Why Star Wars Will Make You a Better Cocktail

One big room, full of bad bitches. Image Credit: riptapparel.com

Feel free to disagree with me on this, but I feel as if it takes a certain person to fill the shoes of the craft bartender. I say “craft bartender” with a certain restraint, even going to such lengths as writing the phrase with the same case and intent as the great bell hooks: that the title is immaterial; it is the body of work which ought to be judged, that as long as there have been bartenders, even in the days of bottled sour mixes and tonic from a gun, I maintain that tending bar has always and forever will be a craft measured in sweat equity, satisfied guests and the pride in the product of one’s own hands.

I believe that, to a certain extent, there must be a certain obsessiveness about other, seemingly inane or otherwise nerdy things that somehow manifest themselves into an obsessiveness about ingredients, technique, philosophy and history. I may be wrong, but I think Continue reading


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Video Time! Cocktail Recipe: The New American Standard

I knew a band once called The New American Standard. They were kind of emo and bitter. I like their name, and with a healthy amount of bitters as its base, I think the name is rather fitting. As an added plus, I get to riff on classic American cocktails: the Old-Fashioned and the Sazerac. For other really fine bitters-heavy cocktails, try an Angostura Collins at my former (and brief) home, Canon on Capitol Hill in Seattle, as well as a Trinidad Sour from Giuseppe Gonzalez, at one of his many homes in NYC.

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Video Time! Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Ginger Beer

I tend bar privately. One of the upsides of the deal is that I have complete control over my ingredients. That means citrus pressed to order and homemade ingredients. For the job that I worked most recently, I decided to share the prep process with you. Jeff Morgenthaler of Clyde Common in Portland, OR has a recipe for ginger beer. It’s really good. The original recipe for 16 oz. of the stuff can be found here:


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Filed under Bartending, Carbonated, Clyde Common, Ginger Beer, Lemon, Mixology, Morgenthaler, Portland, Really Cool Stuff, Soda

From the Questions Box

A friend of mine is working the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland this summer and fanagled her way behind the stick.  I’m pretty excited for her. Here’s an excerpt from this morning’s messages. Because she’s an American being paid under the table overseas, and I don’t want her Visa getting revoked, the names herein (except my own) have been changed to protect our respective interests:

    • Dear Ricky,
      I need your advice. I’ve managed to get my way into a bar shift on Friday, and despite having worked in restaurants and coffee shops I’ve never actually worked in a bar. This is going to be a fairly straightforward affair, no fancy cocktails as far as I know, but I’d still love some advice from a pro so I can pretend like I know what I’m doing. Pro tips? Continue reading

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Soda Siphon Gas Mix: Is It Important?

The good folks who headed up Vessel in Seattle were the same guys who introduced me to carbonated cocktails.

It was a really cool idea. Introduce dissolved gasses into a cocktail, say, a Jack Rose Cocktail, and you’ve got a classy adult soda on your hands. Hopefully with a healthy dose of the bonded stuff.

Beyond the novelty of having a sparkling cocktail without the dilution brought by soda water, the perlage climbing up the flute would bring the aroma to the nose of the drinker. It also opened up or intensified flavor. Take for example, shaken tea. Stirred and chilled, it tastes flat, because it is. Shaken hard, the aeration opens up the flavors and aromas of the tea and even makes it taste sweeter without the addition of simple syrup.

The same concept applies to cocktails. The colder a beverage is, the more sugar must be added for it to taste sweet. With the addition of dissolved gases, the drink may be chilled way down and will take less syrup to sweeten it, allowing for a less viscous mouthfeel to your cocktail.

On to gas mix. Repeat after me: Carbon Dioxide (CO2)=Coarse, Nitrous Oxide (NO)=Fine.

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Filed under Carbonated, CO2, Cocktails, Soda, Vessel

Ricky’s First Cocktail Menu

Goddamn, they grow up so fast

So, it’s been a few months since I’ve been behind the stick, and it’s got me depressed something awful when I think about it. Then I realize that I’m still 22 and have a long while before I should start to worry about it.

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Filed under Bartending, Fernet Branca, Ginger Beer, Gosling's, Herbs, Lemon, Lime, Mint, Old Overholt, Orgeat, Rosemary, Rum, Rye, Whisk(e)y

Rosemary-Ginger Smash

I’ve got a jar on my my windowsill, and it’s full of Bols Genever and fresh, oily rosemary stolen from a sidewalk garden.

In about five days, the rosemary-infused genever will be crafted into a rosemary ginger smash:

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