Our Authors

The Best Tequila for a Margarita

I'm on a quest to find the best tequila for a margarita. Do you need to spend big bucks to make a great version of the drink? Are there affordable brands that make good margs? I convened a blind tasting of margaritas made from ten different tequilas to find out. More

The 10 Best Budget Rums

Rum is a category of spirits that offers many wonderful values—bottles that taste like they should cost way more than they actually do. You can very easily find great rums, both white and dark, under $20, and today, I'll introduce you to a few of my favorites. More

The 10 Best Budget Bourbons

We're lucky, as bourbon drinkers. The bourbon industry has the resources and capacity to make massive quantities of corn juice, and the expertise to do it well. This means that you can find plenty of good bourbon on a budget. Now, that's not to say every budget bourbon is good, heck no. Some of it is dreck. But look around, and you'll find the good stuff easily enough. More

10 Bartending Terms You Might Not Know

Hang out in bars long enough, and you'll start to hear the bartender throwing around all sorts of interesting words and phrases. And I'm not talking about the Tagalog profanity she picked up while backpacking through the Philippines; I mean the lexicon of bartending. Today, a glossary of the secret language of bartenders. More

The 10 Best Budget Bourbons

I'll redo the list:

Old Ezra
Old Ezra
Old Ezra
Old Ezra
Old Ezra
Old Ezra
Old Ezra
Old Ezra
Old Ezra
Old Ezra

Butter-Basted Pan-Seared Thick-Cut Steaks

I did something crazy and delicious when I cooked this steak.

Saturday night, Father's Day Eve, I made griddled cheeseburgers, in butter. The burgers lost a lot of fat in the cooking process, so after the pan cooled down, I poured the mix of fat and butter into a container and stored it in the fridge.

It was that beefy, buttery goodness that I used to baste my Father's Day steak. Yes, that does mean we had more beef this weekend than is healthy, and yes, it also means that I cooked my own steak on Father's Day, but hey. I love cooking steaks.

So You Want to Write a Cocktail Book...


Yes, I talked to Kim Tait on the phone for 90 minutes, actually! I couldn't include everything she told me, but I felt it was necessary to cover Tait Farms in the book.


Good question; we haven't talked about that yet.

So You Want to Write a Cocktail Book...

There's still a lot you can do in fall and winter: apple, kiwifruit, citrus, and pomegranate, among others. Though as long as you're buying the book, I'll be equally happy if you buy it in October or April!

So You Want to Write a Cocktail Book...

I've already talked a little about that:

When Ann and I developed the book, we had in mind a summer 2014 release, to hit at the peak of the farmers' market's bounty. The book was going to be a squarish format, softcover, organized by season, and aimed at crunchy-granola Greenmarket fans (like me). Then Countryman/Norton's sales team went into action and decided the book had potential to be an end-of-year shopping-season success, aimed at a broader market. So now we're launching in October, and we're no longer going for a seasonal approach.
Here's the problem with a summer release: cookbooks don't sell well in summer. A lot of books don't sell well in summer. The Christmas/holiday season is the book industry's hottest time of the year. My publisher decided they'd sell more books in the fall than in the summer. They're the pros; I'm not. I trust them that this is the right decision.

So You Want to Write a Cocktail Book...


Scrivener is an interesting piece of software. It's more of a manuscript-management system than it is a word-processing program. The metaphor it uses is that of a corkboard. You pin index cards to the board, and you can use those cards for anything--in my case, I used them primarily for recipes. I also divided each narrative (non-recipe) chapter up into sections, and each section was an index card.

You can rearrange the order of the cards by simply dragging and dropping their icons. This made it very easy to reorder the recipes once we changed the structure of the book. I don't think Word offers functionality like that.

So essentially, every part of the manuscript was a separate file within Scrivener. When I was ready to submit the manuscript to my editor, I compiled the Scrivener files into one large file, using a Compile tool within Scrivener. I then saved that to Word format and did minor edits and clean-up in Word before submitting the manuscript.

Scrivener isn't free, but I think the license is only $40 or so.

So You Want to Write a Cocktail Book...

VeganWithaYoYo: I do have non-alcoholic drinks in the book, though perhaps not as many as I should have included. (Maybe I can do that if I get a second edition!) One thing that's always true, though, is that just about any shrub is great topped off with club soda.

Easy Home Bar: 5 Fun 2-Ingredient Drinks

Just going for some variety in styling my photos, for Pete's sake. Give me a break.

Easy Home Bar: 5 Fun 2-Ingredient Drinks

I liked the BLL better than I expected to, though as I think I noted, I found that it tasted just a little metallic. I enjoyed the hell out of the cocktail, though. I'd serve that at a summer party, if I had enough room in this shoebox to host one.

Easy Home Bar: 5 Fun 2-Ingredient Drinks

Uh. The Godfather cocktail I wrote about IS the one with scotch and amaretto.

The Best Drinks We Drank in March

The Lock Yard is a very cool place to spend an afternoon.

