Friday Happy Hour, Ep. 2


It’s Friday here at War on the Rocks, which means it’s time for our latest installment of Molotov Cocktail’s Friday Happy Hour, your boozy weekend reading list. We’ve got some city-focused pieces for our readers in New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington, interesting stories in the brewing and distilling worlds, some bartenders experimenting, and of course some recipes. So sit back, grab a drink, and settle into your weekend.

Local Flavor: Our friends over at the “ist” series of sites (i.e. Gothamist, DCist, etc.) have been working on pieces to help you beat the heat in New York, drink creatively here in DC, and not look like a Gaijin when drinking sake in LA. Some of our favorite bars make an appearance in the first two pieces (Extra Fancy in Williamsburg and The Gibson in DC), and the sake piece is comprehensive yet easy to read. Whichever city you choose, you can no longer say you’ve got nothing to do this weekend.

If you want to get a little foggy: Horrible pun aside, California vodka powerhouse Hangar 1 announced this week that they’ll start distilling a vodka using that northern California staple, fog. Appropriately called “Fog Point,” the spirit won’t actually be distilled fog, but rather grape wine distilled with fog water caught in a “fog catcher.” No word on cost yet, but Hangar One’s Head Distiller Caley Shoemaker claims the vodka tastes like “the scent of moist rocks.” Yummy.

Agave and Hops – a Match Made in Heaven: We’re pretty big tequila fans here at MC, and you might’ve guessed we like beer too (full disclosure, we’ll pretty much drink anything here). So, when Draft Magazine pointed us towards five tequila-aged beers, we know our impending summer had gotten a lot better. By aging a wide variety of beers in tequila barrels, the five brewers in this article may very well have given us a tipple for whatever weather this spring and summer throw at us.

Required Reading for any Lawdog turned Boozehound: Utah has some pretty interesting (read: draconian) liquor laws. We’re talking measure-your-booze-to-the-milliliter-type laws. Obviously, in a business like bartending, where experimentation and subjectivity are so important, having an impediment like the Berg All-Bottle 704 in your way can be crippling. However, bartenders are an industrious sort, and Utah’s barmen and barwomen are no exception. Serious Eats talks about the challenges of slinging drinks in the Beehive State, and how Utah’s laws have spawned a bar culture unique to the state.

Bartenders Answer an Age-Old Challenge: When I used to bartend, the most common quotes I heard from guests when they ordered a drink was “but not too sweet.” It was such an in joke, that my bar’s employee listserv was named after the quip. Punch put a few famous bartenders to the test this week, asking for their takes on the “not too sweet” idea. The result is three cocktails that (hopefully) put to rest the tiresome yet all-too-common phrase in the customer’s vernacular.

California Wine Staple Exits the Scene: Those who follow California wine closely have probably heard of IPOB (In Pursuit of Balance). The group was founded in 2011 by heavy-hitters Rajat Parr and Jasmine Hirsch as means of advocating that California pinot and chardonnay didn’t have to be these huge, aggressive, in-your-face wines. Unfortunately for our readers who like their American wines with a little subtlety, IPOB announced that it would close up shop later this year. It’s not quite clear what this means for the world of California wine, but Jon Bonné dissects the situation for Punch expertly.

Maybe you missed it: We’ve been pretty busy here at MC, and we assume you are too. In case you missed a few of our recent pieces:

  • Ruben Gzirian talked charity, service, and veteran-owned distilleries in this piece
  • Paul Lewandowski gave us some background on the argument behind who created vodka, Poland or Russia, and also a recipe for making Polish Bison Grass vodka
  • Finally, Max Shelton talked about the Reinheitsgebot, or Germany’s beer purity law, and how it hamstrings many aspiring craft brewers in the country.


Alex Hecht is the editor of the Molotov Cocktail channel. 

Image: Jeff Kubina, CC