Friday, December 21, 2012

Mayan Mixology Meltdown 5: B'ak'tun

The end of the world is nigh, so we're going to take a make up a few Mexican/Mayan inspired drinks to help make the coming apocalypse easier to deal with.

This is it my friends, assuming that we haven't already been wiped out in a cataclysm, it's only a matter of time now before the end of the world. I hope that it's been a good one for you. In the event that we are still here to read this, let's work on easing that transition with a nice drink to celebrate what it is that is coming to an end today. December 21, 2012 marks the end of the 13th B'ak'tun, or the long count in the Mesoamerican calendar. A b'ak'tun is comprised of 144,000 days, or about 394 years. On the winter solstice of the year 2012 (CE) the current b'ak'tun will be completed. Obviously this means the end of the world, just as the completion of the millennium signals the end in the western calendar.

To honor the end of it all by what I can only assume will be a meteor strike or some other sort of astral destruction we have the final drink the B'ak'tun (or Long Count). We feature a flaming lime shell for the fiery daeth coming from the sky, soda water for the boiling oceans, and some jalapeno syrup for the burning sensation sure to accompany our destruction.

B'ak'tun, (long count)
1.5 oz resposado Tequila
1 oz blanco tequila
1 oz pineapple juice
.75 oz jalapeno syrup*
.5 oz Orange Juice
.5 oz Lime Juice
.5oz 151 rum
2 oz seltzer
Shake everything save the rum and seltzer with crushed ice. Top glass with seltzer water, fill the spent lime shell with rum and light. 

*To make the jalapeno syrup make a 2:1 simple syrup and add 2 sliced jalapeno chiles per cup of sugar. You can control the heat of the jalapeno with the seeds and inner membranes. If you like thing spicy throw in the whole lot, if you want just a little heat and more fruit flavor, remove the seeds and the white inner membrane. As soon as the sugar is dissolved into the water add the jalapenos and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain and allow to cool. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mayan Mixology Meltdown 3: Human Sacrifice

The end of the world is nigh, so we're going to take a make up a few Mexican/Mayan inspired drinks to help make the coming apocalypse easier to deal with.

As we discussed with the cenote, on occasion the Mayans sacrificed young men to the gods. That it was generally young men sacrificed, suggests that the sacrifices were meant to represent strength and power, as opposed to representing fertility by sacrificing young women. Another key component of the Mayan mythology was the odd ballgame played in Mesoamerica. This game is believed to be part of worship to the gods, a way of demonstrating the fitness of the participants, with the losers often sacrificed to the gods. 
Given this history of human sacrifice, clearly, we will need our own Human Sacrifice before the end. 

Human Sacrifice
1.5 oz blanco tequila
2 oz pineapple juice
1 oz passion fruit
.5 oz triple sec
.25 oz Herbsaint (or absinthe)
.25oz grenadine

Shake everything but grenadine with crushed ice. Float grenadine on top, garnish with cilantro.

Once again hit up Rated R Cocktails tomorrow for JFL's continuation of the mayhem.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mayan Mixology Meltdown 1: Cenote

The end of the world is nigh, so we're going to take a make up a few Mexican/Mayan inspired drinks to help make the coming apocalypse easier to deal with.

 First up we're going to explore a key part of the Mayan religion, the cenote.  Cenotes are deep sinkholes or pits full of fresh water in the Yucatan Peninsula  Geologists think that they are tied to the Chicxulub crater, which is believed to be the impact of the asteroid that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. The Mayans believed that these pits were entrances to Xibalba, the Mayan underworld. The Sacred Cenote at Chichen Itza has been found to contain numerous sacrifices to the gods, including human sacrifices. If we want to get into the mindset of the Mayans that foretold our doom, we need to explore the cenote. 

