Jack Bettridge

Jack Bettridge
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Why a Culebra?

Posted: Jul 17, 2007 11:07am ET
The culebra cigar shape has always flummoxed me. Spanish for snake, a culebra is a crooked viper of a cigar, usually packaged in a set of three intertwined around each other. It’s novel, but what would possess anyone to roll tobacco in that way? They’re hard to package, weird to smoke and they don’t fit in any cigar case I know of.

Sharp’ning Up Your Cocktail Talk

Posted: Jun 29, 2007 12:21pm ET
Every year dictionary publishers and language arbiters announce with some fanfare words that they have decided to add to the lexicon. Because of the relentless march of technology, many of them are terms that sprout from the conversation of computer buffs and other such electronically obsessed types: blogging, podcasts, texting, for example.

Further Adventures in Spotting Smokers

Posted: Jun 19, 2007 4:14pm ET
Earlier I blogged about a game I like to play that I call “Seen Smoking.” Not much to it essentially except spotting people smoking cigars. Sometimes it’s on the street, other times it’s in the media or celebrity life.

Sunday, I had a particularly good sighting while watching “Entourage,” the HBO series that just began its second season of the year. (It ran for a number of episodes in the time slot following “The Sopranos,” then took a week off when “The Sopranos” had its final episode and it just restarted in what is being called a separate season—these things were easier to follow years ago when every season began in September, but I digress.)

The Power of Positive Drinking

Posted: Jun 7, 2007 3:15pm ET
It’s almost like the power of positive drinking…
…strike that…
…positive thinking.
I’ve no sooner put to bed a story on rum for Cigar Aficionado (August 2007 issue) than arrives from the trade organization The Rums of Puerto Rico (www.rumcapital.com) an insulated backpack (with a set of luggage wheels, no less) that contains a bottle each of Don Q Cristal and Don Q Citrus Rum.

Gentlemen, You May Grill

Posted: May 23, 2007 2:50pm ET
It’s finally that time of year—in the New York area anyway—when you can go home in the evening and your patio grill beckons you to go out and put fire to high-grade meat.

This reason I bring this up is that in the coming issue of Cigar Aficionado—August—the Good Life Guide will feature a piece on fantastic stainless steel grills for which Savona and I did extensive research (read: we called in grills from Wolf, Weber, Viking and Ducane and fired them up every chance we got to cook a panorama of different cuts). Now, far be it for me to complain, but what kept this experience from being ideal is that because of deadline constraints we started the process in the dead of winter in order to get the story to you by that day in July—or whatever—on which the issue actually comes out.

Smoking and Drinking

Posted: May 11, 2007 4:32pm ET
This is a response to Savona’s most recent blog:

The bigger question is where to smoke and drink.

Sure, it’s hard to find a place to smoke, but doing that in conjunction with a fine whisky or other brown water is the toughest. It’s a Catch 22. You can drink in a bar, but you have to walk outside to smoke. But unless it’s a bar with a patio, you can’t take the drink with you—at least in the jurisdictions I frequent.

Sometimes You Get More Than You Pay For

Posted: Apr 23, 2007 5:02pm ET
Case in point: the promotional gift that just arrived on my desk with an invitation to a luncheon celebrating tourism in the state of Kentucky. It’s a miniature baseball bat from Louisville Slugger, about 15 inches long. Normally, you have to tour the factory to get a piece of wood like this, and while it may not seem very useful, I’ve found that if you like to serve Mint Juleps at this time of year, you can’t have enough of them.

Travelling Through Egypt

Posted: Apr 17, 2007 1:50pm ET
Day Two: In a Cairo Smoking Lounge

Imagine an open air bar with tarps for ceilings (sort of like the ones they use for Connecticut shade tobacco). Divans are everywhere, with patrons lying out and smoking from hookahs. It’s sort of the same mental image you get from the phrase opium den, but everyone’s smoking tobacco—flavored tobacco, but tobacco nonetheless.

A Smoker On The Nile

Posted: Apr 13, 2007 4:27pm ET
Day One of my trip to Egypt to cruise the Nile, tour guide informs our group:

''You've probably noticed that people smoke everywhere here. We'll try to shield you from that, but bear in mind that you're only a group of 50 nonsmokers surrounded by 70 million smokers.''

Cigar Solitaire

Posted: Apr 11, 2007 12:13am ET
Since starting at Cigar Aficionado 10 years ago, I’ve played a game with myself that I call Seen Smoking. It doesn’t involve any equipment and the action is fairly simple: watch others smoking cigars. And it can be done anywhere: on my walk down Park Avenue to work, sitting in Madison Square, standing on the train platform, sunning on an island beach, even watching television in the den. It’s a form of solitaire for which you only need happenstance and powers of observation.

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