Twenty years ago, when I started bartending, there were a limited number of liquor brands behind any standard bar. The selection at most establishments looked a lot like what you’d expect to see at the airport these days: the three most recognizable tequilas; four gins, maybe; American whiskey limited to guys named Jack and Jim; and that’s about it. But then this whole spirit and cocktail renaissance came along and suddenly it was craft this and small batch that. With all of the options facing you, the consumer, the options can be daunting.
I’ve had the good fortune to travel a lot throughout my life. I was raised by parents who instilled a deep love of getting to see the world, and my job certainly hasn’t hindered that in the least. And, of course, I’ve gotten to learn a lot about the way people drink in other parts of the world beyond just the city where I tend bar. One style of drinking that I’ve always been enamored with is the European tradition of low-proof highballs in the afternoon. I’ve come to refer to them as café cocktails.
So after much deliberation, I decided to print this question and my response, as it’s a question that I get from you guys at least once a month. And therefore I think it’s important. So here we go: Hey Jeff, I’m new to the bar, but not our company’s restaurant group. I’ve done my research | Read More
I’ll just preface this piece by saying that I’m not a cocktail historian. Really. And it’s not that I don’t care about a cocktail’s history, it’s just that I’m not really very good at doing research or checking facts to unearth the precise origins of a particular drink. Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s an important facet of our industry, but I have other strengths that I choose to focus on.
So, for the past couple of years I’ve gotten a lot of emails from people who have visited this site, and many of them read something like this: To: Jeffrey Morgenthaler Subject: Web Form Submission From: Some Loudmouth Content-Type: text/plain; charset=”UTF-8″ Message-Id: <20140412235755> Date: Sat, 4 Apr 2013 16:57:55 -0700 (PDT) Hey Asshole When are | Read More
For years before I ever got into this whole cocktail thing, I worked in the sort of places that served beer and shots, had jukeboxes and ashtrays, sported video poker machines,and usually involved kicking a few people out over the course of every night. I have, like any bartender who’s done this sort of work, | Read More
Years ago, I shared with you all a video from yet another bartending school or something that showed the most horrific excuse for a Mint Julep many of you have ever seen. It’s so bad that I’m honestly surprised that Woodford Reserve hasn’t bothered to have the video taken down. You can watch it here: | Read More
Happy National, uh, Daiquiri Day? I can’t believe it’s already National Daiquiri Day and I’ve still got my National Margarita Day decorations up! I mean, I haven’t even begun to think about National Sazerac Day or National Mojito Day. If it turns out that there are 365 different PR people working for giant liquor companies, | Read More
Today, on April 15th, while the United States is busy mourning Tax Day, the Argentineans are celebrating Bartender’s Day. Here’s the story as related to me by my friend Federico Cuco: Sixty-nine years ago today, a group of young bartenders from Buenos Aires met for a dinner hosted by the magazine The Barman (the first | Read More
This is the post that started it all: the genesis of Barrel Aged Cocktails. Inspired by a visit last October to see Tony Conigliaro at the unnamed bar at 69 Colebrooke Row in London last fall, where Manhattans are aged in glass vessels to sublime and subtle effect, the barrel aged cocktails I’ve been serving | Read More
This appalling affront to the craft that so many of us have worked hard trying to restore over the past fifteen-plus years has been making the rounds on Twitter, but I thought I’d share it here with all of you. Browse at your own risk, my advice is to keep a bucket handy. Oscar Party | Read More
To get to the town of Cognac, France, you have to fly into the airport at Bordeaux, nearly two hours south. You spend a good hour on the freeway, which looks pretty much like any freeway in the world, until eventually you see an exit marked “Cognac”. You then make your way from the main | Read More
For many years before this whole cocktail thing really took off, I worked in dive bars. Really crappy dive bars where people would visit – often nightly – for what appeared to be the sole purpose of getting very, very drunk. These bars were loud, they were obnoxious, and at times they could be very | Read More
Wow, I apparently thought it was still late-October or something, because it came as a complete surprise to me today that my favorite drinking holiday in the whole world is next weekend. I guess that between keeping my nose to the grindstone at work and traveling extensively lately, it was bound to happen. Then I | Read More
I’m back from Europe and getting ready for Art of the Cocktail next weekend. No, I’m not talking about the book by Philip Collins. Nor am I talking about this blog by Darcy O’Neil. I’m also not referring to Anthony Caporale’s long-running video series. No, this Art of the Cocktail is a new cocktail-centric event | Read More