Smokejumper cocktail


For Wendy, who includes a smokejumper clause in all her relationships.

2 oz London dry gin
3/4 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz lapsang souchong syrup*

Shake with ice, strain into ice-filled rocks glass.

* Equal parts brewed lapsang souchong tea and sugar. Or if you’re feeling spendy, substitute Qi black tea liqueur and a bit of sugar.


Brewing Up Cocktails Anniversary Party


One year ago Ezra Johnson-Greenough, Yetta Vorobik, and I put together the inaugural Brewing Up Cocktails beer cocktail event at the Hop and Vine. Little did we know that the events would become so popular that we’d be taking them on the road from San Francisco to Vancouver, Canada, and teaming up with breweries like Ninkasi, Oakshire, and Hopworks. We’re celebrating with a one year anniversary party this Saturday, featuring some loosely tiki-themed beer concoctions, an outdoor tiki bar, and an entire roasted pig. Join us and our sponsors, Groupon and Kona Brewing, from 6-10 pm at the Hop and Vine for a brand new batch of beery cocktails.


Mixing with the Mad Dog


This drink violates at least two of my general rules for making good cocktails: 1) It’s blue and 2) It’s made with MD “Mad Dog” 20/20, the convenience store favorite for brown bagging it in the park. The blame for this abomination goes to Thrillist Portland, which is profiling a few of the city’s best restaurants with outdoor patios and asked each one to create a special off-menu item exclusively for Thrillist readers. The challenge they issued to me at Metrovino was to make a drink using Mad Dog as an ingredient. So if any of my recent house guests were worried about the bottle of MD 20/20 in my refrigerator, rest assured that it had a legitimate purpose. (The bottle of Ardbeg in the shower, however, is definitely cause for concern.)

There are multiple flavors of Mad Dog to choose from, but I couldn’t resist the allure of the “bling bling” on the label of Blue Raspberry. This liquid is a totally unnatural shade of blue and its flavor is sickly sweet. It’s not going to replace the Carpano Antica in my Manhattans anytime soon. But mix it with a strongly flavored spirit like aquavit, add some acidity with lime juice, soften everything up with some pillowy egg white, and you’ve got yourself a drink that’s pretty damn tasty and priced for the recession. You’ve got yourself a Dalbo Dog:

2 oz Krogstad aquavit
3/4 oz Blue Raspberry MD “Mad Dog” 20/20
3/4 oz lime juice
1/4 oz agave nectar
1 egg white
3 drops Novo Fogo Cherribiscus bitters for garnish

Dry shake all but the bitters, shake again with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and finish by etching the bitters on the foam into adorable little heart shapes.

The Dalbo Dog is just for Thrillist readers, but now you’re in the know too. Stop into Metrovino this month and this summery blue little number will only set you back eight bucks. Also be sure to check out Thrillist for some of the other off-menu items in Portland, including a ramped up burger at Yakuza that sounds amazing.

(The Dalbo Dog is an extinct Swedish breed used for herding sheep. Here’s a photo; awww.)

[Photo by Thrillist.]


Literature-inspired food carts in Portland, Ore. that did not stay in business for very long

Fire on the Mountain Oyster

The Merchant of Venison

In Cold Blood Sausage

Tendon is the Night

A Liver Runs Through It

The Man Who Loved Chitlins

Picture of Durian Gray

Never Let Me Goat

Appointment in Spamarra

Cat on a Hot Tin Plate

Animal Harm


Links for 7/13/11

Yet another study finds that nutritional menu labeling makes no difference in consumer eating habits.

Baylen Linnekin reports on how the federal ban on slaughtering horses for human consumption has led to unintended consequences causing harm to the animals.

Matt Zwolinski combines two of my favorite topics: libertarianism and beer.

12 Bottle Bar’s contribution to this month’s beer-themed Mixology Monday is something I’ll have to try out.

The sugar cane Dr Pepper made in Dublin, TX is sought after by soda lovers, so much so that Dr Pepper is taking legal action against the distributor for selling outside its tiny territory.


Mixology Monday: Beer!


I’d be stupid not to take part in this month’s Mixology Monday hosted by Cocktail Virgin:

This month the chosen theme will be beer cocktails.

