Drinkhacker Reads – 12.03.2014 – Weird Science and Expensive Beer

Once again science confirms what barstool wisdom has taught us all along: we evolved with the taste for alcohol, and we’ve been doing it for millions of years. Researchers in Gainesville, Florida, have been able to detect in our ancestral lineage where the ability to product the enzyme to break down alcohol first appeared in our bodies. [AZ Daily Sun]

Elsewhere in science news, researchers at Brown and Yale have been awarded a grant to determine how memory serves a role in alcohol preference and how certain parts of the brain help to block alcohol’s negative effects. [Brown Daily Herald]

Brown-Forman reports 2nd quarter growth thanks to sales of Jack Daniel’s Honey and overseas growth, offsetting losses in other areas. [CNBC]

A. Smith Bowman Distillery has announced a new limited edition vanilla bean-infused whiskey. Aged a total of seven years and six months in the barrel, it is bottled at 90 proof. It’s currently on sale in very limited quantities, mostly available only in Virginia at a suggested retail price of $70. [A. Smith Bowman]

The Telegraph has published a quiz for readers to test their knowledge on which wines contain the most alcohol by volume. The quiz was constructed in response to a public health official warning that people “have no idea how much alcohol they’re drinking.” [Telegraph UK]

A beer recently sold for $500,000 on eBay. The St. Louis Post Dispatch looks into the details behind the auction, and how exactly the lucky winner might be paying for this bottle. [St Louis Post]

Everyone’s favorite E! news correspondent has figured out the solution to leftover wine for moms craving just a single glass and not a whole bottle. Perhaps you’ve seen the billboards. [People]

And finally today, for those wishing to smell like single malt wherever they may go, textile developers have “hand crafted” a fabric to permanently smell like whiskey. There are a number of scenarios in which this product could become problematic, but we’re glad the capability to forever smell of peat and smoke now exists.  [BBC News]

The A-List – November 2014

Welcome to this month’s edition of the A-List, our compendium of the best of the best we’ve reviewed in the last 30 days. Lots of great stuff for everyone this month, including a very rare “A+” rating to the latest Tun offering from the Balvenie. Not seeing anything you like here? We’ve also just published the 2014 edition of our annual Gift Guide with a generous amount of high quality suggestions for your upcoming holiday affairs.

AList1114

Drinkhacker Reads – 12.01.2014 – Diageo Loves America, Europe Loves Microbrewers

Welcome back from the holiday weekend. If you haven’t had a chance to do so yet, might we interest you in our 2014 edition of the Holiday Gift Guide? It’s full of solid recommendations covering some of the “best of the best” we’ve reviewed this year.

While the rest of the world is looking a bit grim for Diageo when it comes to spirits sales, America is a shining beacon welcoming cases of the brand’s finest with open arms and open minds. Even the orphans seem to be getting a little love. Sales are booming, and this is a good thing, as Diageo’s prized Chinese market is slipping drastically in profits. [The Economist]

It’s well known that the craft beer industry has been surging in recent years over in the States, with Big Brewers getting a bit antsy; scrambling to keep up and keep innovating to win drinkers back. Now the frenzy is heading to Europe, with more folks overseas discovering and turning to microbrewers for new experiences. [Financial Times]

Shanken runs a profile on how Bacardi plans to lure bourbon drinkers over to its brands via a new product line and new expression of an old favorite. [Shanken News Daily]

And finally today, a group of armed thieves hijacked and stole an estimated 2,500 cases of gin and whiskey in broad daylight last month. Police are currently working on the investigation with relatively minimal leads at this point. No doubt this stolen product is going into the exact same warehouse currently storing the missing Pappy Van Winkle from a year ago. [Independent]

Drinkhacker Reads – 11.26.2014 – Early Thanksgiving Edition

Unlike most people who have already packed up and shipped off for the holiday weekend, we never stop working here at Drinkhacker. Going forward into that great November night, we’re still here scouring the wires for the latest news and reads. We find this duty to be especially important today, given that we’ll all need an excuse for something to read while avoiding political discussions with relatives. So without further adulation, let’s get to it!

