Jimmy’s, Aspen, CO

 Jimmy Yeager saddles up to our cocktail table, looks me straight in the eye, and exclaims, “Jonathan Pogash – great to see you!  How are ‘ya?”  

“I’m…doing well,” I respond, embarrassed at the fact that I didn’t recognize the bloke.  “Where have we met?” I ask.

“Here…Aspen…” Jimmy says reluctantly.

Nope.  Not here.  Never been here.  Well, came here when I was 16 years old, but that doesn’t count.  I was young…unable to experience the things I had experienced during this trip to Aspen.

Before we can figure it out, Jimmy tells me that Jill DeGroff just made a drawing of him and did a feature about him.

“The Cocktailian Calendar! I saw your drawing!  October, right?” Jimmy asks.  “That must be it.”

We agree that we had probably met beforehand in person, and before we can disect the situation event further, Jimmy strides up to his bartender and shouts out over the packed crowd: “Strawberry-Jalapeno Margaritas for my pals over here.”

As we sip our fresh strawberry jalapeno Tequila infusions, Jimmy chats along, infusing us with his vibrant energy and  never-ending enthusiasm.  He appreciates the craft of the cocktail…he thrives on industry people frequenting his establishment…he’s humbling when told of the impact his bar/restaurant has on the working class folk of Aspen, Colorado.

Jimmy’s is a destination – it’s where you party before you go out to party, and it’s where you always end up at the end of the night.  The food is on par, and the drinks are fresh and balanced.

I was at Jimmy’s nearly every day I was in Aspen.  Some of the best times were spent on the patio, sipping Mezcal and slinging back beers ’til 2am. 

The next time I’m in Aspen, I think I’ll ask the cab driver at the airport to bring me directly to Jimmy’s.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they respond with the folllowing: “Ah yes, Jimmy’s.  Tell Jimmy I said ‘Hi.’ Shall I schedule a pick-up there when you’re ready to go back to the airport?”

“Yes, please,” will be my response.

Jimmy’s, An American Restaurant & Bar, is located at 208 S. Mill St, Aspen, CO




Boston/NY Love

As you may be able to tell from this post’s title, we’ll be chatting a bit about Boston, and the cocktail culture that seems to have sprung up there, really out of nowhere. 

There’s real talent in bean-town.  I’m not only talking good bartenders who sling quality drinks – I’m talking enthusiastic, warm bar professionals who create some of those trend-setting cocktails we see spanning across this fine country of ours.  Jackson Cannon was one of the first to spring onto the scene.  His beverage program at Eastern Standard is tight…I mean TIGHT!  Dozens of classic drinks, new innovations, egg drinks, variations on classics, adorn his cocktail list.  And they just celebrated their four-year anniversary (Congrats Jax & the crew at ES!)

John Gertsen and Misty Kalkofen are two others who have enlightened Americans on the scene in Boston.  With the opening of Drink, a sub-terranean menu-less innovation of a bar, they mix up drinks based on what you’re interested in at that moment in time.  Love it!  You tell them what spirit, ingredient, etc. you’d like to imbibe in, and they create it. 

I had the honor of hosting a lunch for some of Boston’s top bartenders and enthusiasts earlier this week at Eastern Standard.  It was a jam of sorts, with  (ri)1 Rye Whiskey being so kind as to fascilitate this mad scientist laboratory of an afternoon.  I noticed the closeness of the bar community here, the openness, and willingness to learn new things.  We came up with some really tasty drinks, and I think I’m not alone in saying that we could have spent several more hours (or days, really) experimenting with rye whiskey cocktails.

The neighborhood surrounding Eastern Standard is quite pleasant.  From my hotel room at the Hotel Commonwealth (conveniently located in the same building as ES) I could see bustling Commonwealth Ave, and some of the 19th century buildings surrounding the Boston University campus.  Oh yeah, did I mention you can see Fenway Park from the hotel.  Well, you can’t actually see a game, but the top of the big green giant is in full view.  This hotel is perfect for those Sox fans, and this New Yorker found it just fine for himself, too.

I’ve got so much more to say and so little time to say it in…so I’ll leave you with this:

Ward 8

(a true original Boston drink, created to commemorate the 1898 election of stage legistlater Martin M. Lomasney)

2 oz. (ri)1 Rye Whiskey

3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice

3/4 oz. fresh orange juice

1 tsp. home-made grenadine*

Directions: Shake all ingredients very well in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Garnish: maraschino cherry

*home-made grenadine: over the stove top, dissolve 2 parts POM pomegranate juice and 1 part sugar.  Chill thoroughly before serving.

boston new york love

A good rye cocktail brings Bostonians and New Yorkers together…

Rye, oh my!

This will be brief and to the point…I will be going into more detail on what I’ve learned about Rye Whiskey in the coming weeks:

Attention Boston area Bartenders:

You’re invited to a Rye Whiskey luncheon mixer! 

When: Monday, June 8th 1pm

Where: Eastern Standard (528 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA)

What: a jam of sorts in which ingredients and tools will be provided in order to facilitate the production of new rye cocktails, with lunch being provided, of course

Who: hosted by Jonathan Pogash, and made possible by the fine folks at (ri)1 Rye Whiskey (from Jim Beam)

Why: because Rye Whiskey was the “King of the American Barroom” (-Gary Regan & Mardee Haiden Regan, The Book of Bourbon and Other Fine American Whiskies, 1995), and is on its way to being so once again.

RSVP: jonathan@thecocktailguru.com

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