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New Mexico Cocktails & Culture Weekend

May 17, 2015

No, I am not dead or on the LAM.  It’s been a busy busy Springtime here in Santa Fe.  What’s got me so tied up other than Secreto Lounge?


We are raising the bar here in the Land of Enchantment May 31st-June 1st.

nm-cc-logo1This is the first cocktail fiesta of its kind here in New Mexico founded by Santa Fe Native Natalie Bovis aka The Liquid Muse, and she along with many other local bar folks are excited to be a part of this monumental event, which includes celebrity bartenders Charlotte Voisey, Kim Hassurad, Tony Abou-Ganim, Bobby “G” Geason, and King Cocktail himself Dale DeGroff!

Yes, all of these amazing bartenders are coming to Santa Fe to speak, teach, and enjoy the  cocktails and culture of New Mexico.

Here is the full Schedule of events:

 New Mexico Cocktails & Culture (click for tickets to all events and lodging options from Hotel St Francis)

Saturday, May 30, Scottish Rite Temple:

  • 3:30 – 7 pm: Award-winning documentary Hey Bartender and VIP Cocktail Party presented by William Grant & Sons ($15 for all)

Sunday, May 31, Skylight:

  • 11:30 – 12:45 pm: Vodka Distilled with Tony Abou-Ganim ($30 public / $15 industry with NM Servers License)
  • 12:50 – 1:20 pm: Santa Fe’s Hard Cideries (FREE to ticket holders)
  • 1:30 – 2:45 pm: The Great Whiskey Cocktails with Bobby ‘G’ Gleason ($30 / $15)
  • 2:50 – 3:20 pm: Meet the NM Distillers Guild (FREE to ticket holders)
  • 3:30 – 4:45 pm: Food & Cocktails: A Culinary Adventure with Kim Haasarud ($30 / $15)
  • 6:30 – 10 pm: Rockin’ Blues & Booze VIP Cocktail party & Sean Healen III Concert, presented by Beam Suntory ($15 for all)

Monday, June 1, Skylight:

  • 11:00 am – 12:15 pm: Mind Body Spirit(s) balance seminar (FREE to industry with NM Servers License)
  • 1 – 2:30 pm: USBG NM luncheon (FREE to members, $10 non-members)
  • 2:45 – 4 pm: I’ll Take Manhattan / Bitters seminar with Dale DeGroff ($10 industry priority)
  • 6 – 8 pm: Tequila Social VIP Closing Party ($15 for all)

So, if you are in New Mexico, please join us for this amazing weekend of events.  If you are not in New Mexico, buy a plane ticket, rent a car and get on over here!!

What NOT to drink on St. Patrick’s Day: What’s In A Name…

March 3, 2015

St Patrick’s Day here in the US is, as we all know, is a HUGE day for drinking and celebrating the Irish culture.  It is one of my favorites actually, being of Irish heritage.  It is however very unfortunate how certain “traditions” and associations get attached to the way we celebrate.  In fact, some are downright insulting, if not racist.

Yes, the Irish fancy a drink.  Who doesn’t?  But some of the drinks we associate with the celebration of St. Paddy’s Day (yes it’s ‘Paddy’ not ‘Patty’)* are actually very degrading to the culture.  Let’s take a look at some of them:

BTBlack & Tans
Yes, black and tan are the colors that you see when you layer Guinness with Harp or Bass Ale (depending on your preference), but that is not where the name came from.  Originally this combination of beer was called a Half & Half, and is a wonderful way to consume a pint.  So, why is this insulting? During the Irish War of Independence, Winston Churchill recruited temporary constables to help maintain control and fight in Northern Ireland. Their uniforms were khaki pants and a dark shirt, and they became known as The Black & Tans. Sadly, their methods for “maintaining control” were brutal at best, using their position and power is ways that make what’s been happening here in the U.S. recently look like a playground fight. They were notorious for public murders, property destruction and brutal beatings of civilians.
In the British pubs, The Half & Half beer was jokingly renamed The Black & Tan as a scoff toward the Irish people.

360_omagh_bombing_0608Irish Car Bomb
I despise this drink. 

First of all, that is what the basic design of the drink is going to get you…bombed.  It is drinking to get drunk:not drinking for the enjoyment of the drink. Now, I have done my share of  Boilermaker type drinks in the past, and yes I did enjoy the moment.  But this drink ‘s name i the absolute worst thing ever!

