Theses days it seems people have been losing faith and confidence in their government’s ability to pass effective, bipartisan legislation. However, the American Homebrewer’s Association announced this morning that new homebrewing laws in the state of Mississippi go into effect today, making it the 50th and final state to allow homebrewing. What better way to celebrate Independence Day than making your own IPA? Hop to it! [Brewer's Association]
Another day, another announcement of a bourbon distillery expansion. This time, Brown-Forman has announced a $35 million expansion of its Woodford Reserve distillery in order to keep up with the growing demand for the brand worldwide. Plans to develop three new warehouses and three new copper pot stills are already underway, with ground being expected to break shortly. The expansion is also expected to create roughly 15 new jobs over the project’s history, which is good news for the local Kentucky economy. [Brown-Forman Press Release]
Forbes spirits writer Seth Porges files a report on a most peculiar private testing of Glenlivet he recently had in New York City to promote the release of its newest, anonymous expression Glenlivet Alpha. The concept is interesting, but raises questions about the price tag and whether or not people are willing to take a leap of faith and purchase something with no extra information from the distillery. [Forbes]
In other Scotch news: Ardbeg, creator of that most tasty Ardbog we enjoyed this past weekend, is now offering an excellent destination getaway for the Scotch obsessive in your life: Ardbeg’s Seaview Cottage has been renovated and is a functioning cottage right in the heart of its distillery. Guests will be treated to a tour of the distillery and local attractions, and can enjoy many of the little quirky things to be found in the luxury cottage. More information on how to go about booking your trip can be found at the company’s website. [Ardbeg]
NPR reports on the rise of Moscato in the African-American and Latino communities (bewilderingly all clumped together in the headline as “brown”), and how it is allegedly becoming a “gateway wine” for the uninitiated to exploring different varietals. Warning: a giant photo of Nicki Minaj will greet you if you click through. [NPR]
And finally today in science news: researchers at the University of Florida have proven what rats and college freshman both have in common, besides twitchy, sleep deprived faces: they both like Jello shots. [Discover]
For reasons passing understanding, the inbox flows full for the Fourth of July (for everyone outside of the United States, that’s our Independence Day) with cocktail recipes galore. More than any other holiday, we get an influx of really good recipes to pass on. Here’s but a small sample of our good fortune, and we do hope you get to enjoy them over the upcoming holiday.
Red, Lemon and Blue
1.5 oz. Devotion Black & Blue vodka
Dash of grenadine
Fill with lemonade
Blueberries (for garnish)
In an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice, add 1.5 oz. of Devotion Black & Blue Vodka, fill the remainder of the glass with lemonade, and add a dash of grenadine. Garnish with blueberries.
Malibu American Flag
1 oz. Blue Curacao
1 oz Malibu Coconut Rum
1 oz Campari
In a shot glass layer Blue Curacao, then Malibu and then Campari on the top for a very Patriotic-looking shooter or sipper.
3 oz. Three Olives Berry Vodka
1/2 oz. cranberry juice
Dash of Grenadine
½ oz. Blue Curacao
Shake vodka, cranberry juice and grenadine in a shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass. Pour blue curacao gently down the side of the glass so it settles on the bottom. Garnish with lemon twist.
