Drinker’s Dictionary Volume 2 (Your Input Is Needed)



One of my most popular posts (thanks, Reddit) and the best-selling item in my Etsy Store are both based on Ben Franklin’s compendium of words and phrases meaning drunk, The Drinker’s Dictionary.

Now, more than 275 years after he published it, it’s time for an update. so I’m compiling the best contemporary terms for “drunk”.

I will publish it here, and etch it into another decanter, to make a matching set with the original.

Add your favorites in the comments box below, and one randomly selected contribution that makes it into the final piece, will earn the contributor a free set of Drinker’s Dictionary Decanters.

Note: depending on submissions, I may exclude profanity from the final list. After all, we want this to be family-friendly list of terms for getting effed-up. If there are a lot of unique, profane and obscene submissions, that may just necessitate me making a third volume, in which case, one of you shit-faced shit-talkers will also get a free set.

B – Bashed, Basted, Besotted, Blitzed, Blotto, Bombed, Boozed up, Buzzed…

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Kerf-Bending Coffee Cup Cuffs

I’ve been so busy developing new gizmos that I haven’t been posting much lately, so here’s a peak at my most recent project. Along with new decanters, including a set with quotes about the spirits they contain, and some DIY cocktail kits with etched bottles, I’ve been working more with wood.

Along with creating woodcut stamps to make fun packaging, I stumbled onto a great new concept. I’m turning rigid sheets of plywood into “koozies” that fit paper coffee cups and pint glasses of beer, to protect your delicate fingers from extreme temperatures. Still testing design and resiliency, but so far results are  impressive. If you’re in SF and want to be an alpha tester, take me out for a cup of coffee and I’ll give you a free cuff.




Note: Kerf-bending or “kerfing” is using the space created by a saw blade (called the kerf) or in this case, a laser, to create flexibility in an otherwise stiff material. The 1/4-inch plywood I am using for this project is remarkably inflexible, and yet once I’ve sliced it up, I can roll the whole thing up like it’s made of paper.

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Wisdom of My Father


This is my first Father’s Day as a dad, and my parents just came out to visit from Vermont to meet the baby and spend some time with me in San Francisco.

Along with sound advice on parenting and relationships, my father dropped some cocktail wisdom on me when I took my folks out to Trick Dog for drinks.

I usually assess the cocktailing potential of a new bar by ordering a Blood and Sand (equal parts Scotch, sweet vermouth, OJ and Cherry Heering). Any hesitation or confusion from the bartender, and I would know not to order another cocktail. The tragic flaw is that I am rarely in the mood for such a sweet drink. When this came up in conversation, my old man started to smirk.

My dad, he does it one better. He orders a Perfect Manhattan (“perfect” denotes replacing half of the sweet vermouth with dry vermouth), and if the bartender says something like, “Oh, all the drinks here are excellent,” he says, “You know, I’ve changed my mind. I’ll have a beer.”

An engineer by education, and a craftsman by avocation, I’m really unsurprised that he would devise such an efficient and elegant approach.

Perfect Manhattan

(Dad usually calls for Jameson, technically making this a perfect “Emerald”, a much smoother alternative to the traditional rye)

two ounces whiskey
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
a dash of orange bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

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SpeedRack is Back

If you are in San Francisco this weekend and looking for something to do, check out SpeedRack, the touring female bartender competition that’s raising money for breast cancer research.

The last time I attended SpeedRack was in Portland, and I can vouch that it’s a rowdy, raunchy and a raucous good time. Tickets are only $20 ($25 at the door), so come cheer on your favorite local cocktail-maker. If you aren’t in SF, check their site to see when SpeedRack might be coming to your city.


WHEN:           Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 3– 7pm (website says Feb 24, 2012 in places, but don’t be fooled)
WHERE:       The Chapel, 777 Valencia Street, San Francisco
WHY:       Watch skilled, gorgeous bartenders, imbibe excellent drinks, save some boobs
WHO: a great list of competitors, many of whom are personal friends, so I can’t say who I want to win.

