First things first, CLICK HERE to view our BIOGRAPHY page, full of dark personal secrets, proprietary yeast formulas and adorable dogs (or maybe just the latter).
But enough “About Us”, what about YOU brings you to this blog?
Do you long for that brand new cocktail that reveals a world of flavor and exhilaration that never existed in your life before? So do we!!
Do you find that 2 ounces of that special whiskey or rum tells you a centuries old story of wood, crushing heat, soul crushing dampness, outlaws in hiding and unstoppable obsession? So do we!
Do you spend an embarrassing percentage of your free time making chili pepper tinctures, hunting antique glassware in thrift shops, and researching the best ways to make clear balls for your “ice program”? So do we!
Are you a bartender checking to see what awful thing some wannabe amateur said about your bar? You came to the right place!
I’m John Hsu, former owner of a web development company, with my wife Lorri Kern, owner of a marketing research staffing firm (both headquartered in downtown Boston). We started off as casual drinkers of mostly wine and the occasional cocktail but slowly became whiskey collectors, with a collection numbering around 300 bottles (Rosebank 21 and Willliam Larue Weller, to answer the obvious questions). Multiple trips to Scotland and Kentucky and a friendship with a group of serious whisky folks in Boston have deepened our knowledge and appreciation for whiskeys of all types. I’ve taught numerous whiskey, rum and cocktail classes for beginners …
… until the craft cocktail boom really exploded in Boston with Drink and the Jackson Cannon establishments (Eastern Standard, the Hawthorne and Island Creek Oyster Bar). We fell hard for the infinite possibilities of cocktails, the (often remarkable) people who make them and frankly, the endless battle of logistics it takes to run a high quality and efficient bar (even if it’s just a single party or a pop up bar). We center most of our leisure travel around drink and food (definitely in that order), whether it be a cocktail meccas, distilleries, or a special event.
Therefore, this blog is centered on three types of articles:
- REVIEWS: Mostly of bars & restaurants, but also of beverage-related events and the occasional special whiskey, rum, etc. “The Regulars” feature places we’ve been to over a dozen times and know REALLY well. Since a good bartender makes all of the difference in the world, I’ll often highlight the names of the ones who really come through one way or the other.
While we’re not going to mislead people by praising places that are just plain crappy, our reviews are going to slant towards the positives, for 2 reasons:
- It’s a tough industry and everyone has bad days and sometimes gets stuck in places where they can’t do their best work. We both come from families who have owned/operated restaurants, so we respect what that life demands. However, if a place/person clearly doesn’t give a shit, we’ll bring out the knives.
- Some places just are what they are and obviously some people like them. The typical strip mall restaurant bar and dive sports bar are probably gonna bore us to death but that doesn’t mean they deserve to get ripped apart by cocktail snobs expecting the second coming of Dale DeGroff in a goddam Chili’s.
- DEEP DIVES: Obnoxiously detailed step-by-step directions on how I make a certain cocktail (it’ll always be something I’ve tried several different ways, have made over a 100 times and have researched more than the average Joe) and ludicrously in-depth side by side comparisons on some micro-niche of mixology (like what’s the best maraschino cherry, what’s the best citrus press, what’s the best “well” bourbon for a home bar)
- COCKTAIL HOUR RECIPES: Most Fridays I do a “Cocktail Hour” pop-up bar for my company and I regularly do bartending for friends’ parties, so I’ve collected several hundred recipes (and made up a small handful, though that’s not my current focus).
Thanks for reading!