David Tao

David Tao is a writer for Drinkhacker.

Raj Bhakta Tasting

“History Itself in a Bottle”: An Interview with Raj Bhakta

By David Tao | April 28, 2022 |

Perennial spirits entrepreneur Raj Bhakta has already cemented himself as one of America’s most ambitious booze salesmen. He founded WhistlePig and helped create an entirely new generation of whiskey drinkers, with a heavy focus on premium rye. His second foray into the premium category took a decidedly upmarket turn with Bhakta, a brand based around…

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Bar Review: Gupshup, Manhattan, New York City

By David Tao | August 25, 2021 |

In Manhattan, there’s a four-block stretch along Lexington Avenue many have come to affectionately call “Curry Hill,” no doubt due to the extensive (and diverse) selection of Indian restaurants, cafes, bars, and specialty food shops. While Curry Hill has earned its reputation as a locus of great food and drinks, there’s a spirits-forward highlight ten…

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Pursuit United Bourbon

Review: Pursuit United Blended Straight Bourbon

By David Tao | August 21, 2021 |

In the spirits industry, it’s increasingly common to see releases “by” or “from” big-name celebrities and influencers. As it turns out, Emmy Awards do not always equate with fantastic pours from sourced product. But what if the influencers are endemic to the spirits space? What if their claim to fame is the content they produce…

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ISCO Distillery Floor

Visiting The Industrious Spirits Company, Providence’s First Post-Prohibition Distillery

By David Tao | July 27, 2021 |

New England travelers have long known Providence — Rhode Island’s capital and economic center — as an underrated gem. It’s famous for a thriving arts community, diverse food scene (with an emphasis on seafood), and proximity to coastal havens like Newport. And while the city’s bars and restaurants have drawn crowds for decades, the distilling…

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Swilled Dog Sherry Cask Bourbon

Review: Swilled Dog Bourbons and Rye

By David Tao | June 11, 2021 |

Launched in 2016, Swilled Dog is a family-owned cider and spirits company based out of West Virginia. What started as a family basement operation has since grown into an independent cidery and tasting room in Upper Tract, WV, where they offer everything from tastings to craft exhibitions and a regular series of “Yoga & Cider”…

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Nashville Barrel Company

Review: Nashville Barrel Company Small Batch Rye Whiskey (Batch 2)

By David Tao | May 23, 2021 |

Nashville Barrel Company is a new brand, and as with many upstarts, they’re relying on sourced products to get the company up and running. Unlike some other upstarts, they don’t seem to have immediate aspirations of opening their own distillery (at least for now). Instead, they’re focusing efforts on a brick-and-mortar tasting room, bottling center,…

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Bar Review: Kokomo, Williamsburg, New York City

By David Tao | May 13, 2021 |

Sometimes, you just need to get away. And when a tropical paradise seems out of reach, we often find ourselves searching for the next-best proxy. For New York City residents looking for a more temporary escape, Williamsburg’s Kokomo is a worthwhile consideration — at least when cravings call for sweeter drinks and bolder, spicier dishes.…

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Shannon Tebay

4 Mixologists Pushing Bourbon Cocktails to New Heights

By David Tao | April 30, 2021 |

Prior to the “Bourbon Boom” of the 2010s, America’s Native Spirit far-too-often took a backseat in the world of cocktail development. And while there isn’t always a singular reason behind spirits trends, there’s long been a perception that rye whiskey’s stereotypically “spicier” flavors held up better in a cocktail than bourbon. But as many whiskey…

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Jackie Zykan

Diversity, Data, and Change in Bourbon: An Interview with Old Forester’s Jackie Zykan

By David Tao | April 23, 2021 |

Old Forester’s Jackie Zykan is one of Kentucky bourbon’s most recognizable names. During her six-year tenure with the brand, Zykan has been equal parts whiskey maker and whiskey educator, giving numerous interviews and social media looks into her day-to-day as Old Forester’s Master Taster. And she’s notched more than a couple important milestones along the…

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Travel Bar Whiskey Selection

Bar Review: Travel Bar, Brooklyn, New York

By David Tao | April 21, 2021 |

In the hospitality world, there’s often tension between being the best and being accessible. (It’s not so different in the spirits world.) A bar can be superlative in one category — renowned for their cocktails, or perhaps a nearly-unparalleled whiskey selection — or it can be beloved by neighborhood locals, offering great pours without the…

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