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Thursday, 21 June 2012 08:22

Dale DeGroff on Wine Cocktails

Famed man-about-the-bar Dale DeGroff joins us on the 6/21/12 installment of Happy Hour to talk wine-based cocktails (SiriusXM's Stars Too, channel 104, from 7-8 pn ET). Below, some recipes, including a few DeGroff originals:

(This classic recipe can be traced back to 1862 when it first appeared in the Bon Vivant Companion.)
Angostura Bitters soaked Sugar cube
Place a small Sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne glass. Add two dashes of Angostura Bitters and fill the glass with champagne.  This drink is sometimes garnished with a Lemon Zest.
Variation: For a stronger drink, add a float of Cognac or Grand Marnier.

.25 oz Cassis
4 oz Dry White Wine
Pour a glass of white wine. And slowly pour in the crème de cassis Sometimes garnished with Lemon Zest.

4 oz Champagne
.25 oz Cassis (for royale) / Framboise Liqueur (for imperial)
Pour Cassis or Framboise Liqueur in the bottom of a champagne glass and fill with champagne.  Sometimes garnished with a Lemon Zest.

Dale says: "Kir is a cocktail made with a measure of crème de cassis topped up with white wine. Originally the wine was of aligoté, a lesser white grape of Burgundy, and a white Burgundy (which is usually chardonnay-based), such as Chablis, is often preferred. It is named after Félix Kir (1876 - 1968), mayor of Dijon in Burgundy, who as a pioneer of the twinning movement in the aftermath of the Second World War popularized the drink by offering it at receptions to visiting delegations. Besides treating his international guests well, he was also promoting two vital economic products of the region. Following the commercial development of crème de cassis in 1841 the cocktail became a popular regional café drink under the name of blanc-cass, but has since become inextricably linked internationally with the name of Mayor Kir."

The following are DeGroff originals:

Published in Cocktails
Tuesday, 22 May 2012 18:18

Sadie Serves Up Cocktails With Soul

(This article originally appeared on

In the most pleasantly surprising way, Sadie is not what you might expect it to be when you note its address. Sitting pretty on Las Palmas off of Hollywood Boulevard, only blocks from long lines of pretentiousness, mini skirts and sweaty palms full of wadded up cash-for-club-entry, this new restaurant/bar brings a sense of calm and class to Hollywood. A mature retreat from skull crushing House music and over-priced well vodka drinks found in nearby clubs, Sadie offers a relaxed environment where the focus is on quality food, drink, service and overall experience.

Cocktails come in the form of creativity, built to compliment Sadie’s American fare, yet independent enough to stand on their own. Director of Spirits, Giovanni Martinez (The Buffalo Club, Fig & Olive), is all about exploring the range of spirits, original infusions and fresh ingredients in their spring menu.

“We take more of a farmer’s market approach,” Martinez said. “It’s seasonal, so we try to keep it light, fresh and almost effervescent in texture.”

You’ll often find Martinez mixing in the back room, past the front of the house parlor, in a dimly lit, romantic lounge with small booths on the outskirts of a commanding centerpiece bar. Just beyond that, an enclosed outdoor patio lies beneath a retractable roof adorned with strings of white lights, creating a faux starry night and instilling a sense of removal from the clamor of Los Angeles. In it’s place, you’ll get a sense of welcoming community. Since opening its doors earlier this year in place of Le Deux, Sadie’s General Manager Patrick Doherty runs this glamorous-forties-meets-Depression era joint with intent to make guests feel at home.

Published in Bars

It takes a lot to induce an LA beach dweller to venture east of the 405 during rush hour. But I recently took on this challenge, visualizing nightmarish images of horns blaring, timid Priuses merging into traffic while bug-eyed sunglasses-clad youths text behind the wheel instead of inching along the fiery soul sucker that is the freeway. Oh the horror. But the pot of gold at the end of my GPS’s blue line was well worth the trip.

Nestled in the town of Pasadena is The Raymond Restaurant, home to 1886 Bar. From the exterior, it appears you’ve arrived at a friend’s house for a dinner party. Which is fitting, since the Raymond Restaurant was once the caretaker’s cottage of The Raymond Hotel that was built in 1886 and burned down in 1895 only to be rebuilt and then razed to build residential development after the Great Depression. Today, the Raymond Restaurant encapsulates this history by mimicking the cozy ambiance of a home, complete with food and drink that warms the body and soul.

1886 is tucked in the back of the restaurant in a low-ceilinged, dimly lit room filled with textural wall coverings, craftsman chairs and dark wooden tables that vary in height. Soft lighting emanates from behind rows of seductive bottles waiting to be shaken, stirred and poured by the masterminds behind the bar. Danny Cymbal is one of 1886’s liquid artists. Alongside his co-workers and with the guidance and influence of Tello Demarest Liquid Asset’s Consultant, Marcos Tello, a winter cocktail menu was born.

Built around a theme of “beer and smoke” this menu encompasses everything that is cozy, comforting and causes immediate disinterest in ever getting up from your seat. In fact, after a few drinks I began to wonder if this refurbished cottage actually offered guests a place to crash after over-imbibing.

