Etched Liquor Bottles For The Home Bar

On a lark, I practiced my glass etching skills on a few beautiful St. George Spirits apothecary bottles, and the folks I shared them with seem to think I should run with it, so I am considering selling a line of up-cycled liquor bottles as spirits decanters for the home bar. I hope to craft some other fun gimmicks and promotional items too.

The single bottle pictured is etched with the entirety of Benjamin Franklin’s “The Drinker’s Dictionary,” his compendium of every term meaning drunk.

The group shot is the start of a set, each displaying a quote that includes the name of the spirit,  bigger and bolder for emphasis and clear labeling. The Quotes are as follows:

“WHISKEY, like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation. You gaze first, then it’s time to drink.” – Haruki Murakami, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

“ TEQUILA. Straight. There’s a real polite drink. You keep drinking until you finally take one more and it just won’t go down. Then you know you’ve reached your limit. – Lee Marvin

“I’ll stick with GIN. Champagne is just ginger ale that knows somebody.  ” – Hawkeye, M*A*S*H,  1973


I also etched Charles Bukowski’s “Beer” into a lager bottle, but it needs redesigning before I post a photo.


What do you think?

Any Suggestions?



I was perplexed by a couple of one-off events that Krug hosted at Tales of the Cocktail last year, but forgot about it until I ran across the photos that I took. Their brand ambassadors invited out a bunch of bartender buddies out on the company dime to eat oysters and pig meat at good, but downscale restaurants while draining cases of expensive champagne.

The idea behind the campaign was to convince people that it’s a great idea to crack open a few $200 bottles of bubbly with your buddies while you throw back a dozen miyagis or gnaw on some pig feet. Not sure who gave this one the green light, but it made for some great afternoons even if the message was a bit hard to swallow.

Edit (5/19): Apparently I am not the only one noticing Krug’s misguided marketing. The day after I posted this piece, this hit the news.

Vice Cream #1: Cherry Chocolate Port

I wrote this in July of 2009, right after buying an ice cream maker, and just discovered that I never posted it. To this day, I have only ever used my ice cream maker to freeze alcoholic treats.


Cherry Chocolate Port Ice Cream

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups milk, scalded
1 1/2 cups cream, cold
1/2 vanilla bean (about 2 inches), scraped
3/4 cup dried bing cherries, reconstituted in port
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Stir together sugar and starch and whisk in egg yolk, then milk.  Over medium heat, stirring constantly, bring to a boil and continue stirring for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and pour into a chilled bowl, stir in vanilla scrapings, cover and chill.  Once cold, whisk in cream and put in ice cream maker (mine took 20 minutes, but follow the instructions on your own), and then stir in cherries and chocolate before covering and putting in the freezer to harden.

Notes:  scalding milk is simply bringing it briefly to a boil, which will cause solids to separate from the milk and stick to the pan, so they are left behind when you pour off the milk.  To make the cherries, put a cup of dried bing cherries in a cup of good port and let them sit, covered at room temperature for a few days.

Bitter Orange Jello Slices

Ending my Lunar New Year Party with Bitter Orange Jello Shots was a hit, so I will pass along this simple recipe.

Bitter Orange Jello Slices

  • 6 oranges
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 6 oz. package of orange Jello
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1 1/4 cups chilled vodka
  • 1/4 cup orange bitters (I used Angostura brand)


1. Slice oranges in half across the navel. Cut a slit in the pith near the navel, where it is strongest.
2. Slide the end of a metal spoon between skin and fruit to remove cleanly and reserve fruit for another use.
3. Bring water to a boil, and remove from heat.
4. Stir Jello into hot water until dissolved, then stir in cold water , vodka and bitters.
5. Set orange peel halves into shallow cups on a tray so that the edges are level and fill with jello liquid to the rim.
6. Let cool overnight in the refrigerator and slice each half into thirds with two vertical cuts.

Have you Heard About HeardAbout?

