The nightlife and entertainment site Joonbug, Boston edition was good enough to send one of its writers, Ivy Brown, to the Bartenders on the Rise event a few weeks ago. It was Brown’s first drinkboston event and first visit to Green Street, and she has a fresh, thorough take on things that is most welcome. Her heartfelt writeup reflects the quality time she spent talking to each of the four featured bartenders and sampling their cocktails. She begins:
“It was instantly clear that the guest bartenders were actually more like co-hosts, as each one seemed to have a hand in every aspect of the party. As the talent popped back and forth from behind the bar, mingled with the crowd, and happily saw to the distribution of welcome punch, it was clear that this was not simply a crew of folks who happened to make a decent drink, but rather a group of people who had genuine love for what they do.”
All worthy contenders. But as worthy as a blog about the drinking life in Boston? To the ballot, my fellow barflies. And for the love of god, don’t forget to click the “Finished” button after you’ve voted (and don’t forget to cast ballots for your fave bars and bartenders!). Here’s the fine print from the online ballot listing all categories:
FINISHED VOTING FOR YOUR FAVORITES? Please be sure you have finished selecting all the categories you wish to vote for, then click the link below to finish the voting process. We accept one vote per user per category a day.
I’ve used Lonely Planet’s travel guides on various trips, but never have I actually appeared in/written for one — until now.
Mara Vorhees, a Somerville resident who wrote the 2009 edition of Lonely Planet’s Boston City Guide, cold-called drinkboston a little while ago to see if I wanted to write a sidebar for the guide’s Drinking section. Uh, does a cold martini taste good at 5:00 p.m? Called “The ‘Boston’ Cocktail Mystery,” the sidebar riffs off of a post I once wrote about the curious hodgepodge of vintage cocktails with “Boston” in their name. Mara was also nice enough to mention me in the section’s intro as an expert on the local drinking scene. Neat.
There’s a lot of good stuff in this guide, even if you’re a local. For $17.99, it’s worth keeping around the house for when out-of-towners come to visit. Especially if they happen to be fond of drink.
Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, originally published in 2004, is the book that made me “get” this whole classic cocktail thing. I’d been dabbling around the edges of that world for years, drinking Martinis, Negronis and the occasional French 75, collecting vintage barware here and there. But most of the books I encountered failed to inspire me: they were either thick tomes listing, without context, every mixed-drink recipe of the last 50 years, or books for the serious bartender, dense with text about tools and techniques.
That’s why I was so thankful when I found VS&FC, with its mere 80 carefully chosen, carefully formulated classic recipes, snappy historical briefs on each drink, and as good a summary of cocktail history — including how cocktails got popular again — as I’ve ever read. The book was fun, accessible and smart. It guided me in stocking my home bar, and when I tasted the mysterious delights of Corpse Reviver 2′s and Widows Kisses, I never looked back.
If you missed VS&FC’s initial printing, don’t worry. The Revised and Expanded Deluxe Edition is now available. Besides a hard cover and a whole new (and improved) look, it’s got 100 recipes (still a quite manageable list), more photos of booze artifacts from the Doctor’s own collection, and added appendices, including one on “the 25 most influential online cocktail pioneers.” Hint: I’m on page 318. Ever seen yourself quoted in a book that influenced you to become that quotable person? It’s freaky.
Now presenting: a discussion of the lore behind Boston’s Ward Eight cocktail, and a demonstration of how to mix one, in a video starring the somewhat-ready-for-prime-time blogger behind drinkboston.com.
You may already be familiar with how2heroes (tagline: cook. eat. be merry.), a video website that “celebrates people’s passion for food [and drink] – the flavors, the presentation, the secrets to success, the cultural inspirations, and of course the ‘heroes’ who share their knowledge and experience.” In just a year, the site has produced 500 short videos featuring food and drink professionals and enthusiasts demo’ing and talking about particular foodstuffs and drinkstuffs. Besides myself, featured Boston folk in the Beverages category include:
There’s a lot worth checking out on this site. The how2heroes staff does a good job getting a bunch of people who aren’t used to being on camera to convey their knowledge of food and drink in a straightforward and often engaging way.
I did my damnedest to get Locke-Ober, where the Ward Eight was invented, to let me shoot my video there. Regrettably, they showed no interest. A special thanks to Tremont 647 for letting me (and some of the others above) shoot at their bar.