For years during The Troubles 1969-2010),  3568 people were killed, of which 1879 were civilians with the Irish Republican Army able to claim responsibility fo 1696 of those deaths.  One of the IRA’s favorite tactics…..Car Bombs.

But we Americans don’t look at history and etymology sometimes and realize what we are saying.  To the Irish, especially those from Northern Ireland, family and friends were killed by car bombs.  For perspective’s sake, imagine someone asking you if you wanted to do a 9/11 Al Queda  Plane Bomb….how would you feel?

45464_10200609037530562_1813935733_nSo what should we drink?

Have a pint of Guinness, harp, or Smithwick’s, sip some Jameson, Tullamore DEW, Bushmills Black, or if you’re daring Power’s.  Toast a great land and great people each filled with joy and hospitality.  Sing, laugh and cheer on to all the great contributions the Irish have given to the U.S. Smile and celebrate the way you would want another culture celebrating America.


*Paddy” is the proper short name of Patrick, even though Patrick is spelled with a ‘t”.  “Patty” is short of Patricia. So Paddy is a boy, and Patty is a girl.  Got it?


Rainbow at the Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare

Toddy Twist

January 14, 2015

Nothing beats a warm libation on a winter night, and we all have occasions that winter warmers are the perfect topper.  Whether it is after a day skiing or in front of the fire at home, there is something comforting and relaxing about a nice warm beverage.

One of my favorites is the Toddy.  Traditionally a combination of honey, citrus, hot water and booze of choice with the option of spice, the toddy is a staple in cold weather.

Recently I was reading an article on homeopathic teas for cold and flu season and came across something that intrigued me, and in turn inspired this recipe as a twist on the traditional toddy.

First gather your gear and ingredients:

  • 12 oz jar
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped ginger
  • locally made honey

First, slice the lemon into half wheels and place them in the jar.  Next add the chopped ginger, them fill the jar with honey.  Let this stand at room temperature of a day to macerate. Afterwards refridgerate for up to two months.

Use this Ginger-Lemon Honey as not only the citrus but the sweet and spice in your Toddy. I personally like Irish Whiskey in this

Irish Toddy

  • 1 1/2 oz Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger-Lemon Honey
  • 4-6 oz boiling water.

Combine all ingredients in your favorite mug and sip soothingly.

(this is also great for a soar throat, or warming up from a cold: just leave out the whiskey….or not)


Holiday Drinks: The Divinity Cocktail

December 19, 2014

This holidays are here and ’tis the season for cheers and spirit(s)!  Normally during this time of year I stay with the classic drinks or classic twists on drinks, as most people prefer tradition over innovation ( I remember once wanting to theme a Thanksgiving dinner in a Caribbean style and was met with great resistance).

Suffice to say, that is what most want, and in years past I have posted many of the classic drinks like homemade Eggnog, Mulled Ciders, and Hot Buttered Rum.  But this year, I was asked by a local tourism group to provide a drink based on holiday candy. The first thoughts of peppermint bark, and chocolate something or another passed through my mind along with ideas of local cookies like biscochitos, but all of that has been done to absolute torturous points of death, that….i’ll save the gory analogy fro another time (my gift to you this season).

I wanted something different, but simple, and I thought of one of my favorite holiday treats: Divinity candy.  I haven’t had divinity since I was a kid (OK, that sounded odd, but you know what I mean).  I loved the simple light, fluffy, nutty, sugary pieces of holiday clouds as a child and thought this would make a tasty little drink.  And here is what I came up with….

IMG_1494Divinity Cocktail

  • 2 oz Vanilla Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Licor 43
  • 1 egg white
  • Pecan Sugar rim

In a mixing glass add egg white, vodka, and Licor 43.  Dry shake for 20 seconds to emulsify.  Add ice to the shaker then shake again for 10-12 seconds to chill.  Strain into a pecan sugar rimmed cocktail glass.


Pecan Sugar.  take 1 oz of pecan pieces in a plastic bag and lightly crush.  Combine with 4 oz sugar.  Seal the bag and shake to combine evenly.

Cheers to all and have a safe and wonderful Holiday Season.

