Washington, DC: A Bloody Adventure

Posted by: on September 17, 2014

By Jeffrey Pogash

Our “Bloody Cocktail Adventure” began at the new and exciting Union Market, where we found Gina Chersevani in her Airstream trailer making the most delicious frozen drinks that we have tasted in a long time. We tried the Margarita and the Pina Colada – refreshing with our Korean barbecue and empanada, after which we strolled to Ocopa Peruvian restaurant and bar and tried a delicious blue corn based drink, Chicha Morada, prepared by the talented ‎Glendon Hartley. It was just what the palate needed on a hot, muggy day – refreshing and very flavorful drink.


union market pig
(Pig at Union Market)

The highlight of our first evening was dinner at the bar at Kapnos, a fabulous Greek/Mediterranean restaurant unlike any other. The spreads included hummus, eggplant and roe, but the ‘piece de resistance’ was the three meat platter consisting of roasted lamb, suckling pig and goat.‎ The wild mushroom phyllo pie was equally succulent and the drinks, made by mixologist Taha were superb. The Papadopolous was a favorite of mine.

After dinner, a nightcap at The Gibson and 2 birds, 1 Stone, was in order and both establishments served us delicious classic and creative cocktails and it was fun watching the bartenders in action as they skillfully and methodically prepared them.

Jonathan here – the impetus for our trip was the first annual Bloody Mary Bash at the St. Regis Hotel – put on by the awesome USBG DC chapter. We had a blast! Dad (Jeff) was the guest of honor, and the photos below will tell the whole story (or most of it, that is). As you may or may not know, Pops is the author of “Bloody Mary” (Thornwillow Press, 2011)- a book that is featured and sold at most of the St. Regis hotels across the U.S.

Look to this space for more Bloody Adventures to come!

Superbowl Cocktails – as seen on The Today Show 1/30/14

Posted by: on January 29, 2014


Mile High Mojito

1 1/2 oz. Blue Chair Bay white rum

3/4 oz. Clementine juice

1/4 oz. simple syrup

splash of fresh lime juice

Top w/ Martini Prosecco (or Colorado Beer)

1 handful fresh herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary, mint)

Directions: Muddle the herbs in the lime juice.  Add remaining ingredients (except for beer) with ice and shake well.  Strain into ice-filled highball glass.  Top w/ splash of Prosecco.

Garnish: lots of fresh herbs


Seahawk Shuffle

1 1/2 oz. Van Gogh Double Espresso vodka

3/4 oz. sweetened coconut milk

1/2 oz. espresso

Directions: Shake well with ice and strain into martini glass.

Garnish: espresso powder and mint leaf floating on top


Maybe Next Year

1 oz. POM wonderful pomegranate juice

1 oz. freshly squeezed lemonade

Top w/ Sam Adams “Cold Snap” Beer (from Boston)

Directions: Build directly into rocks glass with ice and stir.

Garnish: tears and hope


Super Bowl Sangria

1 bottle Sandeman Founder’s Reserve Port wine

1 cup fresh orange juice

1 cup fresh grapefruit juice

2 cups POM wonderful pomegranate juice

1/2 bottle Martini Prosecco

Directions: Pour ingredients (except for Prosecco) in a large pitcher.  Cover and chill in refrigerator overnight.  When ready to serve, remove and add the prosecco, then serve immediately over ice in wine glasses.

Garnish: fresh berries, like blueberries and raspberries


Introducing: Gastronomic Americana – My Idea of Good

Posted by: on July 9, 2013


americana farm

Over the past 50 years, I have had the good fortune to frequent some of the world’s finest restaurants, ranging from the great gastronomic temples of Paris and New York, to more modest cafes, taverns and brasseries in those and other cities. The standards that I have always used for judging the quality of these establishments were set by France’s ‘Guide Michelin’ (the red book), the bible in the world of gastronomy and still a constant companion  when I travel or dine locally or internationally.

