Pat yourself on the back: you made it through Thanksgiving dinner with Uncle Edgar and his creepy new wife, and you even made it through Black Friday without getting trampled at Wal-Mart. But you’re not done yet, pilgrim. It’s time to shop. If you’re having trouble thinking of great presents for your favorite spirits aficionados, we’re here to help. These gifts will be a hit with cocktailians, home mixologists, and fanciers of booze in general.
I‘m compiling my annual gift guide for Serious Eats, looking at cool products for your home bar. This measuring beaker from Williams Sonoma caught my eye.
I love the idea of a product like this. It’s nothing I’d use daily, because of its breakability, but I’d definitely bring it out if we were having a couple of close friends over for drinks and dinner. It’s a great piece for entertaining.
Except, look at it closely.
Look very closely. See what it lacks, bar geeks.
Said the drunken sot to the drunken sot, “Do you see what I see? There on the beaker, drunken sot. Do you see what I see?”
Argh! You’re right! It only measures in full ounces. Need half an ounce of vermouth or other ingredient? Go to hell! You can’t do that with this one! Grump. It’s really cool looking otherwise. I guess if I just wanted a show piece, this would be fine. As a practical tool, though, nope.
The holidays are coming and the geese are getting fat. It’s time to pull some party ideas from an old man’s hat. I would say that everyone loves a holiday party, but that’s just not true; many of them suck. Here are a few tips that should help ensure that yours is of the non-sucky variety.
From Shanken News Daily, a look at the rise of rye whiskey.
Rye Whiskey Rising Fast, Spurred By Dynamic On-Trade Cocktail Culture
The U.S. whisk(e)y renaissance and vibrant cocktail culture have created ideal timing for rye whiskey’s serious return to the marketplace. The category, which never really recovered from Prohibition (1920-1933) and was relegated to near-oblivion as other whisk(e)y categories filled the void, is now back on track and making headway with support from some of the biggest U.S. whiskey producers.
Now, you young folks won’t remember this, but back in my day, when you wanted to make a cocktail, and you needed some cocktail bitters, you went to the soda-pop aisle of your grocery and found the shelves dedicated to mixers for adult beverages, and if you were lucky, you’d see a bottle of Angostura right there sitting next to the lime cordial and the sour mix and the tonic water.
Then about eight years ago, the bartender and booze writer Gary Regan formulated the newest and greatest recipe of his orange bitters, sensing a need in the marketplace, and so it came to pass that Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6 became available to bartenders and cocktail nerds.
These days, you kids are spoiled for choice. I decided one day to count the number of upstart companies producing bitters, and I had to stop when I got to 30 because I can’t count much higher than that.
I’ve heard a rumor that in other parts of the country, the weather is turning colder, leaves are starting to drop from the trees, mountain men and other rustic types are gathering wood for their fireplaces, and drinkers are turning their bloodshot eyes toward the brown spirits.
Me? I have the air conditioning on as I type this. It’s about 80°F out there. Then again, my bloodshot eyes never turn away from brown spirits even when the temperatures crack the triple digits, but I’m unusual that way.
A few months ago, I provided a primer on Scotch terms. Today, I thought I’d turn my gaze inward and explain a few things about good old bourbon whiskey.
Next time you’re at the gym or the salon or the grocery, and someone says it’s a sacrilege to mix Scotch into a cocktail, promise me you’ll grab that person, take him or her out back, and…
[Want to know my picks for five essential Scotch cocktails? Read on!]
Harry Craddock only wrote one book, the Savoy Cocktail Book, but many of the cocktails in that book are justly renowned and worth adding to your repertoire. The Corpse Reviver #2 is probably the most famous, but we’ve written about that drink many times before, so we’ll move on to a few other cocktails from Savoy that you should know.
I‘m sure you guys are pulling out your favorite new Scotch terminology at cocktail parties, and using those distillation terms in every Saturday’s crossword, but now that we’ve covered the basics, I wanted to focus in on a certain kind of distillation—the kind that takes place in the pot still.
What’s a pot still? Why does it matter? Well, I’m glad you asked. Today we’ll chat about this distillation equipment’s origins, what it does, and how it’s used.