Friday, October 30, 2009

The perfect martini

I know, I know its hard to associate a man and a martini. But listen up, lately I have been on a kick, and I Believe that if pulled off a martini can be a perfect compliment, and show that you really are a gentleman, which sadly there are very few left. Its hard to argue that what we have here is the quintessential idea of the ultimate gentleman.

Lets talk closet attire first. Every man's should, in my opinion, be at least 22% suits. I'm talking custom tailored suits. There is hardly a feeling than one of a custom suit. Why do men in our current age believe that a suit is only for work and not to be taken seriously. I mean if you drink lite beer and eat chicken wings, Your custom Lee jeans and Hanes tagless will do, however if you want to step into the world of "gentlemenism" you must take pride in your appearance first and foremost in order to even come close to being able to pull off a well made martini.

Second lets talk shoes for a quick second. They need to reflect your age. If taken care of a good pair of shoes will last you forever. I do not have a problem spending between 300 and 400 for a pair of well made shoes, as opposed to buying three pairs of square toed shoes.
Thirdly drop the baggy clothes. They make us look like we are in college, besides the fact that baggy things make you look shorter and fatter, they also make you look disheveled, and younger. Well fitting jeans, tailored, and an inexpensive sport coat, also fitted can make all the difference and not set you back a fortune.

Back to the martini. A martini, should always be made with strictly spirits, no liquers, (peach, apple, grape). It should be stirred, not shaken, and it should always be garnished. Ordering a martini on say a date, will tell a lot about your personality, it will show that you are a man that is confident and takes control while ordering. Similar to ordering a bottle of vino, a real martini is a very delicate and specific thing. I prefer mine to be 3 measures 90 proof gin (london dry), one measure vodka (ketel one), and a dash of lillet blanc (orange bitters if lillet is not available), garnished with a orange twist. Obviously there may be many variations of a martini, and you will have to experiment with what you find to be the most interesting and intriguing, as a martini should be as vast and custom, as you are.

Lets talk about gin, which is crucial to any martini. Gin is a distilled spirit, primarily flavored with juniper berries, which makes it very vegetal in nature. In addition to juniper, it is usually made with amounts of citrus botanicals like lemon and bitter orange peel. Other botanicals that may be used include anise, angelica root and seed, orris root, licorice root, cinnamon, cubeb, savory, lime peel, grapefruit peel, dragon eye, saffron, baobab, frankincense, coriander, nutmeg and cassia bark. I prefer Hendricks Gin "Hendrick’s is an iconoclastically produced small batch gin distilled in Ayrshire, Scotland. Our unusual distillation process combined with our oddly delicious set of infusions yields a one-of-a-kind gin that is passionately loved by a tiny yet growing handful of individuals all over the world. No other gin tastes like it because no other gin is made like it." (
Lillet Blanc Is a French apertif wine, made in Bordeaux and is 85% wine, and blended with orange citrus liquors, and matured in oak casks.90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "The rounded bouquet features tropical fruit notes of banana and guava, smells of ripe grapes, kiwi and a subtle spiciness.The palate entry is luscious, gently fruity and keenly acidic; midpalate flavors include kiwi, white grapes, raisins, and a vegetal quality. Finish is ripe, delicately spiced, and delicious. An old favorite.
So, There it is, entry level gentelmenomics for you. Enjoy your new found wisdom on Martinis, and if you have anymore interesting ideas for them let me know !

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Im Baaaack!

Hello all, I've decided that writing everyday will not only become boring for me, boring for you, and not to mention that drinking and smoking everyday, some say can be bad for you, I don't want to lead on that I do this things everyday. Either way, I hope that we all had a great fourth, and celebrated the freedoms that we still have left.

