Category Archives: Research & Development

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New Looks From Agave for Spring 2014

Wingtip Wardrobe Consultant Alvin Lampkins mixes and matches Agave’s Spring/Summer collection with accoutrements from Sperry-Topsider, Goorin Bros., and Bills Khakis. See the links for more details.

“For 2014, Agave was inspired by beach and ocean colors. Their new shirting is reminiscent of workwear, but very comfortable, with a texture of washed gauze. It’s like workwear-at-play. Similarly, their five-pocket trousers have a pre-washed quality, which makes for a very soft feel.”


“Here, we took Agave’s beach sensibilities and gave it a very preppy accent with Bills Khakis’ canvas d-ring belt.” Jefe Japanese Soft Plaid Cotton Shirt in Small Indigo Plaid ($205), Rocker D-Ring Canvas Belt in navy (6 colors available; $55).



“Another way to pair these outfits with the beach-inspired theme is with the Sperry-Topsiders, a traditional American brand that is white hot hip right now. The two-tone seen here is a boat shoe, which I we like to think of as the American counterpart to the European driving loafer.” Top photo: Jefe Japanese Soft Plaid Cotton Shirt in Small Indigo Plaid ($205), Sperry Top-Sider Made In Maine Boat Shoe; bottom photo: Craftsman Japanese Neps Chambray Shirt, Sperry Top-Sider Gold Cup Authentic 2-Toned Boat Shoe, Rocker


“Pairing these outfits with Goorin Bros. hats makes them perfect for today’s hipster. From the bottom up, you have your Railroad denim (Jonah Newsboy, $42), your summer tweed (John Milton Flatcap, $36), and the Moretti Fedora ($38) with the thick, accentuated band–giving it a hipster meets Rat Pack look.”

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Our Bespoke Advisor Weighs Fashion v Style [Plus The Wingtip Suit’s Debut]

A common question that is asked when considering custom clothing is “What’s the difference between fashion and style in custom clothing?”

Before anything is said about custom clothing, the overall consideration of fashion versus style needs to be addressed.  Generally, fashion represents the most current, and, oftentimes, short term trends in styles being shown at the retail level of the distribution chain.  On the other hand, style is usually associated with longer lasting looks in the industry.

However, it is not uncommon for long-lasting styles to be born out of radical fashion statements. Several years ago, some rather avant garde designers began showing men’s suits with very short, snugly fit coats accompanied by extremely tight trousers with hems 1 to 2 inches above a man’s shoe top. The coat lapels were approximately an inch and one half wide, and the trousers were to be worn below a gent’s hip. As radical as that fashion statement was, it has influenced the menswear industry to the point that even the most classic houses have incorporated slimmer models for a more contemporary, updated silhouette.

Custom clothing actually offers the optimal means a gentleman can, so to speak, have it both ways. That is, if one desires a garment to work as both a solid wardrobe investment value while having a genuine, distinctive look, custom clothing is the right choice.

To that end, on March 28 and 29, we are officially introducing the Wingtip suit. The suit will be available in three fits, from trim to classic. And we will, of course, offer a selection of fabrics from the world’s premier fabric mills, including our guests, Scabal. Schedule a fitting ahead of time through bespoke@wingtip.com.

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The Manhattan Project

The Manhattan. How many articles, blogs, Tweets, Pinterest pins, Facebook updates, and Friendster posts (yes, we’re counting Friendster!) have there been on this most holy of cocktails? More than I care to count. So instead of boring myself to tears writing about it, I offer up a new perspective:

In every complete home bar you should have a few whiskies from the Americas: Three bottles of bourbon, three bottles of American Rye, some great Canadian Whiskies (Yes, they do exist; you’re a fool if you think otherwise). Not to mention, vermouth and bitters. The problem is many people don’t know how to combine this holy trinity properly–let alone how to distinguish between a whisky that should be mixed into a Manhattan and an expression that should be drunk neat.

We are attempting to take all the guess work out of that with our newly minted “Manhattan Project,” a designated area in our Wingtip bottle shop devoted to the mighty Manhattan cocktail. Found in this refined area are multiple bottles of American Whiskies, with a slew of different vermouths to play with as well. You can use the Manhattan Project recipe cards as a guide, or pick up any number of each to take home and start creating your own Manhattans.

