The Hooch Life

Issue Archive

  • Issue 49: Living the Hooch Life 10



    Living The Hooch Life

    Meet America's Craft Distillers

    The rise of craft distillers across the USA means there could be a great little distillery in your backyard. Get to know some of the top craft distillers in the country, what they produce, and where you can buy their products.

    American Craft Spirits

    There is a revolution going on: a craft spirits revolution. Small artisan distillers continue to set up shop around the country. Browse their selection of small-batch spirits and find your new favorite bottles.

    Classic and Modern Cocktail Recipes

    Wondering what to do with that bottle of whiskey or vodka on your shelf? Take a look at our recipe database, a collection of classic cocktails and modern libations that you can make at home.

    Hooch at Home

    You don't have to be an expert mixologist to make a great batch of cocktails at home. “Hooch at Home” tells you how to throw an epic cocktail party, mix a delicious cocktail at home, and build a great home bar.

    What to Drink

    You'll notice a growing number of spirits on your liquor store's shelves, many from small distilleries in the USA. Our expert contributors help you decide “What to Drink.”

    How to Drink

    Dig a little deeper into bar culture and craft spirits with our “How to Drink” section. Here you can refresh your drinking repertoire and discover the ins and outs of the perfect cocktail.

  • Issue 48: Hidden Gems of Irish Whiskey



    Hidden Gems of Irish Whiskey

    Al Higgins: Your Irish Whiskey Buying Connection

    Believe it or not, there’s only one specialized whiskey shop in all of Dublin. We talked shop with store manager Al Higgins and got his top five whiskey picks.

    2 Pubs, 100 Whiskeys, and The Man.

    If you ask around Dublin for the guy who knows Irish whiskey, you’ll hear the name Michael Foggarty. We tracked Michael down to get some whiskey wisdom.

    The Hooch Life’s Top Irish Whiskey Picks

    Jameson is the most popular Irish whiskey in the USA, but that’s no excuse to ignore the other amazing (and reasonably priced) bottles from the Emerald Isle.

  • Issue 47: Small Business Success from Berkshire Mountain Distillers



    Small Business Success from Berkshire Mountain Distillers

    Berkshire Mountain Distillers: Flavors of the Northeast

    Nestled on a quiet farm in Massachusetts, Berkshire Mountain Distillers turns out award-winning craft spirits and celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit in America.

    Cocktails Made with Berkshire Mountain’s Spirits

    From a crisp sipping rum and one of America’s best craft bourbons to a robust, London Dry gin, Berkshire Mountain’s spirits make delicious cocktails for all seasons.

    4 Distillers Who Left Successful Careers to Make Hooch

    Not every distiller in America grew up making whiskey. Some craft distillers made complete 180-degree career changes to pursue their passion for making spirits.

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    Big Scotch, Tiny Island: Scotland’s Isle of Islay

    Kilchoman Distillery: Scotch Whisky’s New Kid on the Block

    This craft distillery on Scotland’s famous Isle of Islay says Scotch whisky doesn’t have to be old to be good. Judging by Kilchoman’s success, they might be right.

    Scotland’s Isle of Islay: Whisky Wonderland

    A visit to Islay is like stepping into another world. There are more distilleries on the island than ATMs, and everyone there knows how to make whisky.

    Laphroaig Distillery: The Granddaddy of Scotch

    Laphroaig is the ultimate expression of Islay’s Scotch: huge, peaty, smoky and medicinal. Appreciating this whisky takes time, but the journey is worth it.

  • Issue 45: Urban Spirits from New York Distilling Company



    Urban Spirits from New York Distilling Company

    New York Distilling Company: In the Heart of Brooklyn

    Right in the middle of the hippest neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York Distilling makes two witty gins and runs a local watering hole called The Shanty.

    5 Urban Craft Distilleries

    These city-dwelling distillers are fast becoming integral to the urban communities where they work through events, tours, and partnerships with local businesses.

    Spirited Backstory of New York Distilling Gin

    Why name your gin after Dorothy Parker or Commodore Matthew C. Perry? We take a closer look at the people who inspired New York Distilling’s delicious gin.

  • Issue 44: Taste the Grains – Ransom Spirits



    Taste the Grains: Ransom Spirits

    Ransom Spirits: What’s In a Name?