I had the pleasure over the last month to do some great things including visiting my neighboring vineyards, and trying some of what Ohio has to offer. Let me say, It was very impressive! I know everyone out there has a negative stigma about Ohio and New York Vineyards, But, if you know your history without the native grapes that grow in this region, Wine production would cease to exist not only in the U.S. but all around the globe. A long time ago, Phylloxera, a nasty aphid-esque creature was eating all of the Vitis vinifera (native to Eurpoe) grape vines in Europe and North America. Total destruction insued and the only way to ward off these sap-sucking, leaf-eating insects was found out to be the Vitis labrusca (Fox grape) that is native to the Eastern United States. Granted these native grapes made great table grapes and great jelly, they made terrible wine, but were immune to phylloxera. So to solve the problem, scientists figured out a way to use the rootstock of these American Vines, and the flowering bodys of the Europeans to create an immunity to phylloxera plague. Interesting eh?

One of the Wines I tasted while I was up in Geneva was Harpersfield Winery. Harpersfield is a great place, very beautiful tasting room as well as back patio. The best part of the whole expiereince I think is the idea that all of the wine made at Harpersfield is grown at the winery. I tried all the wines, but the one that stood out above all else is the 2007 estate Riesling. This is what Ohio should have been doing all along. Focusing on what we are good at, on what the wine in our area should be. It is a dry Riesling with apricot, and granny smith aromas, with a clean clear appearance that, follows onto the palate which is also crisp and refreshing, hints of melon and honey and an honest finish. This wine was a perfect compliment to the day of relaxing on the back porch.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Tattooed Chef and the dinner stimulus plan

This is a wonderfully delectable creation i invented last night.
Being a single man tends to make me pretty inventive with my choice of dinners, and since cooking seems to be the only thing that relaxes me, I have since become quite the at-home Chef. Most of my inventions are simply combination's or variations of traditional dishes. This one was by far the most delectable, cheap, and simple of my creations to date. First I took the classic Alfredo sauce and i deleted parsley, since it really doesn't taste like anything and its primary usage is for color.

I used
1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup butter

1 1/2 cup Asiago, Parmesan, and Pecorino cheese

my variation was to add half a brick of New York Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
and roughly 1 tablespoon of garlic. I melted the butter in a medium sized sauce pan and then added the garlic, after browning up the garlic for roughly a minute i added the heavy cream. Simmering for about thirty seconds I threw in the cheese, took the mixture up to a boil, then backed off to a simmer. Simultaneously on a skillet I used

3 tbsp Olive Oil

1 tbsp Garlic

1 Broccoli Flower

1 Red Pepper

1/2 lb Chicken

Heating up the oil until right before it smokes, I threw in the garlic. Heating up the garlic until it browns I tossed the broccoli and red pepper in and cooked until thoroughly heated. Then comes the pasta. Bringing water to a boil, I put in half pound of ziti, and let er rip. After the veggies cooked for a little I took them off the heat and put them on a hot plate so they stayed warm. Now its time for Los Gallos (the chicken in Spanish). I cut the chicken up into little pieces and grilled it in the oil and garlic leftovers from the vegetables. Once the ziti was done I strained it and added it to the veggies on the plate, and poured the sauce over the veggies, and pasta. Once the chicken was thoroughly cooked I added it and Voila Donezo!

This meal with its buttery cream, and cheesy sauce as well as the Chicken was best friends with a nicely oaked California Chardonnay. Keeping in the spirit on inexpensivness (I made that word up), I chose a beautifully integrated inexpensive Smith-Madrone Chardonnay. On the nose, it presents a fantastic bouquet of fresh cut apple and citrus. It spends 11 months in oak, and shows that wonderful graham crackery (another made up word) taste on the palate, hints of vanilla and the citrus of apricot and granny smith apples adds the right amount of acid, and a perfect mouth-feel to this wine. The finish is substantially longer than sixty seconds, and the fruit, acid, and oak are in perfect harmony throughout the finish.
For dessert I smoked an Ashton Connecticut shade wrapped 8-9-8 as an even better compliment to my food and wine. Its rich and buttery tastes, and a smooth, even, cool burning draw and medium body pairs itself nicely considering it has a lot of flavor but it is not too pungent to over-shadow either the food or the wine. Fuente uses a 3-5 year old aged blend of tobacco's, and the wrapper leaf is considered to be the best in the world

