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Slane Castle

Bandit Review:

 My staff has gone nuts over this Irish whiskey. Slane Castle has all the smoothness of a southern Irish whiskey, with hints of vanilla and honey suckle. However, there is a hint of the spiciness and light smoke of Northern Irish whiskeys, take Bushmills for example. Every time you go to taste this whiskey lick your lips after each sip in order to heighten your experience of all the sweetness this whiskey has to offer. Then after swallowing take a slow deep breath in through your mouth and you will pick up the faint lingering of spice and smoke. This whiskey is complex and still remains approachable making it a great whiskey to recommend over the bar to almost any whiskey drinker. The price point is extremely reasonable as well, making this whiskey a favorite of the Bar Bandits. Review:
      ” So, unsolicited, today I recieve a bottle of blended Irish whiskey called “Slane Castle.” Metal screw top, picture of a castle on the label, no age statement, and 40% ABV. I never heard of this. As expected, the back label says it was distilled at Cooley (being the only independent Irish distillery and the distillery where most private Irish whiskey labels come from.)

      Sure, I know that Cooley has made some delicious blended whiskeys lately,but still…I am always a little wary of “branded” whiskeys. You never know who’s deciding what goes in the bottles. Let me tell you: what a pleasant surprise! And at a very affordable price. You want a value whiskey? Here’s one. My formal review follows.

Slane Castle Irish whiskey, 40%, $23
     Great malt flavor for a blend–and creamy–with honeyed vanilla, soothing caramel, lively summer fruits, golden raisin, subtle date, and butter cookie. Well-balanced, very clean with no harshness, and very drinkable!

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 80
According to my contact, here’s the scoop on availability:
    The product only landed in the US in July. We have begun the distribution process, but it coincided with the Constellation brand shuffle, which has slowed many of my wholesalers down. I will begin broad based sales in January, and I am “spot starting” in MA, SC, CT, FL and IL.”


December 15, 2009 Posted by | Bars, bartending, beer, bourbon, culture, drinks, drunk, gin, mixology, pub, rum, sacramento, saloon, scotch, Slane castle, tequila, whiskey, whisky | Leave a comment

Woodford Reserve

Bandit Review 
There are so Many Bourbons to choose from I often feel like a child in a candy store. Woodford is a great place for anyone to start their journey into exploring the world of Bourbons. This whiskey is very soft and easy going, with its rich sweetness and relatively light burn. This Bourbon is great neat, over the rocks, or in a classic Manhattan. Review:
“Deep amber color. Spicy charred oak, sweet toffee, and pepper aromas. A rich entry leads to a dryish medium-to full-bodied palate with toffee, mocha, and white pepper flavors with a pronounced copper tang. Finishes with a sweet, charred barrel, brown, and metallic fade. An aggressive and spicy bourbon that will work nicely in a bourbon peach tea cocktail.

International Review of Spirits Award: Gold Medal
RATING: 90 points (Exceptional)
CATEGORY: Whiskey Bourbon, Whiskey
TASTING LOCATION: In Our Chicago Tasting Room
TASTING DATE: Jan-01-2006″


December 14, 2009 Posted by | Bars, bartending, beer, bourbon, culture, drinks, drunk, gin, mixology, pub, rum, sacramento, saloon, scotch, tequila, whiskey, whisky, woodford | Leave a comment

Michter’s US 1 Rye And it’s Older Brother Michter’s 10yr Rye

Cocktail Chronicles Review:
“Michter’s US1 Straight Rye Whiskey
        The US1 has earned a reputation as an excellent mixing whiskey that also isn’t too shabby on its own.
It has a nose that is good and spicy, but not too aggressive, with little hints of cherry and tobacco. Tasted neat, the spice is quickly followed by a subdued dryness with a mild fruitiness, and without a great deal of complexity. The finish is short, smooth and sweet, with the cherry notes following through to the end.
     Verdict: Overall this was an enjoyable whiskey, but not a standout. One panelist noted that there was “not much complexity to it; it has a very simple, dry flavor,” but others found the cherry notes on the nose and the palate appealing.

