Tag Archives: ESQUIRE

You’ve Got Airmail

Here’s some history: The song “Please Mr. Postman” was released on August 21 in 1961.

The song was released by The Marvelettes and it was the first Motown song to reach the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart.

  
Rather than search the Internet for a “Postman” cocktail, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate the classic “Airmail” drink!

About This Drink:

The Airmail is a rum and champagne drink made with honey — or made with a honey syrup.

The recipe below is David Wondrich’s recommendation, which can be found online at Esquire.com:

Ingredients:
•2 ounces rum (golden or aged)
•1/2 ounce lime juice
•1 teaspoon honey
•5 ounces Brut champagne

Preparation:

Shake all ingredients (except the champagne) over ice and strain into a chilled champagne flut. Finish by topping the drink with champagne.

In his Esquire article, Wondrich points out that the drink is sort of like “a cross between the French 75 and the Honey Bee.” And additionally, he can’t explain its origin, but it does appear for the first time in Esquire’s 1949 Handbook for Hosts.

Further Reading:

—Check Imbibe Magazine here.
—This recipe includes Angostura Bitters.
—And the Cold-Glass blog has a really lengthy article worth reading.

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Filed under ANNIVERSARIES, CHAMPAGNE, COCKTAIL CALENDAR, HISTORY, RUM

Weekend Wine Tasting & Antiquing

On Saturday I scored a copy of the Esquire Drink Book from 1956:

My wife and I went to North East, Pa. with her folks and not only hit up some antique shops, but also bought a couple bottles of wine along the way.

Here in Jamestown, we live near the Lake Erie Wine Trail — so weekend tasting is a regular part of summers in Chautauqua County.

We started at South Shore Wine Company, which is a winery located in North East that’s part of the Mazza group of wineries. Mazza has two other locations, both in Chautauqua County, my favorite of which is right across from Johnson Estate Winery — but more on that in a bit.

The South Shore location was a great place to visit because the main room is in an underground, cavernous, stone room that’s just neat to experience. And even better, there’s wine to taste while you’re taking in the history.

I tasted two wines and three meads, their Gruner Veltliner and Noiret for wines — and also their honey mead, raspberry honey mead and a carbonated mead called “Hops & Honey,” made with hops and more.


The gruner veltliner was very good and I wish I would have gotten a bottle, but the appeal of having some honey mead was more appealing. Not getting a bottle of the gruner veltliner just means I’ll have to go back soon, and I wonder if the other Mazza locations sell that same gruner veltliner that South Shore was selling.

Wine Links:

— Lake Erie Wine Country

Chautauqua Wine Trail

— South Shore Wine Company

Johnson Estate Winery

Tasting Bar:

Earlier I mentioned that one of the Mazza sites is located right across from the Johnson Estate Winery.

Those two sites are located right on Route 20 in Westfield and are a couple of my favorites because they offer more than just wine to taste — they have spirits.

The Mazza location has its own distilled spirits to taste, made and marketed under the Five & 20 name. The Johnson Estate Winery doesn’t distill spirits, but it does have what it calls a “New York Statr Spirits Tasting Bar.” Basically, there’s a second station in the winery’s tasting room where you can taste boozes which were made in New York State.

I tasted three whiskies there Saturday:

Whiskey Tasting :

Bootlegger 21 New York Bourbon Whiskey — 

Hudson Double Charred Whiskey — 

77 Whiskey Rye & Corn

At Mazza, in addition to wine and spirits, there’s a launch party for their brewery’s first beers this weekend — making Mazza and Five & 20 the first combination winery, distillery and brewery in the state.

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Filed under ANTIQUES, COCKTAIL BOOKS, COCKTAIL HISTORY, VINTAGE COCKTAIL BOOKS, WINE

Esquire’s ‘Best Bars’ Visits D.C.

Esquire’s show “Best Bars In America” aired its second episode of season two last night.

I wrote a rambling little blog post about the show’s return last week, which is only a few scrolls back but I’ve linked it here for convenience.

This week, Sean and Jay went to Washington, D.C. — a place I’ve been a few times, but never as what I’d call a “curious drinker.”

My trips to Washington, D.C. were early in my college career, and early in the 2000s. I remember specifically feeling pretty badass at the time, as I’d “graduated” from rum-and-Cokes to Jack-and-Cokes.

That phase of my drinking life was relatively shortlived, but still, I can’t help but chuckle — as it’s the first thought that comes back to me when I think about “Drinking In D.C.”

The gentlemen of “Best Bars In America” had a much different experience, which is what we want from the show and what we’ve come to expect.

The episode was as varied as they come, with Sean and Jay visiting a bar that’s stood the test of time, a local brewery’s tasting room, a current hip mixology joint, an Irish pub, a historic distillery and a dive bar just to round things out at at the end of the night.

At one point, the duo goes to a whiskey bar which houses a collection of bottles that boggles the mind — literally wrapping the walls of the room. After downing a whisk(e)y a piece, the owner takes Sean and Jay to the speakeasy-style bar that’s housed in the place’s basement.

  

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen bars-within-bars on this show, and I’d wager that this wasn’t the last time we’ll be seeing such bars this season.

Though the concept of “secret speakeasies within other bars” keeps popping up on the show this season (and even last season), the trend has been building for at least a few years.

I bring this up only because I happened to be flipping through an old issue of Market Watch today and right there in the monthly “Bar Talk” section was a feature on “Subterranean Speakeasies.”

BARS WITHIN BARS:

Like so many other bars and restaurants, the place where I work gets sent copies of Market Watch magazine each month. Market Watch is an industry trade magazine which deals with the business side of bars as well as the craft/mixology and service components. 

 

The article I mentioned above was published in the October 2012 issue of Market Watch.