At the end of the day I spent under 20 dollars on the food (including Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia, and leftovers). The Smith-Madrone was way undervalued for 30 dollars. And I spent about 9 on the Ashton for dessert. YUM!!!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Shedding Light Part one

Part one
“Just because you let them take away smoking, doesn’t mean they won’t take away something you care about you one day” - Craig Rossi

You think Tobacco is unhealthy? What about the millions of people dying from diabetes, heart attack, stroke, high cholesterol or any other disease related to eating fried food, fast food, or anything else with trans fat. This is called co-morbidities, when a series of unhealthy lifestyles such as over eating without excerise. The government does nothing about this, no tax, no anti-eating campaign. No “truth” campaign about fat, no commercials about the addictiveness of overeating. The Surgeon General considers this an epidemic, who knows this? No one. I’m not saying that tobacco is good for you, nor am I saying that food is bad. I am saying that an excess of anything is unhealthy and bad for you. People think that because eating is something that you need to do in order to maintain homeostasis, you can fry it in trans fat, with an extra helping of mayo, and a diet coke and call it a day.

Speaking of Diet Coke why don’t we pause for a minute to reflect on what really happens in your body when you drink a “diet soda”. Dr. Russell Blaylock says in his book Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills. He states that when artificial sweeteners is your diet pop get broken down the stomach there is a metabolic by-product called DKP that is produced, this is a chemical that is closely related to N-nitrosourea. This is a very powerful brain tumor causing chemical, funny this is never said when teenagers are shown at a BBQ downing Diet Coke. Furthermore Asparteme contains methanol, yes the same methanol , which breaks down into formic acid. What is formic acid you may ask? Formaldehyde is used for embalming dead people and animals. Yeah that’s good for you, considering that is causes genetic damage, yes damage to your actual DNA. “Importantly, brain tumors are extremely rare before age one and one-half in the rat. So in truth the incidence of spontaneously occurring brain tumors would be even less than cited above. Yet, the aspartame fed rats developed two tumors by sixty weeks of age and five tumors by seventy weeks. (Excitotoxins by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 213”).

How about French Fries and Potato Chips? Betcha cant eat just one. Potato chips and French fries contain a chemical called acrylamide. Acrylamide is a chemical that occurs naturally in most organic substances and is known to be cancer causing. This chemical is amplified by heat, and is very prevelant and amplified during the frying process. Yes the FDA has all kinds of information on the subject but yet rarely does anything about it. They asked that Lance potato chips have less acrylamide added, and requested that they re-evaluate the content of this cancer causing chemical. Are their any taxes added to them? No. Is their an age limit required to consume this cancer causing chemical? No. Smokers pay a tax called SCHIP which stands for state child health insurance program, but yet we allow our children to eat artificial sweeteners, too much sugar, French fries and potato chips that contain these cancer causing chemicals, and our focus is shifted on anti-teen smoking campaigns and other things designed to keep kids away from smoking or being around smoke. Instead of keeping them sheltered from everything, we should educate them on everything that can be harmful to your health not just smoking. Teach them how to use all things responsibly and make their own educated decisions on what they choose to do. Yes smoking is bad for you, so are Trans Fats, acrylamide in potato chips and French fries , DKP in Diet Pops, and most other foods we eat, not to mention the high cholesterol and other things that are readily available designed, and marketed to consumers young, and old.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Great Pic

Just a Good Picture

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Quixotic Caymus

In case you didn't know

Quixotic : (adjective)

1. Caught up in the romance of noble deeds and the pursuit of unreachable goals; idealistic without regard to practicality.
2. Capricious; impulsive: “At worst his scruples must have been quixotic, not malicious” (Louis Auchincloss)