Michter’s 10-Year-Old Straight Rye

     The 10-year-old has earned a lot of raves in recent years, being given the highest recommendation by Wine Enthusiast in 2005, and chosen as the top pick by the Los Angeles Times rye tasting panel that same year.
     This rye was striking, even before we started sniffing it. Panelists noted its engaging amber color in the glass, and on the nose it showed its age and its proof with a rich, sweet aroma with a little pear and a little graininess — “It’s got a great, sweet nose, and the color is exquisite,” one panelist noted.
      At nearly 93 proof, the whiskey had a little heat and an earthy spiciness that was really engaging, but not over the top, and a lush, full body that made the sipping very enjoyable. The spiciness was followed by a slightly sweet middle touched with banana and oatmeal, and a long, smooth finish that was very engaging.”
Cocktail Chronicles

Bandit Review:
     These Ryes are amazing! The 10 year has been on back order for the past two months due to its recent popularity! I use the term “recent” lightly as this is one of America’s oldest distilleries. It was a favorite of George Washington’s; he actually carried Michters on his campaigns during the revolutionary war in order to keep his troops from getting restless. Rumor has it, he would stop his troops when the weather was too cold, or there was unrest amongst his men and they would all get hammered on Michter’s finest. In the morning after a little “R and R”, the boys would be back on the road and back in the fight (Or they were too hung-over to complain.).

      All great stories aside, these whiskeys are a personal favorite of all the Bandits. Give it to us straight, give us at least two fingers worth, and otherwise leave the bottle bar keep! We only want to save you the work of having to go back and forth to get the bottle every time we want a refill!

December 14, 2009 Posted by | Bars, bartending, beer, bourbon, culture, drinks, drunk, gin, michter's, mixology, pub, rum, sacramento, saloon, scotch, tequila, whiskey, whisky | Leave a comment

Flor De Cana

     Although I’m not a huge fan of Silver rums, I have to say for the price point, this rum is a steal. Since the liquor laws are so rigid in California it is hard to get any real “support” from your vendors, so why sell their product if it’s not the best product you can offer your guests? I find over all, that people our very receptive to trying new products even in this rather horrible economy.
     Recently, I have replaced Bacardi Light for Flor de Cana 4 yr old silver rum. Not only is the bottle a few bucks cheaper thus helping my pour costs, but the taste is by far superior. I did three blind taste tests and each time the 4 yr old rum was the favorite. I made the switch 2 weeks ago and all the diehard Bacardi drinkers have not put up a fuss at all so far. On the contrary, they have all appreciated their drinks and come back for seconds.  Some have even been thankful for the introduction to a new type of rum.  After all you really have two kinds of drinkers in a bar, those who could careless and are there just to get hammered and those who want to enjoy their drinks while having a good time with friends.  I suppose these two roads often end at the same destination.
    The age statement on this rum lets you know that it is 100% aged rum where as Bacardi has no age statement. So the only thing your guests will find missing from their cocktail is the burn that Bacardi gives. Go ahead and try a shot of each straight up and tell me which one you prefer. This rum is Bandit approved for both your guests satisfaction and for your owners pour cost.
    Furthermore, they have a full line up of delicious dark rums that are a great addition to any back bar that is dedicated to finding the best spirits available. Their rums are aged 7, 12,18, and 21 years. I find them all to be incredible, I use the 7 year old rum as a float on a Mai Tai, or I pour it over the rocks with a squeeze of fresh lime.

To learn more about this product check out their web site at

December 14, 2009 Posted by | Bars, bartending, beer, bourbon, culture, drinks, drunk, gin, mixology, pub, rum, sacramento, saloon, scotch, tequila, whiskey, whisky, wine | Leave a comment

Path of the Bartender….Guest Blog

Path of the Bartender

     ” I can’t take credit for this, but I wholeheartedly agree with every single word. This is something that I have been thinking of a lot lately actually, and was amused in the ‘coincidental’ timing of receiving this. Its an e-mail I got this morning as being part of the USBG (united states bartending guild) here it goes:

