Tequila And Cinco de Mayo...

Tequila has come a long way from the days when every college kid did a shot of Cuervo or was the spring breaker’s drink of choice. It is now one of the favorite spirits used by top mixologists around the country. The selection of brands and premium brands has tripled in the last decade. But there are still so many misconceptions about this mysterious liquor.  So with Cinco de Mayo just a week away, I decided to set the record straight with facts and not-so-facts of the agave-based spirit. Salud!

There’s a worm in the bottle.

8 Things Not To Do In A Bar...

Bars bring the best and, unfortunately, the worst out of people. While most nights are fun and entertaining for both patrons and staff, we have all seen different kinds of bad behavior over the years—from the rude and obnoxious to just plain scary.

So in an effort to help make everybody’s experience a little bit better, I’ve put together a cheat sheet of common things you should never do in a bar. (Not that you would ever dream of doing any of these things.) We hope it helps!

Don’t be a bad tipper.

Seasonal Infusions

This is a repeat post from the Fall in case you missed it...Many great spring cocktails utilize these spirit and liqueur infusions by taking advantage of the many fresh ingredients available at the peak of the spring season. I will start out with fruit infusions that are perfect right now. Keep in mind that some of these fruits are not in season now, but will be in the summer and fall. It is not an exhaustive list, but the more common fruit infusions are listed.

30 Phrases Every Drinker Should Know...

This post, in conjunction with Chilled Magazine, reveals all those secret words. jargon, or codes, if you will, that bartenders, sommeliers, beer sommeliers, and distillers use in speaking alcohol. Whether you're a connoisseur or boozehound or not, these are the words you should know to sound intelligent and savvy when you're mixing or ordering drinks.

1. ABV

Behind The Labels: Dispelling Liquor Myths

Since everyone seemed to enjoy my last post on the craft of bartending and the intricacies of the profession (21 visits in one day = AWESOME and thank you!), I am following up on that interest by debunking some myths about liquor that bartenders are pouring every night and the mysteries behind the labels of those bottles.

Things A Bartender Should Never Do...

I could probably write a book just on this subject alone, but for purposes here, I am listing MY biggest pet peeves behind the bar. There’s no easy way to say this: A bad bartender can ruin an otherwise good night, especially if it's that one time you and your date, spouse, partner, or mistress decide to have a night out. Nobody wants to be faced with an inattentive, surly, or irresponsible bartender—it’s just no fun. I'm sure most of you can relate to having this experience.

Seasonal Flavor: Rhubarb

Rhubarb is an obscure plant and doesn’t get the recognition it deserves as far as being unique flavor ingredient in cocktail.  Rhubarb’s long, spindly stalks are a good sign that spring has arrived. The spring is the time of the year that mixologists get excited about the plethora of harvested herbs, berries, grapefruit, stone fruits, and the little known, rhubarb that are available. It allows for much creativity, innovation, experimentation, and flavor contrasts in your cocktail shakers.

Seasonal Flavor: Grapefruit

The humble grapefruit is a very under-rated fruit. Now is the time to appreciate its simplicity since we are at the time of season where it starts to peak. Often looked upon as a flavorless and boring, the grapefruit has a lot to offer in terms of cocktail balance and flavor.  To cocktail enthusiasts and gurus, it has many applications and has been used in cocktails since the turn of the century. The grapefruit isn’t ‘hip’ and the terms ‘exotic’ and ‘esoteric’ doesn’t apply to this fruit in today’s cocktail vernacular, like passion fruit, plum, acai berry, etc…

2014 Readers Choice Awards

Over the last two months, readers have been nominating and voting for their favorite distilled spirits in 10 categories and the results are in for the winning brands. It is an interesting mix and it is obvious that these brands (some of which are relatively unknown) have a strong following and loyal fans. This may be an indication that they're something to try if you haven't already.

Here are the winners in each of the 10 categories. Search for cocktails with these fine spirits.

Seasonal Spotlight: Whiskies of the World, Part 3 - Rye

Bourbon and Scotch may be the most popular, but the drink of choice for many whiskey connoisseurs is increasingly a glass of classic rye whiskey.

Up until recently, this historic American spirit was fading into obscurity. Liquor stores and bars usually stocked just a few old, dusty bottles. But there has been a miraculous rebirth of the rye category, and drinkers now prize its big, spicy and brash flavors. Distillers are now struggling to keep up with demand.