One Part Plant: Dude Edition


The multi-talented über-connector Jessica Murnane recently asked me to host one of her For Reals Meals for her plant-based site, One Part Plant. You may recall my girlfriend co-hosted one last year.

plant (8 of 15)Murnane was adamant on two fronts:
1) ALL PLANTS.
2) YOU CAN’T KNOW ANYONE YOU INVITE.

One was easy. Though I might share innumerable photos of the insides of diners and dive bars, colorful images of gravy slathered breakfasts and late night burgers, I actually try to eat relatively well. I love to make colorful salads. I am a big believer in finding balance. The grosser the meal the night before, the better I try to eat the next day. I haven’t done the best job this year, what with my job taking me in and out of many of the best bars and restaurants in the country on a frequent basis, but on my days off I’ve learned to simplify: cut out salts and sugars, cut back on coffee and drinks, load up on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lots and lots of water.

I was excited to see how my guests might take to my plant-based cocktails.

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plant (6 of 15)The first person I thought to invite was Michael Ciapciak, whose Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood has become something of a community center for me and my friends. Michael and I are both from St. Louis, and yet he and I have only a passing familiarity with one another. I loved having the opportunity to work with Michael on a gathering such as this one, and he definitely brought his A game: housemade pickles, a zucchini crudo (served on a roast board), a crudité of romesco with an assortment of tri-color carrots (served in a cast iron skillet). This red pepper sauce had a delicious, nutty quality. It was so filling. He also made a special Rhubarb Syrup just for me (!), which I put in a cocktail with Basil Hayden’s, basil leaves, mint leaves, amber agave and soda water.

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plant (3 of 15)The next two guys have long been heroes of mine. The co-founder of Goose Island Beer and the founder and current owner of Virtue Cider, Greg Hall is — to say the least — a major factor in the United States’ impressive growth of both microbreweries and the emerging boom in cideries.

Upon moving to Chicago, one of the first things I signed up to do was volunteer at the Green City Market, the city’s biggest farmer’s market, and one of the best in the country. At the end of my shift, Peter Klein of Seedling has always provided me with my traditional treat: a fruit smoothie made entirely using ingredients from his Michigan farm and orchard.

I’d only met these guys on a handful of occasions, and we’d never actually spent any time talking at length. To have the opportunity to learn about their businesses was a true treat. Greg brought two of the driest ciders I’ve ever tried, one of which a single orchard variety, The Ledbury, made its way into a cocktail he told me about, the Stone Fence, one of the very first “cocktails,” which is simply equal parts whiskey and cider. Pete brought the spiciest brandied cherries I’ve ever tasted and some special cherry bitters he made in collaboration with the guys at Bittercube in Milwaukee.

plant (5 of 15)Mike Ader of Midnorth Mercantile recently moved to Chicago from Minneapolis / St. Paul, where he was famous for his haircuts, his vintage clothing bazaar, and, well, his mustache. “My fiancée says I can’t call myself ‘Mustache Mike’ any longer.” Probably a good thing, Mike. I am always enamored with Mike’s finds. He has a treasure trove of vintage sporting goods, canvas sneakers, leather deck jackets, army fatigues, and recently, according to Instagram, a bevy of truly antique men’s and women’s swimwear.

Grant Legan the photographer and brand strategist whose travels inspire lush, interesting compositions which he graciously shares via Instagram. I’ve been a Grant Legan fan for a couple years, and though we live in the same city, our paths never crossed. I was determined to make it so, and he graciously accepted my invitation, regaling us with stories from his time driving a luxury car around the streets of New Orleans. Rough life.

And last, but certainly not least, there’s Mr. Super DangerAlex Maier, the musician and and filmmaker whose photos you’re currently enjoying. Alex and I have been in the mutual appreciation club for some time, and I’m happy to report since hanging out at Bang Bang, we’ve had occasion to share bourbon and burgers on a windier-than-expected day in Chicago’s West Loop.

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plant (12 of 15)The relationships we make as men are hard fought, owing mostly to the realities of growing up, settling down, over-committing at work and at home. It goes without saying, I really appreciate these guys. And of course, none of this would’ve been possible without one really special woman. So thanks to Jessica Murnane and all these dudes for taking time out of your weeks to spend it with the likes of me. It was a true pleasure to share this simple story of a plant-based fellowship.

