The Bar Guild Does Hangar 1/St. George Spirits

Posted in Bar Guild, Gin, Musings on March 17, 2011 by Mr. Manhattan

Today I participated in a field trip to Hangar 1/St. George sponsored by the Northern California chapter of the USBG. This was all part of a week of activities held as part of the Bar Guild’s annual meeting. The folks at the distillery kindly put together a very rich and packed set of educational events for us during our visit, beginning with a lovely Mexican style breakfast complemented by some very delicious Bloody Marys, created by Sasha. These were made with the Hangar 1 chipotle vodka, fresh tomatillos, and a bounty of fresh greens and pickled veggies. A perfect complement to a lovely St. Patrick’s day.

Shortly after arriving, I found myself invited to sample a new gin formula directly off the still. (It was the second time this week I had been given such an honor, in fact.) The run was already well in progress when I arrived in the late morning (the heads having already been diverted) and it was still going when we all left around 4 PM. I sampled the run several times just by sticking a finger right into the stream and so was able to observe how the quality of the distillate changed over the duration. (Just try that in Scotland!) The taste was minty and vibrant when I arrived (showing notes of bay laurel and eucalyptus) was became noticeably darker and more earthy by the time I left. (I am told the run was only about half way through at this point.) Samples of the complete collected run were also made available so I got to see how things were “summing” over time. It gave me a great insight into the complexities of distilling and handling the resulting product.

The first formal event after breakfast was a demonstration of the distillery’s new sugar cane press, which will be used to make their agricole-style rum (Agua Libre) once this year’s crop is delivered. Lance Winters gave the demo (using some locally provisioned cane) and talked a lot about how the juice is handled and converted into rum. We were offered a chance to sample the very green tasting free-run juice. Some of us, not satisfied with that, also gave the pressed cane stalks a taste. Om nom nom!

Next, we had a second more critical gin tasting opportunity, led by Dave Smith (AKA Distiller Dave) in one of the upstairs tasting rooms. Here we got a chance to try various runs from the still and then see how they changed, depending on the percentage of alcohol present in the still at the start of a run. There were also samples of spirits which had been treated with just a single botanical, in this case hops. Both samples were quite green and vegetal tasting, though also exhibiting more aromatic notes, scents and flavors we’re more familiar with when expressed in a beer. Dave then blended a very small amount of one of these sample into a batch of the gin. The effect was really quite striking, giving us a chance to see how small amounts of intense flavors can radically change the product.

No rest for the wicked, we also had the great fortune to get a talk about eau de vie by Jörg Rupf, the founder and master distiller of St. George Spirits. I found it very interesting to hear Jörg talk about the origins and influences behind Aqua Perfecta as well as how the eau de vie process was adapted to the creation of the Hangar 1 vodka line (as well as all the other St. George/Hangar 1 spirits). Jörg encouraged us to ask questions. I was very surprised to learn that the Williams variety of pear used in European eaux de vie is in fact the same variety as Bartlett, which Jörg feels makes the best most fragrant pear brandies. (We also previewed a rock video style tribute to Jörg that we are told is going to show up on in the not too distant future.)

As a final treat, a few of us got taken deeper into the bowels of the warehouse were we sampled two secret barrels: a bourbon and a rye, both of which were incredibly delicious. (Think fruitcake and spice and cereal. Wow!) Unfortunately, these are likely to be the only tastes any one will ever have as there’s so very little. These were, however, a potent reminder that the folks working here are ever experimenting, ever looking for great new product. Let’s hope some descendant of these experimental barrels makes it way to market one day.

Field Trip to Anchor Brewing and Old Potrero Distillery

Posted in Bourbon and Rye, Musings on March 15, 2011 by Mr. Manhattan

It’s been a while, once again. Sometimes I think I get too hung up on making each post some sort of magnum opus. Let me resolve to post more often (cause that’s a good thing, right?) and not worry about breaking new ground each time I do so.

Yesterday I attended a product showcase courtesy of Preiss Imports and the Northern California chapter of the USBG held at the Anchor Steam Brewery in San Francisco. Believe it or not this was my first ever time inside the place. I had the chance to sample many great spirits as well as getting me some more education on single malt whiskies, this time as done by BenRiach, Glendronach, and Springbank (to name just a few of the luminous brands available for sampling).

I will confess, however, that my heart made the most flip-flops when I trundled downstairs and visited the distillery portion of the premises. Yes, here was the humble copper wellspring from which the lovely lovely Old Potrero rye doth flow. I got to see a bubbling pot of mash as well as a chance to sample the low wine (first distillation) straight off the worm.