    The Path of the Bartender, As I pointed out in The Joy of Mixology, I owe much to Ted “Dr.Cocktail” Haigh. He was the guy who, soon after Bartender’s Bible was published in 1991, took me by the hand and gently showed me how much I didn’t know about the world of cocktails. Oh, I already knew much about the job of the bartender–I first worked behind the bar circa 1965/6 when I was just 14 years old, and although I’d also worked as a bar manager at times, I’d been behind the bar most of my working life since then. Around 25 years behind bars. But Ted showed me the historical side, and lots more besides. Ted was also the man who pointed out that Margaritas and Sidecars are related, leading me to create the families I put together for Joy of Mixology in 2003. Do you ever hear Ted say, “Gary wouldn’t be where he is today if I hadn’t helped him.” No you don’t.
      You don’t hear Robert Hess say that, either, or Dale DeGroff, yet all of these guys helped me out as I was coming up through the ranks. Paul Pacult is another guy who was incredibly generous to me in the early years. Incredibly generous. But you’ll never hear him say anything about it. And Dave Wondrich is yet another guy who should get a mention here, too. I think that all of us have had our eyes opened by some of the stuff that he has brought to light in our industry.
   I’m not being overly humble when I credit these guys with helping me. In some ways I hope that I’ve helped them, too, and I give myself a bit of credit for being anxious to learn from these people. And I’ve learned from young bartenders along the way, too. Chad Soloman, for instance, was the first guy to show me the “dry shake” when he was working at Pegu Club. And Stan Vadrna showed me the “hard shake,” but I still can’t get that one right.
      Lots and lots of bartenders 20-plus years my junior have taught me over the years, and if you’re a real bartender you know that the craft is a living thing–something that we’re constantly learning about. You’re probably wondering right around now what it is I’m trying to say, so let me get to the point: A few weeks ago I heard that one bartender was putting down another bartender by saying that she taught him everything he knew, and that he isn’t as hot as he thinks he is. This truly saddened me. The best teachers don’t take credit for their students’ accomplishments.
     When we put other people down, what we are saying is “I am better than that person.” And guess what, guys? Not one of us is any better than any person who walks the face of the earth. You’re no better than I am. I’m no better than you are. And neither of us is any better than the homeless guy sitting outside Grand Central trying to raise enough cash for a sandwich. Putting other people down is nothing more, and nothing less, than an ego trip. And if you’re on an ego trip, you can’t walk the Path of The Bartender.
       Egos are weird things, you know. They keep telling us that we’re doing the right thing when, deep down inside, we know that that isn’t true. It can be hard work to battle the ego, and we don’t always win, but it’s a battle that’s worth fighting. Some of you out there are shaking their heads right now: “Well if he hadn’t started it . . .” you’re thinking. Well I’m here now to ask you to please think about doing yourself, and the rest of us, a huge favor: Let him start it. Be the one to end it by letting it wash right over you. Ignore it. Take the high road. Walk the Path of The Bartender.
Comments welcome as always.
Cheers, Gaz Regan”
Guest Blogger:  Checkout more at Biteclub social network for the Industry

December 12, 2009 Posted by | Bars, bartending, beer, bourbon, culture, drinks, drunk, gin, mixology, pub, rum, sacramento, saloon, scotch, tequila, whiskey, whisky | 1 Comment

Never Rush Perfection! How To Pour A Pint of Guinness..

Why don’t people understand that a Guinness needs to be poured in a two stage process? You need to let it settle in order to enjoy the beverage with a good head on it, one that follows you through the entire pint! The Head should leave rings down the side of your pint glass. Don’t argue with me over the bar when we are busy, try arguing with decades of tradition. If you didn’t know, that this is why the bartender puts the pint down for a minute, well then now you know, and I will forgive you. However, if you know this and you just think your right, well then may God have mercy on your soul for messing with something so perfect!
Put down your blackberry, put away the keys to your sports car, and relax. Enjoy life with your friends in a nice environment and stay awhile. Not everything needs to be done in such a rush. Furthermore, no one should ever serve a pitcher of Guinness so don’t ask! If you do pour from a pitcher you loose out on the experience of being able to drink from underneath the foam. This is an art form so kick back and watch perfection happening right in front of you. Stop asking people to rush your pours, if you want a fast beer drink a bottled beer of some sort. If you still don’t want to take my word for watch the movie I posted here.

