Posts by Jeff Burkhart

Just Another Tequila Sunrise

Posted on February 17th, 2012

French philosopher Rene Descartes once said, “When it is not in our power to follow what is true, we ought to follow what is most probable.” It was this sentiment that occurred to me as I sat amidst the dark burled wood of the main dining room of Horizons restaurant staring out at the same Sausalito California view that inspired Otis Redding to write his posthumous 1968 #1 hit “(Sittin on) The Dock of the Bay.” As I watched the tide roll away, I wasn’t wasting time; I was there to investigate claims that the famous Tequila Sunrise cocktail was invented in that very room just a few years after that song was written. Mark Lomas is tall, taller than most, and coupled with…

Bourbon

Posted on September 20th, 2011

Whiskey historian Oscar Getz spent a lifetime assembling an impressive collection of whiskey memorabilia covering American whiskey from it’s beginnings in the 1600’s all the way up to the decade post Prohibition. Situated in an old brick building near distiller’s row in Bardstown the museum is home to pieces of George Washington’s original rye whiskey still, has a tribute to Abraham Lincoln’s days as a tavern keeper and features every sort of American whiskey memorabilia you can think off. Located in Kentucky it naturally leans pretty heavily towards bourbon whiskey, ninety seven percent of which is produced nearby. Many people make two mistakes when they think of bourbon whiskey. One: that all bourbon comes from Kentucky. And two: that bourbon comes from specifically Bourbon…

How Distillation Became the Water of Life

Posted on June 9th, 2011

At Charbay one immediately gets a sense of place. And a sense of purpose. Perhaps it’s the giant antique copper stills that stand guard in front of the building, or perhaps it’s the long winding road to get there, or the quiet isolation, or perhaps it’s because that trickling sound was actually brandy, not yet aged, coming from the still. A clear brandy which the French call “eau de vie” or in English “water of life”. Photo Jodi Cobb “Distilling is the very essence of life on this planet,” says the elder Karakasevic as we all raise a glass of his deep golden brandy. Originally it was clear, like its trickling cousin behind me, but now it has turned color by nearly three decades…

Do You Know Where Your New Years Eve Cocktail Comes From?

Posted on December 30th, 2010

After a long workweek a business colleague and I decided to salve away our ills with a few cocktails. She ordered some sugary newfangled confection and I, being seasonally nostalgic, opted for the hot weather classic, a gin and tonic. Once prepared and sipped upon she leaned forward slightly. “I have a confession to make,” she said as she whisked a stray hair from in front of her eyes. “I don’t like gin and tonics,” she said. “They taste so…so…medicinal,” she added while twirling that self-same errant hair. “Well there’s a good reason for that,” I said, taking a long sip. I then began to tell her why. The problem with the origins of classic cocktails is that often those cocktails were developed by…

The Great Experiment, Prohibition Continues

Posted on August 19th, 2010

There we were, a virtual mosaic sampling of the states that make up this great United States of America: One Tennessean, a Texan, an Arizonan and me, a native Pennsylvanian. Realizing that Labor Day and the end of summer was fast approaching; we crammed ourselves into an SUV, along with all of our camping gear, and headed off, out of state, for a late summer weekend. Midway to our destination the telltale sound of an aluminum can opening called our attention to the backseat. Photo Gordon Wiltsie Our born and bred Texan brother had opened himself a can of beer. Screeching brakes was the next sound that was heard by all. “Are you freakin crazy, you can’t drink a beer in the car,” we…

An Acquired Taste

Posted on June 23rd, 2010

I bellied up to the little downtown bar intent on proving the hard drinking journalist cliché true. My peripheral vision spied out my territory, two big haired brunettes straight out of a The Real Housewives of New Jersey episode to one side, and two checkered dress shirted financial types to the other. The proverbial rock and hard place. Soon it further dawned on me that I had happened to sit between an ongoing discussion between the two different groups of people. The kind of argument not held directly, but manifested in loud conversation seemingly directed at no one in particular. “No one with any class drinks blended Scotch,” said one banker type to the surrounding air. “Blended Scotch is so smooth,” said one of…