A Proper Cocktail Menu

One of the most impressive seminars I attended at Tales of the Cocktail was this year’s industry-focused presentation on designing your bar’s menu. It’s a topic which fascinates me, and yet serves no practical purpose in my life…for now. Hopefully I will open up my own little cocktail bar one of these days. If nothing […]


The one seminar that really didn’t thrill me at Tales of the Cocktail this year was on swizzling. It was the third Tales seminar by Stanislav Vadrnas that I have attended, so I have learned that his presentations are hit-or-miss. The first irritation was that he made us wait 20 minutes while he passed around […]

Happy Bastille Day

The Bijou is a strong, herbaceous and decadent cocktail, which gets its name from the french word for jewel. It’s great to batch for your Bastille Day soiree, because all of the ingredients are shelf stable, so all you need to do at party time is measure three ounces over ice, stir and strain, or […]

Nocino Manhattan

A year ago, TSB and I ordered a crate of green walnuts to make nocino and vin de noix. A couple weeks ago, we finally strained the stuff and rebottled.  While the vin de noix wasn’t thrilling, the nocino is a treat! You can do a little shot as a digestif, but we liked it better […]

Homemade Bitters

I’m setting out to divine my own recipes for cocktail bitters, so the first logical step was to start with a standard, traditional recipe before branching out to make my own magical concoctions. I have plans for a batch of smoked lemon bitters, and maybe some barrel aged banana bitters for tropical tiki drinks, so […]

Wheated Bourbon

The simplest way to divide your bourbons is by the secondary grain. Bourbon has to be at least 51% corn, and most are around 70%.  The secondary grain is usually rye, but a handful of bourbon producers use wheat instead, yielding a less spicy, less floral, less sour bourbon.  Wheated bourbons, or “wheaters,” have a […]

Veev la Vacation

I’m heading back to Tales of the Cocktail in July, and Veev (the Açaí flavored spirit, made with the antioxidant-rich berry found in the Brazilian Rainforest) is sponsoring a cocktail contest where the top 3 winners will get 3 nights in New Orleans during Tales, and as I am hoping to take this trip on […]