    From their WhipperSnapper Whiskey to their Old Tom Gin, Ransom Spirits makes sure you can taste the raw ingredients that go into each bottle.

    5 Influential Craft Distilleries in the Pacific Northwest

    One of the country’s hot beds of craft distilling, the Pacific Northwest is home to several distilleries that have influenced the course of the craft spirits movement.

    Three Ways to Enjoy Ransom Spirits

    Ransom distills with one thing in mind: taste — whether that means sipping their sprits neat or in a cocktail. Here are three cocktails made with Ransom Spirits.

  • Issue 43: Hooch Films' Series "The Distillers" — Absinthe in America



    Hooch Films’ Series “The Distillers” — Absinthe in America

    Philadelphia Distilling: Revolutionary Spirits

    Philadelphia Distilling has an eye on American history as they craft their spirits. Their Vieux Carré absinthe is a tribute to New Orleans old French Quarter.

    Great Lakes Distillery: Small-Batch Spirits with Big Flavor

    New to absinthe? Try Great Lakes’ Absinthe Rouge, a tame and earthy spirit. For a real kick in the teeth, go for the more classic variety, Absinthe Verte.

    Ridge Distillery: From Herb Garden to Absinthe

    What’s the one thing you need to make great absinthe? Piles of herbs. Julie Legate had an entire herb farm in Montana before becoming an absinthe distiller.

  • Issue 42: Corsair Artisan Distillery, Renegade Whiskey Makers



    Corsair Artisan Distillery: Renegade Whiskey Makers

    Corsair Artisan Distillery: Whiskey Obsessed

    Corsair distillers call themselves whiskey geeks. We call them renegades. Either way, their distinctive spirits consistently win over critics, bartenders, and drinkers.

    Rejuvenate Your Cocktails with Corsair’s Flavorful Spirits

    The adventurous, off-the-beaten-path spirits from Corsair will take your cocktails to new heights. But beware: your taste buds will never be the same.

    5 Innovative Craft Distilleries in Bourbon Country

    Distillers in bourbon country are known for traditional whiskey. But these five distillers are shaking things up down South with a pioneering approach to spirits.

  • Issue 41: Roundhouse Spirits, Thinking Outside the Box



    Roundhouse Spirits: Thinking Outside the Box

    Roundhouse Spirits: Aging and Innovating American Gin

    Roundhouse Spirits is committed to two things: healthy agriculture and creative spirits. This Boulder-based distillery has been knocking socks off since 2008.

    Gin Cocktails Made with Roundhouse Spirits

    If you think you know what gin is supposed to taste like, you haven’t tried Roundhouse Spirits’ barrel-aged gin. Give your taste buds a new adventure.

    5 Craft Distillers in Colorado You Should Know

    In this state of thirsty locavores, craft distillers are multiplying and thriving. These five distillers are setting the bar for the rest, and making some damn fine spirits.

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    Barrel-Aged Cocktails…Worth the Wait

    Roll Out the Barrel: Aging Cocktails to Perfection

    America's bartenders are doing a lot of waiting these days, but what for? They're waiting for the flavors of a barrel-aged cocktail to ripen to rich, mellow perfection.

    How-To Guide to DIY Barrel-Aged Cocktails

    With a little effort upfront, making a barrel-aged cocktail gives you a big return. It’s a fun and easy weekend project, and a guaranteed hit at any party.

    Better With Age: 5 Barrel-Aged Cocktail Recipes

    There’s certainly no shortage of cocktail recipes out there, but a few recipes are just begging to be aged. Our experts offer their favorite recipes for the barrel.

    Bars That Serve Great Barrel-Aged Cocktails

    Let your taste buds decide whether this barrel-aging trend is a winner. Here’s our list of cocktail bars across the country making and serving barrel-aged cocktails.

  • Issue 39: Taking It Easy – Low Alcohol Cocktails



    Taking It Easy: Low Alcohol Cocktails

    Drink At Your Own Speed: Low-Alcohol Cocktails at High Altitude

    Bryan Dayton's cocktail menu at his Boulder, CO restaurant lets drinkers decide, is this going to be a wild Friday night or am I going to take it easy?