Don’t forget to grab a few different bitters as well. Bitters is to Bartenders, as Salt is to Chefs. (Not an SAT question, but it should be.)

A final note: Don’t forget the brandied cherries for the garnish. The neon red maraschino cherries only have one place in this world–and that is top of a Turtle Sunday from Kopps frozen custard in Milwaukee [at left].

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Oscars Style Odds (We’ll pass on the awards)

Ever since the pool of Best Picture nominees swelled from five to a possible ten, we’ve been disinclined to make any serious wagers on these ridiculous awards. So, this year, we’re presenting our totally unofficial, irredeemable, and for-your-entertainment-purposes-only (even if you’re not entertained) Men’s Oscars Style Odds.

Dallas Buyers Club, gold tuxedo jackets, Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Oscars Style

Someone from the Dallas Buyers’ Club crew wears a gold jacket 6:1

Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers’ Club nominee for Best Actor) wore a gold tuxedo jacket to the Palm Springs International Film Festival this year, and Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers’ Club nominee for Best Supporting Actor) wore the look to the Oscar Nominees luncheon. Maybe it’s time for Dallas Buyers’ Club director Jean-Marc Vallée to give the look a try?

Leonardo DiCaprio, Jordan Belfort, The Wolf Of Wall Street, Three-Button Suits

Leo buttons his bottom button 2:1

To button or not to button? Conventional wisdom discourages buttoning the bottom button of your suit jacket, but Leonardo DiCaprio (Best Actor nominee for The Wolf Of Wall Street) has stubbornly refused over and over again. He could sidestep the issue with a one-button tux jacket, but the safe money is on a two-button (both buttoned) look. [Above: DiCaprio leaves the button undone as the fictional Jordan Belfort, but he can’t decide which way to go in real life.]

Samuel L. Jackson, hats, Oscars, Baftas, 1995 Oscars, Pulp Fiction, Oscars Style

Samuel L. Jackson Wears A Hat 4:5

The backwards Kangol has long been a trademark of Samuel L. Jackson, and while he tones down the logos for awards shows, he, nevertheless, is often behatted. The above photos, ranging from 1995 to 2013, make this one look like a toss-up. But this year, he’s not a nominee or even part of a marquee film like last year’s Django Unchained, he’s just presenting. So we bet he goes with a hat–we’ll even give 4:1 odds that it’s a Kangol. (Though we think the Goorin Bros.’ Esteban is the way to go.)

Oscars Hosts, Ellen DeGeneres, Anne Hathway, Tuxedos, Oscars Style

Ellen DeGeneres Outfit Changes: over/under 2.5

Yes, this year’s Oscars host, Ellen DeGeneres, can wear menswear better than alot of guys. And while 2011 host Anne Hathaway famously shuffled through eight outfit changes (including a nice-fitting tux, above), we bet Ellen sticks to one central tuxedo. We’re taking the “Under.”

Bill Murray, Black Tie, Hollywood Black Tie, Accents, Oscars Style

Bill Murray accent colors: o/u 3.5

No one does black tie Oscars style quite like Bill-Freaking-Murray. He will be presenting an Academy Award for the first time this weekend, so we’re expecting a splash–but how much of a splash? This is the guy that wore mixed madras on the Croisette. One plaid and this bet is almost safe–throw in a pocket square and it’s a lock. [Above left: The Moonrise Kingdom premiere at Cannes; above center: Grand Hotel Budapest premiere this month at the Berlin Film Festival; above right: 2013 Golden Globes.]

Martin Scorsese, Wolf Of Wall Street, big glasses, Oscars Style

Martin Scorsese’s glasses: o/u “dark chocolate”

We’re used to seeing him rock, chunky black frames, but Martin Scorsese showed up to the Golden Globes in a much lighter hue this year. Will he return to black-on-black for the Oscars?

