1. The Chee Hoo Fizz Story
Randy Wong, beside creating Tiki recipes, travels around the country as the bassist and band leader for the Waitiki 7 exotica band. When he was in Atlanta, he got to talking to a bartender about Tiki drinks. Soon the bartender wanted to make him a drink, namely the Chee Hoo Fizz, which surprised and amused Randy greatly. Turns out that the bartender reads this blog and unknowingly made the drink for its creator. It is stories like these that make me realize that the blog is more than a drink diary but a disseminator of recipes and a way for Boston bartenders and their creativity to be acknowledged (without having to win a contest or other).
2. Bottling Day at the Bittermens
3. Interviewing Brian Rea
This year I was formally a writer for the Tales of the Cocktail blog. One of the duties was to pick a seminar and hype it through an interview or other writeup. I was really curious about hearing the life story of Brian Rea who had bartended through some of the bleakest decades of American mixology; however, I had never interviewed anyone before. Luckily, Brian made it easy and entertained me with his stories, so it was not stressful in the least after the first few seconds.
4. TDN: Bumwines!
During Mixoloseum's Thursday Drink Nights, I kept joking that the theme one week should be "Bumwines" to see what glorious cocktails could be made with wretched ingredients (akin to what Prohibition-era bartenders might have done). Finally, one week they took me seriously and asked if I would host it. Instead of people avoiding it, they embraced it with an enthusiasm; I was quite impressed that someone even mulled Wild Irish Rose and used it in a cocktail! While I produced a few with interesting names (like the Last Word variation, the Right to Remain Silent, using Berry-flavored Cisco), the most tasty resorted to a Prohibition trick -- using honey. My bright red Bee's Knees variation as a tribute to the Red Dye #40-colored bees in Brooklyn tasted pretty decent as the honey syrup smoothed over the horrid aftertaste of Berry Cisco.
5. Rum Tasting at Steve Remsberg
6. Bartender on Acid
One of the drinks I came up with at a Thursday Drink Night was a "revamped classic" of the Surfer on Acid, but switching the coconut rum and Jägermeister to Smith & Cross and Fernet-Branca, respectively. I come to find out that Drink in Fort Point heard about the recipe and made up a pitcher of it one night which completely sold out (apparently, it has gotten made other times as well). Perhaps that could make it my most influential drink of 2010, with the Stamos Gin Fizz being the winner of 2009 (download a PDF of drink cards that contain this recipe and others).
7. Hanging out at the Boston Shaker
When Adam Lantheaume re-opened up the Boston Shaker store in Davis Square, Andrea became his first employee. Her job had just ended and this opportunity provided her a good sabbatical. Over the months that Andrea worked there, I got the chance to hang out there and watch the business grow and succeed. Best wishes to Adam and the Boston Shaker in 2011!
8. Birthday Bar Crawl
Well, since Andrea was working at the Boston Shaker store on my birthday, I decided to celebrate on my lonesome by visiting Eastern Standard. Followed by Clio. And then meeting up with Andrea at Trina's Starlite Lounge. Many thanks to Hugh Fiore, Todd Maul, and Emma Hollander for making my birthday this year quite amazing.
9. Absinthe Bar Crawl
10. Wait, I need a number 10?
I will probably think of something crafty after I hit submit (sort of like the naming of this drink), but what can I say -- it has been a great year and this post is #400 for 2010. Between Tales of the Cocktail, local events like Bartenders on the Rise, attending a Cognac blending seminar, hosting Mixology Monday: Tea, and other zaniness, I guess having I am a little indecisive on how to wrap it up. One memory worth that comes to mind was a minor sense of accomplishment I experienced during Tales of the Cocktail. On Sunday night, we returned from a last visit to the Cure bar (post rum tasting). We bumped into Paul Clarke in front of the Monteleone, and we all decided to get a nightcap at the Carousel Bar. After a Vieux Carré and much slurring conversation, the carousel just stopped. Wow, we closed the Carousel Bar! While it was a pleasure to have the disorienting spinning cease, it was a symbolic moment that our adventure was over (save for us getting up a few hours later to catch an 8am flight out). So I guess there is a number 10 after all.