I’ve been writing about my favorite dishes around San Francisco on for a while, and while hanging out with the founder and editor one afternoon, I persuaded them that cocktails would be a great addition to their culinary site, so you can check my out some of my favorite San Francisco cocktails on my HeardAbout profile.


HeardAbout also has a new iPhone App (and they promised me Android coming soon)

One of my Favorite Toasts


“Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords, to music and warm bodies and contraceptives… and to the “good life”, whatever it is and wherever it happens to be.”
― Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman

Beer Salt

The most fascinating new product at this year’s Winter Fancy Food Show (at least from the drinking persective), is apparently a quarter-century old, but I hadn’t heard of it until a December.


I was planning another peaceful New Year’s eve in Manhattan at Death and Company, when a friend called to suggest that I drop everything and fly to West Texas to see a minor country music legend play a show at a tiny honky tonk bar in a little town, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, so how could I say no? The show was excellent, and despite the obscurity, David Byrne showed up around 11:00. But I digress.


Every convenience store, liquor store, grocery store and fireworks stand across Texas had a display of Beer Salt, petite plastic shakers in the shape of a long-neck filled with flavored salt.  It was even saw it on several bars in Austin and Houston.


My first response was revulsion, then two thoughts crossed my mind. First, my father used to put salt in his Bud Light, but I never knew if this was entirely for flavor or if it was just to execute his favorite magic trick. Second, we put salt on the rims of margaritas, and even closer, on micheladas. For any purist who has been scoffing from the start of the paragraph, contain yourself, because I would wager that when it comes to food, you salt just about everything.  It’s a flavor enhancer, and our bodies crave it, so we are biologically predisposed to enjoy it.


I wouldn’t use this with a dark, full-bodied craft beer, but with any brew you might have sucked down at a keg party, it works quite nicely. Beyond that, all three flavors are great for sprinkling on an avocado.


Ice Cream Bar Pairings

Ice Cream Bar (815 Cole St. at Frederick), a throwback to the 1930’s soda fountain/ice cream parlor is just about to open in Cole Valley, and while the ice cream sundaes deserve their own write-up, the soda program from Texas/Rickhouse barman Russell Davis is mind-boggling.

Everything on the menu is reconstructed from century-old recipes. More than a dozen flavored syrups are made with fresh produce and without cooking to preserve the crisp flavors and silky smoothness, and they offer two dozen house-made extracts and over 75 house-made tinctures to be incorporated into a custom frappe, float, milkshake, malt, crush, phosphate, lactart, egg cream or soda. There is no other place creating these drinks in this way, but I expect the success of Ice Cream Bar will launch retro lunch counters and convince cocktail bars all over the country to start in-house soda programs in the very near future.

The amount of effort that goes into every drink is remarkable.  They whip cream in a shaker, and what’s more, milkshakes are made not with ice cream, but by shaking raw eggs and cream with hand carved blocks of ice!

They don’t have a liquor license (although a beer and wine license is pending), but if one were to perhaps, theoretically sneak a flask into ICB, the possibilities would defy the imagination. Having just tasted the entire menu, I recommend the following hypothetical boozey enhancements:


Peche No. 3 (cherry and anise frappe) – St. George Absinthe

Too Good to be True (butterscotch malted) –  Pappy Van Winkle 15 year (keeping in the spirit of the name)

House Built Tonic – Plymouth Gin (it’s a no-brainer)

My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend (roasted pineapple and pink peppercorn lactart) – Malibu (and I feel no shame)

Russel’s Sassafras Root Beer – (going out on a limb here) Smith and Cross Rum

Breakfast Soda (orange thyme crush) – Siete Leguas Blanco Tequila

For Bobby Long (chocolate hellfire phosphate) – Del Maguey Mezcal Vida

Touch of Grey (creamed candy capped mushroom phosphate) – Remy Martin Cognac 1738 Accord Royale(because mushroom soda is already so absurd)