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Waterfire in Providence

My ginger beer travels have brought me to a lot of great places, but it’s always nice returning to places where you used to live. One of those places for me is Providence, RI.

Providence is an interesting capital city in a state that has often been perceived as corrupt.

Once upon a time, Providence was down in the dumps before it was reborn with the forceful pushes of a former mayor who went to prison on RICO charges. The locals are a tight-knit community. And yes, there’s the sense that every Rhodie knows they live in the smallest state, but makes up for it with an outsized personality.  Newport is a fantastic summer spot that is well known amongst the well-heeled (often searching for the well-endowed),but the beaches along the Long Island Sound are the well-kept secret. Needless to say, I’m a fan of Rhode Island. Especially Providence.

NE Chowder at Hemenway's. If you ask me to write 'chowda' I'll stab you in the eye

One aspect of Providence seems to stand out above other New England cities: the food. Although the food has gotten much better in cities like Boston and Portland (two other former residences of this mildly annoying brand manager), the food in Providence is rooted in immigrants with Italian, Jewish and Portugese roots. All three ethnic groups know how to use a spice rack, and it’s evident those skills have been passed on through generations. It also helps having Johnson & Wales in your backyard. If you’re interested in Italian food while you’re in Providence, be sure to visit Federal Hill. There are too many spots to count, and it’s fun to simply walk up and down the main strip on a sunny weekend afternoon.

On the East Side (where Brown and RISD are located), it’s worth stopping in the seafood restaurant Hemenway’s. The chowder is incredible. There’s bacon in there somewhere, and it makes it all worth while. The tuna sashimi is also fantabulous.

When you leave Hemenway’s, a quick stroll down the street brings you to a great hangout, The Wild Colonial.

Proper DnS

The Wild Colonial is a great spot to relax and have a few drinks with friends at any time of day or night. The beer list is solid all the way around. On top of a great beer list and chill atmosphere in a cavernous space, they make a proper Dark ‘n Stormy with Barritt’s and Gosling’s rum. If memory serves correct (and a lot of time it doesn’t), last winter one of the bartenders told me he likes to have a DnS after his shift. Whatever works.

Another spot worth while is the Renaissance Providence Hotel, which is owned by Marriott. I know. A Marriott. Sounds exciting, right? Well actually, when you check out the pictures you’ll see why it’s a destination. The hotel is a major reclamation project of a Masonic Temple that was left for dead when funds ran out during the Great Depression. It was only until 2007 when this hotel opened.

During all those decades in between, the Temple was vandalized and covered in spray paint. Instead of whitewashing this history, the hotel chose to keep pictures and portions of the graffiti alive in the hotel as well as in the stylish basement bar and restaurant, Temple Downtown. The food and the cocktails are creative and delicious, so it’s worth the trek up the hill to this hotel, bar and restaurant.

Philly’s Franklin Fountain. must. turn. away. cheesy need to use ‘ph’ for other 2 words. You know, because it’s Philadelphia. Get it?

A little while back I stopped into Franklin Fountain in Philadelphia’s Olde City.

The place should be near and dear to any day mixologist: its design resembles a back-in-the-day apothecary with a strong commitment to the eclectic. It’s a place where the label “soda jerk” is a high compliment and the staff can whip up a number of different concoctions with ice cream, homemade syrups and other delectable goodies. Franklin Fountain was also on ‘Man v Food’ when Adam Richman visited Philadelphia.

"Abba Zabba, you're my only friend"

Franklin Fountain also has a number of hard-to-find sodas and candies like Bubble Up, Blenheim’s Ginger Ale, Beaman’s gum and other gems.

The place is great and the service is really friendly. Needless to say, it’s a nice break from Olde City, which is fun, but often littered with drunk coeds and shady thirtysomething men on Friday and Saturday nights. In my opinion, enjoy Olde City’s charm but leave when Franklin Fountain closes shop – midnight.

Barritt’s at Eli Zabar’s

Barritt's bottles now at Eli Zabar's

The holidays are right around the corner … and luckily this post has nothing to do with the holidays.

The last thing you need right now is another reminder that you are running out of time and you need to buy everyone gifts. As the Rolling Stones fatefully sang, “time waits for no one,” and as the eleventh hour quickly approaches, someone is going to end up with a horrible gift you purchased at CVS 15 minutes prior to the holiday party.