Continue reading “4th of July Cocktail Recipes – 2013” »
Aside from a folksy anecdote about Booker making maple syrup, not much else in terms of date or price was really unveiled in a recent press release, other than the fact that Knob Creek will be introducing a smoked, maple flavored bourbon to be released sometime this autumn. No doubt a tasty sample and review will be forthcoming in the next few weeks. [via Press Release]
Elsewhere on the flavored whiskey tip, The Atlantic’s Rebecca Greenfield chimes in with a small essay on flavored whiskey, its growing popularity and longstanding history. [The Atlantic]
In lieu of a recent article published saying that wine tasting was basically junk science, The Guardian took additional time to present a history of science debunking wine tasting, critics, and everything involved with the practice. A great summary piece, but those who have been reading these article for years will find nothing new, really. [The Guardian]
Continue reading “Drinkhacker Reads – 06.26.2013 – Knob Creek Maple For Autumn” »
Returning from a much needed vacation, we were surprised to see an article published in Slate arguing that big name distilleries like Beam and Wild Turkey were just as good as craft distilleries. While there are many valid points to be made for either side, in the end isn’t it a bit like comparing apples and oranges? [Slate]
Perhaps coincidentally, the Chicago Tribune runs an article discussing how big names like Jim Beam and Jack Daniels are getting “crafty” with new expressions. [Chicago Tribune]
While China is putting the chill on European Union wines and spirits because of some international trade issues, they’ve welcomed back with open arms Mexico’s tequila. We’re sure the timing is totally coincidental and has no political agenda whatsoever. [USA Today]
In science-related news, your gin may be in short supply very soon. Unlike the recent forewarnings about bourbon shortages due to supply, this alert stems from a recent outbreak of fungus attacking juniper plants, whose berries are an essential ingredients found in the spirit. Scientists are currently very hard at work to develop a solution to the problem, but so far results are mixed. Try not to get to shaken up over this stirring news. [ABC News]
And finally today, The New York Times talks to Jefferson’s main bourbon man Trey Zoeller about traveling, bourbon, and high-priced escorts he’s had the pleasure to have known. It’s a wonderful life, indeed. [NY Times]
Father’s Day is just around the corner, and what better way to say thanks to the old guy who bailed you out of so much trouble when you were younger than with a nice relaxing drink? You know it’s the right thing to do! Here’s a few suggestions we tested out over the past several days which may cancel out that horrible tie you got him last year.
Sapphire Snake in the Glass
1.5 oz. Bombay Sapphire East
1/2 oz. Lemongrass infused Snake Shochu
3/4 oz. Cinnamon infused Martini Rosso
3/4 oz. fresh mandarin juice
Pinch of Mandarin spiced tea
Lemongrass stalk garnish
Sprinkle spiced tea over lit match or flame to toast onto cocktail. Shake and serve on the rocks.
The Thistle Whistle
2 oz. Brugal 1888 rum
.25 oz. Bittermans apricot brandy
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 dash Regan’s orange bitters
Stir all ingredients in a cocktail tin until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over large ice cubes. Garnish with a dried apricot and lemon peel.
Continue reading “Recipe: Father’s Day Cocktails” »
Good news for bourbon drinkers: Kentucky Congressman Andy Barr is introducing the Aged Distilled Spirits Competitiveness Act, a bill which would eliminate taxes a bourbon distillers must pay on each barrel while the product is aging. As a result, they say, distilleries could increase production, create new jobs, and potentially keep up with the ever increasing international demand. [WHAS]
While oxygen does play an important part in the whole act of wine tasting, there comes a time when the bottle may have to go back on the shelf with a generous amount still left inside. There are many options of wine preservation technology out there, and Wired takes a few moments to evaluate five of them through a quite rigorous process — via our Editor in Chief. [Wired]
Elsewhere in wine news, the New York Times offers a profile piece investigating the proliferation of counterfeit wines; a problem continuing to rise as the demand for higher end wines grows. [NY Times]
Continue reading “Drinkhacker Reads – 06.09.2013 – Congressman to Introduce Aged Distilled Spirits Competitiveness Act” »
It’s been a few weeks since our last one, but here’s the latest from the Shopping List…our regular look back at the best (and the worst) of the newest products we’ve reviewed. Most of these are readily available at your local retailer, but some may require visiting a specialty shop or deeper investigation.
Louisville, Kentucky…where things seem to be on a roll in the drinking world. Yesterday we discussed the arrival of the Rick Pitino limited edition Maker’s Mark bottle, and today we find out the Kentucky metropolis has been selected as the test city for the new Bud Light vented can. The integrated tab (seen in the photo) reportedly:
“gives consumers the freedom to enjoy the superior drinkability of America’s favorite light beer in a vented can without the inconvenience of needing additional tools or objects to puncture the lid. After opening the mouth of the can, consumers simply give the tab an extra push to activate the vent underneath. This effortless action releases additional air to flow into the can, creating a smoother pour with less “glug.” It’s a design intended to optimize delivery of Bud Light’s crisp, refreshing flavor.”
Miller started the trend in 2012. [PR Newswire]
Nicki Minaj is known for many things: singing, rapping, and annoying Mariah Carey/millions of viewers as a judge on American Idol. However, nothing is more important than her latest endeavor, which could prove to be the best move of her career: winemaker. Minaj is no doubt heading to the vineyards to personally oversee the grapes which will go into her moscato as a partnership between herself and Myx Fusions. In a recent press release the singer said she is “so excited to team with the Myx brand… I have no doubt that it will be number one. It’s a great-tasting, amazing product that people will love. It’s not even a hard sell. Myx Fusions gives us an opportunity to revolutionize the wine industry.”
