What We’re Reading: Gadgets to Help the Party Host, Bourbon Heist, Paris’s Beer Craze, Booze Heist, Beyond Bourbon, The Five Biggest Absinthe Myths, Best New Scotches: 2013

October 18th, 2013 — 2:33pm

Gadgets to Help the Party Host,  10/16/2013 – New York Times
Case in point: the Bartendro. Basically, the Bartendro is a robotic bartender. It combines a Wi-Fi interface, a digital brain based on a kind of minicomputer called Raspberry Pi and a rack of pumps in a tabletop machine that will mix drinks from an array of user-supplied liquor and mixers. Plus, it has a special cycle to clean and sanitize the pumps so your vodka tube, for example, does not taste like the whiskey you had running through it last time you used the Bartendro. Bartendro comes in several sizes, with 1, 3, 7 or 15 dispensers. The largest model can mix about 45 different drinks, said Pierre Michael, who created the Bartendro with Robert Kaye. It works this way: The host enters the names of the liquids on a screen and Bartendro populates its menu with mixed drink possibilities. Partygoers use any device connected to Wi-Fi to order from the drink menu. From there, they can adjust the drink size and strength before the pour. Read the rest here!

Bourbon Heist: Who Stole the Pappy Van Winkle?,  10/17/2013 – Wall Street Journal
Fans Buzzing After Batch Worth About $25,000 Taken From Kentucky Distillery

Pappy Van Winkle has long been hard to find. This fall could prove even harder. Roughly 200 bottles of the rare and wildly popular small-batch bourbon have vanished from the Frankfort, Ky., distillery. The bottles were waiting to be shipped across the country after aging in charred oak barrels for two decades. Sazerac Co.’s Buffalo Trace Distillery alerted authorities this week after an inventory check came up short. The stash of Pappy Van Winkle’s 20-Year Family Reserve—worth a combined $25,000 at retail—had been in a locked area inside a locked warehouse. Read the rest here!

Paris’s Beer Craze, 10/10/2013 – Wall Street Journal
From watering holes like Peoples Drugstore to Le Supercoin, Paris is having a beer boom

The global craft-beer revolution has infiltrated the City of Light, where wine has served as its lifeblood for centuries. Spearheaded by well-traveled youths who’ve gained a taste for small-batch hops abroad, the movement has given rise to a slew of beer-bar openings across the capital. Parisians’ sudden penchant for brews has even led to a new coinage: bièrologues, or beer sommeliers. Below, five of the best boîtes to say salut to suds. Read the rest here!

Booze heist: $26,000 worth of Kentucky bourbon stolen, 10/17/2013 – Los Angeles Times
Thieves stole $26,000 worth of prized Kentucky bourbon from a distillery in Frankfort, Ky.,  almost 65 cases of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, which sell for $130 a bottle.  Detectives are trying to track down the missing cases, which are believed to have been taken over the last couple months at the Buffalo Trace Distillery. There are no suspects at this time.  In addition to the 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, the thieves also stole $675 worth of 13-year-old Van Winkle Family Reserve rye. Read the rest here!

Beyond Bourbon: Woodford Reserve Releases Kentucky Malt Whiskies, 10/18/2013 – Forbes
On November 1, whiskey fans will have an exciting new product to try. That’s the day respected small-batch bourbon maker Woodford Reserve releases its Double Malt Selections – which it claims are the first fully matured malt whiskies made in Kentucky since Prohibition (bourbon is made primarily from corn, while Scotch is made from malt). The two bottle lineup includes Straight Malt Whiskey and Classic Malt, both triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills. The big difference is that the Straight is aged in new oak barrels, traditional in New World whiskies and required by law for bourbon, while the Classic is aged in re-used barrels, more typical of Old World production, for two different side by side takes on the spirit. Both will be bottled at 90.4 proof and sold in a limited release of individually numbered bottles for a suggested retail of $100 each, available at higher quality liquor stores nationwide. This is the latest limited edition offering in the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collections Series, and like the preceding ones, is a one-time affair with a single bottling run. When it’s gone, it will be gone. Read the rest here!

The Five Biggest Absinthe Myths, 10/16/2013 –
The Green Fairy. La Fée Verte. The Green Goddess. Absinthe has as many nicknames as it does legends. But the truth is that the high-proof spirit is an important and historic elixir. From the traditional Absinthe Drip to the classic Sazerac, it’s been inspiring artists, writers and, yes, bartenders for more than 200 years. To help you figure out this misunderstood liquor, we turned to one of the world’s leading absinthe experts, Ted A. Breaux. The professional scientist and researcher has been studying the Green Fairy for decades and was instrumental in getting absinthe back on store shelves in America. He also created Lucid Absinthe and founded Jade Liqueurs. Here are the five most common myths he hears about the spirit. Cheers! Read the rest here!