Two Quick Infusions to Start the New Year

Posted in Bourbon and Rye, Exotic Citrus, Home Made Ingredients on February 1, 2011 by Mr. Manhattan

It’s been a while since my last blog post. I apologize for the long silence. I’m going to attribute that, on one hand, to some fatigue after spending all of summer and fall 2010 promoting the book and basic human laziness, on the other. It’s winter, right, and it’s supposed to be OK to hibernate. So I did.

To get back into the swing of things I made a couple of quick infusions both of which I’d been planing for some months. Both can be done in a couple of days or even less.

The first required obtaining a supply of locally foraged candy cap mushrooms (any one of several Lactarius species though most commonly L. rubidus or L. fragilus) which, when dried, smell intensely of maple syrup and butterscotch. They are most commonly used to make cookies to which they lend their distinctive scent. About year or so ago I heard about Neyah White’s experiments with infusing these into rye so that’s what I set out to recreate.

Rather than ordering the mushrooms on-line I resolved to find a local source. After asking about I was finally put into contact with friends of a friend who were active and avid mushroom collectors. More importantly, they had a pretty large supply of already dried fungi, foraged last year, which they were willing to trade for some of the finished rye infusion. I soon found myself the proud owner of 3 ounces of incredibly pungent mushrooms.

To make the infusion I measured out an ounce of the dried candy caps, put them in the bottom of one of my “infusing jars” and added a full bottle (750 ml) of Rittenhouse rye. Given how incredibly pungent the mushrooms were, I figured that it wouldn’t take terribly long to impart that scent and flavor to the rye. I was quite right. After about four hours I deemed that the two ingredients had spent enough time together and passed the rye though a coffee filter and bottled it.

The result is, unsurprisingly, redolent of maple syrup and butterscotch, both of which complement the spice of the rye. More intriguingly, at least to me, is that it also exhibits a distinct earthy-mushroomy taste. All these notes, the sweet, the earthy, and the spicy, carry on into the finish which is very long. I have to say I am on the fence about this one. It’s a bit much. I suspect that had I used less of the mushrooms and/or left the infusion to sit for less time that I’d have not captured so much of the mushrooms themselves, certainly not so intensely. Still, there is something very alluring about it and it seems to be better after you’ve been drinking it for a while.

Candy Cap-infused Rye

1/2 oz. dried candy cap mushrooms
1 bottle (750 ml) Rittenhouse 100-proof rye
A large wide-mouth jar
Coffee filter (like a Melitta #4)

Put the mushrooms and the rye into the jar and seal well.
Let stand for 2 to 4 hours, testing frequently after the first 2 hours.
Strain out the mushrooms and then pass the liquid though a coffee filter.
Bottle the resulting infusion.

The second infusion I made using chinotto citrus from my potted dwarf tree. It set a sizable crop this year and, more importantly, I knew not to wait until they were completely orange to start using them. Chinotto (AKA Myrtle Leaf orange, Citrus aurantium var. myrtifolia) is a small, bitter, but very aromatic citrus variety, commonly grown in southern Italy where it may be used as a flavoring element in certain amari and, it is said, Campari. It’s also consumed on it’s own in the form of an eponymous soda made most famously by San Pellegrino though other brands exist. My concept for this infusion was to follow the template for a Rock ‘n’ Rye but to omit the horehound and instead rely entirely on the chinotto to provide both the citrus and the bitter flavoring element.

Last year I tried to use the chinotto as the basis for a digestive bitters but feel I waited too long to harvest the fruit, leaving them on the tree long after they were fully orange. There’s not a lot of juice in the fruit to begin with and leaving them to ‘hang’ for a long time seemed to have left them even drier. I processed that crop two different ways. First, by maceration with sugar which left me with a small amount of decent syrup. Second, by extracting favor in high-proof GNS (Everclear) which made a very bitter extract (most likely because of the peel) for which I haven’t yet found a good use.*

To make this year’s infusion, I sliced six chinotto oranges to which I added a bottle of Wild Turkey rye. I allow the fruit to steep for just 48 hours and then removed it. I then added about 4 tablespoons of rock sugar (procured from a chinese grocery) and let it sit until dissolved. That’s it.