My taste in food is similar to my taste in cocktails – eclectic.  I love everything that is good – from caviar, hamburgers, sushi and bacon, to fried chicken, Beef Wellington, scrambled eggs, jerk chicken and lobster –  and by reading this section of The Cocktail Guru regularly, the reader will begin to understand how I define the term ‘good.’

I have been eating my way through  Manhattan ever since my mother took me to Le Veau d’ Or, a traditional French restaurant that was considered one of New York’s finest establishments at the time. I was twelve years old and it was my initiation into the world of ‘haute cuisine’. This was followed by a trip to the original ‘La Fonda del Sol’ where I learned to appreciate the Americanized versions of Central and South American cuisines, thanks to the brilliant restaurateur Joe Baum, who was responsible for the creation of Quo Vadis, Forum of The Twelve Caesars, The Four Season’s, Window’s On The World and The Rainbow Room among other legendary “themed” properties. My mother did a great job introducing me to a variety of foods, as our dining experiences included the Horn and Hardart cafeteria and the lunchrooms at Schrafft’s and Woolworth’s. Since I grew up in northern New Jersey in the 1950’s and 60’s, I had the distinct advantage of dining on some of the best hamburgers and hot dogs of the era, at Don’s Drive-In (created in 1954) and Pal’s Cabin (created in 1932) both of which were very close to home. Unfortunately, both are now closed, Pal’s Cabin having shut its doors just a few weeks ago after a stellar run of 81 years. Pal’s Cabin and another local West  Orange, N. J. restaurant, The Westwood, were probably my very first ‘fine dining’ experiences. They were white table cloth
restaurants, with The Westwood having . Tuxedo-clad waiters and a pianist banging out tunes made famous by crooners such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Judy Garland and Edith Piaf. I firmly believe that my appreciation of Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer came from my many experiences here beginning at age seven. I clearly remember the details of the tableside Caesar Salad, as well as the great steaks and lobsters. My first taste of lobster was at The Westwood, though my preferred dish was the ‘chopped Steak’, served with a mushroom gravy and French fried onion rings. Pal’s Cabin served the same dish.

This is how my palate was formed, for better or for worse, so please take my judgments with the proverbial ‘grain of salt.’ I have never been nor aspire to be, a restaurant critic. I will not give numerical ratings or stars in my assessments, since my goal is to give a qualitative and fairly detailed run down on restaurants and allow you, dear reader, to decide whether or not to patronize them.

The author, Jeff, diligently taking notes for this article

Jeffrey M. Pogash

Porton: A Love Story

Posted by: on July 1, 2013


It was a revelation when I tasted my first “pisco” about seventeen years ago in the classic cocktail, Pisco Sour. Immediately, I fell in love with the drink, as the spirit, lemon juice, simple syrup, foamy egg white, and the light touch of Angostura bitters floating on top, produced a beautifully balanced and delicious accompaniment to the South American food that I was enjoying. It didn’t hurt that I found myself in a breath taking semi-tropical setting, lounging on the porch of the hacienda where I was a guest, a fiery sunset forming the backdrop. As I sipped with gusto, I did not realize that there was a controversy associated with this spirit, so I drank innocently, oblivious to the international brouhaha that had been simmering years before and that would eventually erupt and blow the lid off of the entire category. For I was in Chile drinking that Pisco Sour and therein lies the rub. Little did I know that in 1974, Chile enacted legislation banning the importation of any spirit labeled “pisco”, an attempt to keep the peruvian version away from the Chilean consumer, although today, Peruvian pisco is exported to Chile, but under a different name.


Downtown Lima, Peru

It was the great and colorful raconteur, Mr. Gary Regan, mentor to many of us who study cocktails and practice mixology, who first brought this to my attention. My skepticism kicked in when Gary talked about his first trip to Peru to study of all things, pisco ! “But isn’t pisco from Chile” ? I asked. He explained that the town of Pisco was located in Peru and that the truly original  spirit known as pisco, was born in that country. I learned about the controversy at that very moment.

Founded in 1640, the town of Pisco is located along the southern coast of Peru, a location where wildlife abounds. The Quechua natives named the village, which means “bird”.


