Author Archives: Rob Theakston

Drinkhacker Reads – 05.14.2014 – Days Of Wine and Cocaine

On the heels of a report saying that alcohol kills 1 person every 10 seconds, here’s a map of the world’s drunkest countries. As we all can see, the world has some catching up to do with Russia. However, in an effort to curb the abuse, our comrades have the solution to curb the drinking: drugs. And speaking of drugs, here’s an article from Russian TV discussing how the heavy use of cocaine in the UK has led to it now being detectable in the nation’s drinking water. Cheers!

In other science news, researchers are now backtracking on something they said before, which contradicts something they said years before that. According to yet another new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the naturally occurring antioxidants found in red wine do not help longevity in ways previously thought. One possible solution to this problem would be to drink more, but we’re already doing that (we have drugs to fix the problem of excess and abuse). Tune in next week when we discover a newly published study debunking the results of this one.

Unsurprisingly, the relationship between mega-spirits companies Suntory and Campari has ceased to be. Following the acquisition of Beam, Suntory has announced effective this June that the domestic distribution deal between the two will be rendered null and void. This isn’t a major loss for Campari, as the Suntory deal only represented 1 percent of overall Campari sales last year. The announcement came on the heels of the revelation that Campari’s profits were down 47 percent in the first quarter, citing unfavorable economic conditions as a primary reason for the massive slip. [Just Drinks]

Last night’s Bourbon Affair kick-off event was hampered by pretty heavy rain and was moved indoors to the uberposh 21c hotel in Louisville, but it didn’t deter everyone from having a grand old time. If you’re in the Kentucky area with nothing to do this weekend, you’d be hard pressed to find more interesting things to do. There are still tickets available to many events including a Wild Turkey hunt with Jimmy Russell, a tour of the Stitzel-Weller distillery with Tom Bulleit, and a “grain-to-glass” class with Woodford Reserve master distiller Chris Morris. [Kentucky Bourbon Affair]

Drinkhacker Reads – 05.12.2014 – Liquored Up Pigs

Last week we made mention that the sale of Whyte and Mackay to Emperador may happen sooner than later. It seems as if this one is now about to happen. Representatives between the two companies are scheduled to meet in London this Friday to agree to terms. Economic Times is reporting that the deal is valued at close to $700 million. It’s not clear as to whether or not W&M will also include Jura and Dalmore in the package deal. [ET]

Buffalo Trace (“Potentially Running Out Of Stuff Since 2012“) has pushed whiskey boundaries with its Single Oak Project and Experimental Collections, but there’s a new project going on that just might trump its continuous tinkering. Templeton Rye is attempting to raise hogs that taste like its whiskey, even before being sent to slaughter. The Templeton Rye Heritage Pork Project (or what we’re calling “Project Oinkway”) is going on now. There’s something to be said about bringing home the booze and the bacon at the same time, and this should prove to be a quite tasty affair.

In new product news, our main man with an eye on the TTB Sku just dug up in his weekly sweep of new items a gem of a new release: a Macallan Rare Cask. However, what’s totally unclear about this whole situation is what makes it rare. There’s no age statement to be found, no details on how the casks were selected. It’s just “rare”. This seems to be in parallel with the recent trend to eliminate as much label information on the aging and origin of Scotch as possible. Let’s just hope it’s not the direction everyone’s heading in for the long haul. [Sku's Recent Eats]

And finally today, we’ve received word that our pals over at the Whiskey Explorers Club have thoroughly revamped their blind tasting game, My Whiskey IQ. It’s been enhanced for use on smartphones and tablets (it had previously been mainly desktop friendly), given a clean new interface and has more advisory suggestions/discovery elements based on your flavor preferences. Swing on by and give it a test drive when your quarterly shipment arrives. [Whiskey Explorer's Club]

The A-List – April 2014

Hello and welcome to this month’s edition of the A-List, where we look back at the best of last month’s reviews and ratings and compile them into a really useful, printer-friendly graphic you may take along during your next trip to the store. We’ve reached the 3/4 mark of reviewing Buffalo Trace’s Single Oak Project in its entirety, and April also saw a return of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society casks to the top of the pile.

(Rob’s note: For the best bang of the buck this month, Hammer & Son Old English Gin is well worth the price. It’s G&T season around our neighborhood, and this was one of the better ones we sampled at our block’s drinking club).

