One of the best bar guides we raided for Beachbum Berry’s Grog Log was a phone book-sized tome published in 1977. Jones’ Complete Bar Guide featured a whopping 4,000 recipes, but even more impressive were the photos on the back cover. These featured author Stan Jones (above) posed with various liquor industry reps, whose Montgomery Ward suits paled before the splendor of Jones’ seventies porn-star wardrobe. With his crotch-hugging flared jeans and matching demin jacket, his Polyester print shirts unbuttoned to the sternum, and his mack daddy leather coat, Jones looked like a cross between John Holmes, Al Franken, and Clarence The Cross-Eyed Lion.
The photos mesmerized us. Who was this strabismic supernerd? Apparently we were not alone in our obsession, because Jones has become the official mascot of a cocktail bloggers’ chat room called The Mixoloseum. How did Jones become the Disco Godfather of the inebriated internet set? “Because he’s a badass,” says Mixo member Rick Stutz of kaiserpenguin.com.
Rick presides over the Mixoloseum’s Thursday Drink Night, which recently celebrated a one-year anniversary. “I came up with this event really as an excuse to drink with friends on a Thursday Night,” explains Rick, “but we’re now looking back on fifty TDNs, and it’s still going strong. Our future plans include publications, a cocktail community-building portal online, and disinterring the corpse of Stan Jones and reanimating him a la Weird Science.”
The Beachbum dropped in on TDN during anniversary night. The theme was Tiki Drinks, and the challenge (as it is every week) was to post a new recipe created especially for the evening, which participating bloggers would then make on the spot and critique online. The Bum had a fine time: the conversation was hilariously obsessive, and the recipes did Stan Jones proud.
The first one we sampled was The Gunslinger, by Gabriel Szasko of cocktailnerd.com. To make the drink, shake up 2 ounces pineapple juice, 1 ounce Appleton V/X rum, 1/2 ounce Cruzan Black Strap rum, 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice, 1/4 ounce each Campari, falernum, and orgeat syrup, a teaspoon of Absinthe, and a dash of Angostura bitters. Serve in a Collins glass; top with soda water. “Gunslinger” seems an odd name for a Tiki drink, so we asked Gabriel about it. “The starting (and ending) point came through one of my favorite recipes for the Singapore Sling,” he answered. “So, throwing the term ‘sling’ in there was a nod to cribbing off of that drink, and ‘gun’ occurred to me because I find Appleton often brings a slight gunpowder element to drinks. Who says nerds overthink things?”
Another standout was the Po’aha Punch (pictured above), by Helena “Tiare” Olsen of amountainofcrushedice.com. Her recipe: In a blender place 1 ounce each Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum, Rhum Clemènt VSOP, and El Dorado Demerara rum (Tiare used the 15-year but the 5-year works just fine); 1/2 ounce each fresh lime juice and coffee liqueur; 1/4 ounce simple syrup; and a teaspoon of Lopez coconut cream. Blend with 1/2 cup crushed ice until smooth, then pour into a tall glass and add fresh pineapple juice to taste (we stopped at 2 ounces). Dust with nutmeg and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
The Bum tried four other drinks — all first-rate — before checking out. He has to admit, he was initially flummoxed by the notion of having keyboard conversations with virtual barflies. But how else can you share creative new cocktails with informed imbibers who occupy physical space on several continents? Another plus: no matter how much you drink, the closest thing you’ll get to a social disease is carpal tunnel syndrome.