    Sherry Isn't Just For Sipping: Two Cocktails for Sherry Beginners

    Sherry: your grandma sips it, bartenders mix it, hipsters drink it. Rich flavor with less alcohol, sherry cocktails are hitting menus across the USA.

    The Ever-Faithful, Always Delicious Pimm's Cup

    Let the Pimm's Cup be your date for the evening. Gentle and refreshing, this cocktail will never abandon you to a drunken fate in the middle of a swanky party.

  • Issue 38: The Modern Cocktail Party, fresh ingredients, homemade syrups



    The Modern Cocktail Party

    How Busy People Host Amazing Cocktail Parties

    Think you’re too busy to host a fantastic cocktail party? Think again. The modern cocktail party is all about great cocktails, less stress and lots of fun.

    Host a Jazzy New Orleans Cocktail Party

    New Orleans was home to classic cocktail culture long before Bourbon Street became known for sippy cup slushies. Celebrate the city’s classy booze culture.

    Host a Summery Garden Party

    Put on your best seersucker jacket and bring a taste of the outdoors inside, whether you live in a tiny urban apartment or a sprawling country home.

    Host an Elaborate Tiki Paradise Party

    Need to get away from it all? Transform your backyard into an island oasis, complete with Hawaiian shirts, cheesy music and, of course, lots of rum.

    Playlist: Chillin’ Sippin’ & Loungin’

    Every cocktail party needs the right music. This eclectic mix of jazz, soul and funk is perfect for relaxing with friends and a few fantastic cocktails.

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    Hooch Films’ Series “The Distillers” – The New Face of Rum

    Bully Boy Distillers: Redefining the American Spirit

    Boston’s first distillery since Prohibition has become known for their rum, a spirit that used to flow through colonial Boston’s streets the way beer does today.

    Berkshire Mountain Distillers: Flavors of the Northeast

    Located at the base of the Appalachian Trail and surrounded by lush green farms, this distillery proves that great rum doesn’t have to come from the Caribbean.

    Whistling Andy Distillery: Montana's Own Caribbean Rum

    Bigfork, Montana provides a picturesque backdrop for the Whistling Andy distillery, but it was the rich agriculture and pristine water that really drew them to this location.

    Summer Rum Revival in 6 Cocktails

    Rum isn’t just for tiki drinks. Top bartenders recommend their favorite rum cocktails of the summer that will leave you loving rum as much as Captain Jack Sparrow.

  • Issue 36: Scotch Sense



    How Do You Say Bunnahabhain? And Other Essential Scotch Advice

    Tips for Finding Your Scotch Soul Mate

    Got a hankering for the good stuff? Don’t be put off by unfamiliar whisky bottles with strange Gaelic names. Our experts tell you how to get a great glass of Scotch.

    The Scotch Starting Line-Up

    You’re ready to become a Scotch drinker, chomping at the bit for a big smoky dram. Whoa there, before you leap into the peaty depths, start with these 4 whiskies.

    See More Scotch Whiskies

    Rich and fruity? Smoky and briny? Light? Spicy? Whatever flavors you love, there’s a Scotch for you. Find your new favorite malt.

    Tour Scotland’s Whisky Regions, One Distillery at a Time

    There's no better place to cultivate a taste for Scotch than Scotland itself.

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    Moonshine in America

    How Moonshine Changed America

    From backwoods stills to big-time moonshine rings, making whiskey has always been a part of American culture. Author and journalist Max Watman explains.

    Mix Up Some Moonshine Cocktails

    You’ll find moonshine — the legal kind — in most bars and liquor stores today. So how do you drink it? Our bartender network shares their favorite cocktail recipes.

    Ole Smoky: 100 Years of Moonshine

    Joe Baker grew up making moonshine. He’s now the distiller of a family-run whiskey business in Tennessee making three kinds of traditional sipping ‘shine.

  • Issue 34: The Boozy Brunch Party



    The Boozy Brunch Party

    The Modern Brunch Party is Boozy and Adventurous

    Don’t settle for another mediocre Mimosa at brunch. Add a few bold cocktails to your next brunch party menu that will put all your friends in high spirits.

