Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Cocktail Hour - The Gin-ess...

More Gin & Beer Based Adventures

Copenhagens' The Bird & The Church Key is known for its signature cocktail the Gin & Beer (reviewed here.)

I popped back recently for a few post 'flu medicinal gins and a chat with the manager Christian. He is always experimenting - fruits of his recent labours include a Guinness based riff on the Gin & Beer.

The use of stout adds a wonderful malty richness and the spicy liquorice notes to the finish - the latter coming from the botanicals used in Bulldog gin - complement the Guinness nicely. 

However, I missed the zestiness of the original fruit beer based version. It's worth mentioning though that Christian has also made a variant with No.3 Gin which gives the finished article a sharper profile.

This cocktail has not made it on to the menu yet - it's still a work in progress. I'd love to see Christian experiment with different stouts, though I suppose he'd have to re-name the drink!

If you're tempted to make your own assemble the following:
  1. 2cl Bulldog Gin.
  2. 3cl Cherry Heering.
  3. Bottle, Guinness. (The Bird have it on draught.)
  4. Ice.
  5. Large brandy glass.
  6. Cocktail shaker.
Pour a dash of Guinness in to the brandy glass, add ice. Give the gin, Cherry Heering a quick jolt in a shaker. Strain in to the glass and top with the rest of the beer. Simple.

Better yet, if you're in Copenhagen pop in to The Bird for a swift one.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

News Flash - DC4 Robbed

Bulk of stock taken from Berlin Shop

The following is from the DC4 Blog:

"On Tuesday night the 14th of January around 3 to 5 AM, DC4 has been robbed. Culprits have broken into the store and taken most of the items in our store at the Torstrasse. The police are currently investigating the case.

Important: DC4 stamp 
All the jeans from our store have been stamped 'DC4 Berlin' on one of the inner pockets. If you come across a brand new pair of jeans with this stamp, get in contact with us as soon as possible! Please keep an eye out for any of the goods that might come from our store. Many brands are hardly available outside of Japan, like Toys McCoy and Samurai Jeans.

Help us find stolen items and get a reward!
Do you spot a stolen product on websites like eBay or on a forum? Send the link to contact[at] and you'll receive a FREE pair of jeans, and a discount on your next 3 orders.

Don't place online orders until further notice
Naturally, this means that orders placed online cannot be processed right now, we hope for your understanding. The shop will be closed until further notice. We're shocked and outraged about the whole event and can't wait for the criminals to be put to justice."

I popped in to the shop yesterday before my flight home - luckily they had some stock buried in the basement but the place is depressingly bare.
Please keep your eyes peeled! The denim community is a close knit affair and it's upsetting to see this happen. Let's hope whoever did this is found quickly and that this is not the start of a trend...

All the best to the guys at DC4.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Cocktail Hour - Dark Rum Sour

To Cuba via South America this week, all in the name of booze.

Those of you who've read the previous cocktail columns will know that I have something of an obsession with sours. I've tried various ones over the years, but never with rum.
Dark Rum Sour
Purely to help the digestion you understand...
To that end I spent a while researching recipes and came up with a rum based take on a Pisco Sour. (Pisco is a South American grape brandy produced in Peru and Chile - something to add to the tasting list if I can find it.)

I used a 7 year old Havana Club, simply because that's what I currently have in the drinks cabinet, but I suspect this cocktail would work really well with a darker navy rum or Goslings just to really give the sweet and sour contrast a kick.
Egg white, deliberately missed by some bartenders in sours, adds a smoother texture to the finished cocktail so I urge you not to skip it.
The Angostura Bitters gives things a nice lift, its medicinal botanicals technically making this sour an aperitif - a perfect pre dinner snifter.
It's just a pity we don't get to enjoy any of that Cuban sunshine in Denmark...

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 60ml dark rum
  • 30ml lime juice
  • 20ml simple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 dashes, Angostura Bitters
  • Ice
  • Cocktail shaker
  • Rocks glass, cooled (or old fashioned glass, if you have one)


  • Dry shake the egg white with the rum, lime juice and simple syrup (shaking egg white without ice properly emulsifies the ingredients before adding ice and re-shaking). 
  • Shake vigorously. Add ice and re-shake
  • Shake a couple of dashes of bitters in to the cooled rocks glass, over ice if you like
  • Pour contents of shaker in to the glass
  • Garnish with a little mint
Bottoms up! (This cocktail is quite bracing, so I suggest sitting before consuming. Definitely don't attempt to fashion a coherent blog post.)

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Levi's Vintage Clothing 1967 505-217 Selvedge Jeans

A Thoroughly Modern Pair of Bottoms.

LVC 505 patch detail

Levi's are justly famous for their jeans, in particular the 501. But, it's only Levi's Vintage Clothing (LVC), the brand's heritage arm, that still use the narrow loom selvedge denim of their forebears, scouring an extensive archive to make faithful reproductions of the originals.

