Monday, September 28, 2009

New Domaine De Canton Cocktail Competion Open!

Enter an original recipe onto our bartender section of by September 30th.

Picks for mixologists will be decided in October.

8 mixologists will be picked to advance to Round 2. Round 2 will be held in 8 cities at venues and dates TBA.

-Washington D.C.
-New York City
-Las Vegas
-San Francisco

For Round 3, two mixologists will advance to final round in St. Martin for a chance at $10,000 grand prize

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Back home and beginning to recover

Wow, what a whirlwind week! First to Kentucky with the great people at Makers Mark and Jim Beam to see how their products are made and to spend a bit of time at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival.

I'll get more posts up about this later, but two highlights for me were tasting the new 130.1 proof Booker's Bourbon from Jim Beam. At 5 proof higher than the previous Booker's offering, this barrel strength bourbon would seem to be unbearably hot and yet I found the 130 proof offering smoother and sweeter than the 125 proof version. Of course, let me recommend a bit of water or ice for either offering, I think it opens high proof whiskies up a bit more and releases some of the underlying flavors.

The other highlight that I experienced was a tasting with Kevin Smith, Master Distiller for Maker's Mark in one of their rickhouses. Kevin explained that Maker's rotates each barrel two times in an effort to ensure consistently smooth whisky. Makers usually bottles whisky at around 6 years old, and Kevin offered up a sample of 12 year old Makers as a comparison. Unlike many other older whiskies that I'd tasted, the 12 year old Makers was tannic, dry and almost dusty in flavor, practically undrinkable. That isn't a criticism of Makers at all, their goal is to produce one, consistent whisky and they do that very well.

Next, Jacob Grier and I were presenters at the Oregon Restaurant Association's annual conference at the SunRiver Resort. I hate to brag, but I think Jake and I knocked this one out of the park. The presentation was very well received and I had a great time while I was down there. It was my first time presenting at a restaurant conference and I'm very happy with how it all went. Now we're applying for the Washington Restaurant Association's 2010 conference.

Lastly, I'm excited to announce that next month I'm going to be competing in the cocktail competition at Crave AZ, one of the preeminent food events in the Southwest. Its been a long time since I was last in Scottsdale and I'm looking forward to this event.

More later when I dig out of email jail and rest up.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My KY Bourbon Festival Schedule

In case anyone was wondering where I'll be or what I'm doing.

9/16 Wednesday-
Fly into Louisville. Arrive in at the Hampton Inn Bardstown around 5:30. I'll probably just find dinner and acquaint myself with Bardstown that evening. I could use a good restaurant recommendation.

9/17 Thursday-

1pm- Lunch at the Burk's House on the Hill at Maker's Mark
2pm- Maker's Mark distillery tour
4pm- Maker's Mark Tasting and Bottle Dipping
7pm- Cocktails and Dinner at Bill and Nancy Samuels house

9/18 Friday-

10am- Jim Beam Distillery Tour
12pm- Lunch at the Knob Creek House with Fred Noe
3pm- KY Bourbon Festival Hall of Fame Ceremony
6:30pm- Bourbon-que and Tasting at the Jim Beam Family Home

9/19 Saturday-
9:20am- Bourbon Pancake Breakfast (Bourbon and Pancakes? Am I in heaven?)
10:30am- Tour Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History
12:15pm- Hang out in downtown Louisville until 3pm. My goal is a Seelbach cocktail at the Seelbach Hotel, a hot brown at the Brown Hotel and to find the best Julep in Louisville
6:30- Tasting and Black Tie Gala at the KY Bourbon Festival (I'll be the guy in the Blackwatch plaid dinner jacket). Event ends at 1am.

9/20 Sunday- Fly back to Portland at some ungodly hour to get to SunRiver so that Jacob Grier and I can present the mixology session at the Oregon Restaurant Association's conference. If you happen to see some half awake guy in a rumpled tux on Sunday at PDX, you'll know the bourbon won.

If you are going to be at the Bourbon Festival and would like to get together, let me know. I am on a press trip, so my schedule is pretty tight and no, I can't get you into any of these events unless its open to the public. That said, this is my first trip to the bourbon festival and I'm pretty excited and want to soak up as much as I can. Hopefully, I'll see some old friends and make some new ones while I'm out there as well.

Follow me on twitter for KY Bourbon Festival updates

Tomorrow I leave for Kentucky to attend the 18th Annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival as a guest of Jim Beam and Makers Mark. While I'm going to be saving most of the things I learn for upcoming articles for my new position as a whiskey writer (I'm trying not to say publicly for who yet, ask me in private though and I'm happy to tell you), I'll be tweeting all the action live here.

One more thing. Here is my must eat/drink list while I'm in Kentucky. Am I missing anything?

Hot Brown
Fried Chicken
Mint Julep
Seelbach Cocktail

Monday, September 7, 2009


Ooh, a new offering from Bowmore! I hope that this gets released in the US. The "Tempest" sounds absolutely delicious. I can't wait to try it.

Bowmore Single Malt whisky from the beautiful Scottish island of Islay will be revealing a new limited edition expression – unlike any other Bowmore Single Malt – Bowmore Tempest on the 14th September.

The long anticipated Bowmore Tempest is a small batch release of only 2,000 cases from Islay’s oldest distillery (established in 1779). As the name suggests, the taste of Bowmore Tempest really captures the rugged and stormy sea qualities that have been associated with its weather beaten Bowmore distillery.

For ten years these first fill Bourbon casks have lain in vaults just inches from the battering waves of Loch Indaal – the result is a whisky bright summer gold in colour. The nose is engulfed by earthy smoke and a sea salt brine. A little water brings out notes of crème brulée with orange blossom and butter cream.

At first on the palate there is a surprising little burst of citrus, some lemons and orange, then comes the distinct peaty character of Islay, with a taste of the neighbouring sea. The citrus returns at the end adding balance and complexity to the mouthfeel and the finish is long, lingering yet clean.

Just as Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort developed his original Beaufort scale to describe wind effects on sailing vessels, the Bowmore Beaufort scale graph plots the complexity of Bowmore Tempest, which has been balanced by nature.

Kirsteen Beeston, Bowmore Marketing Manager said: “We are so proud to reveal Bowmore Tempest. It’s a balanced yet complex dram that really captures the spirit of the distillery on Islay and the craftsmanship that has been applied to make this beautiful tasting single malt.”

Bottles of this special single malt will be priced at £39.99* from all leading whisky specialists and selected retailers.

For further information on Bowmore Single Malt Whisky please visit

Barenjager in the rain

I don't like particularly sweet liqueurs, to be honest, I prefer things that are dry dry dry. Barenjager though is just so incredibly well made with a pronounced honey-sweetness without being cloying, that I have to say that I'm really becoming a big fan. With this cold, gray, rainy Portland weather we've been experiencing this weekend, I've been nursing my cold with a nice tot of Barenjager mixed with some hot Earl Gray tea. Its perfect for the current weather and a spot on remedy for the end of a bad cold.

I'm thinking that Barenjager might just make a nice glaze in the kitchen too. I'll experiment and report back.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Benedictine Cocktail Competition!

In commemoration of the 500th anniversary of its creation, BÉNÉDICTINE and Esquire are searching for the Alchemists of Our Age, mixologists who embody the spirit and innovation behind the creation of BÉNÉDICTINE.

Beginning in August 2009, bartenders are invited to stake their claim in history and lead the journey into the liqueur’s first millennium.

Renowned author and master mixologist, David Wondrich, will select the finalists and winner. Both will earn recognition in Esquire Magazine.

Recipes should be submitted to by September 8, 2009.