    The Bloody Mary: Basics and Beyond

    The Bloody Mary is a brunch (and hangover) staple. From the classic version to zesty variations with bacon or jalapenos, this cocktail will make any brunch party better.

    Playlist: Bloody Mary

    Rumor has it that the Bloody Mary was invented at a Parisian cocktail mecca called Harry’s New York Bar. Listen to our French-inspired playlist at your next brunch party.

  • Issue 33: Hooch Film Series "The Distillers" - American Vodka



    Hooch Films’ Series “The Distillers” – American Vodka

    Dry Fly: Getting Out of the Grain’s Way

    This Pacific Northwest distillery believes that vodka should taste like the grain that goes into it. Their wheat vodka has a slightly sweet “butterscotch vanilla tone.”

    Death’s Door: Reviving Local Agriculture

    Death's Door has helped rejuvenate the agricultural economy and community of Washington Island, WI. They use grain from the island to make their organic vodka.

    See All Featured Vodka Distilleries

    American craft vodka isn’t like the big brands. You can actually taste the ingredients that went into the still, and every bottle supports a local community.

  • Issue 32: World's Best Rum Cocktail: The Daiquiri



    World’s Best Rum Cocktail: The Daiquiri

    Ode to the Classic Daiquiri

    With just three simple ingredients — rum, lime and sugar — the classic Daiquiri is quite possibly the best rum cocktail in the world. No blender required.

    Daiquiri Diversity: 5 Rums to Try

    The Daiquiri’s simple, balanced flavor makes it the perfect stage for all kinds of rum to perform their flavor magic. We’ve got 5 rum recommendations for your next Daiquiri.

    The Search for Hemingway’s Daiquiri

    It’s no secret that Ernest Hemingway loved Daiquiris and drank a ton of them. His own variation of the classic cocktail was even dubbed the Hemingway Daiquiri. But what was in it?

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    Why We Drink Craft Spirits

    Here's to the Little Guy

    This week, we raise our glasses to the little guy, to the small distillery making amazing hooch, and to the people who seek out these lesser-known bottles in a world of dominated by big brands.

    Take Back the Tasting Party

    Say good-bye to snobby tasting parties where people try to one-up each other with flavor vocabulary. Trying new spirits should be fun! Here’s how to host a tasting party your friends will remember.

    From Brews to Booze: Whiskey for Beer Drinkers

    Craft beer is the perfect gateway to the world of whiskey, according to head brewer at Ballast Point Brewery and Spirits. He can tell you what type of whiskey you’ll like based on your favorite kind of beer.

  • Issue 30: The Bartender



    The Bartender

    4 Words of Advice: Go Early, Go Often.

    After a year of bar-hopping across America, The Hooch Life’s own Glenn Morey has discovered the secret to having more fun at a cocktail bar and to becoming a better drinker. Go early, go often.

    Let the Bartender Be Your Personal Guide to Booze

    A bartender doesn’t just serve you a drink. This person is a passionate booze expert who can expand your hooch horizons and find your new favorite cocktail. Here’s how to most of your time at the bar.

  • Issue 29: Hooch Films' Series "The Distillers" - American Gin Innovators



    Hooch Films’ Series “The Distillers” — American Gin Innovators

    Bendistillery: Pure, Oregon-Inspired Spirits

    Jim Bendis runs (a lot) and makes booze. One of the earliest practitioners of craft distilling, he makes American-style gin from wild, handpicked Oregon juniper berries and pure mountain water.

    New York Distilling Company: In the Heart of Brooklyn

    The New York Distilling Company sits smack in the middle of Brooklyn’s ultra-hip Williamsburg neighborhood, where distiller and master mixologist, Allen Katz, is making some very strong gin.

    Peak Spirits: High Altitude Farm-to-Glass Distilling

    Lance Hanson grows the fruit for his organic spirits and wine on his own high-altitude farm in Colorado, and he slow-cooks the mash to preserve the delicate flavors in his gin and vodka.

    Roundhouse Spirits: Aging and Innovating American Gin

    Ted Palmer fell in love with the science of distilling at the age of 10, and he’s been doing it ever since. His gin is made with organic-only botanicals, and some is even barrel-aged for extra flavor.

    See All Featured Gin Distillers

    American distillers have a flair for doing things a little differently, and making gin is no exception. These folks have pioneered “New Western” style gin to offer unique, balanced flavors.