AListApr14 525x890 The A List   April 2014

March and April also saw an incredible amount of book reviews, so we compiled a complete list of our reviews over the last two years to help you get your own drinks library started in good form.

Drinkhacker Reads – 05.08.14 – Beam, Suntory, Beam and Suntory

With the Suntory-Beam/Beam-Suntory deal now complete, sources are telling Reuters that Suntory plans to sell $8 billion in debt to finance the purchase of the company. Elsewhere, Chuck Cowdery looks into his crystal ball to figure out what exactly the whole deal will mean for the corporate culture of both companies, and what the future may hold for us.

In other bourbon news, the Courier Journal reports there’s a new distillery opening shortly along the Bourbon Trail. New Riff distillery will be a bit out of the ways in Northern Kentucky, but looks to be a bit different from most of the folks on both the traditional and craft bourbon trails. Across the Commonwealth, Janet Patton reports there’s a new buyer for the Charles Medley distillery. South Carolina’s TerrePure is looking to invest $23 million over the next year and a half to bring the distillery back to life. This coming on the heels of a potential overhaul of the old Taylor distillery, it seems as if the ghosts of Kentucky past are coming back to life.

With its lawsuit with the Explorer’s Club still pending, Johnnie Walker/Diageo is once again revamping the ultra-super-mega-premium range to present its Premium Collection. This expression will be released annually with a limited offering of 8,888 bottles at a cost of about $740. Of course, one is simply not going to be able to roll down to the corner store to get their bottle. It will only be available in Singapore Changi Airport through May, and most of Asia-Pacific travel retail outlets in early summer. This move makes sense for Diageo, as it tries to somehow recover the losses of last quarter in the Chinese market due to the government crackdown on extravagant gifts and offerings at functions. [Moodie]

For those who have significant amounts of money to burn, an insane Maccallan collection collected over the last 50 years by an Italian restaurant owner will find itself on the auction block at McTear’s next Wednesday. The full collection runs over 400 bottles, wirh the first 164 up for sale in this round. [Glasgow]

And finally today, Joshua Feldman over at the Coopered Tot has been doing some outstanding historical research on old whiskey advertisements. Recent posts on women, racism, and male intimacy in advertising over the past century has been worthy of peer review in scholarly journals, so why not whiskey? Well researched and worth the time to read all three in the series. [Coopered Tot]

Drinkhacker Reads – 05.05.2014 – Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Looking for a break from tequila today? How about a refreshing gin and tonic? GQ today runs a quick portfolio piece on the new breed of American gins taking a share of the market traditionally held by the UK and Europe. We’ve reviewed most of these and agree with their rightful inclusion. [GQ]

If you’re not looking for a break from tequila today, here’s a few bottlings we’ve reviewed recently that received high marks.

Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila
KAH Tequila
Abreojos Tequila Silver
Baron Tequila Platinum

So it’s looking like Diageo is looking to jettison its Whyte and Mackay properties to Philippines-based Alliance Global Company, but nothing has come through that’s solidified as of yet. Most product lines would go with Alliance, however both The Dalmore and Tamnavulin brands would stay with Diageo, according to terms of the deal. Markets aren’t exactly responding favorably to this news, with Alliance’s stock dropping a few percentage points over the past few days. [Bloomberg]

Months after the infamous Pappygate of 2013, there are still no definitive leads in the case. Law enforcement officials believe it to be an inside job, but there are still no solid clues as to who is behind one of the best-orchestrated modern spirit swindle sagas. NPR’s Noah Adams checks in to see how the investigation is going, and does a bit of footwork himself. [NPR]

And finally today, the Telegraph UK takes an in-depth look on the Scotch revival in the United States, and what U.S. distillers are doing to counter the surge with their own renaissance. Not much in terms of new information for those who have been keeping score for the past year or so, but it’s an interesting profile piece nevertheless. [Telegraph UK]

The Drinkhacker Shopping List – 05.02.2014

Happy Friday everyone! Before everyone heads to the store to get supplies for Derby De Mayo, college graduation, or whatever else you’re celebrating this weekend, might we suggest you check out our list of everything we’ve reviewed in the past several weeks? It’s filled with some really great (and some not so great) affordable options which could serve as alternative fare to what you normally drink.