Confident, hyperbolic praise aside, the press release informs us that Myx is “the next evolution in the wave of moscato mania sweeping the country… Myx Fusions leverages the explosive popularity of moscato wine and improves on the experience of drinking it.”
While the editorial staff here at Drinkhacker HQ are amongst the dozens of people thoroughly unfamiliar with the popularity of Minaj’s music, we know a celebrity when we see one… which gives Miss Nicki the award for CELEBRITY PRODUCT ENDORSEMENT OF THE WEEK. [Press Release]
Continue reading “Drinkhacker Reads – 06.06.2013 – Minaj à Trois Moscato And Other News Of The Weird” »
A supplement to our regular Shopping Lists, The A-List recognizes those bottles we’ve had the privilege to review and find to be of highest quality (A+ to A- range). Unlike last month’s honor roll, this month the pickings weren’t as extensive. While the overall spirits category didn’t measure up to its usual standard of excellence, we had several great wines, a few truly outstanding bourbons and some incredibly tasty beers to enjoy while welcoming in summer.
Maker’s Mark has announced the release of its limited edition Rick Pitino bottle, in celebration of the basketball coach’s recent NCAA championship win this past spring. Pitino seems to be on a bit of a hot streak lately: a national basketball title, a horse in the Kentucky Derby, his son receiving his first head coaching job, and now this honor. The bottles will be in a limited edition of 12,600, with the proceeds going to local charities. [Yahoo! Sports]
A mainstay component of the Grey Goose marketing campaign has been the proclamation that it is the world’s best tasting vodka. And no doubt there has been more than one vodka distiller who has muttered something to the contrary under their breath. However, Swedish vodka Purity is now taking it public; with a new marketing campaign encouraging drinkers to decide for themselves. Between the West 6th/Magic Hat debacle and now this, there seems to be a bit more “beef” in the adult beverages world these days. [The Spirits Business]
Continue reading “Drinkhacker Reads – 06.05.2013 – Rick Pitino Hits The Mark” »
The dog days of summer haven’t quite hit us yet, although with the rapidly changing global climate who knows exactly when they’ll be here. In honor of two drinking holidays (Today is National Cognac Day and June 10th is National Iced Tea day), we present two refreshing recipes to help you keep cool. Stay tuned throughout the summer as we present more heat-busting recipes. Of course, we always welcome your submissions as well!
2 oz Camus VSOP Elegance (note: you can use other cognacs as well)
1 oz lime juice
1 oz orange juice
1 oz Triple Sec
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into glass, garnish with slice of lime. Also tasty when served on the rocks.
makes one pitcher
4 cups water
8 red herbal tea bags (such as lemon zinger or hibiscus)
2 cups Wild Turkey 81 whiskey
splash of club soda
juice of one lemon
cherries for garnish
In a large saucepan, boil 2 cups water. Remove from heat. Add tea bags. Steep 10 minutes; discard tea bags. Add 2 cups cold water to tea. Stir in Wild Turkey 81. Transfer to pitcher and chill. Just before serving, add lemon juice and a splash of club soda for a touch of refreshing fizz. Serve over ice.
With all of the “sky is falling” press releases lamenting the shortage of bourbon that is about to be upon us, Maker’s Mark adds fuel to the fire by announcing they have a new “state of the art” rinse process which will drain every last drop from every barrel at their new facility. Bourbon authority Chuck Cowdery offers up two “must read” pieces on the story, including a refreshingly candid quote from Beam master distiller Fred Noe. [USA Today]
Lists are always a contentious and objective thing to write and navigate, but the Spirits Business does a pretty good job listing their 10 favorite spirit bottle designs. Some are absolutely gorgeous, while others are questionable at best. [The Spirits Business]
And finally today in tech news, the Kentucky Distiller’s Association has joined the mobile app revolution with its new Bourbon Trail app. Users can sign on and get driving directions, distillery hours, tour information and a bunch more. We downloaded it and took it for a spin. It’s not bad for a free application. But nothing is better than the sights, sounds and smells of actually being there. [Biz Journal]
Adding more fuel to the fire in an already contentious and public dispute, Magic Hat filed an injunction to its lawsuit against West Sixth brewery, claiming “a massive advertising effort and social media smear campaign” was enacted to “irreparably harmed Magic Hat’s good will, trademarks, customer and other relationships, and sales” and enacting an “advertising campaign deliberately and with malice in a concerted effort to destroy Magic Hat.”
