Shot this little video during Tales of the Cocktail 2013 at the Irish Whiskey House, a bustling Dead Rabbit pop-up. Jack McGarry was behind the stick banging out some pretty complex cocktails at not only an impressive clip, but for an almost super-human length of time. From noon until 8:00 p.m, in a crowded room with no AC and considerable body heat on top of mid-July New Orleans swelter, and with no break, McGarry cranked out cocktail after cocktail, checking them all and serving with a smile. Just imagine him repeating everything he does in this 1:30 video another 360 or so times.
In the words of Allegra Geller in "eXistenZ", "There must be some weird reality bleed-through effect going on here". Michael Gaston would go on to play Burt Peterson on Mad Men, but here he shills for pre-mixed whiskey sours from Heublein, sometime around 1962, judging by the model's hair and dress. The ad could have come straight from Sterling Cooper.
...And there is so very, very much drinking in the film. Had an alarmingly sober discussion with him recently about the copious, reckless imbibing in the film for T (the full name of which I only just realized is "The New York Times Style Magazine"). The film's opens at midnight tonight across the U.S, and it may singlehandedly make up for a fairly wretched summer of big films--this one is fairly brilliant. Take a flask. Or a six-pack. Or both.
Took a break here for a couple months, sort of like this bartender who'd slipped out of an early morning BarSmarts class at Tales of the Cocktail this past August, and took a moment in the Carousel Bar for a restoring cocktail. Then he went back to the class and the task at hand. And so shall I.
For Inside F & B's second annual "Best Drink I Had All Year" article I just wrote up something I had after last years pre-Tales Pig & Punch Volunteer Day, organized by San Francisco's cocktail A Team, the Bon Vivants (Josh Harris & Scott Baird). Above, the assembled cocktail army in front of Ruby H. Lee High School in New Orleans, where we painted an entire floor of the buidling (31 rooms) over the course of a very productive day.
If you want something done, give it to a bartender. The project-driven spirit of the coprs meant efficient teamwork and lots of it.
And lots of painting corners.
The day wasn't all drudgery by any means; Godfather of the Austin cocktail scene Bill Norris chats up a dapper Yorick.
At lunchtime a killer food truck roledl up--above, Milagro's Jaime Salas.
Not everyone was a bartender--Left, Emil Jattne of Brooklyn Gin.
Then it was back to work for another 4 hours, followed by a bus drive back to Bon Vivants Tales' HQ, a sprawling second floor apartment near Frenchmen Street, for debriefing and cocktails.
Actually, it was more like beer: lots and lots of cold, refreshing beer in cans. But there was plenty of Tequila Ocho in the house..
Host Harris above with a cache of Tequila Ocho minis.
A serious game of dominoes broke out the minute we arrived.
Bon Vivant team member Ruby Wilson made a Mello Ocho for me, the traditional Volunteer Day cocktail (read more about it at Inside F & B). Tequila Ocho, rocks from an ice tray, Mello Yello, a pinch of sea salt and a lime--stirred by knife, a key part of this traditional volunteer day lo-fi cocktail. Salty, tangy, and so damn refreshing after working hard all day in the intense humidity of New Orleans in late July.
As a photographer sometimes your camera is just drawn to certain people in a group; Ruby's perpetually elegant stance kept drawing my lens to her. It wasn't until I reviewed the photos that I realized that something about her reminded me of Sargent's Madame X.
As the sun finally began to set the cellphones came out and the party slowly broke up as everyone set forth for their evening's adventures. The 85 plus who joined for the day's good work were all on a collective high of doing good. For info on how to pitch in for this year's 4th Annual Pig & Punch Volunteer Day the Tuesday before Tales gets underway (July 16th) contact Josh Harris at email@example.com.
