There really is a “day” for just about everything, and today is no exception. January 11 is Hot Toddy Day, which means it’s time for a round-up of delicious hot toddy cocktail recipes. With a robust flu season spreading across the country, tonight is the perfect night to settle down on the couch with a good movie and a delicious hot toddy.
This simple drink of booze, hot water and sugar has infinite variations — it just depends on how creative you feel and how many ingredients you have on hand.
1. Classic Hot Toddy Recipe
At its core, a hot toddy is little more than booze, hot water, sugar and lemon. Most classic recipes call for whiskey of some kind. Pick your favorite, then garnish with some cloves for added flavor. (William Faulkner was also a fan of the classic Hot Toddy. See his recipe here.)
2. Hot Apple Cider Toddy
This toddy from Cookie and Kate is simple and fast to make, and the combination of flavors will satisfy your cold-weather cravings. The recipe calls for apple cider to sweeten the drink and rye whiskey for an added kick. It’s also made with hot tea instead of water, along with spices and lemon.
3. Hot Apple-Ginger Toddy
Ginger has long been credited with curative properties, and even if it doesn’t get rid of your cold symptoms, it sure can wallop your winter blues. In this recipe from Nora Maynard, you’ll simmer apple cider with fresh ginger and mulling spices. Then add the dark booze of your choice (rum, bourbon, even applejack), honey and lemon. Enjoy!
4. Hot Chai Toddy
The warm, rich flavors of chai tea combine with bourbon and honey in this recipe to give your hot toddy a little something extra. Brew up some black chai tea, add the booze along with some honey and lemon, and you’ve got yourself a perfect winter treat.
5. Kentucky Hot Toddy
Blood orange and Meyer lemon juices make this recipe stand out from the crowd. The finished drink is a beautiful bright red color, which will impress your guests, friends, family, etc. Made with Maker’s Mark bourbon, citrus juices and cinnamon, this hot toddy recipe is definitely one to try.
6. Neverending Variations
Whisky is the obvious choice for a hot toddy because of it’s rich and warming flavors, but there are plenty of other variations out there. Try a Tequila Hot Toddy for a hint of warm weather, or an aromatic Gin Hot Toddy if you’re in the mood for something lighter. Don’t forget to experiment with the spices and different flavors of tea, as well.
Yes, they do make whiskey in France. And yes, it is good.
Though many tourists probably go to France for the wine and food, you might consider a side-trip to a distillery next time you’re vacationing in France. According to a Wall Street Journal article by John Forsyth, French whiskey is on the rise. France has no shortage of distilleries “from the Alps to Corsica,” and many have been making spirits like eau de vie for the better part of a century. Whiskey is a more recent addition to the country’s distilling repertoire. A number of French distilleries have been making whiskey for about a decade.
Some of these distillers started the way many craft spirits makers in America began: as small, entrepreneurs looking to make something new and delicious. Now, with years of experience and more barrels full of mature whiskey, French distillers have a lot to offer.
David Roussier, the distillery director at Warenghem in Lannion told the Journal, “Eight years back…was a little too early for the New World whiskey market…Many more people are taking interest now.”
Writes Forsyth: “French whiskey won’t put you off Bruichladdich, but the drinker who appreciates new tastes will find the best of it worth stocking in the cabinet.”
Read the article for a list of the French distilleries Forsyth visited and to see a slideshow from his trip.
(Pictured: Kornog Single Malt Whiskey from Glann ar Mor Distillery in France)
Eau de Malt, Wall Street Journal
The folks at Tasting Table have been on a long, coast-to-coast journey across America to scout out the best cocktails of 2012, and today the results are in. Prepare yourself for the flavor revolution.
Tasting Table chose ten national winners and five winners from seven different cities. On the national list, cocktails from two Hooch bartenders made the cut: Tommy Klus and Sean Kenyon (pictured). Congrats, guys!
The Divine Delusion from Tommy Klus introduces us to a root-flavored liqueur called Aveze, along with the Novo Fogo aged cachaça and the Punt e Mes vermouth. The taste testers decided that this trifecta “excels in balance and simplicity.” You can order this cocktail at Kask in Portland.
