Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What's Going on with DLDGLG?

Here it is... the customary sorry-I-haven't-been-posting-as-much post. 

Ok so here's the deal. I started a journalism graduate program at American University last semester. Needless to say, there's a great deal of time that I'm devoting to getting good grades. (And classes are not cheap!) 

Anyway, I plan to be back on the booze beat but not before I refashion DLDGLG a bit. I'm very excited about the direction that I'll be taking this blog moving forward. I just need some time to adjust some things around graduate school. So bare with me :)

In the meantime, you can check out my other writing at my new blog A Standard Candle. I created that site in part as a portfolio for the content I've produced in the program. So if you fancy something a little different go check it out.

Monday, September 10, 2012

DLDGLG and CasaKCD Launched Our Not-So-Simple Syrups Event!

The Do-It-Yourself Simple Syrups event at One Lounge last week rocked. Dana Onyewu and I mixed up drinks that left attendees' imaginations swimming.  

Photo courtesy of DeVonia Singleton

Our sponsors - Bluecoat Gin, High West Whiskey, and Chairman’s Reserve Rum - were put to some really good use.

The Old Fashioned was the opening for our three cocktails. The strongest of the trio, Dana and I felt it would be a great introduction to the "cocktail" and an great opportunity to talk a little history. 

The format of the event was fairly simple - talk about sweetening agents like syrups, shurbs, grenadines and such. 

Then, once all of the attendees had their drink, I'd step from behind the stick and explain the medley of booze they were holding. 

Towards the end, everyone had a chance to mix their own flavored syrups using essential oils and a personal bottle of plain, neutral simple syrup. 

The involvement of the attendees wasn't just entertaining - it took the application of knowledge from my hands to theirs.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Yours Truly Makes Girl Meets Food's List for "DC's Hottest Bartenders"

Apparently, I make the ladies feel "all warm and fuzzy inside"... you know, with my drinks and my great personality. 

Then again, my lovely lady Nic could have told you that.

Check out Girl Meets Food's "Pretty Marinated: 10 Crushable Men Behind Bars".

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Tequila makes me crazy..."

No it doesn't and someone finally says it

There is no evidence the tequila makes people more crazy. There is no evidence that absinthe will make you cut off your ear. And, no, champagne doesn't make you an angry drunk. It's all in your head.

Writer Wayne Curtis gets a little loose with the science in this piece. But here's the money quote: "we don’t have more tequila-related car accidents versus vodka-related ones."


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Marshall Fawley Writes About Cocktails for AARP!

Check out Marshall Fawley of Scofflaw's Den in the first post of his regular cocktail column for AARP's blog! This first piece is called 'The Old Fashioned's Grandfather' and covers the origins of this notorious sling!

Friday is the Last Day for DIY Simple Syrups Event Registration!

Friday is the last day to register for DLDGLG and CasaKCD's Do-It-Yourself Simple Syrups Event on August 28th at One Lounge and we still have a few spaces left. Don't miss this event! 

We'll have 3 full-sized craft cocktails, heavy appetizers, and each person will make their own flavored syrup to take with them! Add your own twist to cocktails that you make at home!

The event will feature 3 phenomenal spirits: Bluecoat American Dry Gin, High West Whiskey, and Chairman's Reserve Rum.

Sign up here.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Check Out DLDGLG on Diep 9's Website!

Our contributions to Diep 9 are featured on the website's cocktail section. I wrote about one of these drinks a few weeks ago and stand still by it's incredible deliciousness. Try out the other recipes that are featured there.

By the way, the Calypso Flip, which is featured on the site, was actually created by former Last Exit bartenders Matt Carson and Bryan Flynn. It's an absolutely delicious cocktail. However, I had no part in its creation.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Political Favors and Political Flavors

Washington D.C. is certainly an interesting place...

Here at DLDGLG, we often write about the restaurant industry in between the time we're writing about booze. As someone who is embedded in the industry I'm often thinking about its place in the nation's capital.

Well, on Wednesday the Kojo Nnamdi Show featured arguably the most notorious lobbyist in American history, Jack Abramoff. The topic centered on Signatures Restaurant which Mr. Abramoff used to help advance his corrupt activities. Below is a clip of his appearance on the show. It's fascinating and I highly recommend you listen to the whole thing.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Flemish Old Fashioned

If you’ve made it to this blog you probably already know what genever is. For those unfamiliar, it is a Dutch or Belgian spirit that’s been produced in those territories since the seventeenth century. 

Genever is also an AOC protected spirit like cognac or scotch.

The story goes that the British once consumed this delicious distillate en masse until they began producing their own version, called gin. 

