Category Archives: Media

New Standout Bitters

Man. Every time I think humankind has created every form of cocktail bitters imaginable, someone goes and proves me wrong. New bitters brands just keep coming, some with unusual flavors and others with delicious variations on classic styles. I’m working my way through the growing cornucopia of cocktail bitters, sampling the wares of upstart bitterers to let you know which bottles are worth buying.

The offerings I’ve reviewed here demonstrate the creativity of today’s producers of bitters. From your traditional cherry and orange bitters to more esoteric styles such as hop and fig, here are several bottles to seek out (and a couple that are skippable).

Read on.

SHRUBS in the Washington Post

I seem to have forgotten to mention it here, but Carrie Allen of the Washington Post called me up recently to discuss the past, present, and future of shrubs. We talked a bit about the book (she enjoys it! neener neener, she’s seen it and you haven’t!) and discussed why shrubs are good to drink, either as a non-boozy treat or as a boozy one.

The conversation was fun, and her piece, which ran last week, captures my voice well, so I’m really delighted with it. Check it out here!

10 Best Budget Rums

My posting frequency at SE has slipped to about twice a month these days, because BUSY. Anyway, here’s my latest.

We who love rum are very lucky people. It’s a category of spirits that offers many wonderful values—bottles that taste like they should cost way more than they actually do. You can very easily find great rums, both white and dark, under $20, and today, I’ll introduce you to a few of my favorites.

[Get the list!]

How to write a book in 27 easy steps

One I’m particularly happy with…

If you’re considering writing a cocktail book, you’ve probably already started doing some research about how the process usually works. You probably already know, for example, that you should start by writing a book proposal. You then take the proposal to an agent (or two or three or ten) and shop it around. The agent, if he or she loves your proposal, will take it to a publisher (or three or ten) and negotiate your advance and residuals and so on. You’ll sign a contract, and then, at some point in this crazy process, you’ll have to sit down and actually write the thing. You’ll get a little money and eventually, you’ll see your book listed at Amazon and Powell’s.

That’s how it goes, say the experts. But let me tell you a funny story….

[Click over to Serious Eats for more.]

Incidentally, I have a LOT more to say about this entire process to date, so expect to see more, either here or at SE.

Behind the Scenes: Making Olmeca Altos Tequila in Jalisco, Mexico

I’ll have a longer post up later, with some personal reflections on what was a very delightful trip. But for now, highlights from my trip to Mexico are up at Serious Eats.

Please read it and click through the slideshow!

Note from the Author: On a recent press trip hosted by Olmeca Altos Tequila, I toured the Destileria Colonial de Jalisco to see firsthand how tequila is made.

The Los Altos highlands of Jalisco are known for their iron-rich red soil and high altitude: we’re talking about 7,000 feet above sea level. (Take that, Mile High City!) This is where Olmeca Altos tequila is produced, in Arandas, about two hours east of Guadalajara. The distillery, Destileria Colonial de Jalisco, is fairly modern, having opened in 1997 to handle production of Patron, which, thanks to a business dispute, was only briefly produced at this plant.

Best Budget Irish Whiskeys

With St. Patrick’s Day coming, I thought this would be a great time to look at a few good value brands of Irish whiskey. These bottles have character but won’t set you back more than $25.

Irish whiskey is one of the fastest-growing liquor categories in the United States right now, especially among younger people who are looking to develop a taste for whiskies. It’s easy to see why: Irish whiskey is smooth and sweet, but still tastes like a rich brown spirit. It’s a good transitional drink for people who are beginning to explore the world beyond vodka-sodas and tequila shots.

[Read more!]

How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love Bitter Drinks

This one was fun, one of the times when the words started flowing and didn’t stop until I was finished writing.

Following up on last week’s discussion of the Negroni, I thought I’d take a bit of time and explore the world of bitter liqueurs. As I said then, “You hate Campari until that one moment when you love it, and then when you love it you never want your bottle to run dry.” But how does one go about learning to love Campari and, for that matter, other bitter liqueurs?

[Read more!!!]

The Best Gin for Negronis

I am on the prowl now to find the best version of a Negroni that I can devise at home. I’m going to start by examining the gin. As we know, gin is a blend of neutral spirit and a mix of juniper and other aromatic herbs and spices. Some gin distillers push the juniper to the front, whereas others craft a spirit that’s more floral or citrusy. Which style of gin works best for a Negroni? I wanted to find out.

Read more, at Serious Eats.

Her apartment was in a large modern elevator building with central air conditioning. Her windows overlooked no view at all, but were large anyway. The living room was expensively and tastefully decorated, but with the sterility and lack of individuality of a display model.

“Bar over there,” she said, pointing. “Just let me get this film started. You could make me a martini, if you would.”

“Sure.”

“Very very dry.”

She went through the archway on the far side of the room, and Parker went over to the bar, a compact and expensive-looking piece of furniture in walnut. It included a miniature refrigerator containing mixers and an ice cube compartment, and up above a wide assortment of bottles and glasses.

Parker made the martini with the maximum of gin and the minimum of vermouth, and added an olive from a jar of them in the refrigerator. For himself he splashed some I. W. Harper over ice.

– The Handle, Richard Stark (Donald Westlake)

5 More Great Cocktail Blogs to Follow

I know I’m in a vanishing minority, but I still believe in blogging, and especially cocktail blogging. When I started my own blog eight years ago, I used it to report on cocktail trends, share recipes, talk about bartenders and techniques and ingredients, and—most importantly—connect with other people who had the same passion for cocktails that I have. Though there are many other venues now in which to share these stories, I still think blogs have a place for the kinds of longer-form writing that you won’t usually see on Facebook or even Tumblr.

Six months ago, I highlighted some of the newer cocktail blogs on the scene, but today I have a few more new and/or under-the-radar blogs to recommend.

[read on!]