The Uncle Jesse cocktail from Sean Kenyon also made the top ten list for its simplicity. Chances are, you don’t have this cocktail’s three ingredients on hand — Old Grand-Dad bonded whiskey, Rothman & Winter cherry liqueur, and Cynar — but it might be worth a trip to the liquor store. Or stop by Williams & Graham in Denver and order one.
The Best Cocktails of 2012 and Where to Drink Them, Tasting Table
I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet and the holiday rush hasn’t really started yet, but I couldn’t resist writing about this holiday treat: the Whisky Advent Calendar.
Remember the chocolate-filled advent calendars you received as a kid? You were eager with anticipation each day in December as you got to open another paper door to reveal the treat behind it. (Or, if you weren’t under close parental supervision, you would open all the doors at once and eat the chocolate on the first day.) Well, this calendar is filled with Scotch whisky — 24 dram-sized sampler bottles, to be precise. There’s even a sample of 50-year-old whisky somewhere in there.
At $245, this is probably the most expensive advent calendar you’ve ever considered buying, but this whisky sampler will make any Scotch drinker on your gift list very happy. Just don’t drink it all at once.
Whisky Advent Calendar, uncrate.com
There are only a few days left until Halloween. To all you party hosts out there, should we not aim higher than a punch bowl of vodka cranberry laden with soggy gummy worms? The cocktail revolution is here, and your guests will be thoroughly impressed when you set out before them a dazzling array of Halloween-themed libations.
To help with the planning, we’ve picked out a few craft spirits and some Halloween cocktails that will fit right in with the spooky spirit of the evening.
Corsair Pumpkin Spice Moonshine
Corsair was recently named Distillery of the Year by Whisky Magazine for their innovative spirits — of which the Pumpkin Spice Moonshine is no exception. Corsair recommends the following punch recipe for parties:
Pumpkin Spice Punch
1 part apple cider
2 parts ginger ale
1 part Corsair Pumpkin Spice Moonshine
“Best served in a hollowed out pumpkin.”
Vermont Spirits Gold Vodka
What is Vermont famous for? Maple syrup, of course. The folks at Vermont Distillers decided to find out what maple syrup vodka tastes like, and it turns out that it tastes quite good. The spirit has just a hint of maple flavor, and because of the high sugar content, it also has a rum-like quality to it. For your Halloween party, try the following fancy cocktail:
2 ounces Vermont Gold Vodka
1/2 ounce Grade B Maple Syrup
1-1/2 ounces Sparkling Apple Cider
Rim cocktail glass with cinnamon sugar (optional). Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir for 30-45 seconds. Strain into cocktail glass.
Great Lakes Pumpkin Spirit
This is a category-defying seasonal spirit distilled from Lakefront Brewery’s Pumpkin Lager, which brewed from grain and real pumpkin and follows one of Thomas Jefferson’s own recipes. After distillation, Great Lakes ages the spirit in bourbon barrels, then bottles it at 90 proof. Think if of it as a pumpkin whiskey. Great Lakes has a number of recipes to make with their Pumpkin Spirit. We like the following two for your Halloween party:
Headless Horseman Punch
2 ounces Great Lakes Distillery Pumpkin Seasonal Spirit
1 ounces fresh squeezed orange juice
3/4 ounces cranberry juice
1/2 ounces fresh brewed and chilled earl grey tea
1/2 ounces spiced syrup (simple syrup infused with cinnamon, clove, allspice, orange peel)
Dash Angostura bitters
Dash of fresh squeezed lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake, then strain into highball glass over ice. Garnish with cranberries soaked in honey overnight. This recipe is great for large batches.
Pumpkin Old Fashioned
2 ounces Great Lakes Pumpkin Spirit
1 sugar cube
1/2 orange slice
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1/2 teaspoon Seltzer, optional
Place orange slice, sugar cube and Angostura bitters in the bottom of a short tumbler. Add club soda to the top of the cube. Muddle gently until the sugar is dissolved. Add Pumpkin Spirit and ice, and stir. Garnish with a fresh peel of an orange or lemon.