The Dutch and Belgian might tell you it is a poor knock-off. In fact, genever is often referred to as the predecessor to the classic London Dry Gin.

Diep 9 is a Belgian genever imported to the US and branded by Flemish Lion

Diep 9’s portfolio leads with the two classic styles of genever: the young and the old. Yet, the company also includes a variety that are naturally flavored.

My favorite, the old genever, is aged and then bottled in distinct clay containers. The old genever carries the rye, barley and wheat notes that whiskey lovers recognize. 

I also get that "Grapenuts" cereal aroma one experiences whenever grains are synthesized into a beverage. I also find the taste to be delightfully light and delicate - a nice alternative to whiskey.

A few months ago, owner Veronique Beittel invited me to be a brand ambassador and consultant for Diep 9. I cheerfully accepted the task. It's a product I already enjoyed.

The offer begat a first assignment which was to create a classic cocktail, such as an old fashioned, with their product.

Now I’m not breaking any ground here with a genever old fashioned. It stands to reason that it's been done before by far better barmen than I.

Not only that the old fashioned cocktail is after all a formula that works for nearly every spirit.

However, Diep 9’s old genever old fashioned (or Oude Fashioned) deserves a little shout from a mountain top. The flavors come together in their blend magnificently in this cocktail format. 

I’ve gotten very familiar with the Oude Fashioned for the past month. Then again, as Paul Kemp said in The Rum Diary, I drink "on the upper end of social."

Oude Fashioned

2 oz Diep 9 Old Genever
1/2 oz simple syrup
3-4 dashes Angostura bitters
3-4 dashes orange bitters

Add spirit, sugar, and bitters into an old-fashioned glass. Add ice. Stir 40 times. Garnish with an orange zest.

Note: This post has been revised since its original publication 

Monday, July 23, 2012

DLDGLG is in New Orleans

So I'm down in New Orleans for a bachelor party and Tales of the Cocktail! The bachelor in question would be my good buddy Marshall Fawley III of Scofflaw's Den

It also happens to be my first time in The Big Easy. Naturally, my friends and family fear for my safety.

Anyway, Scofflaw's Den put together a nice little guide for surviving NOLA during Tales. It is definitely worth a read if you're planning on being in the area as well. 

And if you'd like, you can follow me on Twitter to see what I'm up to in the Crescent City.

Not So Simple Syrups

Simple Syrups Event August 28th at One Lounge $35

Simple syrup is just that, simple. A one-to-one or two-to-one dilution of sugar into water requires little more than one’s capacity to handle something boiling hot. Shrubs, while slightly more complex and unfamiliar, need little more than an additional ingredient.

But for bartenders and cocktailians, syrups offer an opportunity to impart sweetness as well as flavor where it’s needed. There is a myriad of syrups one can produce and number of ways to apply them that the average person isn't aware of. It’s a required skill for someone in my line of work as a bartender and booze blogger.

So Dana Onyewu (of Casa: Kitchen. Closet. Dining.) and I will be lending some expertise on the subject next month with help from the good folks at Bluecoat American Dry Gin and High West. Here’s our pitch:

Ever wonder how your bartender makes a ginger mojito taste so gingery? Or adds cinnamon spice flavor to your favorite drink? Wonder want a shrub is? (Yes, it’s a drink.) Infused simple syrups add dimension to cocktails and are easy to create.

Learn the ins & outs of infused simple syrups with a tasting of cocktails created by food bloggers Dana Onyewu & Anthony Rivera. Learn principles of flavoring pairing and experiment with syrup infusions. Enjoy food from One Lounge and leave with your own simple syrup to take home.

$35/per person includes: 3 cocktails, heavy appetizers, hands-on instruction, custom simple syrup you create and take home.

Sign up here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Don't Miss Scofflaw's Den's Final Class at Last Exit!

Image via Twitter

Scofflaw's Den will be hosting its final class at Last Exit this Sunday. The class is called Tiki Lounge and boasts:
Summer is here and what better way to celebrate than relax with an icy, fruity, boozy tiki drink? This summer when you invite friends and family over for a cook-out and some drinks, throw in a touch of polynesia by serving the best tiki drinks around! Learn the history of tiki drinks, the tricks to making them and how Tiki became synonymous with Americana. Class limited to 10 students, $50/person.
Why do a class on tiki drinks? Well, it's been a disgustingly hot summer. Plus, there's more to these refreshing cocktails than rum, fruit juices, and a hollowed-out coconut. 

Besides, who doesn't love tiki drinks?

