So you know that urban legend about comic book geeks? The one that says they live in their parents' basements, and don't know how to interact with the really real world? As comics collectors ourselves, we've fought long and hard against that stereotype, but alas, we're afraid our brethren have shown their true colors.
After all, what else could possibly explain the comic book- and superhero-themed cocktails the fine folks from Comic Book Alliance dredged up from across the Web? These cocktails are hyper-stylized, more reliant on bright colors than real substance, and are more focused on a bad-ass punch than any kind of artistry. Either it's a subtle meta-commentary on the state of sequential entertainment, or these folks are really limited in what their parents have in their liquor cabinets.
Most of these recipes sort of made us throw up in our mouths a bit, then scratch our heads. Why does The Hulk's drink feature a spoonful of sugar ON TOP OF the unlimited Mountain Dew? Why are there pop rocks in the Spider-Man? Why would Superman want peach schnapps AND coconut rum? We're hoping these were created by people who never picked up a back issue, but if we were cynical, we'd say this is a misguided attempt to get chicks to like comics (Isn't Wonder Woman awesome? Have another one, then we'll go back to my place and dust my Sandman trades!).
Out of solidarity, however, we are including the recipe for the Iron Man Cocktail, because he's one bad ass drunk.
Iron Man Cocktail
• 3 oz. Vodka
• 7 oz. Whiskey
• 5 ice cubes
• Soda Water
Mix vodka and whiskey in an old-fashioned glass. Stir. Add a few ice cubes, fill with soda water and stir gently.
Oh, and try not to rust your power armor when you cry yourself to sleep. Check out the full list of Comic Cocktails at Comics Alliance.
We forced one of our interns to live blog the Johnnie Walker Webinar while we're tasting. We know he doesn't know a thing about Scotch, but...don't miss anything Vito. And now, we give our full attention to Andrew Ford, master distiller for Johnnie Walker.
3:06 - Finally get online - with sound no thanks to our stupid speakers. Come in late for Johnnie Walker's history.
3:07 - We've been good. When will this nice Scottish gentleman let us start drinking whisky?
3:09 - Alexander Walker invents the square bottle. Other stuff.
3:16 - Someone asks a question about the legality of blending in Scotland back in the day. Let's get to tasting.
3:17 - Lowland whisky, lighter. Smokey whiskies out in the north coast...e.g. Islay. Speyside is full of distilleries...which is where the first distillery the Walkers bought was. We check out the flavor map...very science-y.
3:18 - Did he say time to taste?
3:21 - Forgot to follow directions -- running into kitchen for water
3:22 - "The right way to drink whisky -- Any way you like it." We love this guy. But if you're tasting go half strength (1/2 water, 1/2 scotch)
3:23 - Yum. Grain whisky. Feeling like a mad scientist using a graduated cylinder to measure out booze. "Grain whisky is the unsung whisky of Johnnie Walker"
3:27 - More science.
3:29 - Lowland malt is still a light whisky, but far "scotchier" than the grain. Someone tries to guess which malt we're sipping...and nails it. Turns out this little bottle has 12 year old whisky or more.
3:32 - On to Speyside malt. Still light and fruity compared to the smokier guys higher up the scale. So basically a breakfast scotch.
3:34 - Cardhu Speyside representing in Johnnie Walker but not the biggest factor.
3:36 - Scottish guy talks about how he went into a cold Scottish moor to get sherry cask malt delivered to us in time for this presentation.
3:38 - Sherry cask malt is f'ing delicious.
3:40 - The size of the cask affects the taste of the liquor. Or in other words, it's the size of the wood AND what you do with it. Also, things tend to happen slower with Sherry than with Bourbon, which we knew.
3:42 - Nosing...do you keep your mouth open or closed? The answer - figure out what works best for you to really hit that scent button and figure them out.
3:43 - Highland Malt from the West coast. Tend to be a bit more robust than lowland/Speyside. Definitely getting peatier, with some sea tastes. w00t!
3:45 - Admits he has no idea how flavors of the sea get into it. We're guessing magic.
3:47 - You'll be happy to know that peat is not going to run out anytime soon.
