I am in pain, a lot of it. It’s 8 AM in Louisville, Kentucky, the capital city of bourbon country. About an hour outside of town are America’s most prized bourbon distilleries. I am in so much pain because of the products they distill, and yet, according to the experts around these parts, there doesn’t seem to be any way of avoiding this fate.
Yesterday started casually enough with a 9 AM tour of the Jim Beam American Stillhouse in Clermont, a picturesque town nestled in the green rolling hills of the Bluegrass State. Jim Beam produces 50 percent of the world’s bourbon, which is a goddamn lot of bourbon.
Jim Beam produces 50 percent of the world’s bourbon. All photos by the author.
This is a question that one Australian mom failed to ask when she sent her five-year-old daughter to school with a Smirnoff Frozen Pouch tucked neatly into her lunchbox. You see, in Australia and much of the English-speaking world, Smirnoff offers a pouch of fruit-flavored vodka that looks pretty much exactly like a juice pouch. Except it contains the good stuff.
Smirnoff calls its frozen pouches “delicious new drinking sensation[s] from the number 1 spirits brand in the world. Enjoy refreshing fruit flavors combined with the smooth taste of Smirnoff Vodka straight from your freezer.” And one little girl in Australia almost did.
Although Los Angeles has a thriving Japanese food scene, something was missing in the market for chef Charles Namba and sommelier Courtney Kaplan.
“We felt like when we came from New York to LA, there was great Japanese food and a strong community but not a lot of izakaya food,” Kaplan said. “There were a lot of places to get really great sushi and really great ramen, but a lot of the izakayas are either really far away in Torrance or Gardena, or they’re in Little Tokyo and not really reflecting on what’s happening in Japan right now.”
So the couple opened Tsubaki, a modern izakaya in Echo Park with a menu of seasonally driven Japanese tavern food, and an even bigger menu of small-production … Read the rest
Welcome to Last Call, where we visit watering holes around the world to collect life advice from their trusty barkeepers, learning everything from how to get over a broken heart to what drink orders will get you laughed out of their bar. Today, we meet Phil Greenwood, landlord at The Seven Oaks—a Manchester pub that has become the go-to drinking destination for frazzled bar workers.
Situated between Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter and the footballers’ playground of Deansgate, early evening customers at The Seven Oaks are mainly nearby office workers, lured by the pub’s convenient city centre location and elegantly tiled exterior.
But come midnight, The Seven Oaks turns into a very different kind of drinking den. From 12 PM until well into the morning, landlord … Read the rest
“adapted from Ruby Punch, a recipe that cocktail historian David Wondrich found in Jerry Thomas’s Bar-Tenders Guide from 1862… features a seriously tasty combination of black tea, ruby port, lemon, and a funky rum-esque liquor called Batavia Arrack. In its original form the tannins from the black tea and port provide grip and add texture, not to mention deep, inky color. After clarifying with milk the result is full bodied, but silky smooth with a rosé-like color and fruitiness.”
After a 150-year absence, milk punch is back. Newly popular with the mixology set, this drink is more a technique than a particular recipe, much as punch is a format rather than a formula. Today’s bartenders are not only experimenting with the range of ingredients that go into the cocktail, they are also experimenting with the technique itself. To understand more about the drink, how it’s changing, and how to create a great recipe for the home bartender, we hit the bar scene—and spoke with as many professional milk-punch makers as we could. There are two kinds of milk punch. The first, typically called brandy milk punch or bourbon milk punch, is popular in New Orleans, is citrus-free, and includes milk. The second type, often … Read the rest
When we were in Iowa we heard stories of Templeton Rye, a whiskey made in illegal stills during Prohibition that was supposedly one of Al Capone’s favorites. It was kept in 1-gallon metal cans and smuggled 400+ miles due east to Chicago. The bootleggers sometimes buried the cans at drop points along the way, and my grandfather, as a little boy, would dig up the cans and sell them for 50¢
We visited the distillery, but on July 3rd and 4th pretty much everything in the state was closed. We looked around for where we might buy some, but it seemed to be sold out everywhere.