Thursday, July 30, 2009

What is a Cordial/Liqueur?

Cordial is another word for liqueur. Cordial originally came from the Latin word “cor” which meant “heart.” The word liqueur came from the Latin word that meant “melt” or “dissolve.” It is more common in the United States to use the word cordial. It is more common in Europe to use the word liqueur. Both words are used interchangeably in the bar industry. Read More...

Tonight Was Interesting

The above is NOT a picture of my actual basement/laundry room. This is just to give you an idea of what I had to deal with tonight

After spending all day working at the club, getting it set up for the grand opening this Saturday night, I came home exhausted. I was sitting at my computer, checking my email when I started to hear a loud noise that sounded like someone banging on metal. I thought there was someone out on the fire escape. I looked outside and didn't see anyone, but I could still hear the banging. Then I got scared.

We have had a number of problems with crackheads breaking into our building and sleeping in the basement. I find remnants of them all the time here in the building. This is a major reason why I avoid the building's basement at night. I don't want to ever come face-to-face, alone with a or multiple crackheads hanging out down there. I realized that the banging on metal noise was coming from the basement. I walked to the foot of the stairs and could hear the noise get louder and louder. Just as I was about to go downstairs to investigate, I heard a loud popping and hissing sound. Whatever it was, it scared the shit out of me and I ran back to my apartment.

I didn't know what to do. I was scared and shaking. I called 911 and told them the situation. The police came out rather quickly and went downstairs to check things out. Turns out there weren't any crackheads. The banging noise I heard was the sound of a water pipe breaking. A water pipe had broke downstairs in the laundry room and now there was water flooding the whole basement. Great. Now what am I suppose to do?

I tried calling the building owners (a certain huge property owner/management company here in SF) and got nowhere. Unfortunately all of the emergency contact numbers I had for this company weren't working. I couldn't even access the 24-hour emergency line for the huge property owner. This huge SF property owner is a total joke in my book, but that's a whole other discussion.

I called the water department. I needed to get this running water shut off immediately. They sent the fire department out to shut off the water.

Now it's 3AM and I am still waiting for the plumber to arrive. I have no idea what the plumber will be able to do at this point, if anything. All I know is that I am exhausted and just want to get some sleep. I just wish the building ownership were a little bit more accessible during a late night emergency.

Update: plumber is here. A pipe fell off from the boiler. I think that's all bad. The plumber said he would sauder it back on so that our building would have water.

Yay! Problem solved.

I'm still mad at this huge SF property owner/management company. If you live in San Francisco and rent from them, you probably have many stories of frustration of your own. San Francisco, you probably know the exact company I speak about without me having to disclose their name.

This along with the constant neglect of our building makes me want to move out of this building. It's too bad because I really enjoy the actual inside of my apartment and the neighborhood. I just hate the way this company works and neglects its buildings.

Classic Cocktail: Moscow Mule

What drink started the vodka craze here in the United States? It was the Moscow Mule. Created in 1941, in Los Angeles, by two men. One man was the owner of a company that produced ginger beer and was also a bar owner. The other one was a Smirnoff vodka executive. Together, Smirnoff and ginger beer along with some fresh lime juice seemed to be the winning combination that turned America on to vodka. So much that Americans switched from drinking mainly gin to drinking mainly vodka. Read More...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What is Frangelico?

Frangelico is a hazelnut flavored liqueur. How do you remember that Frangelico has a hazelnut flavor? The bottle is shaped like a monk. If you look under his robe, you will see his hazelNUTs.

But seriously, have you ever wondered what Frangelico was all about and how it came to be? Maybe you have never cared about its history, but have always been curious as to what exactly the contents are in this funky shaped bottle. Read all about what Frangelico is made of, where it's made, the fun drinks that call for Frangelico in their recipes and how it came to get such a funky shaped bottle.

Believe it or not, it was the bottle's funky shape that really helped it gain its popularity in the alcohol market. Read More...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cuba Libre vs Rum and Coke

What is the difference between a Cuba Libre and a Rum and Coke? The Cuba Libre is not only a political statement, but it’s also a popular rum cocktail that is believed to have been concocted in Cuba. “Cuba Libre” translated simply means “Free Cuba.” The exact origins of this drink are unclear. Read More...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Why is Fernet So Popular in SF?

