Bar

Cocktail Spotlight: Bloody Mary and other Marys'

"Happy New Years'" , or should I say 'Happy "Bloody Mary" Day'. January 1st is officially "National Bloody Mary Day" and kicks off the Cocktail Calendar every year.  It is no secret as to why it has been designated for this date considering it's effectiveness as a great hangover cure for that full night of imbibing. Few things are better in the morning or for brunch than a nutritious and spicy tomato-flavored Bloody Mary. Hair of the Dog, right! You can make it as spicy or mild as you want, add whatever veggies you want, switch out the liquor, or skip it all together.

Liqueur Spotlight: Chambord

This discussion is going out to my Aunt Lynne, who is a big fan and enjoys it with a nice glass of Champagne. Not only a favorite ingredient in festive cocktails, such as the Kir Royale, but also for celebratory occasions, like retirements, coronations, and toasting the New Year, Chambord is a premium black raspberry liqueur with a fine French heritage. Chambord stands alone in its category — and in its iconic, captivating packaging. Instantly noticeable on the liqueur shelf with its round, regal, and crown-adorned bottle.

Q&A with Jon Taffer

Below is a Q&A with Jon Taffer, fiery and very outspoken world renowned bar expert and consultant from Spike TV's Bar Rescue show, about the latest trends in the industry as he travels across America rescuing failing and struggling bars. I'm sure many of you have seen it or at least heard about it. It's a neat show.

Cocktail Spotlight: Peppermint Stick

This is a cocktail perfect for sitting in front of the fireplace or to enliven your senses during the cold, wintry season on a snowy night or festive occasion. The mint provides a soothing, calming, and cool effect on the palate as well as the brain. Watch that brain freeze! It presents as an almost clear cocktail without the cherry juice, but with the cherry juice, it gives off a very slight pink hue. I served this cocktail at my private cocktail party this Fall to a bunch of friends and they loved it. Give it a whirl over the holiday season and tell me your thoughts.

Ask a Bartender: What's the strangest drink request you've ever gotten?

A good bartender will listen to his customer's request and, within reason, try to satisfy it. Recommending a particular beer according to someone's preferences, or suggesting a particular bourbon cocktail, or inventing a drink that he/she thinks will suffice. But what about the really outrageous requests? Bartenders were polled and asked "what's the strangest drink request you have received?" Here's what they had to say. I also included some of mine as well.

What's the strangest drink request you've ever heard?

Beer Spotlight: Evolution of Craft Beers, Part 2

Craft Brewing Facts

  • Craft brewers currently provide an estimated 108,440 jobs in the U.S., including serving staff in brewpubs.
  • Growth of the craft brewing industry in 2012 was 15% by volume and 17% by dollars compared to growth in 2011 of 13% by volume and 15% by dollars.
  • Craft brewers sold an estimated 13,235,917 barrels* of beer in 2012, up from 11,467,337 in 2011.
  • The craft brewing sales share in 2012 was 6.5% by volume and 10.2% by dollars.

Beer Spotlight: Evolution of Craft Beers, Part 1

My nephew, Jonathan, who is a sophomore at Penn State, asked me to do a write-up on craft beers, specifically what defines a beer as 'craft or IPA' and what classifies a beer as being 'seasonal'. It doesn't surprise me that a college student wants to be equipped with all this knowledge. I always said that if you are going to be a drinker, please be an 'informed' drinker. Knowledge is power and very influential. I'm sure all his college buddies will appreciate it.

Cocktail Spotlight: Ghoulish Cocktails

I am listing a bunch of Halloween-themed cocktails that can be fun to mix up or drink at your Halloween party. Many of these are simple to make:

Vampire

  • build in ice-filled highball glass
  • 1/2 oz Absolut vodka
  • 1/2 oz Chambord
  • fill w/cranberry juice
  • shake
  • garnish lime slice
  • optional flame a rose or flower

Zombie

Mulled Wine

When the temperatures start dropping and there is a chill in the air, it becomes an appropriate time to sip a nice, warming cocktail, or this case, mulled wine. Mulled wine has been around for centuries in many Old World countries, but hasn't been too prominent in the New World yet. If you ask the average person or even bartender, they won't have a clue as to what it is. It is a traditional holiday beverage that has been warming people for a very long time. Think of mulled wine as the wine drinker's version of the classic hot toddy.

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