For many years, the distilling community in Kentucky has been dominated by the big bourbon distilleries like Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, and Wild Turkey. However, as the craft spirit movement gains momentum and influence with consumers, the little guys are flexing their muscles — so much so that several of Kentucky’s craft bourbon distillers are now a part of the much-promoted Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
In 1999, the Kentucky Distillers Association created the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to highlight the state’s bourbon heritage and to promote the distilleries as tourist destinations. The distilleries on the Bourbon Trail participate in events throughout the year, including the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival, which generate press and consumer attention.
For the craft distilleries on the Trail, many of which don’t have dedicated marketing teams, this is a great opportunity to build brand awareness and get their whiskey in front of eager consumers.
The seven craft distillers on the Trail are:
1. Barrel House Distillery in Lexington, KY
2. Corsair Artisan Distillery in Bowling Green, KY
3. Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, KY
4. MB Roland Distillery in Pembroke, KY
5. Old Pogue Distillery in Maysville, KY
6. Silver Trail Distillery in Hardin, KY
7. Willett Distillery in Bardstown, KY
According to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail website, the bourbon industry “generates more than $125 million in taxes each year” for the state, and the Trail has attracted over 2 million tourists in the last five years.
Visitors who collect a special stamp at all seven craft distilleries on the Trail are eligible to receive an exclusive reward. Learn more here.
If you’re thinking about a trip to the Big Apple for the upcoming Christmas shopping season or to catch the colorful fall foliage upstate, don’t forget to make time during your trip to visit the area’s craft distilleries. The Empire State is dotted all over with distillers making small-batch spirits, many of which you can find in bars around New York City.
Last week, Zagat posted a guide to ten craft distillers in New York State. While you might recognize some names on the list, others are exciting new discoveries — among them is Cacao Prieto, an artisanal chocolate maker in Brooklyn that now also distills rum and whiskey. Also on the list are some favorites of ours, like Tuthilltown, New York Distilling, and Finger Lakes Distilling.
Whisky Magazine handed out its annual Icons of Whiskey awards for 2013, naming Corsair Artisan Distilling the Craft Distillery of the Year and Innovator of the Year, beating out more than 300 competitors, including impressive distilleries like Breckenridge, Dry Fly and Smooth Ambler.
Though Corsair is headquartered in the heart of bourbon country in Kentucky (with another location in Nashville, TN), this distillery makes innovative whiskeys that defy categorization and continue win award after award. At the 2012 American Distilling Institute awards, Corsair won 18 awards, including Best of Class for their Grainiac 9 Grain Bourbon.
Corsair produces a continuously changing “Experimental” series of spirits, which currently include Pumpkin Spice Moonshine, 100% Aged Rye, and Rasputin Hopped Whiskey. Their Triple Smoke Single Malt and Wry Moon un-aged whiskey are consistently available.
Last year, Whisky Magazine named Balcones Distilling as Craft Whisky Distiller of the Year, and Buffalo Trace as Innovator of the Year.
Corsair Continues to Rack Up the Awards, Nashville Scene
Corsair Distillery wins “Craft Distillery of the Year” and “Innovator of the Year”, BourbonBlog.com
Yes, you read the headline right. Thanks to the folks at Archer Air Superiority, your home can smell just like a distillery with their scented room spray. For $14 per can, you get the aroma of “charred oak, sour mash and enough bourbon to kill an elephant.”
What man cave or bachelor pad couldn’t use a little of this stuff, right?
Archer also makes room spray in hunting lodge and European sports car varieties, so you can choose what kind of manly vibe to give your home.
Make Your Home Smell Like a Distillery, That's Nerdilicious!
It looks like this craft spirit thing is really catching on because more and more events focused on small-batch and independent spirits brands are cropping up all over the country. The latest addition is Craft Spirit Week in Chicago, October 1-6, 2012. This weeklong celebration of the city’s “booming craft booze” scene is organized by North Shore Distillery, FEW Spirits, Koval Distillery and the Independent Spirits Expo. Craft Spirit week will coincide with the Independent Spirits Expo on October 3.