Did you know that San Francisco drinks more Fernet than any other locale in the United States and more per capita than any place on Earth?

I was going to write an article for my Examiner page on why Fernet is so popular here in San Francisco and among the people who work in the industry here. Instead, I stumbled upon a great and very detailed article written back in December of 2005, answering this same question written by Nate Cavalieri of the SF Weekly. I thought that the article was well written and answered my question significantly. I didn't feel the need to regurgitate all of the information because Mr. Cavalieri had done such a nice job the first time.

So in case you've ever wondered why Fernet is so damn popular among San Francisco bartenders, be sure to read:

The Myth of Fernet: The saga of Fernet, and its cultlike popularity, says a lot about San Francisco
Written by Nate Cavalieri (SF Weekly)

How to Cut Off a Customer

Cutting off or stopping service to a customer is my least favorite part of bartending. With bartending, it’s a numbers game. The more drinks a bartender serves, the more money that bartender will make. So saying “no” to a customer is never desirable, but in some situations, it is absolutely necessary. Anytime a bartender serves a customer an alcoholic drink, that customer becomes the bartender’s responsibility. It is the responsibility of the bartender to make sure that the customer doesn’t become overly intoxicated while at the bar. When a person starts to display signs of being overly intoxicated at the bar it is the responsibility of the bartender to cut off any more alcohol service to that customer.

So how does a bartender stop service to a customer? Read Here...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Daiquiri, A Classic Cocktail

When most people think of Daiquiris, they picture warm beaches, vacation and a blender. The Daiquiri is considered a rum version of a classic sour cocktail that traditionally doesn’t require any sort of blending. There are many different versions of how the classic Daiquiri came to be. For example, according to Gary Regan in his book, “The Joy of Mixology”, the Daiquiri was invented in 1898 by a couple of Americans who were working in Cuba after the Spanish-American war who designed to drink to be a cure or a type of medicine to protect themselves against Malaria. Read More...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ginger Beer=Buck

I have been expanding my horizons lately by working with different types of ingredients to make my cocktails more complex and certainly more delicious. Popular San Francisco booze blogger, Camper English, wrote an excellent article recently for the Chronicle discussing ginger beer, its roots and its recent craze among bartenders in cities such as New York and San Francisco.

Be sure to check out the tasty recipe called Kentucky Buck featuring ginger beer, strawberries, lemon juice, bitters and bourbon formulated by San Francisco's own Erick Castro, beverage director at Rickhouse. Can you say yum?

Ginger beer gives a buck more bang
Written by Camper English

Redhook Brewery

On my recent trip up to Seattle, it was highly recommended to me that I take the Redhook Brewery tour in Woodinville. For a mere dollar, I could sample up to four of Redhook’s beers on tap, learn all about Redhook’s history, see how they brew their beer and take a souvenir tasting glass home. I was sold. Read More...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What is Proof?

Proof is the measurement of how much alcohol is contained in a spirit. In the United States, proof is measured in terms of alcohol by volume (ABV) and is determined by doubling the percentage of the alcohol contained in the bottle. For example, if a spirit is 40% alcohol, than it is 80-proof.

So what is the purpose of proof and how did it come to be? Read More...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The MUNI Crash

Here is footage from the MUNI crash that took place last Saturday, July 18th at the West Portal station. The train was going fast. Can you imagine how scared the passengers and people on the platform must have been?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Who is Dale DeGroff?

And why is this guy so important in the bar world? "Mixologists" (especially the ones here in San Francisco) have this man to thank for making their cool title important behind the bar and in the bar industry.

DeGroff made bartenders cool and almost celebrity-like for foodies, food and drink critics and food and bar industry magazines.

I have King Cocktail to thank because he helped make it okay and perfectly acceptable to choose bartending as a viable career for whenever I decide to grow up.

Thanks Dale DeGroff. Now read why he is damn important HERE.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fun Facts About Rum

You think you know all there is to know about rum? Well, you have no idea!! For example:

Did you know that rum was responsible for the American Revolution?

Did you know that rum was the equivalent to gold and used as currency in New England at the end of the 17th century?

Did you know that Bacardi has helped influence the architecture style in the Miami area?

