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Mezcalifornia

by Joe Shotkus March 14th, 2014| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
drink on barThe Classic cocktail the Rosita is one of those only now resurfacing from the golden age of cocktails, a blend of tequila, Campari and both dry and sweet vermouth with just a dash of bitters. It's more complex than everyone's favorite, the margarita, more similar to an Italian cocktail such as the Negroni, with the bittersweet notes of sweet vermouth and Campari being massaged by the pepper of golden tequila.

While I love the Rosita as it is, I was writing about the liqueur Grand Poppy from California today and realized it would make a fantastic take on the Rosita.
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Tequila Shot

by Joe Shotkus March 13th, 2014| Ask the Bartender
tequila etcI don't know if this is actually a bartender question, but I thought it might be a good place to start.  If I am ordering a shot of tequila at a bar, does it really matter what type I order?  I understand that I shouldn't get really cheap tequila, but if I'm throwing it back quickly, does ordering a top shelf tequila really matter?

Hello faithful drinker! To drive straight into the question, no, that's all up to your personal taste. Would I jump to the top shelf? Well, actually no. You won't get more or less sick from repeated
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Greenbar Distillery Grand Poppy

by Joe Shotkus March 11th, 2014| Spirits
Green Bar Collective - Tru OrganicCelebrating a region through its cuisine is one of the best ways to get to know a location, and luckily with craft distillation some of the ingredients that define a region's landscape can be tasted from afar. Grand Poppy from Greenbar Distillery tastes of California.

Taking after the European tradition of aperitif, Grand Poppy boasts a low 20% alcohol while sacrificing nothing in terms of flavor. The ingredients listed include the California grand poppy, burdock, California bay leaf, bearberry, dandelion, citrus and peppercorn. A lot of the ingredients are items you might find on a hike, seemingly the inspiration for
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Secaucus

by Joe Shotkus March 7th, 2014| Cocktails
secaucusThere are many variations on the Manhattan, possibly more than any other drink out there. Equal are the number of cocktails named after neighborhoods of New York City. There's the Greenpoint, the Bronx, an East Side Sling, the New York Sour, the Red Hook, the Brooklyn, Bensonhurst, Cobble Hill, Carrol Gardens and Bushwick. I'm sure there are a few I'm missing, but that's okay. This isn't about them, but my own addition to the cocktail boroughs list. With no neighborhoods left to choose from, my friend suggested we call it the Secaucus, after the town in New Jersey. After
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1800 Tequila, Silver and Reposado

by Jason Lightner March 4th, 2014| Spirits
to mexicoTequila has become somewhat of a favorite of mine this winter. Its crisp, refreshing texture, and the incredible versatility of this spirit have made it an absolute joy in which to partake and, while I've certainly sampled my fair share of the agave wonder, I can't believe I'd never written about two of my favorite tequilas — 1800 Silver and 1800 Reposado. Owned by the same company as the Jose Cuervo brand (I know, I know), 1800 is an affordable take on the purist spirit of 100% blue agave distilled tequila, and is named after the year
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Calorie Counts of Drinks

by Editorial Team February 27th, 2014| Ask the Bartender
strawberry drinkWhich alcoholic drinks have the most calories?

The short answer is "The sweetest ones." Sugar in a drink can drive up the calorie count significantly over a less sweet choice. As this chart shows (it also has a handy calculator so you can figure out how many calories from alcohol you're averaging in a month), four ounces of dry white wine contain about 75 calories, while the same amount of sweet wine's got 105.  Sweet vermouth has more calories than dry vermouth. A 1.5 serving of liqueur will have about 188 calories, compared to 65 in an ounce
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Rubinoff Vodka

by Jason Lightner February 25th, 2014| Spirits
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd so it goes. There's the good company you drink the good stuff with, and there's the bad company you drink the bad stuff with. Oftentimes the only consequence of either is a headache and a slight aversion to light, especially during one's first few waking hours. Hopefully, my fair reader, you're imbibing the good stuff more often than not, but lest you run astray, I am here to keep you on the straight and narrow.

As a simple, neutral grain spirit, vodka has the distinct honor of being the one spirit that every two-bit distiller in the world
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Long Island Iced Tea

by Brendan G February 21st, 2014| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
ice teaThe Long Island Iced Tea has always been a favorite of patrons wherever I have worked. First for the fact that it is a tasty drink when made properly. The second thing that makes it so popular is that it packs quite a punch. You definitely want to keep track of how many of these you order, because they will sneak up on you.

The L.I.T., as it is commonly called, looks like a non-alcoholic iced tea, but contains five alcohol ingredients and a small amount of mixer, making it perhaps the strongest mixed drink one could order. The makeup
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Rum and Coke

by Brendan G February 20th, 2014| Ask the Bartender
pouring bacardiWhenever I return home, I meet up with friends at a neighborhood bar.  It's nothing fancy, so I always stick with a rum and Coke, which definitely tastes (and feels) like a RUM and Coke.  I know their drinks are stronger, but what is the proper ratio for this drink? 

A Rum and Coke, or Cuba Libre, is one of the most basic cocktails a bartender can make.  The proper ratio, however, is very important in one-liquor drinks like this.  Too much alcohol, and the drink is too boozy and hard to drink.  Too little, and you get little to
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Jameson Irish Whiskey and the Pickleback

by Jason Lightner February 18th, 2014| Spirits
jameson_hdIt took me a while to get on the same level as Jameson Irish Whiskey. The popular spirit has gained incredible notoriety over the years as an incredible sipping beverage, as well as a versatile mixer and go-to for party-time shots. Over three years ago, I recounted my first experience with Jameson, and also my first experience with whiskey in general. Today, I'd like to invite you to experience the maturation of my relationship with Irish whiskey. It's a bit different, but I think you'll enjoy it.

Jameson is famous for its bold flavor and incredible punch. When
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Jim Beam Honey

by Jason Lightner February 11th, 2014| Spirits
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince we're on a wintery whiskey kick, let's take a look at another one from Jim Beam. This whiskey's a bit different, mind you, so those without a sweet tooth might want to sit this one out. We're talking, of course, about Jim Beam Honey, an infusion of real honey and liqueur with the standard Jim Beam Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey.

Jim Beam Honey comes in the typical Jim Beam bottle, with the unique label artwork of a honeycomb pattern. It's a tasteful and artistic label which celebrates the main addition and brings focus to the important part
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Sticky Question

by Brendan G February 6th, 2014| Ask the Bartender
bar shelvesAt a bar recently, I watched the following scene unfold.  The patron to my left asked the bartender for a ginger-tini.  The patron had to explain to the bartender which bottle contained ginger liqueur.  Once found, the bottle, which didn't have a pour spout, was unable to be opened.  The bartender took the bottle out back, returned a few minutes later, and still had not opened it.  With a couple minutes more of struggling, the bottle was opened.  The patron looked at me concernedly and wondered if the drink would be any good.  My question for you, should a
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