2 oz coconut water
1.5 oz Blanco Tequila
1 oz lemon juice
.5 oz lime juice
.5 oz Blue Curacao
.5 oz simple syrup
Shake with ice and then strain into a chimney glass

Tomorrow JFL continues the Meltdown on Rated R Cocktails

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Summer Time

If you were told to train a top notch bartender in Pittsburgh you would have them follow in Summer Voelker's footsteps. You would start by learning how to handle a volume bar on the South Side. Then you would learn the intricacies of craft cocktails and the importance of precision under Fred Sarkis and Spencer Warren at Embury. And then when Kevin Sousa came calling to give you free reign over creations with Maggie Meskey you would jump at the chance. And now after experience that reads like a Who's Who of Pittsburgh cocktails, she opened a new place for Sousa, Harvard and Highland above Union Pig and Chicken

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Jigger Fingers

Erika Joyner is tasked with creating some the cocktails for Salt of the Earth, though you may know her by her other name, Jigger Fingers. Jigger Fingers come from a story that everyone has a version of, namely experimenting with Green Chartreuse and a lack of proper pirate terminology. (Note, this is why I made it a point to start learning about sailing before booze.)  After dubbing herself Jigger Fingers and then attending events like Tales of the Cocktail and Camp Runamok she is now known around the country as Jigger Fingers.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Event: Tapped Braddock

  Epic Developments Pittsburgh helped organize Tapped, a series of pop up beer gardens, this summer culminating in Tapped Braddock. These beer gardens featured local breweries, restaurants, food trucks and entertainment.  These included DrinksBurgh participants East End Brewing, Wigle Whiskey and some that I hope to get on DrinksBurgh, Full Pint Brewing and The Brew Gentlemen.
 Here are a selection of photos from Tapped Braddock. (Click on the photo for a larger view.)
Full Pint brought a nice selection of their fine brews.
The Brew Gentlemen lived up their name by looking quite dapper while sampling their brews. (Support their Kickstarter as well)
Kevin Sousa Took over Mayor John Fetterman's back yard for pig roast and Boyd and Blair cocktails. 
A local Reggae Band provided the sound track.

Local food trucks Franktuary and PGH Pierogi Truck rolled in with some goodies

Braddock lucked out with a beautiful fall day and the attendance showed it. 

Look for more Tapped Beer Gardens around Pittsburgh next summer.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

MxMo: Bein' Green

This month's Mixology Monday had a theme of Bein' Green and given the month I decided to break out a new recipe that I had created for the Cthulhu Tiki mug Kickstarter of which I am a backer. I wanted to create a green cocktail as part of my Lovecraft inspired tiki drinks.My starting point was the Fu Manchu listed in Beachbum Berry Remixed. I started off trying to make the creme de menthe play nice with the other tiki ingredients and while I did get them to mix ok, I don't particularly like mint. Sure it's fine as a garnish, but overall, I'm not a fan.

In the meantime due to the alcohol vagaries of Pennsylvania I couldn't find any curacao in the state stores other than blue curacao, (freakin' Quakers.) The result being that up until I finally ordered a bottle, all of my mai tais had blue curacao in them largely by default. Adding a blue curacao to the otherwise standard mai tai produces a rather sickly green color that isn't typically appealing. So while bashing my head and taste buds against creme de menthe I was also disappointed by having a sickly green mai tai. I think that you can see where this is going. I ditched the creme de menthe and started over with a more traditional style tiki drink that ended up being the sickly green I was looking for.

The Cocktail of Cthulhu
1.5 oz gold Puerto Rican Rum
1 oz silver Puerto Rican Rum
.5 oz blue curacao
1 oz coco lopez
1 oz orange juice
1 oz pineapple juice
3d 'Elemakule Tiki Bitters (sub Angostura)
6 oz ice
blend for 5 seconds
garnish with pineapple mint (I was out due to a cold snap at the time of photography)

Be sure to check out the behind the scenes of this shoot over on Drinktography.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Keeping it Light Pt 2

For part 2 of the Keeping it Light post we'll actually put together a drink or two. We've already discussed what ingredients we can use to put together drinks and keep it within the confines of the 4 Hour Body, but to review no carbs, no sugar is our mandate. This actually opens a pretty wide range of drinks, particularly if you avoid eating the garnishes. 
Some classics that are available to us include the Martini, (either gin or vodka, but no Appletinis, Chocotinis,  or other weird -tinis), the Manhattan, even a Gin and Tonic (you can use diet tonic is you really want to keep it light.) But let's have some fun with our ingredients and create something new. 
This month has a Mixology Monday event going on with a theme of equal parts. 