While beer being used as an ingredient in modern cocktails has gotten a lot of press as of late, this is not a new trend. Beer has played a historical role in mixed drinks for centuries. For example, it can be found in Colonial drinks like the Rumfustian, Porter Sangaree, and Ale Flip. While many of these drinks are not seen in modern bars save for craft cocktail establishments, other beer drinks are though, including the Boilermaker, Black Velvet, and Michelada. And present day mixologists are utilizing beer with great success including Kelly Slagle’s Port of Funchal, Jacob Grier’s Averna Stout Flip, and Emma Hollander’s Word to Your Mom. Bartenders are drawn to beer for a variety of reasons including the glorious malt and roast notes from the grain, the bitter and sometimes floral elements from the hops, the interesting sour or fruity notes from the yeast, and the crispness and bubbles from the carbonation. Beer is not just for pint glasses, so let us honor beer of all styles as a drink ingredient.

Coincidentally, July is Oregon Craft Beer Month and we’re coming up on the one year anniversary of the first Brewing Up Cocktails event put on by me, Yetta Vorobik, and Ezra Johnson-Greenough. In the time since we’ve been experimenting with themed beer cocktail events, whether that be creating a menu around a specific brewery (Ninkasi, Oakshire, and Hopworks) or a type of drink (nothing but flips!). For our anniversary party we’ll be serving beer cocktails with a loosely interpreted tiki theme. Details are coming soon, but in the meantime here’s a preview of one of the new (and thus far unnamed) drinks:

2 oz Maui Brewing Coconut Porter
1 1/2 oz English Harbour rum
1 1/2 oz coconut milk
1/2 oz Galliano Ristretto
1/2 oz allspice or pimento dram
Angostura bitters mist, for garnish

Shake the first five ingredients, strain into a rocks or wine glass, and garnish with the Angostura mist.

This is a weird drink. The idea of mixing coconut porter and coconut milk was Ezra’s, and I was skeptical at first. However this comes together really nicely and has a rich flip-like consistency. The pimento dram adds big spice flavors, the Galliano Ristretto espresso liqueur adds depth and sweetness, and the coconut milk puts this in the running for the most unhealthy cocktail we’ve come up with yet.

Stay tuned for more info about the Brewing Up Cocktails anniversary event on Saturday, July 30, at The Hop and Vine.


Links for 7/8/11

Iceland is considering making cigarettes a prescription-only product, allowing sales only to those diagnosed by doctors as addicts.

The latest project of Ricardo Cortes, illustrator of Go the Fuck to Sleep, is a pamphlet encouraging juries to nullify in trials of non-violent drug offenders.

I feel like the intersection of criminal juries and Skyline Chili is something should write about, but I’m not going to. I will leave you with this from @tbrandis though: “Criminal justice is a dish best served 5 ways!”

Unfortunately this show directed by Neil Patrick Harris and starring magician Guy Hollingworth is sold out while I’m in LA. It sounds fascinating.

Tomorrow night a couple of my friends are collaborating on a beer and cigar pairing event at East Burn. $50 gets you 3 cigars, 5 beers, snacks, and a copy of the 33 Cigars notebook.

So far I’m liking Google+; my profile is here.


Mane to tail drinking with pimento dram


When Haus Alpenz brought St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram into the US market a few years ago, it immediately became one of my favorite staples behind the bar. Allspice dram is one of those forgotten liqueurs that shows up in some vintage cocktail recipes and then largely disappeared. The spirit is made by infusing allspice (or “pimiento”) berries into Jamaican rum and then sweetening the mixture. It’s delicious and powerfully aromatic stuff, packed with winter spice notes like cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Haus Alpenz wisely chose the more descriptive and appetizing “allspice dram” over the traditional “pimento dram,” the latter of which calls to mind those red things stuffed into bar cheap olives.

Now there’s a second allspice liqueur on the market. The Bitter Truth from Germany is using the classic name Pimento Dram for their offering. I received a sample a few weeks ago and I love it. It’s very rich and complex, with everything you’d want from an allspice liqueur. In price and proof it’s closely matched to the St. Elizabeth. I don’t have a strong preference between the two and am happy to recommend both of them.

