Category Archives: On the web


If you think Repeal Day, 74 years ago, was the end of the story, think again. Check out this great, exhaustive site by David J. Hanson, a professor of sociology at the State University of New York in Potsdam:

Alcohol: Problems and Solutions

The gist of the site is to explore, even-handedly, the effects of alcohol use and abuse on both individuals and society. Hanson explores just about every facet of this topic you can imagine–youth drinking, binge drinking, alcohol and health, drunk driving, you name it.

Among the resources, though, is a long page of prohibitionist personalities and organizations, both past and present. It’s remarkable how many groups are today actively seeking to discourage and restrict adult drinking behavior. Hanson writes:

Because Prohibition is now recognized by most people as having been a disastrous failure and currently lacks strong political support, modern prohibitionists are using a different approach to achieve their goal.

Their tactic is to establish cultural rather than strictly legal prohibition by making alcohol beverages less socially acceptable and marginalizing those who drink, no matter how moderately. Like the anti-alcohol activists who preceded them, the neo-prohibitionists of today (often called reduction-of-consumptionists, neo-drys, or neo-Victorians) don’t distinguish between the use and the abuse of alcohol. Both should be reduced.

I think this Repeal Day, we owe it to ourselves to take some time and read up on these groups and their tactics.

The green fairy of record

Happy Repeal Day! I’m going to have a couple or three posts today, but I’ll start briefly.

The Times, this morning, continues to trip merrily through the spirits world with a piece on absinthe. The piece, by Pete Wells, opens with a bit of surprise, at least to me–the first American-produced absinthe of the revival. St. George Spirits, from Alameda, has cleared all regulatory hurdles and should be on the market soon.

Wells then samples the absinthes of Lucid, Kubler, and St. George (which provided him an early sample) and judges the St. George the most complex of the lot. The piece, with quotes by Ted Breaux and St. George’s Lance Winters, is worth a read, although absinthe aficionados probably won’t find anything new.


…I’ve been invited to contribute pieces to How to Do Things, and my first article went live today. I’ve been working on it for a month, alas, and it shows how busy I’ve been that such a relatively simple piece should take a month.

Anyway, my first piece is about buying bar tools. I think next up I’ll probably tackle glassware.

Blogroll overhaul

Look right and scroll down just a bit. Finally managed to update my blogroll.

Don’t feel bad if you weren’t on there. My wife, a.k.a. Mrs. Bitters, a.k.a. Jennifer Hess, started her site Last Night’s Dinner, back in February, and I only just now added her.

Sigh. Blogrolls are just too damn easy to neglect.

I can’t guarantee I’ve added everyone who has linked out to me, and I do want to reciprocate links, so please either comment here or drop me an email.

Bear with me…

I’m working with Darcy O’Neil to test a new ad system, so things are going to shift around a just bit here.

I’m also considering going with Feedburner or adopting some sort of WordPress plugin to better manage my RSS feed. I want to drive eyes to the blog to read the full content, but at the same time, I want my snippets long enough to give readers a feel for what I’m writing about. A snippet that truncates after 25 words or so isn’t helpful.

For now, I’m using the More feature,

Continue reading Bear with me…

Salon’s summer swizzles sizzle

To anyone clicking through from, welcome. Snoop through the cabinets and make yourselves comfortable.

On Tuesday, I had the honor of joining Salon’s witty New York editorial team for its summer-cocktail contest. You’d search long to find a finer group of raconteurs and bon vivants. Sarah Karnasiewicz and her colleagues welcomed me not just to taste but to mix up a couple of batches as well, and I quickly felt like part of the team, even though I had just met everyone. My only regret is that I had to leave shortly after we finished the mixing and judging.

Sarah has posted the results of the contest, so pop over and find a new favorite! I’m a big fan of LUPEC Boston‘s Irma le Douce, but I’ll have to alter it for home use since Mrs. Bitters is allergic to grapefruit.

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go

At pretty much the same moment that Mouthing Off, the Food & Wine blog, honors me by linking here, I have to announce that my presence will likely become more sporadic for a few weeks as I enter a heavy-overtime period at the day job. This will run well into October.

I will participate in MxMo on Monday, and I’m hoping to take part in September’s and October’s installments as well. I have a couple of ideas in mind for MxMo Oranj; which way I go will depend on what ingredients I can source.

I also want to continue to post weekly. I’ve finally reached a point where I’m writing at least twice a week, after a period where I was lucky to post that many times a month! I do think I can maintain weekly posting, but we’ll see. I’m actually hoping to post a bit more frequently than that, but I’m only promising myself once a week for now.

Edited to add: I’m well aware that my blog roll is out of date. I’m thinking of a complete overhaul of the blog roll’s categories, but that will take time, too.