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This is My Denver


Thanks to a partnership with entertainment site The A.V. Club, Basil Hayden’s is putting me on the road to mix it up with fans of our bourbon and fans of their site. We call this tour “This is My….” Starting in Denver, we’ll be traveling to several cities across the country to document a collection of people in each city doing interesting things centered around a theme. Our theme for Denver was après ski, that time when you ditch your gear and curl up with some good food, good friends, a good movie, and a good cocktail (or two). Special thanks to Williams & Graham’s Chad Michael George for crafting the Red on the Rocks cocktail and to Winter Session’s Tanya Fleisher and Roy Katz for sharing their story and their space for our first event.

The Illustrations of Christine Mitchell Adams

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So incredibly stoked for my friend N’East Style’s Christine Mitchell Adams’ new site. Some of you may recall that when it was time for us to create the logo for Buckshot Sonny’s, Christine was our first call. When Basil Hayden’s asked me to create an image to go along with my title of “Cultural Bloodhound,” well, you know the rest. As she tells it, “99% of my commissions to date have been folks approaching me through word-of-mouth. With my new site, I will be promoting/pitching my illustration services for the first time. This is a big challenge for me since I hate talking about myself. But in doing so I hope to collaborate with a wider range of clients including individuals, brands, and editorials.”

Hound2Hopefully, you will consider Christine when it comes to you and your brand’s illustration needs. Oh, and while you’re at it, if you haven’t already, go ahead and bookmark her blog, N’East Style. Couldn’t be prouder of her.

#GOODBEERBUCKSHOT No. 2


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Danny Luckett of Louisville Slugger

Head over to Basil Hayden’s to learn more about the time I spent with Danny Luckett, the man who has shaped bats for Louisville Slugger for the last 40 years.

 

 

 

District Millworks

Today on Whiskey. Among Other Things… I share the story of Jeremy Williams at District Millworks. While in Los Angeles earlier this year, after spending some time at Apolis’ Common Gallery with Raan Parton, he walked me over to “the mill,” as he called it. After Raan introduced us, we played a game on one of their killer shuffleboard tables, and then Jeremy showed me their skateboard presses.

 

You can see the whole story over at basilhaydens.com

Union Square Donuts

“When you get off the airplane, I have a little surprise for you.”

Union Square Donut’s Heather Schmidt

That’s how the text message read. What it didn’t say was that it was the best thing one road-weary traveller and his girlfriend could’ve possibly encountered. With a bottle of Basil Hayden’s bourbon whiskey in hand, Mr. James Fox of the blog 10 Engines met us in Sommerville, Massachusetts’ Union Square. He then lead us into Heather Schmidt’s Union Square Donuts grand opening.

Among her first batch of donuts were a Dulce de Leche Cinnamon Bun, a Honey Almond, an Orange Ginger Cream, a Chocolate Chipotle, and my personal favorite a Maple Bacon Donut.

For more on Heather’s delicious morsels (and her recipe for Basil Hayden’s caramel sauce), please visit Basil Hayden’s Whiskey… Among Other Things.

Brasserie by Niche

On a recent trip to my hometown of Saint Louis, Missouri, I swung into Brasserie by Niche for Basil Hayden’s Whiskey… Among Other ThingsIt was there I met Layla Linehan who devised a special cocktail she’s calling “My Old Missouri Mistress.” A cross between a Manhattan and an Old Pal, you can read all about it here.
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Terrapin Stationers

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Thanks to the work I’ve been able to do with Basil Hayden’s this year, I was finally able to spend some time visiting Terrapin Stationers’ Ted Harrington and my old pal, Heather Pieske — you may remember her from the Baja Fish Taco Party.

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Read the story of the bloodhound business cards.
Here is a full album of photos from my visit.

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Extra special thanks to Christine Mitchell for illustrating the bloodhound.

Be sure to check out Terrapin Stationers for more of their great work.

Belle Isle Seafood

Belle Isle

Before living on the East Coast, I’d never tried a lobster roll. Since moving to Chicago, I’ve learned that Giuseppe Tentori‘s rolls do the trick, but at quite a price. For a little more than the cost of a Big Mac, Boston’s Belle Isle Seafood will overwhelm your plate with Hulk Hogan-sized hunks of lobster. It’s definitely worth a stop on your way to-and-from Boston’s Logan Airport.

For more, visit basilhaydens.com.