This isn’t a spirit you’re likely to drink straight. It’s made for cocktails, so here are two to try. The first is the Lion’s Tail, brought back to prominence by cocktail historian Ted Haigh. It originally appeared in the Cafe Royal Cocktail Book, but I like Ted’s contemporary version from Imbibe magazine. This is a fantastic winter drink:

2 oz bourbon
1/2 oz allspice (or pimento!) dram
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Looking for a summery version of this drink, I came up with a variation called the Lion’s Mane using Novo Fogo’s Gold Cachaca, which is aged in oak for two years:

2 oz Novo Fogo Gold Cachaca
1/2 oz lapsang souchong syrup
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/4 oz pimento dram
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Shake, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist. To make the syrup, brew lapsang souchong tea and combine it with an equal volume of sugar.

I also use pimento dram to make “spiced bitters,” an equal parts mix of the liqueur and Angostura bitters, that I keep in a dasher bottle at the bar. At Metrovino we pour through a lot of it making Lazy Bear cocktails. I haven’t tried Bitter Truth’s product this way, but I’m sure it would do well.


Los Angeles blog meetup

I’m taking a vacation to Los Angeles next week and my friend Ron Dollete (of Lush Angeles) and I thought it would be fun to organize a Booze Nerd Meetup while I’m in town. We’re going to meet at Bar and Kitchen in the O Hotel in downtown LA from 8-11 pm on Wednesday, July 13. Booze nerds and nerds of any type — I’m looking at you, libertarians! — are invited to join us. I’ve heard great things about the food and drink there, so I’m looking forward to it.

In an unexpected bit of synchronicity, Bar and Kitchen is also taking part in a Bols punch crawl that very night. Even when I go on vacation the genever seems to follow. Details for the punch crawl are available on Thrillist.

Here’s Ron’s Facebook description of the meet-up; hope to see you there!

Come join Jacob and Ron at Bar & Kitchen for a meetup of drunks, fools, liars and drunks.

This is just a meetup, so you’ll be covering your own tab. Unless you order a Harvey Wallbanger, in which case Ron will probably buy your drink.

Wednesday, 13th of July at 8pm at Bar | Kitchen.

Jacob Grier is a bartender and writer based in Portland, Oregon. You can check out his site at and on Twitter @JacobGrier

Ron Dollete is not to be trusted under any circumstances. You can check out his site at and on Twitter @LushAngeles

Located inside the O Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, Bar & Kitchen offers something for everyone, from addictive bar snacks to full sized entrees. And because it’s Ron and Jacob, there will of course be cocktails, beer, wine and plenty of amari.

Twitter hashtag #BoozeNerdTweetup


No new smoking lounges in Oregon

Are you an entrepreneur wanting to open a new smoking lounge in Oregon? Too bad, that’s about to become illegal:

By the slenderest of margins, the Oregon House gave final legislative approval Wednesday to a bill aimed at preventing more hookah lounges from opening across the state.

The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. John Kitzhaber, who has said he will sign it.

The bill grandfathers in existing smoke shops and ones that apply for certification before the law takes effect. But after that, new smoke shops will face tight restrictions, including a ban on allowing customers to consume food or beverages, a maximum seating capacity of four people, and a requirement that at least 75% of sales be for off-premise consumption. On-premise smoking will be allowed strictly for the purpose of sampling.

Although the press and sponsors of the bill portrayed this law as anti-hookah, it makes no distinction between hookah lounges and cigar shops. Thus there will be no new cigar shops of the type that offer communal seating areas and lounges for their customers.

The smoking ban that took effect in 2009 restricts cigar bars as well; it allows exemptions only for businesses with tobacco sales records dating back to 2006, so it’s essentially impossible to open a new cigar bar either. The smoking lounges we have now or that will open very soon are all we’re going to get.

There is one silver lining to the bill: A couple senate amendments slightly weakened the final version of the law over the strong objections of sponsor and nanny statist Rep. Carolyn Tomei. It slightly lifts my spirits to know that she is unhappy.

Save Oregon’s smoke shops
Oregon’s smoking ban creep
Where there’s smoke, there’s over-regulation