The week’s events are spread across the city at distilleries, liquor stores and cocktail bars. Learn about American agave, taste craft spirits from around the country, and taste cocktail creations by local bartenders.
A number of Chicago-area distilleries will also host open houses on Saturday, October 6: FEW Spirits, Great Lakes Distillery, Journeyman Distillery, Koval Distillery, North Shore Distillery, Quincy Street Distillery, and Tailwinds Distillery.
First Ever Craft Spirit Week! Oct 1-6, 2012, Whisky Magazine
Remember how much fun you had at the carnival every year as a kid? Well, now there’s a carnival for us grown-ups, and it’s all about craft spirits: the San Francisco Craft Spirits Carnival.
Founded by Cornelius Geary of Firewater Partners, the first-ever Craft Spirits Carnival will take place at San Francisco’s historic Fort Mason on October 13 and 14. “The event is an opportunity to get craft distillers and small independent brands together into one room to showcase them as a movement,” Geary explains. (See all the participating brands for this year.)
While a DJ spins for the crowd, distillers will chat about their spirits as they pour samples. Mixologists will also be mixing up cocktails made with some of the craft spirits you just tasted.
And if you taste something that you just can’t live without, there will be a retail store on-site, organized by Cask, a Bay area retailer that specializes in rare spirits, artisanal wines, and craft beer.
“We’ll have brands there from literally every product category,” says Geary excitedly. He should be excited, because the timing for this large-scale craft spirits event is ideal. The United States now has what Geary calls a “critical mass” of craft spirits brands, enough to offer “a broad portfolio of tastes” to eager consumers.
The Carnival also taps into America’s increasing interest in local products. “People are looking to get closer to the products they use,” Geary says. People will have the chance to talk to distillers face-to-face, to see who is behind the spirits, and to “understand where the brand comes from.” This experience is hugely important for small brands looking to build a following.
In keeping with the carnival theme, there will also be hourly performances, which Geary describes as “a really cool Cirque du Soleil type of experience.” The craft spirits brands, he says, always bring an element of fun with them. Eventually, the idea is turn the event into a multi-city carnival that tours the country to “showcase the talent of these different brands.”
The debut of the Craft Spirits Carnival will highlight not only the emergence of the craft spirits movement in America, but also some sub-trends coming out of that movement. “You’ve had some new categories break through” in the last five years, says Geary. Among them, tequila and mezcal are moving up, as well as pisco, a South American spirit. The Carnival’s seminar series will reflect a few of these trends for those of you who want to learn more.
Check the Craft Spirits Carnival website over the coming weeks for the latest announcements about exhibiting brands, panel discussions and more.
Philadelphia Distilling in — you guessed it — Philadelphia will release a new variation of its popular XXX Shine: Salted Caramel XXX Shine. The original version is an un-aged whiskey distilled from corn. To that, the distiller adds flavors of sweet buttery caramel and sea salt. The 750-ml bottle will retail for around $25.
I think we might be on the verge of a new trend in craft spirits: flavored white whiskey. White whiskey, with its grainy goodness, might just be the perfect base spirit for all kinds of fun flavors.
Right now, there are a few types of flavored moonshines available. Piedmont Distillers in North Carolina offers a line of flavored moonshine called Midnight Moon. They infuse their un-aged corn whiskey with fresh fruit like blueberries and apples.
Or try Peach or Apple Pie Moonshine from Ole Smoky. In fact, apple pie moonshine is a traditional way to enjoy your hooch. Combine apple cider, apple juice, sugar, cinnamon sticks and moonshine together. Voila!
Un-aged whiskey is increasingly popular among craft distillers and bartenders, not only because America loves moonshine, but also because distillers can get their products to market faster if they don’t have to wait for the whiskey to age. Bartenders are also using more white whiskey in their cocktail menus, and with flavored variations, the possibilities can only get more exciting.
