Writing Page 4

Yes, You Can Teach Your Old Blender New Tricks


If there’s any one tool behind the bar that is unfairly maligned on a daily basis, other than myself, it’s the blender. Most modern cocktail bars eschew the blender, often citing — rightfully so — the disruptive nature of the noise. And while slushy machines are making a huge comeback in cocktail bars these days, | Read More

You Must Try This Unique Take on Boozy Horchata

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Creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum. I’d love to say that all of my really great ideas have dawned on me in the shower, but that’s just not how it works. The majority of the truly inspired things I’ve done behind the bar result from engaging conversations with people who, deep down, speak the same | Read More

Let’s Drink Absinthe at Breakfast


Absinthe is a tough spirit to work with. The flavor profile of anise, black licorice, and fennel is more polarizing than even our current list of presidential candidates—if you can believe that. Personally, I maintain an attitude of tolerance toward the stuff (absinthe, not the presidential candidates). I don’t love it, but I recognize that | Read More

A Gin Primer


I like gin. Well, I like it now. My first experience with the spirit was much like most people’s, I think. My best friend Adam and I stole a plastic jug of the stuff from a party in high school, hit the 7-Eleven for two liters of Mountain Dew, and let the good times rip. | Read More

Stop Worry About Being ‘Authentic’ and Just Be Good


I have the good fortune of running some pretty well known bars. Because of that I have the misfortune of being regularly subjected visits from self-proclaimed cocktail snobs. A few weeks ago we were treated to yet another such young gentleman who took it upon himself to critique my staff. I listened as he chastised | Read More

What Does TV’s Jon Taffer Really Know About Bar Science?

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I would assume that anyone reading this column is a fairly well-versed fan of all things related to bars and cocktails; if not, I’d wonder how you ended up here in the first place. Assuming that you’re one of the former, I imagine you’ve come across Jon Taffer, the bulging-eyed host of the popular Spike | Read More

Using Preserves and Jams in Cocktails


Here in Oregon, we look forward to this time of year more than most any time. It’s raining nearly every day, and the occasional bright patches of sunlight are coaxing flowers out of the ground, green out of the grass, and fruit buds out of the once-dormant trees. I’m keeping a close eye on my | Read More

The Misunderstood Ramos Gin Fizz


I’m going to go out on a limb and say that one of the most misunderstood drinks out there is the Fizz.  It’s a regular thing when someone comes into my bar and orders a Fizz and is genuinely confused about what they receive. Lots of people are confused by the lack of egg white. | Read More

6 Rules For Drinking Like A Man

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A couple of years ago, I had my first date with the woman who is now my girlfriend. Mind you, she’s not a bar or restaurant person, like me. She has what I call a real job, works from 9 to 5, and isn’t as connected to the up-to-the-minute food and drink information that you | Read More

Cameron’s Kick: An Old Whiskey Cocktail, Your New Favorite Sour

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I’ve long been a fan of the split-base cocktail. That old favorite the Between the Sheets is essentially a rum/brandy Sidecar, to be sure. The Long Island Iced Tea, when it’s done right, is little more than a Collins with multiple spirits in place of just gin. And yeah, even the Vieux Carré, one of my | Read More

How to Make Your Own Grenadine at Home

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I’ll never forget the first time I encountered a pomegranate. I was in the fourth grade, and my teacher, eschewing the state curriculum of California history in favor of Greek mythology (among other topics such as Hobbits and Gnomes—this was the 1970s, people), brought in a pomegranate to share the seeds with the class. She | Read More

The Champagne Pyramid is your New Year’s Party Trick


It’s soon to be the New Year, and that, of course, means lots and lots of Champagne and sparkling wine will be poured down the eager throats of people everywhere who wish to either celebrate a successful 2015, or in anticipation of a much better year ahead.  We’ve covered Champagne cocktails before, but there are | Read More

A Better Hot Toddy


I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re experiencing another cold, wet December. I’m constantly amazed that people continue to visit our bars, because all I want to do, personally, is stay at home and sip a Hot Toddy until all of this blows over. | Read More

A Muddling Primer


A few weeks ago, I had the sad misfortune to be seated at a bar. Normally I find this sort of occasion to be pleasant, but it was clear that whoever was in charge of training this young man had done a very, very bad job. I watched as he grabbed a handful of limes | Read More

How To Make Champagne Cocktails That Don’t Fizzle

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It’s the time of year for celebratory holiday cocktails; you know, the kind with champagne in them. All over the world, people just like you are gathering, shopping, brunching, and pouring crappy cocktails made with cheap sparkling wine down their throats.