Welcome to Imbibe Magazine's between-issues look at liquid culture with drink recipes, news and more. From coffee to cocktails, Imbibe celebrates your world in a glass.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sinister sips for Halloween

If you're looking to commemorate this Halloween with something other than candy, here's a recipe for you. It comes from the Gallery Bar at Los Angeles' Millennium Biltmore Hotel. The Gallery Bar holds the honor of being the last place that actress Elizabeth Short, also known as "the Black Dahlia," was seen alive before her murder in 1947. Sixty years later, the murder is still a mystery, but this drink named after the actress doesn't take a detective to make.

Save this recipe to enjoy tonight after the trick-or-treaters go home.
(Photo courtesy the Millennium Biltmore Hotel)

Black Dahlia Martini
From the Gallery Bar at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles
3 1/2 oz. citrus vodka
3/4 oz. Chambord raspberry liqueur
3/4 oz. Kahlua coffee liqueur
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: cocktail
Garnish: orange zest

Shake ingredients in a shaker. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Inquiring Imbibers want to know...

Have you ever wondered why Guinness tastes better at a pub in Ireland? What's the difference between syrah and shiraz? What makes vermouth dry? Our readers ask and we answer in every issue in our Distilled Q & A deparment. Now Imbibe is wondering what's on your mind.

We invite you to send questions for our experts to editorial at imbibemagazine dot com with the word "distilled" in the subject line. We may print your question, initials and location in an upcoming issue!

And now, for some wise advice pulled from our Sept/Oct 2006 issue's Distilled:

Q. Where does amaretto come from?
—K.T., Boulder, Colo.

A. Contrary to popular belief, amaretto liqueur is not made from almonds. It’s a pure distilled alcohol infused with apricot pits, burnt sugar and other fruits. It has added almond flavoring along with vanilla, clove and other spices and herbs. Disaronno, the original amaretto, was made in Saronno, Italy. There are several other brands of amaretto, but none matches the rich texture, color and flavor of the original. Said to have been created in 1525 by artist Bernardino Luini’s model, as a tribute to him, it is a very romantic drink.
—Cocktail consultant Kim Haasarud, author of 101 Martinis and founder of liquid-architecture.com

Toasted Almond Martini
From Kim Haasarud’s 101 Martinis (Wiley)

3/4 oz. amaretto
1/2 oz. Baileys Irish cream
3/4 oz. Kahlua
1 1/2 oz. light cream
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: cocktail, chilled
Garnish: almond slivers

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake moderately and strain into glass. Garnish.

Now that's news you can use.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New York’s VodkaFest!

If you're in the Manhattan area this Monday, Oct. 23, you should check out VodkaFest, a fantastic showcase of vodkas from around the world. Sweden, Poland, Holland, Ireland, Finland, Switzerland, the US and France will all be represented. There will be vodkas made from corn, rye, wheat...some with wild berries, ruby red grapefruit, banana, clementine, mango...some with herbs (cilantro, dill, rosemary & fennel)—yum!

The festivities are happening at Valbella, located at 421 West 13th Street, in the heart of the Meat Packing District. John Myers, author of the upcoming "What Would Jesus Drink: Cocktails for the Second Coming" and Leo DeGroff, one of the outstanding mixologists at BED-NY, will be on hand, and members of The Museum of the American Cocktail will host a cocktail presentation.

General admission begins at 6:30 pm. VIP ticket price is $60 in advance, $70 at the door, and portions of all VIP tickets sold will benefit the Sky Ranch Foundation. General admission is $40 in advance, $50 at the door.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

There's bourbon in my dinner!

The first signs of autumn and cooler weather inspires us to cook dishes that warm the soul. Whiskey is a wonderful, warming spirit that crosses over well into cooking. Bourbon, more specifically, has a sweetness that brings complexity to savory recipes. One of our favorites is a pork chop with bourbon mustard sauce. In this simple yet flavorful recipe, the distinct flavor of Dijon mustard is balanced with bourbon & honey. It can be served with mashed potatoes (the sauce is fabulous on potatoes) and a vegetable and pairs well with a good glass of riesling.

What are your favorite autumn meals inspired by spirits, wine, coffee or the seasonal apple cider?

Pork Chops with Bourbon Mustard Sauce
4 boneless pork loin chops, 1-inch thick
Salt & pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable or olive oil (optional)
Bourbon mustard sauce (recipe below)

Pat the chops dry with a paper towel. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over high heat. If using oil, add it to the skillet and heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chops and brown on high heat for one minute. Turn the chops and brown the other side, again for only one minute. Then turn the chops again, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the chops one last time, then cover and heat on low for four minutes. This high heat technique sears in the juices and browns the outside, and the low heat cooks the chops through and keeps the juices in the pan (you'll need those for the sauce). Move the pork chops to a plate and return the skillet to the stove to prepare the sauce. Once you make the sauce, pour evenly over the chops and serve.

Bourbon Mustard Sauce
1/2 cup bourbon
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bourbon, stirring to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet, and cook for one minute. Reduce heat to low and stir in the mustard, honey, Worcestershire sauce and pepper to taste and cook until warmed through. Remove from heat.
Serves 4, time to prepare: 20 minutes
from The Washington Post

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Beer Days in Denver

The 25th Annual Great American Beer Festival took place in Denver, Colo. last weekend. We were made aware in advance to expect a party, perhaps even some rowdiness. Before the gates opened, we saw swarms of beer enthusiasts lining up outside and we braced ourselves. Within minutes of the festival's opening bell, one poor taster dropped his cup on the concrete floor, setting off a roar of sympathetic "Ohhhhh"s, and thus, the party began.

With approximately 30,000 attendees over three days, the Colorado Convention Center buzzed with non-stop activity. But the driving force that makes the GABF so special is the genuine energy of people collectively interested in one thing—beer. There was the self-proclaimed Beer Counter, an accountant who keeps track of every beer he's tasted (he's at 8,162 now); the Murphy Brothers brought together from three corners of the country (Seattle, Florida, and NYC) who wore identical “Beer is Good” t-shirts all three days; home brewers waxing poetic about their latest brew; and last but not least the volunteers who traded hard labor and long hours for a few 1 oz. pours. While the festival is the party of the decade for many of the attendees, industry sponsors and exhibitors enjoy the GABF like an annual family gathering; they talk about technique, industry news and flash family pictures taken since last year. When the lights went up and crowds headed home, we rested our feet and shared stories of the characters we encountered during the evening.

We surely had our fill of hops & barley at GABF. But when we have our next beer, in 2010 (or maybe this weekend), we’ll fondly look back on what was the best and biggest keg party we ever attended.

If your curious about the winners at this year's fest, visit the GABF 2006 winners page.