On Tarot-Vino a month later..

I have had so many people asking me for readings the last few weeks since Tarot-Vino, my first event. I have told everyone the same thing, my decks are taking a nap right now. Why? Because reading cards is pretty draining.

Don’t take this the wrong way, I was super excited that a ton of people showed up. I was fortunate to have amazing friends promote the whole thing and participate. It was a highlight of my year to realize we can put something together and get mystically-minded people together in such a great way.

But I did it like such a rookie. I will read tarot again, I will do Tarot-Vino part II, but next time it’s going to be about setting some energy boundaries and scheduling reading with people ahead of time, not a queue. Every reading, although I truly love to read cards, is draining the next day. Energizing at the time for sure, but I was feeling it for days, possibly weeks, after. I will definitely find a better way, but it’s probably going to be a couple of months. Until then I am working on movie and campfire story nights to keep things going.. and if you want a reading, just be patient. We’ll figure something out soon enough!

The Dark Watchers..

Ever feel like you’re being watched? Well you are, but let’s leave the NSA, Russia, Amazon, Facebook, etc, out of it for awhile (hi guys!). If you find yourself in the Santa Lucia Mountains of coastal California, perhaps in search of a nice Pinot Noir, you may end up with some company. According to Jason Offutt in his book Chasing American Monsters, the Chumash Indians were the first to see mysterious silhouettes standing on the mountain ridges, silently staring. Spanish settlers recorded seeing these vigilantes oscuros, and a quick search online (specifically the comments section of the Weird California page on the subject [unsecure link, not sharing it]) shows that these things are still being seen regularly today. Back to Offutt, “Legend has it these humanoid creatures rarely appear to anyone who is carrying a gun, or is dressed in weatherproof clothing; they only reveal the themselves to people who wander the mountains in more old-fashioned garb.”

Pepé, the protagonist of the John Steinbeck short story ‘flight’ had a gun, and little good it did him shortly after seeing the Dark Watchers.

Once, on a white barren spur, he saw a black figure for a moment, but he looked quickly away, for it was one of the dark watchers. No one knew who the watchers were, nor where they lived, but it was better to ignore them and never to show any interest in them. They did not bother one who stayed on the trail and and minded his own business.

Pepe looked up to the top of the next dry withered ridge. He saw a dark form against the sky, a man’s figure standing on top of a rock, and he glanced away quickly not to appear curious. When a moment later he looked up again, the figure was gone.

John Steinbeck, ‘Flight’

Steinbeck was interested enough in these mysterious beings that his son, Thomas, collaborated on a book (In Search of the Dark Watchers) about the subject with artist Benjamin Brode. Apparently lore of the Watchers was deeply ingrained in his upbringing, his grandmother even claiming to have traded with them- which is lore altering if true.

Poet Robinson Jeffers, in his poem ‘Such Counsels You Gave to Me’ also mentioned “the watchers, who are often seen in this length of coast range, forms that look human to human eyes, but certainly are not human. They come from behind ridges to watch.”

So, what are these ethereal observers? Are they like the ‘shadow people’ many observe in their bedrooms at night? Are they ghosts, or the remaining vibrations of a people long passed on? Perhaps it is a form of alien intelligence, curious about our hiking habits? Whatever they are, I thought they deserved a cocktail of their own. Luckily the boys at Bootlegger Tiki were up to the task and helped me whip up “The Dark Watcher aka the Poor Pepé”.

old-fashioned garb and all

1 1/2 oz Singani 63

1/2 Demerara syrup

1/2 lime juice

1/4 oz fallernum

barspoon grenadine

barspoon açaí pureé

shake with crushed ice, Collins glass, garnish with edible flowers to accentuate the floral aspects

It’s refreshing and dangerous, and just dark enough to add a sense of mystery. If you ask the bartenders at Bootlegger nicely, I am sure you could get them to make you one.

It’s watching me..

..and if you see something dark watching you on the horizon, just leave it be.

Fermentation Station episode 1

Yes, this is a blog about cocktails and Fortean topics.. but lately I have been messing around with fermentation and I want to share some stuff about that. I mean, why not add some good little critters to your diet? Especially if you live the ‘bartender lifestyle’, and maybe rely on late night Del Taco bags for your sustenance. So let’s start here before we get into the ‘hard stuff’, and get some healthy stuff in our guts!

halfway there

This is so easy, I’m surprised they haven’t made it illegal. Just take a couple of pounds of cabbage and chop it finely after removing the core and outer leaves. Add a tablespoon of salt, I used kosher [edit: I am having better success with a little more salt than that, maybe an extra teaspoon] Don’t use iodized salt- for basically anything but definitely not this! Then just massage the salt in slowly, a little at a time. Eventually, after maybe five minutes, the vegetables will get nice and soggy, where they drip when you squeeze them. Next, pack the soggy cabbage into a liter jar, there should be about an inch of airspace left in the jar once you pack it in. Oh, quick tip, I find that green cabbage gives up its juice more easily, so start there. But I digress, push the veggies into the jar with your fingers or a spatula.

Don’t leave it outside, just looking for better light

I decided to get creative with this batch, I mixed in some mustard greens with half of the batch. I did a pound of just cabbage, then did a pound of mixed cabbage and mustard greens. The smell of the mustard was amazing and I can’t wait until it’s ready. I also added some peppercorns, bay leaf, fennel and caraway seed to the bottom of the jar as well. My first batch of sauerkraut had the spices mixed in and I didn’t enjoy chewing on them so this time I am going to see if it works better this way. Make sure the juice covers the vegetables, I used one of the firm outer leaves left from trimming the cabbage to squeeze into the top of the jar like a wedge, holding everything under the juice.

So, this literally took ten minutes, maybe fifteen, and there is no excuse. You can have homemade probiotic goodness in just a few days! Next, it’s Tiki and spectral watchers, right here in California..


Hi, everyone who has patiently listened while I talked about my podcast/blog/whatever for the last two years! I have the computer, the mic, the camera, and not any real experience.. so anyone who wants to be a part of this crazy project let me know. I would love any haunted bar/restaurant stories that you might have, and I know you have one. The first episode is going to be about the Amityville case, and the drink will obviously be the Long Island Iced Tea. Next I have a California cryptid from Pinot Country you may not of heard of, and on to some hauntings in the Nutmeg State. Expect a wine-laced cocktail and something with a nutmeg garnish.. apologies if I sound like I am recording in a garbage can for the first couple! Send me your spooky bar shit at crypticcocktails@gmail.com