A Nolet’s Vesper at The Big 4 restaurant and bar, San Francisco

During my 2014 winter holiday travels in the San Francisco Bay Area I made the trek to a few of the wonderful bars and lounges, both historic and new, that San Francisco has to offer. I remembered that my old friend Peter Mintun once played (for 16 years) at the famous L’Etoile restaurant and bar…

Dispelling the Myth of the Coupe

During the 17th century, while the French Benedictine monk Dom Perignon was still trying to figure out a way to rid his wines of the unfashionable bubbles showing up in some of his bottles, the English royalty were embracing this new wine with bubbles.  It became so popular, in fact, that in 1663 the English developed…

Classic Movie Cocktail Scenes: All About Eve

One of the finest examples of cocktails enhancing a film is writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s 1950 masterpiece All About Eve.  The story of a Broadway legend, the people in her orbit, and the ruthless newcomer she takes under her wing, it stands out as one of the finest films ever made about the Broadway theater.  A crackling…

The Stork Club

One of the posh Manhattan destinations on anyone’s list during its heyday, which was just about the entire time it was in operation, being seen at The Stork Club meant you had officially ‘arrived’.  Opened in 1929 by ex-bootlegger Sherman Billingsley, influential columnist Walter Winchell called it “New York’s New Yorkiest place on West 58th.”…

The Atomic Cocktail

Las Vegas, January 11, 1951 – The US Department of Energy establishes the Nevada Proving Ground (now known as the Nevada Test Site) 65 miles northwest of the city for the testing of nuclear devices.  Little was known about the effects of nuclear blasts at the time, and above ground, or atmospheric, testing was seen…

The Classic Martini

One of the many legends told about the invention of this most famous of cocktails is that it was created in the nineteenth century by ‘Professor’ Jerry Thomas of San Francisco’s Occidental Hotel who named it after the nearby town of Martinez California.

The Manhattan Cooler: A summery version of a cocktail classic

This is a cocktail I came up with for a cocktail competition a few years ago, and has proved to be popular at every party I’ve served it at.  A riff on the 19th century recipe that lead to the contemporary Manhattan, I utilize Pama Liqueur in place of the original Orange Curacao, and a…

No. 209 classic martini at Waterbar, San Francisco, California

I visited my friends and relatives in the San Francisco Bay Area over the holidays in November and December of 2014, and of the many restaurants and bars I frequented during my stay, one of my favorites turned out to be Waterbar on the bay almost underneath the San Francisco Bay Bridge.  As you can see…

The car with a passenger seat bar

Glendale, California 1951 – Earl “Madman” Muntz begins production of what he calls the Muntz Jet, a re-branding of Frank Kurtis’s two seater sports car, the Kurtis Kraft Sport.  Muntz, a fixture in Southern California widely known for his ‘Madman’ persona and  flamboyant, groundbreaking television commercials, had started out selling used cars in 1934.