Traditional histories don't usually mention that our colonial forefathers (and mothers) swam in a sea of booze from breakfast till bedtime.
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Like Negronis? Fan of absinthe? Try mixing them together in this classic drink.
Every time I've come across premade frozen-cocktails-in-a-bag at the grocery store, I can't help but wonder if there might be something worth drinking inside. I was curious about how these cocktail-pouches came to be, and whether they might provide some hints for making better creamy-textured frozen drinks at home.
An Old Fashioned with Fernet Branca and pineapple? Yeah, I thought that might get your attention.
Many new bars these days have a 'low proof' section of the menu, featuring cocktails that aren't spiked with whiskey, gin, rum, or other strong spirits. As trendy as these drinks may be, they're not new. The Crysanthemum, for example, is a concoction dating back before Prohibition. It's made with dry vermouth and herbal, honeyed Benedictine, flavored with a touch of anisey absinthe.
While it may sound a bit funny that a cocktail from the early 1900s is called the Up to Date, this Manhattan-esque classic, made with rye whiskey, Grand Marnier, and sherry, is no laughing matter.
What's the strangest thing you've seen someone do while drinking? I mean, on purpose, not just because they're drunk and disorderly. Booze-makers and drinkers all around the world have certain practices that might seem odd to an outsider. This week, we'll look at a few.
The Corpse Reviver #2 might be the most famous drink recipe from Henry Craddock's Savoy Cocktail Book, but here are three more classics you should try.
When you start looking through vintage cocktail books, one thing you'll quickly notice are the names of obscure ingredients. Now, some of these ingredients are still in production—you might have to hunt a while; you might even need to have a friend bring a bottle home from overseas. But others are truly defunct, no longer made. What did they taste like? How were they made? Here's our guide to a few bitters, liqueurs, and cordials that truly have disappeared...and a few that are being revived by upstart brands.
If there's one longstanding tradition of America's food scene, it's to break with longstanding tradition, which ironically is something that today's craft upstarts have more in common with their distilling forefathers than many might assume.
Because of the term's current trendiness, many are surprised to learn that it dates back to the nineteenth century.
In colonial America, a general lack of infrastructure meant the tavern had to pinch hit in various other social functions, whether of church or state. They sometimes doubled up as courthouses (and even jails) and other times served as local theaters.
Nasty, with underlying notes of totally gross. In places and times marked by disease, with rainwater fanning into greasy plumes across city streets before depositing a muck of human waste and manure into wells, wine made with pine sap and marble dust didn't seem so bad.
The biggest question on my mind before a recent trip to the Mt. Vernon distillery: "Did George Washington's wooden teeth add a little bit of extra aging to whatever whiskey he drank?" I quickly learned that the wooden teeth thing is a myth. One set of his false teeth was composed of a cow's tooth, one of Washington's own teeth, and hippopotamus ivory, making his mouth a Noah's Ark of dental wizardry.
The rise of beer gardens in America coincided with the opulent economic advances of the Gilded Age, and their style reflected that. The gardens built by brewing giants such as Frederick Pabst and Frederick Miller to promote their brands were the exact opposite of the dive bars where their brews are popular today. Schlitz Garden, built in 1879 by the Schlitz brewery in Milwaukee, featured a concert hall, dance pavilion, bowling alley, and a three-story pagoda that provided stunning views of the city.
When you think of illicit substances that are shipped in brick form, wine probably doesn't come to mind first. And no, boxed wine doesn't count. During Prohibition, however, drinkers got around laws that banned alcohol by dissolving bricks of grape concentrate in water and fermenting them into wine.
The cocktail boom of recent years has us all reexamining ice, abandoning those cloudy crescents from the fridge for chunks that look like the Hope diamond and drive up the price of your drink accordingly. But have you ever wondered how ice ended up in your drink in the first place?
Calling Budweiser the "King of Beers" is a good way to get beer geeks to roll their eyes. A lot of beer connoisseurs mainly think of Budweiser as a thin-tasting symbol of corporate hegemony—it's the beer version of a Big Mac. But regardless, Budweiser's success has always been a story of savvy marketing; less known is that it's also a story of ingenuity and invention.
Despite all the old-fashioned images that adorn today's American whiskey bottles—log cabins, buffalo, and long-dead distillers who look like Civil War generals—most of today's famous brands wouldn't taste very familiar to cowboys from the Wild West. And vice versa: whiskey drinkers today likely wouldn't recognize frontier whiskey. And that's a good thing, because it probably tasted horrible.
Any book that's been written about drinking in the last 50 years probably has a quote from H.L. Mencken, the American writer and cultural critic. The "Bard of Baltimore" had so much to say about drinking that ignoring him would be like forgetting to mention Confucius in a book about Chinese philosophy or overlooking Daryl Hall in a book about musical duo Hall & Oates. Yes, he's really that important. His essay "How to Drink Like a Gentleman," is recently back in print as an e-book.