 30 years blended… » 3/20/14 1:00pm 3/20/14 1:00pm

No St. Paddy's Day Is Complete Without Irish Coffee

The St.-Patrick's-Day-industrial complex has completely bastardized drinking on March 17. People find the closest knockoff Irish pub to guzzle green swill, car bombs and Guinness out of keg cups—sometimes all at once. That's not quite for me. However, I'm also not the Grinch Who Stole St. Paddy's Day, doing everything… » 3/13/14 4:08pm 3/13/14 4:08pm

The Caffeine-Packed Cocktail to Save You from Daylight Saving Time

The worst weekend of the year is upon us—the weekend when we set our clocks forward, which at 2 a.m. on Sunday will cost us either an extra hour of sleep or an extra hour of debauchery. (It all depends on where Saturday night goes.) Either way, the next morning is sure to be groggy. Wait? Is it 9 a.m. or 10… » 3/06/14 1:00pm 3/06/14 1:00pm

Aphrodisiac-Infused Cocktails, the Perfect Drinks for Valentine’s Day

On Valentine's Day, the shopworn option for a romantic drink is grabbing a bottle of red wine and calling it good. Honestly, that's kind of boring. We set out to find a more exciting option for February 14, and came across a bartender cleverly infusing cocktails with aphrodisiacs. Lucky for us, he was willing to share… » 2/13/14 1:00pm 2/13/14 1:00pm

A Simple Fix: Perfect the Classic Sidecar with a Sweet Addition

The first bar I worked at while I was in architecture school didn't serve hard liquor. And so, I mainly poured beer from taps, bottles and cans. In fact, I didn't actually make anything during my first four years behind the bar. But I was still interested in learning how to construct a great cocktail. My education… » 2/06/14 3:00pm 2/06/14 3:00pm

The Easy Way to Make a Big Batch of Cocktails for Your Super Bowl Party

The Super Bowl is upon us, and we all know that means drinking (responsibly, of course) with a group of friends. Per custom, the booze will likely come in the form of beer and not mixed drinks. Why? Well, (1) 'Merica; and (2) nobody I know wants to be stuck behind the bar or in the kitchen making cocktails while the… » 1/31/14 1:00pm 1/31/14 1:00pm

OJ Is Guilty. The Case Against Orange Juice in Cocktails

While on vacation recently, I popped into the hotel bar for a drink. This particular establishment had recently achieved some acclaim thanks to the efforts of its young head barman. He'd brought new energy to the place by mixing craft cocktails with fresh juices. I sat down and inspected the menu. One such cocktail… » 1/23/14 4:19pm 1/23/14 4:19pm

Spanish Coffee: A Pacific Northwest Cocktail to Warm You During Winter

While working behind the bar the other night, a guest visiting Portland for the first time asked me which drink was considered the city's quintessential cocktail. Admittedly, the Pacific Northwest doesn't have the rich cocktail history that other places boast. There is no Ramos Gin Fizz (New Orleans), Manhattan (NYC)… » 1/16/14 1:00pm 1/16/14 1:00pm