Craft Brewing And Distilling News for September 17, 2012, Shanken News Daily
Apple Pie Moonshine, Tasty Kitchen
September is National Bourbon Heritage Month, hooray! In honor of this Senate-approved celebration of “America’s Native Spirit,” we’ve gathered up some delicious bourbon cocktail recipes from around the web. Raise your glasses all month to the nation’s bourbon whiskey makers.
A Pitcher of Peachy Bourbon
From Dinner Was Delicious, this recipe features Koval Distillery’s Ginger Liqueur, as well as your bourbon of choice and fresh peaches. Make a pitcher of this bourbon nectar and invite your friends over to share.
Sweet Tea with Ginger, Peaches, and Bourbon
6 black tea bags
1 quart water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup peach nectar
2 peaches, washed pitted and sliced
Koval’s Ginger Liqueur
Bacon and Bourbon
Blogger Caroline on Crack brings us this amazing concoction she discovered at a Los Angeles food event. How can you say no to bacon, maple syrup and bourbon?
Breakfast Bacon Cocktail
(recipe by Rashida Purifoy)
2 ounces bacon-infused bourbon
1/4 ounce maple syrup
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1 egg white
2 dashes orange bitters
Twist of orange
Combine ingredients in a shaker over ice and shake vigorously.
Berries, Bourbon and Beer
We all know that San Francisco is a cocktail mecca, and this recipe from the Bay Area only reinforces that fact. Ashley V. Routson, a craft beer evangelist, has come up with this recipe that uses craft bourbon and craft beer. Skip dessert and have one or two of these cocktails instead.
1 ounce Breaking & Entering Bourbon
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce agave nectar
2 black berries
3 ounces Trumer Pilsner
Bourbon Chai for Cold Nights
As the weather turns colder, this is going to be a staple evening drink at my house. Warm and creamy chai tea could really only be improved with a shot of smooth, rich-tasting bourbon. This recipe from Saveur Magazine is a keeper and worth the effort:
(recipe serves 8)
8 bags black tea, paper and string removed
8 green cardamom pods, crushed
8 whole allspice berries, crushed
8 whole black peppercorns, crushed
8 whole cloves
3 star anise
2 whole cinnamon sticks
1/2 whole nutmeg, chopped
2-inche piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, seeds and pod reserved
6 cups hot water
6 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup honey or agave
1 cup spice-forward bourbon
If you find yourself on a road trip through North Carolina sometime before next March, stop in at the Gaston County Museum. The museum’s exhibit called “Moonshine” will make its debut on September 18. Located in Dallas, NC (about 23 miles Northwest of Charlotte), the exhibition explores the history of legal and illegal whiskey production in Gaston County.
Features of the exhibit will include all kinds of whiskey stills, stories from moonshiners and law enforcement, as well as a speakeasy from the 1920s.
The exhibit will run from September 18, 2012 until March 9. Take a look at our article, How Moonshine Changed America, to prepare!
Exhibit explores moonshiners and the men who tried to catch them, Gaston Gazette
There’s no doubt that the craft spirits industry in the USA is experiencing a growth spurt. In 2001, there were just 24 craft distilleries in this country, according to The Economist. Today, it’s a different story. The Economist reports that there are now around 250 craft distilleries in operation, though other news outlets report as many as 350. As reported in the Lansing State Journal, the American Distilling Institutes estimates that there will be 450 craft distillers by 2015, and as many as 1,000 a decade from now.
The Distilled Spirits Council defines a craft distillery as one producing fewer than 40,000 nine-liter cases a year. In 2011, craft spirits made up 25% of spirits sales by volume in the USA.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that not all “craft” spirits are produced by small distilleries. Many of the distilling giants like Jim Beam and Buffalo Trace own craft spirits brands. Some of the small distilleries that started up at the beginning of the decade have even been acquired by larger spirits companies, but continue to operate as “craft” brands.
After Prohibition ended, there were just 12 distilleries left in the United States — down from the 14,000 operating before the law took effect. Only in the last 15 years or so has the American spirits industry begun to revive itself.
As more entrepreneurs continue to launch “the first distillery since Prohibition in [insert state, city or region here],” interest from consumers and bartenders is keeping pace. Next time you’re in a cocktail bar, ask the bartender what kinds of small-batch spirits are available. Chances are, the list will be much longer than it was five years ago, or even one year ago.