In the piece, the writer, Seth Porges, quotes folks from New York City; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco and Omaha. More specifically, these are the people quoted in the piece and the bars where they work:

  • Justin Koch, of McCoy and Tomoka, in New York City.
  • Derek Brown, of The Passenger Bar and Columbia Room, in Washington, D.C.
  • Erik Rechborn-Kjenerud, of Dalva and The Hideout in San Francisco.
  • John Eric Sanchez, of Sip Bar & Lounge and Hancock Room, in San Francisco.
  • Binoy Feenandez, of Indian Oven and I.O. Speak in Omaha.

The article is interesting from an ownership/management standpoint, as it lists benefits of having a second bar located in a larger bar — it can take pressure off the busy bar, be a weekday moneymaker, allow for field-testing of new drinks and offers the ability to do high-end craft cocktails on a smaller scale than the bigger bar.

On last week’s episode of “Best Bars,” the hosts went to Wilson & Wilson, a speakeasy located within Bourbon & Branch in SanFrancisco. More than just a speakeasy within a bar, Wilson & Wilson has a detective agency theme — which makes me so envious of anyone who has ever gotten to drink there.

More than anything, seeing all these “bars-within-bars” have me dreaming about one day owning a building, not rentingone  — so that I can use the full extent of the space for multiple themes. Until then though… I’ll end this blog post the same way the guys ended the DC episode of “Best Bars,” with a parting shot:

  

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Filed under BEST BARS IN AMERICA, ESQUIRE NETWORK, TRENDS

Whiskey Smash On Esquire Network

I know, I know… I write too much about the show “Best Bars in America” on the Esquire Network.

I said it last time though and once again this week, the show’s cocktails overlapped with what I’m mixing up in my personal life.

Case-in-point: The Whiskey Smash.

I just posted the other day about a smash I’d been making. And last night one of the guys got served a smash at a hotel bar.

Here’s the cocktail as it was served last night at Bemelmans Bar:
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Whiskey Smash
•Maker’s Mark
•Fresh Lime Juice
•Simple Syrup
•Dash of Bitters
•Garnish with Mint

Last night’s episode was focused on hotel bars. The theme of next week’s episode will bedive bars.

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Filed under BEST BARS IN AMERICA, COCKTAIL RECIPES, ESQUIRE NETWORK, SMASHES

Vodka Soda Splash

Today is Rose Kennedy’s birthday.

A Rose Kennedy is a cocktail comprised of vodka and soda water with a splash of cranberry juice.

There are cocktails which people know to order by name, such as Cosmopolitans and Manhattans. Then there are those cocktails which get ordered by their component parts, such as the standard vodka cranberry and also the subject of today’s post — the Rose Kennedy.

I don’t know when and how this drink originated, but at some point in the last year I read that a “Vodka Soda Splash” is alternately called a “Rose Kennedy.” Whether or not it’s a regional thing I’m not sure, but it’s definitely associated with the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern parts of the U.S.

Imagine this with a little less red, more pink and some bubbles:
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That pic is from David Wondrich’s write-up in Esquire on the Cape-Codder, without which there would be no Rose Kennedy Cocktail (or Madras or Sea Breeze or Bay Breeze).

Proportions vary (and truthfully, there’s not a lot written about the Rose Kennedy Cocktail online). The nice thing though is that the recipe is pretty simple and straightforward. It is only a Vodka Soda Splash after all.

Rose Kennedy Cocktail:
•2 oz vodka
•2 oz soda water
•Splash of cranberry juice

Add all the ingredients into a rocks glass packed full with ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

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Filed under COCKTAIL RECIPES

The Jungle Bird On T.V.

I finally got around to watching last Wednesday’s episode of “Best Bars In America” …and it was awesome.

This was the second episode in the show’s first proper season and it spotlighted Austin, Texas.

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The show airs weekly on the Esquire Network and follows two comedians (Jay Larson and Sean Patton) as they go from city to city checking out the list of “Best Bars In America” as published by Esquire Magazine.

There was an initial episode which featured Milwaukee, Chicago and San Francisco, but now that the show’s an actual series there has been a Portland episode and an Austin episode.

I’ve got to say, I really enjoy this show. Sure, it’s pretty much just two guys ordering cocktails from quality bars throughout various cities, but it’s got a lively pace and is pretty lighthearted (and it’s just fun all around).

I understand that I’m not the one tasting the drinks nor am I the one traveling, but there is a sort of vicarious fun in watching these guys. I’m sure there will be people who criticize it, but I’ve got a love for this show. My favorite part is that if you pay attention, you can glean a few things from the bartenders these two guys meet in each city: whether it’s an outlook on the job, new techniques or a little piece of history.

I shrieked out loud when a bartender serves the guys a “Jungle Bird” on the recent Austin episode. The Jungle Bird is a drink that I’ve been making for myself and friends in recent months. I got really into Campari over this past winter and after a while I’d had my fill of Negronis and Boulevardiers and Old Pals for a bit, which is when I discovered this:

The Jungle Bird20140709-120929-43769027.jpg
Here’s what Imbibe Magazine had to say: A tropically inspired 1970s sipper from the Aviary bar in Kuala Lumpur. This adaptation combines dark rum, Campari and fruit juices.

•1 1/2 oz. blackstrap rum
•3/4 oz. Campari
•1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
•1/2 oz. simple syrup (1:1)
•1 1/2 oz. pineapple juice

Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. (Adapted by Lantern’s Keep, New York City.)

I’ll have to research the episode if “Best Bars” to see if the Austin recipe was any different.

More About The Jungle Bird:
Imbibe Magazine
Difford’s Guide
The New York Times

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Filed under BEST BARS IN AMERICA, COCKTAIL RECIPES, ESQUIRE NETWORK