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Gary Regan

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Everything posted by Gary Regan

  1. I don't believe the folloowing quote for a second, but it's one more claim to the creation of the Sidecar, this one made by a bartender who tended toward a little bragging (and what good bartender doesn't?) “On my night off I went visiting a few places—busman’s holiday. In one place, the young bartender approached me for the order. He said he could make any kind of drink I wanted. So just for the fun of it I said, ‘Could you suggest something in the line of a cocktail?’ ‘Yes sir, just let me make it, and you’ll like it.’ Sure enough he made one, and the minute I tasted it I knew it was a sidecar cocktail that I had originated many years ago. I was rather surprised myself, and, over the young man’s objections, I almost but not quite convinced him that it was the drink that I originated.” My 35 Years Behind Bars: Memories and Advice of a Bartender, Including a Liquor Guide by Johnny Brooks. New York, Exposition Press: 1954.
  2. For the record, I'm in love with the new N.P. It might be technically sweeter than the old, but the words that leap to my mind when I taste both side by side are "more floral" in the case of the new bottling. It's true that we'll have to tinker with ricipes a little, but I've been saying for years that recipes ore no more than guidelines . . .
  3. Okay guys! All is well. There was a hiccough in production and they'll be back on Buffalo Trace web site in near future. Thanks for the concern Cheers, Gary
  4. Hi Guys: Sorry I haven't been around. Thanks to chrisamirault for letting me know about this topic. I'm 99.9999999% sure that they haven't been discontinued. I would definitely have been informed, and sales have been pretty good so . . . Also, just for the record, dealing with Buffalo Trace on this project has been a thing of beauty. They're honorable people and very easy to get along with, so I know they would have let me know if anything was awry. I'll contact them, get the scoop, and report back as soon as poss. Cheers, Gary
  5. Just popped back for a moment to see how this thread was doing. Thanks for kind words from various poeple, Wondrich included, but of course he'd say nice things about the guy who picks up his bar tab every time they see each other. The real reson I popped back today, though, was that I awoke in the middle of the night thinking, oh, hell, I didn't mention what a terrific researcher George is. His site will bear me out. I'll sleep better tonight now.
  6. Hi there: I'm up to my ears at present, so can't add an awful lot. The research thing has gotten way better and way worse, because of the internet. It's far easier now to find information on the web, but there's so much mis-information out there, too. Wondrich is probably the best researcher we have on these boards, and he will probably add his two-cents (which is just as well cos trying to get 2 cents out of him to pay for a drink is nigh-on impossible ) I've found social history books to yield some good stuff, but you do an awful lot of reading to find very few facts. Some books, though, will contain tid-bits that were written at the time of a cocktail's appearance, and give better clues that we get from other places. The following is taken from a piece I wrote for Cheers magazine: "The story I find most plausible about the creation of the Manhattan, though, lies within the pages of a book called Valentine’s Manual: 1923, wherein William F. Mulhall, a bartender who plied his trade at New York’s Hoffman House in the 1880s, wrote this: “The Manhattan cocktail was invented by a man named Black who kept a place ten doors below Houston Street on Broadway in the [eighteen] sixties—probably the most famous drink in the world in its time.” In its time? The darned thing is still going real strong in 2005, nearly 150 years after “its time” in the 1860s. Why do I believe this story? It’s the only one I’ve heard that mentions a person, a place, and a period of time that makes sense. Plus the story was written by a bartender and we all know that bartenders never lie . . . " Hope this helps. I've taken to letting Wondrich do the research, then stealing it from him. Not a bad ploy . . .