Cheers to Team USA, who won the 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup 2012, presented by New Zealand vodka company 42BELOW. This unique cocktail competition in Queenstown, New Zealand lasted three grueling days in which teams of three bartenders were challenged with making innovative vodka cocktails, as well as performing “high adrenaline” stunts.
The final was held on September 7 in Auckland, where Team USA wowed the judges over with their innovative stage show inspired by The Incredible Hulk. on the team this year: Beckaly Franks from Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon; Steve Schneider from Employees Only and Macao Trading Company, New York; and Ken Kodys from Breckenridge Brewery, Denver, Colorado. Beckaly Franks is the first female bartender to be part of the winning team at the Cocktail World Cup.
Said Schneider: “Winning is one thing but even being here is another. Getting the chance to meet other bartenders from around the world and of this caliber is an amazing opportunity. I’ve learned so many new bartending methods and made friends for life.”
The theme of this year’s competition, Lab Experiment, manifested itself in the form of a “traveling laboratory” where contestants made their spirited concoctions.
The 3rd annual Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival will be taking place from October 5–7 this year. The three-day affair features events held at various locations across the ski town of Breckenridge, CO — Breckenridge Distillery among them. According to the Breckenridge Restaurant Association, “seeks to celebrate the craft distilling process and connect an eager public with fine, handmade spirits.”
The Still on the Hill grand tasting will take place on Saturday and allows distillers to showcase their spirits through tastings and cocktails. Other events include the Historic Saloon Tour and Poker Run on Friday, Breckenridge Distillery Open House on Saturday and Hangover Brunch and Historic Walking Tour on Sunday.
There’s a crisp coolness in the air these days that tells us summer is on its way out — whether you’re ready or not. If you hurry to the grocery store or farmer’s market, there may be a few of those delicious heirloom tomatoes left, and bartender Rob Weaver of Husk Bar in Charleston, SC knows just what to do with them.
He calls it the Dream Weaver, a gin cocktail that incorporates all the savory deliciousness that summer has to offer: heirloom tomatoes, fresh mint, and fragrant basil. Sip on this as you contemplate what a great summer you’ve had.
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
6-8 mint leaves
6-8 basil leaves
1/2 ounce Jack Rudy Tonic*
1-1/2 ounces Cardinal Gin
1 lime wedge
salt and fresh-cracked pepper
Rim the glass with the lime wedge, then dip into salt and cracked pepper. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Muddle well, then add ice and shake. Double strain into the glass over ice.
*If you don’t have Jack Rudy Tonic, substitute 1/2 ounce of simple syrup and a little bit of lime juice.
The Taste of Summer, Garden & Gun
Look out for two new releases from Tuthilltown Spirits this fall.
The first is the Bitter Frost, the first bottle of bitters from Tuthilltown’s new Basement Bitters line. The bitters will be produced in the basement below Tuthilltown’s Tasting Room. Bitter Frost is a blend of unaged rye spirit, sarsaparilla, maple syrup and a selection of fourteen herbs and spices that are aged in rye whiskey cured barrels. It will be available at the distillery and through their online store.
Their second release is the Half Moon Orchard Gin, and it is uniquely New York, right down to the base spirit. The base is a near neutral spirit distilling from wheat and apples harvested from the Hudson Valley. The gin is bottled at a whopping at 92 proof and according to Tuthilltown, “the 1-liter bottle is priced to become the preferred ‘well’ gin by bartenders in New York State and nationwide.”
Basement Bitters “Bitter Frost” Hitting Shelves This Fall!, Tuthilltown Spirits
Craft Brewing And Distilling News for August 20, 2012, Shanken News Daily
Many Scandinavian households have their own family recipe for aquavit. Instead of buying a bottle at the store, they infuse a neutral spirit, like vodka, with their own blend of herbs and botanicals. The primary flavor in traditional aquavit is caraway seeds. Other common ingredients include dill, star anise and coriander. The result is a savory, herbal spirit that pairs perfectly with smoked salmon, hard cheese and cured meats. So as they say in Norway, “skål!”