Introduced in 1967, the 505 sported a narrower fit than the 501, with a taper from the knee.
However, by today's standards (read hipsters wearing their girlfriend's denim) they would be regarded as more of a regular fit.
LVC 505 Jeans

The 505s lost the button fly in favour of a Talon zipper. They do retain the high back rise and deep yolk of Levi's earlier jeans, so are still meant to be worn high. Quite right too. (Though if you're minded, you can sport them lower.)
They’re quite similar in cut to the LVC 1954 501s, the first zip flied narrower legged 501, though interestingly this earlier jean sports a lower waist.

LVC 505 Jeans
Talon Zipper
This similarity to 1950's jeans means you can get away with a chunky turn-up, but they'd also suit a narrower double turn-upOf course, as you'd expect from LVC, the hems are chain stitched. 
The other main difference are the back pockets - they’re slightly slanted on the 505.

LVC 505 Jeans

LVC normally favour Cone Mills for their fabric, but the beautiful 14oz denim for the 505 was milled by Kaihara in Japan. Most Levi's are 11oz or 12oz, so it's nice to see them do something a little heavier.

Levi's Vintage Clothing 505 Jeans
Coin pocket fade - Kaihara denim ageing gracefully
As denoted by the '217' on the patch, it is sanforized, (shrink-to-fits are indicated by a '0117'), so the leg only shrunk by just under an inch after a pre-wear soak.
I wear them high so went of a slightly larger waist size then normal. (According to some they come up small in the sizing.)
Simply wear them damp and they'll mould to your body perfectly.

Levi's Vintage Clothing 505 Jeans
Natural cotton pocket bags
I bought them in April of last year and, aside from a brief Central Asian hiatus with the military, have worn them constantly since. 
They recently had another soak (post epic beer spillage) and are developing some nice fades. 
Alas, they've now been consigned to the wardrobe. But it is not all bad - I'm breaking in a pair of 19oz 1948 Roamers from Pike Brothers; the lighter Levi's will come out again in the summer.

Levi's Vintage Clothing 505 Jeans

1967 is a about as contemporary as we get here at NU without getting a nosebleed and having to lie down in a dark room.
If you're new to the world of selvedge denim, not yet prepared to tackle a pair of shrink-to-fits but looking for some excellent quality selvedge denim in a fairly modern fit (well, modern by New Utility standards) then the 505's are for you.

Levi's Vintage Clothing 505 Jeans
Chain-stiched hem and red line selvedge edge.
Every denim-head should have a pair of selvedge Levi's in the collection. This jeans' versatility, combined with  the fact they don't cost the earth, I think I paid DKK 1200 at Brund in Copenhagen, means they're one of Levi's Vintage Clothing best sellers.

To find your nearest LVC stockist click here.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

US Army 5 Button Pullover

An Original Dead-stock Military Sweater

US Army 5 Button Sweater
I wonder what else Carthage Knitwear made?
As regular readers will know I love my knitwear. Spring is still some way off, but I recently began searching for something a little lighter than my North Sea Clothing Intrepid for the coming months.

My researches led me to the 5 Button US Army sweater. Military they may be, but they look fantastic, particularly the buttoned placket front. The olive drab is almost a light brown and works well with both denim and tweed.

US Army 5 Button Sweater
The 5 button placket front in all its glory.

A Bit of History

First issued in 1942, these jumpers replaced the earlier roll neck sweaters as part of a much needed overhaul in American Army clothing, most of which had been found unequal to the rigours of operations in Europe. 

Out went the heavy wool combined service & combat uniforms of WW1, in came Herringbone Twill (HBT) and the very modern idea of a layered combat uniform.*
Something was still needed to help keep troops snug in winter - this is where the 5 button jumper came in. Made of pure wool, it is however not a particularly heavy gauge knit - perfect for layering over / under shirts or jackets.
bakelite buttons
These look like the original Bakelite buttons.
Several places on the web sell these jumpers, but I was led back to Jerry at WPG, as he still has a few of the original items left.
This one dates from 1st December 1950, and is in such good condition I doubt it was actually issued. As with most military kit these sweaters were made by various contractors, here by Carthage Knitwear Corps. (I tried to find out more on them but to no avail, has anyone come across them before?)

In fit these jumpers are quite snug - a medium coming close to a 36" chest, and, reflecting the higher waistlines of the period, they're not cut particularly long.

US Army 5 Button Sweater
Ribbed cuffs and hem - a heavy duty pullover, despite a slightly light gauge knit.
WPG do also make repro versions - I've not seen them but it would be interesting to see how they compare.

If you're interested you can buy one here.

US Army 5 Button Sweater
Slightly rough button hole stitching perhaps, but it is 64 years old..
*Woolen Jeep Coats and Great Coats were still widely worn on winter combat operations however. Kit would have been issued until stocks were depleted, obsolete or not. Such was the clothing shortage in the ETO that GI's would sport whatever they could get hold of.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Cocktail Hour

Mark N' Stormy

A bourbon based riff on the classic Dark N' Stormy this week. (Traditionally a hot weather highball, it seems rather fitting given the endless stormy weather.)