Don't miss this last opportunity to learn from DC's most knowledgeable cocktail enthusiast/blogger at Last Exit!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Revisiting the Gin Rickey

July is Rickey month. Most cocktailians are thinking about the DC Craft Bartender's Guild's 5th annual Rickey Competition. Every year, competing barmen and barwomen buzz with excitement over the ingenious variations that they've come up with.

I, on the other hand, have decided to revisit the original for this blog post.

Many people know this simple cocktail as a glass filled with gin or bourbon, lime juice and soda water. Yet, lots of people don't know that the Rickey was originally crafted with sparkling mineral water. According to Wikipedia:
"In 1883, Colonel Joe Rickey was purported to have invented the 'Joe Rickey', after a bartender at Shoomaker's in Washington, D.C. added a lime to his 'mornin's morning', a daily dose of Bourbon with lump ice and Apollinaris sparkling mineral water."
Celebrity craft bartender and Rickey enthusiast Derek Brown (a friend whom I believe is a supertaster) seems to prefer the mineral water in the Rickey over the more neutral club soda. 

Either way, the inclusion of this particular ingredient is fascinating in that it gives us just a little window into the sensibilities of the nineteenth century imbiber.

The Rickey

- 2 oz gin or bourbon (I like Old Tom Gin or Bulliet Borbon)
- sparkling mineral water
- juice from 1/2 lime

Add the spirit into a glass with ice. Squeeze half a lime into the glass, leaving in the shell. Add sparkling mineral water and stir a few times.

For this post, I chose a mineral water that has just hit the Washington D.C. market called American Summits. They generate a really refreshing product.

A little about American Summits: until now, fine bottled table water has been more-or-less led by European companies, as explained in detail by Eat The District

When I met the owner, Philippe Lajaunie, at this year's RAMMY awards, he essentially told me it never made sense to him that we imported so much bottled water into the United States from Europe.

It especially didn't make sense when we have perfectly good water coming from (according to BevNet) the 12,000 foot snowy peaks of Northern Wyoming.

Oh, and by the way, you might know Lajaunie from the famed Brasserie Les Halles.

Anyway, enjoy Rickey month and take the opportunity to sip some "air conditioning in a glass" during these sweltering days in the District.

And don't forget to check out the winner of this year's Rickey Competition toward the end of July.

Note: This post has been revised since its original publication

Monday, June 25, 2012

What Happened to Radius Pizza?

So Radius Pizza is closed and nobody (not even PoP) seems to know why. 

Well, here's what I've learned: 

It appears that the owners, Todd and Nicole Wiss, have abandoned the restaurant without telling anyone. That's right. The owners are nowhere to be found.

In fact, the poor staff came to work only the find the doors locked. A sign was posted not long after notifying everyone that they are on vacation until July 2nd - but they are most definitely not.

Along with the ownership, Radius' Facebook page and Twitter account have also disappeared. There were already rumors that the restaurant was having financial troubles.

Unfortunately, it seems the Wisses decided they would rather recklessly forsake the whole endeavor. If true, it would be very strange indeed.

I guess we will all have to see what happens after July 2nd. Stay tuned.

(Full disclosure: I work for Last Exit whose ownership, District Restaurant Enterprises or DRE, has ties to Radius Pizza)

Note: This post has been revised since its original publication

Monday, May 21, 2012

DLDGLG Original Cocktail: La Vie en Rose

Thursday Drink Night (TDN) is a weekly online cocktail gathering where each week a theme is chosen and enthusiasts assemble to challenge each other.

Here's where it gets interesting: the recipes created are posted on Twitter for the world to see. Among the Twitter account's nearly two thousand followers is Mutineer Magazine which reviews each recipe and publishes the best one. 

Now, as I understand it, the original mission of this virtual gathering was for cocktail enthusiasts to throw together potent potables with whatever ingredients they had on-hand. 

I suspect that over the years, for whatever reason, those guidelines have drifted significantly. I say this because each night that I've taken part I've felt a bit out of my league - and I'm a fairly seasoned bartender.

In any case, this past week's theme was gin. I had only an airplane bottle of Bluecoat American Dry Gin so I knew I had to get this drink right in one shot. The original recipe only had to be tweaked by two thirds of an ounce as you'll soon see.

La Vie en Rose
- 2 oz Bluecoat American Dry Gin
- 1 oz Laird's Applejack (or Calvados)
- 1/2 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
- 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 2-3 drops rose water

Shake ingredients with ice. Double strain into a chilled couple glass. Garnish with a single rose petal (if you have one).

This sipper is floral and delicate. Grafted with the gin botanicals, one can tease out the Applejack after each quaff which then punctuates finally with a slight sweetness.

