Posted by: Matt Hamlin | October 22, 2012

Four Year Blogiversary & A Call for Help

Four years ago today I launched A Jigger of Blog. The blog has always been a project that represents my exploration into fine cocktails, bars, and spirits – with occasional forays into beer and wine. I started out pretty hot, with a high frequency of posts. This helped me get attention in the cocktail blogosphere, but turned out to not be sustainable. In the last year or two, posting has become less frequent. I still consider cocktails a passion, but as my life has evolved I’ve simply spent less time mixing cocktails at home or visiting craft cocktail bars. I’ve kept this blog open, but have become more comfortable with the idea that I’m not posting one to two times a week. For now, it’s my intention to continue to post when the urge hits me. In some regards, I wish I was posting more frequently, but at the end of the day, I’m not broken up about this blog not being a major hub of bustling cocktail activities.

OK, enough navel gazing.

I do have something important that I want to share with readers today. Paul Clarke has a post up at The Cocktail Chronicles alerting readers that iconic Seattle barman Murray Stenson is ill and in need of help. Paul writes:

Murray has a heart condition, and may require intensive surgery. As with bartenders everywhere, Murray doesn’t have medical insurance, and he’s unable to work while incapacitated with this condition. Evan Wallace, a longtime friend of Murray’s, set up a MurrayAid page on Facebook, where people like me and you (hint, hint) can make a donation via PayPal to help defray Murray’s medical expenses. UPDATE: There’s now a website for the coordinated efforts to help Murray: murrayaid.org. Also, donating directly through PayPal, as described on the website, ensures your full donation will go to help Murray, without Facebook taking a cut.

I’ve never met Murray Stenson – by the time I made it to Zig Zag Cafe, he had moved on to Canon (and I failed to make it to Canon). But I’ve heard about him for years, most often in connection for his role in bringing The Last Word to international prominence in the modern craft cocktail movement. The Last Word is a truly delightful cocktail:

Last Word

3/4 once gin
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
3/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
3/4 ounce green chartreuse

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well for 10 seconds and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Ta-da!

I’m a big fan of this drink. I first heard of it on Paul Clarke’s blog and remember thinking to myself, “I have to go home and make this right away.” The Last Word is the sort of cocktail which demonstrates not only the value of fresh and rare ingredients that is a hallmark to contemporary craft cocktails, but does so while being simultaneously accessible and complex. That is, it’s a great drink to put in the hands of someone who hasn’t experienced quality craft cocktails before.

In fact, a couple of good friends were at Zig Zag a few years back and texted me to ask what they should order to drink and I suggested The Last Word.  I don’t know if Murray was working behind the bar that night, but one of them fell in love with it and as a result has probably finished more bottles of green Chartreuse and maraschino in the last two plus years than any home bartender in America.

If readers of A Jigger of Blog can spare a bit of cash, I’d greatly appreciate it you can chip in at MurrayAid.org.

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