In Jean-Pierre Melville's pulpy 1972 film policier, Richard Crenna plays the nightclub owner & master thief, Catherine Deneuve is his icy gun moll and Alain Delon is the detective who is pursuing a gang of thieves that turns out to be led be Crenna. Delon and Deneueve are having an affair, naturally. When Delon stops by Crenna's nightclub all three players go to the bar where he casually orders "Trois scotch", which seems to be scotch and water or possibly charged water,with just the merest hint of an ice cube or two, served in a tall, wide glass that's somewhere between a collins and a pint. In this context, with the supercharged looks between the trio, the dancers in the smokey nightclub in the background, the lush Michel Colombier score and the faint clink of French ice, "Trois scotch" plays here as one of the more glamorous orders in cinema.
Simple enough--10 fine bars in Key West, from high to low. The absence of the Green Parrot merely means it's being featured elsewhere on the Guardian's extensive Key West coverage this week. Pretty pleased to have been able to write up some of my favorite spots. Respect to Nick Doll for the ace photos. J.R.
In 2011 we'd served gimlets for guests of the Key West Literary Seminar from my brother Josh and sister-in-law Bonnie's Airstream--the beast was out of commission last year, getting a new engine and various upgrades by mad inventor bro, and this year she was back in full effect. We decided to serve from the Airstream at a party held on the lawn of Harry S. Truman's Little White House. But first she needed to get a good sprucing up. And: we had to come up with some cocktails for the evening.
A huge fan Aperol, I had been struck by an ingenious cocktail of Enzo Lim's that he'd made for me at his bangin' Fhilipino restaurant in the East Village, Maharlika. "The Fort" is a beguiling fusion of Aperola, guava juice, lemon juice and celery bitters. Front-loading a drink with Aperol is a ballsy move and this one really succeeds. When I found myself staring at the 6 bottles of Aperol I'd ordered the morning of the party I decided to attempt to recreate "The Fort" in punch form, following Enzo's proportions. Worked out quite well, particularly for the Aperol lovers in the crowd. In an attempt to retrofit this one to our Graham Greene theme I dubbed the punch "The Power and the Glory" after Greene's novel--the boldness of the drink just seemed right for that title. So, with huge thanks to Enzo:
THE POWER AND THE GLORY a.k.a. THE FORT
1 1/2 oz Aperol
1 1/2 oz Guava juice
1/2 oz lemon juice
Dash of Bitter Truth Celery Bitters
Add ingredients in a shaker; add ice and shake.
Splash with soda.
Strain over fresh ice.
Garnish: lemon wedge.
Our transportation to the Airstream--the family ride, an admirably beat-up Honda truck, driven by little brother Ian.
Our cocktail lounge on wheels.
Our home for the evening, with Hannah Scott along for the ride.
Sean was mixing up a vodka based punch, silky and smooth and friendly and as usual the hit of the evening. A more herbaceous variation on his "The Third Man" from our opening night party, "The Loud American" employed fresh thyme and lemon balm which I'd picked up (potted) at Key West's amazing nursery, The Marc House.
THE LOUD AMERICAN
2 Lbs. sugar
2 bunches fresh thyme
2 bunches fresh lemon balm
Muddle peels of citrus and herbs in sugar and let sit for at least an hour, muddling periodically.
Brew 64 oz green tea (10 tea bags) 2 min.
Pour hot tea over muddled peels, stir until sugar is dissolved.
Add roughly 16 oz lime juice and roughly 16 oz lemon juice to stock mixture. (to taste)
Add 3 litre bottles of Absolut vodka and 3-5 liters of soda water and serve over ice.
Garnish with lemon wheels, a few sprigs of fresh lemon balm & fresh thyme.
We served through the Airstream's windows, but many if not most of our guests stuck their head into the cab and it became quite the ad hoc VIP lounge.
Edgar Wright's next film with Messrs. Frost & Pegg (not to mention Freeman, Considine & Marsan) isn't opening in the U.S. until October 28th, 2013, but we're going to call it early on creating a drink inspired by "The World's End". From what little we know so far, it seems a group of old friends do a bit of a pub crawl during which some apocalyptic event takes place, so we're already thinking ale and....something firey and brimstone-y? Zombie dust? We'll just see when we see the thing. We did rather well, if we do say so ourselves, with our Edgar Wright-Tini that made it into Empire Magazine and we're just preemptively letting the world know: "The World's End Cocktail" is ours. J.R. & W.F.