David Coggins | A Continuous Lean.

Dublin, Jameson and St. Patrick: The Classic Combination.

Mar 24th, 2014 | Categories: David Coggins, Drinking | by David Coggins

Ger the Cooper

Heading to Dublin with the good people of Jameson for the definitive Irish holiday rightfully makes you a bit nervous. It threatens to be too much of a good thing. Dublin, like New Orleans, has a powerful effect on the imbiber’s imagination. You suddenly hear yourself saying, Yes I’ll have a Guinness at 11am, and it feels perfectly natural. It recalls a line from a novel by the great Irish writer John Banville. Two men walk into a pub before it’s opened and one says innocently: “We were passing by and to our surprise discovered we had a thirst.”

By now, Jameson is so familiar that it’s easy to forget it was founded in 1780. When you wonder why these companies endure, look no further than Ger Buckley, their master cooper who’s worked there for decades. Coopers, of course, build barrels and casks (the original Kennedys—yes, those Kennedys—who immigrated to America were coopers). We watched Ger demonstrate how to assemble one of the barrels that ages the whiskey. It’s a demanding process that Ger made look easy, like an expert fly caster, but of course you know it’s not. The barrels are made of charred white oak from Kentucky, using the same essential technology the Romans invented two thousand years ago. Why change a good thing?





Best in Show: The Case for Westminster.

Feb 10th, 2014 | Categories: David Coggins, Dog, New York City | by David Coggins

Stump The Westminster Kennel Club has awarded Best in Show since 1877, making it America’s longest continuously held sporting event, with the exception of the Kentucky Derby. And we always look forward to the big show, which begins Monday at Madison Square Garden. Everybody has their cherished memories—who can forget when announcer Joe Garagiola cheerfully remarked about a female dog trotting by, “look at that sprightly little bitch”? That’s a moment that just doesn’t comes along very often.

There are always controversies and curiosities and intriguing new breeds (this year we welcome the Rat Terrier). There are favorite dogs denied glory (Cinders, the dignified wire-haired Dachshund, was runner-up a few years back to a possibly alien Pomeranian). There are also, of course, unworthy victors (the infamous Banana Jack, from last year, may be the most upsetting winner in the history of organized sport). Then there are beloved legends, (Josh, the Newfoundland, Stump, the Sussex Spaniel, Hickory, the Scottish Deerhound) . These dogs are remembered longer than most NBC sitcoms.





The Ongoing Power of The Tie.

Jan 31st, 2014 | Categories: David Coggins, Style | by David Coggins

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You’re forgiven if you didn’t realize the Brooklyn Nets were enjoying a bit of a renaissance—they’ve gone a cool 10-2 in January. Apparently, Jason Kidd, in his first season as coach, has become noticeably more relaxed. The New York Times noted yesterday that this goes beyond the team’s play, ‘From an aesthetic standpoint Kidd’s development includes a growing a considerable gray-flecked beard.” We always support beards in leadership roles, even among titans of finance (you can approve the beard and not approve the investment strategy).

The piece continues that in the current winning month Kidd has also forsaken wearing ties during games, and he looks pretty good without one. Still, our first thought was that this was another step down the path of informality—like the sad day when the 21 Club dropped their tie requirement at lunch.





ACL Appreciation: Francis Mallmann

Oct 7th, 2013 | Categories: David Coggins, Food | by David Coggins

Sea Bass

The master in New York, and in his element.

Man likes to cook over fire, that is his nature. Whether on a spit, fieldstone grill or Weber, he is predisposed to turn over a steak, rack of lamb, and maybe some salmon, eggplant, and, hey, why not peaches in season? He drinks while he does this, he enjoys the company of other men and properly feels that all is right with the world.

So we were very excited when grill maestro Francis Mallmann recently came to town to cook dinner at Reynard. The Argentinian, perhaps South America’s most famous chef, is author of Seven Fires: Grilling Argentine Way (Artisan). It’s a terrific book, even if you’re not planning to put a splayed lamb over a fire for seven hours this weekend.

