Profile: Brian Petro

From The Alcohol Professor

Brian Petro, a native of Ohio, graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art. His path has wound through the design, education, and restaurant industries, all of them adding to his creative endeavors. The first time he stepped behind a bar, it felt like home. Ever since, he has absorbed all of the liquor knowledge he can find, from culture to history to recipes, and done his best to share what he knows with the world. Or, at least the readers of Dayton Most Metro, where he is the writer about all things cocktail.

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NoteStreams By Brian Petro

The Long, Bending History of the Straw

Plastic straws are now considered an environmental nemesis, but how did we get here?
The Alcohol Professor

Category: History

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A Brief History of Ice

Ice, a common ingredient in many cocktails, was at one point a rare treat for only the wealthy. For the bulk of human history, its creation was through purely natural means.
From lake harvest to the modern obsession with cube clarity, here’s how ice transformed the cocktail industry.
The Alcohol Professor

Category: Cocktails

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The Evolution of the Bartender's Tool Kit

The history of jiggers, strainers, shakers and spoons for making cocktails!
It has been over two-hundred years since the term “cocktail” hit the American lexicon. Those two centuries have seen incredible changes in the way we enjoy a tipple. But stepping behind the bar to make a cocktail is a different story.
The Alcohol Professor

Category: Cocktails

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Drinking With The Presidents

In honor of President's Day, let's take a look at POTUS drinking habits through history!
The Alcohol Professor

Category: Cocktails

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Literature and Libations: A Visual Guide

The relationship between writers and the bottle can be complex, and stretches back to Gilgamesh.
The Alcohol Professor

Category: Cocktails

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Historically Accurate Cocktails for Cinco De Mayo

Move over margaritas! If you are planning on heading to Mexico someday to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the native manner, expect to be disappointed.

Category: Cocktails

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The Year Of The Stag A History Of Jägermeister

We've come a long way from drinking Käuterlikör to what we know today as Jägermeister. This liquor is used in diverse ways by bartenders all around the globe. Depending on the taste preferences of the locals, it can be as simple as a shot or mixed as a part of a finely crafted cocktail.

Category: Cocktails

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Book Review: Lost Recipes Of Prohibition

Anyone who does serious writing and research about alcohol and its history has been drawn over and over to the Prohibition Era (January 16, 1920 to December 5, 1933). The combination of the Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act created a maze of regulations that was vastly more complex than just banning the sale of alcohol in the United States.

Category: Cocktails

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Shots of History: What the Presidents Drank

Alcohol, in all of its varieties, has been a part of American history from the time that the Pilgrims stopped in Massachusetts because they ran out of beer. The holder of the highest office in the land is not immune to the allure of a cocktail or four a day. Some of them, like George W. Bush and Ruthford B. Hayes (his wife was known as “Lemonade Lucy” for her ban on drinking in the White House), abstained completely from drinking. Other presidents drank a little more than was healthy. A few even used the White House and its gardens to make their own drinks; Barack Obama’s staff uses honey harvested on site to brew several varieties of beer, and Teddy Roosevelt used mint grown on the property to make Mint Juleps for his guests.

Category: History

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Reaching for the Sherry

It is difficult to pinpoint when sherry went from a bottle that was found behind every bar and in every respectable wine collection to a strange liquor that was relegated to cooking quality or a staple of VFW halls around the country. The history of this fortified wine is heavily influenced by the history of Europe, from the Phoenicians establishing colonies in the Cadiz area in the 11th century B.C. to Spain reclaiming the sherry heritage from other pretenders in 1996 when the European Union added a little extra enforcement of the existing Denominación de Origen. What is sherry, and what happened to precipitate its fall?

Category: Wine

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Of Life, Liberty, Happiness....and Punch!

There are so many reasons that punches are perfect for summer celebrations. Starting with graduation parties and Memorial Day and ending with those last few days in the pool and the start of the NFL season (yes that happens in summer), large gatherings are just what you do. At the peak of that season is the Fourth of July, one of the biggest celebrations of the summer. The Founding Fathers loved a boozy punch - here are 3 recipes to make in their spirit on July 4th!

Category: Cocktails

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Get Set for Negroni Week!

Italians are a passionate people. Their passion spreads to all aspects of life, including food and drink. They take meals seriously, with plenty of flavors and textures in the food they consume. Wine is always on the table, along with liquors to help aid in digestion and to open the palate for what is about to be enjoyed. Is it any surprise that in this environment one of the most classic of cocktails, based off Italian aperitifs, was created? One that sits with Martinis, Margaritas, and Old Fashioned as paragons of the bartenders’ menu? From June 1st to the 7th, bars from around the world will be celebrating Negroni Week, dedicated to this uniquely complex and balanced cocktail.

