Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Mom Mixeur: La Florence

A few weeks back Mom Mixeur suggested that for a Christmas gift, I create an original cocktail and name it after her. I don't know if she expected me to actually be mad enough to do so, but you'd think after all these years she would know me well enough to know I'm nothing if not mad. After all, she's known me since I was at least 13. And so create a cocktail for her I did, and name it after her I did.

Which brings us to a little secret: my mother's real name is not Mom Mixeur. It's Florence Howe Munat. Florrie for short. I thought about calling her cocktail a Florrie-dita or a Florrie-dora...but she asked me to please don't do that. So, we'll go with the ever-more-distinguished...La Florence.

La Florence

2 oz white rum
1 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz St. Germain
2 dashes Regan's Orange Bitters

shake and strain into a cocktail glass rinsed with green Chartreuse

There's really nothing at all about this drink that's in keeping with the season, as it's more of an easy sipping spring or summer breeze. But, key to its concept is that I figured Mom Mixeur would like it. And I think she did, though it's hard to tell because moms tend not to tell you that you suck, especially on Christmas day.

On the other hand, any cocktail can seem festive when pictured alongside Christmas cookies and pecan pie!

I fed some earlier variation of this cocktail to Robert Rowland of Oliver's Twist (not to mention the next version of Left Coast Libations), and he recommended cutting the St. Germain back to 1/4 ounce. I did this, and I liked that.

However, today I arrived at the Munat family homestead with an inconspicuous shoulder bag slung fashionably to one hip. When the moment came, I reached into this bag and withdrew all the needed ingredients and tools for making the drink, listing off the proportions of each that were to be included. I then proceeded to make two versions of the cocktail - one with 1/4 ounce Germain and one with 1/2 ounce. Mom Mixeur made her preference known for the 1/2 ounce version. She said that she could see why a professional bartender might prefer the subtler version, since a person of such position likely bears a more refined palette than her own. I explained to her that while she could be right, if I ever caught any bartender dissing my mama's palette I would most certainly smite thee!

And Robert, if you're reading this, just because I sometimes calls you daddy don't make you my mama. So 1/2 ounce of the St. Germain it is!

And here's a portrait of Mom Mixeur with her La Florence, taken earlier this fine Christmas day. But I must warn you, she's pretty freaking adorable, particularly when imbued with the warm glow of a fine cocktail and familial festivities...

Oh, and I did also buy her a material object type of gift as well, in case any of you traditionalists are thinking about giving me a hard time.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Le Gra,

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Book That Will Save Us All

My recent trip to San Francisco (much more to come on this soon) has created a propitious climate in which to publicly announce that a new book is in the works. Specifically, a big-boy version of Left Coast Libations, complete with photographs, bindings, price tags, and lack of typos.

Whereas the original LCL featured a mixture of bartenders, bloggers, and enthusiasts, big boy LCL will focus exclusively on career bartenders...the folks who have spent years plugging away behind bars, employing that unique set of skills one must have to handle all the various aspects of such labor. The book, then, will function as a cocktail recipe book, and also as a guide to many of the West's finest bartenders.

The list of contributors is pretty much complete. The process of meeting and getting to know each other is underway, and I will be writing brief profiles of every last tender of bar. We will also be collecting and testing recipes over the coming months, taking photographs, and working on layout design.

In addition to the bartenders, many other people are generously donating their time and effort to make this book a reality. The process of promoting and hyping these people in exchange for their work will

Jenn Farrington will be photographing the drinks and the folks hailing from California. Jenn is a photographer of such skill and accomplishment, she frankly is out of our league. Hopefully this does not occur to her at any point between now and publication.

Zane Harris, in addition to being a contributing bartender, will be taking photos of the drinks and the folks hailing from the Northwest. Zane knows not yet my plans to kidnap him and take him to bars in Portland and Vancouver...but I doubt it will be an abduction to which he offers much resistance.

The audacious Mr. Erik Ellestad provided me with invaluable insight as to whom to seek out in the Bay Area to be in the book (so if you're in the book and Erik comes into your bar, buy him a round...if you aren't in the book and Erik comes into your bar, throw a drink in his really, he likes it).

The resplendent Ms. Marleigh Riggins provided the same service in Los Angeles. If you're an LA bartender and you're in the book, well, I don't need to tell you to treat Marleigh like royalty. I'm certain you already do. And if they don't, Marleigh, let me know. I know people in LA who know how to handle things.

Andrew Means has offered to lend his considerable expertise in layout and design of the book. Additionally, Andrew's band has been anointed unofficial soundtrack of LCL.

The bartenders who have agreed to participate in the book are listed below...

Vancouver, BC - David Wolowidnyk, Josh Pape

Seattle, WA - Andrew Bohrer, Andrew Friedman, Anu Apte, Casey Robison, David Nelson, Erik Hakkinen, Jamie Boudreau, Jay Kuehner, Jim Romdall, Keith Waldbauer, Murray Stenson, Robert Rowland, Tara McLaughlin, and Zane Harris.

Portland, OR - Daniel Shoemaker, Evan Zimmerman, James Pierce. Kelley Swenson, and Lance Mayhew.

Corvallis, OR - Chris Churilla, Kinn Edwards

Eugene, OR - Jeffrey MorgenthalerItalic
Bay Area, CA - Brooke Arthur, Dan Hyatt, Dominic Venegas, Duggan McDonnell, Erik Adkins, Jackie Patterson, Jennifer Colliau, Jimmy Patrick, Joel Baker, Jon Santer, Kevin Diedrich, Lane Ford, Marco Dionysus, Neyah White, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Yanni Kehagiaras.

Los Angeles, CA - Chris Ojeda, Christine D'Abrosca, Damian Windsor, Eric Alperin, John Coltharp, Marcos Tello, and Matty Eggleston.

This list still takes my breath away when I look at it. Yet there are still so many on this coast who were wrongfully omitted. Apologies to those who were. (A few more will be trickling in as well).

Now, having implied the reason for my trip to San Francisco (6 days, 16 bartenders to meet), I am free to begin the arduous task of chonicling at least some of the wonderment that occured between November 27 and December 3.

Stay tuned...