Travel Log from Tullamore, Ireland

February 7th, 2019

Tag along on a distillery tour of Tullamore D.E.W.’s state of the art facility. Opened in 2014 it is the first distillery to operate in Tullamore, Ireland since 1954.

Tullamore D.E.W. Whisky Ambassador Kevin Pigott shows us around, shares lots of Irish Whisky knowledge, and even mixes us up some cocktails!

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Travel Log from Dublin Ireland

January 31st, 2019

Travel Log from Dublin, Ireland.  Interview with Chris Hayes from Teeling Irish Whiskey.

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Travel Log from Florence Italy

January 27th, 2019

Florence, Italy is an amazing, beautiful and historic city.

Florence's Life Beyond Tourism inciative offers some interesting lessons. 

Is it possible to be too ambitious with your cocktail program.  I visited a bar/bistro/restaurant that I thought was trying to do TOO much.

I visited two vinyards in the Chianti Classico region:


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Travel Log from Paris France

January 13th, 2019

I had some great drinks in Paris!

Favorite bars:

  • Prescription Cocktail Club (Cocktail Bar)
  • Dirty Dick (Tiki Bar)
  • Candelaria (Speakeasy)
  • Little Red Door (Speakeasy)
  • The Highlander (Scottish Pub)
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Travel Log from Edinburgh Scotland

January 8th, 2019

A brief wrap up of my adventures in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Plus a snippet of a bus tour around the city.

What an amazing city. Full of friendly, hospitable people. A town with deep history and fascinating things to see. And lots of great whisky!

Next stop on the Bartender Journey tour - Paris!

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Heading to Europe! Plus more on Lime Juice.

January 3rd, 2019

Happy New Year. I hope its full of great things for you.

I’m starting 2019with an epic trip. I Bartend at a private club and we are closed after New Years Eve for almost 6 weeks.

So I am taking my time off and going to Europe for over a month!

I am bringing my audio gear and hope to push out some podcasts from the road. I will be visiting some distilleries, and lots of bars and restaurants, so the plan is to have you follow along on the trip a bit.

The shows might not always be completely Bartending focused, but should be interesting.

I leave today, Jan 3, 2019 for Edinburgh Scotland. Then I go to Paris for 4 nights, I’ll take a train to a small town called Chambery, then ski in the French Alps for a few days. I’ll go to Geneva Switzerland, then on to Florence and Rome and last stop Ireland.

Follow me on IG at BartenderJourney for some pictures and hopefully you are subscribed to the podcast so you get the shows as they come out.

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The Old Fashioned

December 5th, 2018

Bartender Journey Episode #263

The Old Fashioned.

I was at a sitting at a bar the other day and there was a bartender, training a young lady who was obviously brand new to bartending. The younger one asked the one who was doing the training “how long have you been bartending”. She answers “nearly 15 years”.

A ticket comes in for an Old Fashioned. Here’s a learning opportunity for the newbie, right?

She explains how to make it:

  • “Get a rocks glass
  • Get an orange slice and a luxardo cherry and muddle it in the glass.
  • Add ¼ to ½ oz of simple syrup and about the same amount of sweet vermouth.
  • Add ice and then fill nearly to the top with whiskey, (usually you should ask what type of whiskey they would like).
  • Top with club soda.
  • Put 3 or 4 dashes of bitters on top”

There are a lot of problems here. Lets take them one by one.

  • The muddled “fruit salad” Old Fashioned was an unfortunate variation on the classic recipe. Some people like them and even expect them that way, which is fine…the best cocktail for someone is the one made exactly the way they like it. But the classic recipe is water, sugar, bitters and whiskey…we’ll talk about where that description comes from in a few minutes. Somewhere along the road it became popular to muddle an orange slice and a red maraschino cherry with sugar and bitters.The muddling in an Old Fashioned is supposed to be to incorporate the granular sugar (or sugar cube) with a little water and the bitters.
  • Moving on to the second mistake in my example. THERE IS NO VERMOUTH IN AN OLD FAHIONED!   There is sweet vermouth in a Manhattan…not an Old Fashioned
  • Next…she says “top with club soda”. Yes we do want to dilute it a bit. Some books will tell you do this. Personally I add the water by stirring the whole thing in my mixing cup with ice. This chills the drink down and the melting ice adds water or “dilution”. I strain it into a glass with fresh ice.
  • Next she said to “put 3-4 drops of bitters on top”. 100% wrong. I don’t like to flat out say somebody is doing something wrong, but no don’t do that.You want to incorporate the bitters into the drink. While there are drinks which call for drops of bitters on top, such as the Pisco Sour…not the Old Fashioned.

This is my recipe, and its written almost exactly like this in Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s The Bar Book, which is more or less the final word for me personally in all matters Bartending.

In mixing cup:

Stir with ice to chill and dilute.

Strain into an old fashioned glass with one large 2” ice cube. Express oils from an orange twist (use a Y-peeler to make orange twist to order). You could also use a lemon twist, which is delicious also.