Scotches Best
Best New Scotches: 2013, 10/14/2013 –
While we drink Scotch year-round, the fall and winter pair most perfectly with rich and warming whisky. And fortunately, brands across Scotland are releasing a range of new bottlings that you need to try. Sláinte! Read the rest here!

Mix This: The Stay Up Late with Max Seaman of The Varnish

October 16th, 2013 — 12:21pm

Stay Up Late
Stay Up Late
Adapted from The Stork Club Bar Book by Lucius Beebe, 1946

This drink is a very simple variation on a Tom Collins. The Cognac adds just a bit of richness, and rounds out the botanical flavors of the gin. It is perfect for the summer or warm fall seasons we enjoy in Southern California.

- 1.5oz of London Dry Gin, such as Beefeater
- .5oz full bodied Cognac such as Pierre Ferrand 1840
- .75oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- .75oz simple syrup (1lb super-fine sugar diluted into 22oz warm water)
- 2-3oz club soda
- Lemon wedge and maraschino cherry for garnish

Combine the first four ingredients in a shaking tin. Shake very quickly with a few small pieces of ice. Add 2-3oz of club soda to the tin and swirl to integrate. Strain into Collins glass filled with ice. Serve with a straw and garnish with lemon wedge and cherry.

Max Seaman, General Manager, The Varnish

Seven Grand DTLA Whiskey Society: Glenfiddich ‘Age Of Discovery’ w/ Mitch Bechard, Wed. 10/16, 7pm

October 14th, 2013 — 1:09pm

Glenfiddich Horz
This coming Wednesday, October 16th at 7pm, we will be hosting Mitch Bechard, U.S. Brand Ambassador for Glenfiddich in to launch the new ‘Age of Discovery’ expression. There will be food and a Welcome Punch served at 6:30pm.

Officially this is a staff training, but they have offered a four seats to members of our Whiskey Society to attend.

If you would like to be included in the drawing to be one of lucky winners, RSVP on the link below. Preference will be given to paid-up members.

We will close the RSVP’s on Tuesday, 10/15, at noon. Winners will then be selected from a drawing, and notified by phone. Please include a phone number where we can reach you on Tuesday afternoon in your registration form.

Register Here!

To be clear, your RSVP gets you into the drawing, it does not get you into the event, unless you are the lucky winner. But don’t worry if you don’t get this one, we have two more 7GWS events planned for this month, and of course, Halloween, and you know how we do that around here!

The end of the year promises several more wonderful WS meetings, so now would be a good time to get up to date on your dues! (Maybe buy a membership as a gift for a whiskey-head friend!)

For more information on the Seven Grand Whiskey Society, hit the link beneath my signature. Memberships are $120 per year, payable at the bar, and allow you to bring a guest to any event.

Check out the Irelnad half of the photo/video blog I put together upon on return from the other side of the pond:

White-Knuckle Driving: Seven Grand Crew tours Ireland and Scotland- (Part One, Ireland)

We hope to see you Wednesday, if you are the lucky winner of this drawing!

Pedro, currently sipping Old Weller 107 Seven Grand Single Barrel.

Pedro Shanahan
Spirit Guide, Seven Grand Whiskey Bar
Co-curator, Whiskey Society

Spirit Guide: Charles Bukowksi Pissed Here by Max Seaman

October 11th, 2013 — 12:26pm

Charles Bukowski
The Varnish embraces a vintage aesthetic, but it is Cole’s that owns the rich historical legacy.  Angelinos of all stripes have bellied up to the Red Car Bar for more than a century, and there is no better spot to spend a few hours people-watching.  Enjoy a cocktail and be quickly dissuaded of the notion that Los Angeles is a city populated entirely with tanned yoga practitioners. You will encounter any and every kind of person if you sip your Manhattan slowly enough; you will discover the kinds of people you never knew existed.

Two Cole’s customers are footnoted with bronze plaques mounted above the urinals in the men’s restroom: “Charles Bukowski Pissed Here” and “Mickey Cohen Pissed here.”

I was in the restroom recently when the door swung open and three young men in Dodgers gear staggered through.  “Wooooooo!!!” they hollered, apparently excited to relieve themselves.  “Fuck yeah! Wooooooo!!!”

The men quickly split formation, two of them stumbling into separate stalls as the third saddled up to the urinal next to me.

“Whoa – Charles Bukowski pissed here!” declared my new neighbor.  “That’s amazing, I love Bukowski! “I’M A POSTAL WORKER AND I LOVE CHARLES BUKOWSKI!!!”

He zipped up. “That’s so cool…I didn’t know he pissed here.”

Max Seaman, The Varnish, General Manager