TheList0502141 525x1179 The Drinkhacker Shopping List   05.02.2014

ICYMI: Kudos to our fearless leader for the informative story in Wired about mass-produced wine.

Also, looking to get that recently graduated college person in your life off the Fireball and into something more age appropriate? Why not get them a good solid book for a gift! We’ve got a whole mess of them reviewed and compiled in one handy page for your perusal!

Recipe: 2014 Cinco De Mayo Cocktails

Whether you’re Mexican or not, it’s margarita time. Want something different? Try one of these…

Superfecta
Superfecta Recipe: 2014 Cinco De Mayo Cocktails2 ½ oz. Camus VSOP Elegance Cognac
dash of water
7 mint sprigs
1 tsp. sugar

Muddle mint, sugar and dash of water in a shaker. Add cognac and ice and shake. Strain into rocks glass. Garnish with mint and serve.

Pepinita 245x300 Recipe: 2014 Cinco De Mayo CocktailsPepinita
1 ½ oz. Trianon Blanco Tequila
1 oz. agave nectar
1 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
splash of orange liqueur
cucumber slices
chili powder

In a shaker, add ingredients and muddle cucumber slices. Add ice and shake. Strain into a chili powder rimmed glass. Garnish with more cucumber slices and serve.

Conquistador Recipe: 2014 Cinco De Mayo CocktailsConquistador
(created by Milagro Brand Ambassador Jaime Salas)
1 ½ parts Milagro Reposado
½ part Ancho Reyes
½ part crème de cacao
½ part Manzanilla sherry
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Chill coupe glass with ice and water and set aside. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until well chilled and diluted. Discard chilling ice from the coupe. Strain ingredients into chilled coupe. Using a vegetable peeler, remove a long piece of orange peel. Express the oil over the cocktail, rub the peel around the rim of the glass, and place atop the cocktail.

Avion 171x300 Recipe: 2014 Cinco De Mayo CocktailsAvión (PO) Loma
1.5 oz. Avión Silver
½ oz. lime juice
¼ oz. lemon juice
3 oz. grapefruit juice
2 slivers muddled jalapeño
soda water
ancho chile salt, jalapeño, and grilled lemon wedge for garnish

Combine all ingredients and shake. Salt rim of glass with chile salt. Pour contents of shaker into glass and top with soda. Garnish with grilled lemon and jalapeño.

papaya smash Recipe: 2014 Cinco De Mayo CocktailsPapaya Smash
1 slice of fresh papaya
¼ oz. agave nectar
1 ¼ oz. Avión Añejo
½ oz. Aperol
½ oz. orange juice
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
garnish with fresh papaya

Add a slice of fresh papaya and agave nectar to your mixing glass. Muddle to release the papaya flavor. Combine ingredients in shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain over ice, and garnish with a fresh slice of papaya.

Drinkhacker Reads – 04.30.2014 – Bonham’s Rare Spirit Auction

And so another edition of the Bonham’s Whisky, Cognac and Rare Spirits auction has started and the bids are currently flying fast and furiously. But the biggest head scratcher in the pile (so far) has been the 23 Year Old Rip Van Winkle that just sold for US$5,712. A complete list of items and results is available here.

The Spirits Business shares a listicle most interesting: the American Craft Distillers Association’s 10 most Pioneering Craft Distilleries. While these things are largely subjective, it’s hard to argue against the inclusion of some of them. [The Spirits Business]

Good news for beer drinkers in Missouri: state legislators have voted to pass a bill to allow for the sale of single bottles of beer. Previously, the law stated that all beer must be sold in a minimum package of 3 bottles. This new bill seeks to remedy this issue and be set for action in 2015. In other government-in-action news, the Florida state legislation voted down a law that would restrict the growth of microbreweries in the state. [KMOV]

And finally today, the city of Louisville has no problem honoring its hometown heroes. Celebrities such as Muhammad Ali and Diane Sawyer have their likenesses adorned on the side of giant buildings, courtesy of large hanging banners. So kudos to Tom Bulleit for joining these ranks. The man behind the Bulleit brand was honored with his own mug over looking Third Street in honor of his contributions to the  industry and the city at large. [Herald Leader]

Recipe: 2014 Kentucky Derby Cocktails

For Kentuckians, having horses take 2 minutes to fly around a track at great speed is reason enough to celebrate for roughly two weeks leading up to the main event. This of course, can lead to a large consumption of mint juleps. That can get tiresome, believe it or not, so here are some twists for your consideration. Of course, if you’re looking for the real deal Julep, we’ve got you covered there, too.

