Hard Times

September 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

I have always had an uneasy relationship with spirits, and I’m not talking about being butterfingers with the ouija board. I appreciated single malt Scotch for instance, but didn’t find it terribly useful in day-to-day life. Same goes for Cognac and the like. Good when it’s good, but….when? I decided that the hard stuff wasn’t for me, and largely stopped paying attention beyond the occasional margarita or gin and tonic. My attitude started to change a few years ago as the resurgence of the well crafted cocktail began to take hold. I realized I had no appreciation for the thought and creativity that goes into a really good cocktail recipe. And like most good recipes, success is partially dependent on the quality of the ingredients. Once I made the acquaintance of Eric Seed, the man behind Haus Alpenz, I was down the rabbit hole. Thanks to the aforementioned resurgence, there is now an astounding array of delicious hard liquor, aperitifs, liqueurs, and cordials available. I have since gotten to meet Brian Ellison and find his Death’s Door Gin to be tremendously useful. I have fallen in love with American whiskies as well, thanks to the folks at Tuthilltown Distillery (when I’m feeling super flush) and the superb range from High West (still need to feel pretty flush).

High West Peach

High West Peach Vodka isn't sweet kids' stuff

I remember sitting near the service bar of a busy restaurant several years ago as the machine cranked out ticket after ticket for Cosmopolitans. “*&^%$ that ##@% show, I am SICK of making &*$% Cosmos!” spat the bartender. Indeed. I’ve walked away from my former cocktail routine and my tastes have been richly rewarded for it. Patronize bars that are experimental, that are putting  time and effort into their cocktails, and are spending the money to stock interesting, esoteric spirits. It’s such an engaging way to sample a range of crazy stuff, and to indulge the whims of some very creative people….all while having a ball. And be sure to pop into The Wine Shop at The Wine Market on your way through to the bar; we’re finding new and interesting spirits every month, and will be moving out of “industrial” brands wherever we can. We hope you’ll have as much fun shopping the new selections as we did.

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