Archive for the ‘Booze in the news’ Category

January 25th, 2009

Cannon on Chronicle

Hey all, in case you missed it, mixmaster Jackson Cannon of Eastern Standard was profiled on Chronicle HD on January 14. (The segment appears after a short piece on chef’s knives, featuring chef David Punch of Ten Tables in JP.) Cannon demos a Frisco and ES’ own Harvest Cocktail while throwing out some historical tidbits and showing off his cocktail-shaking technique. My favorite moment: As the show’s host, Mary Richardson, gingerly gives the shaker a try, Cannon instructs, “A little harder, Mary.” Hoo-hoo!

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Posted in Bartenders, Booze in the news, Video | 4 Comments »

January 14th, 2009

Behind the Boston mixology scene

Nightclub & Bar, December 2008Ever wonder how the Boston mixology scene — the constellation of bars and bartenders who take drink-mixing seriously and are chronicled regularly on this site — came about? Who the originators and other key figures are? What they think of their collective work and its future? Well, you’re in luck, because I lay it all out in a recent cover story for the trade publication Nightclub & Bar. (Yes, that’s Drink‘s own John Gertsen on the cover.) Here’s to all the cocktailians in this city who are helping the scene to thrive!

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Posted in Booze in the news, Boston bars, drinkboston in the news | 7 Comments »

January 7th, 2009

The mainstream media discovers drinking

Has anyone been following the New York Times’ recently launched blog on drinking, Proof? Here’s its mission statement:

“For the past 10,000 years or so, wherever humans have gathered, there has been alcohol. Some never touch the stuff. But most do. It is used to celebrate, commiserate, mourn, remember and, often, to forget. It is different things to different people: libation, anesthetic, emotional crutch, social lubricant, addictive substance, sacred potion, killer or commodity. In ‘Proof,’ contributors consider the charms, powers and dangers of drink, and the role it plays in their lives.”

OK, now read between the lines: “We acknowledge that alcohol is a legal substance consumed by most of the people on earth for reasons too numerous to count. But the Times is not — we repeat, NOT — using this space to promote booze. In fact, we talk about how bad it can be. A lot.”

Actually, I am thrilled that the New York Times has a blog about drinking. As far as I know, the only other prominent newspapers with a regular, substantive space devoted to this topic are the Wall Street Journal (Eric Felten’s “How’s Your Drink?”) and the San Francisco Chronicle. However, with seemingly over half the posts since October devoted to alcoholism and its aftermath, Proof has largely been a solemn read. Even the posts written by active drinkers have been underwhelming. Until Christmas, that is. The NYT brought the excellent Paul Clarke of Cocktail Chronicles into its stable of bloggers, and the man gave us imbibers a nice, shiny gift box of love. Paul talks about his formative drinking years in New York, then being swept up in the classic cocktail movement upon moving to the West Coast, and closes with a survey of improved cocktailing habits in locales across the nation (with a shout-out to Boston).

Also, the Atlantic Monthly has a two-issue-old column on drink. It’s called Drink. And this month, it discusses Drink, the Boston bar. (God, I’m glad I named this blog The column, written by the awesome Wayne Curtis, has the intro: “Our correspondent toasts a growing trend: the return of the classic cocktail.” It’s so adorable when magazines notice a trend three years after it becomes hot. But honestly, I’m thrilled that a publication launched in 1857 — during the first cocktail craze — has come back full circle!

Posted in Booze in the news, Cocktails | 10 Comments »

December 12th, 2008

Lushes on the loose

The Lady is a Lush - pulp novelBeing a drinking woman, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by a pair of recent articles: New York Magazine’s “Gender Bender,” about the rise in heavy drinking among women and possible reasons for it; and Salon’s response, “I’m sooo wasted off feminism,” which takes the NYM article to task for its premise that feminism is worthy of blame for all those messes in dresses running around town. Wow, is there some, um, drink for thought here.

The NYM article says, “The number of women who identify as moderate-to-heavy drinkers has risen in the last ten years, while the number of women who say they are light drinkers has declined.”

The reasons, according to NYM?

  • Feminism: “For the bulk of history, women have skewed toward the teetotaler end of the spectrum; not until the middle of the last century did a burgeoning relationship with alcohol coincide with Second Wave feminism and a general impulse to close the gender gap across the board.”
  • Marketing: “Dr. David Jernigan, the executive director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, believes that the real onslaught — and its effect on the beverages women consume — didn’t reach critical mass until the turn of this century. New alcopop flavors proliferated, Jell-O shooters showed up in grocery-store aisles, and companies rolled out vodkas in increasingly exotic flavors … ‘There’s a clear effort by the industry to create products for female drinkers. And it has had an effect.'” (A whole new argument against flavored vodka!)
  • Higher education: “The transition from high school to college marks the greatest increase in substance abuse among women, and the more educated a woman is, the more likely she will be to drink throughout her life.”
  • Third-wave feminism (a.k.a. “Do me” feminism or “Girls Gone Wild” feminism): “And if you choose to drink yourself unconscious in some random guy’s bed, that’s also your prerogative. To say that you shouldn’t would be paternalistic hand-wringing, implying that a woman needs to be protected from herself.”

The Salon response’s major beef is with NYM’s sub-headline asserting that “this is the kind of equality nobody was fighting for.”

Salon retorts, “Wait, it isn’t? Since when was feminism supposed to bring about selective equality, where women get to enjoy the benefits of being a man, but none of the liabilities? If you claim only the good and none of the bad — it isn’t really equality.” Agreed. Women today have every right to avail themselves of the freedom to be both successful investment bankers and drunken dickheads. Oh, and the connection between higher ed and alcoholism? I guess that means we should be celebrating the fact that, as NYM reports, men are both attending college in fewer numbers and “reining in their drinking.”

The thing that gets me is the way in which only the extreme ends of certain behaviors are portrayed in the media. The NYM piece begins with an anecdote about a twenty-something investment banker who downs as many as 24 drinks in 24 hours, and it ends with the director of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University advising women to stick with the “federally recommended maximum of one drink a day.”

As I wondered in my own take on such matters, “Is there any way a girl can occupy some median point on the scale between ‘drinks a little Chardonnay on the weekends’ and ‘brings a flask to the office?'”

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Posted in Booze in the news | 5 Comments »

November 4th, 2008

Drinking with the presidents

Washington D.C.’s historic Round Robin Bar is, according to this article, serving a special presidential cocktail menu from election day through the presidential inauguration. The menu features beverages — both alcoholic and non-alcoholic — anecdotally linked to each chief executive. Like: rye whiskey, straight, for Andrew Jackson; a Beefeater martini up with olives for JFK; and Diet Coke with lemon for W. Also featured: a Ward Eight for Theodore Roosevelt, which the Round Robin describes as a “politically-charged concoction, brought to D.C. by ‘Big Stick’ Republicans from New York.” OK, so the homework here is a little sloppy. Still, it’s a fun concept. Well, except for what the bar concocted for our forthcoming president:

“Depending on the outcome of the upcoming election, one libation [was created] for each of the two candidates for the 44th presidency of the United States:

“John McCain — Belvedere vodka, on the rocks, a straightforward, clean and refreshing bracer.

“Barack Obama — Obama shake, flavored vodka, fresh fruit and cream, steady and smooth, served tall and cool.”

Surely, they could’ve come up with ideas a little less lame?

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Posted in Booze in the news | 2 Comments »

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