A Visit to Suntory’s Yamazaki Distillery

Should a whisky fan make the lengthy trek across the Pacific in search of the secrets of Japanese distilling, one would be wise to start at the source. That’s what I did anyway, on a recent pilgrimage to Yamazaki, the first whisky distillery in Japan, which was built in 1923 and is still going strong…

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Book Review: Tasting Cider

Erin James really loves cider, and based on this book, she appears to know more about the category than anyone else on earth. This boldly colorful guide walks readers through this vastly complicated — and rapidly growing — category, starting with a history of cider and a digest of how it is made, including a…

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Review: Calwise Big Sur Gin

Calwise Spirits is a new distillery in Paso Robles, which is becoming quite the hotbed of craft distillation. The brainchild of Aaron Bergh, who at 25 is one of the youngest master distillers in the world, Calwise has launched with a trio of spirits: two rums and this, “a native California coastal herb-infused gin” called…

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Recipe: The Third Man

The Third Man is the brainchild of Nashville’s Henrietta Red, and it starts with the classic combination of Campari and grapefruit juice. Originally designed as a vehicle for Belle Meade Bourbon, it works great with any bourbon you can lay your hands on. I recommend using a bonded whiskey (or something of higher proof), and…

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Wine Touring on Russian River Valley’s Olivet Road

Going to the Russian River Valley? Want to find a place to visit several family-owned wineries, be surrounded by lush vineyards, and not have to drive or walk too far to get to each? I offer my day on Olivet Road as a template, a lovely stretch of “Wine Heaven” road between Windsor and Santa Rosa,…

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Book Review: Drink Like a Bartender

Ever been concerned that a bartender would “judge you… hard” for what you’re drinking? (If so, leave the bar.) Good news: Here’s a book to help you with your barstool etiquette. Boston-based writers Thea Engst and Lauren Vigdor fill this trifle of a book with bon mots from the drinking world. The book doesn’t really…

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Review: Old Pulteney 25 Years Old

Old Pulteney, one of the most northerly distilleries on the Scottish mainland, is keeping true to its name with the recent release of a 25 year expression; yet another extra-aged release that follows on the heels of last year’s outstanding 35 year old. The whisky spent 22 years in ex-bourbon casks and the final three…

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Review: 2017 FEL Pinot Gris and 2016 Pinot Noir

The winery formerly known as Breggo continues its releases of Anderson Valley-focused bottlings, with these two offerings the latest in the lineup. 2017 FEL Pinot Gris Anderson Valley – This wine is slightly tropical in aromatic approach, but it’s weighted down by heavy greenery notes, which give the palate a muddy body and a tight,…

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