Allegedly over 75,000 comments and complaints were addressed to Magic Hat via its Facebook account, causing great harm to the multi-million dollar brewing company and its owner. West Sixth has agreed to mediation with a judge and a hearing is scheduled within the next few weeks. [Biz Lex]
Elsewhere in Kentucky, Maker’s Mark is expanding its operations and storage capacity, courtesy of an $8.2 million dollar upgrade and expansion. Coming on the heels of a much-covered controversy surrounding supply and lowering the proof on its existing line, this really isn’t too much of a surprise and is in fact a move which has been discussed for quite some time. [Courier-Journal]
The Courier Journal also reports that plans to build a $10 million dollar distillery for Angel’s Envy has been tentatively approved by the Kentucky state legislature. Wes Henderson and his band of merry distillers have been eyeballing several locations in downtown Louisville to establish their permanent home base, but no specific locations have been finalized. Between this and the new Evan Williams visitor’s center slated to open in 2014, downtown Louisville is enjoying a mild bourbon renaissance. [Courier-Journal]
Continue reading “Drinkhacker Reads – 05.30.2013 – Magic Hatfields vs. West Sixth McCoys, Week 2” »
German brewers have been having a hard time lately. Not only are Germans drinking less beer, but now the German government is going ahead with fracking initiatives for energy. This move has brewers highly concerned, who say it could significantly hurt the quality and “purity” of German beer. This battle still has a long ways towards a resolution, but it will no doubt be an interesting one. Imagine if this was fracking, Kentucky, and bourbon. [NBC]
Elsewhere in the beer world, Grist columnist Deena Shanker examines the world of organic beer, and pontificates on whether or not it’s a permanent fixture in the beer world, a relatively passing fad, or somewhere in between. As well, Gizmodo breaks down the science of non-alcohol beer and its continuous quest to taste like the actual thing.
Continue reading “Drinkhacker Reads – 05.28.2013 – The Fracking Science and Geology of Beer” »
For many folks, the arrival of Memorial Day signals the start of summer (for others it’s the premiere of the new season of Arrested Development on Netflix). In honor of both, we’ve pulled together some new recipes for your consideration/experimentation during the upcoming holiday weekend.
Herradura Kiwi Cooler
2 oz. Herradura Silver Tequila
½ oz. lime juice
½ oz. agave nectar
1 oz. cucumber juice
Place all ingredients into a shaker filled with cubed ice. Shake hard to break down the kiwi and chill the drink. Strain into a tall glass over cubed ice and garnish with kiwi discs.
La Neige Russe
2 parts vodka
1 part St. Germain
½ part freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ part white grape juice
4 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker, then add ice. Shake gently and strain into a chilled rocks glass over Fresh ice. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a lemon peel.
Continue reading “Recipes: Memorial Day 2013 Cocktails” »
Much weirdness has infiltrated the world of spirits since our last update: 6′s are now 9′s, hypothetical press releases and other stuff that has left us scratching our heads a bit and accelerated our hope that the weekend will soon be upon us.
Let’s start in New Jersey, where 29 bars were the subject of a recent sting operation (awesomely code named “Operation Swill”) involving owners replacing premium alcohol with cheap stuff, with one bar even mixing rubbing alcohol with food dye and calling it scotch. Over 1,000 bottles have been seized for further testing, and this doesn’t look like it’s going to end well. It also begs the question: How many other bars out there are replicating this hideous practice? [ABC 6 News]
Most devotees of bourbon are well aware that the recent global demand has spiked overall sales through the roof. This has presented a bit of a conundrum in that demand is now outpacing supply. Buffalo Trace has taken it upon itself to issue a press release forewarning folks of the potential and possibility of an impending shortage. In it, representatives pledge not to excessively raise prices or lower the proof on their brands which include the already hard to find Van Winkle and Weller 12 year, but it is also proactively warning folks that there may be shortages just around the bend. While getting in front of the story is always a good idea (and something we applaud), it questions the necessity of putting such a story out when no drastic shortages are occurring. So in sum: everything is okay. For now. But something could happen soon. No one knows just when. [Buffalo Trace]
Continue reading “Drinkhacker Reads – 05.23.2013 – Alternate Universe Pre-Memorial Day Edition” »
A new report issued by Technomic finds that spirits outpaced beer and wine in sales last year, with no signs of slowing down in 2013.
