I still remember the first really good cocktail bar I went to.
The year was 2010 and I was living in Bangkok in a $200/month apartment working to build my first online business.
There was (is) a bar in the famed Mandarin Oriental hotel called Bamboo Bar.
It was known for having the best cocktails and some of the best jazz music in the city.
After months of hearing about it, around my birthday, I finally went.
I waffled for 20 minutes over the menu. I finally selected an Aviation cocktail.
I paid $10 for it, and couldn’t believe I was spending that much money on a single drink.
I nursed it for 2 hours and had at least 3 refills of olives and nuts.
Fast forward to 2014.
I was in New York City, and at about 9pm on a rainy Sunday night, I opened up my phone to a news article about the 50 best bars in the world.
The second-best bar in the world that year was the Dead Rabbit in lower Manhattan.
I turned to my friend Dan and said “want to go on an adventure?”
We braved the rain and just before midnight on a Sunday we found ourselves drinking some of the finest cocktails I’ve ever had.
That was the day I began my quest to visit the top 100 bars in the world.
Who am I and What is Slightly Pretentious?
“Ok, cool story, but you didn’t really tell me much there, did you?”
Let’s start over.
My name is Sean Ogle.
I’ve been a full-time blogger since 2009.
At Location Rebel I teach people how to build freelance writing businesses and blogs of their own.
At Breaking Eighty I write about the world’s best golf courses and the coolest golf products.
And here at Slightly Pretentious? I help the home bartender make drinks that are so good they’re typically just reserved for the best bars in the world.
I started Slightly Pretentious in early 2019 to document my quest to visit the world’s best bars.
I’ve visited places like London, Paris, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Singapore, and New York – just to drink.
I’ve written about many of those cities and bars here on the site.
But in early 2020, I realized something important: most people don’t care about those bars.
But countless people do enjoy making cocktails at home.
So as a bit of a hobby during the early days of COVID, I shifted Slightly Pretentious from writing mostly about bars, to writing about cocktail recipes you can make at home.
We cover the classics, original creations, and recipes from some of the best bartenders on Earth.
I also give advice on things like
In 3 years since starting the site, we’ve tried a few different things, but in the end, I keep coming back to one primary goal:
Help people make phenomenal cocktails from all over the world, without having to leave the comfort of your kitchen or home bar.
And I think we do a pretty damn good job of that here.
I hope you enjoy drinking these cocktails as much as I’ve enjoyed writing about them. Any questions, just ask!
Oh, and What’s the Deal with the Name?
I’m a pretty big believer that we’re all slightly pretentious about something.
We all have a hobby, passion, interest, or thing that we like to geek out over, talk about constantly, research, read about, travel for, and generally make a big part of our day-to-day life.
That thing, whatever it may be, is something you’re sightly pretentious about.
Often when it comes to that thing, we’re extremely knowledgeable.
Other times we’re extremely interested in it, and only kind of knowledgeable.
We pretend to know more than we do, because in doing that, well eventually, we do become the experts.
And the term pretentious comes from the root word of pretend.
So here we are. Slightly pretentious.
To make matters worse, my personal interests also just happen to be in some of the bougiest industries around: golf, luxury travel, craft cocktails and so on.
Where to Start
If this is your first time here, welcome! Thanks for stopping by.
If you’re trying to figure out what to do first, allow me to make some recommendations.
I’d check out the following posts:
- Best Cocktail Books – These are the books I recommend most if you’re really looking to improve your cocktail prowess and make better drinks at home.
- Best Cocktail Tools – In order to make these delicious cocktails, there are a handful of tools you should make sure you have.
- A few of my favorite cocktails on the site:
- Smoking Banana – This is as close to a signature drink as I have. It’s super simple with just 3 ingredients, but it is fantastic.
- Oaxacan Old Fashioned – Tequila, mezcal, and flames? What’s not to love.
- Artsy Bird – This is super funky, bitter, and bold. But if you’re into that? You’ll love this.
- Avocado Margarita – Adapted from avocado daiquiri at the now defunct bar Mint/820 in my hometown of Portland. This is one of the best original drinks we’ve got on the site.
- How to Build a Home Bar – This is a little guide I put together to help you build out your home bar, regardless of your budget.