Published in Bars
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 14:03

Things that will be HAPPENING in 2012

Just returned from a two-week hiatus and am clearly in no condition to write. So I asked Stan (pictured), the homeless guy who picks through my dumpster every morning, what he feels will be the hottest trends and most exciting new developments in the adult beverage world in the coming year. Here's what Stan came up with:

Boone's Strawberry Hill will become the #1-selling wine in cash-strapped America (see video)

A Kardashian will endorse Watermelon Jell-O Shots made by some company that will be out of business by July

More and more people will be handing out change to the less fortunate outside of bars (Stan's an eternal optimist)

There will be a noticeably diminished interest in speakeasies and pricey craft cocktail bars

Real dive joints are BACK

Stan's liver will fail (again)

People will finally wise up and stop ordering Stella. Because Stella sucks

Pilsner Urquell gets trendy again... and with good reason

Aged rums will be all the rage

Aged tequilas will not

Look for a reality show about bar fights hosted by Snookie

Published in The Imbiber Blog

In preparation for the SOLD OUT event I'm hosting this Saturday, April 30th, at the 4th Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival, Stretch and I took the Imbiber Show to Baby Blues BBQ in Hollywood, CA, to brush up on pairing great down-home food slathered in sauce with delicious cocktails slathered in booze. We were joined by dynamic drinks-makers Damian Windsor of The Roger Room, and Jimmy North. Baby Blues proprietor Danny Fischer gave us the rundown on the food preparation. There's also some Vanessa Hudgens gossip mixed in. Give a listen!

Baby Blues BBQ
7953 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90046-5111
(323) 656-1277

The Roger Room
370 N La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 854-1300

Published in Podcasts
Monday, 04 October 2010 12:26

A Wild Whiskey Sour recipe

I've always been a fan of whiskey sours. Something about ordering one always made me feel like a tough guy. Of course, I'm not. Tough, that is. But there's a thin line that separates being a certain way from feeling a certain way, and I've found that line is easily blurred by copius amounts of alcohol. So I drink whiskey sours, and feel like Charles Bronson.

Recently tried a sour made with Wild Turkey Bourbon, at 101 proof. The higher alcohol content delivered a deeper, richer flavor that stood up to the citrus and sweetness of the honey. Try one. You'll like it. Or my name isn't Charles Bronson.

The Whiskey Sour 101
1 1/2 ounces Wild Turkey Bourbon
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce honey
1 fresh cherry
1 ounce Wild Turkey American Honey
Dollop of egg white

Slice cherry from top to bottom five times around pit, and soak in a cup of Wild Turkey American Honey. Combine Wild Turkey Bourbon, grapefruit juice, lime juice and honey in a cocktail shaker.  Froth egg white and add a dollop to the mixture.  Shake and serve over ice.  Garnish with Wild Turkey American Honey-soaked cherry.

Published in Drink of the Day

In what may be our funniest Imbiber Show to date, booze-biz heavy-hitters Simon Ford, Aidan Demarest and David Kaplan let loose about drinking cultures around the globe.

Simon mixes Brambles and Tom Collins.

Aidan makes funnies.

Dave wonders what the hell he got himself into.

Give a listen. You'll dig it, baby.

Published in Podcasts

My man Joel Stein of Time magzine fame quoted me in an article he did for Bloomberg Businessweek titled "The Return of the Three Martini Lunch." And we thank him for that. Here's a snippet:

Others are supporting the drinking lunch's revival as an assertion of their professional identity. These people are called journalists. Dan Dunn, a journalist and author of the forthcoming Living Loaded, has a few drinks at lunch about 10 days per month. "You're sending a very clear message that you're not the kind of guy to be trifled with," says Dunn, who also argues that the drinking lunch helps people with their jobs. "Like sex, someone may find your proposal a lot more interesting after six or seven vodka tonics." Dunn suggests bringing a pen and paper to write down anything agreed upon that you might forget. And taking a photo of the person you're having lunch with, in case you forget that, too.

Click here to read Joel's entire article

Published in The Imbiber Blog
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 14:34

Celebrate Mexican Independence with Punch

Screw Cinco de Mayo, man! TODAY -- September 16th -- marks the actual day of Mexico’s Independence, originally celebrated 200 years ago. 2010 is such a monumental year for the country that Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared it the "Year of the Nation." And I believe by "nation" he means Mexico. Hey, not only is this the 200th anniversary of the country’s movement for independence against Spain in 1810, it's also the 100th anniversary of the start of the Mexican Revolution in 1910.

The Imbiber staff plans to celebrate Mexico’s Centennial and Bicentennial with some delicious punch made with Cabo Wabo Tequila (click Read More below  for recipe). I loves me some Cabo Wabo because it was founded by my man, legendary rocker Sammy Hagar, who had this to say about my upcoming book, Living Loaded: Tales of Sex, Salvation and the Pursuit of the Never-Ending Happy Hour:

“Dan Dunn's writing is like kick-ass, balls to the wall rock n roll cranked to ear-bleed levels -- makes you feel great and really pisses off the neighbors.  I can drink to that!”

Thanks, Sammy. You da man. Viva Mexico!

Published in Drink of the Day