Category “360 List”

The Classic Crimson Cocktail

The Classic Crimson Cocktail

Rye and tobacco
With gentlemanly pursuits
Perfectly blended.

Learn how to make an old-fashioned that any gentleman would respect.

Whenever I visit a new bar the first drink I order is an Old Fashioned. Executing a proper Old Fashioned takes experience and care to blend the ingredients in just the right proportions. If the bar delivers a proper Old Fashioned then it bodes well that the rest of their drinks will be given similar consideration.

I figured it was probably time for me to learn how to make a proper Old Fashioned myself. I invited my closest partners-in-crime to be my judging panel and had a lineup that included: Blanton’s, Eagle Rare, Knob Creek, 1792 Ridgemont Reserve, and Jim Beam Signature. All single barrel reserve, of course. Alas, I could not get my hands on the much sought-after Pappy’s Van Winkle. One day, you shall be mine. Oh, yes, you will.

Bourbon Selection

Not Jack, I know, but I think Frank would’ve approved. So who else to have on the playlist but Ol’ Blue Eyes himself? Add in some Thelonious Monk, Miles, and Coltrane and you’ve got the soundtrack set for a laidback evening with the fellas.

What to serve with the cocktails? Something substantial and spicy to stand up to the sweetness of the cocktails. Cajun should do nicely. It is close to Mardi Gras, after all, and the Old Fashioned’s cousin is the NOLA sazerac. Now usually I’d do the cooking myself but in this case I left it to the experts. Poor House Bistro makes a mean po’boy and kept the fellas happily sated. Why no photos? You know how it is. Guests start arriving, drinks are poured, and food is devoured.

Of course, a proper Old Fashioned should be accompanied by a proper cigar. For the evening we indulged in Aging Room’s Quattro F55 Concerto cigars. Their well-balanced cedar, cocoa, and espresso flavors offset the cocktails perfectly.

Aging Room Quattro F55 Concerto

The verdict? I think I can properly check, “Learn how to make an old-fashioned that any gentleman would respect,” off my 360 List. The winning recipe is one I’ve dubbed, The Classic Crimson. Classic, because despite its name an Old Fashioned is timeless, and Crimson because it’s really the blood orange bitters that sets this drink apart. Did a quick search of the online drink recipe sites and I think we have a winner. No other matches found. First, bitches.

The Classic Crimson cocktail
2 oz Blanton’s Original Single Barrel bourbon
dash blood orange bitters
splash simple syrup
orange peel

Some whiskey stones or carved block ice gently chills without stealing character from the drink. Add a splash of simple syrup made from raw sugar. A dash of blood orange bitters. Two ounces of Blanton’s. Stir, then twist an orange peel over the drink and serve. I’m all for exploring new recipes, but for me, an Old Fashioned shall never be proper with a cherry in it. Cherry infused bitters? Sure. Fruit that’s better left on a sundae? Never. Remember when I said an Old Fashioned was my litmus test for a new bar? Add a cherry and you’ve got not one, but two strikes with me. That’s how strongly I feel about it.

Now that I’ve got the foundation set, I’ll be experimenting a bit with the recipe. Perhaps infusing the simple syrup with Arancia Rossa di Sicilia. Give a go with Blanton’s Gold Edition to have a bit of fudge and white pepper. Try barrel aging the cocktail.

This, of course, was merely stage dressing for an evening of jokes, stories, and conversation with gentlemen of distinction. Thanks to the fellas for sharing this experience and helping me check something off my 360 List. Special thanks to the lovely Kitten Marie for being my assistant for the evening (and helping me finally polish off my bottle of Deleón) 😉

Book Elves

Book Elves

Sneaky elves unlock
A child’s imagination
Fly free and explore.

Leave cash or gift cards in random children’s books at the bookstore.

I purchased 5 gift cards and then I stuck this sticker on each one:

Book Elves

The book elves placed their little gifts in these books:

Book Elves

Dr. Seuss was a given. I had to include Sherlock to reward the inquisitive child. NatGeo on sharks is as good as you’re gonna’ get to Shark Week in a book for kids. The “Wimpy Kid” series seems to be popular right now. Sí, ese es Jorge El Curioso…se habla Español también. I’m international like that.

I might not ever know which child found these gifts but it makes me happy knowing that somewhere a child is able to enjoy a new book because of them. This is just the beginning and I’m sure I’ll be recruiting other loved ones to join me in leaving more gifts. In fact, I’m encouraging my nephews to share their love of reading with other kids by gifting books like this.

Want to do this for yourself?

This is a great activity solo, with friends and family, or just to impress that date 😉 You can grab the image I used on the sticker here: My Book Elf at* The cool thing about this is if you put your Facebook, Twitter, or email address on your gift and the recipient tells a story about you, you can search for your name and find those stories.

*Disclaimer: is my site too.

Make Snow Angels on a Glacier

Alaska Adventure AUG 2013

Fields of blue and white
Stretch into the horizon
Cradled by angels.

Make snow angels on a glacier.

“Serge, you’re an adventurous traveler, right? Virgin just started a new route up to Alaska, wanna go? Here’s the catch, I just started a new job so I can only go for the weekend. As in 48 hours. You’re one of the few bastards I know crazy enough to do something like this on a whim.”

“Sure, why not?”

…and that’s how I found myself in Alaska for 48 hours. What do you do when you get to Anchorage past midnight? Head over to Bernie’s Bungalow Lounge of course. It’s one of the few places that will stay open past midnight and is a congregation spot for locals. It’s also one of the few bars I’ve been to that will serve food until closing. Score. Our first meal in Alaska: some righteous nachos and calamari. Plus the bartender, Karate, is cool peeps. Yes, her name is Karate. Her dad wanted to name her Cucumber. True story. Now I can honestly say I know Karate. Off to an awesome start in Alaska.

The next day we drove down to Prince William Sound in Whittier for a 26 glacier cruise. It wasn’t until we left Anchorage that we started to see the Alaska from the brochures. Beautiful trees, fresh air and stunning views. Now this is the Alaska I paid for. I figured that after the 5th or 6th glacier the cruise would get a bit monotonous but was I wrong.

26 Glacier Cruise

It’s hard to be blasé seeing a glacier that’s 45 miles long. It’s also pretty amazing to see a glacier calving from up close. That never seems to get old.

We didn’t see 26 glaciers though. I counted.

26 Glacier Cruise

Sunday had us in quaint Talkeetna, the town that inspired the show, Northern Exposure. A couple nice beers at Denali Brewing Company, then we were off to board our flight to buzz by Mt. McKinley. The weather cooperated with us just long enough to give us stunning views of the southern and northern sides of Mt. McKinley.


To cap off our little excursion we landed on Pika Glacier. The sun was shining and it was warm enough we could have been out there in just a t-shirt. To be on the middle of this massive sheet of ice was extremely peaceful and awe inspiring.

Pika Glacier

Then it was time to check something off from my List: Make snow angels on a glacier.

Snow Angels on a Glacier


All in all, I’d say it was a perfect introduction to this magnificent place. We had a memorable 48 hours in Alaska but it never felt like we were rushed because we didn’t feel compelled to cram so much in a weekend just for the sake of doing so. Shouts to my boy, Ryan, for being an awesome travel buddy and partner-in-crime. 48 hours in Alaska clearly isn’t enough time to explore everything Alaska has to offer. I’m looking forward to coming back and seeing much, much more. Maybe I’ll come back to check off “stand under a waterfall” from my List. Then again, maybe I’ll save that for somewhere a bit warmer. That glacial runoff water is damned cold.