Wild Times

Posted in Editor's Notes on December 21st, 2011 by Josh

I’ve had a crazy year. Some may even call that an understatement. It’s been a year packed with radical change, both personal and professional, which has often kept me from my duly appointed drinking rounds. Though let’s be honest: I’ve still managed to sneak in a few cocktails here and there.

I certainly can’t complain. I’m as happy as I’ve ever been, with the small exception of the sadness that comes from the reduced frequency at which I see my friends in the cocktail world. But life is good. And those friendships – for which I am truly grateful – are steadfast, and shall perservere.

So while I haven’t written here nearly as often as I’d like, know that as 2011 comes to a close, all is well, and there’s more to come. I wish you and your families a holiday season filled with health and happiness, prosperity and peace. May we all share a drink in 2012.

Until then, (with Pappy van Winkle 20yr in hand) cheers to you.


Beautiful Combinations: Tequila & Chartreuse

Posted in Editor's Notes, Recipes on July 29th, 2011 by Josh

I have a confession to make. I don’t love tequila.

I know. “For shame!” you shout. “Blasphemy!” But it’s true. All things being equal, I would always prefer a cocktail with gin, rum or whisky over the agave spirits (which includes mezcal as well…gasp!) It may be that my palette tends more towards the sweet or bitter vs. the savory flavor or smokiness of tequila. Or it may be that many years ago, at my 22nd birthday bash, a kind benefactor started buying my friends and I shots of tequila to celebrate (no doubt the best brand available at our college-town dive bar), and I ended the night sicker than I had ever been (or since).

So maybe my dislike isn’t fair. Of course I know that there are far superior brands than the one that ruined the day after my 22nd birthday. In my defense, I’ve been working to break myself of this dislike, and I’ve found a terrific way to easy myself back in. The beautiful combination that is tequila and green chartreuse.
Read More

Tags: Adam Ramsey, celery bitters, dry vermouth, Green Chartreuse, lime, Mayahuel, mint, sotol, tequila

The Way to Go

Posted in Editor's Notes on July 12th, 2011 by Josh

Last night, I joined hundreds of Ray Deter’s friends and fans, along with his family, to pay tribute to Ray with a New Orleans-style Second Line march. (Deter died on July 3rd after a bicycle accident.) Musicians from New York and New Orleans led the gathered crowd from d.b.a., on First Avenue and Second St, around the block past Marble Cemetery where Ray will be laid to rest, then through the East Village to 6th St. between Avenue B & Avenue C, where Ray lived.

I took a moment to capture just a short piece of video, to give you a sense of the atmosphere of the occasion:

It was easily the most touching send off I have ever experienced. It surpassed the cliche, and truly was a celebration of Ray’s life. I wish this tradition existed more often outside of New Orleans. In my mind, it’s the way to go.

Many gathered back at d.b.a. after the march to toast Ray’s memory. Good beer was free flowing, as I’m sure Ray would have liked it. EV Grieve has more photos of the gathering.


Tags: beer, d.b.a., New Orleans, Ray Deter

A Toast to Ray

Posted in Editor's Notes on July 6th, 2011 by Josh

I’d like to take a moment to remember Ray Deter, owner of the famed beer and whisky bar d.b.a. here in New York and in New Orleans. Ray passed away this past Sunday, July 3rd, as a result of injuries he sustained in a bicycle accident last week.

I wasn’t around when d.b.a. burst onto the scene in New York in the 90′s, but by all accounts, Ray – and his partner Dennis – in many ways transformed drinking in New York. They were pioneers in helping to introduce the craft of beer (and later whisky) to a city that had been languishing in mass-produced malted water for far too long.

I came to really know d.b.a. much later, through my good friend Simon Glenn, who hosts Tchoup Shop – a pop-up New Orleans¬†barbecue¬†in the backyard of d.b.a brooklyn every Sunday during the summer. I went to d.b.a. for the good food and friends, but found a wonderful community of people, and a new appreciation for truly good beer. I’m grateful for both. Read More

Tags: beer, d.b.a., memorial, Ray Deter

We’ve Got a New Look

Posted in Editor's Notes on July 1st, 2011 by Josh

You may have noticed that we have a new look. (Though if you’re reading this by RSS or e-mail, maybe not. Click here.)

After over two years of writing Spirited Cocktails (granted, somewhat intermittently), and having created the site on my own from a canned template, I thought it was about time for a more professional look that was in line with what we do. I turned to the expert guidance and skill of Orion Harbour of FromNoise, who masterfully crafted what can only be described as a complete identity for Spirited Cocktails. I think he’s done a damned fine job.

Let us know what you think of the new look. Questions, comments, tirades, etc. all welcome.


Tags: redesign

The Fight Over Painkiller

Posted in Editor's Notes on June 10th, 2011 by Josh

A few weeks ago, during the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, I told you about my visit to Painkiller. After only a year in business, this Lower East Side tiki bar has become an instant classic, and a favorite among bartenders and cocktailians around the country, myself included.

Well, as you may have seen on Twitter or Facebook yesterday, Painkiller has found themselves in a legal dispute over their name. Pusser’s Rum, a brand based in the British Virgin Islands, claims a trademark to the name Painkiller, and filed suit in federal court against the bar’s owners claiming irreparable harm to its brand, unfair competition and unfair business practices. You can read all about it via The LoDown or Robert Simonson.

The result: Painkiller’s owners – Giuseppe Gonzalez and Richard Boccato – have agreed, according to The LoDown: Read More

Tags: giuseppe gonzalez, Intellectual Property, painkiller, PKNY, Pusser's Rum, Richard Boccato, Robert Simonson, Trademarking

The Negroni

Posted in Recipes on May 31st, 2011 by Josh

In my last post, I wrote about gin cocktails at Eleven Madison Park. Many of my cocktail friends know that I’m a latecomer to the Negroni, having not been a particular fan of Campari in the past, which is a key ingredient. For whatever reason, it just hasn’t been a good fit with my taste. But to me, the highlight of my afternoon at Eleven Madison Park was the Negroni cocktail, so I thought it would be worth a bit more discussion.

As I started to write about this cocktail, my mind went to that joke about The Aristocrats? Content of the joke aside, the idea is that every comedian has their own version of the joke, and having a version of your own is seen as something of a secret handshake among comedians. I think the Negroni is the Aristocrats of the cocktail world. It’s a perfect template, but everyone has their own version. Read More

Tags: Amor y Amargo, Beefeater, Campari, Carpano Antica, cocktail, eleven madison park, gin, sweet vermouth