I first met Alex through a close personal friend, who like Alex always seems to be traveling at one thousand miles per hour. Time is what you make of it with the experience of a lifetime unfolding in front of you in real time. Alex Pasternack is on to his newest idea with a pragmatic approach to the classic business model which is geared to his growing success. It would appear that his company, Binske is increasing their metric and raising the bar at the same time. Utter quality leads their ethos of making the very best quality products with authenticity as the rudder. When I discovered Alex was deeply rooted in food history,with his chocolates derived from heirloom ingredients in the Slow Food style, I was immediately a fan. As a trained cook, having started my second career in restaurant kitchens, surrounded by talented flavorists, it wasn’t too far of a leap to include the finest artisan products with my favorite plant. Not a house plant, but a very succinctly raised medicinal one named cannabis. The work that Alex is producing at Binske is as pertinent as anything I’ve ever experienced in my entire 58 years. Alex is going places with Binske. I’m deeply honored to be his friend and hope that these questions along with his thoughtful replies will enlighten your day. Should you be in a place where you can buy Binske, the experience should be intellectually bemusing to say the very least. Cheers to your next success, Alex and the ones that will obviously follow. WB
Casa Humboldt Blueberry Muffin Cultivar WARREN BOBROW: IPHONE X
I’ve been traveling all over the West Coast recently, save for Washington State, so my list of the top of the house is far from definitive. My apologies for not including Washington State. I haven’t been in some time. Nor to Colorado, although that journey is coming up. Perhaps I’ll have the opportunity to describe their terroir as well as the ones that I’ve selected. Because of the event, Hall of Flowers, I have been entrusted with the information pertaining to the best flowers of the moment for your dear old dad. This list may be heavy on California. Just how it worked out in this regard. Your dad has been over-worked and under paid. He has endured yet another circle around the sun with barely anything to show for his top of the house business acumen. It’s time to step up to the plate for him and do something for dad that set your apart from the rest. A list of cannabis flowers along with a couple pre-rolls that I just have to shout about. They are all that good.
The phone rang the other day. I didn’t recognize the number, but something told me just to answer it. On the other end was Cleveland Jones. He introduced himself to me in an almost apologetic manner. Would I mind if he gave me his elevator pitch. First of all, most of my pitches are self-generated. I don’t usually accept pitches, and when I do, they are on email. But this was different. I felt a kinship immediately and trust. I wanted to do this piece because I felt this person was on a path to entrepreneurial success. He was unafraid of calling someone out of the blue. The simple act that he picked up the phone, instead of sending an email. That takes guts. Cleveland obviously speaks with a smile, because the smile is what you will feel after you finish reading about him. Cleveland is both intriguing and he’s on a path to success. I’m proud to introduce him to you. Cheers!
Location: Emerald Exchange office in Mendocino, CA Michael Katz on right, Justin Calvino on the left SAGE CALVINO
I am a fanatic for a little thing named terroir, no not terror, but terroir. In the study of wine, it’s a French word that means quite simply, the taste of the place. The characteristics of the soil, the rock and the drainage. The way of the earth. In ultra-high end cannabis it’s also the taste of the place. Hey, wait a minute, didn’t I just say that in wine that terroir is the French word that describes the taste of the place, yet in cannabis it’s the same thing? Well my friends may I suggest drinking wines from the same regions that cannabis is grown. You’ll be astounded, just like I was when we started discussing appellations and the deeply sensual characteristics of the soil. Who knew that rocks would be sexy? (They are, especially with grape vines struggling out of the crushed stones and crystals. The taste of the place in wine is essential. Just like the difference between pretty label wines and true garragist wines. Then, organically our the conversation leaks into Biodynamics. Did you know that Rudolph Steiner developed the theories of Biodynamics in the late 1800’s? Steiner saw himself as a clairvoyant of the earth. That the soil is a living thing and it requires self-regulating utilizing techniques of a purely organic manner? That different types of organic applications give the soil acidity but others make the soil sing its own song of renewal. That Biodynamics teach me everything that I need to know about growing vegetables and cannabis. Preferably together, along with wild herbs. The taste of the place, the taste of the soil, the way things are grown. No chemical manipulations or augmentations are allowed, ever. We need to have this conversation about replenishing the soil with nutrients that add balance and structure to the growing process. That outdoor grown cannabis naturally tastes better. Less corporate. More passion. You may disagree with me. That’s fine, the massive cannabis conglomerates are not worried about craft cannabis, just like the massive liquor manufacturers are not worried about craft spirits. They aren’t even on the radar. Sure everyone wants to make money in cannabis. But corporate weed has no place at the craft table, just like speed rack quality whiskey can never be called Straight Bourbon. There is a difference in craft spirits as there is in craft cannabis. I’m absolutely positive that all craft cannabis growers want to earn a good living for their talent. By creating a workable format for an appellation, these mom, and pop cannabis growers will raise their bar. Initially growers may doubt the path of an appellation, but with quality comes success. And organic success doesn’t have to be corporate run to earn a very fine living for themselves. That’s why in France, where appellations have contributed to the quality of life itself. Not a bad way to become known for utter quality over quantity.