Old Fashioneds can of course also be made with Rye whiskey or even rum. I’ve seen Reposado or Anão Tequila Old Fashioneds too.

In Sasha Patraski’s book Regarding Cocktails Sasha’s protégé Sam Ross shares his recipe for an Old Fashioned variation called the Tattletale. Its made with Angostura bitters, honey a blend of a Highlands scotch and a smoky Islay scotch.

So of course, there is no end to variations and methods, but I just feel like its good to know the proper traditional way of making things before going off on tangents.

History wise:

The earliest known printed definition of the “cocktail” appeared in the newspaper the Balance and Columbian Repository in 1806. It was written in response to a reader who asked for a definition of the word. It said a cocktail is “A stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters.”

Quoting from Wikipedia, “The first use of the name ‘Old Fashioned’ for a Bourbon whiskey cocktail was said to have been at the Pendennis Club, a gentlemen's club founded in 1881 in Louisville, Kentucky. The recipe was said to have been invented by a bartender at that club in honor of Colonel James E. Pepper, a prominent bourbon distiller, who brought it to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City.”

Robert Simonson mentioned that it was simply referred to as a “whiskey cocktail” until the late 19th century. Mr. Simonson wrote a great book all about the Old Fashioned called The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World's First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore. I’ll have a link to that along with the other books I mentioned.

Speaking of prohibition, as I record this today Dec 5, 2018 it is Repeal Day! This is the anniversary of the end of Prohibition in 1933. Its an unofficial Bartender holiday, or at least excuse for a party! I happened to be almost at the end of binge watching Boardwalk Empire, which was a great show on HBO about the prohibition era. Its fictional, but a lot of historical characters are in the show like Lucky Luciano, Al Capone and Elliot Ness. The show is now available on Amazon Prime if you want to check it out.

So mix yourself up and Old Fashioned. I’d love to see your version. If you could post a picture on IG and give it the hash tag


Depending how many we get, I’ll try to mention them all on the next show.

I’ll be posting mine on my IG which is BartenderJourney.

Here’s a toast:

Here’s to everything that is old.

Old friends, old times, old manners and old fashioneds.

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Mr. Dave Pickerell

November 8th, 2018

Dave Pickerell was a huge force in American whiskey over that last several decades.

Unfortunately Dave passed away at age 62 on November 1 of this year, 2018 in San Francisco. He was there attending WhiskeyFest.

He was a big proponent of Rye Whiskey and played a huge roll in the resurgence of American Rye Whiskey.

Rest in Peace Mr. Dave Pickerell. You’ll be sorely missed.

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I’m Just Here for the Drinks

November 1st, 2018

We talk to Sother Teague about his new book I'm Just Here for the Drinks.

Sother Teague's first book is informative, entertaining and filled with cocktail recipes. We catch up with him at his book release party at Boilermaker Bar at 1st Avenue and 1st Street.

Brian also attended a seminar presented by Marie Brizard and at Employees Only NY and competed in a cocktail competition.

Cocktail of the Week:

The Classic Martini is made with 1 part dry vermouth and 2 parts Gin.  It is stirred, not shaken.  The classic garnish is olives.  Superstition says it should be an ODD number of olives - an even number is bad luck.  James Bond orders a "Vodka Martini, shaken not stirred", because that is the exception to the rule.  If he just ordered a "Martini" it would be made with Gin and stirred, because that is the classic recipe.

Try a great variation on a Martini - 1 part Dry Vermouth, 2 parts Gin a dash of Orange Bitters.  Garnish with an Orange Twist.

Be sure to use fresh vermouth. 
Vermouth is aromitized wine and it goes bad after awhile.  Keep it in the cooler.  The VacuVin wine stopper system will help keep it fresh for longer.

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Gem & Bolt Mezcal and CORE

August 31st, 2018

We chat with GEM & BOLT Mezcal founders Adrin Adrina and Elliott Coon during Tales of the Cocktail 2018.

Plus we talk to Calvin Peña and Doug Brickle at the CORE pop-up at Mase

GEM&BOLT is the only mezcal on the market to bottle the mythical powers of damiana, a traditional herb that thrives in the same regions as agave. The innovative, herbaceous spirit utilizes fair-trade and sustainable agave that’s converted into mezcal by fourth-generation master distillers in Oaxaca, Mexico. A strong team of women make up the team behind the spirit: Partner Jody Levy (co-founder WTRMLN WTR), President/CEO Lisa Derman (former Stoli COO), and at the helm are its founder’s alchemist-artist duo Adrin Adrina and Elliott Coon.

CORE grants support to children of food and beverage service navigating life-altering circumstances. In times of extreme strain brought on by family death, injury or diagnosed medical condition, loss of home, or other sudden or extreme circumstances, food and beverage families can become overwhelmed financially and emotionally. CORE is the nationally recognized community of support for all food and beverage service families in need by ensuring they feel cared for and valued.

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