Smokin' Port
1 oz Laird's AppleJack brandy (if you're not sure about brandy use another brown liquor like bourbon)
1 oz tawny port
1 oz sweet vermouth
stir with ice and strain into a chilled glass.
garnish and rim with a flamed orange peel (how to flame an orange peel from

This drinks makes an excellent digestif with lots of flavor and a very nice mouth feel. It's a light drink with a very rich feel to it. Just because you're trying to keep things light it doesn't mean that you can't drink something with flavor.Curious about some other 4 Hour Body friendly booze? Leave a comment and we can talk about some other possible drinks.  Remember though while these are technically within the guidelines Tim lays out in the book anytime you are drinking alcohol you are drinking calories, (about 94 calories/oz for most spirits) so moderation is key.

Thanks to Frederic of Cocktail Virgin Slut for hosting this month's Mixology Monday.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Keeping it Light pt 1

4 years ago I weighed 230 pounds and was completely unhappy with the way that I looked. As my, now larger size, clothes kept getting tighter I knew that I had to do something to avoid becoming Homer Simpson.   On my own I managed to drop 17 pounds down to a more reasonable 213 by doing things like switching to Coke Zero from Coke and eating yogurt instead of cake or candy after lunch. But 213 wasn't cutting it for me either. There were some size XL shirts that were just to tight across my gut for me to feel comfortable wearing them. While listening to the Nerdist at work the guys had an interview with Tim Ferriss talking about his book the 4 Hour Body and the diet that he lays out in it. I've been on some version of the slow carb diet that he laid out in that book for about 18 months now and I'm down to 187 and holding pretty steady within the 185-190 range.

The slow carb diet from the 4 Hour Body is effective, and for me at least, reasonably easy to maintain. In a nutshell, it's no carbs and no sugar, calories aren't a concern. Despite these restrictions he does say that a glass or two of red wine doesn't seem to impair the weight loss process. He also has said in interviews that a "Nor-Cal Margarita" is acceptable, consisting of tequila, lime juice, and soda water. He says that the lime juice limits the body's insulin response and tequila being made from agave sugars also won't trigger the insulin response.

So with the guidelines that he has laid out of no carbs no sugars I started examining what I could use to make my own drinks. Unfortunately, beer was right out from the start, being basically liquid breads; carbs would be unavoidable in beers that I would want to drink. Also out are sweeteners like simple syrup and liqueurs that contained sugar. Additionally prohibited by the diet are fruits and fruit juices. So my beloved tiki drinks are definitely out.  And while Tim says that red wine doesn't seem to affect weight loss, it does have sugars, but it does open up things like port or vermouths as a possibility.

While tequila is mentioned as acceptable because it doesn't have sugars or carbs, any spirit should be fine. The distillation process concentrates the alcohol while leaving behind the residual carbs or sugars. If you distill beer to make whiskey the result of the distillation is almost pure alcohol, no carbs and no sugars. The same goes for rum, despite being made from sugar, distillation gives you alcohol, no sugars are left in the final product. While silver tequila is recommended in the nor-cal recipe, there is no reason why aged spirits aren't acceptable. The color and flavors come from the oak barrels, still no carbs and maybe trace plant sugars from the oak. So relaxing after work with a glass of Ron Zacapa Solera 23 for sipping is fine.

To summarize for cocktails we can use any distilled alcohol, (vodka, whiskey, rum, tequila, gin, etc.,) low sugar citrus juices, (lime, lemon,) wines and fortified wines (port, vermouth,) bitters, (dash is too small to have real consequence,) seltzer and tonic waters. We've laid out our ingredients and in part 2 to come we'll have some recipes.

Some further research and resources

Also Don't forget about the DrinksBurgh Anniversary Show

Sunday, September 2, 2012

DrinksBurgh Live

It's been almost 1 year since I began my project of documenting the craft drinking scene in Pittsburgh. In that time I've taken photos for bartenders, brewers, and distillers. In that time everyone I've met has been great and the scene has continued to grow and expand. We've had new places open up (Wigle), new places announced (the return of Embury), and sadly seen some of our group move on for other places. We're going to continue to move forward with the blog. We'll continue to do the visual Who's Who and cover other craft drinking events. I'll also talk about cocktails, beers, and a little bit of history.

