Jacques Bezuidenhout’s fantastic new project is not yet open to the public, but when it is, it is going to be excellent. As a first stop on Thursday madness, a visit to the newly renovated space fit the bill perfectly. Such a Forgery!

What? No ice machines or bar sink plumbing yet? That’s OK. Tequila cheekies may be better than a fancy cocktail as starter fuel anyway.

A highly documented moment.

Not a selfie

Not a selfie

Forgery is beautiful inside. Here is a little eye appetizer.

Stocking underway

Stocking underway

One day this will be packed with excellent spirits

One day this will be packed with excellent spirits

Of course the real beauty of Forgery will be cocktail excellence. Another great reason to visit San Francisco more often.

Thursday madness moved on to excellent sazaracs at the Boxing Room with some oysters, fried chicken, and gumbo. Wash it all down with some very good bottles of wine and then liftoff. Rolling blackouts may have occurred (we’ll never tell), a phenomenon enhanced by a visit to Smugglers Cove.

A rose

A rose

The Palomar in San Fran is home away from home. Been staying here for years. One of my favorite Kimpton properties in a city I have grown to know well. It is great to be greeted by the door staff and front desk staff who know you by sight.

A fish

A fish

902 is quite literally one step (or story) up from 802. Looks familiar and Palomar-y. Thanks to Christopher Smith for getting everything arranged during a very busy week indeed. This town is packed with geeks.

Welcome to RSA week, with a note, massive hunks of cheese, and fresh flowers

Welcome to RSA week, with a note, massive hunks of cheese, and fresh flowers

We really appreciate the flowers, but we’re gonna have to explain why FTD arrangements don’t work in modern design. Simple lines are always better.

We will be hosting a number of meetings during the RSA week, so it is great to have room to do that.

902 sitting room

902 sitting room

902 sitting

902 sitting

902 bedroom

902 bedroom

And of course there is the usual big giant bathtub and the ’80s parent’s shower. No plastic!

Big ole tub in 902

Big ole tub in 902

The 902 shower is in better shape than 802, but could be upgraded to a glass cube.

The 902 shower is in better shape than 802, but could be upgraded to a glass cube.

RSA week is always intense and long, and having a home away from home to return to (though the respites may be brief) is great. Five showerheads for the Palomar.

Guarded by gorgons

Guarded by gorgons

In other San Fran news, annabell’s is great as usual but is slated to close for renovation soon. This is one of my prime meeting places.

And as always, Cafe Claude is the best place for lunch (French style) in all of San Francisco.

I was lucky enough to visit Dirty Habit three times this week. The first drive by was with some of my friends in the tech press who, lets just say, had a big head start on cocktail hour. Raul Ayala served up an invention of his called the Date in India:
1.5 Herradora Blanco
.5 lime
.5 luxardo
.75 spicy tamarind puree (hmmm)
.25 all spice dram
This is shaken and then strained over the rocks. The coup de grace is a dehydrated orange slice liberally spiced with paprika, cayenne, and sugar floated on top.

Congrats to Raul for placing a nicely designed beverage on the list at one of the best bars on earth! We returned late night with a group of 40 or so after a dinner at Perbacco. The bar kindly accommodated our group. Excellent bourbon and some more Dates in India.

Also spent a bit of time at BDK, a new Kimpton bar and restaurant on Geary. The bar is good but a bit noisy and open for my taste. It feels just a bit too much like a meat market. Had some nice cocktails that could have used a bit more attention to measurement detail.

I returned late night one night by myself to see Mr. Brian Means himself. It’s always a pleasure to sample his delicious masterful cocktails. The bar was busy at crunch time, but everyone backbar (raul, crystal, and brian) took time out to chat and hang out. Such a pleasure.

Thursday madness approaches. Fasten your seatbelts.

Glassaholic: Old 48

April 19, 2015

The Old 48 is a cocktail that I came up with on the cusp of my 49th birthday. The heat from the hellfire bitters is a great blend with a not too sweet bourbon. I sometimes use Blanton’s bourbon and have also used Rye in variations. The hint of chocolate in this drink blends beautifully with the often cloying cherry to make something better than the sum of its parts.

Old 48
2 oz bourbon (basil-hayden)
1 oz blue Dolin’s vermouth (neither sweet nor dry!!)
.5 heering
1 dash chocolate bitters
6.5 drops Bittermen’s hellfire habañero bitters
Stir down. Strain over large cube. Lemon peel garnish (express and drop in).

Serving this on an ice sphere is far from necessary, but what the hell. Definitely do use a large piece of ice and not a pile of rocks if you can.