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Mezcal: A Brief Introduction to an Oft-Overlooked Spirit

I was looking through the selection of spirits we have here at the Club at Wingtip, and as I was sifting through the mezcals, I realized we have amassed quite a bit of that liquor, considering it is so peculiar and usually not well represented. In fact, we have 20 different expressions of this amazing spirit for our members to choose from and enjoy.

At first, all I could think to myself was, “My Lord, what have I done?” Because there is really no need to have so much mezcal in a bar that specializes in whiskies and cocktails.

But then a second thought occurred to me, “This is awesome.”

Yes, we have mezcals that range from deep and smoky and inky to delicate and seductive, and such a wide range of expressions is what all well-curated spirits selections should be.

I want our members to experience new flavors, and sometimes it is a challenge when all you have is the big beast of particular spirit. For example, imagine introducing a first time mezcal drinker to the complexity of an El Jolgorio Tobala [Pictured above left, as well as in Brian’s hand]. It’s one of my all-time favorites, an expression of mezcal at the top of its game. But this intense, smoky titan is not for the faint of heart. Surprise an uninitiated mezcal drinker with this stuff and they may never take another sip.

That being said, for a pleasant gateway mezcal, there’s Fidencio Unico [Pictured above, center], an amazing soft and subtle mezcal that teases and tickles. Plus, it’s ideal for cocktails. And for a totally different animal, there’s the Vago Cuixe [Pictured above, right], created from a breed of agave that grows as a cylindrical tree (I like to think of it as a Collins glass), rather than a spiky, bulbous pina.

If you’re still wondering why we have 20 mezcals, I answer, “Because it deserves the respect that any cognac or whisky gets. It is a crafted spirit that is unique and should be sipped by those who want to enjoy what truly great spirits are.” As Ron Cooper says on the back of every bottle of Del Maguey, “Sip, don’t shoot.”

Truer words have not been spoken about this exceptional spirit.

Members can now try the 20+ mezcals solo, or in these two featured flights available at the club. Mezcal Flight Espadin: a throw back spirit re-awakened for a the modern age, with Wahaka Joven Ensamble; Mezcal Vago; Del Maguey Chicacapas; Fidencio Peychuaga ($29). Mezcal Flight Tobala: all of the wild agave has to offer in four different Expressions, with Marca Negra; Pierde Almos; Findencio; Del Maguey ($38).

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Below The Deck and Off The Menu

One of my favorite parts of cocktail culture is writing and creating the cocktail menu; that is why I am in this business and love this job. That being said, I find myself increasingly making drinks that are not on our menu.

Now there is only one person to blame for this, and that is myself. When we have a member/guest ask for a cocktail menu, I shake my head and say, “You don’t need it. Let’s talk about what you like to drink,” and I proceed to serve them something else based upon how they answer a few questions, such as, “What do you normally drink?”, “Are there any spirits you do not particularly enjoy?” From there, I can do my best to recommend something they will enjoy. I love that; it gives me a chance to shine as a bartender, and share my favorite drinks with people (it is also a chance to try out new drinks on unsuspecting guinea pigs).

Restaurants around the city, and, I imagine, around the country, have secret menus. If you know to ask for something that is not on the menu, then you are in the know, and you get something special. I guess, as bartenders, we all keep “secret cocktail menus” in the Rolodexes of our minds.

Here at Wingtip, we have one particular drink that a very select few even know about, and I am hesitant to even mention it for fear of letting the cat out of the proverbial bag–but it’s too much fun to keep a secret. It is what we call the “Tiki Special.”

I might not be card-carrying member of the Cult of Tiki, but it is, by far, my favorite style of drink. And my favorite bar in the city is the great Smuggler’s Cove, the Tiki Mecca of SF. So we present the Tiki Special in a vintage tiki mug, from a collection I have amassed from antique stores and tiki bars in the area. I keep a stash of them behind the bar, part-decoration, part-offering to the Tiki gods.

As far as the drink goes, it is tiki-inspired, but is rarely filled with the same thing twice. So if you want to hold your glass–err, mug–high and pay libation to the Tiki gods, you’ll want to remember to order the Tiki Special off the menu.

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Free Overnight Shipping

Every day is Free Shipping Day at Wingtip. Orders over $50 always ship free within the continental United States, whether it’s Free Shipping Day or any of the other 364-or-5 days each year.

