June 20th, 2009

Nips – 6/20/09

doctordrinking» As I prepare to make my third annual trip to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail, two New York Times articles this week combined in my head to form a timely and contradictory message: “Booze is bad for you. New Orleans is good for you.” The first article, Alcohol’s Good for You? Some Scientists Doubt It, looks skeptically at studies that show health benefits from moderate drinking. The takeaway is this: “It may be that moderate drinking is just something healthy people tend to do, not something that makes people healthy.” If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you figured that out a long time ago. I’m guessing that, even if you are a moderate drinker (one drink per day for women, two for men), you aren’t drinking for your health, but because it’s fun. Imagine — doing something that confers no benefit other than fun!

» Which segues perfectly into the second article, The Way of the Bayou, about New Orleanians being completely out of step with “progress” and not fretting about it one bit. “While the rest of us Americans scurry about with a Blackberry in one hand and a to-go cup of coffee in the other in a feverish attempt to pack more achievement into every minute, it’s the New Orleans way to build one’s days around friends, family, music, cooking, processions, and art. For more than two centuries New Orleanians have been guardians of tradition and masters of living in the moment — a lost art.” This is a rosy view of the city, but there’s truth in it. It’s something you pick up on pretty quickly when you’re down there, especially during an event as joyously frivolous — and bad for your health — as Tales of the Cocktail.

» Speaking of Tales, the event culminates in the annual Spirit Awards, which recognize the best bars, bartenders, writers, brand ambassadors, products, etc. in the cocktail world. This year, Drink has been nominated for Best New Cocktail Bar. Cross your fingers and hope for the best, ’cause Gertsen and co. deserve to win.

» Some Boston bar proprietors received a strange promotional item this week: a tasteful looking box with the words “Thanks for nothing” on the outside and an empty bottle of Knob Creek bourbon on the inside. An accompanying letter explains that consumer demand has literally drained the barrels dry, and it thanks the recipient for “helping make it happen.” As Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up. The letter continues, “We ask for your patience and your continued support. We plan to capitalize on this temporary shortage by creating customer communications and conducting outreach that underscore Knob Creek’s commitment to quality. Working together, I’m sure we’ll all be even more popular and profitable once supply is restored.”

Ooooh. Commitment to quality. Working together. Popular and profitable. The boutique bourbon market is wielding some fancy PR! The letter should’ve just said, “If you’re paying $10 more a bottle than you used to for our bourbon, bless your soul. By the time supplies are replenished, your customers will be used to paying the higher price. Genius!”

» And good gawd, y’all, MC Slim JB (food/drink critic and occasional contributor in this space) just posted There’s a riot going on in the cocktail world, an eloquent tribute to and smart summation of the rise of the craft cocktail scene in Boston. If you’re a regular here, a lot of the nuts and bolts of what he’s saying will already sound familiar, but his thoughtful take on things is well worth checking out. As he explains, his food-oriented audience and writing peers are often surprisingly ignorant of what’s been going on for the past several years, drink-wise. It’s time they knew.

Permalink | Filed under Booze in the news, Boston bars, New Orleans, Nips | Tags: , , ,

6 Responses to “Nips – 6/20/09”

  1. Patrick

    I second your good wishes for Drink. I was fortunate to get in there on Saturday night at 7:30 before the masses. What a treat. This place has it all. Here are a few reasons why I enjoyed the evening, and why they deserve serious consideration for best new cocktail bar;

    - The simplicity of the rustic decor. The stone, exposed brick and
    lighting are all easy on the eyes. The room is great.
    - Attention to detail. The music and lighting were adjusted
    appropriately as the evening evolved. The vibe is great.
    - The variety of vintage glassware is downright cool, especially the
    bigger, shapely glasses from the “man closet.” The barware is a
    real touch of class.
    - Misty, John, Aaron, Ben and the entire staff were all very
    welcoming, gracious, informative and fun. They were very
    knowledgeable without being pretentious. They get hospitality.
    - The thoughtful bar snacks to compliment the cocktails. The dates,
    grilled cheese, and asparagus dishes were excellent, and just
    enough to hold us over before a late dinner at #9.
    - The ‘Fort Point’ recommendation instead of my usual Manhattan.
    - Pappy Van Winkle with one, big chunk of block ice slowly melting in
    the middle for my DC.
    - The price/experience ratio is a tremendous bargain for customers.

    Here’s to great results in New Orleans. Have a great trip.

  2. JAX

    ok so – drink is literally a drinking person’s dream come true! and i hope they bring best new cocktail bar award back to boston! the other bars that are nominated are great, so if they don’t, no shame, but pulling like hell for you john, ben, misty, josey et al….

    mc slim’s “translation” of the current resurgence is awesome and on point… thanks man!

    now for a rant… i might not ever be able to order knob creek again.. it’s like if i try to say “and five cases of knob creek” the words “thanks for nothing” pop into my head and repeat over and over until put down the phone.

    hey booker – is that your dream?

    anyway, that’s just me but why not “thanks for something”. (a knob creek bottle stuffed with jalapeno poppers?)

    ps – they sent me t-shirts today that also said “thanks for nothing”..

    whatever…

  3. Adam

    Here’s another link Boston readers might be interested in. A few local bartenders share their “Margarita secrets”:

    http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2009/06/18/tips_for_mixing_a_margarita/

    The entertaining part? Read the comments. Huge debate over whether to use fresh limes or Rose’s lime cordial, which one person swears is much better, and more affordable than fresh limes. Uh, sure…

  4. MC Slim JB

    Thanks as always, Lauren, for your very generous citations of my blog. I truly enjoy basking in your reflected glow.

    And thanks, too, JAX: you’re one of several local pros who have sent very kind words along about my little essay. Really though, it’s just a rehash of 3+ years of drinkboston.com entries, Cliff Notes for the kids who’ve been sleeping through class.

    Of course, it’s the bartenders and their crews and backers who make the scene happen, not the chroniclers. I count myself a good customer, and have done my share of evangelizing — got 100 relatives at a family reunion drinking real Mojitos 10 years ago (a real breakthrough for that crew), even my stripper cousin-in-law, who liked everything about them “except the lettuce”.

    Really: those who can, do; those who can’t, write crappy blogs. It seems like the least I can do for all the rich fun you folks have given me and mine over the years. Keep on keeping on: from what I can see, most of the world still waits to be converted.

  5. ljclark

    I’m glad I have backup on Drink here. Jax, thanks for nothing… and stepping up with the industry viewpoint on Knob. Adam, OMG, I meant to mention the margarita article in this Nips! Yes, the authority with which many involved in the article offered their technique on one of the world’s most straightforward drinks… And Slim, “crappy blogs”? I’ve heard of self-deprecation, but that’s ridiculous, my friend. Oh, whoops, were you talking about this blog?

  6. MC Slim JB

    Golly, no aspersions on drinkboston intended! By crappy blogs I meant my own, which would warm the heart of Gutenberg, so replete is it with featureless gray text, so utterly free of the photos, graphics and other attractive visual elements that real blogs have. I hope to graduate from words-words-and-only-words someday.

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