In a major victory for great taste, more Americans are drinking craft beer than Budweiser. Now mind you this doesn’t include the entire Budweiser stable of brands, and it’s really only folks in the 21-27 year old demographic. But it’s still good news, right? In response to this information, the marketing folks have decided on a bold new strategy to woo those back who have left: not using its famous Clydesdale horses in its ads. How about just making better tasting beer? [Slate]

In science news, a look into the mystery behind the gorgeous photographs of whisky rings, and why they occur. No doubt we’ll be staring blankly into the bottom of a glass this week in order to avoid family conversation. Elsewhere in science news: bubbles in a glass of beer help to prevent spills better than other liquids. [Scientific American]

Balcones has agreed to drop its restraining order against founder Chip Tate. Hopefully this means they can also drop the drama and get back to making some pretty good whiskey. [Waco Tribune]

And finally today, just a reminder that while tonight is one of the busiest bar nights of the year, it’s also one of the most dangerous days for drunk drivers. Please have yourself a safe, happy, enjoyable Thanksgiving and stay tuned for Friday when we’ll publish the 2014 edition of our annual Gift Guide — chock full of suggestions of things to take to your next holiday affair.

Recipe: 2014 Thanksgiving Cocktails

Traditionally at our house “Thanksgiving cocktails” means Stroh’s beer or lots of neat bourbon to numb yet another loss on national TV courtesy of my hometown football team, the Detroit Lions. This year looks to be different with the Lions actually performing well and family members willing to eschew their normal comfort zone and try something new. Here’s a few that I’m going to be forcing upon my family, along with a few others that may prove interesting for your holiday gatherings.

Old Fashioned RyeOld Fashioned Thanksgiving
(Created by Jon Gasparini @ Rye)
2 oz. Wild Turkey 81 rye
1 tsp pumpkin spice black tea syrup
2 dashes Bar Keep Apple bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine ingredients in an old fashioned glass over a large ice cube and stir.

Pumpkin Spice Simple Syrup:
2 parts cane sugar
1 part strong pumpkin spice tea
Brew pumpkin spice tea (one tea bag for every 6 oz. of water). Combine tea and organic cane sugar. Bring to boil, stir as sugar dissolves. Let syrup cool completely before using.

image003

Ketel One Pumpkin King
1 oz. Ketel One Oranje
¼ oz. Godiva Caramel liqueur
¼ oz. pumpkin liqueur
1 teaspoon whipped cream

Combine first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake over ice. Strain into a martini glass. Top with whipped cream and garnish with a dust of cinnamon powder.

punchThe Sea Fire Grill Cider Punch
(courtesy Sea Fire Grill)
4 oz apple cider
1 oz Grand Marnier
1 oz Ron Zacapa 23 year old rum
A pinch of fresh nutmeg
A pinch of fresh cinnamon
1 clove
1 Granny Smith Apple, quartered and peeled
1 fresh orange, quartered

Mull apple cider, Granny Smith apple, orange and spices together. Remove orange and blend. Mix in Grand Marnier and rum with cider mixture. Chill and strain, add garnish if desired. Can be served hot or cold.

blackberryBlackberry Blitz
2 oz bourbon whiskey
1/2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
4 oz IZZE Sparkling Blackberry
Rosemary sprig for garnish

Combine first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice and shake vigorously. Pour into a Collins glass filled with ice and top with IZZE Sparkling Blackberry. Smack a sprig of rosemary between palms to release aromatics and add as garnish.

Drinkhacker Reads – 11.24.2014 – New Bourbon Fetches $25K at Auction, Grand Marnier For Sale?