Did you know that Jamaican rum is inspired by and uses a similar aging process to scotch whiskey?

Did you know that rum was rationed daily to British Royal Navy seamen for more than 300 years?

Did you know that rum has been gaining mainstream popularity thanks to flavored rums?

Did you know that July 19th is National Daiquiri Day?

Does expensive light rum make a better tasting mojito than it’s inexpensive counterpart?

To learn about these fun facts, check out my Examiner article HERE.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bartending 101: What is cachaça?

Cachaça (ka-shah-sa) is considered to be the national spirit of Brazil, sharing a similar popularity as vodka does here in the United States. According to Leblon which is a Brazilian distillery that makes cachaça and is popular here in the United States, the national spirit of Brazil happens to be the third most consumed spirit in the world, following right behind vodka and soju/shochu (an Asian distillate made mainly from rice). Read More...

Friday, July 17, 2009

The History of Bacardi

Did you know that Bacardi is the largest private spirits company in the world? Bacardi isn’t just rum for mojitos either. Besides having a light rum, gold rum, high proof rum and all of the flavored rums in it’s line, Bacardi also owns Martini and Rossi (dry vermouth and sweet vermouth), Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire, Cazadorres tequila, Grey Goose vodka, Drambuie, Disaronno amaretto, B & B and Benedictine liqueurs. Since it’s humble beginnings in 1862, Bacardi has become not only a household brand name rum, but it has also become a multi-national corporation. Bacardi is a powerhouse in the spirits world.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Thirsty? Where to Get Rum Drinks

Will someone please take me to the Tonga Room? It's not closed and I want to go. I hear they have a slammin happy hour. And I hear it's like a tropical paradise in there complete with drinks that have little umbrellas in them. I can't escape to the beach right now, but this place sounds like a great alternative.

Of course, those of you who have had the pleasure of trying my "Big Sexy" shooter know that I can make a pretty mean rum drink myself. I usually save this one for those customers who want something strong and sweet, but just really don't know what they want. It wins them over every time and keeps them coming back for more.

Thirsty? Want a tasty drink with rum? Don't have the components in place for a home bar? Want to leave the cocktail making to the professionals? No problem. In my recent "Best Of" article, I highlight where one could get a tasty rum beverage all over the country in cities such as Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles, Fort Worth, Detroit, Dallas and, of course, San Francisco. Read More...

Rum Drinks: At Home, On the Rocks

It's Rum Month over at and they made me the hub for all of the rum bar stories. Part of my duty for being a hub this month is to pick out a few of the stories written about rum and spread the love. This time around, I did a "best of" of all of the rum drink recipes that one could make at home. There were so many tasty looking drink recipes. This collaboration took me awhile, but it was fun. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty thirsty now.

"Everyone seems to have their favorite rum drink recipe for drinks such as mojitos, daiquiris, mai tais, zombies, various rum punches, etc. In celebration of Rum Month on, Examiners are writing about their favorite rum recipes that are easily made at home, without the supervision of a professional bartender. The best part about making these drinks at home is that you don’t have to worry about leaving your credit card at the bar, you don’t have to leave a tip and there is need for a designated driver. Regardless of whether you are drinking at the bar or at home, please enjoy in moderation." Read More...

Hey SF, Meet Your Mixologist

A very good friend of mine, Heidi, was chosen for the "Meet Your Mixologist" feature in the SF Examiner last week. Super, totally awesome. Go Heidi!!

Spa-inspired drinks a specialty at Boboquivari
By: Tiffany Martini

We’ve had many a bartender make us feel good once we slid ourselves off their bar stools. Bobo’s resident mixologist, Heidi Walrath, however, had us feeling downright great. The gal just beams optimism and positive energy. She’s currently studying to be a chiropractor and is also deeply interested and invested in nutrition, which explains why she deems many of her cocktails, well, healthful. One of her spa-inspired drinks is the Q-Ball, which brings together Hangar One Buddha’s Hand Citron, fresh cucumber, lemon and mint. She even once made a cocktail with Emergen-C on the rim. If you use a lot of fresh citrus — such as lemons and limes — as it breaks down in your body, it reduces the acidity (which is what alcohol amplifies). We feel better already. Next time we need a liquid diagnosis, we’re hitting up Walrath, who will give us our medicine via stemware, not needles. Read More...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Find a Bartender Job: Resume

It seems like nowadays, most of the bartending job ads on craigslist request that candidates email them their resume. Every now and then an ad might state a specific time and date for applicants to come by the establishment in-person and hand in their resume. Sure, most of us had some sort of professional resume made at some point, but maybe you have never made a resume for bartending before. Or maybe you don’t have any bartending experience to put on your resume. What is a bartender who has never made a resume before or a new bartending job applicant to do? READ MORE...

