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Entries in red wine (19)


The Home Bar

There are a few sayings, old adages, and assumptions associated with my home bar... that is, to say, on the one hand, everyone knows that the painter's house is the last to get painted...but, by contrast, the best dressed man is probably one who sells suits.  Is there a middle ground?  Perhaps.  The analogy that comes to mind is the mechanic; for, he likely has a project tucked in that working garage of his that, while in-progress, is very special.  It might not be the shiniest, or most completely restored, but it's rare, smells good, and when he decides to take it for a spin, makes all the right sounds, and gets all the right attention.

So, what sort of bar is at my house?  Well, one telling aspect of this story is: I intended to write this brief entry almost a full year ago.  Indeed, as I logged in to what used to be a near-daily routine, I've noticed that our last entry was June, 2012!  And, the bar I had intended to write about, well, that was finally set up only just last week.  (Seems we're returning to that painter analogy.)

In any event, as we approach Father's Day next Sunday, I thought it might be helpful to share some some pictures here that reflect, at least for me, what a gentleman (or lady!) might look for in a home bar.  You'll notice that I've made almost no attempt to make it complete.  Surely there are some basics that a good host ought to have; but, most importantly, this bar is about me, my tastes, and my current interests...not for showing others, not really for entertaining...just a quiet place to which I can retreat at the end of a long day.

What's on it?  Mostly whisk(e)y because that's usually what I drink.  I've listed the bottles below for reference, but, the important piece here is that you needn't have some man cave super-varsity set up with ultra rare bottles...just, a nice little shelf with what's important to you.

For my home bar, location was everything.  In our house we have converted a small downstairs bedroom into my office.  When I practiced law, this was the place for late night billing and brief-proofing.  No more!  Now, it is more of a quiet space where I can read the Sunday Times, watch a bit of TV, and dose in my favorite chair.  We used a hotel desk from the '20s (which is nice and shallow as it was originally used in a square foot-conscious hotel room) and built a small riser shelf out of a pre-cut piece of beveled glass I picked up at the hardware store.  The glass itself rests on an antique wooden box on one end, and a stack of old books on the other.  On my bar, in addition to the bottles, are some things of personal meaning: my uncle's antique toy fire truck, the keys to my garage-project, a canister of corks from some wines I've shared with my wife, an Allison Wonderland print, a silver spoon from my father, and the like.  You see, it isn't about a statement or having the "necessaries"'s just what I might want to drink while looking back on my day.


For bottles, on the bar currently: Glenfarclas 10 & 12, Dalwhinnie Distiller's Edition, Talisker 2012 Distiller's Ediition, Talisker 18 (former bottling), Talisker 18 (2012 Bottling), Hudson Four Grain, Hudson Manhattan Rye, Glenmorangie Nectar D'Or, Pinch Blended, King's County Distillers Chocolate-Flavored Whiskey, Smooth Ambler Very Old Scout 19, St Germaine, The King's Ginger, Byrrh, Dolin Dry, Hendrick's St. George Terroir Botinivore and Dry Rye, Some VSOP Armagnac, Luxardo Cherries, Bitterman's Mole Bitters, some rum, some tequila and...the vodka is in the freezer.

Is there wine too?  Yes.  Nearby (outside of the pictures here) are some wine shelves where I have the wines that I like to drink casually: Cru Beaujolias from various little villages and some older Italian wine you've, perhaps, seen mentioned in other Facebook posts and entries: a blend from Friuli called Ros di Rol.  These wines aren't particularly prosaic or fancy but they are incredibly well made, delicious, versatile, and, above all, what I love to have in my glass while I'm unwinding. 

In sum, I suppose the home bar is more like the home refrigerator than it is like a food museum.  In other words, when Allie and I entertain or host a dinner party, we drive long distances to buy the perfect ______ and spend the evening before double-checking the menu and the ingredient list...but, if you were to drop by tonight and check out the fridge and pantry, you'd see the basics: really fresh milk, butter, eggs, salad greens, chicken marinating for tonight's dinner, and a bottle of rose (also for tonight's dinner) along with excellent coffee, a box of cereal, etc.  So, while we may bring home a specific bottle for a thematic cocktail, pick up some special groceries for a dinner party, and open a bottle of wine from the cellar for guests, it's super important to focus on YOU when you're stocking that home bar where "everybody [doesn't] know your name..." because it's just you...there, to relax.


happy birthday allie

Waking up this morning, my mouth actually waters when I think about where we've been and what we've eaten this past weekend.  To celebrate my wife's birthday, we dropped the dog off at his favorite overnight spot, Uberdog, and headed down to, what a trip!  What follows is a brief list of highlights...more details to come this week as we look back on some of these special moments more closely...

Friday... Arrive at The Surrey Hotel on East 76th Street...settle in and then head out for our first trip to Eataly (Mario Batali's 42,500 sq. ft Italian market mecca...Disney World!), explore the West Village and on to Buvette on Grove Street for a light dinner and dessert.  After returning to The Surrey, a personal bartender visited the room to expertly prepare basil lime gimlets to order (a treat sent from Jen & Mike) coma set in...SLEEP!

Saturday, to Orwasher's Bakery for pastries and coffee (and a hand-filled jelly donut - which they do right in front of you to order!)...then to Bloomingdale's for shopping... A pre fixe lunch at King's Carriage House back up in the East 80s...then to The Met to see the special exhibitions.  On the way down Madison, a stop at Maison Du Chocolat for hot cocoa and a sample of treats in their little cafe...whoa.  Back at the hotel, we relaxed and welcomed some family for presents; to drink, we shared something special...remarkably, just 55 miles from where Allie was born, in the very same year, Caymus Vineyards made a wine that is peaking right now...a wine that goes on and on...delicious.  I teased her that '85 was a good vintage for wives and Cabernet!  Latenight, a casual dinner at my old haunt, Uva.

Sunday morning, we stopped by Dean & Deluca for a wonderful cup of coffee to go and then returned to our favorite Sarabeth's off East 92nd for a perfect omelette, strolling down Madison for last-minute shopping, and then to Laduree for a treat direct from Paris...  Last night, back to Max's Oyster Bar for a truly delicious burger.

Wow!  A lot of calories, even more walking (thank goodness!), and absolutely full-time fun. 

Happy Birthday Allie...this year is already looking delicious!