  • Alicia Walton – Elixir, Bloodhound, Momo’s (San Francisco)
  • Allison Webber – Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen (San Francisco)
  • Ashley Curren – Rickhouse (San Francisco)
  • Claire Sprouse – Tradition (San Francisco)
  • Danielle Marchant –Monarch (San Francisco)
  • Jen Ackrill – Rye (San Francisco)
  • Jennifer Colliau – Slanted Door (Berkeley, CA)
  • Julie Thompson – Rye (San Francisco)
  • Kate Bolton – Maven (San Francisco)
  • Keli Rivers – Hotsy Totsy Club (San Francisco)
  • Kim Gooden – Tradition (San Francisco)
  • Kim Rosselle – Flora/ Fauna (Oakland, CA)
  • Lauren Steele – Hook & Ladder, Lowbrau (Sacramento)
  • Leilani Vella – Nopa, Lolinda, Absinthe (San Francisco)
  • Lucia Gonzales – Prizefighter (Oakland, CA)
  • Megan Silsbee – Nopa (San Francisco)
  • Michaela Leah King – Cantina (San Francisco)
  • Rhachel Shaw – Tradition, Local Edition (San Francisco)
  • Victoria George – Rickhouse, AQ Restaurant & Bar (San Francisco)
  • Vita Simone Strauss – Dogwood, The New Easy (Oakland, CA)

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Multi-Purpose Bar Tools


I hate single-use kitchen gadgets (hot dog slicers, corn strippers, pizza shears, anything from Skymall), but so many bar tools are limited in what they can do.

I certainly am not advocating a swiss army-style cocktail tool, and yes, that really does exist. There’s nothing useful about ten bulky tools crammed into one with all utility sacrificed for the sake of compactness, like the monstrosity on the right, but there is room for expanded functionality for some standard, single-purpose bar tools.

My new favorite is the Microplane Stainless-Steel Citrus Bar Tool, which combines a speed-key bottle opener format with a grater/zester and channel knife (used for cutting a twist from citrus peel). The only downside is losing the speed-pour pulling ring on the back end, which really only matters to a professional. For home enthusiasts, or if you are throwing a cocktail party for friends, this tool is a fantastic way to to improve efficiency, save space and a few bucks. The item is less than $20 at Williams-Sonoma.

Anyone else have favorite multi-purpose or otherwise innovative bar tools?



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Etched Liquor Bottles For The Home Bar

On a lark, I practiced my glass etching skills on a few beautiful St. George Spirits apothecary bottles, and the folks I shared them with seem to think I should run with it, so I am considering selling a line of up-cycled liquor bottles as spirits decanters for the home bar. I hope to craft some other fun gimmicks and promotional items too.

The single bottle pictured is etched with the entirety of Benjamin Franklin’s “The Drinker’s Dictionary,” his compendium of every term meaning drunk.

The group shot is the start of a set, each displaying a quote that includes the name of the spirit,  bigger and bolder for emphasis and clear labeling. The Quotes are as follows:

“WHISKEY, like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation. You gaze first, then it’s time to drink.” – Haruki Murakami, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

“ TEQUILA. Straight. There’s a real polite drink. You keep drinking until you finally take one more and it just won’t go down. Then you know you’ve reached your limit. – Lee Marvin

“I’ll stick with GIN. Champagne is just ginger ale that knows somebody.  ” – Hawkeye, M*A*S*H,  1973


I also etched Charles Bukowski’s “Beer” into a lager bottle, but it needs redesigning before I post a photo.


What do you think?

Any Suggestions?


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I was perplexed by a couple of one-off events that Krug hosted at Tales of the Cocktail last year, but forgot about it until I ran across the photos that I took. Their brand ambassadors invited out a bunch of bartender buddies out on the company dime to eat oysters and pig meat at good, but downscale restaurants while draining cases of expensive champagne.

The idea behind the campaign was to convince people that it’s a great idea to crack open a few $200 bottles of bubbly with your buddies while you throw back a dozen miyagis or gnaw on some pig feet. Not sure who gave this one the green light, but it made for some great afternoons even if the message was a bit hard to swallow.

Edit (5/19): Apparently I am not the only one noticing Krug’s misguided marketing. The day after I posted this piece, this hit the news.

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Vice Cream #1: Cherry Chocolate Port

I wrote this in July of 2009, right after buying an ice cream maker, and just discovered that I never posted it. To this day, I have only ever used my ice cream maker to freeze alcoholic treats.


Cherry Chocolate Port Ice Cream

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups milk, scalded
1 1/2 cups cream, cold
1/2 vanilla bean (about 2 inches), scraped
3/4 cup dried bing cherries, reconstituted in port
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Stir together sugar and starch and whisk in egg yolk, then milk.  Over medium heat, stirring constantly, bring to a boil and continue stirring for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and pour into a chilled bowl, stir in vanilla scrapings, cover and chill.  Once cold, whisk in cream and put in ice cream maker (mine took 20 minutes, but follow the instructions on your own), and then stir in cherries and chocolate before covering and putting in the freezer to harden.

Notes:  scalding milk is simply bringing it briefly to a boil, which will cause solids to separate from the milk and stick to the pan, so they are left behind when you pour off the milk.  To make the cherries, put a cup of dried bing cherries in a cup of good port and let them sit, covered at room temperature for a few days.

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