Jack Bettridge

Jack Bettridge
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The Dawn of The Beer Chip

Posted: Mar 24, 2008 12:26pm ET
In the universe of Big Ideas some succeed famously, some shuffle along, and others miss the mark. A package arrived at Cigar Aficionado the other day that seemed to bestride that spectrum.

The Big Idea is Beer Chips, or potato chips made with beer. As spawned by Brett Stern, a product designer in Portland, Oregon, the idea is so big that it overflowed into the marriage of two other drinks—the Margarita and Spicy Bloody Mary—with potato chips. Mr. Stern was kind enough to send us all three, and as they arrived before lunch when we were famished, we did extensive, unscientific taste tests on all three, which will be reflected in our blood work at our next physical checkup.

What Price Ecstasy?

Posted: Feb 20, 2008 11:13am ET
By my calculations, I drank about $400 worth of Scotch whisky at lunch the other day.

Before you go jumping to the same conclusion that my wife did—that I must have tied one on pretty hard—let me say that I only had a couple of drinks. It's just that those drams were something very special indeed: the latest iteration of the legendary Black Bowmore.

Finally--A New York Spirits Auction

Posted: Dec 10, 2007 10:01am ET
It's about time!

This past Saturday marked the first time that spirits were auctioned in New York City since before Prohibition started in 1920. Christie's, the London auction house that also has a presence here, and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, a national trade association, are to be thanked for lifting the statewide ban that stood even while prohibition had ended in 1933.

Smoking Down Mexico Way

Posted: Nov 15, 2007 5:05pm ET
Cruised the west coast of Mexico last week on Holland American with hopes of scoring some Havanas, but got a lesson in caveat emptor instead.

The ship (Oosterdam) had a selection of nice cigars—including Fuentes—and a comfortable smoking lounge, but no Cubans as the tour originated in the U.S. (San Diego). So if I were to score I had to do it on land.

A Question of Cigar Etiquette

Posted: Oct 29, 2007 5:10pm ET
Saturday night I attended a pre-Halloween party with costumes optional. The host dressed as a very convincing Groucho Marx, complete with a pith helmet and a—shall we say—unfortunate cigar that he waved around as a prop. I was wearing a less remarkable outfit (smoking jacket with ascot), but it fit into the general cigar motif, and I asked if a smoke were permissible.

My New Place To Smoke

Posted: Oct 25, 2007 12:27pm ET
I have recently stepped out of a hell that every knowing homeowner has either experienced or dreads: home renovation. Two years have passed from the day my wife first uttered the fateful term until now when my life is back to the near normality that I can probably call mild disarray.

Of Churchill and Strangers on a Train

Posted: Sep 20, 2007 10:58am ET
Sometimes something good comes from a sour situation.

Have been reading Stephen McGinty’s excellent book Churchill’s Cigar, which as the title suggests is a look at one of the twentieth century’s greatest figures through his life in smoking.

James Bond's Secret Formula Revisted

Posted: Sep 13, 2007 11:39am ET
Lillet, the Bordeaux-based maker of wine aperitifs, recently introduced a limited-edition bottle that reprises a classic image from its collection of advertising poster art: the 1937 image of a woman reveling in a flowing white dress, bottle of Lillet in one hand, cocktail in the other, with grapes vines in fruition in the foreground. The 70th anniversary "Roby" bottle celebrates the 70th anniversary of the poster by Robert "Roby" Wolff, which is the highest selling in Lillet's history.

Smoking Politics

Posted: Aug 27, 2007 11:11am ET
Got an interesting slant on smoking politics yesterday from Lewis Shuckman, who when not purveying caviar and other fish delicacies as owner of Shuckman's Fish Co. & Smokery is a guerilla warrior in the struggle for smokers rights in the Louisville area. Phone chatting with Lewis always involves an update on the absurdities of the legislative attempts to banish cigars. Yesterday, he relayed a discussion he'd had with a local councilwoman who is spearheading an attempt to ban smoking in Louisville restaurants and who—ironically— also represents Shuckman’s ward.

Going Mad Men

Posted: Aug 13, 2007 9:48am ET
Anyone watching “Mad Men”? I don’t mean the current presidential campaign, but the new series on AMC centered on the advertising industry circa 1960 (Thursday at 10 p.m. also on demand with TV Encore).

It’s pretty well done. Very good art direction (feels like the era) and a pretty punchy plot (if a little soap opera-ish). Producers take pains to emphasize how different the era was: no political correctness, indifference to safety issues, a gulf between men and women in the work place, lots of style and everyone smokes and drinks—all the time.

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