3:48 - Welcome to Smoke Town, population Island Malt
3:49 - Pouring all the malts we're supposed to dumping out into a pint glass science experiment
3:51 - Islay malt. Holy smokes. Tastes like your pants smell after a campfire.
3:52 - Starting to get buzzed.
3:54 - Color of scotch has more to do with the cask it was aged in than anything else. Who knew?
3:58 - It's interesting to try Black Label after tasting all those whiskies. We've always gone for big, smokey whisky, but this has opened up a lot of doors for us.
3:59 - Time to make our own blends. Argument has begun among the interns whether we're going to use the beaker/mad scientist route, or just make "mouth mixes" directly from the bottle. We'll probably land somewhere in between.
4:01 - Question about Andrew's favorites for singles - Talisker is at the top. Hmm...he seems to like Diageo brands...good thing he works for them.
4:05 - Black label is a blend of ~40 whiskies (malts and grains).
4:06 - Off to blend. Thanks Andrew!
We got an invite a while back to take a class called BarSmarts Wired, the online version of the BarSmarts Advanced seminars for professional bartenders. We've heard good things about the program, but after the summer we had, it had slipped our minds. It took a well-written (and positive) review from Colleen at About.com to jog our memories, and sign up for the online course.
Besides the knowledge, skills and theory that you get from BarSmarts Wired, you receive with your tuition a bag filled with professional bar tools. This bar set is a pretty nice one, not some cheap freebie, and includes a Boston shaker, jiggers, a bar spoon, strainers and a very nice zester. The set alone exceeds what you would pay $42 for and since that is the price of the course.
This is one of the few online bartender programs that is worth the time and effort. You will learn a lot and be able to bring that to your bar to improve customer service.
You've still got a few days to sign up at the BarSmarts Website, and don't forget to read Colleen's review to get some tips if you're planning to do it. And if you need some more convincing, check out Pernod Ricard's video demo about the program - just remember you have to sign up before the end of September if you're going to do it.
(Big ups to Colleen Graham and Samantha Harrigan for giving us info about the program)
If you're anything like us, the word "webcast" makes you want to head for the hills. As cubicle- and office-dwellers for the last decade or so, we've been to our share of these things, and they're usually relatively dry affairs, and by "dry" we mean there's no booze. Not so the one we've been invited to next week - there will be, and that booze will be scotch. It will be scotch, in fact, that comes out of this box:
The affair in question, with the jaw-busting title of "Johnnie Walker Black Label Centenary Journeyman Blending Webcast with Master Blender Andrew Ford," is entirely about blending scotch, not sitting around drinking it. But guess what you do with scotch after it's blended? That's right! Fedex dropped off our blending kit today, and we're not usually ones for unboxing posts and booze porn (y'know, like food porn but with liquor) we just had to share what we got. More pics after the jump.
We dabble in dorkiness here at Liquor Snob, but we've never really played World of Warcraft. Hence, we've never heard of Brewfest, but we get the notion it's an Azerothian version of Oktoberfest. Still, a chance for the Horde and Alliance to put aside their differences and put down some brews? We're behind it 100%. However, that doesn't mean we understand a single word of what's being said here:
While you're stumbling from keg to keg, be sure to try your hand at ram racing, and keep an eye out for that dastardly Direbrew and his Dark Iron dweebs, who'd like nothing better than to blunt your bender. And remember: the pink elekks are not real, not matter what the pandaren tells you.
Yesterday, we posted about the Who's Buying? iPhone application, dedicated to helping you and your friends decide who should pick up a tab at the end of the night. This morning, we noticed an excellent post from Jeffrey Morgenthaler about what to do if you start a tab, and the bartender lets someone else charge drinks to it (in this case, the bartender was actually charging her friends' drinks to the person's tab, hoping they wouldn't notice).
He makes some excellent points, gives some great advice, and even writes a letter to the bartender in question (or more to the point, to the management of that particular bar). His open letter is included below, but definitely check out the full post for his advice and some excellent comments from his readers.
Dear Bartender I've Never Met:
Hey, dumbshit. Some of us are trying to make a career out of this. And you're fucking it up for the rest of us who actually take our jobs seriously. Did you really think it was okay to just throw a bunch of shit on my friend Kat's tab without checking with her first? Do you think that anyone else, in any other business in the world, would let that kind of shit slide?