I think those folks who still scoff at gin would find this a nice re-introduction to it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Did Philip Greene Just Uncover the Real Jack Rose?

Philip Greene of the Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC) makes the case for the real Jack Rose cocktail. According to Greene:
"The first recipe shown above is the commonly accepted, conventional recipe for the Jack Rose. However, submitted for your approval is a quite different recipe. In 1922, there was published in Paris a classic cocktail book titled Barflies and Cocktails, written by Harry MacElhone and Wynn Holcomb, with contributions from Harry Moss. MacElhone was the owner/bartender at Harry’s New York Bar, in Paris, and Holcomb was a noted caricaturist and society reporter for the Paris edition of the New York Herald. Arthur Moss’ job was apparently to scare up interesting recipes from the bar’s regulars [...]
Well, dear reader, here you have a recipe published around the same time (Barflies was published in 1922, my edition 1927) that Hemingway wrote and published The Sun Also Rises (1926).  Further, Hemingway happened to live in the same town (Paris) where the inimitable Mr. MacElhone tended bar, at a saloon that Hemingway was known to frequent.  So, does it not make sense that Hemingway, and Jake Barnes, might have been drinking this version of the Jack Rose?  Pardon me, I’m an attorney by training, I can’t help the leading questions.  But I happen to think that this is Jake Barnes’ Jack Rose."
Fascinating stuff.

Varying interpretations of this cocktail is nothing new to me. I've put together a tasty Jack Rose using Last Exit's house-made grenadine. It was absolutely delicious. 

America Eats Tavern features one that is truer to the conventional recipe and seems to use grenadine that is more widely available. But Greene has uncovered something very different. 

Jack Rose - Harry MacElhone’s 1920s Paris recipe:

- 1 1/2 oz Applejack or Calvados
- 3/4 oz dry gin
- 3/4 oz fresh orange juice
- 3/4 oz fresh lemon or lime juice
- 1/3 oz French vermouth
- 1/3 oz Italian vermouth
- 1/3 oz grenadine

Shake well with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with twist of lime or lemon peel.

After giving this version a try, I found that it expresses a little more complex citrus flavor compared to the more mainstream Jack Rose recipe. Some of the other notes that dance on the tongue come from the gin and vermouth. There's a lot to work with here.

Is it better than the Jack Rose cocktail I made with house-made grenadine? I'm not so sure. It is, however, quite delicious compared to the interpretation I experienced at America Eats Tavern. Others may disagree.

Either way, Greene tells an amazing story that had me reaching for my old copy of The Sun Also Rises from college. And just like in college, I was left asking myself again, "what is this cocktail called the Jack Rose?"

Note: This post has been revised since its original publication

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My National Cherry Blossom Centennial Cocktail - Two Sakuras

As you may or may not know, I'm the head bartender at Last Exit and in charge of the concept's R&D. When you see the cocktail menu, much of it was arranged based on my direction and recommendation.

So when I began thinking about Last Exit's spring menu I knew that I wanted to create a drink that would honor the Centennial of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in our home town of Washington D.C this year.

Lucky for me, our little bar has a respectable whiskey selection which includes Suntory Yamazaki 12 year old Single Malt Whiskey. Not only is this spirit distinctly Japanese but it is also a tasty whiskey.

I took a little inspiration from another great whiskey cocktail, Blood and Sand. After a slight change in flavor profile and few additional ingredients to enhance an already winning combination, I named it Two Sakuras.

For those who don't know, sakura means cherry blossom in Japanese. The "two sakuras" name refers to the first two cherry blossom trees which were planted next to the Tidal Basin on March 27, 1912

Two Sakuras

- 2 oz Yamazaki Single Malt Whiskey
- 3/4 oz Luxardo Cherry Liqueur
- 1/2 oz fresh orange juice
- 1 spoonful of Luxardo Marsachino Liqueur
- 3-4 dashes Angostura Bitters

Shake ingredients with ice and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Class Is in Session: Scofflaw's Den Helps Take the Mystery Out of Cocktails

Image via Twitter

Cocktail blogger/enthusiast/historian, Marshall Fawley III, has launched several new cocktail classes which he'll be teaching at Last Exit this spring and summer. A full schedule of these fun and informative courses can be found at Scofflaw's Den. Some of my favorites in the line-up:

Spirits of Mexico

05/05/12 Celebrate Mexican heritage with a discussion on the national spirits of Mexico, tequila and mezcal. We will discuss, and taste, the differences between tequila and mezcal and learn how to use them in cocktails. We will also learn the importance of quality in these spirits and how important they are to many of the small villages who make artisanal tequila and mezcal. Please note that this class begins at 3:30pm at Last Exit. The cost is $50 per student and limited to only 10 students.