To celebrate the one year anniversary of the blog we're going to have a big old party down at Wigle Whiskey in the Strip. The party will be centered around an exhibition of the portraits I've taken for the blog. There will be prints of all the portraits on display to see them off the computer screen and in the physical world. The show will run September 21-23 with the hours of 5-8 on Friday, and 11-5 on Saturday and Sunday.  All of the subjects have also been invited so this can be a chance to meet the people behind the craft drinking scene as well.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Boozehound of Fortune

Like most of the bartenders on DrinksBurgh Allie Contreras has more that one booze job. In addition to working with Tub Gin as a Tub Ambassador developing new cocktails; she also has her own craft cocktail catering service called Boozehounds. If you have a cocktail problem, if no one else can mix, and if you can find her, maybe you can hire the Boozehounds.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

State of the Blog August 2012

First off let me apologize for the silence around here lately. Between my birthday, a gig shooting the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, Tales of the Cocktail taking my subjects, and my sister's wedding July into August was a busy stretch for me and I'm just starting to recover from it all. Anyway enough excuses, I'm getting back into it full bore.

There may be less portraits, not because I don't want to do it, or even that I'm out of people, but just because the folks I have left to shoot are some of the most busy people we have around. If that does become the case we'll continue on here chronicling my own adventures with local boozery and good photos. I'll be doing things like providing recipes, reviewing boozes (local and otherwise), and otherwise talking about things of general booziness.

We're also coming up on my one year anniversary for DrinksBurgh, though it was Drink Pittsburgh back then. To celebrate we're going to be holding an exhibition show with the portraits from the site at Wigle Whiskey on Friday, September 21 through Sunday, September 23.  The opening bash will be that Friday evening and if you are reading this you are invited. More details to come as we work them out.

One final thing to mention. I'm going to be running another blog dedicated to photography and helping teach others how to improve their own drink photography. It's going to be over at Drinktography and it will have everything basic to advanced tips as well as behind the scenes shots from over here.

With all that taken care of as a State of the Blog, go out and have a drink for me, preferably at your favorite local watering hole with good friends and local drinks.

Monday, July 16, 2012

For the 10 Percent

Dan Woodske runs his nano-brewery, Beaver Brewing Company, not for the masses, but for the 1 in 10 who wants the unusual brews. He keeps his brews small, just 1.5 barrels at a time, and his distribution mainly to his facility, the first Friday and Saturday of every month. The small sizes let's him brew beers you won' find anywhere else, his Saison de Lavender, Chamomile Wheat, Basil Beer, and Kvass

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Guest Blog: Baking with Booze

My birthday came and went recently, as my wife loves to bake I asked her to attempt a rum cake (what else for a tiki-phile?) and write up a post about it. You will see her post below and feel free to check out her blog Pgh Ink

Rum Cake

            Rum Cake, perhaps the most well known of our modern booze deserts, rum cake is one of those delightful concoctions that can be as strong as the baker dare make it.  Traditionally Rum Cake is thought to have descended from Holiday Pudding made by English settlers in the Caribbean in the 17th and 18th centuries.  Much like English Pudding, Rum Cake takes well to having all sorts of things added to it including dried fruits, soaked in rum of course, and nuts.  In the US Rum Cake is usually served as a sponge cake designed to soak up as much rum as possible.  This was my first, though I am sure not my last, attempt at a Rum Cake and it turned out quite well.  Next time I will try adding spiced rum to give it a more holiday feel.  I strongly suggest putting the baked cake in a shallow pie pan prior to pouring on the glaze.  The sides of the pan help hold the excess glaze close to the cake which allows for more of it to be soaked up by the cake over time.  It also prevents the sticky glaze from running all over your counter and creating an even greater mess for you to clean up later.  I also suggest making this at least a day before serving to give the flavors time to fully develop and of course more of the rum glaze to be absorbed.  Here is the recipe I used adapted from several sources in books and online.  You can also use muffin cups or mini bundt pans if you wish to make individual servings for your guests.  Keep an eye on these smaller cakes however because the increased service area may cause the cakes to over brown if baked for the full hour.

1C butter
2C sugar
4 eggs
3C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking power
½ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1C milk
1 tsp vanilla
¾ dark rum (I used Myers dark rum)

4 tlbs butter
1C Sugar
½ C dark rum (again I used Myers)

Powered sugar for topping.

Preheat oven to 350˚ and spray a bundt pan and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together then add the eggs one at a time mixing them in before adding the next one.

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in one bowl. Using a fork will help break up the lumps in the flour and help prevent clumping when you add the dry and wet ingredients.

In another bowl mix milk, vanilla and rum.

Add dry mixture and wet mixture to batter and mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated.