Blackberry Recipe: 2014 Kentucky Derby CocktailsBlackberry Mint Julep Margarita
2 parts Milagro Anejo tequila
1 part lime juice
1 part honey syrup
5 blackberries
6 mint leaves

Muddle berries and mint. Add rest, shake and strain over ice in julep glass. Garnish with blackberries and mint sprig.

Reviver Recipe: 2014 Kentucky Derby CocktailsSpring Reviver
1 oz. rhubarb tea
1 oz. Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
1 oz. Lillet Rosé
.75 oz. fresh lemon juice
3 dashes absinthe
1 strawberry slice, mint sprig or edible flower (for garnish)

Shake ingredients with ice and fine strain into a chilled coupe glass, garnish with a strawberry slice and a mint sprig or an edible flower.

Dewlep Recipe: 2014 Kentucky Derby CocktailsThe Tullamore Dewlep
2 oz Tullamore D.E.W. Original
½ oz vanilla sugar syrup
dash peach bitters
12 mint leaves

Pour all ingredients into a cup. Gently muddle mint, fill with crushed ice and stir gently to combine garnish with a sprig of mint and straw.

Bailey Recipe: 2014 Kentucky Derby CocktailsMajor Bailey
(by Jon Santer)
2 oz Hendrick’s Gin
1 sugar cube
¼ oz simple syrup
8 mint leaves
1 spear cucumber (for garnish)

Muddle in julep glass. Top with crushed ice until a mountain peak of ice forms above the glass. Garnish with copious amounts of mint and a cucumber spear.

Drinkhacker Reads – 04.28.2014 – De Niro Launches De Vodka

One of the greatest actors of the modern age is helping to co-brand a new vodka. Robert De Niro, star of such cinematic classics as The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Meet The Fockers, is partnering with Artisan Spirits Merchants to create VDKA 6100. We’re not exactly sure what the 6100 means, but the Wall Street Journal landed an interview where he wasn’t asked the question. The super premium product will be available first in De Niro’s restaurants and in New Jersey. [Wall Street Journal]

In science news, Boston Beer Brewer Jim Koch reveals a trade insider secret to Esquire magazine on how to drink all night long without getting drunk. We’re not exactly sure how many college kids heading to Thirsty Thursdays at the local pub will heed these wise words, but it’s still some probiotic food for thought. [Esquire]

The Rum Renaissance Festival happened this past weekend in Miami, and the Miami New Times filed a complete report on the festival’s ongoings, complete with its 10 favorite rums sampled throughout the weekend’s events. Definitely not a bad way to spend the weekend. [Miami New Times]

In new release news, Kilchoman is releasing a second installment of its Loch Gorm whisky line, Bacardi is launching a new Aberfeldy 18 year old Scotch, and Beam has a whole mess of new expressions in their Signature Series line coming up: Rolled Oats, Red Wheat, Six Row Barley, Triticale, and High Rye. [Major hat tip to the most excellent Sku's Recent Eats for the Beam find!]

And finally today, Business Insider presents a feature on Fireball Whiskey, and how the brand jumped ahead of the pack to become one of the most successfully marketed spirits in recent decades. Which, if you think about the competition, is really kind of amazing. Or insane. Or both. [Business Insider]

Recipes: 2014 Spring Cocktails

For a least some of the nation (sorry New England and Midwest!), the brutal, crushing cold of winter has passed and things are starting to warm up and become tolerable once again. With that we’ve had a plethora of cocktail recipes heading our way over the last few weeks, and we’ve culled and tested the best of the best for your consideration:

image003 1 200x300 Recipes: 2014 Spring CocktailsMayan Mule
1 part Milagro Reposado tequila
½ part fresh lime juice
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
3 parts Ginger Beer

Place 2-3 ice cubes in a Collins glass. Add fresh squeezed lime juice, Milagro, ginger beer and bitters. Stir. Garnish with mint sprigs and a lime wheel.