Porton’s La Hacienda Caraveda

Many people do not realize that this aromatic and flavorful spirit called pisco is grape-based. At Porton‘s Hacienda La Caraveda and San Isidro estates, a selection of grapes is made bunch by bunch, harvested only when they are deemed to be fully-ripened. Quebranta is the principle grape variety  for the production of Porton, but Torontel and Albilla are included as well. The laws in Peru are stricter than in Chile where it is perfectly legal to add water and sugar and where distillation can take place in industrial size column stills. Flavor and purity are critical elements of Porton  production and it is Johnny Schuler, managing partner, Master Distiller, and pisco “Professor Extraordinaire”,who is the gatekeeper, ensuring the quality and the consistency of the spirit produced here. Fermentation of the grape juice is accomplished naturally, using only the wild yeast that clings to grape skins. Once the juice is pressed, it is allowed to ferment, but not completely. This unique method is known as ‘Mosto Verde’ and is used to enhance the character of the final spirit. Distillation takes place in small pot-stills, which means Porton is produced in batches, not continuously, allowing, once again, for greater retention of flavor and complexity.

Another difference between pisco produced in Peru and many other spirits, has to do with distillation to the precise level of alcohol, which means water is not required to lower the proof. Mr. Schuler proudly states that pisco from Peru may not be watered down like other spirits, therefore the true character and flavor profile of the product, remains intact. Each of these steps is reflected in the purity of pisco from Peru and in its unique quality and character.

Johnny Shuler giving us the grand tour.

Johnny Schuler giving us the grand tour.

Johnny Schuler likes to characterize the Porton distillery as “Techno-Artisanal”, as it is a state-of-the-art operation that has never forgotten the original methods of production that give pisco its identity. Porton is hand-crafted, combining the best of the old and the new.DSC_0052

The Hacienda

The Hacienda

As he leads us on a walking tour of  Hacienda La Caravedo, Johnny explains that the property was founded by Jesuits in the 1600’s and it was during this era that pisco was first produced in Peru. It is estimated that by the mid 1600’s there was a distillery built on the property that was purchased by Roque Caravedo in 1684, making Hacienda La Caravedo the oldest working distillery in the Americas. The old distillery has been carefully and lovingly restored and is not just for show, as it is still being used today for pisco production. The new distillery is a gem, spotless and gleaming with copper and stainless steel, high tech yes, but at the same time respecting the use of small artisanal copper pot-stills that help preserve the full flavor and complexity inherent in the grapes that produce Porton.

The bottling line at Porton.

The bottling line at Porton.


Johnny and Pisco villagers producing family Piscos.

For all of these reasons, Johnny Schuler likes to say that Porton is “hand-crafted perfection you can taste.” No doubt there are more good things in store from this up and coming pisco distillery that has already created an important niche for itself, not just as a fine pisco, but as one of the finest and most natural spirits produced anywhere in the world.


Our lovely group of Pisco-lovers.

Our lovely group of Pisco-lovers.

The author, Jeff, diligently taking notes for this article

The author, Jeff, diligently taking notes for this article

by Jeffrey Pogash


pisco porton logo

(Father Of Owner)


It’s That Time of the Year Again – The Peter F Heering Sling Awards!

Posted by: on June 19, 2013

Peter F Heering Sling Award is back and make sure you send in your contribution before June 25th. 20 semifinalists will be presented at Tales of Cocktail in New Orleans July 19th and 5 finalists will go to Berlin during Bar Convent Berlin in October. Hope to see you in NOLA! Please visit the Heering FB page for more information. Thank you!!

Attention Bartenders!

Last year’s success “The Sling Award” is back.

Create your own interpretation of the classic cocktail The Singapore Sling. Win a tablet computer – and the possibility to be one of five finalists competing for the grand prize at Heering Sling Award, BCB Bar Convent in Berlin, October 2013.
Sign up now!