But now (12/18) and through Friday (12/20) we are also offering complimentary Overnight Shipping Upgrades on all orders over $500. There’s no code or coupon. Just leave ground shipping ticked at checkout, and we will automatically upgrade your order of $500+.

Still not sure to get the Guy Who Has Everything? Check out our Interactive Gift Guide to search by price and interest–or keep it simple with a Gift Certificate.

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New Aroma Kit: 54 Whisky Scents

One of our favorite gift ideas, the Make Scents of Wine Aroma Kit, has just been released in a \new edition for the Whisky lover in your life. Here is a write-up on the kit from Sebastien Gavillet, Make Scents of Wine’s Chief Wine Officer and author of “Discovering and Mastering Single Malt Scotch Whisky.”

Le Nez du Whisky was developed by Jean Lenoir in collaboration with Scotch Whisky Master Sean MacLean (the Master of Quaich) and Martine Nouet. The Le Nez du Whisky is designed to train oneself into recognizing the 54 most commonly found aromas in whisky / whiskey. Like the Le Nez du Vin (Le Nez du Whisky’s counterpart for wine aromas training), this whisky aromas kit comes in a gorgeous case containing 54 Aroma Vials and the 143-page Le Nez du Whisky Instructional Book.

The Instructional Book talks about the olfactory memory; by understanding how your brain processes scents and smells, you will learn how to improve your ability to recognize and identify whisky / whiskey aromas. It discusses how whisky is made and provides information on the world’s whisky regions. In its pages you’ll find a new classification of whisky aromas, an aroma wheel, a detailed list of whiskies / whiskeys classified by aroma, and a description of the origin of whisky/whiskey aromas.

The Le Nez du Whisky is a must-have olfactory memory training tool for whisky / whiskey lovers, just as Le Nez Du Vin and Le Nez du Café are must-have tools for wine and coffee enthusiasts, respectively. As the Le Nez du Whisky Instructional Book will tell you, your ability to recognize scents depends on your scent memory. To put it simply, if your brain has no name for a particular scent (that is to say, if your brain has no memory of a particular scent), then even if your nose smells or “senses” it, you still won’t be able to recognize or identify it.

The Le Nez du Whisky works by telling you the names of the most common whisky / whiskey aromas AND teaching you what these aromas smell like. The detailed aroma-by-whiskies classification (over 1200 whiskies/whiskeys listed) also provides a viable starting point in training yourself to recognize the aromas found in specific whiskies / whiskeys.

Keep practicing with the Le Nez du Whisky and you will be able to embed the most common whisky / whiskey aromas in your olfactory memory. Once you have mastered the Le Nez du Whisky, you’ll see a marked improvement in your ability to recognize whisky aromas in your subsequent whisky tastings. A fun, educational way to master the language of whisky/whiskey. And a most original gift ideas for your favorite whisky lover.

Available now at Wingtip

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Top 12 Gifts (For the Gentleman Who Has Everything)

12. Davek Umbrellas
Available in the mini ($49), Traveler ($89), and Solo ($99).

11. Le Nez du Vin
6 Aroma Basic Kit. $40

10. Shun
Classic 4″ Paring Knife $113 $90.40

9. Tokens & Icons Golf Club Bottle Opener
Available in iron ($60) and wood ($75) variations.

8. Peter Millar
Wool ties in five varieties and numerous colors. $95.

7. M-Clip
Ultralight V-Series Money Clip. $69.95

6. Tokens & Icons
Date Nail Cufflinks (1930-1970). $95

5. Baxter Travel Dopp Kit
Replete with 2 ounces each of Daily Face Wash, Oil Free Moisturizer, Super Close Shave Formula (Jar), After Shave Balm, and Daily Protein Shampoo. $50

4. Wingtip
Captive-Top Flasks in 4oz. ($70), 6oz. ($75), and 8oz. ($80) varieties.

3. Pantherella Cashmere Socks
In 20+ colors and seasonal patterns. $70

2. Wurkin Stiffs Collar Stays
Available in singles ($20), three-packs and mixed three-packs ($40), and the travel edition ($75).

