Wednesday, June 30, 2010

out to lunch


After presenting a whiskey tasting this afternoon it was a challenge to accomplish anything productive, so it seemed like a good time to re-introduce myself to the twitterverse. Thanks to Dan @Prost for the hospitality whilst I spent some quality time with my Blackberry over a late lunch of Optimator and a killer Pretzel sandwich. Now that I'm all set up I'll try to post a bit more frequently despite my allergy to the social media craze.

The locals tell me that summer is finally here in P-town, but that remains to be seen as far as I'm concerned. Nice, but not what I think of for this time of year. Well with summer in mind I've finally put some new potions out there for Portlanders to enjoy. Still in flux with personnel at Irving Street so tried to keep things simple and user friendly for the bar staff while keeping technique and aesthetic in mind. Installing them two at a time until the staff gets comfortable with more challenging recipes. Really excited to finally move into my own cocktail list; when Dan mentioned he and JM came by I winced a bit at what may have been percieved from the existing list. On the up side it's still a new joint and there's a lot of room for growth. I've been holding my breath but I think I can announce the addition of the talented Fox_Zilla to ISK, whom I have been recruiting for some time now. A big deal in my book, and a huge step in making ISK a legitimate cocktail destination in the Northwest.

Tales is right around the corner and Fox and I will both be heading down, along with Mary B and a host of other talented Pdxers. I feel terrible for anyone outside of Nola who goes out for a cocktail during that time, damn near every good barman has an "out to lunch" sign hanging in their well. Looking forward to hanging with Mr. Schiller and some of the Chicago set as well as conversing with some brothers in arms from the national scene. If I run into anyone wearing an Olde English D I may kiss them on the mouth-fair warning-but Detroit, all of Michigan for that matter, needs at least one good cocktail bar to hang its hat on and if there's some representation at Tales that's a pretty good step. That remains to be seen if any progress is to be had in the forgotten realms of the midwest. Thankfully there are events like Tales and the Manhattan Cocktail Classic that work to unite communities often cut off from the progressive nature of beverage culture.

One of the most regrettable moments of my time managing In Fine Spirits in Chicago is related to TOTC. Ben Schiller, whom I hired as a server slash bartender and is now one of the most well regarded barmen in all of Chicago, had in a fairly bassackwards sort of way requested time off to attend Tales. At the time the bar was beginning to garnish some great local press and establish a name for itself, not to mention we had a skeleton crew, and I was unable to furnish this request. Fortunately Benjamin is attending this year's event and we can toast to what an asshole boss I was, and for how far we've both come since slaving to build a reputable cocktail bar in a neighborhood that wasn't ready for it. Hopefully all is forgiven and our cities can work together to further the cause of introducing people to quality in their drinks. Cheers to the enduring bonds we share as barmen in the absolute best time to be one!