Salmon, gin & tonic Tuesday, May 8 2012 

I was so swept up in gin and English gorgeousness that I didn’t have as much time to blog whilst overseas as I’d originally thought. Sorry to leave you hanging. The upside? More time to post than had I been squeezing it in between outings.

So, on to Day 2 of the English Gins trip.

We started our morning bright and early on the docks just under the London Eye, which is even more enormous than I’d imagined. (more…)


April cocktail club: How to be a bartender Wednesday, Apr 18 2012 

The Central Park Cocktail Club did something a little different for April’s meeting: we tended bar. (Well, at least I did. For about five minutes. I made a Sazerac, and the customer seemed pleased enough.)

Untitled cocktail featuring Marie Brizard raspberry, as fashioned by Alex Huebner (background).

Thanks to Girls Rock! Chicago’s fabulous Autumn Auction (full disclosure: it’s an annual event that I plan for a charity on whose board I sit), I won the rights to a crash-course in bartending at Weegee’s Lounge as taught by its fabulous proprietor, Alex “Arthur Fellig” Huebner.

Several rounds in & still drinking in the knowledge. (Get it?)

Under the premise “I could teach a monkey how to bartend,” Alex walked us through the bar’s history (which I learned initially carried one of the oldest liquor licenses in Chicago — amazing!), the bar itself (vintage ice boxes! original Brunswick bar!), his rules of proportionality and how he derives his recipes, and finally, we got a lesson in free-pouring. For the record, I pour a slightly heavy-handed shot. ALSO, and this was the most fascinating lesson ever: Did you know that shaking a shot with ice results in triple the amount of (watered-down) booze? Pretty neat.

Glassware galore!

Thanks, Alex, for all the learnings. Anyone who can get me tipsy enough to pretend to know how to bartend at an establishment for which I have utmost respect is obviously a demigod in my book.

Dreaming of the Savoy Thursday, Apr 12 2012 

The finalized itinerary for my upcoming gin journey to London & Plymouth arrived this week, and I am especially excited about one addition that wasn’t previously mentioned: cocktail hour at the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel (!).

Any serious cocktail dork (or anyone who shops at Anthropologie for booze literature, or this dude) probably owns a copy of The Savoy Cocktail Book, originally published in 1930 featuring recipes by reigning barman Harry Craddock. He invented a ton of drinks, among them the White Lady, and I fully intend to order one when I’m there in a matter of weeks.

The trip is hosted by Pernod Ricard and, as you can imagine, we’re well taken care of. I’m very much looking forward to staying at The Dukes, but…I have to admit I’m jealous of whomever was on the trip previous: Due to an erroneous little clause in my itinerary, I learned of last year’s accommodations — which were at The Savoy. Which is so incredibly British and stately and dreamy. I mean, c’mon — this is a foyer!

Savoy Hotel, Upper Thames foyer (courtesy Fairmont Hotels & Resorts)

Isn’t it amazing?! For this trip, the American Bar will more than suffice as a little taste. (I totally watched this video, btw.)

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