What you’ll need:
1 bottle of potato vodka
Herbs and spices
A large glass container with an airtight lid
2-3 weeks’ worth of patience
This recipe for traditional aquavit comes from Andreas Viestad, a Norwegian food columnist and TV chef.
2 teaspoons caraway seeds, or more
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons dill seeds*
2 star anise
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 whole clove
1-inch cinnamon stick (optional)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds (optional)
How it’s done:
Pour your bottle of vodka into another glass container, then add all the spices. Seal the container and let stand for 2-3 weeks. Shake the container every few days. Strain out the botanicals using a mesh strainer, then re-bottle and enjoy.
*If you want to use fresh dill instead of dill seeds, add all spices except the dill to the vodka and let stand for 2 weeks. Add the fresh dill to the infusion for another 1 to 2 days. Then strain out the botanicals and re-bottle.
America is steeped in cocktail tradition and perhaps no city exemplifies that like New Orleans. Thanks to culinary historian Elizabeth Pearce and The Cocktail Tour, you can experience the history of New Orleans with a delicious cocktail in your hand.
The two-hour tour of the French Quarter stops at such notable sites as Jackson Square, the St. Louis Cathedral and the Port of New Orleans. Tour members receive a Sazerac, a Hurricane, St. Charles Hotel Punch, and praline liqueur to enjoy while taking in the sights of the Crescent City.
The tour runs every Friday at 6 p.m. or by appointment.
Almost everyone is convinced that different spirits make us drunk in different ways. Some people believe that vodka makes them wild and that tequila can only lead to trouble, whereas Scotch gives you mellow, contemplative buzz. But is that really true? In a recent article for The Atlantic, Wayne Curtis, journalist and author of And a Bottle of Rum, decided to get to the bottom of this mystery using science. Unfortunately, what he found is that the scientific community isn’t much interested in finding out whether tequila or vodka makes people wilder drunks.
In 1984, he says, one study observed how different types of spirits affected rats. “Of course,” writes Curtis, “it’s hard to discern whether a rat given cognac was more melancholy than a rat who was given vodka.” I guess rats aren’t quite as emotionally complex as humans, or maybe they just don’t like to show their emotions.
Curtis does find a few theories that might hold some answers, but it appears that there isn’t any conclusive evidence that suggests the tequila is solely to blame for that one ridiculously crazy night you had back in college.
Does Tequila Make Us Crazy?, The Atlantic
Re-purposed jelly jars are excellent for experimenting with boozy infusions, but they don’t make for the most attractive kitchen and home decor. For those of you with an eye for design and $95 burning a hole in your pocket, meet The Porthole. This elegant vessel is designed to display the beauty of the botanicals in your infusions as they work their magic on the booze.
You can buy The Porthole through Kickstarter. Not only do you get a Porthole of your very own, but you’re also helping to reduce the production costs for everyone. The vessel is made of glass, stainless steel and silicon. It’s dishwasher safe and holds 390 milliliters of liquid. It also comes with a filter screen in the pour spout so you can serve your infusion right from the bottle.
You can use it to infuse anything from booze to oil and tea.
The Porthole, Uncrate
What do you get when you distill Bear Republic’s Racer 5 IPA into whiskey? You get Charbay’s much anticipated, newly released R5 Hop Flavored Whiskey. It comes in both aged and un-aged varieties.
Wine Enthusiast has already given the R5 Clear un-aged whiskey a very high rating of 93 points. According to the distillery’s website, the R5 Clear has “fruity, floral and green spicy aromas with hop and malt tones.”
The R5 aged whiskey sat in French oak casks for 22 months. Hops and malt flavors stand out in this whiskey. “You can really taste the beer that this Whiskey is made from,” says Karakasevic. Buy the aged R5 Whiskey here.