Cocktail Hour - Mark N' Stormy

Traditionally made with Goslings Rum, the swap for bourbon, in this case Makers Mark, works just as well. The sweetish vanilla notes of the bourbon complement the spiciness of the ginger beer. I find Old Jamaica perfect here, but feel free to experiment with different types.

Depending on the spiciness vs sweetness of the ginger beer used you can either simply garnish with a lime wedge or take the trouble to squeeze 20ml of fresh juice.
Old Jamaica is quite fiery so I have chosen to former, giving the wedge a bit of a squeeze as throw it in.

Equipment & Ingredients

60ml Makers Mark
Old Jamaica Ginger Beer
Lime wedge
Highball glass


Chuck a few ice cubes in the highball glass
Pour over the ginger beer
Top with the bourbon
Squeeze the lime wedge over the glass a little and add.

Perfect for dreaming of warm Bermudian beaches on a dreary winters evening.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Pike Brothers 19 Oz. 1948 Roamer Pant

Japanese Denim, German Engineering.

Pike Brothers 19 oz 1948 Roamer Pants

Taking their inspiration from both European and American workwear, Pike Brothers focus on making beautiful authentic clothes, eschewing trends that seem to govern most of the denim industry in favour of simply producing what they like. This makes them a firm favourite of mine.

Most of Pike Brothers’ other denim is only 11 oz, a trifle light by selvedge standards. However, they did cause a bit of a stir with the uber heavy 23oz 1958 Roamer Pants, and this is where the inspiration for the 1948’s came from.
Pike Brothers 19 oz 1948 Roamer Pants

As Pike Brothers’ founder, Fabian Jedlitschka, says, “we had several people asking for a little bit lighter version and a wider fit.” 
Clearly I wasn’t alone in wanting them to do something in between the two, with a cut closer to the 1937 Roamers.

As their regular mill in Turkey is only capable of working with denim up to 16oz, Pike Brothers had to turn elsewhere.

For Fabian only Kurabo in Japan could deliver the quality needed. 
Simply put these jeans are a thing of beauty. Fabricated from 19oz right hand twill raw selvedge denim they’re satisfyingly heavy. 
The indigo really is quite a deep, well, indigo. The contrasting blue and golden stitching on the selvedge, replicated again on the coin pocket, is a great touch. 

Pike Brothers 19 oz 1948 Roamer Pants
Selvedge detail on the coin pocket
At 19oz I was interested to find out whether these jeans presented any of the same production problems as the 23oz Roamers, “production was a bit more difficult. We had to sew the denims a bit slower not to risk any needle damages but besides that it wasn't too bad.”

 The 1948 Roamer has lost the cinch and brace buttons of their 1937 cousin.
Fabian argues that by 1948 manufacturers had ditched these in favour of belt loops, “we looked at our archive and also studied pictures from the 40s and decided not to outfit the 1948 with suspender buttons and a cinch. These features are hardly found during that era.” 
By way of comparison the 501 lost its brace buttons in 1937, younger workmen preferring to sport a belt.

Pike Brothers 19 oz 1948 Roamer Pants
D ring for your watch or wallet chain
In cut the 48’s retain an authentic "anti fit" feel, with a decent rise and a wide, un-tapered leg, again entirely accurate for the era. 
All the details you expect to see from Pike Brothers are present and correct - the honey yellow stitching, the heavy bar tacked belt loops, seam ends and pockets.

As is the lock stitched hem. In an earlier interview with Denimhunters, Fabian argued that European work wear manufacturers would not have had access to Union sewing machines capable of chain stitching. Maybe an issue for some people, but I don’t see a problem. 

Pike Brothers 19 oz 1948 Roamer Pants
Lock-stitched hem
My one quibble is that it would have been nice to see Pike Brothers dispense with the light zinc finish buttons and rivets in favour of something worthy of such heavy denim. In all other respects they’ve gone the extra mile with these jeans. A minor point though. The quality of this Kurabo denim is such that it’s not a deal breaker.

Pike Brothers 19 oz 1948 Roamer Pants
Maybe too light? Zinc buttons..
Pike Brothers recommend that you break in the jeans from dry. It’s been covered before in the Denimhunters Rinse Guide, but I always give raw denim a pre wear soak. Not only will a soak make your denim last longer, it will prevent them shrinking after the first wash. 
There’s not much point investing months of your time breaking in such beautiful jeans only to have them not fit you afterwards.

That said, post soak the jeans had lost only an inch off the leg. The waist stretched by just 3/4 of an inch. 

I’m genuinely excited at the prospect of breaking these in over the next few months. At 19oz this will take some work, (just buttoning the fly is a challenge), but that’s why we love raw denim, right? Thank Christ it’s winter though, these baby’s are heavy!

Pike Brothers 19 oz 1948 Roamer Pants

Pike Brothers have surpassed themselves here. Clearly a lot of hard work went in to developing the 1948 Roamar Pant, and the end results are impressive in almost every way. Tempted? You should be.

Available direct from Pike Brothers in two inseam lengths, 34” and 36”, you can order them here.

(With thanks to Fabian & Olivia at Pike Brothers for letting me try them out on behalf of Denimhunters)