Poor batter into prepared bundt pan and bake for 1 hour.  If using several small bundt pans or a muffin pan check after 45 min and pull if necessary.  Once golden brown and a tooth pick comes out clean pull cake and turn onto a cooling rack.  Allow cake to cool completely before putting on glaze.


Melt butter then add in sugar and ¼ C water.  Bring to a boil for 5 minutes string continuously to avoid scorching the bottom and making sure mixture will not boil over.  The bubbles will build up quickly so you need to keep a constant eye on it.  After 5 minutes remove from heat and very slowly add in rum.  The first addition of the rum will cause the glaze to boil up very quickly so continue string as you add rum.

Put cake into shallow pie pan and slowly drizzle glace over top and sides of cake.  Don’t worry if all the glaze is not immediately soaked up by the cake.  As the cake sits it will continue to absorb the glaze.  Cover and allow to sit over night.  Before serving sprinkle with powered sugar. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

On the Other Hand

Meg Yahner does double duty behind the stick. 5 days a week you can find her at Verde serving up tequila and sangria. The other nights she is over at AVA at the Shadow Lounge. Stop by on Mondays to see her on their live Jazz nights.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Brew History pt. I

My personal drinking history began somewhat late in my life compared to most.  Rather than getting wasted on whatever alcohol my friends and I could find in high school, I didn't start drinking until I was 21. (Yeah, I'm the one).  Because of that I don't have that one alcohol that I just can't drink because I drank an entire bottle of it when I was a Junior. The late start also means that I avoided the bad booze. With the exception of a drink of Natty Ice that I had by mistake, my first beer was one that a friend came back from Germany with a taste for, Erdinger's Hefeweizen. Following that I discovered Franziskaner, which is still my favorite beer.  I also started drinking things like martinis and throwing cocktail parties. 

In addition to drinking expensive stuff I started right in on making my own alcohol. My first attempts were at making mead. A friend and I split the expenses and went out to make 2 five gallon batches, 1 of regular mead, and the other a strawberry mead. Shockingly, with virtually no working knowledge of what we were doing these failed spectacularly, but what I had tasted during the process had hope. I had successfully made alcohol, it's just that the window of it being drinkable was about 2 days. These experiments my senior year at college, was the beginning of that period when homebrewing was just starting to become more mainstream. So for Christmas one year my father picked up a brew your own beer kit from a science themed gift store. 

Alas, this coincided with me beginning my wandering period of life where I had 7 different addresses over the course of 10 years. Also at no point then did I have a basement or an out of the way place to brew it. Finally after I had bought my current house (which has 2 basements!) I dug out the kit to see what I could brew up. This is when I learned that the expiration date of yeast is something to pay attention to. While this batch failed, it got me started back on the path of brewing that I'm currently on. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Heavenly Drinking

By now everyone knows the story of Church Brew Works. Situated in the former St John the Baptist Church in Lawrenceville they have been crafting brews since 1996. Brewery Manager Steve Sloan has a long and impressive resume, taking him everywhere from The Saint Louis Brewery to New Zealand to Firestone Walker before bringing him to Pittsburgh and the Church Brew Works.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Grog Talk

I'm off in Virginia for a photo assignment shooting OpSail for Spinsheet magazine. That means that I'm going to be on one of these bad boys.

Naturally this has me thinking about what is probably the mother of all Tiki drinks: Grog. I'm not thinking of the classic Tiki drink Navy Grog. I'm talking the real thing, daily rum ration, lime juice to prevent scurvy grog.

No one know the exact recipe for grog, likely I suspect it's because there wasn't one recipe for grog. I've seen and heard many different versions of "original" grog recipes. Everything from "1 of sweet, 2 of sour, 3 of strong, 4 of weak," (which is patently wrong as this is a punch recipe) to 1:1 of rum and water.

Now a little history:

Up until 1972 the British Navy regulations specified 1 pint of ale per day per sailor. This was fine while they were sailing the cold and gloomy North Atlantic close to home. As they began expanding their travels the ale soon became impractical. It would often go bad before the men could drink it. So the Admiralty responded in perhaps a strikingly practical way. They allowed the ale to be replaced with whatever the local drink that they could procure. In the Caribbean that meant rum. That's the first ingredient for grog.