Tiki Lounge

06/24/12 Summer is here and what better way to celebrate than relax with an icy, fruity, boozy tiki drink? This summer when you invite friends and family over for a cook-out and some drinks, throw in a touch of Polynesia by serving the best tiki drinks around! Learn the history of tiki drinks, the tricks to making them and how Tiki became synonymous with Americana. Choose whichever date fits your schedule! Each class begins at 5:30pm at Last Exit. Cost is $50 per student and each class is limited to 10 students.

Punch into Spring

05/19/12 When entertaining at home, having a punch or two for your guests keeps you chatting with them instead of stuck in the kitchen mixing drinks. In this class, learn the history of punch and the basics to punch making. This is not your parents neon green sherbet-topped fruit punch or the Rubbermaid tub of anything goes punch from your college days! This punch is based in traditional cocktail methods and culinary flavors. Class begins at 5:30pm at Last Exit. Cost is $50 per student and limited to 10 students.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Wascally Wabbit (a.k.a. 'What's Up Doc?')

With the help of PS7's executive sous chef Andrew Markert, I was able to craft a new flip for the spring cocktail menu. The first name that I blurted out when initially coming up with the cocktail was "The Wascally Wabbit." PS7's decided to call it the "What's up Doc?"

The Wascally Wabbit (a.k.a. 'What's Up Doc?')

- 2 oz Bluecoat American Dry Gin
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 3/4 oz carrot/allspice syrup*
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 1 spoonful St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram
- 1 egg white

Dry shake ingredients then shake with ice. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a mint leaf.

It's easy to mishandle the vegetable flavors when building a cocktail with a carrot ingredient. Luckily, I had some very insightful feedback from Chef/Owner Peter Smith that helped shift it from the V8-like drink it might have been.  

Ultimately, this tipple has a nice balance of carrot, citrus, and floral gin botanicals with a slender finish of allspice at the end. What I also like about this flip is it's beautiful color.

The dark orange rising up to a slightly orange egg white foam couldn't have worked out better. Then, it's topped with a mint spring stood up straight by the foam - not only making it carrot-like in appearance but also bringing additional aromatics for the lucky imbiber.

You can't miss out out on this tasty beverage so drop by the PS7's lounge while it's still on the menu.

*Andrew's carrot/allspice syrup consisted of 1 part carrot juice, sugar, and water with 8 to 10 whole allspice reduced in a pan by 1/4. Then, to bring more of a consistent texture, puree in a blender. Take note: carrot gets weird and goopy after a week so expect the syrup to be unusable after five days or so.

Note: This post has been revised since its original publication

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Although some beer lovers recoil at the thought of other ingredients tainting their sacred substance..."

"Some take delight in the fact that the beer cocktail often functions as beerdom’s Trojan horse. It’s a means of slipping the goods into enemy territory."

Daniel Fromson covers the District's growing use of beer in cocktails. In the process, he briefly discusses the Cascade hops-infused gin concept that I brought to Last Exit for last year's winter cocktail menu!

A Bartender In Action

I have a deep admiration for photography. As a writer, I rely on pictures to fill in the details that writing can't. Unfortunately, I have neither the formal training nor the equipment for professional photography.

One photographer, Corey Thompson of Photoleer, took some great pictures of me in action behind Last Exit's bar one Wednesday night. I'm still adjusting to the fascination that folks continue to have with craft-bartending. So when Thompson wanted to take some shots of me building cocktails, I couldn't resist the opportunity. My favorite image is of me pouring him a healthy Jameson whiskey shot with the slight smirk on my face. I'm not sure exactly what I was thinking at that moment but must have been pretty amusing.

By the way, Photoleer has an impressive catalog of photographs. I'm a big fan of Thompson's "Breakfast With..." photo series so I recommend you spend some time checking that out.

Anyway, Corey was nice enough to let me post these images for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Scoutmob Makes Me Famous for a Day

Image via Scoutmob
Scoutmob writer Marissa Payne came to Last Exit to taste a few of the cocktails. A week later, Scoutmob featured my picture in one of their write-ups. 

I received a startling amount of emails, text messages, and phone calls about this. 

Gotta say, it was fun to feel famous for a day.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Proust Questionnaire: Lukas Smith

I already had a full drink when I realized Lukas was mixing me another one. He was pouring different colored liquids into a pint glass and getting ready to stir them up. It is exciting to watch him work.

