imageThe good folks who headed up Vessel in Seattle were the same guys who introduced me to carbonated cocktails.

It was a really cool idea. Introduce dissolved gasses into a cocktail, say, a Jack Rose Cocktail, and you’ve got a classy adult soda on your hands. Hopefully with a healthy dose of the bonded stuff.

Beyond the novelty of having a sparkling cocktail without the dilution brought by soda water, the perlage climbing up the flute would bring the aroma to the nose of the drinker. It also opened up or intensified flavor. Take for example, shaken tea. Stirred and chilled, it tastes flat, because it is. Shaken hard, the aeration opens up the flavors and aromas of the tea and even makes it taste sweeter without the addition of simple syrup. 

The same concept applies to cocktails. The colder a beverage is, the more sugar must be added for it to taste sweet. With the addition of dissolved gases, the drink may be chilled way down and will take less syrup to sweeten it, allowing for a less viscous mouthfeel to your cocktail.

On to gas mix. Repeat after me: Carbon Dioxide (CO2)=Coarse, Nitrous Oxide (NO)=Fine.

CO2 is great for carbonating viscous liquids. Dissolved, it creates large, coarse bubbles. In terms of ice, think of it as your Kold Draft cubes. It is good for most applications.

NO creates fine, fine bubbles. The reason that isi Whipped Cream canisters use NO gas, is because of these fine bubbles. In heavy cream, the large CO2 bubbles would dissipate quickly, leaving you with a large glob of fat. Tiny NO bubbles whip up a more appetizing glob of fat. It retains in the medium longer because of its size, and the structure holds. That’s why it looks so goddamn pretty. It’s like crushed ice.

So why not just use Nitrous Oxide for all applications?

Because it will explode out of your face. Nitrous oxide dissolves easily in liquids, but it becomes disassociated just as easily. In the glass, a NO-infused cocktail will sit pretty until it comes in contact with a surface with lots of nooks and crannies… like your tongue.

You know the principle behind Diet Coke and Mentos? Same thing, but the Diet Coke is Negroni and the Mentos is your tongue. The bottle? That is your face. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I like my face intact and my sinuses devoid of high-proof spirit. Why would I want to use nitrous oxide in my gas mix?

Soda pop is charged with CO2 because of the presence of viscous syrups. Also because it is cheap. Cocktails contain less viscous material, so the addition of NO gas to the CO2-rich siphon gas mix is the difference in mouthfeel between Coke and Champagne.

Is there a simple way of doing this?

Sure. Although, in this method it is most cost-effective to charge them in 32 oz. batches.

1) Fill and cap siphon.

2) Charge with an 8-gram CO2 cartridge. DO NOT SHAKE. Remove the cartridge.

3) Invert the siphon so that an airspace forms at what used to be the base of the siphon and depress the trigger for one second, releasing some CO2.

4) Charge the balance with an 8-gram NO cartridge. Shake hard. Eject the NO cartridge.

That’s it. Four steps to smoother bubbles.


First-person homemade ginger beer. Thanks to Jeff Morgenthaler of Clyde Common in the lobby of the Ace Hotel in Portland, OR. Cheers.



Goddamn, they grow up so fastSo, it’s been a few months since I’ve been behind the stick, and it’s got me depressed something awful when I think about it. Then I realize that I’m still 22 and have a long while before I should start to worry about it. 

I’m bartending one of my friend’s (and former professor) party in a few weeks, and truth be told, I’m pretty excited. I actually kind of missed the smell of lime oil erupting in little clouds from the press and the sound of ice against glass and steel.  

I would say that I miss serving my clients too, but I get to do that every day behind a different counter, dispensing uppers instead of downers. Come to think of it, every job I’ve ever held dealt in legal, addictive stimulants.


So, maybe it’s just me, but I feeeeeeeeeel as if my friends are stuck on cheap, american rice beer (Yes, Budweiser. I’m looking at you.) super-premium vodka and energy drinks.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I feel that at my ripe old age, I’m waiting for the rest of my kin to start drinking better. In the meantime, I’m kicking back with a cabinet full of books and booze. This is shelf two of three. 


Where the fuck was I again? Oh yeah. The menu. It’s really hard to put together a cocktail list, even if you aren’t selling them so much as making them for a party. I decided one page is enough, maybe three to five cocktails, just to help guide some decisions.

But being a young, inexperienced bartender, I had questions: is it best to weigh more heavily on a specific spirit or have an even distribution? In terms of labor, should I place my loss-leader at the top or bottom of the list? Will the politician (who will remain unnamed) who brought his own Black Velvet last time turn his nose up at Fernet? Will Smith on Capitol Hill mind that I totally ripped off their menu format (and Trinidad Sour, which they totally ripped as well, removing the 2 oz. of Angostura Bitters during the bottle shortage?)

I also figured that I shouldn’t put anything on the list I wouldn’t drink myself. I didn’t create any of these, but chose them because they’re easy to build quickly and because they’re damn tasty. I just hope that somewhere in the jumble these professors will be able to find something they’ll enjoy.


imageI’ve got a jar on my my windowsill, and it’s full of Bols Genever and fresh, oily rosemary stolen from a sidewalk garden. 

In about five days, the rosemary-infused genever will be crafted into a rosemary ginger smash:

2 oz. Rosemary-Infused Bols Genever

1 oz. Vodka-Sec

1 oz. Fresh-Squeezed Lemon Juice

Small (about 3/4 in.) stick of ginger.

Muddle the ginger at the bottom of the shaker to extract the juice, add liquid ingredients. 

Shake. Hard, with ice until a frost forms on the outside of the tin.

Strain into an old-fashioned glass over clean ice and garnish with a sugar-dusted sprig of fresh rosemary.




imageFrankenshoes. Rockport on the outside, Saucony on the inside. Workhorses, much.