Chinotto Rock ‘n’ Rye

6 chinotto oranges, washed and sliced.
1 bottle (750 ML) Wilde Turkey 101-proof rye
4 tablespoons rock sugar
A large wide mouthed jar

Put the chinotto slices and the rye into the jar and seal well.
Let stand for 48 hours.
Remove the orange slices with a slotted spoon and discard.
Add the rock sugar and leave until dissolved.
Strain and bottle the resulting infusion.

The finished product smells deeply of orange and captures both the citrus and the bitter flavoring elements of the chinotto. I will say that much as I like this stuff, it’s not as delicious as a classic Rock ‘n’ Rye. In part because it’s missing the slightly minty edge you get from the horehound.

So I’d make a couple of adjustments to the next batch, possibly adding a single regular Valencia orange (bring to add some sweet citrus) and use caramelized sugar in place of the rock candy. I think both “tweaks” will make for a more layered product.

* – I’ve actually now combined the syrup from the macerated fruit and the tincture to make a new base syrup. I then added about 50% by volume of a caramelized simple syrup to give it some balance and depth. The results are pretty amazing and flavorful. I am starting to work on some cocktails that incorporate it.

A Passion for Whisky: Richard Paterson

Posted in Musings with tags on October 14, 2010 by Mr. Manhattan

I’m sitting before my computer. It’s after dinner (an unremarkable repast this evening) sipping a slender wine glass full of Gonazalez Byass Apostoles “Palo Cortado Muy Viejo” sherry. It’s 30 years old and it’s delicious. How I came to be sipping it, is also how I came to be sitting before my computer this evening, writing. It was during lunch last Friday, in the hours before WhiskyFest San Francisco, that Richard Patterson brought it up in conversation. Richard is the famous Master Blender for The Dalmore scotch whisky and it’s no coincidence that he mentioned it. The used barrels from this particular solera, along with those from the Matusalem, Del Duque and Amaroso lines, are given a second life when they are shipped to Alnes, in Scotland, refilled with new make whiskey and let to rest again.

The lunch, to which I had been invited at the last minute, was a rather intimate affair. There were four of us total: Virginia Miller, from the Bay Guardian, Dawn Lambert, Marketing Director for Whyte & Mackay in The Americas, myself, and, of course, Richard. We met at Wayfare Tavern and after a little bit of a wait, settled down to a lovely table upstairs over looking Sacramento Street. Dawn got right to work, unboxing bottles of The Dalmore and getting us set up with glasses.

I had encountered Richard for the first time a few months back in New Orleans at Tales of the Cocktail under rather different circumstances. I happened in on a seminar he was giving on The Dalmore. The seminar was already in progress. He was standing at the front of the room, offering some choice words about people who put ice (of all things) in their whisky! Shortly thereafter, Richard grabbed a handful of of the stuff from a nearby bucket and threw it across the room to further make his point. I had no idea who this madman in the jacket, tie, and kilt was, but he had my undivided attention. And it wasn’t all show: amidst the peppery language and gesturing Richard was imparting serious knowledge about the history of The Dalmore and how best to appraise it. Here was a man with passion for his profession.

The reason for that passion is readily apparent to anyone who reads through Richard’s recently published semi-biography “Goodness Nose.” He comes by it quite honestly. He grew up in Glasgow where both his grandfather and father had spent their lives in the warehousing and blending end of the whisky trade. Richard had his first encounter with “the business” when he was but eight years old and his father asked (nay, demanded) that he sip and describe what was given to him. Though it would be a few more years before Richard tucked in and formally joined the trade, by 26 he was named Master Blender for Whyte & Mackay Distillers, a position he’s held ever since. He was probably the youngest person to have attained that distinction. Looking over the long list of achievements and honors conferred since then you can see the wisdom of that appointment.

It occurs to me now that one of the questions I did not ask Richard is when did he first discover his penchant for public speaking and his talent as a performer. There are a many great whisky (and whiskey) experts in the world but not all of these people are equally great at presenting that knowledge in an entertaining and lively manner.

While Richard occasionally lapsed into what might be called his “routine” (he brought his giant plastic bugs out when talking about the impact of phylloxera on the wine trade), the intimate setting gave Virginia and myself the opportunity to drill deeper on topics as they came up in conversation. For example, we learned a lot more about the aforementioned soleras from which the sherry cooperage comes and that Beam in the US along with Heaven Hill, supply them with used bourbon barrels. (The split is about 50/50 between the two wood sources.) I got to ask about the warehouses at The Dalmore and learned how they are constructed and organized (new make starts life at the bottom where its most damp). I learned that Alexander Matheson, the founder of the distiller, established it after having made his fortune in the opium trade in China. (Talk about trading on vices!)

