Posts filed under Uncategorized

2011 in numbers

So it turns out that December happens to coincide with the time at which everyone starts putting together their year-in-review or best-of-the-year lists. For me, and for this little site here, 2011 has been a mixed year - there's been some good (previously 1, 2, 3) and there's been some bad - but rather than throwing up some kind of greatest-hits-of-2011 post (let's be clear, I can't necessarily remember what I drank with breakfast never mind that drink I had one time in that random bar somewhere), I thought I'd take a look at some of the stats generated by the Old Town Alchemy Co. over the course of the year. A couple of notes before we get started:

  • These stats have been pulled from Google Analytics; I haven't done any kind of comparison with other analytics tracking services because I'm a) cheap, and b) lazy, so don't think of this as advocacy for that particular service.
  • I don't have any data between March 3rd and April 30th; my Wordpress install was hacked a couple of times and it took a while for me to notice that I'd screwed up incorporating the Analytics code while reinstalling WP.
  • Monkeying around with numbers can be a lot of fun, but I'm not writing this post to trumpet my (un)spectacular traffic figures. It's trivia, more than anything.

At the time of writing, has received 4,499 visits from 2,284 unique visitors. Those unique visitors have come from 92 countries around the world (OK, 91 because I guess "(not set)" hasn't been recognised at the UN yet).

Top 10 Countries (by visits)

  1. USA - 2,269 visits (top city Portland - 1,048 visits)
  2. UK - 1,136 (London - 284)
  3. (not set) - 85 (n/a)
  4. Canada - 81 (Toronto - 15)
  5. Australia - 66 (Melbourne - 25)
  6. France - 65 (Paris - 20)
  7. Germany - 52 ((not set) - 8 )
  8. Russia - 50 (Moscow - 22)
  9. Brazil - 46 (Pelotas - 25)
  10. Netherlands - 41 (Amsterdam - 12)

Seeing the US and UK at the top of the list isn't unexpected, but the apparent popularity of the site in Portland is kinda surprising. The top five cities by visits goes Portland, Pittsburgh (306 visits), London, Edinburgh (242), Seattle (88); the only non-English speaking city in the top ten is Athens (28 visits) at #10.


Top 10 most popular posts (by pageview)

  1. Labwork 1: stumbling in alone (2010-10-01, 1,472 pageviews)
  2. Black Daisy (2011-07-04, 240 pageviews)
  3. Labwork 2: Two-Step Mojito & Ex Aqua (2011-02-17, 159 pageviews)
  4. MxMo LII: Forgotten Drinks (2010-11-22, 89 pageviews)
  5. Saint-Antoine (2011-07-14, 87 pageviews)
  6. Secret histories of cities and spirits (2011-04-29, 66 pageviews)
  7. Mirrorball (2011-05-09, 58 pageviews)
  8. Leftovers (2010-06-09, 54 pageviews)
  9. Road Trip: Balmenach Distillery & Caorunn Gin (2011-09-25, 53 pageviews)
  10. The secret of Cartagena (2010-07-21, 51 pageviews)

Once again, the occupier of the top spot isn't a huge surprise - the Inception (looks like a Martini, tastes like a Daiquiri) was featured on the BBFB Training Team website in a drink of the week video; outside of that I'm a little surprised to see the Black Daisy pop up at #2 and I suspect that the post at #3 would be higher if I'd ever got round to doing some photos for it.

If there's a caveat here, it's that I don't really do a lot of promotion - I'll fire a tweet off when a post goes live and pop a link up on the OTA Facebook page, but that's pretty much it. I used to post links up on Liqurious but not so much anymore - occasionally one of my posts gets linked which is totally amazing and thanks so much to anyone who has done that.

Post count: 16

And finally, the least impressive stat. The 2010 total was 35 (including 13 posts that were purely outbound links); in 2009 it was 99 (with 10 posts of outbound links). In my defence, 2009 was the whole new-recipe-every-week year and I've got more responsibility at work now than I did then.

Still, sixteen's way low.

2011, though, is looking bright. There are a couple of things from the past few months to catch up on, and there are a couple of things coming up in the early part of the year that are pretty relevant to what I do here.

To everyone who has left a comment, linked back here, or even just visited the site, thank you so much. To everyone, have a great new year.

Posted on December 28, 2011 and filed under Uncategorized.

Local boy done good

This isn't new news, but it's good news - Edinburgh's own Jamie MacDonald, owner of the Raconteur, won the UK final of Diageo Reserve Brands' World Class 2011 competition. The world final takes place in Dehli, India next month where he'll be up against 36 bartenders from all over the world. Good work, sir!

Video from The Cocktail Lovers.

Posted on June 17, 2011 and filed under Uncategorized.

Outbound: halfway out of the dark

I can't quite recall who it was now—maybe Linford Christie?—but a couple of years back some athlete, having found himself in hard times, recounted his terrible tale of woe and explained that his burdens had become so difficult to bear that he was drinking a bottle of wine a day. The revelation was supposed to illustrate just how far the fellow had fallen, but all I could think was, a bottle of wine a day? I have a bottle of wine with dinner. - Alex Balk

One in ten Britons drinks every day, via The Awl. // Seasonal advice from Apocalypstick - how to avoid getting too drunk; how to tell if you're drunk. // Purl's Tristan Stephenson on raising the bar, and theatre and multi-sensory perception. // Ron Jeremy has a rum, via Liqurious. // Five shocking facts about what drinking does to your body. // Via MeFi: from the minds who brought you the MacNugget-tini; Club BACARDI (c. 1996)

Posted on December 31, 2010 and filed under Uncategorized.

Outbound: gunpowder and treason

Posted on November 10, 2010 and filed under Uncategorized.

The new gin

The sun is out, the flowers are blooming and Easter has come and gone. Spring has sprung like a beartrap and that means that it's time to add some new things to the backbar. No, really. It's like a spring tradition.

Photo from

Among our new treats is Greenall's Bloom, the latest addition to the world of super-premium gin with a less traditional mix of botanicals. In its award-winning, jewel-cut bottle, Bloom combines juniper with pomelo, chamomile and honeysuckle for a rounded, floral flavour. It's another gin that might make a good gin-and-tonic, but really sings in a cocktail.

The emergence of gins like Bloom, Caorunn, Hendrick's, Martin Miller's, Tanqueray No. Ten - I could go on for days, by the way - presents an opportunity to look at classics afresh. They'll make a Martini that's very different to those enjoyed even ten years ago, but there's no particular reason to confine them to white-spirit classics. The new, non-traditional gins arguably are robust enough to use in an Old-Fashioned, or even a Sazerac.

There's a sense in which a twisted classic is the perfect cocktail for Spring. It's the combination of taking something from the past and something from the future and reconfiguring and transforming both.

Elderblossom Sazerac

50ml Bloom
15ml St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
1 dash Absinthe

Rinse a chilled martini glass or brandy balloon with Absinthe. Stir the other ingredients with ice and strain into the chilled, absinthe-rinsed glass. Garnish with a lemon zest twist.

Posted on April 16, 2010 and filed under Uncategorized.