If you are a US resident, click here:


If you are a resident of another country, click here:


heering sling awards

Sparkling Cocktails For Mom

Posted by: on May 12, 2013

(As seen on The Rhode Show, WPRI Providence, RI)

Clip here: http://www.wpri.com/dpp/rhode_show/sparkling-cocktails-for-mom-jonathan-pogash

Pineapple-Mango Sparkler
1 oz. mango nectar
1 oz. pineapple juice
3 oz. sparkling wine, like prosecco
Directions: Add ingredients to shaker tin with ice and fold briefly. Strain into champagne flute and top with extra prosecco.
Garnish: mango spear

Strawberry-Basil Sparkler
2 strawberries, chopped
2 basil leaves
splash of agave nectar
splash of fresh lemon juice
3 oz. sparkling wine, like prosecco
Directions: Muddle the strawberries in the agave and lemon juice. Add sparkling wine with ice and gently fold. Strain into champagne flute.
Garnish: strawberry slice on rim of glass

Blueberry-Lavender Sparkler
3/4 oz. blueberry-lavender syrup**
3 oz. sparkling wine, like prosecco
Directions: Add ingredients to shaker tin with ice and fold briefly. Strain into champagne flute and top with extra prosecco.
Garnish: floating blueberries

“Beer-Tails” from NYC Craft Beer Festival

Posted by: on March 31, 2013

The Stout Affair

(1 serving)

1 tsp. Morning Glory Coffee Syrup

6 oz. Brooklyn Brewery Dry Irish Stout

pinch of ground cinnamon

orange peel

Directions: Combine coffee syrup and beer in a shaker tin with some ice and gently stir/fold.  Strain into a chilled glass.

Garnish: orange peel and ground cinnamon


Sunset On The Ridge

(1 serving)

3/4 oz. Honey Ridge Farms Blackberry creme (re-constituted with warm water)**

6 oz. Brooklyn Brewery East India IPA

1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice

Directions: Add ingredients to shaker tin with a little ice and stir/fold briefly.  Strain over ice into rocks glass.

Garnish: Wild Hibiscus edible flower

**To reconstitute Honey Ridge Farms Blackberry Creme: Add 1 jar honey creme to a container with 1 cup of warm water and stir well to dilute.  Then chill and serve.


NYC Craft Beer Festival: Seasonals

Next festival: Summer 2013


Introducing Pavan Liqueur – AND Win A Trip to France!

Posted by: on February 16, 2013

At The Cocktail Guru we’re always on the lookout for new and unusual ingredients.  Oftentimes these things just sort of land at our doorstep.  Such was the case with Pavan, a French muscat grape-based liqueur named after the “dance of the peacock.”

We tasted it, we loved it, we’re writing about it.  That’s how it works, folks.

The juice is very bold and floral, with some hints of lime, clementine, and white grape juice.  We’re eager to start mixing with it.

Oh right, the trip to France.

This is how YOU, The Cocktail Guru audience, can get in on this Pavan action:

What’s better than a breezy, delicious cocktail?

A breezy, delicious cocktail in the French Riviera, that’s what!

Pavan wants to bring you and a friend on a 4-day trip to France to explore Paris and the French Riviera!

Pavan Liqueur is a new spirit that’s just arrived from the beautiful South of France — home of Brigitte Bardot herself. It’s subtly sweet and grapey and has a bit of exotic orange blossom. Pavan gets its name from a classic French dance of the peacock and it definitely will bring some swagger to your style.  And that’s not all… are you ready?

Pavan’s Perfectly Paired Cocktail Competition is whispering sweet words of flavor in your ears. As 3 different Pavan drink recipes compete against each other in a battle of taste and temptation for a chance to be featured during Food and Wine week in South Beach! But YOU can win too!

By voting for your favorite libation you will automatically be entered for a chance to win a trip to Paris and The French Riviera. It’s as easy as that–pinky promise!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to Pavan’s Facebook Page
  2. You must have a Facebook Account to enter
  3. Click the “LIKE” button to Like the page if you have not done so before
  4. Click down on the menu, find your Favorite Cocktail and Vote/Complete the entry form
  5. You will be automatically entered for your chance to win a Trip for Two to Paris and the South of France!
  6. Limit of one entry per person on Facebook
  7. After you submit your Vote/Entry you will have the option to earn one more entry by following us on Twitter and tweeting the following message:  “I just entered the Pavan Perfectly Paired Contest” with the hashtag #PavanSOBE.
  8. You must have a Twitter account to receive an additional entry

So what are you waiting for? Vote now and enter for a chance to travel to France. It’s like happy hour without the bar tab!

