Jack Bettridge

Jack Bettridge
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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.

The Cigar and Cognac Conundrum

Posted: Jul 31, 2007 3:43pm ET
Sometimes this antismoking dementia gets in the way of my doing my job.

The other night I was invited to a dinner hosted by Remy Martin. The point was to show off its 1738 Accord Royal, technically a VSOP, but the company characterizes it as being a notch above that premium level, even while its not old enough to be termed XO. Standard Remy VSOP sells for $36.99, the 1738 version for $49.99. Like all Remy products, it’s a blend of eaux-de-vie that comes strictly from the Champagne crus of Cognac (so called for their especially chalky soil and not to be confused with Champagne region and its sparkling wines). In this case, the Cognac is 65 percent Grand Champagne and 35 percent Petite Champagne. The name, 1738 Accord Royal, stems from an eighteenth century degree from Louis XV that allowed Remy to extend its grape production in an era when new plantings were prohibited.

A Smoke After A Smoky Meal

Posted: Jul 20, 2007 2:53pm ET
Normally, the news that my livery car is running 15 minutes late doesn’t make me happy, but last night was an exception.

Savona and I had just left dinner very pleased, having been the guests of Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue (ward.uat.dminsite.com/) of Kansas City, Missouri, which was hosting at the James Beard House in lower Manhattan. It’s always a great place to eat (former home of the iconic American chef, home to the foundation of the same name), but this meal was particularly satisfying. My penchant for barbecue is well enough known that I don’t have to go over that. But think of this: Hors d’Oeuvres included Hickory-Smoked Salmon with Toast Points and Rémoulade, Berkshire Pork Medallions with Spicy Barbecue Sauce and Mini Hickory-Smoked Kobe Prime Rib Sandwiches with Horseradish Sauce. Kobe beef BBQ? Oh my God!

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