Presbyterian Revenge
(Created by John McCarthy of Bathtub Gin)
1.5 oz. Black Grouse Scotch
.75 oz. Cynar liqueur
.25 oz. lemon juice
.25 oz. simple syrup
1 dash grapefruit bitters

Shake and strain into a rocks glass with ice. Top with a splash of soda, garnish with a grapefruit twist.

BlossomMule 300x193 Recipes: 2014 Spring CocktailsBlossom Mule
(Created by Mulberry Project)
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
3/4 oz. Maraschino liqueur
2 oz. sake
4 oz ginger beer
4 dashes of Pechaud’s Bitters
cherry blossom for garnish

Pour the lime juice/Maraschino/sake into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain contents over fresh ice, into a tall glass. Add the ginger beer followed by the the Pechaud’s Bitters, stir and garnish with cherry blossom flower.

Chandon Recipes: 2014 Spring CocktailsChandon Lavender
1 oz. lavender simple syrup (1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon lavender florets)
2 oz. fresh lime juice
3 oz. Chandon Brut Classic

Simple syrup: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let sit 30 minutes. Strain the syrup into a clean container and refrigerate. Discard the lavender.

Cocktail: Pour the simple syrup and lime juice in a decorative glass and stir to mix. Add Chandon Brut Classic and serve.

Mo-Coco-Jito
6 fresh mint leaves
3 fresh lime wedges
4 ounces Amy & Brian’s coconut juice
2 ounces rum
splash of club soda

For a fresh take on a refreshing mojito, muddle together mint, fresh lime, and rum in a martini shaker. Pour in the coconut juice and a splash of club soda; shake well. Strain and pour into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice and garnish with a mint leaf.

The Drinkhacker Bookshelf 2013-2014

Lately we’ve been churning out book reviews at a rather brisk pace, so we thought it would make sense to compile a list pretty much everything we’ve read over the last two years. Titles are linked to our reviews, and purchase links to Amazon are also supplied when available (note: prices may vary between formats and editions).

Recipes
Shake, Stir, Pour by Katie Loeb A/$16 [Buy]
Craft Cocktails At Home by Kevin Liu A/$9 [Buy]
Cocktails: The Bartender’s Bible by Simon Difford A-/$34 [Buy]
Ice Cream Happy Hour by Valerie Lum A-/$11 [Buy]
Liquid Vacation by P Moss A-/$28 [Buy]
The New Old Bar by Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh  A-/$14  [Buy]
Extreme Brewing by Sam Calagione A-/$16 [Buy]
The Best Craft Cocktails by Jeremy LeBlanc and Christine Dionese A-/$15 [Buy]
Market Fresh Mixology by Bridget Albert and Mary Barranco B+/$14 [Buy]
The Home Distiller’s Workbook by Jeff King B+/$9 [Buy]
Poptails: 60 Boozy Treats Served on a Stick by Erin Nichols B+/$12 [Buy]
Savory Cocktails by Greg Henry B+/$12 [Buy]
The Old Fashioned: An Essential Guide by Albert Schmid B+/$10 [Buy]
Alt Whiskeys by Darek Bell B+/$30 [Buy]
The Best Shots You’ve Never Tried by Andrew Bohrer B+/$6 [Buy]
The Big Book of Martinis For Moms by Rose Maura Lorre and Mavis Lamb B/$10 [Buy]
Dr. Cocktail by Alex Ott  B-/$13 [Buy]
The Architecture of the Cocktail by Amy Zavatto C/$12 [Buy]
The Signature Series by EGO unrated/$22 [Buy?]

Historical/Reference
Whiskey Women by Fred Minnick A/$17 [Buy]
Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage by Mike Veach A/$19 [Buy]
The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart A-/$16 [Buy]
Uncorking The Past by Dr. Patrick E. McGovern A-/$16 [Buy]
Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World Complete Wine Course  by Kevin Zraly A-/$30 [Buy]
Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch by William Knoedelseder A-/$13 [Buy]
Drinkology Wine: A Guide To The Grape by James Waller A-/$4 (used) [Buy]
Vodka Distilled by Tony Abou-Ganim A-/$23 [Buy]
The Kentucky Mint Julep by Joe Nickell B+/$12 [Buy]
Beam Straight Up by Fred Noe B+/$16 [Buy]
The Curious World of Wine by Richard Vine  B/ $15  [Buy]
The New York Times Book Of Wine edited by Howard Goldberg B/$17 [Buy]
A First Course In Wine by Dan Amatuzzi B-/$19 [Buy]