So on a completely unrelated note, please stop by Eli Zabar’s grocery store on the Upper East Side of Manhattan! They now have Barritt’s.

The Racer Chacer … um … Wowza

So about a week or so ago our friend at the asked if we were interested in putting the Racer Chacer in a video. Actually, we heard only a few words: cocktail, Barritt’s, Pusser’s, Key West and bikini. That’s it. Boom.

Big thank you to the good people at Conch Republic for selecting Barritt’s and the Racer Chacer. And big thanks to Pusser’s for working with us. They’re great people.

And of course, muchas gracias to They’re great and always looking out for us. We always appreciate their help. If you’re a rum enthusiast, you need to check out their site often.

Happy Repeal Day!

Today is a great day in our fine nation’s history – the correction of a big mistake.

December 5 is Repeal Day, the day when Prohibition (aka the “the noble experiment”) ended. You can read more about it here.

Everyone knows the folly of prohibition today, so let’s be thankful and always remember Repeal Day as a time when America came to its senses.

And let’s not forget these immortal words either:

A friendly – if somewhat frightening – message

Taken at a liquor store in New Haven (?), Connecticut



Thanksgiving Cocktails

The holidays are right around the corner, ladies and gentlemen, which means we will need some good libations before we swallow any turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, or pumpkin pie. So we have done our part and come up with two … Continue reading

And Madison, WI too

Besides Milwaukee, I also made it over to Madison, which is a great college city.

If you’re in this town any time soon, please stop in Brickhouse BBQ, The Old Fashioned, and Zanders Capitol Grill.

And yes, all three accounts have Barritt’s in stock and we thank them for it. The Old Fashioned is making their own signature cocktail with bourbon and Barritt’s, and Zanders is making something called “Necessary Roughness,” which is Barritt’s, Miller’s Gin and lemonade. There’s something about dry gin and Barritt’s (with another ingredient or two) that makes a nice cocktail.

Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward … it’s a necessity to say “Historic.” Preferably with a capital “H”

Statue outside the Harley Davidson Museum of motorcyclist jumping Jaws' big fin

Last week my ginger beer travels brought me to a city famous for beer: Milwaukee. The land of Schlitz, Miller, Laverne, Shirley, Lenny and Squiggy.

Milwaukee’s different neighborhoods are always a treat – especially the Historic Third Ward, which is where I discovered the Wicked Hop. Or more precisely, their Bloody Mary pictured below. Yowza.

The Bloody Mary at Wicked Hop: mozzarella strings, shrimp, beef jerky, olives and a pickle. Wow.

The Third Ward is the kind of area a Williamsburg hipster would enjoy while visiting the Midwest (or as I like to say, going back home): reconstructed post-industrialist neighborhood with a working class history. It’s an area that has made a comeback on the backs of the artistic community. Plus it’s the Midwest, so you know everyone will be friendly, even in skinny jeans. Normally, no one is happy in skinny jeans. Mainly because they’re wearing skinny jeans.

A couple of other spots to hit are the Public Market and Cafe Lulu. The latter is well worth the trip simply for the awesome rock posters by different artists. And if you’re in the Public Market, please try the Heath Bar cookies. Each one is the size of a small planet and worth every bite.

Art at Cafe Lulu

But the one place that really stood out was the Iron Horse Hotel.

The Iron Horse Hotel is close to the Harley Davidson Museum (pictured above in a photo taken this summer). It is a former warehouse and features artwork from local artists.

Inside the Iron Horse is a fantastic reading room (complete with old National Geographic magazines). In another wing is a great, long bar.

The hotel’s lobby is a changing display of different motorcycles from different manufacturers. Motorcycles, drinks and a reading room. It’s a pretty damn good scene.


Ducati display at Iron Horse Hotel

The Nest Cafe in Bethesda, MD

On a recent trip to the DC area, I was introduced to a great little restaurant that is pretty popular with the locals – The Nest Cafe in Bethesda, MD.

The Nest was recently a winner of “Best of Bethesda.” It had an awesome, wear-a-napkin-as-a-bib style burger that was very much enjoyed by this patron. It also helps that The Nest is in a small little spot that you could easily miss with your eyes and overshoot in your car. It’s a spot that someone has to take you to.

Oh and yes, they do have Dark ‘n Stormies on the menu, which is always nice.