Most bartenders don’t think about flavors the way this guy does. Unfortunately, many bartenders don’t put the same amount of effort into drinks as Lukas does. He wants each cocktail to be a raging success.

“I got into this because I do what I like,” Lukas said as he picks bottles from the shelf for his next concoction. The lights of Last Exit were dim but one could see how intensely serious his eyes were when making that statement.

We'd been talking about doing this interview for more than a month. When I finally had the opportunity to sit down with Lukas, I knew it was going to be a good one.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Are There Other Heroes of Craft Brewing?

Jim Fallows of The Atlantic shows his admiration for Jim Koch - not just for his beer but also for his approach to initial public offerings (IPOs) when Boston Beer Company hit the New York Stock Exchange in the mid 90's. The beauty of what Koch did, he says, was that:
"The heart of his idea was giving actual customers -- people who loved his beer -- a favored place in line for IPO shares, and a bargain price."
Everyone, by now, has heard about some of Facebook's IPO beneficiaries - not exactly institutional investors. But Koch, New York Times writer Jeff Sommer explains, was quite different:
"He sold shares at two prices. Some went to his customers, who, in a startling reversal, got a better deal than Wall Street insiders: $15 a share for the customers, versus $20 for those who bought at the opening price in a public offering run by Goldman Sachs."
Then, something fantastic happens... Fallows receives and filters a surge of comments from his beer enthusiast readers. Some want Fallows to expand on his idea of the "Hall of Beer Heroes":
"Don't forget Fritz Maytag on your list of heroes! He single-handedly saved a  classic beer style from extinction, and was the first to introduce what we now think of as American Pale Ale. A great modern-brewing pioneer!"
One reader expresses a much more political perspective. They write:
"I personally know of 3 people who began home brewing when [President Jimmy Carter] sparked the legislation that made home brew legal. One of these people ... is a commercial brewing concern now! One of several here in the greater Springfield, MA area."
I'd like to think that one day writers will look on with admiration at the good folks at DC Brau (Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock), Three Stars (Mike McGarvey and Dave Coleman), Chocolate City (Ben Matz, Jay Irizarry, Brian Flanagan, and Don Parker), or Hellbender (Patrick Mullane and Ben Evans, whom I've profiled).

Those people are making their mark in a town that isn't really revered for its own indigeneous booze production - yet.

Who would you put into a "Hall of Beer Heroes"?

Monday, February 20, 2012

DLDGLG Goes Griswold: Paris by Foot

The following post is part of a series called "DLDGLG Goes Griswold" highlighting my recent trip to Europe from December 19th to the 30th. Stay tuned for additional posts in the coming months...

In the morning, Nic and I woke up and jumped out of bed. We’d slept a little longer than planned and wanted to soak up as much of Paris as we could.

It had been raining intermittently since the night before. The clouds were hanging low but it was still a perfect day.

We got dressed and left our hotel heading towards Boulevard Saint-Germain still formulating a plan for breakfast.

Our eyes scanned past the store fronts and bistros with Noël decorations. On impulse, Nic and I entered a restaurant at the corner called Le Danton.

After being seated in this scarcely occupied restaurant, we ordered food. Nic requested a ham, cheese and egg crepe. I wanted the croque madame.

"I have a confession for you: I can’t remember how to make a Mai Tai..."

And here I thought I was the only one. I want to remember how to make any cocktail off the top of my head. But it's kind of like walking into a room and forgetting why you went in there. It's the sort of thing that makes you wish you hadn't smoked so much pot in college. (And then you remember you didn't even smoke any pot in college!)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

"... Well then I told her I'M the Mixologist..."

Everyone's seen it by now but I figured it should be posted for posterity.

Some of my personal favorites:
- Cherry-bark cayenne bitters
- "Don't ever shake that drink or you'll kill it..."
- Candied kumquat
- "Am I the only one who gets smoke on this?"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

DLDGLG Goes Griswold: First Day In Paris

The following post is part of a series called "DLDGLG Goes Griswold" highlighting my recent trip to Europe from December 19th to the 30th. Stay tuned for additional posts in the coming months...

“Forget Paris,” Ahmad Wright wrote, undercutting my romantic impressions of being a writer.

I was struggling with my work and coming to terms with my life’s ambition when I began corresponding with Wright, a thriving freelancer.

Seeking his professional advice on becoming a successful freelance writer myself, I was hoping Ahmad would steer me in the right direction. He continued:
“I don't know if you've been there, but I haven't. I will no doubt, but the notion of the expatriate writer making millions off of novels and socially conscious, hip articles, while seducing the women of the world is the dominant literary fantasy […] okay well maybe it's mine (smile) but it will not help you get published. Forget lattes and big bottles of wine.”
As I prepared for me and Nic’s trip to Europe, I considered the experiences that I’d be trying to capture. Yet, I couldn’t get this advice out of my mind.

