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blood oranges or sanguinellos

How to Construct a Bespoke Cocktail

or Antidote to a Stressful Week

Bob, my new best friend

Bob, my new best friend

In a week where blood, sweat, and tears were spilt, bitter words exchanged, and ideas pulped, I was determined to make a Friday night cocktail to restore balance.  The usual ethanol delivery methods felt inadequate, so I thought it necessary to deconstruct the week’s assaults and reassemble them into a bespoke cocktail.

Here’s my cocktail de/construction process:
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Gin Journey

Gin is not merely ethanol and water with some botanical flavourings added.  It is a spirit deeply rooted in the history of London, forms the bedrock of the cocktail, and elicits real passion amongst its devotees. To enjoy gin is to enjoy discovery, as it is the most mercurial of spirits.  Marcel Proust said, “We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us.”

And so on a recent Monday night, I find myself and some kindred ginthusiasts on a Gin Journey in east London.  Expertly guided by Leon Dalloway of Shake Rattle and Stir, it is an educational evening that tells you everything you ever wanted to know about gin while taking you on a tour of some of London’s finest cocktail bars.  Leon promises 5 samples, 5 cocktails, chauffeured transport, and no hangover for the princely sum of £50.  I am intrigued.
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Tony C's Prairie Oyster

A Masterclass in Cocktail Wizardry

Or, Don’t Try This At Home…

Centrifuges, sous-vides, and distillers– Oh My! Floor to ceiling shelves crowded with bottles, jars and vials of such esoteric substances as essence of damp earth, desiccated peas, aroma of the sea, and a 1910 rum. Lab-coated technicians wielding electronic pipettes and digital scales buzz around us as I ponder the genius of Tony Conigliaro’s Drinks Factory. This is the lab where he manipulates flavour, aroma and texture in order to deliver a full sensory experience with a buzz. Cocktail alchemy.
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The only time I ever enjoyed ironing was the day I accidentally got gin in the steam iron. -Phyllis Diller

I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food. ― W.C. Fields

Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy -Frank Sinatra

teleport to Tehran

Farangi Girl Cocktail

Or, What to Serve Your Book Group When They are Coming to Dinner After Reading a Powerfully Evocative Memoir of a Childhood Spent Between 1960’s Iran and Florida…

Reading is one of the few preserves of mindful engagement in this modern info-saturated world.  It’s a solitary pursuit, one devoid of sound and with few, if any pictures.  Reading liberates the reader to construct a fanciful universe in the mind’s eye, scaffolded by personal experience, and gently engineered by a skilled author-architect.
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A proper drink at the right time---one mixed with care and skill and served in the true spirit of hospitality---is better than any other made thing at giving us the illusion, at least, that we're getting what we want from life. ---David Wondrich

Thanks Dad!

Why I Started This Blog

Or Thanks, Dad!

Every Sunday lunch since I was about six years old, my father poured me, my brother and my sister a couple of “fingers” of fine wine in old shrimp cocktail glasses. He would show us on a globe where the wine was from, what it was called, and what made it different to last Sunday’s wine. I have an indelible memory of that early education in wine, before my palate became corrupted with coffee, junk food, and hot sauce.
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Image 05-05-2013 at 17.18