The second important ingredient was citrus juice. Scurvy was a huge issue for sailors going back at least to the Romans, probably earlier. As early as 1497 citrus was known to have a curative effect on scurvy, though vitamin C wasn't isolated and identified until 1937.  Thanks to Admiral Edward Vernon of the British Navy, (known to his sailors as Old Grog for the grogram cloak that he wore) in 1740 citrus juice was added to the daily ration of rum. At this point we can say that we have grog consisting of water, rum, and citrus juice. Sailors likely would have added whatever they had handy to make this drink more palatable.

Me being me I decided that it would be interesting to play with a drink based on the idea of grog that would have been Piratically inspired. So I decided to create the drink below with the idea of an English Privateer using what they had available from successfully taking ships in their own version of a trading triangle.

Pirate Triangle
1 oz lime juice
1 oz white grapefruit juice
.5 oz lemon juice
.5 oz pimento dram
1 oz vanilla simple syrup
1 oz brandy
1 oz dark Jamaican rum
.5 oz Lemon Hart 151
Shake with  crushed ice.
Garnish with fresh grated nutmeg

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Growlin For You

 Scott Smith isn't your typical Brewer, if such a thing even exists, sure he makes good beer but that isn't the end of his efforts.  Scott seems to be everywhere these days either coming up with innovative funding methods like his Good Beer Investment Program or helping to raise funds for Aboard Autism Connection of PA and Bike PGH with the Keg Rides for the release of Pedal Pale Ale. East End Brewing Co's beers are at all the best tap spots in the City and will be at more once their planned expansion is completed. In the mean time, you can fill up one of their distinctive growlers at the Pittsburgh Public Market or at the brewery.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Yard Work

So, I'm going to try changing things up around here a bit. We're still going to have the visual who's who of Pittsburgh's craft drinking scene on the same schedule of roughly every two weeks. The change is that in the off week between the portraits I'm going to write about my own experiences in Pittsburgh boozery.

My very first portrait subject for the blog was Dr. Bamboo, a member of the CSOWG, invited me to their Thursday Drink Nights (TDN).The TDN is basically an excuse for the members to meet up in a chat room and invent new drinks around a theme. While at first intimidated by the idea, and lacking sufficient ingredients and knowledge, I stayed away for longer than I should have. Finally getting into it I found a welcoming, if slightly odd, group of guys.

In early March Wigle Whiskey began selling their fine product, and I came home from opening night with 2 bottles of Rye, (one to drink, one to save from batch 1).  Largely unsure what to do with this white whiskey i began experimenting on my own. Of course, a sour was easy and quite tasty. it became my wife's favorite drink, which mainly meant that I had to make it for her.
 White Whiskey Sour:
1.5 oz white rye
1 oz Lime juice
1 oz lemon juice
.5 oz simple syrup
Shake with ice and pour into a rocks glass.

While simple enough, I didn't feel like I was really putting the rye to it's best use. Shortly thereafter the TDN theme was Spring. An abstract theme, I could use anything that I wanted for ingredients. I knew then that I wanted to make use of the rye in some way.  Sticking with the spring theme I felt like I should use some sort of fresh herb, problem was I didn't have anything growing from my garden. I took a look at the herbage available at the grocery store and came up with the idea of using lemon grass. The lemon grass gave my spring theme a double hit with the fresh herb and the implications that I would have to start mowing the grass again. Building roughly on a mojito style construction I started mixing. I stuck a small stalk of lemon grass in the glass, added a 1/2 ounce of simple syrup and muddled. To my concoction I then added 1.5 ounces of the white rye and shook. I strained it out over ice and then needed something to top it off. After mowing the lawn there is nothing better than a cold beer so I went with that, but rather than adding a lager I went with ginger beer, Reed's to be precise.
To finish the drink I topped off the rocks glass with the Reed's and stirred to integrate the ginger and the lemon grass.  Happy with the result, I sent the recipe over to Wigle, who now feature it during their cocktail nights on Fridays and have it listed on their website. Now when I finish doing yard work I come inside to cool with a Yard Work.