2006 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet

Sorry, I couldn't help myself this is without a doubt one of a trifecta of undoubtedly perfectly crafted wines from California, In my opinion of course. It is not necessarily a summer wine, or one fit for BBQ but it is fit for an air conditioned dinner, with a red sauce or maybe a roast, this wine is huge and full of fruit. It has a deep garnet and ruby color with a pleasant clear rim showing this wonderful wines youth. With Aromas of Vanilla, hints of dried rose petals, and potpourri, dark fruits and blackberry, plum. On the palate creamy vanilla, nicely balanced tannin. Balanced, fruit forward with endless complexity . Hints of Acai berry, pomegranate, Swedish fish and German Raspberry. A very exaggerated finish spelled by perfection, velvety smooth tannin that will age well for 10-15 years, but drinks like a dream now. This wine is almost too complex and structured to really even write about it but I gave it my best shot. It is the essence of perfection. Nothing else can be said, other than I think that this needs to be drunk before you die.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Don't make me pull out my Glock.....enspiel

I'm back after a nice long weekend of remembering what people sacrifice in order to let us enjoy the finer things in life. It is because of these men and women we are able to eat chicken wings and drink beer without worrying about a bomb going off. So, I want to say Thank You to these fine men and women, and take a minute to reflect and remember those people that gave their lives to give us freedom.

Over the weekend i tried a couple more summer beers, one of which is the Buffalo Bills Brewery- Orange Cream Ale, this Beer is very tasty especially for a fruit beer. With hints of coriander and honey, and a nose of Orange Crush. This is light wheat beer without the syrupy finish that some fruit beers give.

But more notably i just had the Great Lakes Glockenspiel beer. This is a traditional Weizenbock (dark wheat) style beer.
96 ponits
available at Havana House

Glassware Recommendation: Dimpled Mug
Color: Dark amber with hints of plum

Aroma: yeasty, and meaty, molasses, clove

Taste: Banana, Cinnamon. Complex and dark with layered flavors and light finish, a little hot but nicely balanced with tropical fruit and cinnamon balancing out the alcohol.

Food Recommendation: The Banana really shows through, so i suggest a tropical dish, something Spanish perhaps a tapas dish with chicken and plantains.

Cigar recommendation: This would go very nicely with a surprise from me. I think a Drew Estate Ambrosia would compliment the clove and cinnamon nicely considering the spice this beer delivers.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Blood Red Summer

Finally I get to drink wine especially one like Clayhouse's Adobe Red
at between 15 and 20 retail, this wine is a killer, all the time. This is one of the most versatile wines I have ever had. This wine does not need food, however it has the ability to be drunk with food, especially a nice rack...of lamb.

Wine: Clayhouse Adobe Red 2006

Aroma: Fresh, Ripe garden berries. Cherries and Plum with a slight hint of lavender

Color: Garnet, with hues of Ruby, and violet around the rim

Flavor: A little vanilla, probably showing through from the oak, with wild blueberries and plum. Excellent wine, not only is this wine an eclectic blend of grapes (zin,syrah, petite sirah, malbec), it is also an meritage of different AVA's from the Central Coast of California. The finish and mouthfeel of this wine is unprecedented, in that its not an really long acidic finish but a smooth creamy one. Its hard to put this wine down, and youll never realize its gone until you try to pour your last glass and the bottle is lite. The Zin is very well integrated, as this is not a perceived sweetness zin as much as a well tannically balanced wonder, perfect for BBQ.

Cigar Recommendation: The somewhat meaty structure and well layered aspect of this wine would show well with a cigar of the same capacity i recommend a Cusano Cuvee Sungrown, for its spicy layers and pleasant aroma

Get Stoned this Summer

Stone brewing in San Diego California produces some of, in my opinion, the best beer this country has to offer. They are unparalleled in consistency and flavor. The Pale Ale is one of my personal favorites because it offers a few things. To me it is an introductory beer for those that are not used to a hoppy, bitter, IPA's or Imperial IPA's, Slightly hopped it gives newbies an opportunity to enjoy the hops and not make faces. Stone keeps me interested with a plethora of seasonal, and limited release brews. Another reason I enjoy Stone Pale Ale is because of its session beer qualities, because you can easily down six with friends playing your favorite game of "shoot each other with Roman candles" this Independence Day. Why not drink a 100% American Pale Ale. (adapted from the British ironically)