The Upshot takes a look at how the oil industry could learn a thing or two from the bourbon industry. This immediately prompted a response from Forbes bluntly titled “Why Oil Is Not Like Bourbon.”

We reported on the opening of Boundary Oak Bourbon last week in Reads, and this week it turns out that the freshly-minted distillery now holds the record for the most expensive bourbon to be sold in the U.S. Via online auction, bottle #1 of Boundary Oak fetched an impressive $25,000. The winner opted to remain anonymous, but the proceeds from the sale will be going direct to their charity of choice. [The Spirits Business]

Need help brewing your own beer? There’s an app (and machine) for that. Brewbot helps the new homebrewer with the brewing process step by step. The machines are in the process of being manufactured, with 80 pre-orders already lined up and a predicted ship date in early 2015. And for those not willing or able to spend $4,000, one could always just hop on down to the library and read a book. Or hop online to read some tutorials. [New York Times]

In other new product news, the Sonic Decanter claims to make one’s wine taste better using sound waves. Does it really work? Huffington Post test drives the machine, scheduled for release in May of 2015. [Huffington Post]

Grand Marnier Group, the French cognac maker, is exploring options which include putting itself up for sale. No idea yet on which companies are potential suitors for the potential acquisition, but this could prove to be more interesting than some of the more noted acquisitions and mergers in 2014. Our complete and total speculation: look for an announcement by year’s end. [Bloomberg]

And finally today, in a bit of a head scratcher, police in the metropolitan Nashville area are looking for a bandit who has been robbing liquor stores, but not taking the predictable Pappy thievery route. They’re snatching up Canadian whiskey by the caseload. [Associated Press]

Drinkhacker Reads – 11.19.2014 – Wednesday Quick Links

Another round of quick links. Lots to cover today!

• Vinuous acquires International Wine Cellar for an undisclosed sum. Pretty ambitious for a company which started up less than 18 months ago. [Forbes]

• Bud Light is planning on launching a flavored beer line. [St. Louis Business Journal]

• William Grant wastes no time relaunching Drambuie after its acquisition, with a very peculiar ad designed to resemble “found footage” from the 60s. [YouTube]

• P. Diddy tries to start a tequila war, 1990s hip hop style. But on Instagram. That’ll show ‘em. [Page Six]

• Somewhat related, Fox News recaps the history of celebrity-endorsed spirits. [Fox News]

• The Boundary Oak Distillery is now open for business, making it the first distillery in Hardin County, Kentucky since the 1890s. [Boundary Oak Distillery]

• The first Women Of The Vine symposium has been announced for 2015. Looks like a heck of a good time! [Women Of The Vine]

• Infographic: Beer sales mapped around the world. [Telegraph UK]

• Chuck Cowdery goes for the throats of orphans in his latest editorial piece. [Chuck Cowdery Blog]

• Alcohol in moderation only benefits about 15% of the population, according to geneticists. [Genetic Literacy Project]

• Read about the whiskey war that left Brooklyn in ruins. And we aren’t talking about modern day hipsters, either. [Smithsonian.com]

• The EU is going to demand more of its beer head over to Japan in an upcoming economic summit between the two powerhouses. [Reuters]

• Qosy releases its 2015 guide to the best whiskeys in the world. It’s mainly for newcomers not looking to break the bank. Some interesting selections, though. [Qosy]

Drinkhacker Reads – 11.17.2014 – Wine Spectator Announces Best of 2014

The folks over at the good ship Wine Spectator announced its Top 100 for 2014 this morning, with Dow’s 2011 Vintage Port taking top honors. Lots of great stuff to choose from here. [Wine Spectator]

John Hansell over at Whisky Advocate goes all crazy over the forthcoming Diageo release in its Orphan Barrel project, Lost Prophet. Look for our thoughts in the not-so-distant future. Between this, new releases of Barterhouse and Rhetoric and something called Forged Oak, it appears Diageo is getting serious about its intent to dominate the American whiskey market. [Whisky Advocate]