Thought This Was Funny

A few nights ago, I had a group of older, white gentlemen sitting at my bar who seemed to be having a rather serious conversation. It sounded like politics. One of my rules behind the bar is to never get into a political discussion with a customer. I feel the same way about religion. So this was one of those times when I just kept my thoughts to myself and just listened.

These gentlemen seemed to be playing a grown-up version of "What would you do if...?" They happened to be discussing what they would do if they were governor of California, how they would balance the state's budget and whom they blame for the economy being in the state that it's in.

Oh if it were only that easy guys.

When the time came for their table to be ready, I asked them to close up their tab with me at the bar. All four of them took turns looking over the bill, bitching and griping about their bill coming to a whooping total of forty dollars for four drinks.

I secretly laughed to myself and smiled. Customers are so very entertaining at times. This is why customers are my favorite part of the job. Well, that and all of the alcohol. ;)

My FAVORITE Dive Bar In Seattle: Shorty's

Bar Review: Shorty's (Seattle, WA):

If you have coulrophobia, then stop reading this article right now. Coulrophobia is the rare extreme or irrational fear of clowns. If you are afraid of clowns, don’t go to Shorty’s because there are clowns everywhere. Shorty’s is totally worth braving your fear of clowns for though. As a huge fan of dive bars with a decent selection of beer, a full bar, pinball and arcade games, quirky or sometimes downright bizarre decor and a cool jukebox, I’d say Shorty’s has it all. Read More...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Find a Bartender Job: Attitude vs. Experience

There are a whole lot of people who want to be a bartender out there, but not everyone has what it takes to be a good bartender. It’s common for beginning bartenders to stress out over drink recipes. The thought of all of the different types of drinks their customers could ask them to make might be overwhelming for some. What if a customer ordered a drink that they didn’t know how to make? Honestly when it comes to bartending, ten percent of the job is drinks. The other ninety percent is personality. The difference between an okay bartender and a really good bartender is personality. Read More...

NEW BLOG: Tales From Behind The Chair

A friend of mine is FINALLY starting a candid blog about working as a hair stylist. YES!! I have been bugging him for while to do this. And I thought I had juicy stories.

Check out my friend's blog here: Tales From Behind The Chair

Inspired by My Customers

One of the many things I love about bartending is the customers I meet at my bar. I meet all types of people, all the time. We talk about all kinds of things. They say I inspire them. I tell them they inspire me right back and it's true. Case in point: Last night I had two ladies come in towards the end of the night for a cocktail. Our conversation started off about the restaurant itself, the delicious cocktails we make using fresh ingredients and then moved on to talking about bartending in general and working in the industry.

We talked about how it takes a special person to be a bartender. Everyone wants to be a bartender. Out of all of the jobs in the house, being a bartender is easily the most sought out position. Think about it. The bartender is the ring leader of the party. He/She holds the control of the booze and therefore has the most fun. They don't know it yet, but these lades inspired me to write the next article in my "job search" article series on

In the meantime, check out my cool customers that inspired me last night at the site: Write Between The Lines

Write Between the Lines
is an exploration and articulation of the obvious and the obscure. A cavalcade of creation and commentary designed to amuse and bemuse.

Thanks Katy and Jane for your inspiration last night.

Busting Bar Myths: Origins of the Mai Tai

The Mai Tai was not invented in either Hawaii or Tahiti. The drink was originated in Oakland, California. Drink recipe creator, Victor Jules “Trader Vic” Bergeron came up with the original recipe for a Mai Tai in 1944 while working as a bartender in the service bar of his Oakland restaurant, Trader Vic’s. Read More...