Written with the stalwart New Yorker, Peter Kaminsky (himself a devoted fly fisherman), the book is filled with incredible photographs from Patagonia that are better than a Ralph Lauren mood board. Mallmann, who trained in classical French kitchens, has moved away from that refined technique in favor of the simple payoff of cooking over wood fires. The recipes are straightforward enough, but the judgment that comes from experience is key, especially if you’re going to cook a salmon under a bank of coals.





A Higher Standard: Don’t Test The Dress Code.

Aug 26th, 2013 | Categories: David Coggins, Menswear, New York City | by David Coggins

21Club

An unsettling article tucked away in the Times last week announced that the few remaining Manhattan restaurants still requiring dress codes—bless you 21—are now providing a better class of jacket to their delinquent underdressed visitors. Relax, the article said, there’s a perfectly good coat waiting for you at Per Se, so you can hide your complete lack of protocol under a 40 regular from Ralph Lauren.

While the restaurants are being perfectly hospitable—Daniel, in fact, has their coats custom-made—that does not mean you want to join the sartorial class of clothes swapping masses who wander into serious establishments in their shirtsleeves. Perhaps you prefer to rent a tuxedo for your own wedding, as well.





Leinenkugel’s and the Case for Summer Beer.

Jul 19th, 2013 | Categories: Beer, David Coggins, Drinking, Wisconsin | by David Coggins

barstools

Nobody sets out to be what Kingsley Amis refers to as a “beer bore.” When you’re a teenager you don’t drone on about Belgian Lambics, how you only drink Kölsch in Cologne and mercifully you never utter the word “handcrafted.” No, when you’re eighteen you drink what’s available, familiar, cheap and geographically appropriate. And that’s as it should be.

For us, summers in Wisconsin meant Leinenkugel’s, which came, like Annie Hall, from nearby Chippewa Falls. The bottle declared that it’s “brewed by 73 people who care” which is reassuring. It’s been around since 1867 and has been run by many generations of Jacob Leinenkugel’s descendants, which is good. Then it was bought by an international conglomerate in 1988, which is not as good, but perhaps not surprising.

Even for those of use who are devoted wine drinkers, it remains a very fine beer. Well, perhaps not very fine, but certainly good enough. That’s one of the funny things about the beer you grow up with: Your associations are so strong that they can overwhelm your judgment about the taste. This comes into sharp relief when you try your friend’s favorite beer from Washington or Maine and hint that it’s subpar (perhaps over the years you have acquired a few habits of the beer bore). Your friend looks at you icily, as if you’ve insulted his mother’s cooking.





North Maine Woods Dispatch: Libby Camps

Jun 12th, 2013 | Categories: David Coggins, Dispatch, Hunting & Fishing, Maine, Travel | by David Coggins

The Ride

You haven’t visited most of Maine—few people have. It’s an immense state that’s largely unpopulated. Well, try this: fly to Bangor, then drive three hours north. You’re getting up there. At the end of an 18-mile dirt road is Libby Camps. Established in 1890, it’s been in the same family for five generations. That all sounds promising, and it should. We’re partial to lodges and cabins that don’t dress themselves up (wall-to-wall carpeting is a telltale warning sign). When you arrive at Libby you know you’re in a place that has earned the right to take the long view.

Come in May and June to fish for native brook trout in many of the remote ponds that can only be accessed by foot or, even better, by float plane. Or come back in September when the water falls and they turn red before they spawn. Either way, you fly fish from a 20’ Old Town canoe and cast out one of the idiosyncratic flies made by the guides. Or, if you’re more classically minded: a caddis or March Brown. You can hope for a trophy 3 pounder, but that’s a setting the bar high. Aim a little more realistically, while expecting regular action from strong, healthy fish.

Essential Transport

Cabin Main Lodge