Heading to San Francisco

Posted in Editor's Notes on November 5th, 2010 by Josh

In yet another attempt at increasing the frequency with which I post, I’m trying to lower the gate a bit for posting, not requiring myself to have an entire recipe or review, but allowing myself to just post thoughts or random missives (which I generally restrict to Twitter). I’m hoping it keeps things here a bit more consistent, and makes it easier for me to write a bit more frequently. Read More

Tags: San Francisco

Kansas City Cocktails: The Rieger Hotel and the Resurrection of Manifesto

Posted in Community, Editor's Notes on October 14th, 2010 by Josh

As a cocktail enthusiast, I feel very lucky to live in a city like New York. New York and San Francisco (along with a few other cities like Portland and Seattle) have certainly led the modern cocktail revolution, and having regular access to bars like Milk & Honey, Death & Co., Clover Club and so on can easily lead one to take high-quality cocktails for granted, and perhaps even (unfairly) doubt the ability of other cities to hit the mark in terms of quality and creativity.

But I do love being proven wrong.

On a recent trip to Kansas City, I had the privilege of meeting Ryan Maybee. When I reached out to Brandon Cummins of the Lush Life team, a native of the Kansas City area, for suggestions on where I should visit while in town, Brandon assured me that Ryan was the guy to see. I found Ryan behind the bar at The American restaurant – a fixture of Kansas City dining, but not really where Ryan belongs. Over a Ward & Precinct cocktail he prepared (bourbon, housemade grenadine, lemon and orange juice, and Angostura bitters), Ryan told me the story of Manifesto. Read More

Tags: Kansas City, Manifesto, Rieger Hotel, Ryan Maybee, Westport

A Visit to Maker’s Mark

Posted in Editor's Notes on June 9th, 2010 by Josh

Recently, I had the privilege to visit the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, KY. In this post, I’d like to share my experience, what I saw, what I learned, and what I tasted. In the interest of full disclosure though, I’d like to tell you right up front that the folks at Maker’s Mark did pay for the travel expenses for my visit (my airfare and hotel for one night). I was not financially compensated in any other way.

With that out of the way, I hope you’ll indulge me. I’m about to geek out about whisky.

If you’ve never been to a whisky distillery, stop what you’re doing (well, finish reading this post, then stop what you’re doing) and book a trip. The greatest concentration of distilleries in the US is in Kentucky, along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The process of making whisky is fascinating, and while not everyone enjoys it the way I do, I find the smell of a distillery intoxicating (even before I’ve had anything to drink!) Read More

Tags: bourbon, distillery, Kentucky, Maker's 46, Maker's Mark

Flaming Holiday Punch

Posted in Editor's Notes, Recipes on December 28th, 2009 by Josh

Another cocktail courtesy of Rachel Maddow. Isn’t she the best? This excellent holiday punch actually comes by way of Josey Packard of the bar Drink in Boston. You can watch Josey make the punch via this video from Rachel Maddow’s show. Read More

Tags: allspice, apple cider, brandy, cinnamon, cloves, lemon, nutmeg, orange, punch, rum

White House Cocktails

Posted in Editor's Notes on December 21st, 2009 by Josh

There’s only one thing I pay more attention to than spirits and cocktails, and that’s politics. I’m a total politics geek. Election night is my Super Bowl. I know – it’s sad. But it’s who I am.

Standing at the intersection of politics and cocktails is one of my favorite people – Rachel Maddow. Host of the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, she is a former Rhodes Scholar who holds a DPhil in politics from Oxford. She also happens to be an absolute connoisseur of classic cocktail culture.  For nearly a year now, Rachel has been seeking a breakthrough on one of the closely held secrets of the Obama White House: What kind of cocktails are the Obama’s serving at their infamous cocktail parties!? Finally, that breakthrough came this past week when Rachel herself attended a White House holiday party and reported this momentous news in the Cocktail Moment section of her show this past Friday. Read More

Tags: Rachel Maddow, The Gibson

This Holiday, Give the Gift of Intoxication

Posted in Editor's Notes on December 18th, 2009 by Josh

 width=As the holidays hurl towards us at breakneck speed, deciding what to get for that special someone (or your parents, your siblings, your boss, your co-worker, your doorman, your super, your postman, and so on, and so on) becomes a challenge. I’m here to help, though mainly just by way of taking advantage of other people’s hard work.

First – let me talk briefly about scotch. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how scotch became the quintessential non-threatening, no meaning implied gift, but there it is. For some reason, Johnnie Walker Blue has taken hold as the guaranteed-to-impress brand. I actually do like Johnnie Blue, but let’s be honest – it’s a bit pricey, no? (At $150 per bottle, I’d say yes.) The folks at Chivas sent me a sample of Chivas Regal 18 to taste, as well as a sample of Johnnie Walker Blue for the sake of comparison. From my vantage point, they’re actually tough to compare, as they have very different flavor profiles. I find Chivas to be generally sweeter (in a caramel sort of way), with a nice smoky finish. With Johnnie Blue, the smokiness is more up front, and the sweetness that follows tastes more like bittersweet chocolate to me. Read More

Tags: holidays, scotch

An Interview with Dave Arnold & Nils Noren – Cocktail Mad Scientists

Posted in Editor's Notes, Events on December 5th, 2009 by Josh

Liquid Nitrogen to chill cocktails

I had the great pleasure this past week of spending an hour with Dave Arnold and Nils Noren, both professors at the French Culinary Institute here in New York. Nils and Dave have each won acclaim in their own right – Nils as executive chef at New York’s Aquavit, as well as a number of restaurants in Europe, and Dave as an award-winning food writer and director of culinary technology at FCI. But together, they are arguably the world’s leading cocktail mad scientists. Read More

Tags: carbonation, clarification, Dave Arnold, distillation, emulsification, FCI, liquid nitrogen, Nils Noren, rotary evaporation