December 12, 2009 Posted by | Bars, bartending, beer, bourbon, culture, drinks, drunk, gin, mixology, nightlife, pub, rum, sacramento, saloon, scotch, tequila, whiskey, whisky, wine | Leave a comment

Booze Is For Breakfast…I Have Video Proof!

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Bump Cocktail – David Wondrich
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor U.S. Speedskating

Buy His Book “Imbibe” here at Bar Bandits Store

December 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Good Old Pappy. Bandits Whiskey of The Week!

  Pappy Van Winkel 15yr

    This Bourbon is amazing! It has a small forgiving burn to it, but that comes from it being 107 proof. The burn makes your lips tingle as it travels down to warm your chest from the inside out. As you breath after the first sip, the small tingle starts to cool and you taste all that this amazing Bourbon has to offer, Carmel, vanilla, toffee and nothing but oak barrel. This bourbon is made with wheat in the corn mash which helps to add to it’s over all smooth drinking (not to mention it is aged 15yrs!). From a novice bourbon drinker to an expert, everyone will know why you suggested this bourbon to them. Pappy Van Winkle can turn any Scotch or Irish Whiskey drinker into a believer of Bourbon!   The price per shot isn’t bad as well, you really do get a great product for the dollar amount.  We sell if for about $13 a shot.  Come down to the pub, bring a cigar, and grab one of these bad boys! This is Bandit approved for sure. See you at the bar!
de Vere’s Irish Pub’s Whiskey List

December 11, 2009 Posted by | Bars, beer, bourbon, cocktails, de vere's irish pub, mixology, sacramento, spirits, whiskey | Leave a comment

Pernicious Barflies


    ” I’ve been in the restaurant/bar industry for years. And I’m a grown up. So I understand the bare bones and economics of serving people. We provide food and libations to hungry and thirsty patrons, who chose our joint over some other joint. Good service people, bartenders and waiters alike, recognize this and treat their patrons as such. Not only are we happy to avoid a soul crushing, mind numbing cubicle job, but we actually like serving. It feeds us, both literally and figuratively. We meet interesting people. We are paid relatively well. And, with a mix of 3 parts skill and 1 part luck, we help those interesting people relax and have a little fun.
       That’s the bright side. The balanced, professional, life-affirming outlook. But there’s a dark side to this too. I go there when I’m forced to deal with that certain contingency of “patrons” who like to shit on me and the other the people who serve them. People who ask for more that they need and give less than they can. I don’t know why these people are this way. Possibly because they think all servers are groveling little incompetents. Maybe they just want to get over on somebody and get something for free, and they know if they pitch and fuss enough they probably will get something for free. But, as the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Said cost should be assessed in terms of the number of minutes taken off the end of the server’s life due to the fact that he or she had to deal with such a jerk-ass.
      I suspect that the people who mistreat their servers are just bastards. Little Napoleonic shit birds who catch hell from Napoleonic bosses all day and feel the need to kick the dog. Miserable people, seemingly built like a virus, designed only to spread their misery to any host they encounter. These turds are legion.