The Scotch Whisky Association is unsure why sales are down in the U.S. Perhaps it’s the fact that products like Fireball and Piehole are now flooding the market. Perhaps its the continuous price increases we’ve seen in the last few years. Or perhaps it’s the economy, stupid. Either way, spirits execs don’t seem too concerned. For now. [The Spirits Business]

Diageo  Crown Royal Regal AppleCrown Royal is introducing an apple-flavored whiskey to its lineup, Crown Royal Regal Apple, which fuses Crown Royal with regal apples.  The press release mentions something about this being “innovative,” but we’re failing to see how another flavored whiskey really provides that spark of intellectual and creative genius commonly associated with the word. The 70 proof whiskey will retail for about $25 per 750ml and is expected to hit store shelves shortly.

One of the creators behind Yellow Tail wine is now facing charges of alleged involvement in a drug syndicate. Apparently running a multi-million dollar wine brand isn’t enough excitement for some folks. [Daily Mail]

Another day, another Kickstarter. But this is one we’re actually excited about. Cocktail & Sons is a startup by esteemed bartender and Friend of Drinkhacker Max Messier, who is looking to develop a very unique line of syrups and sodas to elevate the quality of your mixed drinks. The first four offerings (Spiced Demerara Syrup, Oleo Saccharum, Honeysuckle and Peppercorns, Mint and Lemon Verbena) all sound ridiculously tasty and dare we say “innovative.” Tasty stuff, and we wish Max the best of luck in this new venture! Reviews are forthcoming. [Cocktail & Sons]

In other weird wine news, Red Robin is now serving milkshakes mixed with red wine. Now taking bets on when the first minor is accidentally served one. [NYPost]

And finally today: just when you thought it was all over, it appears that the Hatfields and McCoys are at it once again. This time it’s over a whiskey. As always, it’s all about the comments section. (And, again, a review is on its way.) [Whiskey Wash]

The Drinkhacker Shopping List – 11.14.2014

Welcome to another edition of the Drinkhacker Shopping List, our overview of the best and worst of the last several weeks of reviews on the site. Lots of wines to choose from this edition, and a rare surprise of zero bourbons (we’d need to look back at previous lists, but it’s been a while since that happened) from which to choose. However, we’ve profiled plenty to satisfy even the most discerning of palates, and we’re sure there’s something on the Shopping List for you to enjoy.

TheList111414

Drinkhacker Reads – 11.12.2014 – Quick Links Edition

Lots of stuff to get to today, so let’s dig right in!

Mass protests in Champagne, France over taxes and other changes. Things aren’t bubbling over yet, but it’s about to pop! [Decanter]

Larger wine stores are cutting back on selection, presenting a new set of challenges for wine lovers and an opportunity for specialty stores. [Telegraph UK]

The paper of record does its darnedest to expose a new trend in cocktail menus (though we can’t recall it ever going away): French brandy. [NY Times]

Chuck Cowdery fires off a one-two punch against Diageo brands: first against the new Piehole range, and then against Jeremiah Weed. [Chuck Cowdery Blog]

An app that sounds quite promising: Next Glass. TechCrunch profiles it. Have you tried it? Let us know! [TechCrunch]

The saga of the missing Pappy Van Winkle continues, but this time a detective reveals more details. In other Pappy news (and there’s plenty of it), Esquire profiles what the future of the brand could taste like, and it’s something folks have been saying for years now: It won’t be the same.

In vodka news: more on the pending lawsuit against Tito’s, and a band of brothers in Scotland are launching a new super-premium vodka.

Another day, another bourbon. Boundary Oak bourbon will be launching this Thursday at a release party in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. [Insider Louisville]

If you happen to be in the Lexington, Kentucky area, author Fred Minnick will be speaking about his book Whiskey Women today at noon at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Cameron Williams Lecture Hall in the Plant Science Building. Come on out and have some fun with us.