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    What is Tiki?

    PKNY: A Skeptic Discovers Tiki

    What do you get when you send a jaded New Yorker who despises theme parties to one of the city’s hottest tiki bars, complete with flaming limes, communal cocktail bowls, and flamingo garnishes?

    The Anatomy of a Tiki Bar

    As any tiki fan will tell you, there is a BIG difference between a tropical-themed bar and a true tiki bar. It starts with a great cocktail, and it ends with you having the best mini-vacation ever.

    Escape to a Tiki Bar Near You

    Unless you want to turn your basement into a shrine to Polynesian Pop, it’s hard to replicate a tiki experience at home. Hit up one of these tiki bars, recommended by our bartender friends.

    A Taste of the Islands: Classic Tiki Cocktails

    Tiki cocktails are supposed to be ridiculous, over the top, and so temptingly delicious that you throw caution to the wind and order another. Let loose with these classic tiki cocktails.

    Playlist: Tiki Bar

    Tiki isn’t just about the cocktails. It’s an atmosphere of escape and freedom, and for that, you need the right tunes. Escape to a tropical island, if only for an hour, with our tiki playlist.

  • Issue 27 - Essential Backyard Party Guide



    Essential Backyard Party Guide

    Pitcher Perfect Punch Recipes for Backyard Entertaining

    Don’t get stuck making cocktail after cocktail at your own party. Mix a big pitcher of punch, step away from the bar, and have some fun. Top bartenders recommend 5 great recipes that will keep everyone’s cup full.

    Essential Guide to Backyard Bar-Building

    You’ve learned to make a few cocktails, and you’re ready to set up a real bar at your next backyard party. Show your friends how it’s done with Brian Melton’s guide to building the ultimate outdoor bar.

    8 Ways to Make Your Backyard Party Better

    Friends: check. Backyard: check. Now what? Don’t just settle for a bag of tortilla chips and some cheap beer. Here’s how to take your outdoor cocktail party to the next level.

    Playlist: Summer Party

    Kick back and relax with some warm-weather tunes. These new classics — a little Americana, a little folk — are perfect for hanging out on a sunny Saturday afternoon with a cocktail in your hand.

  • Issue 26 - Rum icon



    It’s Time to Drink Better Rum

    The Lifetime Journey of a Rum Drinker

    Michael Neff, owner of The Rum House in NYC, is passionate about rum. “If you want to embark on a lifetime journey,” he says, become a rum drinker. There is always something new to discover.

    Bully Boy Distillers: Redefining the American Spirit

    As the first distillery to open in Boston since Prohibition, Bully Boy is reviving the city’s rum tradition. Unlike their rum predecessors, founders Will and Dave are keeping a close eye on quality.

    Rum Vacation Guide: 5 Caribbean Distilleries to Visit

    Next time you’re on vacation in the Caribbean, venture beyond the hotel bar to get your rum fix. Bartenders and rum aficionados recommend their favorite rum distilleries to visit in the Caribbean.

    3 Rum Books That Will Make You Thirsty

    Matty Durgin, a rum aficionado with over 100 bottles of rum in his collection, is a wealth of rum knowledge. Here are his three favorite books on rum and some cocktails to sip while reading.

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    Hooch Films Presents “The Distillers” – Whiskey in America

    Meet America’s Craft Whiskey Distillers

    There is a new generation of whiskey distillers in America. Some choose to revive their grandfathers’ 100-year-old recipes. Others respectfully decline to follow the rules. Meet the people behind the whiskey.

    4 Things You Should Know About American Craft Whiskey

    Craft American whiskey is a reflection of the people who make it. It tells a story of both tradition and innovation. Here’s what today’s whiskey makers want you to know about their craft.

    Things That Matter: Kyle Turley

    Kyle Turley talks about things that matter to him: the inspiration behind his Southern rock sound, and life as a former NFL lineman now making a living as a musician...with a little Jack Daniels on the side.

    Fresh Hooch to Satisfy Your Whiskey Craving

    Like it spicy and complex? Smooth and sweet? Unconventional and totally new? There is a craft whiskey out there to fit every taste and budget. Discover your next favorite bottle of whiskey.