    Everybody should hate these people, not just those of us in the industry. They are blights on our society and they bring down the cumulative value of our culture. No one’s happy when they’re around. They stand side-by-side with the fucks who yell into their phones in a crowded movie theater. They’re like insurance cheats. Sure, they’ll make a buck, but you better believe your rates will go up. We need to expose and eradicate these parasites. Air quality would improve. Global warming would subside. Places like the DMV would blossom into amusement parks. Definitely restaurants and bars would be better.
      Next to a kid-toucher, and maybe a horse thief, one of the worst shit sucking, yellow-bellied dogs on the planet is the tip welsh. These are the bastards who repeatedly promise to tip, promise to tip, promise to tip, and then stiff you. They’re on the shit scale somewhere in between pathological liar and chronic shoplifter. But welshing is not a felony. It’s not even a misdemeanor. Victims like me can only tell their story and hope that it helps other victims. So, in the interest of disclosure, here goes.
    The advent of the running credit card tab has created a sort-of tip shelter for fraudulent jerks, allowing them to dangle the carrot in front us poor saps only to yank it back, and gobble it up, at the last minute. Every time their antics cross the line and make the bartender re-evaluate his decision not to go to law school, these fiends wrinkle their noses and nod toward the general area where the credit card tabs are kept. It’s a form of blackmail, really. The bartender can do nothing but sigh, and mix up another goddamn raspberry lemon drop.
     Many welshers are liars and cowards, as well as cheapasses. For whatever reason, they are philosophically opposed to the concept of gratuity. They however, do not have the balls to say it to your face. So they masquerade as a descent person until the transaction is done and then slink away at the last minute like a hamburger-stealing cocker-spaniel at a backyard barbeque. You know you’d kick that bastard if you could, but he keeps going under the table or out into the rose garden. Plus, it’s not your place to kick the neighbor’s dog.
     Sometimes these welshers are too slow to avoid being caught and they’re forced to come up with a lame excuse. A lot of these jerks will give you the old, “I know this 2 bucks aint much. I’ll come back later with your tip.” To this, I just shake my head. If I feeling diplomatic, I say, “Why don’t we just take care of that now?” Other times, when I’m tired of diplomacy, I say, “No. No, I don’t believe you will.” At no time do I say,” All right then, see you tomorrow.”
      The other night, some loud-mouth started a tab with me. “I’ll take care of you if you take care of me,” she said.
“That’s usually how it works,” I replied, smiling.

“No. I mean it,” she said, “I tip well. Just take care of me.”

      Now, usually we bartenders can tell who we’re dealing with. If it’s built like a horse and has black and white stripes; it’s probably a zebra. And if it whinnies and snorts, brags, demands, complains, and promises; it’s probably a horsefaced douchebag. So after years of having conversations like the one above, I’ve learned that it generally precludes an annoying evening of service on my part and a bullshit tip on theirs. And as this nag was bragging about how well she was GOING to tip me LATER, she was inadvertently, but explicitly, saying two things to me: Number One, “I’m classless enough to brag about tipping, which means I’m not classy enough to actually tip well. I just use it as leverage.” Number Two, “I am a douchebag and a cheapass.”
      But I’ve been wrong before. And since she was buying drinks for her friends, I reasoned that she might just be indelicate, and not altogether cheap. So every time she waddled up to the bar, I dutifully served her. When she called my name (these types always want to know your name, and they always overuse it), I responded. When she expressed irritation that I couldn’t remember all of the drinks from her last round, I made a point to remember (Ketel tonic, Goose cran, etc). All the while, I suspected she would welsh.
      So, since she was a loud-mouthed jerk, of course she got wasted. And of course there was drama with her friends. And of course she was crying in the corner by the door. And of course their “Driver” (drunk as the rest of them, of course) tried to close her tab. And since I could see her, I politely refused and explained that people need to close their own tab. So, of course, she stomped up to bar, wiped the tears and snot from her face with the back of her fat hand, and snatched up her tab. She scoffed and rolled her eyes, insinuating, I think, that the bill was too high. She shook her head, mumbled something incomprehensible, and hunched over the thing, as if she were afraid I would try to cheat off it. Her friend came over. They looked at the bill together and began to bicker at one another.
        Since it was closing time, and I had work to do, I turned my back to close out my register. After a second (almost because they noticed that my back was turned), the bickering stopped and they started to walk away. Seeing that they were leaving, I yelled, “Thanks” and walked over to the spot where they’d been working on the bill. I immediately saw that they hadn’t left the tab (classic welsher tactic). “Hey,” I shouted after them, “Excuse me. You forgot to leave my copy of the credit card slip. I need your signature.” I deliberately did not mention the tip, although I probably should have. “Oh,” said horseface. She padded her pockets and turned her palms upward to show me they were empty. “No. I left it.” She pointed to the empty spot on the bar where they’d been working on the bill. I shook my head, “Did you accidentally put it your pocket? Or did it fall on the floor?” I was being generous. I was pretty sure she’d picked it up in a deliberate effort to welsh. She looked to the floor and shook her head. “Here,” I said, “I’ll print another.” I put the copy in front of her with a pen and leaned on my forearms, looking her right in the eye. Now I knew, and she knew I knew.
     Quickly, she signed it, leaving both the tip and total spot blank. “You should fill the total in,” I said smiling coyly, “or I’ll have to.” Here I’d finally breeched my own edict; I’d mentioned the tip. All the chicanery had forced my hand. I don’t bartend for sport; I’m there for the dough. Her face dropped, and quickly tensed up again. She reached into her hip pocket, pulled out some wadded bills, and dropped the pile on the bar. Wadded bills are another tactic. They figure by the time we unfold them all, they’ll be gone in a poof of smoke. They’re tossing a net over us and we have to wriggle out of it like a Dik-dik trying to escape the bushman’s knife. But it only took a glance for me to see that there were three or four dollars in the pile. Her check was over eighty bucks. I waited for her to reassess, but she turned and walked away.
      We’ve all heard the story about the mythological server that chased a tightwad into the parking lot, throwing loose change and yelling, “Here! Take it! You must need it more than me!” I did not do that. My employer wouldn’t dig it and I need to keep my job because my kids like food. All I could do was sarcastically thank her for the “hook-up” and tell my coworkers to short-pour her if they ever saw her again.
       But I can also write. For me, it’s kind of like taking the bandage off of a festering wound. Once it’s exposed to the sunlight and the fresh air, hopefully it will dry up and heal. I also want to expose these people. And I want service people to collectively say, “I can tell right away that you’re a jerk. I may have to serve you, but I’m not going to pretend you aren’t an asshole.” It’s a subtle distinction, but maybe it will deny these welshing sons-of-bitches the satisfaction that they got over on us.”

