The other Boston insiders are Fenway Park DJ (and sometime drinkboston drinking buddy) TJ Connelly, butcher and fishmonger Michael Dulock of Concord Prime & Fish, and Kupah James, a hiphop dancer, DJ and mentor to teen boys. The videos jam lots of noteworthy places and things, both touristy and un-touristy, into just a few minutes: East Boston (the Zumix performance space, the Boston Typewriter Orchestra, Piers Park, Santarpio’s Pizza, Scups), downtown (Union Oyster House, Boston Athenaeum, Stoddard’s, Bond) Back Bay/South End (Casa Romero, the Otherside Cafe, Darrell’s Corner Bar, Wally’s), Inman Square (East Coast Grill, Trina’s Starlite Lounge, Olé), Concord (Concord Prime & Fish, Main Streets Market, Concord Barber Shop), Jamaica Plain (Salmagundi hat shop, Vee Vee, Ten Tables, Doyle’s) and Fenway Park, to name a few.
The experience gave me an appreciation for the skill with which professional video producers boil an entire weekend of shooting into just a few informative, lively minutes. My favorite behind-the-scenes moment was showing up at the Union Oyster House in the middle of an autumn Saturday lunch rush with a crew of about 10 (producer, a couple camera guys, a sound guy, a photographer, assistants, etc) and nonetheless being politely expedited to a table where we filmed a conversation amid the hubbub. And I got to fulfill my lifelong dream of sucking down a raw oyster on camera.
» Interested in going to bartending school? A website called Groupon, which posts daily deals in various cities, including Boston, is today advertising a $445 course at the DrinkMaster Bartending School for only $150. I know nothing of this school’s reputation, but, hey, it sounds like a deal worth exploring for those so inclined.
» Storied Seattle bartender Murry Stenson of the ZigZag Cafe recently celebrated his 60th birthday with a group of fellow bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts, including Jeffrey Morgenthaler, who was soliciting toasts for the fête from Murray fans nationwide. Even though I’ve never met the man, he has bought me drinks on two occasions through other bartenders. So I got together with two ladies from LUPEC Boston—Misty Kalkofen of Drink, who has also been remotely treated to drinks by Murray, and Kirsten Amman, who recently actually met him in person—to pen an homage (after downing a few cocktails, of course). To our delight, it was transcribed into “one of Murray’s first-edition copies of Embury,” says Morgenthaler. Yes. One of them.
Here it is: “Legend has it there is a bartender in the Northwest named Murray Stenson. His myth echoes from the Pacific through the hills of the Midwest, past the Isle of Manhattan, up the coast of the Atlantic. His legend comes bearing twenties to the heirs of the Pilgrim Rum. Puritans near and far long for the opportunity to glimpse Seattle’s beacon of hospitality. For now, we raise our tankards to the gracious man who touches the heart of Boston. Happy birthday, Murray, from a city of folks who love you though we’ve never met you. We look forward to having you at our bars.”
» Check out this clever montage of Boston bar and cocktail folk (including me) shaking their tails off to a soundtrack by dSonic.
I followed up my how2heroes video on Boston’s Ward Eight cocktail with this one on the Red Rot Cocktail. You may recall that Misty Kalkofen and I created this confection for a party at the Boston Athenaeum. It’s inspired by the “red rot cocktail” that book restorers use to bring musty, old, red leather-bound books back to life. Never thought you’d see footage of rotting book covers in a cocktail video, did you?
The great thing about the video is that we actually got to shoot it in the historic, Beacon Street building that houses the Athenaeum. If you’ve never been there, you should pop in someday and check out the first floor and gallery areas. Better yet, become a member and get access to the whole place. You can check out books, attend lectures (I’ve been to some really good ones) and other events, and bring your laptop and work in a spacious, art-and-antique-filled room overlooking the Granary Burying Ground. Contrary to any preconceptions you may have, you don’t have to be a blue-blooded retiree to join. All you need is a credit card and a couple of references.
As for the cocktail (recipe here): it’s pretty, it’s tasty, it’s balanced, and it’s accessible. Serve it to your vodka-swilling friends, and they will be converted to the ways of gin.
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.
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!
2 parts Wonderful POM pomegranate juice
1 part sugar
orange flower water
Heat POM and sugar in a saucepan until boiling. Turn heat down and let mixture simmer gently for 5-15 minutes. Let mixture cool, pour into a sealed container. Add a drop or two (literally — the stuff is strong) of orange flower water and store in fridge. To preserve the grenadine for more than a week, add a little high-proof vodka. You can also freeze the grenadine.
Alternate recipe: Combine 2 parts POM and 1 part sugar in a sealed container and shake until sugar is dissolved. Store in fridge.