Empty Glass

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cleaver & Cork's Rachel Freeman updates the old fashioned for Bacon & Bourbon

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 8:19 AM

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Rachel Freeman does not come across as a shy woman. She's got a throaty voice, and it gives way to a deep laugh that pushes out of smiling lips usually painted a striking red. She's excellent at giving side-eye, but she is also - like any bartender worth her salt - completely relatable. 

Freeman's drinks are also not what you'd call introverted. When I stop in to see her at Cleaver & Cork - just a few weeks after our bourbon-filled Bartender's Notebook - Freeman is ready to smash me in the face, figuratively speaking, with a hard-liquor punch. In the nicest way.


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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Local Pig Westport's Erik Mariscal has a fresh cocktail planned for Bacon & Bourbon

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 8:10 AM

ZACH BAUMAN
  • Zach Bauman

The thing about Erik Mariscal is that the dude seems totally normal. When you find him behind the bar at the Local Pig Westport, where he is bar manager, he's usually smiling, pouring a beer, mixing a drink, carrying around supplies - he's doing regular bartender things. Nothing is out of the ordinary. 

But Mariscal, who comes from a cooking background, has a lot more in common with, say, a chef than his fellow barkeeps. Herbs and fresh ingredients play a much bigger role on Mariscal's menu than you're used to seeing elsewhere. The garden-fresh approach is inherent in Mariscal's philosophy on drinks - he made that clear the last time we sat at his bar, back in January. 


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Monday, April 13, 2015

Farmhouse's Margot Thompson gives us her best Elvis impersonation ahead of Thursday's Bacon & Bourbon

Farmhouse's Margot Thompson gives us her best Elvis impersonation ahead of Thursday's Bacon & Bourbon.

Posted By on Mon, Apr 13, 2015 at 9:39 AM

She's not mad, she's concentrating.
  • She's not mad, she's concentrating.

"I didn't start in craft bartending," Margot Thompson tells me. It's a weekday happy hour at Farmhouse in the River Market, and Thompson, the restaurant's bar manager, flits between pouring beer and opening wine bottles. "I actually worked at Garozzo's and Midland, various concert halls, but that's when I was first able to really get creative with bartending, with dessert drinks."

Dessert plays one serious role in Thompson's Bacon & Bourbon cocktail (she'll be dishing it up on Thursday, April 16). The other chief inspiration, though, is a legendary man and his legendary snack: Elvis and his fried peanut butter-banana-bacon sandwich. 


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  • Farmhouse's Margot Thompson gives us her best Elvis impersonation ahead of Thursday's Bacon & Bourbon.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Affäre's Chelsea Almeida has a Bacon & Bourbon cocktail that features spiced bacon-raisin jam, you guys

Posted By on Fri, Apr 10, 2015 at 9:21 AM

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The first thing Affäre's bar manager, Chelsea Almeida, offers me is not a beverage but a spoonful of a gooey, lumpy brown mixture. 

"I made this bacon-raisin jam," she tells me. "I'm not sure how it turned out."

Almeida's sales pitch isn't inspiring, but she has never steered me wrong - and besides, the smell is incredible. From across the bar, the large plastic container sends powerful wafts of baking spices and bacon in my direction. I accept her teeny-tiny teaspoon and am rewarded with an intense taste of this sweet, spicy, delightfully fatty creation. 

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bartender's Notebook: Julep's Katy Wade finds a strong helper for whiskey

Posted By on Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 8:01 PM

ZACH BAUMAN
  • Zach Bauman

It takes very little to convince Katy Wade that we should sample some fernet — just four words, in fact.

An hour before Westport’s Julep opens its doors on a bright weekday afternoon, I drop by to see Wade and say, “I’m thinking about fernet.” I’m barely done picturing my usual Fernet-Branca bottle when I see that she has, with a wide smile, assembled a four-brand lineup of the Italian amaro.

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Blvd Tavern's Tommy Palmer gives us a preview of his Bacon & Bourbon cocktail

Posted By on Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 3:54 PM

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We're getting pretty thirsty thinking about the upcoming Bacon & Bourbon night on Thursday, April 16, at the Guild. This year's event features a new perk: the Cocktail Corner, where six local bartenders will be featuring an original bourbon-themed cocktail. We're previewing all the drinks ahead of time because we just can't help ourselves. First up: Blvd Tavern's Tommy Palmer. 

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Patrón is sending Evan McConnell, bartender at Local Pig Westport, to HQ in Mexico this spring

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 1:26 PM

Teoctli Atica - JOSEPH BRUNK
  • Joseph Brunk
  • Teoctli Atica

On Sunday night at the InterContinental Hotel, a half-dozen local bartenders were gathered for an exhibition put on by Patrón and the United States Bartenders' Guild. The partner exhibition was titled Patrón Aficionado, and its purpose was two-fold: First, to promote the alliance between the USBG and Patron; second, to promote Patrón's newest products, its Roca Patrón line

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bartender's Notebook: At Cleaver & Cork, Andrew Olsen and Rachel Freeman are swimming in bourbon

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 9:00 AM

ZACH BAUMAN
  • Zach Bauman

"Bourbon is as American as apple pie,” bartender Rachel Freeman tells me. She leans against the bar at the Power & Light District’s newest restaurant, Cleaver & Cork, having set out more than a half-dozen tasting glasses filled with that golden-brown nectar.

Bar manager Andrew Olsen nods his agreement with Freeman, and indeed there’s no arguing the point. Bourbon was born in America’s Deep South in the early 19th century (maybe even earlier, according to some legends).

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bartender's Notebook: At the Farmhouse, Margot Thompson helps me forget construction headaches

Posted By on Wed, Mar 11, 2015 at 12:11 PM

ZACH BAUMAN
  • Zach Bauman

The stretch of Delaware Street in front of the Farmhouse, in the River Market, has been under streetcar construction for what feels like all winter.

“Delaware doesn’t exist right now, and parking is impossible,” says Margot Thompson, the restaurant’s head bartender. “People kind of freak out about coming down to the River Market anyway — it’s like they think that once you cross the highway, you go into Narnia or something — but with the construction added, it’s just one more tire to throw on the burn pile.”

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Water of life: Trying out some vodka cocktail recipes ahead of Vodka Vodka on Thursday

Water of life: Trying out some vodka cocktail recipes ahead of Vodka Vodka on Thursday.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 12:36 PM

PLEASE EXCUSE THE PHOTOGRAPHY. I'M NOT A PROFESSIONAL.
  • Please excuse the photography. I'm not a professional.

Ahead of The Pitch's first Vodka Vodka event on Thursday, we (I) decided it wouldn't be a bad idea to try out some of the cocktail recipes that the distributors sent over. I am no star bartender, but I have consumed enough martinis in my time to understand how it works. So, one quick trip to Cosentino's and a surreptitious, uh, borrowing of the office vodka, and my assignment was under way. 

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  • Water of life: Trying out some vodka cocktail recipes ahead of Vodka Vodka on Thursday.

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