Archive for May, 2008

May 13th, 2008

Esquire salutes Eastern Standard

Esquire best bars logoCongratulations to Eastern Standard for making Esquire magazine’s 2008 Best Bars in America list! One Eastern Standard mixologist, Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli, will be a guest bartender tonight at our World Cocktail Day celebration at Green Street in Cambridge.

Eastern Standard, along with the People’s Republik in Cambridge and the Beachcomber in Wellfleet, joins past Esquire honorees the B-Side Lounge, Doyle’s Cafe and No. 9 Park. What a coincidence — those are some of Boston’s best bars.

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Posted in Booze in the news, Boston bars | No Comments »

May 9th, 2008

Rare cocktail books, digitized

Harry Johnson Bartender’s ManualHere’s another reason to go to drinkboston’s World Cocktail Day event: you’re apt to pick up some fascinating knowledge from our guest bartenders.

Example: Brother Cleve was doing some research on the cocktail he’ll be mixing, the Bijou (gin, sweet vermouth, green Chartreuse, orange bitters). I found only a vague citation that the drink was named for the Broadway theater the Bijou, which opened in 1917. Turns out, says Cleve, that the cocktail predates the theater by 35 years. It seems to have first appeared in Harry Johnson’s Bartender’s Manual from 1882.

Then he tells me this: after locating the Johnson book on eBay and opting not to pay the “thousands of dollars” asking price, he stumbled upon a free, digitized copy online. OMG!

The Johnson book (1934 edition) and three other out-of-print bar and cocktail guides are available as PDFs on the Exposition Universelle des Vins et Spiritueux web site. The EUVS is a wine and spirits museum in southern France built by Paul Ricard, who founded the spirits conglomerate Pernod Ricard in 1932. Its huge collection of artifacts is currently undergoing a two-year restoration, and part of the project involves putting some of the rare books in the collection online. In addition to the books (more of which are on the way!), there are drink lists and menus from the late 1800s to the 1930s. Right now the books available are:

Harry Johnson’s Bartender’s Manual (1934)

The Cocktail Key, by Herbert Jenkins Ltd. (1920s)

American Bar: Recettes des Boissons Anglaises et Americaines (1904)

Collections and Creations, by Henry Lyman (1934)

One tiny caveat: you can download these books to your computer, but that’s about it. They are password-protected. You can’t print them out. You can’t copy images or pages from them or doctor them in any way. Believe me, I tried. Still, this is about as exciting as it gets for the cocktailian. See you Tuesday!

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Posted in Books & resources | 7 Comments »

May 6th, 2008

Get Mr. Boston for your iPod

Mr. Boston Guide for iPodMr. Boston’s Official Bartender’s and Party Guide is the only thing on my iPod right now. Yeah, in order to install the Mac version of the Guide, I had to re-format my iPod, which, being a hand-me-down from Scott, was originally formatted for Windows. As anyone who has struggled with iTunes’ sociopathic quirks knows, that meant I had to erase everything on the damn thing — 35 gigabytes of music, roughly.

But now I have 1,200 cocktail recipes on hand wherever I go! Who needs the entire Beatles catalog when you have the Mr. Boston drinks database? (OK, I’m not sweating too much. I’ll have both as soon as I re-load my iTunes library back onto the pod.)

Even after all that, I highly recommend this thing. It’s really cool. You scroll through cocktails in alphabetical order by base spirit, and there are short histories of liquors, tips on bartending and party planning, etc. The screens are ultra-clean-looking and easy to read. You may be wondering: is this some jive-ass, out-of-print version of the Mr. Boston Guide? No. It’s based on the latest, “platinum” edition released a few years ago and edited by drinks writer and Boston Magazine contributor Anthony Giglio.

I showed it to a bartender friend of mine last night — someone who has an impressive library of rare, old cocktail books — and this individual exclaimed, “I want that!” If you want it, too, you’re in luck, because the Guide’s producer, Raybook, is having a sale — two sales, actually. Until the end of May, you can use the code SPRING08 to get a 20% discount off the download, which is currently already on sale for $15.99 (down from $19.99). So, if you’re not in iTunes limbo and you have 246 megabytes to spare on your iPod, you can’t really lose here.

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Posted in Books & resources | 6 Comments »

May 2nd, 2008

N-n-n-nineteen

Cambridge Brewing Co. signThat’s how many beers will be on tap this weekend at the Cambridge Brewing Co.‘s 19th anniversary fest. Red God IPA — a hop bomb that the brewpub created years ago as a rebuke to the Miller Brewing Co’s insipid and briefly popular fake microbrew, Red Dog — will be featured. So will selections from head brewer Will Meyers’ new cask cellar, a rich breeding ground for complex, aged, Belgian-inspired sour ales.

Which is to say that the CBC has come a long way since 1989, when it opened with three draught beers that seemed exotically flavorful at the time: Regatta Golden, Cambridge Amber and Charles River Porter. Recently, the CBC expanded its brewery, installing some new tanks and upgrading things a bit. That’s to get ready for next year’s 20 beers on tap, I imagine.

Come five o’clock tomorrow, I’ll be there, doing my part to empty those casks and toasting to the longest-running brewpub in greater Boston.

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Posted in Beer | 3 Comments »

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