Fourteen years ago, Charbay distiller Marko Karakasevic experimented with distilling a pilsner brew into whiskey. The partnership with Bear Republic Brewing represents a growing trend of craft distilleries and breweries cooperating to create new products. St. George Spirits distills Sierra Nevada ale into its Single Malt Whiskey. Berkshire Mountain Distillers has distilled Sam Adams brews into whiskey, which will age until 2015. Several breweries, include New Holland and Rogue, are now also making whiskey out of their own beer.
For you intrepid drinkers who either really enjoy pain or have no taste buds, the ‘Hot Enough’ Vodka Co. will soon release its 250,000 Scovilles Naga Chilli Vodka, which is spicy enough to knock your socks off. It will be available starting October 3rd on Master of Malt.
To give you a little context, in Scoville heat units (a measurement of spiciness), a jalapeño pepper comes in at around 2,500 to 5,000 units. The habanero pepper is between 100,000 and 350,000 Scoville units. The brave test subject at Gizmodo, Brent Rose, described a shot of the 250,000 Scovilles Naga Chilli Vodka like this: “I had five seconds to contemplate what I’d done and pray that I’d somehow become immune to capsaicin. And then it hit me in the face like a red-hot shovel.” Read the rest of his harrowing tale.
For the slightly less brave among you, try the ‘Hot Enough’ 100,000 Scovilles Naga Chilli Vodka. It will still scorch the inside of your mouth, but it might hurt a tiny bit less.
Master of Malt, the mad scientist behind this fiery elixir, calls this creation, “a monster, summoned from the very bowels of hell, formed in a vile carboy filled with a horrid mound of Naga Jolokia chillies (the world’s hottest chillies), steeped in grain vodka.”
Drink it if you dare.
(Photo: Master of Malt)
The Bloody Mary may be the quintessential brunch cocktail (no offense to Mimosa fans out there), and it can be garnished with everything from celery to bacon. For those hoping for a little more meat in their Bloody Mary, look no further than Benny’s Bloody Mary Beef Straws.
Ben Hirko, inventor of the product, developed a custom made machine at a Nebraska meat-processing plant that produces the 100% USDA beef straws. The meat garnish isn’t meant for dinner table consumption, but as a straw that soaks up the flavors of the Bloody Mary.
These meat garnishes should be a hit for a carnivorous crowd. Football season is right around the corner, perhaps a late morning tailgate? Beef Straws can be purchased online.
(Photo: Benny’s Bloody Mary Beef Straws)
Drinkers, we have a new world record holder. A 228-liter bottle of The Famous Grouse, a blended Scotch whisky, is now officially the biggest bottle of whisky in the world. The bottle was authenticated by Guinness World Records on August 12, also the 107th birthday of The Famous Grouse brand.
If you fancy a trip to Scotland, you can see this behemoth on display at the Glenturret Distillery near Crieff in Perthshire, Scotland. The glass bottle was made near Prague in the Czech Republic, and it measures 5 feet, 5 inches tall.
The record previously belonged to Jack Daniels for a 184-liter bottle. It seems that the Jack Daniels team loves a challenge, and they currently hold five Guinness World Records, including “most contributions to a greeting card” (1,075), “most people blowing out candles simultaneously” (250), and last but not least, “fastest time to build a 20 shot glass pyramid” (10.56 seconds).
(Photo: The Famous Grouse/PA)
It’s hard to resist a slice of luscious blackberry pie on a hot summer day, and it’s going to be even harder to resist a swig of Midnight Moon’s newest addition to its fruit-infused moonshine lineup: Blackberry.
Midnight Moon Blackberry hit stores on Wednesday with a $19 price tag. It’s made from the distillers original moonshine spirit infused with berries for a fresh taste of summer. Midnight Moon from Piedmont Distillers also makes apple pie, cherry, strawberry, blueberry and cranberry flavored moonshine.
Drink Midnight Moon Blackberry straight out of the mason jar for an authentic ‘shine experience, or mix it with some lemonade or cream soda for a summery cocktail.
I’m already picturing my next BBQ party: corn on the cob, hamburgers and bratwurst on the grill, and a couple jars of Blackberry moonshine sitting on the picnic table.
Craft Brewing and Distilling News for August 2, 2012, Shanken News Daily