  7. Proud to say that I was at the Plymouth distillery last year, and I actually made a batch of gin in their lab. My first attempt ever at this and the gin that I made was . . . absolutely disastrous! God Bless Distillers. I just wrote a gin piece for SF Chronicle. You can see it here: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?...&sn=001&sc=1000
  8. Gary Regan


    Here's the recipe from Hemingways. Burnt Orange Kir Created by Ted and Linda Fondulas, Hemingway’s, Killington, VT. 4 ounces chilled Lillet 1/4 - 1/2 ounce Cynar 1 piece orange peel, about 3-inches long. 1. Pour the Lillet and Cynar into a chilled cocktail glass. 2. Light a match and hold it about three inches from the surface of the drink. Take the orange peel and carefully twist it between the thumb and forefinger of your other hand. The oils from the orange peel will ignite and rest on the surface of the drink. (This is a somewhat complicated procedure for one person, if need be, ask a friend to hold the match while you twist the orange peel.)
  9. Gary Regan


    Very interesting! Thanks for the kind words. I find that my 20-ounce shaker glass works very nicely for my after-work Manhattan on the rocks. Not full, of course. always leave that 1/4 inch vacant space at the top of the glass so you can get it to your lips without spilling . . .
  10. Most of the places I know of have been mentioned, but there are some bartender names that might help. I haven't actually been to these places (except for Enricos, many years ago), but I do know their reputations, and I've met some of these bartenders. I'll be off to SF myself in a couple of months, so this thread is proving very helpful to me, too. Thanks guys. David Nepove Enrico's Jacques Bezuidenhout Tres Agave (Plus Charles Vexenat, a wonderful guy, though I think he might have left already.) Dahi Swig 561 Geary Street (at Taylor) San Francisco, CA 94102 http://www.swigbar.com/ Don't know much about Swig, though I've spoken to Dahi. Seems like a great place. Duggan McDonnell Frisson Restaurant Victoria Damato-Moran Capp's Corner Restaurant At the corner of Green & Powell. North Beach I don't know much about Capp's Corner, but I know Victoria from her days at another joint in SF, Tony Nik’s, and that might be worth checking out, too.
  11. The Macallan has just released a whisky-based liqueur called Amber that's flavored with maple and pecans. It's a little on the sweet side, but the pecans are evident, and it's possible to take the sweetness down by marrying it to more scotch, or even cognac for that matter, since the scotch in the liqueur isn't evident at all. BTW: sorry I haven't been around much, but classes are about to start, and all hell breaks loose for me when that happens. I'll try to keep popping i fromtime to time, but the next 6 weeks are gonna be tough on me.
  12. So, if a bartender gives every customer a $20 bill and tells them to go down the street, does that earn greatness? ← Perhaps not, but it would make me want to go back to that bar pretty frequently.
  13. Oh dear. You aren't gonna like the bar when I'm behind it. And you've got that great big hockey stick, too . . .
  14. I LOVE that one, Janet. Nicely put.
  15. My vote goes to keeping this thread. It's good to hear what people hate! As a customer I hate waiting too long for my check. If I can see the bartender is busy I don't mind too much as long as he/she ackowledges that they're aware that I'm ready to leave. But if the bartender isn't busy, then I want my check as quickly as is humanly possible. If I ask for a check, then I've obviously made up my mind to leave. I guess when I'm behind the bar what I hate most is people who talk down to the bartender as if he/she is just a peon, and they are "oh so important." Everyone deserves a little respect (until they prove they don't deserve it).
  16. As far as I know, everyone here is right about Hirsch. It came from the now defunct Michter's distillery, and when it's gone, it's gone. Meanwhile, the people who are putting out whiskey under the Michter's name are doing a pretty god job with their ryes, I think. And the new Sazerac 6-year-old is now available in some markets. It's a wonderful cocktail rye.
  17. I recently sampled a oretty incredible liqueur from CA. It's called Nocino Della Cristina walnut liqueur. Google the brand name to find the site. This stuff is very rich and flavorful with notes of prunes or dates behind the nutty flavors, but I found it fairly hard to work with when using it in cocktails. I've written about my experience, and the piece will be published in about 8 days, so I'll let everyone in on what went down after the article goes live. Meanwhile, I highly recommend this liqueur.