Yes, we know the governor of Indiana is a jackass. And as a serious participant in the Indiana business community, my company is not happy with the exclusionary stupid laws recently enacted. But it’s not like we can just pull up stakes and leave. So we sometimes have to go to Indy.

Last trip out, NPS gave the Alexander a shot with mixed results. This time, we found a better room (3044) and had a much better shower. Much less hamster cage. Much more bathroom kung fu. If we find a higher floor version, we will have what we actually want. Oh, and about that morning newspaper…

3044 has style at the Alexander

3044 has style at the Alexander

3044 bathroom console (includes unused TV)

3044 bathroom console (includes unused TV)

Bathub AND large glass shower cube

Bathub AND large glass shower cube

Not only was the shower glass, it had great shower pressure and plenty of hot water. YES!

Hallway

Hallway

Homage to the American TV

Homage to the American TV

I was so beat when I got to the Alexander, that I did not even go to the fabulous bar for a night cap. Slept like a log. Maybe next time.

Four shower heads for the Alexander. So much better than the awful Conrad!

In other Indianapolis news, other than a stupid jackass governor, the Libertine has moved to new fancier and hipper digs. Still the same great cocktails though.

Arriving too early for the event and just in time to squeeze in a cocktail, my companion and I were served by Benjamin Moran. After the event, three hours later, we returned for more. Here is the as yet un-named Libertine Experiment One:
2 oz Ford’s Gin
.5 Cocchi Torino
.5 Gran classico
.25 Dry curaçao
1 dash angostura
2 droppers scorpion grapefruit tincture (in house)
Stir down. Big rock. Grapefruit peel garnish for nose.

The Libertine Experiment One by Benjamin Moran

The Libertine Experiment One by Benjamin Moran

Benjamin was nice enough to make this for me even though his shift was over. But not to fear, Colin Lime was in the house to take over. Colin made us an Indiana Diamondback:
2 oz Bonesnapper Rye (local)
.75 Green Chartruese
.5 Demerara syrup (1:1)
2 dashes Angostura
3 dashes lemon bitters
shake. serve over big rock. lemon peel garnish.

Then it was back to Bloomington and the Grant Street Inn, but not before stopping in at the Irish Lion again for a Sazarac with Hendry.

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Cardinal Spirits is so new that their grass has not come in yet. We were honored to get an evening tour led by a mysterious partner.

The grass is still straw at Cardinal Spirits

The grass is still straw at Cardinal Spirits

Cardinal is using both wine and barley beer as mash for vodka and gin distillery. Currently, the vodka is available and the gin is almost ready for release (still in the titration stage with aromatics). There is some brandy and some whiskey recently barreled as well.

Where the mash is born.

Where the mash is born.

Cardinal Spirits still is about 6 stories in 4 connected sections

Cardinal Spirits still is about 6 stories in 4 connected sections

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Distillers notes

Distillers notes

Aromatics added here for the gin process

Aromatics added here for the gin process

The mysterious partner gave a great tour

The mysterious partner gave a great tour

How new is the brandy and whiskey?

One rick

One rick

This new!

This new!

New indeed. Born last week.

New indeed. Born last week.

You are in Indiana!

You are in Indiana!

The experiment is still underway when it comes to gin.

Gin testing bench

Gin testing bench

Bottler

Bottler

Needless to say, the tour was fantastic. So much fun to see Cardinal Spirits booting up!

Now it’s time to taste the gin.

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Spring at the Grant Street Inn

Spring at the Grant Street Inn

As a creature of habit, I always look forward to returning to my favorite haunts. The Grant Street Inn is my Bloomington home away from home. And room 30 is my room…though they changed it up!

The stylish new sink console. Nice.

The stylish new sink console. Nice.

Big huge tub shower thing remains intact: room 30

Big huge tub shower thing remains intact: room 30

Yes, the ceiling is tiled.

Yes, the ceiling is tiled.

Traveling at the height of Spring in Virginia is a tough row to hoe, but at least it is the height of Spring here too!

IMG_2784

IMG_2780

IMG_2782

Four perpetual shower heads forever. Plus a garland of flowers.

Very sad Bloomington news though, the Rail has closed. This leaves precisely zero high end mixology bars in town. So it will be the Irish Lion for some bourbon I suppose. So bummed.

Dinner at Janko’s.

We have a new toy at the Coal Stove Sink Bar. It melts ice cubes.

The collection (well, maybe 1/3 of it anyway)

The collection (well, maybe 1/3 of it anyway)

New device

New device

Doge says.

Wow. Such ice. So cold. Much tail wag.

Wow. Such ice. So cold. Much tail wag.

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