Category: Rule 2
columbus, Gin, Marketing, Rule 2

A Watershed Distillery Documentary

This lovely little video tells a bit of the story behind one of Columbus's fine local distilleries, Watershed. It is a student project by Kelly Insinga here at Columbus College of Art & Design. The quality of this little six minute documentary says great things about Insinga's talent, and the instruction at CCAD. I've featured Watershed's products on this blog before, as well as a (far less impressive) video of my own, but they are worth talking about again. And again. There are small distilleries popping up all over the country, and I visit every one I can when I travel. I have taken to using Watershed, which I have studied since they opened, as a benchmark by which to measure all these other brave ventures. And most every visit to another micro, whether I'm impressed with what they are doing or not, leaves me a bit more impressed with Watershed in one way or another. Their Four Peel Gin is my favorite among their products. I like the citrus-forward profile. The price is reasonable. But most importantly, They have locked it down. Gin is a deceptive spirit to make. It requires no aging, so the economics make great sense for a startup, but it is devilishly hard to make consistently over time, especially for a small manufacturing concern. Watershed definitely had some wobbles after a great start in their first few batches. I know a number of people who first tried it back when their production first started to accelerate... um. I had some of those early two-digit batches myself. I didn't find them bad, just not as special as those very first runs were... or as special as the current gin is, batch after batch. Consistency is the key in gin, and Watershed has had it for a while now. Right now, you can only get their products in Ohio for the most part. Given Watershed's success so far, and the way they've achieved it, I expect that will change in future years. In the mean time, come visit Columbus. Drop me a line.abc
General Cocktails, Rule 2

Outstanding Video on Cocktail First Principals

I just want to highlight an outstanding new video from The Mixology Guys on the Small Screen Network's YouTube cocktail channel. Embedded below it is a brisk 90 seconds of slow-mo drink pr0n and four bedrock principals in making any drink the best it can be. For those who can't watch it for whatever reason, here are the four elements that go into a truly good drink:
  1. Mix Ingredients. You might say, "duh", but until you understand why this is important, you don't really understand the Dao of cocktails. The purpose of making drinks is to produce a potable that is better in some fashion than any and all of its component ingredients. A few years back, I went to a session at Tales of the Cocktail where some of my favorite big names in the liquor industry discussed how seldom they actually drank cocktails any more. The gist of the argument from much of the panel was, "the distiller's art has reached previously unheard of heights. There are so many beautifully crafted spirits out there, it makes sense to enjoy them on their own to fully appreciate them." Fair enough. There are indeed many truly fine, expensive bottles of whiskey, brandy, rum, and even gin out there that are so crafted as to make them immune to the "improvement" of the mixed drink. But if you can spend your life drinking nothing but ultra-premium liquor with naught but the occasional splash of water or ice, you are either a wealthy alcoholic... or a brand ambassador. (Some might argue that the difference is that brand ambassadors are seldom wealthy.)
  2. Dilution. Enough said. Until you understand the effects of dilution, you can't really understand how to make a really great drink. Anyone who sneers at dilution on general principals doesn't know the first damn thing about cocktails.
  3. Temperature. Make sure your cold drinks are cold. (And your hot ones actually hot.) Ever get into a really good argument with someone and turn back to your Sidecar, only to discover it has gotten warm? Ew.
  4. Aeration of Ingredients. This is both perhaps the best element of this video, and the only part I have a quibble with. For the vast majority of mixed drinks, air is critical to making it the best it can be, for the reasons they outline beautifully. But not for all drinks. I strictly adhere to the "clear ingredients—no shake" credo. I like my Martinis stirred. I will call Child Services and report you if you shake your Manhattans. I don't muddle fruit in my Old Fashioneds, so I also don't add any soda. Air is amazing in what it can do to for drinks that can benefit from it. 90% of the drinks I make can, and I take great care to ensure that I apply aeration liberally there. But please, please remember that this rule is NOT universal!
abc
Mixology Monday, Rule 2, Tiki Month 2016

What Mixology Monday Has to Offer Tiki Month

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="8037" img_size="full" alignment="center" style="vc_box_shadow_border_circle_2" onclick="custom_link" img_link_target="_blank" css_animation="bottom-to-top" link="http://southernash.com/2016/02/mxmo-cvi-roundup/"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In past Tiki Months, I either hosted the event myself, in a transparent attempt to generate a lot of extra Tiki content from the rest of the blogosphere, or did a secondary roundup of the Tiki representation in whatever theme was hosted elsewhere. This year's theme was Spring Break, which host Joel DiPippa at Southern Ash chose in part to chum the water for Tiki content as well. Bless his useful heart. The Tiki content that resulted from this was impressive. Almost all of the drinks offered could plausibly be considered Tiki Compliant, and a great many claim the mantle of Tiki outright. Instead of running them all down this time, especially since there is no way I have time to make a tenth of them, I thought I'd try out some of the new, high-tech features of this blog's new theme and see how I could showcase a bunch of links to the most Tiki Month-appropriate of the entries....[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row gap="10" equal_height="yes" content_placement="top"][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="11091" img_size="full" alignment="center" style="vc_box_shadow_3d" onclick="custom_link" img_link_target="_blank" css_animation="left-to-right" link="http://southernash.com/2016/02/mxmo-cvi-scylla-charybdis/"][vc_column_text]

Between Scylla and Charybdis

Southern Ash Blog
Rums, spices, citrus, and a fascinating blood orange falernum thingy.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image="11103" img_size="full" alignment="center" style="vc_box_shadow_3d" onclick="custom_link" img_link_target="_blank" css_animation="left-to-right" link="http://boozenerds.com/2016/02/21/mxmo-something/"][vc_column_text]

