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Sartoria Columbia, our weekly newsletter on a life well-lived and well-dressed.

Advanced Water Purification: Irish Toasts

Michigan, the beautiful land of my youth, is hardly Boston and, while I would identify myself as American if asked my ethnicity, a quick glance at the family history reveals that every last one of us is amiably, face-numbingly Polish. Despite a mutual love of potatoes and turning them into liquor, Polish is not Irish, so it would seem I am hardly qualified to speak of cocktails on St. Paddy’s Day. Drink what you will. I present for your enjoyment and utilization a selection of Irish and Irish-American toasts: Moderation is a fatal thing — nothing succeeds like excess! - Oscar Wilde__May you be in Heaven half an hour ere the Devil knows you’re dead! - Traditional––Here’s to alcohol, the...
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Sartoria Columbia, The Proper Fit Series: On Shoulder Slope

One of the most important measurements we take when making a custom suit or sport coat is shoulder slope. Shoulder slope is one of a the few elements of a coat that cannot be changed after the jacket has been made and, if done incorrectly (or not at all, as many ‘custom’ clothiers will), it can completely throw off the fit and balance of a coat. This is one of the reasons why a basted fitting may be done — where the garment is put together loosely so that big pattern adjustments, like shoulder slope, can still be made. ___________ How do you identify if the shoulder slope is done incorrectly? Well, it depends on whether you have sloped or...
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Advanced Water Purification: North of Ipanema

I was scraping bottom a little this week for another good Applejack cocktail. It’s not that there aren’t good ones, but that most of the classics call for more exotic liquors that the average person won’t have lying around: Benedictine, Chartreuse, etc. And there’s a good reason for this: Apple brandy has a way of turning a drink into elevator jazz if you aren’t careful — decent elevator jazz, maybe, but still. For all that is interesting about apple brandy, it doesn’t have the commanding presence of a woody whisky or herbal gin or the brown and purple depths of a good cognac, all of which anchor a cocktail pretty effortlessly. It needs a little extra flourish to ensure the...
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Sartoria Columbia: The Other Suit

I'll admit, I haven't worn a suit over the last week; there aren't many situations in the Caribbean where one is required. Some lightweight sport coats do the trick when needed, but a more important item of clothing is the bathing suit. And getting the fit just right is imperative. Too long, and you sacrifice aerodynamics when swimming from one end of the pool to the other. Too tight, and people will awkwardly hand you a towel after you emerge, kind of like if you are ever offered a mint (the suggestion should be noted). My opinion? Short and baggy. Don't worry about showing a little thigh so long as what's required by law to be out of sight, is....
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Advanced Water Purification: Apple Toddy

Well, it's chilly today, and that bottle of apple brandy is still hanging around, so ... 2 oz Apple Brandy / Applejack1 spoonful sweet stuffOrange Peel4 oz Boiling Water1 Shake CinnamonGrated nutmeg I find that some expressed citrus rind really perks up a toddy (and technically turns it into a "skin," as in, "I'll have a Whiskey Skin because it's cold out and also it's 1850.") Sugar works fine here, but maple syrup or honey are more interesting. If you do this right, you will be making a few of these to really dial it in to your tastes. That's right, I'm handing you a Montessori cocktail — it's even apple-based. There's definitely a good joke here somewhere... Part of...
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Sartoria Columbia: The Proper Fit Series, An Introduction

Proper fit is a fickle thing. It has as much to do with emotion and self-awareness as it does the item of clothing. Human bodies are three dimensional and dynamic — they move and change shape with every action. Clothing is made from two dimensional patterns, shaped into a three dimensional form during construction, with the fabric adding a dynamic quality. But it is impossible to completely match the movement and variability of every day life. Fit over time is a completely different beast all together. Synthetic fabrics like lycra or spandex shape and move and bounce extremely well initially, but over time they lose their elasticity and look worse than burlap. So, if anyone offers you a ‘perfect’ fit,...
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Advanced Water Purification: Corpse Reviver #1

Boy I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little tired of this column doing interviews with gin reps and talking about Boilermakers instead of focusing on making a proper cocktail every week. And satire? Christ-on-a-bike, man! Who even writes this stupid thing? Like, get it together, ya boozy, Barefoot Contessa, I got a dry Jeffrey over here! You boys know what I’m talking about … So, in an effort to go the extra mile this week, I got good and drunk last night at Old Ebbitt (Em’s cousin’s family is in town) then pointedly avoided proper re-hydration before bedtime so I could wake up in the proper state to enjoy today’s feature: The Corpse Reviver #1. The things...
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Sartoria Columbia: Thinking Seasonally

February is usually brutal. It’s a cold month with some inconvenient snow and bitter wind chill. It’s only redeeming quality being that there are only 28 days to endure. But, as I write this, the temperature is just south of 70 and birds are chirping. Normally, I wouldn’t say anything — I never want to jinx a good thing. But the cherry blossoms are already blooming so I feel safe in saying that Spring may be here to stay. Hallelujah. This being a style section, I’ll offer a small piece of often overlooked advice. In our store, we preach timeless style — pieces that will look classic for many years. We make quality items that are built to be worn...
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Advanced Water Purification: The Jack Rose

__________________________ So there’s a very classic cocktail from, I think, 1899 or so that I invented and I am the only one who knows how to make it. Believe me, I make it so well. I make it so — I will tell you this — other people will make false claims and try to tell you that the Jack Rose was around before my column — which totally changed the world, by the way, it really did — but they are just hospitality-industry losers who are threatened by my amazing ratings. They really are unprecedented, for a cocktail writer like me to have such good ratings. I mean, I’m a good guy and all. I really have the best...
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Sartoria Columbia: The Artisanal Line

You may have noticed an exciting announcement from us this week: the launch of our Artisanal collection. The READ WALL Artisanal line was created to show off the pinnacle of American craftsmanship. While we have always had an excellent full canvas make for our made to measure line, we had a number of requests for some very specific things — which we can now address. The Artisanal line was long in the making and our small factory of coat makers is one of Americas best secrets. I first learned of them, as many of these things come about, in a conversation with a friend, about a year ago. I had the idea of making a fully handmade suit, and was...
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