Teeling Irish Whiskey Review

November 26, 2014

When I started in the bar business, there were two…..yes two Irish whiskeys on the market.  I’d hear from customers who had been to Erie about all the many others they had tried, but here in the states we had the… well you know who they are.

Now, two decades later, Irish whiskey is the fastest growing spirit category showing mass increasing over the past five years.  And it is high time that the world know this spirit as it,as far as I am concerned, where whiskey as we know it today was mastered.

I have my loves, and I am married to them.  But recently when I was introduced to Teeling Irish Whiskey, I had to take a second glance, and I felt almost adulterous, as there is something unique here that appealed to my booze soaked heart.

Allow me to digress for a moment….Again when I started tending bar, my Uncle Tony introduced me to bourbon: not the rot gut that i had imbibed underage in the cemetery with friend a mile down from my house I grew up in, but TRUE bourbon and for years I was obsessed in learning all that I could about it.  We know from history that the original bourbon makers were Irish and Scottish immigrants who found the perfect water sources in Appalachia to distill whiskey.  This then led me to learning about the whiskies of the world, but I always came back to bourbon.  However, Irish whiskey always had a special place in my heart and there were occasions, moments that only a dram or Irish was appropriate, like a reverence that very point in time.

Jump ahead a few years as my career took off, I began to lean towards rum.  Again I don’t refer to swill: I mean rum.  Why rum?  Because it is first fricking tasty done right, and two it is the least regulated spirit in the world and left to great interpretation of the place and the time and the people from whom it comes from.  Rum is freedom.

So what does all this have to do with Irish Whiskey?

teeling-whiskey-2Here it is.  Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey, bottled at 46 % abv, is smooth, correct, decent, loving, and is like sipping the best of three worlds.

Tech time: Teeling is small batch finished in rum casks in Flor De Cana Rum casks which lends its sweet vanilla and light wood passion to this Irish beauty.  And Flor De Cana, as most rum producers, use one time bourbon barrels as their aging vessel. (it is also the first rum that made me take rum seriously thanks to me mentor Jeff Ferris)

See where I am going here?

Whiskey2The flavors of the original bourbon cask imparted next to the rum and  finished with a  well done Irish whiskey?  This, in my spirited married mind, made my eyes turn and see a true, genuine beauty, that before I didn’t believe possible.  Yet there she is right thee in my glass.  And I embrace the beauty, and she has to offer as she is unyielding and free from restraint.  Teeling Small Batch is the spirit if freedom, yet being true to tradition.

And I invite you to join me in a toast to all that is beauty in this world as we embark upon a Thanksgiving Weekend here in the states and pay honor to all we have and all we are and remember what brought us to this moment.  we are a blend of beauty.  And Teeling Irish Whiskey is at the heart of ll things inclusive good

Go raibh an éirí gréine a thaispeáint ar an gealltanas gach lá agus is féidir leis an luí na gréine a thabhairt dúinn síocháin inár deireadh


36 Hours in Santa Fe

November 26, 2014

Santa Fe is a huge Mecca for so many things: art, music, food, and drinks.

Take a look at what some of us in Santa Fe showed The New York Times

Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey toasts the opening of the Tullamore Distillery

September 18, 2014

$50 million investment sees production return home after 60 years

September 17th, 2014: Tullamore D.E.W., the world’s second largest Irish whiskey today celebrated the opening of its new $50 million distillery in its hometown of Tullamore in the Irish midlands.  As the first spirit flowed from the stills, to the cheers of hundreds of invited guests, the milestone marked the return of whiskey production to the town, 60 years after the original distillery closed its doors. 


“This is a true ‘Parting Glass’ moment for Tullamore D.E.W., as we raise a glass to celebrate the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our 185 year history,” said Tullamore D.E.W. Senior Brand Manager Cindy Wang.  “Irish whiskey is the fastest growing spirits category in the world right now and our new distillery will enable us to meet our production needs over the coming decades.” 


The new distillery marks a particularly exciting moment for the U.S. market as Irish whiskey continues to be the fastest growing spirit domestically with over 18% growth in the past three years. Under the guidance of the independent family-owned distiller William Grant & Sons, Tullamore D.E.W. grew over 20.6% in 2013 alone. Stateside, the brand will be celebrating the opening with a commemorative event in New York City, complete with a barrel signing led by Patrick Williams, great-grandson of Tullamore D.E.W. founder, Daniel E. Williams. The adorned barrel will be shipped back to Tullamore where it will then be filled and laid to rest to age in the new distillery alongside a similar barrel signed at the Tullamore celebration. 