- Vodka continues to be one of the fastest growing categories, along with American whiskey and tequila not too far behind. With its 5.8% increase, vodka now commands roughly one-third of all spirits volume and is the largest category.
- The smallest category, Irish Whiskey, posted an incredible double-digit gain in sales of 21.6%.
- Diageo continues its lead as the largest spirit producer, seeing a 1.1% increase in volume to retain a 22% overall market share. Beam continues to hold strong in second place, with Sazerac doubling its market share with a 4.2% increase; jumping ahead of Bacardi and solidifying a third place position.
In other spirits news, Pursuitist profiles The Patron Way, a new book detailing the rise of Patron to its position as one of the worlds most recognizable tequila brands. While brands such as Jose Cuervo might take exception with the headline’s tag that Patron currently “dominates” the market, the article does make for some engaging reading. [Pursuitist]
Memorial Day is coming up soon, and with it the kickoff of the summer travel season. Zagat profiles 8 must-see stops along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and its kindred spirit, the American Whiskey Trail. [Zagat]
Ontario (Canada) police are currently seeking the public’s help in identifying a man who recently “liberated” a bottle of 50 year old Glenfiddich, valued at $26,000. An Ottawa-based Scotch taster summed up things quite appropriately for the Toronto Sun: “It makes you wonder how it could have been stolen”. Oh, Canada! [Fox News]
And finally today in science news, with the uptick and demand for high quality scotch the problems of bootlegging and counterfeiting have also increased. Scottish scientists have devised a new way to check make sure products are actually the real deal, and not something potentially lethal. [Scotsman]
It’s Friday once again and time for the Drinkhacker Shopping List, our look back at the best and the worst of products we’ve reviewed over the last few weeks. Plenty of wines to satisfy and a pretty intense campaign by Jim Beam with not one, but three new and high-quality limited expressions. We also had a pretty extensive tasting report from the Wines of Howell Mountain.
Last year Jefferson’s Bourbon conducted a wacky experiment involving aging barrels of bourbon at sea to see if the air and water quality had an effect on the final product. As the resulting product was so limited in quantity, few people got to taste the results and final verdict of this project. Along these lines, Mira Winery is about to retrieve four cases of its 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon from a three-month stay in the Charleston Harbor. Their mission? To determine whether or not light, tides, waves and temperature have an effect on the chemical breakdown of wine. They are slated to raise the wine on May 21, wherein they’ll announce the second phase of this experiment. We’ll bring you the latest as soon as news is delivered to us. Stay tuned. [PR Newswire]
The Bourbon backlash has begun! Charleston City Paper makes a case for switching from bourbon to rum when getting your next summer cocktail. Columnist Robert Moss dissects the current bourbon trend, reviews some new rums and samples some new cocktails. From our perspective, there should never be a superior spirit over another. Love all equally.
Continue reading “Drinkhacker Reads – 05.15.2013 – Drinking Wine from the Ocean Floor” »
The blogs were buzzing these past few days as Robert Parker has made the shift from wine critic to taking a stab at reviewing whiskies. Naturally, opinions on the results have varied; from the measured “wait and see”, to the frustrated and confused all the way down to the flat out irate. Although time will tell on just how much of an impact Parker will have on the whiskey world, reviewing something called “Rollins Creek” (pretty sure he means Rowan’s Creek) and comparing Hudson to Pappy suggest poor form at the start. Stay tuned.
CELEBRITY PRODUCT OF THE WEEK: Renee Zellweger’s ex-husband and country star Kenny Chesney is tossing his cowboy hat and horseshoes into the spirits world. Later this month he’ll launch his own line of rum, Blue Chair Bay. The line will come in white, Coconut, Coconut Spiced, and Chewing Tobacco flavors (just kidding about the last one), and will be promoted via an 18 city tour and numerous tasting events nationwide. It’s five o clock somewhere, y’all… [Blue Chair]
Continue reading “Drinkhacker Reads – 05.13.2013 – Robert Parker Does Bourbon, Kenny Chesney Does Rum” »