PS: I have included an instructional video on how to make the original Mai Tai in the article thanks to

Monday, July 6, 2009

The "Best Of" Articles: Rum 101

July is Rum Month on All month long, Examiners are encouraged to write about the spirit that originated from the Caribbean. Before reading about all the fabulous drink and food recipes, history of the spirit and the different brands, one should know the rum basics such as what rum is, how its made, where it comes from and what all the different types of rum there are. The following are some of the “best of” articles that discuss rum basics: Read More...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Find a Bartender Job: Interview

You’ve mastered how to appropriately respond to a bartender job listing on craigslist. You’ve pounded the pavement and done your research on the specific bar you are applying to bartend at. Now comes the moment of truth: the interview.

What Should I Wear?

A bartending interview is going to be different from an interview that you go on for a desk job. Read More...

Rum: What? Where? History?

Whenever I think of rum, I immediately think of the trip I took with my family to Belize. In the warm tropical climate, there never seemed to be a shortage of rum and rum inspired cocktails. Everywhere we went on the island, it seemed like our “Jungle Juice” (rum mixed with a variety of fruit juices) was right there with us. Caribbean Islands are popularly associated with the origins of rum. The reason why rum comes from the Caribbean is because sugar cane thrives in the tropical and subtropical environments. Sugar cane is the main ingredient used in making rum. Read More...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The “Best Of” Articles: Late Night Eats and Bar Food

Sometimes looking for a place that serves late night food after a full night of drinking is just as important as deciding on where to drink for the night. A lot of bars make the situation a lot easier by serving food. Bars know that one way to prevent their customers from becoming overly intoxicated is to feed them. Food helps keep the alcohol in the stomach longer, which in turn slows down the rate at which the alcohol reaches the small intestine. The small intestine is the one organ in the body that absorbs the most alcohol. The faster alcohol reaches the small intestine, the higher a person’s BAC becomes and the more intoxicated they are.

What do you do when the bar stops serving drinks and food for the night? Read More...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Busting Bar Myths: Why Corona is Garnished With a Lime

Corona is the #1 selling beer in Mexico, the #1 selling Mexican beer in the world and the #4 selling beer in the world. Corona is considered a pale lager that is made with water, barley, hops and yeast and is served in a clear bottle. I have served thousands of Coronas during my bartending career so far and have always wandered why Corona is always garnished with a lime wedge in the neck of the bottle. Read More...

Busting Bar Myths: Food DOES NOT Sober A Person Up

In the state of California, it is illegal for bars or nightclubs to serve any alcoholic beverages after 2 AM. Last call is usually around 1:45 AM. After 2 AM, the streets are filled with people coming out of nearby bars and nightclubs. It’s at this time of night where late night restaurants and food chains make a bulk of their money. Clubbers and bar hoppers are looking to sober themselves up to make the drive home by filling up their stomachs with late night grub. Unfortunately, food does not sober a person up. The only thing that sobers a person up is time. Read More...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

11 Factors That Affect a Person's BAC

Bartenders and customers should both know that there are eleven factors that can affect a person’s BAC. BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Content, which means the amount of alcohol that has been absorbed into the bloodstream and is represented as a percentage. Factors that can effect a person’s BAC include: rate of consumption, drink strength, body type, body size, body fat, gender, age, a person’s emotional state, medications, food and carbonation. Read More...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Angostura Bitters

Angostura bitters is a concentrated flavoring agent made from roots, berries, herbs and plants that is 80 proof (40% of the product contains alcohol.) It’s used to aid digestion, flavor food and cocktails and can even help cure a case of the hiccups. Angostura bitters are considered non-potable meaning that they aren’t meant to be consumed “neat” or “on the rocks.” Read More...

What Makes A Person Drunk

Bartenders have a responsibility to their customers when they serve them alcoholic beverages. Bartenders need to make sure that the customers are legally old enough to drink. Bartenders also need pay attention to the types of alcoholic beverages their customers are ordering and how many they’re consuming. It’s a lot easier to prevent a person from becoming intoxicated than it is to deal with someone who already is overly intoxicated. This is why in most restaurants and bars, the bartender has the ultimate say on when a person is “cut off.” The bartender will know how many drinks that customer has had because they served them. It’s also important for both bartenders and customers to know and understand how alcohol affects the human body. Read More...