Kung Fu Master + New Stuff

I woke up at about three in the morning last night with a mind worm in my head that just wouldn't let go. I kept thinking about all the things I still want to do in life, but am now beginning to realize will probably never happen. Like my attempt to learn French, for example. I learned German and Spanish by basically dedicating my life to doing only those two things at those particular times. Right now I'm trying to parler just on my lunch breaks. That's never going to get it done to the level I want it at, unfortunately; but I don't have any more time to give beyond that. What about living in another country? I'd like to do that again. What about getting back down to my fighting weight? How can I lose ten pounds if I'm drinking a bottle of rosé every night? In reality I'm never going to do any of this stuff because the sacrifices they'll require me to make are no longer worth doing.

That type of stuff, worming its way through my brain, in the dark at 3 AM, relentlessly. Is that a mid-life crisis? I don't know.

Then I started thinking maybe all this stuff was like an adult version of what I felt watching movies like The Karate Kid and Bloodsport when I was a child in the eighties. The idea of being a kung fu master seemed incredible, but the reality of what it took to get to that level meant total sacrifice. I didn't have the discipline for training my body into the ultimate machine of destruction, but I did have the discipline for other things. I see a lot of that same immediate desire in the spirits world today; people who want to be experts overnight, who want to know everything about wine and whisky, but don't realize the sacrifice it takes to get to that level—both financially and physically. I can tell you right now that the long-term effects of constant exposure to alcohol on my psyche after nine years in the business are still up for debate. I'm not sure it's a good idea for anyone to put as much alcohol in their mouth as I do. In the meantime, I'm going to have a drink and try to forget about all this stuff. I probably shouldn't have watched No Country For Old Men before falling asleep last night.

Maybe I'll start with these incredible four spirits from OsCo: The Oakland Spirits Company.

I met with Michael Pierce yesterday from OsCo, a new distillery on 25th Street near Telegraph that's making some of the most interesting new gins and white spirits I've tasted in years. I still need to head over to the distillery before giving you the full rundown, but in the meantime the following spirits are available and they're pretty delicious. OsCo is part of a winery called Two Mile Wines, so all of the spirits are grape-based. Here's what we just got in today:

OsCo #5 Gin $24.99 - Mike called this his "Sunday gin," an easy, citrus-flavored, mild-mannered gin that's meant for classic cocktails or G&Ts. Delicious, and the price is even more exciting. A local, "craft" gin that's under thirty bucks? I must be dreaming.

OsCo Sea Gin $29.99- This is a breath of fresh air; fresh SEA air, hahahahahahaha....Made with hand-foraged nori from Mendocino and sundried by "certified non-GMO hippies," as Mike said. Super, super cool stuff. Like an Islay gin, even more so than the Botanist from Bruichladdich. 

Here's where it really gets cool. I've been waiting for someone to have the guts to make a gin without juniper. The catch, of course, is that you can't call it gin. That's why no one does it. You can't market it without the juniper because otherwise it's just "spirits flavored with _______". Who wants to drink that?


Glasshouse Brandy flavored with shiso $29.99 - Umami galore! Salty, nutty, savory shiso flavor with the freshness of a gin. Cocktail night with Japanese food will never be the same again.

Glasshouse Brandy flavored with lemongrass $29.99 - This is like the spirits version of the Vietnamese food I just ate for lunch. It's like pure, vibrant, bold lemongrass in an explosion of booze. Who knew we needed this?

We can't ship these bottles at the moment because of a problem with the seal on the cork, but if you want to come in and grab a bottle feel free. We're working on a solution in the meantime, but don't let that slow you down! I'm very excited to see what these guys have up their sleeves. Tasting with Mike was an unexpected delight that I desperately needed this week.

-David Driscoll 

David Driscoll