Rating Guides/List Books
Drinking Japan by Chris Bunting A/$19  [Buy]
The World’s Best Whiskies: 750 Essential Drams From Tennessee To Tokyo by Dominc Roskrow A-/$26 [Buy]
The Smart Guide To Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Elizabeth Riley Bell  B+/$14 [Buy]
Destination Cocktails by James Teitelbaum B+/$14 [Buy]
The 40 Minute Irish Whiskey Guide by 27Press B/$3 [Buy]
Wine: A Tasting Guide by Marnie Old  B/$20 [Buy]
Bordeaux by Oz Clark B-/$23 [Buy]

Drinkhacker Reads – 04.23.2014 – “Oh No!” Edition

So remember on Monday how we linked to an article reporting on a powdered alcohol drink product? Well it turns out that the gun was significantly jumped in its approval. Backpedaling faster than Lance Armstrong, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) issued a statement saying that they weren’t sure how or why the product was approved, but it was all a big mistake. Chuck Cowdery writes that these oversights are happening a bit more frequently than normal, arguing for tighter observation and restriction, while FindLaw discusses some of the possible reasons why the product was rescinded its approval. Lehrman Beverage Law also has some fine discussion with the creators of the Palcohol and what’s potentially next. Or maybe this is just what happens when you put a taxation agency in charge of approving things that people drink. Hmmm…

The Chicago Daily Herald reports that the European Commission has approved Suntory’s acquisition of Beam, and has slated the closing of the deal for April 30. In other Suntory news, The Spirits Business reports this morning that the company has launched a new campaign with gorgeous miniature ice sculptures using cutting edge carving technology. [Daily Herald]

Meanwhile in beer world, there’s a bit of trouble brewing (no pun intended) with a new piece of legislation being proposed by the FDA that could send the price of beer up. Not a good thing to hear when so many microbreweries are just starting to thrive. [Time]

Wine Searcher is reporting that a British wine merchant is facing a hefty $25 million lawsuit after allegations were made that it was selling bottles of wine dating back to 1787. The most expensive wine sale ever could potentially also turn into one of the biggest lawsuits ever involving wine. [Wine Searcher]

Finally today, Page Six isn’t exactly the most reliable source of spirits/drinks information, but this bit was kind of awesome. Modern Family star Ty Burrell has opened a beer bar in Salt Lake City. Instead of lending his name/endorsement to another product to clog the celebrity shelf, Beer Bar (love the simplicity of the name) will serve 150 beers paired with an array of house-made bratwursts, local breads, and Belgian fries. [Page Six]

Drinkhacker Reads – 04.21.2014 – “Oh Yeah!” Edition

Remember when Kool-Aid or Tang used to be the powdered drink of choice? Now someone’s taken that idea and applied it to spirits. Simply tear open a pocket of Palcohol, add water, and voila! The Feds have given it their stamp of approval. What could possibly go wrong??? [The Verge]

And now: Beaujolais Nouveau for those who always wished to enjoy their wine in packaging shaped like a paint bucket. Tastes about the same. [ABC News]

Whiskycast gets the scoop on a new product about to hit stores: a collaborative bourbon made by four venerable micro-distilleries slated to go on sale this week at Binny’s in Chicago. In this day and age of distilleries picking fights or buying each other outright, it’s nice to see some friendly collaboration happening. [Whiskycast HD]

Meanwhile, in non-idiotic drink news: it’s been an interesting past week over in Beamworld. Beamland? Beamsville? Anyway. Beam’s chief financial officer and two other executives have announced their intention to resign within the coming months, as Beam’s largest shareholder continues to sell a large percentage of his stock to the open market. This is clearly to make way for the new Suntory executives and a smoother transition once the merger finally receives approval. In other Beam news: Fred Noe continues to be a really easygoing guy. Recently appearing in a Knob Creek television ad, the master distiller made the promise that “If you’re not completely satisfied with the big full flavor of our bourbon, just send back the unused portion and we’ll drink it for you.” It’s a nice juxtaposition against some of the baffling ads other bourbon companies have run lately.