Advice on how to nose and taste a whisky…

Richard likes to be known as “The Nose” — the primary tool of anyone in his trade. Unsurprisingly then one of the lessons he likes to impart on his guests is how to properly smell and taste a spirit. That involves a number of steps, not least of which is using the right kind of glass [*], holding it by the stem or base, and sticking your nose in and out of it, using both and then alternate nostrils (our sense of smell is not symmetric), until you get the full olfactory “sense” of what’s you’re about to taste. This should be followed by taking two tastes: the first of which may be quick (“Hello!”) and the second of which should be long, with the spirit held in the mouth and moved around in it, including under the tongue. Richard encourages folks to hold this second taste for as long as two minutes, a feat that none of us could manage. He claims there are flavors that only come out after prolonged contact.

You’ll not be too surprised to learn that Richard’s lesson on nosing and tasting comes with sound effects, supplied by Richard himself. As he holds the taste of whisky in his mouth, he makes a series of “umm-umm-umm” sounds and turns his head to and fro, all to punctuate the fact that he’s moving the spirt all around.

I should mention at this point that during the course of lunch (which lasted nearly three hours) we tasted through the entire line of The Dalmore from the 12 year old “entry level” bottling to the King Alexander III, with its six wood finishes. As an ultimate treat, Richard poured a taste of the very rare and expensive Sirius bottling. This is a blend of whisky from 1865, 1926, and 1939. It’s almost hard to describe what a whisky this old tastes like. At the moment I cannot even put words to it.

We also sampled some of ‘new make’ (unaged and undiluted) whisky, a bottle of which Richard pulled out from his (bottomless) satchel to illustrate some point or another. Virginia and I of course wanted to try it. It was pretty amazing, exhibiting lemon, cream, grass and cereal notes. It was very different from the corn and rye based ‘white dogs’ I’ve sampled from american distilleries. Richard says that he and the other blenders regularly sample the new make whisky since the distillers are often making small adjustments to it. A surprising (to me) assertion was that these samples would change after resting in glass for about month and need to be tried again to fully asses them.

[*] – That would be a copita [ko-pita], a small tapered sherry glass. The taper helps focus the aromas of what ever is in it. Alas, we did not have this critical tool and so made due with what was on hand at the bar: small rocks glasses. Note to self: next time I have lunch with Richard Paterson bring a box of copitas. ;->

Advice for the craft distiller…

I was particularly interested in Richard’s take on the new craft/artisanal distilling movement here in the US. There’s been a lot of discussion about this topic recently with the number of products on the market greatly increasing. I asked him what advice he’d give to the craft distiller from his position as a Master Blender? His answer was unequivocal: go out into the world and find wood (by which he meant barrels) which is unique and distinctive. That makes sense given that 60% or more of the flavor in a wood-aged spirit comes from the barrel in which it’s held. For many distillers here in the US that could mean eschewing the coveted label of bourbon or rye (because of barreling requirements) though it might also mean producing a truly original product. Richard also stressed the importance of age. He mentioned 10 years, which would be a long time in the barrel here in the US but his point is well taken. There are a lot of 2 year old whiskeys now on the market. We don’t need more of these.

Eventually it came time for Richard to depart and take a break before he’d be “on” again in front of the crowds at WhiskyFest. Of course, not before desert including some King Alexander III malt and a bit of chocolate. I was by then certainly ready for a breather before an evening that promised to be full of yet more whisky. I felt plenty warmed up however. My senses were primed and my brain was alive with thoughts on what it takes to make a whisky great. Among other things, I knew it depends on the talents and passions of people like Richard.


A few photos I wanted to add but which didn’t easily fit into the piece.

First, toward the end of lunch Richard performed a whisky parlor trick for us, floating a goodly amount of The Dalmore over water. Here’s a photo of that:

Second, I wanted to include a shot of the sherry I purchased a couple of days later. I had to go on a bit of a quest for them but was rewarded by discovering a store called The Spanish Table in Berkeley. It has the most comprehensive selection of sherry, port, Madeira, and Bual I have seen anywhere. Their selection of table wines also appears quite extensive. The Spanish Table is located at 1814 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley CA. The phone # is 510.548.1383.