Idle Idyll

Boozenerds
A heavier, darker, mango-y Missionary's Downfall.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="11092" img_size="full" alignment="center" style="vc_box_shadow_3d" onclick="custom_link" img_link_target="_blank" css_animation="top-to-bottom" link="http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/2016/02/queen-of-lava-beds.html"][vc_column_text]

Queen of the Lava Beds

Cocktail Virgin Slut
Includes Pisco, falernum, absinthe, flame, and is built for Two.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image="11104" img_size="full" alignment="center" style="vc_box_shadow_3d" onclick="custom_link" img_link_target="_blank" css_animation="appear" link="http://www.ginhound.com/2016/02/violet-kai.html"][vc_column_text]

Violet Kai

Ginhound
A big Tiki-style Daiquiri with Creme de Violette for special effects. And a factoid I did not know: Don the Beachcomber was born during Tiki Month![/vc_column_text][vc_separator color="black" border_width="2" css=".vc_custom_1456701854310{margin-top: 7px !important;margin-bottom: 7px !important;}"][vc_column_text]And of course, my own humble entry...[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image="11016" img_size="full" alignment="center" style="vc_box_shadow_3d" onclick="custom_link" img_link_target="_blank" css_animation="top-to-bottom" link="http://www.killingtime.com/Pegu/2016/02/22/mxmo-cvi-rickeys-gin-dugout/"][vc_column_text]

Rickey's Gin Dugout

The Pegu Blog
An attempt to meld the ultra-clean, refreshing Gin Rickey with a spicy Tiki undertone.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="11096" img_size="full" alignment="center" style="vc_box_shadow_3d" onclick="custom_link" img_link_target="_blank" css_animation="right-to-left" link="https://drinkscd.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/ginger-pilot/"][vc_column_text]

Ginger Pilot

Drink Something Completely Different
A Jet Pilot with cachaça and mezcal.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image="11105" img_size="full" alignment="center" style="vc_box_shadow_3d" onclick="custom_link" img_link_target="_blank" css_animation="right-to-left" link="http://kitchen-shamanism.blogspot.se/2016/02/mxmo-cvi-spring-break-pistachio-planters.html"][vc_column_text]

Pistachio Planter's

Kitchen Shamanism
Don's Spice #2, demerara, and... Swedish pistachio rum?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]There you have it! A bunch of new Tiki offerings to try. There's is only a day or so left of Tiki Month left, sad to say, so get with the program![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]abc
Rule 2, Tiki Month 2016

Fred Yarm, and the Mainstreaming of Modern Tiki

[caption id="attachment_11080" align="aligncenter" width="2000"]Fred Yarm Source—Eater Fred Yarm
Source—Eater[/caption] I call Fred Yarm (Cocktail Virgin Slut), The Hardest Working Man in Cocktail Blogness™, and if you disagree with me that he is the absolute king of cocktail blogging, I'll fight you. (Well, I won't fight you! But that other girl... looks like I could take her!) There are other bloggers who may get more hits, when they stumble around to actually posting (cough, Morganthaler, cough) but Fred produces quality content, day after day, month after month, and has done so, steadily, for years. In addition, he has taken over guidance for Mixology Monday, which keeps the blood flowing in the cocktailosphere. He is a treasure to the sometimes struggling world of cocktail blogging, so raise a glass, will you? I admit it seems a bit odd, even to me, that I am writing about Fred during Tiki Month. From his earliest days blogging, I always cataloged him in my mind as a "brown, bitter, and stirred" kinda guy. And that was true... to an extent. What makes Fred such a valuable resource for cocktail types in general is that he doesn't really make editorial decisions about what he blogs. He, for the most part, blogs what he drinks. Now sure, he decides from drink to drink what to have and to write about, but he chooses from what is out there in the vibrant, mainstream craft cocktail scene of Boston, and as I said, he blogs a lot... in statistically significant amounts. In aggregate, Cocktail Virgin Slut is a history of where the cocktail scene has gone, and where it is going. If you see Fred increasingly blogging about something, you can be sure it is a coming thing in the national cocktail movement. And what Fred has been blogging more and more in the last few years is Tiki drinks. Just so far this young year, Fred has written up at least seven certifiable Tiki drinks (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), with at least six more that are at a minimum Tiki Compliant (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 is there, can you find it?). Are there more? As I said, Fred blogs a lot. This trend in Fred's blogging kind of snuck up on me, and I didn't really twig to it until I was preparing for this year's Tiki Month. I actually gave thought to just throwing up my hands and re-blogging Cocktail Virgin as this year's theme. There were all manner of lame virgiin/volcano jokes in my mind. You are all quite welcome that I had a cup of tea and a lie down until the thought went away. But I have borrowed several of Fred's finds this month, either to blog to to serve guests. [caption id="attachment_11081" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Fred's first book, Drink & Tell. Unlike scores of other blog-inspired book authors, he's produced a mass of good content on his same blog since.[/caption] My main point to this post is that Fred is exhibit A among the evidence for what I've been talking about with the modern Tiki movement.
  1. Tiki drinks are coming back into favor with mainstream drinkers big time.
  2. Those Tiki drinks can increasingly be found happily being served in full Tiki style right alongside the Vieux Carrés and Negronis of "traditional" craft cocktails
Now, some people might lament that even a great Tiki drink is a little diminished when it is served in some Prohibition-themed speakeasy-style joint. And perhaps you do not get the full experience in that circumstance. But you still are exposed to the greatness of this style of mixed drink, and may well want to seek out one of the true modern Tiki dens that are flourishing around the country. Tiki is back. Fred Yarm is proof. Let's all make sure it stays true to what it is, and doesn't slide back into obscurity again.abc
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