Yard Work
• 1 1/2 oz White (unaged) Rye
• 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
• 1 stalk Lemongrass
• 3 oz Ginger Beer
Muddle the lemon grass in a mixing glass along with the rye and syrup. Strain into a rocks or highball glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer and gently stir to mix.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Stop the Presses

One of the most important roles in spreading the craft cocktail culture isn't necessarily the person making the drinks.  Bill Toland instead spreads the word through his cocktail columns for the Post-Gazette. Whether he's telling you the new place to drink, what to drink, or how to make a drink; it's clear that Bill is out there spreading the work for craft drinkers in the Pittsburgh area.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week

Pittsburgh's first annual Craft Beer Week was April 20-28. There were a 360 events ranging from tap take overs to a gaggle of 600 cyclists moving kegs of beer on on bike trailers. This is a brief summary of the events that I was able to attend.You can see more of my photos from Craft Beer Week on my 500px page. Be sure to keep your calendars clear for the last week of April 2013 for the second Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week.
Hough's Copper Kettle Brewing Company had Brew with the Brewers events. Saturday the 21st it was brewing with Steve Sloan from Church Brew Works.
One of the Premier events was the Beer vs Cocktails dinner featuring East End Brewing Beer vs Wigle Whiskey Coctails and featuring Dinner by Salt of the Earth.

There were many beer and food pairing events, shown here is The Beerhive's maple bacon wings.

Craft beer week brought out breweries from all around the country. Heavy Seas Brewery came up from Baltimore with a Firkin of their Loose Cannon Pale Ale to serve at the Wexford Ale House
Rock Bottom Brewery hosted a beer as cocktails event featuring the collaboration brews and local bartenders.

The yearly Keg Ride from East End Brewing to deliver their Pedal Pale Ale to a thirsty populace had 600 riders and a police escort to the secret destination of Station St Hot Dogs.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mixing it Up

When Steven Kowalczuk relocated to Pittsburgh in 2011 he brought with him his own cocktail media empire dedicated to teaching the Art of Mixology. He runs the Cocktail Chef website, has his own video series on YouTube, and teaches a live class at Olive or Twist in the cultural district.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

DrinksBurgh Field Trip: Orange County, CA

While the stated goal here is to focus on Pittsburgh's craft brewers and cocktail impresarios (cocktailiers?) There are some folks, thanks to the internet, who are able to influence the craft drink world from wherever they may be. In that vein, we present the DrinksBurgh Field Trip.

The first field trip was out to Orange County, CA and a visit to 320 Main in Seal Beach with Matt Robold. In addition to slinging booze at 320, Matt runs the Rumdood blog and is a founding member of the International Rum Expert Panel.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Please Requisition Me a Drink

When Nathan Lutchansky moved to PA and learned that our booze sales were controlled by the state he reacted differently than most people. Instead of cursing the founding Quakers and looking for liquor stores across the border, he set out to learn the system and share his knowledge via the PLCB Users Group Blog. Knowing how to game the system for booze led to a job with Verde Mexican Kitchen and Cantina as the Cocktail and Spirits Director to make sure that Verde has the largest selection of tequilas in the state of Pennsylvania.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Pisco Kid

When Kiersten Schilinski decided to enter the Pisco Porton competition she'd never even had pisco before.  Armed with only a small trial bottle and talent she created a cocktail that earned her a trip to NYC as a finalist.  You can find Kiersten behind the stick at both Dish Osteria and Meat and Potatoes

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Point and Clique

When Premier Innovations Group began importing Clique Vodka and  Don Pantaleon Tequila they needed someone to develop the cocktails that highlight their strengths. Enter Tara Shinn, head Mixologist at Plum, brought in to develop cocktails like the Zen Garden.  Tara is also working to recruit top mixologists from around the country to form the Mixologist's Advisory Board to experiment and develop new creations.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tale of Two Kettles

Most beer lovers would give their left arm to be Brewmaster at a craft brewery. Nick Rosich gets to do it for two different breweries, Penn Brewery and Rust Belt Brewery. As he says, "It beats working."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

When Bill Larkin decided to move beyond the daily life of accountancy he didn't go the same route as everyone. Instead of being another local winery or micro-beer brewery he went non-traditional. Instead, Arsenal Cider makes ciders and fruit wines to sell in growlers across the street from the former Allegheny Arsenal.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Workin' on the Chain

Mike Mills began his trek into bartending through the world of corporate chain restaurants. After coming to Pittsburgh he left behind the world of making Cosmotequinis, demanding entrance into the craft cocktail scene at Embury. You can find him at Meat and Potatoes downtown on the weekend while he plans with Spencer Warren on a new cocktail haven to open in 2012.