A Rose (Aprium) By Any Other Name

Posted in Cocktails, Home Made Ingredients, Stone Fruit with tags , , on October 9, 2010 by Mr. Manhattan

A few weeks ago I documented my efforts to capture the embers of the stone fruit season by infusing gin with apriums, pluots, and dried plums. (Previously) I am pleased to say that my experiments were most successful—despite have been told not to expect much from folks who’s opinions I regularly value. I don’t know what I did that they did not, but I wound up with deeply colored, highly flavored gins. Drinkable in their own right, actually. And the flesh of the fruit did not disintegrate as I had feared it might. (I chalk this up to using less than fully ripe fruit.) I also think my choice of Plymouth, in which the juniper is fairly muted, was spot on.

Since then I’ve used the gins to make a number of lovely sours (one of which is destined for the menu at Plum). The only down side is that I am running out and, alas, there really are no more stone fruit (least not of the varieties I was using). Now I’ll have to sit on my hands and await the next season—only 11 months away!

Meantime, to whet your whistle, or to make you envious, you choose), here’s a recipe for one of the cocktails.

Rose Aprium Sour (AKA By Any Other Name)

1 1/2 oz. Rose Aprium-infused Plymouth gin [*]
3/4 oz. Honey syrup (2:1)
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/4 oz. Maraska maraschino liqueur
1 egg white

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and dry shake to froth the egg whites.
Add ice and shake about 20 times to chill.
Double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

[*] Details on how I made the gin can be found in this post. The only missing details are as follows: let the fruit infuse for about 10 days. When ready, run the infused gin through a Melita-type coffee filter before using.

Lunch with Jim Rutledge, Master Distiller from Four Roses Distillery

Posted in Bourbon and Rye, Spirits News with tags , on October 6, 2010 by Mr. Manhattan

Last week I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting Jim Rutledge, the Master Distiller from Four Roses at a luncheon arranged for the local press by Laura Baddish of The Baddish Group. Also present were representatives from Kentfield Marketing Group including Meryl Cawn and Kurt Charles. Kentfield does marketing and on-premise sales for Four Roses in the greater SF Bay area. We gathered at Zero Zero in San Francisco for the occasion.

About Jim…

Jim Rutledge has been in the spirits business for over 43 years. He started work with Seagram’s in 1966 when they owned the Four Roses brand. He held a variety of positions within the company but ultimately transferred to the Four Roses distillery in 1992. In 1995 he was named Master Distiller, a title he’s held ever since. Jim’s predecessors at Four Roses include Ova Hanye and Charlie Beam (who retired in 1994). Jim’s won an array of awards for his work including membership in the Bourbon Hall of Fame and Malt Advocate’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.

A bit of (complex) history…

While Four Roses distillery has a history which dates back to well before prohibition, it’s not a brand which was well known among discerning drinkers in the United States until after 2002. Prior to that, Seagram’s, who owned the brand since 1913 (or 1941, or 1943, depending on who you ask), had chosen to sell only an inexpensive blended whiskey under that label here in the states. (For those those who may not know: a blended whiskey contains only a small proportion of barrel aged spirit. The bulk is grain alcohol which results in a much lighter simpler product.)

In 2001, a controlling interest in Seagram’s was purchased by Vivendi, who was after the company’s entertainment holdings. Vivendi then sold off its interest in the drink business, a part of which was acquired by Diageo. Diageo eventually divested itself of the Four Roses distillery which was then purchased by the Japanese beer brewing company Kirin. Kirin had been the distributor for Four Roses bourbon (not the blended whiskey) in Japan and wanted to continue selling it there. [*] Kirin also agreed it was time to re-launch the brand here in the United States. According to Jim Rutledge, shortly thereafter the distillery purchased all the remaining stocks of the blended product and had it destroyed. (Wow!) The single barrel bottling was then released in the US as a way of building the brand back up.

[*] — Following all of this? The history of Four Roses is nothing if not complicated. I have done my best to simplify it. A much more detailed, though perhaps no less confusing account, can be found here.

Mr. Rutledge holds forth…

I had already known that much of what makes the Four Roses product distinct involved two mash bills (including a high-rye of 35%) and the use of five distinct yeast strains. The results are 10 distinct bourbons out of which the various bottlings are then derived. These were details which Jim reiterated to the group. There is simply no other distillery working in this manner today making Four Roses a truly distinctive product.

News to me was the use of multiple single-story rack warehouses (AKA rick houses) in which the product is aged. These are unique in the Bourbon industry. There are 20 warehouse at the distillery; each is about 40,000 square feet in size (that’s close to one acre each) and holds over 24,000 barrels. The storage racks inside are six barrels high. According to Jim, there are two distinct advantages to all of this.