How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love Bitter Drinks

It's perfectly fine to dislike Fernet. I can't normally stand it on its own; I find it's much better as a mixer. Sometimes, I'll drink it as a digestive. I had it after Thanksgiving dinner one year, and I found it immediately made my bloated stomach feel better. But then again, so do other bitter liqueurs that I usually enjoy drinking, so I don't see an upside.

The Best Budget Irish Whiskeys


There's some contract distilling in the Irish whiskey arena. The company that sells Michael Collins, for example, is currently in a lawsuit with Beam, Inc., over a contract to make Collins at Beam's Cooley distillery. But it's not like LDI where it's quiet and sort of secretive.

2 Gingers was made under contract at Cooley, too, but then Beam bought the brand.

Cooley makes Kilbeggan, Greenore, Connemara, and Tyrconnell.

New Midleton makes Jameson, Tullamore Dew, Powers, Paddy, Redbreast, Midleton Rare, and Green Spot. Green Spot is made under contract for a wine merchant in Dublin.

Old Bushmills makes Bushmills and Black Bush.

FWIW, Bushmills is owned by Diageo; Midleton is owned by Pernod-Ricard; and as I said, Cooley is owned by Beam, Inc., which in turn is now owned by Suntory.

How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love Bitter Drinks

I will admit, I prefer rye in a Boulevardier.

Slow Cooker Harissa Beef Stew With Lemon Yogurt


We drank zinfandel with this. The mildly sweet, low-tannic fruitiness really cut through the heat, while still complementing the beef.

The Best Gin for Negronis

The Best Gin for Negronis

Lorenzo --

Maybe she just doesn't care for mass-produced world market products. I hear they're the in-thing to hate right now.

The 10 Best Budget Bourbons

Did you miss the word "best" in the title? I'm not listing every budget bourbon; I'm reviewing them.

Why regular Beam isn't on the list is already up there, in the post:

I'm not a fan of the white-label release; I find it a little one-note. But the black label is just what you want bourbon to be: smooth, with just the exact amounts of vanilla, caramel, and woodiness you want from good bourbon whiskey.

As for Early Times, it's not bourbon. That's also why Remy Martin isn't on this, and Chivas Regal, and Stoli, and other things that aren't bourbon.

Cocktail 101: How to Build a Cocktail Library

The 6 Best Budget Ryes

You cats are high-larious. When I did the budget-bourbon piece, and I set the limit at $20, half the commenters were miffed because I didn't set the bar at $25. Now I go to $25, and someone gripes that it's not $20. Thanks for a good laugh.

Hochstadter's Slow & Low Rock and Rye: A Vintage Cocktail Party in a Bottle

Funny. I picked up a bottle last week, not knowing you were reviewing it. I'm very reluctantly not a fan. I love what they're trying to do. The flavors you mention should all work very well with rye. But every time I try it, the sweetness is cloying and the citrus is all out of balance. I was hoping that some bitters in the mix would help, and yes, the bitters helped, but not quite enough.

And I only just now saw the website. The marketing is kind of gross. This reminds me of the Cabana Cachaca marketing from a few years ago. Overall, I think I've decided to pass on ever trying this again. I am clearly not in their market.

The 10 Best Budget Bourbons

@JRussRhodes: You might be thinking of Chicken Cock Whiskey, which is a different thing than Fighting Cock Bourbon.


The 10 Best Budget Bourbons

I'm not budging from the $20 mark. Your definition of budget might be $22 or $26 or $30 or $75, even. I stand my ground at $20. I found ten good bourbons at $20 and under.

Yes, bourbon is a luxury. But if you only have $14 to spend on your luxury this week, I've got you covered. I've been there. I'll be there again next month.

The 10 Best Budget Bourbons

I cannot in good faith recommend brands that are only available at Costco or Trader Joe's. Even here in NYC, TJ, for example, can't sell spirits. Even their wine has to be sold in a dedicated storefront, away from the food.

And perhaps this disqualifies me from writing about spirits, but I've only been in Costco once in my life, on someone else's membership.

But I don't feel the need to try the Costco's Kirkland brand:


It's Beam, and there's no way it's better than the Beam products I've listed. Why would Beam send its best bourbon to Costco?

A Day in the Life: Nick Kindelsperger, Chicago Editor

Mira is an excellent name for a baby girl, I must say. My personal 7-week-old daughter, Mirabelle, agrees.

Homebrewing Basics: All About Yeast

Yeast have the most important job in brewing: they start with sugar and break it down, leaving alcohol, carbon dioxide, and a variety of flavors. The importance of yeast often gets forgotten when conversations about beer turn to grain and hops, but yeast actually have the potential to contribute more unique flavors to your beer—both good and bad—than any other ingredient. Last week we talked about grain, and next week we'll look at hops, but today I'll be giving you what you need to know about yeast to make the best homebrew possible. More

The Physiology of Foie: Why Foie Gras is Not Unethical

Video or photographic footage of one badly managed farm or even a thousand badly managed farms does not prove that the production of foie gras, as a practice, is necessarily harmful to the health or mental well-being of a duck. Foie gras production should be judged not by the worst farms, but by the best, because those are the ones that I'm going to choose to buy my foie from if at all. More