And finally today, Fred Minnick takes on many of the rumors that have been clogging up the pipes of the internet over the past few weeks to discover the truth of what’s really going on with some of our favorite bourbons. Now if he could only work his magic and get Ancient Ancient Age back on the shelves, we’d be all set, and quite happy drinkers. [Whisky Advocate]

Recipes for National Iced Coffee Day

April 21st has been designated by those who designate such things as National Iced Coffee Day. One of these days we’ll design a calendar with all of these holidays for reference (unless someone already has, in which case please point us in that direction). As an alternative to the usual Frapuccino, we present a couple of boozy recipes to try out during your next lazy weekend.

Iced Coffee 248x300 Recipes for National Iced Coffee Day Guatemalan Iced Coffee
1 1/2 oz. Zacapa Rum 23
3 1/2 oz. Guatemalan coffee
1/2 oz. Demerara sugar syrup
cream (optional)

Pour coffee into a highball glass filled with ice. Add Zacapa Rum 23 and Demerara sugar syrup and stir well. Add cream if desired.

Boozy Biscotti Iced Coffee
(by Lisa Lavery at Yummly)

For the coffee:
4 1/2 oz coarsely ground coffee (about 1 3/4 cups)
3 1/2 oz cold water

For the cocktails:
2 cups cold water
8 ounces amaretto, chilled
2 ounces Pernod, chilled
ice and milk (for serving)

Place the coffee grounds in a 2-quart pitcher, add the water, and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let steep at room temperature for at least 12 hours and up to 1 day. Line a fine-mesh strainer with a standard coffee filter and fit it over a medium bowl. Working in batches, slowly pour the coffee into the filter until all of the liquid has passed through the strainer (the coffee will pass through in a slow stream; don’t force it through); stop when you reach the solids at the bottom of the pitcher (don’t pour them in). Discard the grounds and the contents of the strainer.Wash and dry the pitcher. Transfer the strained coffee into the pitcher. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 5 days.

When ready to serve, add the water, amaretto, and Pernod to the strained coffee and stir to combine. Serve over ice, passing milk on the side.

(NOTE: This has been a staple in our household for quite some time now. We’ve tried to keep it around to see how long it will last in the fridge and still remain fresh, but it doesn’t last long enough. For the coffee, last week we used Gachatha AB from George Howell, but I’m certain any coffee of reasonable pedigree will serve the job well.)

The Drinkhacker Shopping List – 04.18.2014

It’s been a while, but here’s a recap of the best (and worst) of the reviews we’ve featured this month on the site. Compared to the relatively slim pickings last month, this month has been quite full with a wide variety of spirits to satisfy every taste. Don’t miss the special bottling of that 21 year old Springbank. Happy shopping!

TheList041814 525x1179 The Drinkhacker Shopping List   04.18.2014

Drinkhacker Reads – 04.16.2014 – Whisk(e)y Wednesday Edition

For an opening offering today we have two recent pieces detailing the history of bourbon: The first from SKU’s Recent Eats outlining the five modern eras of American Whiskey (sans clowning this time), and the second from Joshua Feldman over at The Coopered Tot with a long and interesting piece of history regarding the Cabin Still line.

Good news for mead maniacs among us: according to a new survey by the American Mead Makers Association (AMMA), mead sales and consumption has increased 130% from 2012 to 2013, which exceeds the rate of growth of beer, wine, and distilled spirits. The number of meaderies has also increased from 60 in 2011 to 194 in 2014, which accounts for 2.5% of all American wineries. No word on who the first mead celebrity spokesperson will be, but if history proves us correct it will most likely be Sammy Hagar. [AMMA]

BusinessWeek tells the David/Goliath tale of a small Irish Whiskey company that has taken on not one, but two spirits conglomerates in defense of its brand, Wild Geese. [Business Week]

If you’re up for it in Vegas and have about $500 to spare, Wolfgang Puck’s dining establishment Cut is offering a flight featuring three whiskies from the ’70s: a Macallan 1976, a Dalmore 1974, and a Jura 1976. [Eater]

Scotland’s whisky industry came away with a huge legal win today. Scotch has been registered as a certified trademark in Australia, which should help to prevent counterfeit brands from flooding the market. The Scotch Whisky Association has already identified about 40 counterfeit brands, and feel this may just be the beginning of their findings. [Scotsman]

