Let me paint a word picture for you. The other night, I was working behind the bar and I had two things occur within about 5 minutes of each other.
One - I had someone come in and order three Yeunglings in a bar that's an approximately seven hours from the Yeungling brewery, in a state in which no bar has ever carried Yeungling ever. A few minutes later, someone ordered an Old Fashioned - one of my favorite cocktails in the world but which takes a goodly amount of time to make - while there were approximately one millionty people waiting for me to pour them a beer. And let me just say - this was a Tuesday.
We're big fans of the uptick in distilleries in our home state of Vermont, from Smuggler's Notch to Vermont Spirits. One brand we've seen more of on local liquor store shelves lately is a pair of flavored rums from an outfit called Dunc's Mill.
We haven't had a chance to try them out yet, but the idea of an Elderflower rum, as well as the Vermont-obligatory Maple rum, definitely pique our interest for cocktails. Both products are available in VT - not sure about where else - and are made with Fair Trade ingredients, organic sugar cane, and "local flavors."
Note: Their website says they're the oldest continuously-run distillery in Vermont - guess we're just late to the party!
Apparently we're a couple weeks and 1.6 million Youtube views late to the party, but we just came across this "Hey, Pass Me a Beer" video on the Kegworks blog. As we're putting on our big boy pants to head down to the bar and pass people beers for the next few hours it caught our interest - though we're fairly certain the use of trampolines and slingshots would be frowned on - as would handing anyone an Old Milwaukee.
We picked up The Brewmaster's Table yesterday on a whim (well actually due to a new and pressing urge to be able to speak intelligently about the pairing of beer and food...more on that later), and we were up until 1 AM reading it. This book, written by Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver, is a treasure trove of information on beer styles, brands, and ways to pair brew with food.
We literally could not put it down until well after our bed time, and it's a must have for anyone interested in beer. The book is a few years old now (it was published in 2005), but even if some of the brands have gone away, the information about styles is still legit, from pale ales to sour beers.
We don't play many drinking games anymore, but we do like the occasional structured drinking while we watch movies and TV. One of our favorites to play is during Christmas movies - you drink anytime someone's Grinchy, has a change of heart, or learns a Very Special Lesson. You'll be blitzed through New Year's.
Anyway, we came across this excellent Blade Runner drinking game at Film School Rejects that sounds right up our alley. We won't ruin all the surprises, but here's our favorite rule because it's so open to interpretation - (though we suppose they all are):
CHUG YOUR DRINK WHEN...
A replicant retires another replicant
We're going to pick up a copy of Blade Runner and give it a go this week, though we prefer to call it "Do Androids Dream of Oil Slick shots?" And of course if you have friends whose tastes run more to the...herbal variety, you can always play the same game with the Aquarelle Edition.
In our experience, scotch whisky has long been the domain of men, with most of the women we know wrinkling their noses and opting for something that's not such a chore for them to drink. That's why it's refreshing to see this book, The Smart Guide to Single Malt Scotch Whisky, appear from author Elizabeth Riley Bell. Not only is she one of the first Americans to take a poke at making single malt scotch accessible, she's also one of the first women (though you probably figured that out by our use of the feminine pronoun).
According to our brothers from another mother at CocktailGoGo, Bell has "...been to over 100 distilleries over 25 summers to put together this compendium of Scotch knowledge." That's a lot of knowledge, and we're excited to check out her book.
The folks over at Topless Robot have gotten their hands on a bottle of Highland Park whisky called "Thor." They mention that it feels like a pretty obvious cash-in on the popularity of The Avengers, but we're big enough geeks that we find ourselves secretly hoping it's a reference to Starcraft's Thors. Maybe that's just because we like to picture ourselves piloting a giant mech while cradling a bottle of scotch.
The smell is smooth, earthy and sweet. The taste is likewise smooth, but with smoky hints of vanilla, a touch of honey, and a soft peatiness -- but it's still powerful, with a strong, clear finish with just enough spiciness that one might be tempted to liken to a powerful blow from Mjolnir if one were so inclined. If you think I'm ashamed for writing that, you're wrong -- because that's seriously the image that comes into my head when I drink it.
You had us at Mjolnir - though at $200 bucks a bottle we might have to do a little pillaging to afford a bottle. Read the full review at Topless Robot; if you've got enough plunder, buy your bottle right from Highland Park.
Ever since our local brewery The Alchemist started offering their delicious Heady Topper double IPA in 16 oz. cans, we've been high as a kite - on both the tasty beer's 8% ABV and the concept of drinking beer from a can again. Oh, and by the way - this year is the 77th anniversary of breweries canning their beer.
We shifted our palates away from mass market beer to craft brews (for the most part) in college and since then our only real options were to rely on bottles or taps to get the tasty nectar. Still, we often found ourselves pining for the days of buying a 30 rack of cans for a party, or even just being able to easily tote along a six pack without fear of breakage when we went off to play our hippie lawn sports. So why was it so hard to find good beer in a can?
A Tuesday morning is a great time to learn about gin, the spirit once known as "Mother's Ruin" among other name. Luckily, Michael Dietsch from A Dash of Bitters has put together an excellent guide on all aspects of the spirit for Serious Eats.
You can learn the history, the varieties, the aromatics typically used to give it that gin-iness we all know and crave, and why we were born too late to have access to something as awesome as a gin vending machine. Learn more at The Serious Eats Guide to Gin.