At least, I couldn’t erase the notion that the reality of something is often a far-cry from the fantasy.

Would I be able to resist the shiny veneer so often placed on “The City of Lights” by other writers like Gertrude Stein or Ernest Hemingway? I was sure I’d be capable.

And yet, I can’t “forget Paris” now that I’ve been there. I’ve seen their world with my own eyes. I can only express what I saw, fantasies and clichés be damned.

When Nic and I landed at Paris-Charles de Gualle Airport, we were half asleep and groggy. The pocks of Nic’s eyes opened carefully like little morning glories. It'd been a long trip.

When we exited the jet airliner, we dragged ourselves and our luggage through the airport to the metro train.

I sunk into the metro seat, soaked in jet lag, but happy to be at our destination.

We arrived at the Saint Michel-Notre Dame stop in the center of Paris and the city opened up before our eyes like a kid’s pop-up book, with the overwhelming and gothic Notre Dame Cathedral filling our view.

It’s was early and brisk. It was also a workday for Parisians who were scurrying along, business-as-usual.

We pushed on, down a handful of busy blocks absorbing the beauty of the architecture along the grand boulevards: sagging roofs, Beaux-Arts balconies, neoclassical columns and sculptures.

Our hotel, Jardin de l'Odeon, was a stylish auberge that sits in the bosom of the Latin Quarter.

It was cozy from the start as we checked in to a smiling and warm concierge. Since Nic and I were early and our room wasn't available they stored our luggage and we were free to survey the city.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Capital Grille Chevy Chase Invites DLDGLG To Lunch!

True Story: the last time I was at The Capital Grille downtown, I literally almost ran into Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota. But that's just the kind of place downtown Washington D.C. is.

I haven't spent a lot of time at the Pennsylvania Avenue location, but Nic has. She’s spent more time at that location than some of the wait staff employed there.

One thing’s for sure - we both love the atmosphere and wouldn’t miss a chance to eat there again.

So I was intrigued by an invitation I received to visit Capital Grille Chevy Chase for a taste of their new "Plates" lunch menu.

For $18, guests can select three plates from nine options - a soup or salad, a sandwich, and a side dish. I don't get out for lunch often so I was excited to make the reservation.

According to the Sales and Marketing Manager, Shelly Goorevich, this Capital Grille opened in 2009 just before Thanksgiving.

In those two years, Chevy Chase has tried to distinguish itself as a location where DC-area folks can enjoy the same high-level Capital Grille experience without making the trek downtown.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

DLDGLG Embarks On Its First Event With CSOWG For The 2011 Drink.Write Conference

You gotta love booze bloggers...

The Cocktail & Spirits Online Writing Group (CSOWG) held their 2011 Drink.Write Conference in Washington D.C. last December, and boy was it a blast.

Hosted by the incorrigible SeanMike Whipkey of Scofflaw’s Den, the conference encompassed a weekend of events designed to bring like-minded writers together for their appreciation of “the sauce” in whatever form that may take.

Among the Drink.Write attendees: Marshall Fawley III, Whipkey’s co-editor at Scofflaw’s Den; Chris Hwalek (a.k.a. DJ Hawaiian Shirt) of Spirited Remix; Matt Browner Hamlin of A Jigger of Blog; Courtney Randall of Cocktail Quest; Stevi Deter of Two at the Most.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Off to Europe... See You Next Year!

I'm off to Paris, France and Bad Ischl, Austria for the holidays with Nic. When I return, I'm sure to have plenty of material to cover from my trip (as well as some items I meant to report about before my trip). Hopefully, I'll be drowning in great French wine and traditional Austrian beer.

In the meantime, if you're interested in what I'm up to you can follow me on Twitter. I hope to dispatch a few tweets, if not several, while I'm in the old world - particularly when I'm in Paris. 

Au Revoir and Auf Wiedersehen!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Susan Soorenko and Carla Hall Want You to Meet Alchemy & Moorkeno's

Carla Hall and Susan Soorenko are crafting sweet dreams in Silver Spring, Maryland right now. 

Tucked away just outside of The District's city limits, you will find a factory rendering a vision of the good life through treats.

If you aren't familiar with Susan, you should be familiar with her clever brand of ice cream, which can be found in sixteen Whole Foods locations in and around Washington D.C. 

You can also find her products in various other independent or organic markets.