Category: Cocktails

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Once Forbidden Fruit: Spotlight on Grapefruit

Originally known as “the forbidden fruit”, the grapefruit was not discovered until the late 18th century, did not gain much popularity until the 19th century, and was not a booming success for farmers until the 20th century. Botanists believe that the grapefruit, named for how the fruit clusters on the tree, is a cross breeding of the sweet oranges that grew on Barbados with the pomelo (or Shaddock), a citrus fruit native to Indonesia. The grapefruit was fortunate enough to get the best of both the fruits; it has a tart and sweet flavor, either of which can be enhanced by adding the right compliments to it.

Category: Cocktails

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Let's Play Beer!

Beer and baseball just go together. Something about the warm sun and a cold beer is just what a fan needs to stay cool. Every team has its own character, and beers also have their own character, even within styles. Taste a porter, pale ale, or wheat beer from any brewery in the United States, and you will get a different experience depending on your location and the bar you are sitting at. Someone who really loves craft beer and baseball should come up with a fun list of beers to pair with their favorite team. Beers that reflect the character of the team, not just a great beer from every city.

Category: Craft Beer

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Classic Cocktails in History: The Sidecar

Cocktails have flowed out of New Orleans like the Mississippi River flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Possibly with the same volume. The best-known ones are the Hurricane and the Sazerac. However, there is another icon of the cocktail world that has its roots in New Orleans, mixing a little French Cognac, a little Spanish curaçao, and a little American ingenuity into a single, sugar-rimmed glass.

Category: Cocktails

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The Classic History of the Whiskey Sour

There has been a movement back to the basic blocks when it comes to cocktails. There is a grand pendulum that swings back and forth in trends. In the beginning, everything is simple. There is something special about the simple cocktails. They are enjoyable and well known from a customer standpoint, and easy to assemble from behind the bar. Daiquiris, Margaritas, Old Fashioneds, Gin and Tonics, are all starting to find their way back onto the menus of great cocktail establishments.
Another cocktail that is starting to see the light of day is one that has used the simplest of building material, and enjoyed widespread popularity in the United States even before it was written down – the Whiskey Sour.

Category: Cocktails

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Wine, Beer & Spirits From Seattle & Boston Face Off!

Parties and bars are only as good as the atmosphere they provide. Whether you are at the pet friendly Bad Jimmy’s in Seattle or the upscale beer lover’s paradise at The Publick House in Boston, good libations are a must. Fortunately, Seattle and Boston are incredible cities to find delicious suds or spirits.
How can we put those two cities head to head to see which city would take the crown for best city for drinking? In football, teams are usually defined in three different areas: offense, defense, and special teams. We can create three categories for drinking as well: wine, beer, and spirits. How does each city rank in those three categories? Let’s take a look!

Category: Sports

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Hello Bartenders. It’s me, Vodka.

Dear bartenders,
Hey there! How are things going? It is me, Vodka. I was wondering if you have seen any of the big, flashy advertisements I have been putting out. We have not had a good conversation in a very long time, and I would like to at least maybe try and work things out between us.

Category: Cocktails

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Cocktail History: The Bloody Mary

Sunday morning. Your stomach is a little delicate, your head is pounding, and every noise sounds like a thunderclap. You get out of bed, shower, and head out for brunch with friends, rocking the darkest glasses you have. It is not clear when the sun became so bright, but it certainly feels like someone turned up the intensity. Perusing the menu of your chosen brunch spot, you are looking for something that will sit well in your stomach. It all sounds a little dicey, until you get to the cocktail menu and see it: the Bloody Mary. No matter how rough the night was before, a Bloody Mary sounds great the next day. It is a cocktail that has risen from a curiosity in a Paris cocktail bar to a staple of brunch around the world. You would be hard pressed to find this cocktail excluded from any book of classic cocktails. You would also be hard pressed to find any two bartenders that use the same recipe. This is where the Bloody Mary gets interesting.

Category: Cocktails

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Cachaça’s Identity Crisis

Cachaça is the third most consumed distilled spirit in the world, behind vodka and soju. It has struggled for years with its own identity crisis.
“Brazilian rum” is not just any other rum. Grab a glass, and join us as we learn more!

Category: Cocktails

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Classic Cocktails in History: the Daiquiri

The U.S. landed troops on a beach named Daiquiri, in Santiago, Cuba. Jennings Cox was one of the first on the island once it was safe, and generally credited with creating the original Daiquiri. The story goes that while he was entertaining guests one night, he ran out of the gin everyone was enjoying. Learn about the evolution of the drink he created - and try your hand at some variations - recipes included!

Category: Cocktails

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