Beer: Stone Pale Ale

Glassware: Shaker (pint glass)

Aroma: very slight hops, with hints of fruit and caramel, slight malt

Color: Deep Amber

Taste: Hops on the front of the tongue accompanied by crisp and refreshing carbonation. Layered, and structured with a robust finish of malt.

Hops: Magnum and Ahtanum

Food Recommendations: This Robust Ale lends itself to be general versatility in choosing a food to accompany it. It goes well with anything from chicken teriyaki to filet medallions, don't over do the spice or the sauce on either of them for they may overshadow the beers complexity.

Cigar Recommendation: This one screams the lusty sweet taste of a Ashton Maduro #20. The size and the draw of this cigar is a perfect compliment to the slight caramel of the beer.

A must bring to the BBQ

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Serious Delirium, Bill Murray

Beer: Delirium (Huyghe Brewery)
90 points

Glassware: Trappist

Aroma: Huge Citrus, Orange, very herbaceous Belgium style

Flavor: Citrus notes, typical Strong Ale, very tasty, Acid, and long lingering finish

Appearance: Very clear with a hint of hazy gold

Delirium is a serious Belgium Strong ale, with hints of orange and citrus.

Food Recomendation: Excellent with summer foods such as fruits and veggies, maybe cedar planked Tilapia, Grilled Salmon, Or Teryiaki.

Cigar Recomendation: Bitterness from hops, and acidity lends itself to smoke a Cameroon Wrapped Dominican like Arturo Fuente Don Carlos #3 yumm!!!!

2009 Sierra Nevada Summerfest

2009 Sierra Nevada Summer Fest

Glassware: Lager Glass

Aroma: Yeasty, Stinky, Floral, slight hops

Appearance: Straw golden, small celled white foam

Flavor: Pilsner style, balanced hops, citrus, lemongrass, acidic finish, lingers around a little too long

Sierra Nevada's Summerfest isn't my favorite Sierra Nevada, but is has very nice drinkability, another session beer, good for backyards and BBQ

Food Recommendations: Great at barbecues, picnics, or any time you want a smooth, refreshing beer. Assertive enough to stand up to spicy meats and sauces, its tangy hoppiness also goes well with the sharp, peppery bite of specialty mixed salad greens.

Cigar Recommendation: Ashton White Label Corona- this is a favorite cigar. Connecticut Shade wrapper, and a blended binder and filler, provide a toasty, mild smoke perfect for the outdoors.


Tasting Notes!

Beer : North Coast Brewing co. Scrimshaw Pilsner

Glassware : Footed Pilsner

Place: Havana House

Aroma: Fruity, Slight Smoke, Malt, Fresh Cut Grass

Appearance: Golden, Straw colored, Light

Taste: slight sweetness, almost non-existent hops, nice for summer, fruit forward, classic pilsner style, clean light and little flavor, low alcohol (not on bottle), but apparent. Its a little metallic. Average

A beer with very high drinkability and low alcohol tends to be considered a session beer, you can have a couple with friends and not be absolutely hammered. Very Easy to drink and nice for a backyard game of Bocce with friends.

Cigar Recommendation : Arturo Fuente- Double Chateau natural, or a light and mild Connecticut Shade Wrapper, with Dominican binder and filler.

Food Recommendation: Veggie Shish-ke-Bobs, Corn on the Cob, Lemon Chicken

Backyards, Beer, BBQ, and Brown Chardonnay?

Ah, Summer. Summer is finally upon us, a time for Backyards, Beer, BBQ, and..... Brown Chardonnay?

