Living The Hooch Life
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Hidden Gems of Irish Whiskey
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.
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.
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.
Small Business Success from Berkshire Mountain Distillers
Nestled on a quiet farm in Massachusetts, Berkshire Mountain Distillers turns out award-winning craft spirits and celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit in America.
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.
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.
Big Scotch, Tiny Island: Scotland’s Isle of Islay
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.
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 is the ultimate expression of Islay’s Scotch: huge, peaty, smoky and medicinal. Appreciating this whisky takes time, but the journey is worth it.
Urban Spirits from New York Distilling Company
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.
These city-dwelling distillers are fast becoming integral to the urban communities where they work through events, tours, and partnerships with local businesses.
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.
Taste the Grains: Ransom Spirits
From their WhipperSnapper Whiskey to their Old Tom Gin, Ransom Spirits makes sure you can taste the raw ingredients that go into each bottle.
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.
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.
Hooch Films’ Series “The Distillers” — Absinthe in America
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.
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.
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.
Corsair Artisan Distillery: Renegade Whiskey Makers
Corsair distillers call themselves whiskey geeks. We call them renegades. Either way, their distinctive spirits consistently win over critics, bartenders, and drinkers.
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.
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.
Roundhouse Spirits: Thinking Outside the Box
Roundhouse Spirits is committed to two things: healthy agriculture and creative spirits. This Boulder-based distillery has been knocking socks off since 2008.
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.
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.
Barrel-Aged Cocktails…Worth the Wait
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.
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.
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.
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.
Taking It Easy: Low Alcohol Cocktails
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: your grandma sips it, bartenders mix it, hipsters drink it. Rich flavor with less alcohol, sherry cocktails are hitting menus across the USA.
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.
The Modern Cocktail Party
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hooch Films’ Series “The Distillers” – The New Face of Rum
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.
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.
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.
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.
How Do You Say Bunnahabhain? And Other Essential Scotch Advice
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.
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.
Rich and fruity? Smoky and briny? Light? Spicy? Whatever flavors you love, there’s a Scotch for you. Find your new favorite malt.
There's no better place to cultivate a taste for Scotch than Scotland itself.
Moonshine in 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.
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.
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.
The Boozy Brunch Party
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 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.
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.
Hooch Films’ Series “The Distillers” – American Vodka
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 has helped rejuvenate the agricultural economy and community of Washington Island, WI. They use grain from the island to make their organic vodka.
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.
World’s Best Rum Cocktail: The 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.
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.
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?
Why We Drink Craft Spirits
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hooch Films’ Series “The Distillers” — American Gin Innovators
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What is 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Essential Backyard Party Guide
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s Time to Drink Better Rum
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hooch Films Presents “The Distillers” – Whiskey in America
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.
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.
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.
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.