Anyone who has watched the past few seasons of Top Chef knows Carla. She's vivacious and funny. 

Since the competition, Hall's become a point of pride for locals in the restaurant and food industry. Currently, she's one of the hosts of ABC's daytime food show, The Chew.

Susan launched the original Moorenko's Ice Cream Cafe in McLean, Virginia but has since moved her operations to Maryland. Moorenko's website reads:
"Lovingly local, and frankly, fabulous.  That pretty much sums up the frozen desserts made by Moorenko's Ice Cream in Silver Spring, Maryland.  Our artisanal ice cream is made in small, carefully monitored batches (that means we have to taste every batch, but we're willing to make that sacrifice for you)[...] Our goal is to spoil our customers for any other ice cream!"
Warmed by her passion for ice cold treats, Susan lures her customers to a world of frozen food that most people wouldn't think possible.

Carla's developed her own line of cookies with Alchemy and hopes to win over not just your sweet tooth, but also your savory tooth. Alchemy's website reads:
"Our artisan cookies are baked to perfection and contain only the finest ingredients – European-style butter, organic sugar, flours, couverture chocolate, artisan cheeses, fresh nuts, seasonal fruits"
Mexican Chocolate Chip. Hawaiian Wedding. Goat Cheese with Dried Cranberries. 

There were few containers where I didn't pull out a cookie bite packed with flavor.

Some of Moorenko's perks include a seemingly endless catalog of flavors and, more importantly, allowing clientele to customize ice cream to whatever flavor they desire.

Of course, if one chooses to do so, he or she would begin consultation and coordination with Susan to ensure, collectively, that a high quality product is crafted to satisfaction.

Moorenko's flavors that stuck out for me: the Campari and grapefruit sorbet as well as the prune and Armagnac ice cream (naturally - this is a booze blog).

The Campari and grapefruit had a bright and cleansing taste. The Armagnac ice cream blended bits of prune in with each rich brandy-flavored scoop.

Hall urged us to pair many of her sweet petite cookies with the hot tea being served - and this proved to be a delicious combination that didn't overload the tastebuds with sweetness.

Carla's savory cookies were paired with Syrah from a winery called Vint Hill.

Want to make your own vino? Vint Hill will set you up with grapes. You craft your own wine complete with a customized label.

Also, accompanying the cookies was a port-style wine made by La Grange Winery in Haymarket, Virginia called Snort (seriously).

By the end of the media event, I found myself charmed by both women and their products.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"Happy Days Are Here Again!!!"

Happy Repeal Day everyone! Make sure you pour yourself (and at least one other person around you) a glass of beer, wine or spirit to celebrate your Constitutional right to booze! 


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Booze Exploding at 8900 Frames Per Second

Cinematographer, Ty Migota, filmed the opening credits of something called How To Get Laid

Then, he took the unused clips and produced an entertaining short called Phantom Cocktails

I think about that famous scene from...
where everything explodes. Watch it and prepare to be mesmerized.

(h/t: DW)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Spirited Remix Improves Upon The Improved Cocktail

I'll be attending the Cocktails & Spirits Online Writers Group (CSOWG) event Drink.Write this December in D.C. At this event, I'll finally get a chance to meet DJ HawaiianShirt of Spirited Remix. I'm continually impressed with his blog and often find new things.
Recently, one of those new things was the Improved Cocktail.
"2 oz spirit
1 dash simple syrup
1 dash aromatic bitters
1 dash Maraschino
1 dash absinthe

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist."
DJ loves this easy tipple and it's not hard to understand why. He writes:
"It doesn't sound like much, but [Jerry] Thomas knew what he was doing when he codified this thing into the printing press."
Now, like me, a thought that DJ has grappled with is unintentionally creating a cocktail that might already exist. No decent person would plagiarize and anyone could suffer from cryptomnesia. 

Making things worse, the craft cocktail movement has progressed to the point that stealing has become a significant discussion. At the end of the day, it leaves an amateur like myself wondering what the most prudent course of action would be. One could certainly scour the internet for the beverage in a Google search - or at least give it the old college try.

DJ finds peace of mind from some fellow cocktailians:
"Since then, I've gotten encouragement to shed humility by going ahead and naming cocktails that I've made, even if doing so seemed a bit exorbitant."
And the original remix that DJ formulated?

1.5-2 oz Cruzan Black Strap rum
heavy dash simple syrup
heavy dash aromatic bitters
heavy dash Maraschino
heavy dash absinthe

Build over ice in small tumbler. Garnish with orange twist."

NEW: Darcy O'Neil has some guidance.

Note: This post has been revised since its original publication