Guest Blog:  Find more information on the following social network site, created just for the bar and food industry at Biteclub

December 11, 2009 Posted by | Bars, bartending, beer, bourbon, culture, drinks, drunk, gin, mixology, nightlife, pub, rum, sacramento, saloon, scotch, tequila, whiskey, whisky, wine | Leave a comment

Gripes From the Servers: 10 Things I Hate About You….Sacmag

Found this and thought we could all relate!

“Gripes From the Servers: 10 Things I Hate About You

Ever wondered what your waiter, bartender, busser or chef really thinks about you? We asked several local restaurant pros to tell the truth—strictly anonymously, of course—about the kinds of customers who get on their last nerve. Ready?
By Cathy Cassinos-Carr

From December 2009

1. Talk down to them
“It happens a lot. Customers speak to us with clipped tones if we can’t hear them, or if we ask them to repeat their order.”
2. Overstay their welcome, then chintz on the tip
“Diners should keep in mind that when they stay a long time at a restaurant without ordering more, they could be costingtheir server money. Waiters make their money on tips, so they want to serve as many tables as they can in a night.”
3. Play God with the menu
“I wonder why some people choose to come to a restaurant when they have no idea of the kind of place it is, look at the menu and ask, ‘Why are there no mashed potatoes or Caesar salad?’ Or ‘Can I have this sauce with that dish or no vegetables, extra potatoes?’ I would never dream of going to a restaurant and rearranging their menu.”
4. Lack manners
“I hate it when people sit at the bar and point to a drink to indicate they want a refill. The lack of manners makes me crazy.”
5. Ignore the “please wait to be seated” sign
“They waltz in, ignore the sign and seat themselves—usually at a dirty table. Ugh.”
6. Use cell phones in the middle of an interaction
“It’s particularly annoying when I am asked to hold on while they continue their conversation.”
7. Are verbal tippers
“Servers haaaate verbal tippers—the ones who compliment a dish big time, but in the end don’t back it up with money.”
8. Complain after the fact
“If there’s a problem with your food, servers want to hear about it immediately so they can help. Nobody likes an angry lecture of what’s wrong when the bill comes around.”
9. Play supervisor
“It’s annoying when cust-omers stand and watch as you make their drink in order to ensure their drink’s perfection.”
10. Forget what they learned in kinder-garten
“You wouldn’t believe how many customers forget to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ A little common courtesy goes a long way.””

By Cathy Cassinos-Carr

From December 2009  Sacmag
If you want to read more by this author go to this website.

December 11, 2009 Posted by | Bars, bartending, beer, bourbon, culture, drinks, drunk, gin, mixology, nightlife, pub, rum, sacramento, saloon, scotch, tequila, whiskey, whisky, wine | Leave a comment