First, the single story design results in only a six degree difference in temperature between the racks at the top and bottom of the warehouse. This means all the barrels age more or less evenly regardless of where they are positioned. This more or less obviates the need to rotate barrels through the floors over time, a practice which Jim asserts no one follows any more anyway.[*] I also learned that in general warehouses are neither temperature nor humidity controlled. Thus the environment inside is dependent on outside conditions and under goes seasonal variations.

Second, it means that in the event of a fire (such things happen), not all of the stock will be threatened. In fact, each year’s ‘make’ is distributed between all of the warehouses so that a fire in one would not have the effect of ‘wiping out’ a given vintage.

[*] — In multi-story warehouses the temperature differential between the top and bottom floors can be quite extreme. Traditionally barrels were rotated between floors during aging to ‘average out’ the effects of temperature or to heighten the same in a set of barrels by choosing to not rotate them.

What about the whiskey?

While Jim was doing all this talking, we were encouraged to start tasting the five whiskeys which had been poured for us: three regular selections and two unaged (“white dog”) samples poured to show the effect of the different yeasts on the flavor.

The three regular selections were the Yellow (made from a blend of all 10 bourbon recipes), the small batch (a blend of two recipes), and the single barrel (a single recipe based on the high-rye mash bill, bottled at 100 proof). All were quite delicious. I was most impressed by the ‘yellow label’ which I hadn’t bothered to taste critically before. It had a nice roundness and a goodly dollop of sweetness. However, at 40% alcohol it seems likely to get lost in many cocktails. I only wish it were a higher proof product.

Two additional “white dog” samples were poured to show the effect of the yeast used. Both used the same mash bill (the high-rye) and were more or less the same proof, about 138, just as they came off the still. The difference in nose and flavor was frankly quite astonishing. Where one was restrained the other was effusive and floral, totally changing the sensation of ‘heat’ on the palate. Jim told us that it’s equally illuminating to taste new make whiskey using the same yeast but where the mash bill varies. I am sorry we didn’t get a chance to have that experience.


Over the last year or so I’ve had the occasion to meet Master Distillers from Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace and now Four Roses. In the heads of these men (and yes, for the moment, this seems to be pretty much a white male dominated game) resides the bulk of wisdom on the making of American barrel aged spirits. And while small production (AKA artisanal) craft spirits are becoming something of a hot product category, it feels like distillers at these much newer ventures will be playing catch up with their more senior counterparts for a while.

Certainly large established distilleries have a fiscal advantage that most small start up distilleries don’t share in the form of a pipeline of product that’s ready for market every year. But they also have something else: a long history of making reliable and consistent product and the domain expertise on how to do that passed from distiller to distiller. [*] The value of lineage and wisdom passed on between generations cannot be underestimated.

[*] – And in all fairness, the small distiller has the advantage of being able to experiment, bringing possibly novel products to market more quickly, and without risking an established brand.

Blatant Self-Promotion

Posted in Blatant Self Promotion, Left Coast Libations with tags on September 13, 2010 by Mr. Manhattan

Left Coat Libations San Francisco Launch Event, September 18th, Heaven’s Dog, 9 PM till closing.

You know that book I’ve been working on for the past couple of years? Well, it’s out. To celebrate (and sell some books, let’s face it, that’s what we’re trying to do) we’ll be holding launch events in each of the Left Coast cities over the next month and a half. The first (and certainly the biggest and best) will be held in San Francisco this Saturday (September 18th) at Heaven’s Dog (and yes, Erik Adkins will be there). The details are below. I expect all of my faithful readers (I think there are about 11) to join us. A splendid time is guaranteed for all!

Where: Heaven’s Dog, in the Soma Grand, at 1148 Mission Street between 7th and 8th Streets in San Francisco.

When: Saturday, September 18th, from 9 PM until closing.

No reservations are necessary. (We expect to RULE this place.)

A number of Left Coast bar talent will be on hand as ‘special guests’ throughout the evening, some from out of town.

We will have books for sale (courtesy of Green Apple).

We are still finalizing the cocktail offerings for the evening, but the following have been confirmed:

Ueno San, Andrew Bohrer/Seattle, Washington
Saffron Sandalwood Sour/Seattle. Washington
Filibuster, Erik Adkins/San Francisco, California
Old Bill, Neyah White/San Francisco, California
Passage to India, David Wolowidnyk/Vancouver, BC

Here are the confirmed dates for the other events:

September 27th, Seattle, Rob Roy
October 3rd, Portland, Teardrop Lounge
October 17th, Los Angeles, The Varnish