Here's what advice I'm giving Kat: First, I've suggested that she never, ever set foot in your bar again. You're reckless, unsafe, and a disgrace to the profession. However, if she decides not to heed my advice and does happen to pop in for a drink, I'm recommending that she pays for each drink, with cash, each time. And when she does, I want you to know that she's only doing it because she doesn't trust you.
Good luck to both of you. My readers and I all know you're going to need it.
Do you have one of those groups of friends where everyone fights over who gets to pick up the bar tab, out of the kindness of their hearts? We don't either. And neither, apparently, do the folks at Jet Set Games, because they've developed an iPhone app dedicated to helping you figure out who's going to foot the bill, without resorting to feats of strength or name calling.
There are three modes to help you make your decision, games of skill, luck, and/or fate. Because, in the words of the bard, "Peace sells, but who's buying?"
Reflexes floundering after a few too many? Sit back and let The Wheel decide your fate. Place your marks and watch as the monkey and his martini shaker decide Who's Buying...and who still has his clams.
Up to four players can jump in this Polynesian-themed game of ping-pong. The first to let a flaming ball in their goal will find their totem in the woodchipper and their wallet empty.
Take control of a tiki and blow your coconut into your opponent's goal in this Hawaiian-style air hockey game. Who's Buying? Well, that would be the first person to swallow.
A couple years ago we were really impressed with a book called What to Drink With What You Eat, a tome dedicated to helping you pair your food with the right drink, and your drinks with the right food. Well, when we say "impressed" we mean by the concept, because we didn't actually pick up the book until a couple weeks ago, but we've been fascinated since then. When we ordered that one another book was recommended to us called "The Flavor Bible," (Amazon) and we wanted to share with our readers about that one as well.
Not a cookbook or recipe book per se, this book is dedicated to simply telling you what flavors go well together. A very simple concept well executed, the book is formatted to let you know which flavors complement one another (the no-brainer apple/cinnamon home run) and which shouldn't be on the same plate or in the same glass (you can shelve your plans for an oyster and tarragon cocktail).
In the short time we've had it this book has helped our cooking immensely, as well as helping us be a bit more adventuresome with our mixology. Now we can check to see what kinds of flavors go well together, and use that as a springboard for creating more interesting, exciting cocktails. Both books are highly recommended for cooking and cocktail creation.
Jake here, Editor in Chief of Liquor Snob, and I wanted to take some time to write a quick note. We've gotten some mail lately wondering where the hell we've been, and I wanted to let you know not to give up on us. We were MIA for most of August and the beginning of September, but we don't want you to worry that we've given up on the site or lost interest in boozing. This month is my five year anniversary of running Liquor Snob, and it's been a bittersweet time for me as I haven't been able to focus on the site as much as I'd like.
I lost my brother in early September after a long illness, and while the last few months have certainly driven me to drink, it made it tough to focus on the site and give it the love and attention it deserves. But we haven't lost our focus or our drive, and I wanted to write to tell our readers not to give up on us, let the the liquor companies know we we haven't run away with their review bottles, and ask our fans to keep submitting their questions, comments, and tips.
Thanks to everyone who's been supporting me over the last few months, and I look forward to helming Liquor Snob into its next five years and beyond.
A friend of ours sent us this excellent promo for Johnny Walker, a six minute opus on the history of the brand. Six minutes seems like a long time for a video with no exploding cars, girls on trampolines, or the other hallmarks of the Web, but this video, you'll notice, is done in a take with no cuts. Legend has it that means a full two days of shooting and 40 takes from a certain Mr. Robert Carlyle, and he absolutely nails it. We kind of wish Carlyle had gone just a little bit Begbie from Trainspotting and hit at least one dude with a pint glass, but we'll take it...at least he didn't go the Full Monty.
Thanks Doug - we're glad Tool Snob has time to drink in between playing with power tools.
It's been a rough summer for us here at Liquor Snob, but in the words of the great Lebowski, we will abide. In all the hubbub, we realized we never rounded up July, so you're in luck - we'll drop 'em both on you today.
So as you try to abide the change from summer to autumn (it's getting cold here in VT, anyway) you can warm yourself up with some of our hot little stories.