Finally today, in what has to be one of the more detailed presentations we’ve seen in a bit, Whisky Science digs deep and poses the question of whether or not water quality has a direct effect on the fermentation and eventual final taste of whisky. Get ready to go to school, class is definitely in session. [Whisky Science]

Drinkhacker Reads – 04.14.2014 – Putin Gets Trolled By Vodka Company

While politics normally resides in the domain of elsewhere, Sobieski vodka has taken to trolling Russian heartthrob Vladimir Putin in a recent series of ads poking fun at recent events in the Ukraine region. While outcry to the campaign has been at a minimum thus far, Mediaite’s Luke O’Neil sums it up best with this gem: “Vodka is supposed to be tasteless, which may explain the thinking behind this new ad.” [Mediaite]

Norman Borlaug once saved an entire continent from starvation with his modern agricultural production techniques involving dwarf wheat. While nowhere near as significant or history-altering, it appears scientists are looking at barley genetics to produce larger yields of the crop and meet the growing demand for the grain. The Spirits Business reports that the Impromalt Project aims to increase crop yields considerably by 2018. [The Spirits Business]

Irish whiskey certainly has come a long way in the past few years, and now the newly formed Irish Whiskey Association is predicting growth to quadruple further within the next 20 years. Irish Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney was interviewed by Newstalk to discuss the formation of the organization, and how the industry is helping the local economy. [Newstalk]

The Scotch Whisky Association reports that growth of the spirit remains incredibly strong globally, reporting that 2013 overall sales and exports were up 3% over 2012 figures. Exports to Brazil and Mexico were up 20%, and Poland saw a 30% increase in Scotchery. This in contrast with decreased exports to Asia, with shipments to China down 30%. [Financial News UK]

The final Best In Show results for the SF World Spirits Competition have been posted, with Glencadam 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky taking home best whisky and Jim Beam Single Barrel Bourbon winning best single barrel Bourbon (less than 11 years old), amongst other winners. [SF World Spirits]

In advance of the upcoming celebration honoring Jimmy Russell’s 60 years at Wild Turkey, here’s a profile on his legacy at the distillery and a preview of the upcoming Wild Turkey Diamond. Turkey and diamonds, you say!? [Herald-Leader]

The A-List March 2014

Welcome to another edition of the A-List, our monthly review of the best and brightest products we’ve had the privilege to sample over the past month. Compared to last month’s (relatively) barren list, March saw a major uptick in the quality and quantity of the products that have come across our desks. Lots of quality single malts and Irish whiskies to pick from, as well as some wines surprisingly easy on the pocketbook as well as the taste buds.

AListMar14 525x890 The A List March 2014

Drinkhacker Reads – 04.09.2014 – Drink It Like Beckham

Former Manchester United punching bag David Beckham is once again lending his name to a product, this time via Diageo. In collaboration with House of Haig, the newly minted Haig Club whisky will be priced at about $65 a bottle. Appropriately enough, American Idol mastermind Simon Fuller is also involved in the partnership and the dynamic duo will be responsible for brand identity and market positioning. Hopefully Mr. Posh Spice can deliver what we want. What we really, really want. [WSJ]

The winners of the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits competition have been announced, and there are a lot of them in many categories. Thankfully, their website breaks it all down quite nicely with zoom and filter options. We’re going to have to wait a few more days for the Best In Show results, but we’ll be keeping watch for the final announcements. Congrats all around to the many winners! [SF Spirits Competition]

A new report from the subjectively-named research firm Wine Opinions poses the question of whether or not the craft beer industry is taking profits away from the wine world. While we’re sure the report is quite nice, we’re not willing to shell out the $500 to download it, so we’ll just link to the synopsis instead. [Wine Business]

And finally today, author Philip Seldon (Complete Idiot’s Guide To Wine) has lost his lawsuit in a New York court after being displeased with his purchase of 6 bottles of $12.99 wine from a local retailer. Seldon did not care for the contents of the advertised bottles, and therefore felt he was a candidate for restitution. Civil Court Judge David Cohen also dismissed a defamation claim against White Plains retailer Grapes, whose owner, Daniel Posner, called Seldon “a disgusting human being.” In his ruling, Cohen said that Seldon failed to meet minimum requirements to prove deceptive advertising took place. [New York Law Journal]