The Save New Orleans Cocktail Hour

Portland-area readers may be unaware that the Museum of the American Cocktail has organized a nation-wide event to benefit New Orleans’ displaced and unemployed food and beverage workers. As yet, the only participating establishment in Portland (or Oregon, for that matter) is Mint / 820, at 820 N Russell St, conveniently located off the Interstate MAX line. That’s where you’ll find me this Monday the 12th, from 5-7pm, drinking somewhat irresponsibly in aid of a very good cause. I hope to see some of you there.

Update (09/12/05): Mint/820 was having a fairly decent night of it — not wall-to-wall, but well-attended — and, better yet, they didn’t limit themselves to the official 5-7pm time slot. The proceeds (which is to say 100%) from all “New Orleans” drinks sold until closing are going to the cause. According to our waiter, the liquor suppliers donated their wares, making it a more financially-viable decision to run the event all night. I availed myself of their French 75 (since I so rarely make champagne cocktails at home) and a Sazerac. Pity they weren’t making Ramos Gin Fizzes, but then again, I tend to think of them as daytime drinks.

Give Me Seltzer

podcast iconToday’s thirst-slaking podcast of note is Give Me Seltzer [iTunes], from Brooklynite Barry Joseph, The Effervescent Jew.

Barry’s mad for seltzer in a way that I think only New Yorkers can be, and is in the process of penning its definitive history. The podcasts don’t reveal much about the forthcoming book’s contents, but he’s managed to produce nine entertaining seltzer-centric episodes to date — largely man-on-the-street interviews — in a This American Life mode. So far there’s been no real mention of seltzer in cocktails, sadly — Barry’s favorite seltzer-based beverage is an Egg Cream from Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop — but I’m sure he’ll get around to it some day. After all, the seltzer bottle is one of the most iconic and evocative pieces of bar equipment there is, on par with the martini glass and cobbler shaker. Better yet, it has shiny moving parts and valves and O-rings and CO2 cylinders and whatnot. I myself have ten eleven of the things (looks like I just won another in an eBay auction), for the sheer love of their form.

If you check out the Give Me Seltzer podcasts, do yourself a favor and start with episode #1 … they build on each other, and the most recent won’t be nearly as interesting if you’ve not heard what’s gone before.

Daily Lush Magazine

We are pleased to note, albeit somewhat tardily, the advent of The Daily Lush, a new blogzine about matters drink-related which appears to have emerged fully-formed from the collective skull of its creators last month. True to its name, DL is updated with a fresh, meaty article daily… impressive, and not a pace to which we would dare aspire. There’s not much background on the feverishly productive duo responsible, but Max Sparber and Courtney Mault, denizens of New Orleans, claim authorship on alternate days..

Update: [04/01/08] We note, belatedly, the passing of The Daily Lush. Katrina seemed to take the wind from her sails, and Sparber… well, the grass doesn’t grow under his feet. The man is an industry unto himself.

Tune in, Turn on, Drink Up

podcast iconI’m not a particular fan of podcasts — I haven’t an iPod, so I have to listen while tethered — but one takes one’s resources where one finds them. Of particular note: At Brown’s Bar [iTunes]. A monthly, twenty-odd minute show, At Brown’s Bar offers a continuing conversation on matters cocktailian between Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller, authors of Shaken Not Stirred: A Celebration of the Martini and publishers of Mixologist: The Journal of the American Cocktail. It’s a bit rough around the edges, in the way of many podcasts, but I’ve enjoyed the episodes so far and am looking forward to future installments.

There’s precious little else in the realm of mixological podcasts, but Vegas Vic’s Tiki Lounge does offers a nice Polynesian/Exotica-themed ‘cast [iTunes] for your Tiki-worshipping, Mai Tai-drinking, Martin Denny-jonesing moments.

Some new resources

I’ve recently added a few sidebar links that are worth highlighting:

Chuck Taggart’s Gumbo Pages is an excellent site documenting the gamut of his interests. Chuck knows what it means to miss New Orleans and has a lot to say about its gustatory pleasures, both in his recipe section and throughout his blog, Looka! Of particular interest to me — though it’s all good — is his detailed documentation of cocktails, which I’ve pinned to the sidebar as a resource.

On the other side of the planet, Japanese engineer and hobbyist Tomohiko Takeuchi serves up Takeuchi’s Homebar, wherein he diligently mixes cocktails of his own devising, lovingly photographs them for posterity, and composes something akin to a haiku to describe each one. I’ve yet to actually try anything from the Takeuchi Homebar menu, but his incredibly obsessive attention to detail keeps me returning to browse anew. Some call for particularly weird ingredients, though.