1. Mulholland Bros. Change Base
For the nightstand or the office, available in three colors of flexible leather. $85

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Gentleman’s Itinerary: 11/14–11/20

Culture: Sunken Ships, Shanties & Shucks:
Sordid Stories of Seaward San Francisco & The Barbary Coast

Tonight at the Old Mint

Come to the Old Mint and discover the seedy underbelly of boomtown San Francisco. Shuck an oyster, sip a Pisco Punch, and hear historical tales of how our waterfront came to be (Did you know that we are walking on sunken ships?). Evening will include a live Sea Shanty Band and exclusive Barbary Coast exhibits as you tour the Old Mint. It was gold, ambition, and opportunity that created our great city! All proceeds from this non-profit event, hosted by FlipSide, benefit the San Francisco Museum at the Mint project and the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society.sfhistory.org

Special Events: “Bat Kid” Miles Fights Crime on the Barbary Coast
San Francisco Plays Gotham, including stop at Wingtip’s “Bank of Italy” vaults

November 15th, the Greater Bay Area chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation will be turning much of San Francisco into Gotham for Miles, a 5 year old battling leukemia, whose wish is to be Batman.

After already having rescued a damsel in distress on a Nob Hill cable car line, Miles and his adult Batman companion, will take the Batmobile down to Wingtip at 550 Montgomery. While we normally use our 100+ year-old safe deposit vault for custom clothing, on this day, the Riddler will be down there robbing us of diamonds and cash. Batman will catch him red-handed, perp walk him up to the police waiting outside (we’re hoping there’s a paddywagon!), and then head off on more crime-fighting adventures, at least one of which involves the Giants’ mascot being kidnapped. More at wingtip.com

In Conversation: Graham Nash
at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco

One quarter of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Graham Nash is hitting the road to stump for his book, “Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life.” We’re excited about this event after hearing a fascinating interview on NPR’s “Fresh Air” last month (archived here).

Per the CC, it won’t be all sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll: “Join us for an exclusive peek into the wild tales and issues facing today’s environmental movement with one of the greats of rock and roll, art and social activism.” Get tix while you still can. Friday, 11/15. commonwealthclub.org

Radiolab
Returning to Oakland Sunday night for a command showing of this highly-demanded event

“Cataclysmic destruction. Surprising survival. In this new live stage performance, Radiolab turns its gaze to the topic of endings, both blazingly fast and agonizingly slow. With their signature blend of storytelling, science, and music, hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich romp through hundreds of millions of years of history to arrive at the end, again and again. We’ve got a raucous bunch of comedians joining the party, with a different one for each show, including: Reggie Watts, Patton Oswalt, Simon Amstell, Ophira Eisenberg and Kurt Braunohler. With a cinematic live score created before your eyes by On Fillmore and Noveller, the evening will be a thought- provoking and laughter-inducing dance on the grave of our inevitable demise.” More info and tix at www.radiolab.org

Cocktails: Superfriends
One Night Pop-Up at Alchemist

Wingtip bar maestro Brian MacGregor will be one of the super-slingers on hand for this thirst-quenching good cause. Bring two cans of food for the SF Food Bank or dress up as a superhero for your free super-cocktail, like the Kryptonite Punch, a gin punch poured over a Midori ice cube and topped with a sparkling wine floater. Monday, 11/18, 8-11pm. alchemistsf.com

Music: Jorge Ben Jor
Two nights, Four shows at Yoshi’s San Francisco


Jorge Ben Jor is one of a handful of innovative musicians who oversaw Brazilian music’s late 60s transition from samba and bossa nova to rock and Tropicalia. As one of the fathers of MPB (Musica Populaire Brasil), Ben’s biggest hit is “Mas Que Nada,” a tune that was written by Ben, covered by Sergio Mendes (twice!) and remains the highest-charting Portuguese song ever released in America. Don’t miss this chance to see his immense back-catalog performed live. Tuesday, 11/19, 8pm and 10pm; and Wednesday, 11/20, 8pm and 10pm. Advance tix at yoshis.com