Quite Continental Charm School: Day 3 – Class Up Your Barware

03/02/2013 § Leave a comment

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life

QC Charm School: Class Up Your BarFrank Sinatra enjoying a cocktail.  Photo by John Dominis, via Life.

Day 3: Class Up Your Barware
There is a lot of lip service paid to the art of stocking one’s personal bar — in fact, we talked about it a few years ago.  And while I normally would be happy to debate for hours the virtue and quality of one spirit versus another, for today’s tip I would like to slightly shift the focus from perfecting the menu, to the tools of the trade of an at-home bartender.  While I’m not suggesting you must run out and purchase etched crystal tumblers like the ones the fellas are holding above, classing up your bar with proper glassware and tools is definitely charming — it implies a certain amount of respect for the cocktail ritual.

Since moving to New York a few years ago, I have come to pay more attention to the art of making cocktails and have kitted out my own bar with a number of essentials that I have distilled down to a few key purchases, shown below — all so that you won’t have to muddle your mojito with a soup ladle or serve everyone’s martinis in mismatched promotional pint glasses you furtively collected from your favorite pub in college.  For my glassware and bar tools I frequently turn to Fishs Eddy in the city, for their quality and affordability (and great sense of humor).  Luckily they have an online shop as well.

QC Charm School: Class Up Your Barware

All purpose wine citation ($2.95)

Champagne coupe ($3.95)

Tall high ball ($2.25)

Sommelier’s corkscrew ($5.95)

Bar spoon ($3.95)

OXO peeler ($12.99)

Stainless steel muddler ($10.95)

Stainless steel double jigger ($2.95)

Rocks glass ($2.95)

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life

Quite Continental Mix V: Let It Snow

19/12/2012 § 2 Comments

Dean Martin & Frank Sinatra.Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra with their daughters Gail and Nancy, 1967.

I will admit that I am something of a closet Christmas music listener, but only of a very specific type of Christmas music.  Mostly, they have to be the kind of songs that I can picture Dean Martin singing, while he leans over the back of an upright piano with holiday cocktail in hand (and any exceptions to this rule are simply for nostalgia’s sake).  So I’ve thrown together a little holiday playlist on Spotify for you that features Dino, Frank, Sammy, Ella, Bing, Nat, as well as a few newer selections that just felt right.  I hope you enjoy it.  You can access it via the player above or this link.

You can also find my previous playlists here.

It’s a Wonderful Town!

23/08/2012 § Leave a comment

  “New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town,
The Bronx is up and the Battery’s down,
The people ride in a hole in the ground,
New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town!”

In honor of Gene Kelly’s 100th birthday today!

Sailors Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin sing and dance their
way through a 24-hour shore leave in New York City in On The Town (1949).

A Bit of Sinatra

05/03/2012 § 4 Comments

Thus far, March has been a month of Frank Sinatra and his contemporaries.  Ella, Dean, and the rest of them have been in heavy rotation, but it is Frank I always return to.  I especially love the live recordings and this collection of concert recordings in Vegas is my favorite: all smoky smartass swinging standards.  Perfection.  Much like these photos by John Dominis from the same era…

With daughter Nancy and Yul Brenner.
I quite enjoy the gentleman on the right and how high his trousers are.

With son Frank Jr.

Frank at top left, with Quincy Jones.

Shawl-collar tuxedo fest, with Ed Sullivan!

With Dean Martin.

With Sammy Davis Jr.

Taken by John Dominis from 1964 to 1965 for Life Magazine.

I Won’t Dance!

30/03/2011 § Leave a comment

One of my most favorite songs, and perhaps you can see why…

“When you dance, you’re charming and you’re gentle,
‘specially when you do the Continental,
But this feeling isn’t purely mental…”

To brighten up our Tuesday morning, Jerome Kern’s I Won’t Dance, a #1 hit in 1935, two lovely ways:

First, a gorgeous little big band mash-up of Old Blue Eyes and classic cinematic moments featuring Audrey Hepburn dancing with some of my favorite leading men...

…and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers doing what they did best in the closing scene of Roberta (1935).

“You know what?, you’re lovely,
Ring-a-ding-ding, you’re lovely
And, oh, what you do to me
I’m like an ocean wave that’s bumped on the shore
I feel so absolutely stumped on the floor”

Frank Sinatra ~ I’ve Got A Crush On You

16/02/2011 § Leave a comment

Merry Christmas from Frank and Dean

25/12/2010 § Leave a comment

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