I'll get back to the brown Chardonnay, even though I know we are all very confused about this topic, see if I talk about it now there will be no excitement to get to the end of this blog, and you won't enjoy the substance, or "the round mouth feel" of the whole thing. Starting with barbecue, I recently had the opportunity to have probably the most mouthwatering, most well prepared pulled pork from the Bone Bucket in Boardman, Ohio ( This seductive and sultry, well, Pig was done just right with a little bit of coleslaw, and not-so-ironically pickles, which i hate, but I am sure and so I have heard are quite delicious on this sandwich. Bone Bucket has quite the arsenal of hot and BBQ sauces from around the country and a wall which to choose from. However, I recently had the chance to use their catering services to compliment a beer and wine taste at Havana House, for Charity nonetheless, (my good friend Scott is riding his bike across the country for Akron children's hospital Back to BBQ, On my sandwich without pickles, I used the Stone Double Bastard habanero hot sauce. which was a perfect compliment to the well-balanced hops, and somewhat subtle sweetness of the Stone Double Bastard, which is an American Strong ale, although it is kind of thick, with little carbonation it has a very round mouth feel and delicious finish, and is big enough to compliment the BBQ nicely.

I have been trying to find light summer beers that are available regularly and easy to drink, especially on a sweaty summer day. They are somewhat easy to find and i suggest lagers, ales, heffeweizens, and some not-so-fruity, fruit beer. I will be tasting some stuff this week, and ill do some tasting notes on each so look forward.

White wines are also good "back porch wines" and some will actually be nice in a backyard setting or a backyard BBQ. Blends, Sauvignon Blanc, and un-oaked chardonnay, generally show tropical fruit, straw, and citrus flavors, without the overbearing butter of oak, giving a creamy full mouth feel. If your generally a Wooded Chardonnay drinker, ask your local wine specialist (me) about slight malolactic fermentation as this adds a well balanced mouth feel, and a slight, but not thick profile. Slight Malo also gives vanilla undertones as well as a nice long uninterrupted finish, without a lot of astringent acid... balancing them nicely. Again Ill be doing some tasting of these gems for your reading pleasures.

Recently I watched the movie "Bottle Shock". This movie was very well done, although it did not follow to a T the actual events leading up to the famous "Judgment of Paris" wine taste in which the 1971 Chateau Montelena chard beat the French and put California wine on the map. The one thing i did not like was the lack of mentioning Michael Grgich as winemaker of the project, considering he was instrumental in making this famous vintage. I had the opportunity to meet Bo Barrett recently at a wine taste at Moxie the Restaurant in Beachwood. We had a very interesting conversation about what he has changed in the vintages of the Napa Cab over the years, I will discuss this later also. Finally this brings me to the brown Chardonnay discussion. There was a part of the movie where Jim and Bo discover that all of their chardonnay had turned brown, right before the "judgment". Bo then travels to UC Davis to find out what the problem was, considering the wine tasted and smelled perfect. A scientist then discovers that the wine was actually made to perfection, and that a 100% lack of oxygen leads to the discoloration, and will subside over a couple of days, and the wine was done perfectly. I had to investigate. This lead me to the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, and an article written in 1976 about this very subject. Turns out its true and can happen!! check it out (


Check out - its my store, its where i do most of my tastings, so come join me!!, Also find us on !!


I have decided to share my opinions, and suggestions concerning buying, and tasting all of our favorite vices. I.E. Premium cigars, Imported and Domestic Fine Wines, and Craft Beers. All of my opinions are strictly mine, and everyone's palate is different. It is something i thoroughly enjoy and I have based my life and career around it. I believe that wine, cigars and beer are a craft and an art form and I respect all those that are involved in the process of pouring their heart and soul into some of the most beautifully crafted works of art I have ever come across period. The amount of dedication to the craft, as well as the intuition, creativity, technology, and knowledge is unprecedented. I have been privileged in my short tenure to have been to some of the finest tastings, and met some of the finest vintners, brewers, and tobacconists in the world, and i would like to share my experiences with all. Check back weekly for new posts and comments.