Cocktails Are For Lovers Event – Recipes 2/7/13, Astor Center, NYC

Posted by: on February 7, 2013

Thanks for joining us!  Below are the recipes from this evening’s event:


The Islay Affair

1 1/2 oz. Ardbeg single malt scotch whisky

1 oz. blackberry puree

1/4 oz. simple syrup

1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

Directions: Add ingredients to cocktail shaker with ice and shake well.  Strain into chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish: sage leaf


Dear Ardbeg, Love, Me

1 1/2 oz. Ardbeg single malt scotch whisky

1 oz. mandarin-tangerine juice

1/2 oz. ginger liqueur

Directions: Shake ingredients well with ice, then add sparkling wine to shaker and stir briefly.  Strain into cocktail glass.

Garnish: shaved dark chocolate & real luxardo cherry



Heart Breaker

2 oz. Sandeman Founder’s Reserve port

1 oz. fresh grapefruit juice

1 oz. home-made grenadine

1/4 oz. white crème de cacao

3-4 drops rose water

3-4 drops aphrodesiac bitters

Directions: Shake ingredients very well with ice and strain over ice into rocks glass.

Garnish: sweetheart candy



The Xante Crush

1 1/2 oz. Xante pear liqueur

1 strawberry, chopped

1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

1/2 oz. simple syrup

Directions: Muddle the strawberries in the lemon and simple. Add the Xante and shake well with ice.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish: strawberry slice



Killer Body

1 oz. Killepitsch (German herbal spirit)

1/2 oz. Pisa (Italian nut-flavored liqueur)

1 oz. Blood Orange puree

1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

simple syrup to taste

3 drops lavender bitters

Directions: Shake well with ice and strain over ice into a rocks glass.

Garnish: freshly grated nutmeg and real maraschino cherry


The Stetson Man

1 1/2 oz. John B. Stetson Bourbon

1/2 oz. Lillet Rouge

1/4 oz. orange liqueur

mist of Killepitsch

Diretions: Stir ingredients well with ice and strain into glass.  Before serving, spritz Killepitsch in mouth, then sip cocktail.

Garnish: orange peel & real luxardo cherry

Fox & Friends “Midnight Toast” Cocktails from 12/28/12 Show

Posted by: on December 27, 2012

Fox & Friends Fox News Channel
“Midnight Toast” Cocktails w/ Jonathan Pogash, “The Cocktail Guru”


New Year’s Mambo

1 oz. Van Gogh Raspberry vodka

3 oz. Martini Prosecco

1 tsp. agave nectar

splash of fresh lemon juice

pinch of pumpkin pie spice

2 raspberries

Directions: Shake all ingredients (except for prosecco) with ice and strain into a champagne flute.  Top w/ the prosecco.

Garnish: edible silver leaf (optional)


Coquito (traditional Caribbean holiday drink)

3 parts Ron Abuelo 7 yr old Rum

1 part sweetened condensed milk

1 part coconut milk

winter spices to taste (cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc)

Directions: Combine ingredients into a blender and blend ahead of time, then re-bottle into rum bottle and refrigerate overnight.  Serve with or without ice into short glasses.


2013 Punch

2 parts Maker’s Mark Bourbon

1 part Barritt’s Ginger Beer

1/2 part fresh lemon juice

1/2 part Monin agave nectar

1/2 part Perfect Puree of Napa Valley peach puree

1 part Champagne

Several dashes of bitters to taste

Directions: Combine into a large punch bowl and add block ice.  Stir well to dilute and chill.

Garnish: several lemon slices, sage leaves, and candied ginger


Selection of sparkling wines (Prosecco – from Italy, Cava – from Spain, California sparkling wine, Champagne – France)