Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Round-up of Recent Writings

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

After months of posting nothing it’s time to review the articles I’ve recently written for DRiNK.

- In issue 32 I covered New Orleans and absinthe cocktails (pp. 66-60), as well as things a bartender should know about pastis (pp. 72-75). Something seems to be wrong with the website so just follow the link to the issue and then enter the page numbers manually.

- Issue 33 saw me write up The Vesper.

- It was all about the Espresso Martini for issue 34. Website issues again, so check page numbers 70-74.

- Then in issue 35 it was back to a real classic, the Pisco Sour (see page numbers 70-73), plus a few quick facts about Pisco (pages 64-67).

- Issue 36 was a look at the drink that helped turn WWII around. That would be none other than the Suffering Bastard, which arguably won El Alemain (see pages 70-73).

- Finally, issue 37 stepped back to the very traditional with a look at the Gin and Milk (pages 70-73).

Caipirinha Article

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Another issue of DRiNK came out last month and I covered the Caipirinha. Article is here.

Paloma Article and Taipei Bars

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

I have another couple of articles in the latest issue of DRiNK. This time it’s a sort of exotic mish-mash of Mexican and Taiwanese. First up, representing Mexico, is an article on the Paloma cocktail. Then Taiwan gets covered with a couple of profiles of Taipei bars.

I had particular fun writing up this one, as a happy coincidence saw me end up in Mexico. Even more fortuitously, the airline managed to lose my bags somewhere in the US. This left me more-or-less forced to lounge around sipping tequila and wracking my brains for a way out of my predicament. Unfortunately I did not actually make it to Tequila. The trip being work related I was in Monterrey, better known for drug violence than delicious agave spirits. But it was still a great chance to check out the Paloma on its home turf. The tequila selection in duty free also wasn’t bad. From what I saw, Mexicans get through far more Palomas than Margaritas, and who can blame them? If grapefruit soda was easier to track down in China I’d also be having Palomas all the time – at least in the warmer months. Anyway, read about the Paloma here.

I also got to Taipei over Christmas, which allowed me to profile a couple of it’s better bars. One was an old favorite I mentioned before, namely Speakeasy - the consummate shrine to Guinness and Irish Whiskey. The second, Alchemy, was new to me, but well worth discovering. Some excellent cocktails to be had here, with a nice balance of creativity and attention to detail. Manager Angus Zou is also most friendly, maybe even charismatic. Another spot I visited but didn’t cover for the magazine was Little London, a basement drinking den with a focus on real ale. Amazing selection of English beers, including Hen’s Tooth from Morland Brewery, and even a couple on cask. Well worth a look.

Drink Magazine Article: The Mojito

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

As mentioned previously, I had an article on the Mojito published in a China bar industry magazine, Drink (??). Drink does not have a website yet, but you can read the article here.



Guatemalan Rum: Zacapa versus Botran

Sunday, March 21st, 2010


While offering pleasant sojourning, the Guatemalan rum landscape does not exactly excite with its variety. Everything comes from a single company, Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala, though that company produces at least two labels – Zacapa and Botran.

Zacapa represents the glamorous international face of Guatemalan rum: attractive, commercialized, definitely expensive, and while it makes for exceedingly pleasant company, you can’t help suppressing the occasional yawn and wondering how thick that make up is. Botran in contrast is the slightly homely stay-at-home sister, working a nine-to-five job and hurrying home to cook instead of mixing with high society, and generally getting taken for granted by all and sundry. Zacapa smugly preens itself from little clusters of high priced bottles in duty free stores and on the top shelves of smarter bars, while Botran runs itself ragged covering the shelves of local supermarkets and bars, where it jostles for attention with the anise liqueur that is ubiquitous in Latin America.The question then is this: does Zacapa deserve to be Guatemala’s Ambassador of Rum?

Being a rebel, and a fan of rum with a glow to it, I’m going to support the underdog and say I rather like Botran.

Exhibits A through E follow.


Haitian Earthquake: Raise a glass and donate

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010


The Haitian earthquake was what greeted me when I got online this morning.

Haiti has never had it easy and the last few years have been especially rough. The country has had to deal with the Gonaive floods, the horrible school collapse in Port-au-Prince,  the political strife and social anarchy that followed the ouster of Aristide and led to Haiti playing host to a UN peacekeeping deployment, and now this earthquake. It’s too early to say how bad this earthquake really is. Maybe the casualties are light. Probably they run into the thousands. Key government buildings in Port-au-Prince have collapsed, and the devastation is almost certainly far worse in the shoddily built slums that dominate the city. Life in Haiti is difficult even at its best, and this latest event is simply tragic.

Now seems an appropriate time to mention a couple of things about my visit to Haiti that I somehow never got around to writing about earlier. . . (more…)

Santo Domingo’s Chinatown

Monday, August 18th, 2008

I like checking out Chinatowns in different cities.  A week or so ago I took a walk around the Santo Domingo version.  Chinatown in the Caribbean, pretty exotic.



Where to find me at Tales

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Tales of the Cocktail is now less than a week away.  I thought I would post my likely schedule.  If you are going to be attending some of the same sessions then do say hello.

Tuesday 15th

- Arrive early evening and have a drink in the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone.  There I hope to run into Jay Hepburn of Oh Gosh!  Go for dinner some place.

Wednesday 16th

- Try to get up early enough to explore New Orleans in the morning.

-  2.00pm –  Toast to Tales of the Cocktail

-  4:30pm – Bloggers Reception

- 7.30pm – Save the Daiquiri Party

Thursday 17th

-  10.30am – To Have and Have Another: The Hemingway Bartender’s Companion

- 12.00pm – A bit of a toss up between Juniperlooza and Bourbon, Blues and Bluegras

- 2.30pm – Cognac and Armagnac: Understanding the nuances of the Spirits (this is a spirit I am very ignorant about so it should be interesting).

- 4.30pm – Haven’t quite decided, but possibly Latino Libations.

- 5.30 pm – Cocktail Hour

- 8.00 pm – Spirited Dinner at The Delichaise.

Friday 18th

- 10.30am – Amore, Amari

- 12.30pm – Rum, Ron, Rhum

- 2.30pm – History of Liqueurs

- 4.30pm – Impossible to choose here!  All four sessions look so interesting: Cocktails of the Old Raj; Essential Guide to American Whiskey, Rye Nation, and Sensory Perception in Mixology.  I guess I’ll just decide at the last minute or something.

- 8.00pm – I may check out Rum and all that Jazz.  On the other hand I may just go for a wander out on the town.

Saturday 19th

- 10.30am – The Cafes of Paris

- 12.30pm – History of Herbsaint (though the egg session also looks interesting)

-  4.30pm – Making your own cocktail ingredients

-  6pm – Possibly the Tiki party or maybe just check out the town.

Sunday 20th

- 10.30am – The Gentleman’s Companion: The life and times of Charles A Baker

- 12.30pm – The Flowing Bowl: A history of punch

- 5pm – Wormwood Society absinthe soiree

Monday 21st

Head on to the Caribbean