Warren Bobrow is a mixologist, chef, and writer known as the Cocktail Whisperer. In 2010, Bobrow founded “Wild Table” for Wild River Review and serves as the master mixologist for several brands of liquor, including the Busted Barrel rum produced by New Jersey’s first licensed distillery since Prohibition.
Bobrow has published three books on mixology and written articles for Saveur magazine, Voda magazine, Whole Foods-Dark Rye, Distiller, Beverage Media, DrinkupNY and other periodicals. He writes the “On Whiskey” column for Okra Magazine at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and has written restaurant reviews for New Jersey Monthly.
His first book Apothecary Cocktails was published in September 2013; and immediately went into a second printing. In 2014, he published Whiskey Cocktails. He was born and raised in Morristown, NJ, on a Biodynamic farm.
Outdoor: Floor-Pillows Artwork by Ethan Lipsitz DANIEL JOHNSON
I love luxury fabrics and linens. It’s a secret passion of mine, finding the best and enjoying the creativity in the home. Sarah Harf, featured in this piece works with luxury materials. But what would you say if I told you that her luxury materials are from Hemp? No, you can’t get stoned on them if they should burn. My late step-father would always lament that the best sailboat lines were made of hemp, but during his lifetime you couldn’t buy them in the United States because Hemp was illegal. He would buy the lines in place that were under a British flag, like the BVI. The nylon ones didn’t hold up, and when they broke they were impossible to fix at sea. Hemp cordage for yachts not only last a long time, but they are extremely durable in salt water conditions. And should a line break, repairing it is very simple, just tie a knot! The natural fibers of Hemp attach themselves like magic, no fire at sea required to repair a plastic line. Because Hemp is natural and sailing vessels have used Hemp lines for hundreds of years. My step dad used to complain in no uncertain terms that if you put some Hemp sailboat line in a pipe, (and) try to smoke it, all that you’ll get is a headache. So why is it illegal?
Steve Gormley is a no-nonsense, pragmatic and deeply interesting guy. He is a real New Yorker, born and raised out in the Rockaways. To those of us who marvel at the real surfers who ply their craft in sub-freezing temperatures and even colder water, this is the place where you don’t complain about how raw it is outside. Growing up here makes people tough. But fast forward to the ultra-high end of the cannabis business and it’s all sunshine and palm trees out on the West Coast, far from the jet engine roar of Kennedy Airport.
Tell us a little bit about your background, and how you became known as the Cocktail Whisperer.
I was working unsuccessfully and unhappily in the corporate world for twenty or so years, trying to please my father and grandfather who were certain that I would never amount to anything in life. They were correct! It took six failures and a bankruptcy, plus divorce and being disowned to find that what I had to become successful was inside of me all along. I was in one of my incarnations a trained chef from dish sink to culinary school and into my own business. Unfortunately, my business was located in Charleston, South Carolina. I was the first and as of then, the only manufacturer of fresh pasta in South Carolina. I lost my business in Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Becoming a chef/saucier didn’t just go away for me. While I toiled in the corporate world of banking, I nurtured my craft as a chef on my days off and on holidays. When I lost my corporate job, no fault of my own- I reinvented myself yet again. This time in wine/spirits. The cocktail whisperer grew out of an alliance with an online magazine known at the time as Served RAW. They dubbed me their cocktail whisperer and the name stuck.