Infinite variety -- that's one of the things I enjoy most about the world of spirits. Distillation -- and wine-making, and brewing -- is really an extension of agriculture: so much of the final product depends on the local fauna, the local climate, the seasons, the sources, and the hands and intuition of the distillers.... Continue Reading →
MxMo LXXXIX: The Unknown — The Maturin Cocktail
In the world of cocktails, a great deal of faith is placed in precedent and tradition. We look to the written works of bartenders from a century ago for inspiration, who were themselves inspired by the Punch-makers from a century before, who were, in turn, increasing the potability of spirits that had been in production... Continue Reading →
Encouraging the Spirit of Queens
A couple of weeks ago I was perched on a bentwood bar stool at my favorite local watering hole, trading thoughts on cocktails with bartender David, when the phrase "Astoria Distilling Company" was casually dropped into the conversation. It took half a moment for the words to make their way around the cocktail I was... Continue Reading →
High Times at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic
As some of you know, the Manhattan Cocktail Classic was held here in New York a few weeks back. And I nearly missed it. Serves me right for not paying more attention to the cocktailian side of life. It had been a typically busy week in NYC. Somehow, I'd managed to squeeze in visits to... Continue Reading →
A Taste of Richland Rum
A while ago, I was opining about the state of locally-produced liquor in Georgia -- how it would be nice to see more of it, that the Atlanta bar scene would begin demanding it, etc., etc. Apparently we were on the verge of a microdistillery boom here in the Peach State...who knew? Georgia can now... Continue Reading →
Spring has arrived in Georgia, bringing with it the usual crop of weather conditions: wild fluctuations in temperature -- both morning-to-night and day-to-day -- tornadoes, rain, and exclamations from coastal Georgians and Floridians that run along the lines of, "Snow? In March? What!? Help me!!" (This is the Piedmont -- it happens every year. It... Continue Reading →
MxMo LXIX: Fortified Wines — Got Sherry?
January's Mixology Monday is focused upon a trend that is steadily gaining steam in bars across the country: the use of port, sherry, and Madeira wines in cocktails. Sure, you can reach for the old standbys like vermouth and quinquina if you want to add some sweetness and complexity, but bitter aftertastes and quinine aren't for everyone.... Continue Reading →
Have a Sip of Byrrh, then make Byrrh Cocktails
Here in the U.S. we now have access to a growing number of European spirits and liqueurs that, until now, were rarely seen on these shores: Carpano Antica and Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Zucca, Bonal Gentiane-Quina, Cocchi Americano, and Suze, to name a few of them. Then there are the numerous Italian amari and Fernets... Continue Reading →
Cocktail Night IX: Veintiséis de Mayo!
We're back to that time of the month once again: Neighborhood Cocktail Night! It being May, we were going to have a Cinco de Mayo night, but the date kind of crept up on us, and it was moved to the 26th. No matter, the theme was retained, and we have a couple of Mexico-inspired cocktails to sip... Continue Reading →
Drinking New Orleans, Part 4: Absinthe!
If there's any booze out there that could expect to win the title "most misunderstood spirit," I think absinthe would be it. Wildly popular at the turn of the last century, banned for a hundred years, re-instated with much hooplah, then promptly dubbed un-cool without most people having tried it, the field has been left to... Continue Reading →