  18. In my experience, you're absolutely right. It's impossible to please all of the people all of the time. But it's not a bad idea for a bartender to have a goal to aim for. I usually manage to get through a shift without upsetting anyone, but there are times when it's necessary to lay the law down, just to keep the majority of the other customers happy. I did this last year when I refused to serve somebody who had obviously had too much to drink. She did not leave my bar happier than she came in, and she's never been back (thanks, God) And I make mistakes, too. I sometimes, though not often, "read" people incorrectly such as the time when I thought somebody was drunk, but he turned out to be very sober. It happens. But I try to keep my goal in mind. And sometimes having nobody wanting to deck you is an admirable, even remarkable, achievement . . .
  19. That's a good sentence, but it doesn't quite cover it from my POV. Why? Not everyone goes to a bar to feel special. Some people want to have a quiet conversation with a friend. A good bartender "feels" that, and leaves them alone. Somebody else might want to moan about their partner. A goof bartender "feels" that, and if possible, they make time to listen to that person's woes. There are myriad other possibilties, and that's why I phrased my sentence in that particular way. Making people feel better when they walk out than they did when they walked in can be achieved in many ways.
  20. You're not going to believe this, Dave, but I just used a pint of Ugandan gin in a batch of cocktails I made up for a party 2 weeks ago! No lie. I just wanted to say that, not only is it about time somebody created this course, but I don't think anyone could ask for a better group of experts to learn from. These guys are the cream of the crop. Be prepared, though, for Wondrich to make you buy the first round after class is over. He's very good at that . . .
  21. Well, of course, Wondrich hit the nail on the head here! It's still your round, Dave . . . The most difficult part of the quest I posted, as some of you discovered, is keeping it down to one sentence, and this was a quest I set for myself a few weeks ago. What I came up with is totally inadequate, as a couple of people in another forum pointed out recently, but it's the best I can do. In one sentence. Here's the only sentence I could come up with that, for me, best describes the most important part of a bartender's job (in one sentence): "A great bartender makes sure that every customer leaves his/her bar feeling better that they did when they walked in." I have more to say on this subject, but I'll leave it at that for the time being, though I think I'd like to add one more comment, and it's something that I wrote somewhere in Joy of Mixology: "You disaagree? Good. We're off to a good start."
  22. I don't use measures when I'm behind the bar, though after watching how the guys at Pegu deal with jiggers, I'm starting to think about using them (though I was so busy on my last shift I don't think I could have handled it). At home, when just making drinks for friends, or for Mardee and me, I don't use measures then, either, but I do use them when creating new drinks. I have a small glass beaker that measures up to 3 ounces in 1/2-ounce increments, and I use that on a regular basis. For 1/4 ounce measurements I confess to eye-balling it in that same beaker. I think that making cocktails is more like making soups or sauces that baking cakes. A cake recipe is a chemical formula, and if it isn't followed pretty precisely, the cake might fail. But when making soup I think it's okay to play around with measurements somewhat, and for me the same applies to cocktails. This is especially true when making drinks for someone whose taste you understand, and this is something that pro bartenders might want to think about. If you know that someone likes sweet drinks, you might add more liqueur, or syrup, or whatever, than the recipe calls for. Am I straying from the subject here? Sorry! I'll leave it at that.
  23. I posed this question in another forum where there might be more professional bartenders than consumers, but it might be fun to hear from consumers on this topic, too, so I hope lots of you take a stab at it: I have my own answer to this question, and I'll let everyone know what it is after I hear what you guys (non-gender-specific) have to say: We all know that a bartender has to wear lots of different hats when he/she is behind the stick, but can you tell me in one sentence what is the most important part of a bartender's job?
  24. Thanks for the kind words. I'm actually replying to see if I've managed to upload the caricature (by Jill DeGroff) properly. Fingers crossed that you, and I, can see it.
  25. Both of these drinks look very interesting. Are you serving them at a bar? On the honey front, it seems like you're heating the honey for better consistency, though I could be wrong. I've taken to making a simple honey syrup (1:1 with water) in the microwave. It helps with consistency, and it's also a little easier to work with on the sweetness front since honey can easily overpower a drink. (The honey syrup idea came from a variety of bartenders in USA & London who seem to be using honey this way.)
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