“This new distillery brings Tullamore D.E.W. back to its origins. We are incredibly proud of the Tullamore Distillery and know that its opening has been awaited with great anticipation.  We look forward to building on our success to date and helping new fans all around the world discover the magic of Tullamore D.E.W.” said Tim Herlihy, Tullamore D.E.W. National Brand Ambassador.


To commemorate the rising of the distillery, Tullamore D.E.W. unveiled the very limited release of 2014 bottles of Tullamore D.E.W. Celebratory Phoenix Single Batch, an exclusive expression of the Tullamore D.E.W. Phoenix range.  The Phoenix is a highly appropriate symbol for the town of Tullamore and Tullamore D.E.W. It is featured on the town’s coat of arms honoring the courageous rebuilding after it was largely destroyed by fire following a devastating hot air balloon accident in 1785 and is a symbol of resilience, optimism and progress; attributes that have led to the opening of Tullamore Distillery.


The Tullamore Distillery features four hand crafted copper stills, designed to resemble the original stills from the old distillery; six brew house fermenters each with a 34,000 liter capacity; and warehouse storage for 100,000 casks.  Tullamore Distillery draws the finest natural Irish water from the nearby Slieve Bloom Mountains and will be capable of producing the equivalent of 1.5 million cases of Tullamore D.E.W. annually.




About Tullamore D.E.W.

Tullamore D.E.W. is the second largest Irish whiskey in the world in the fastest growing category. It has been widely acclaimed by whiskey connoisseurs, most recently winning a Gold Medal at the 2014 International Spirits Challenge for Tullamore D.E.W. Original. AdditionallyTullamore D.E.W. 10 Year Single Malt won the Chairman’s Trophy (highest award) for best Single Malt Irish Whiskey at the 2013 Ultimate Spirits Competition and Tullamore D.E.W. 12 Year Old Special Reserve won the Double Gold Medal at the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.


With an intriguing smooth yet complex character, Tullamore D.E.W. is triple distilled, but is also a unique blend of all three types of Irish whiskeys; the pot still, malt and grain whiskeys. As a result, Tullamore D.E.W. is three times smoother with an added gentle complexity. Tullamore D.E.W. was the first and remains one of the few international Irish whiskey to pioneer this blend of three.


Created in 1829, the brand’s strong heritage started in Tullamore, a town in the heart of Ireland, and was fostered by the vision of an early founder Daniel E. Williams, whose initials live on the bottle to this day. True to its heritage, a new distillery is now being built in the town of Tullamore to bringing Tullamore D.E.W. back to its roots.


Tullamore D.E.W. is best enjoyed to taste, but we recommend neat, on the rocks or served long with ginger beer, fresh lime juice and a dash of bitters in a Tullamore Irish Mule.


About William Grant & Sons

William Grant & Sons, Ltd. is an independent family-owned distiller headquartered in the United Kingdom and founded by William Grant in 1887. Today, the luxury spirits company is run by the fifth generation of his family and distills some of the world’s leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the world’s most awarded single malt Glenfiddich®, The Balvenie® range of handcrafted single malts and the world’s third largest blended Scotch Grant’s® along with iconic premium spirits brands Hendrick’s® Gin, Sailor Jerry® Rum, Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey and Milagro® Tequila.


William Grant & Sons has been honored as “Distiller of the Year” by the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition and International Spirits Challenge eleven times over the past 15 years, and most recently by the IWSC in 2013.


Founded in 1964, William Grant & Sons USA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of William Grant & Sons, Ltd. and features one of the fastest growing spirits portfolios in the USA with brands including Glenfiddich, The Balvenie, Hendrick’s Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey, Milagro Tequila, Grant’s, Hudson Whiskey, Gibson’s Finest, Monkey Shoulder, Clan MacGregor, Reyka Vodka, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, Montelobos Mezcal, Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur,  Lillet, Art In The Age, The Knot, and Raynal French Brandy. For more information on the company and its brands, please visit