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.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

What Price Wine?

Have an extra $750 weighing down your wallet? You could book a five-night Caribbean vacation. Or, you could buy a glass of wine. That's right, for just three-quarters of 1000 aces, a 6-ounce pour of wine can be yours on Sept. 28 at Eno, the wine, cheese and chocolate shop at Chicago's InterContinental Hotel. To be fair, it's not just any glass of grape nectar—we're talking about a Château Latour 1945 Bordeaux. But if you're the sensible type, and you'd rather use the clams to buy your kid braces, you could always settle for the wee 2-ounce pour. That one will set you back a mere $250.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Upcoming Event: Tales of the Cocktail

If you haven’t already booked your tickets, it’s time to make your plans for this year’s Tales of the Cocktail (July 18-22). For all of you dedicated imbibers, this event is not to be missed. There are loads of great seminars, tastings, tours and parties, and it’s a perfect excuse to soak up some local New Orleans flavor.

Many Imbibe contributors will be presenting and attending, and this year will also bring the first Annual Spirit Awards, which we’re sponsoring and really excited about. Created to recognize people who have helped advance the craft of the cocktail, these awards cover categories like Best Classic Cocktail Bar, Best New Bar, Mixologist/Bartender of the Year, Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book and Best Cocktail Menu. And you can have a say in who gets nominated! Just download and fill out this form and cast your nominations by June 15. Award recipients will be announced at the event on Sunday, July 22, and in an upcoming issue of Imbibe.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New Bar: Cantina, San Francisco

Leading West Coast mixologist and Imbibe contributor Duggan McDonnell's long-awaited new bar, Cantina, is set to open May 24 at 580 Sutter St. in San Francisco. Former cocktail commander of the city’s Frisson, McDonnell specializes in culinary cocktails featuring fresh, local produce and unexpected ingredients. For an idea of what's in store, read Cantina’s drink menu, and try not to drool on the keyboard.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Happy Together: Spirit-Pairing Dinners

A great way to experience a spirit’s nuances is by pairing it with food. Chefs are beginning to take note, and spirit-pairing dinners are rivaling wine-pairing meals as fun opportunities to savor and learn about your favorite beverages. Last Saturday at Red Star Tavern and Roast House in Portland, Ore., beverage director Christine Schuman paired five courses with bourbons and rye from the Sazerac family in honor of the Kentucky Derby. Also in Portland, caterer Jenn Louis of Culinary Artistry teamed with the House Spirits Distillery team on Sunday for a "spring ginner," matching five dishes with cocktails made from Aviation Gin and fresh produce.

You can follow suit at home with your own spirit-pairing dinner. A good place to start is by locating characteristics of the tipple and choosing foods that compliment them—for instance, Red Star chef Tom Dunklin’s halibut sashimi with jalapeno highlighted the spiciness of Sazerac Rye. For cocktails, consider what foods would match well with different mixers. Aviation mixologist Ryan Magarian's classic-inspired, citrusy Sparkling Gin Daisy (see recipe below) went perfectly with the Dungeness crab and scallop at Culinary Artistry.

For more ideas, check out the cocktail recipes in "Drink Your Way Through the Farmers Market" in the May/June Imbibe—use their fruit and veggie elements as pairing cues. Just be sure to keep alcohol portions under control for multi-course dinners, or you’ll be pairing Alka Seltzer with aspirin the day after. —Shoshanna Cohen

The Aviation Sparkling Gin Daisy
1 1/2 oz. gin
1/4 oz. orange curaçao
1/2 oz. simple syrup
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
Ice cubes
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: cocktail
Garnish: orange peel

Combine all ingredients with ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
Strain into a glass. Sparkle with one ounce prosecco and garnish with orange peel.
Recipe from Ryan Magarian, Aviation Gin

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

First-Rate Foam

Imbibe congratulates Heather Perry, the 2007 U.S. Barista Champion. She was crowned Monday at the national barista championship in Long Beach, Calif., held in conjunction with the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s 19th Annual Conference and Exhibition. Perry, the director of training and consulting at Coffee Klatch in San Dimas, Calif., who also won the national title in 2003, is the first barista to earn the honor twice.

The four-day competition also saw impressive performances by 48 other baristas, including outgoing 2006 champ Matt Riddle of Chicago’s Intelligentsia Coffee, Northeast regional champ Chris Deferio of Carriage House Café in Ithaca, N.Y., Southeast regional champ Nick Cho (who also emceed the final event) of Washington D.C.’s Murky Coffee, Northwest champ Billy Wilson of Portland’s Albina Press, Mid-Atlantic champ Katie Carguilo of Murky Coffee and Midwest champ Robin Seitz of PT’s Coffee in Kansas.

Perry will go on to represent the U.S. at the World Barista Championship in Tokyo this summer. Her win is another achievement for the greater Los Angeles coffee scene, which Imbibe recently named one of eight up-and-coming American coffee scenes to keep an eye on. Look for the story in our May/June issue, on newsstands now.

Amy Sedaris at Bottlerocket in NYC

“Savvy yet fun” are words to describe both comedian-author Amy Sedaris and the innovative NYC wine shop Bottlerocket, so it makes sense that the two are joining forces today, May 9, for the latest in the shop’s Eclectic Salon series of events. The benefits of attending are two-fold: a glass of wine and a giggle at Sedaris’ irreverent entertaining advice will help diffuse stress—er, excitement—from impending Mother’s Day festivities, and between Bottlerocket’s well-edited selection of wines and signed copies of Sedaris’ book, I LIKE YOU: Hospitality Under the Influence, you’ll have mom’s gift covered. Plus, mothers in attendance will be happy to know that kids are welcomed at this and other Bottlerocket events, so bring the whole family. The signing and wining take place from 6-8 p.m. at Bottlerocket, 5 W. 19th St. Admission is free. For more info, call the shop at 212-929-2323. —Shoshanna Cohen

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Imbibe's 1st Birthday!

The May/June issue of Imbibe is hitting stands and arriving in mailboxes as we write, and this issue marks our first anniversary, a fantastic milestone in the world of publishing. We weren’t expecting anything for our birthday, but a great present did indeed come our way: Last weekend we were honored with a Maggie Award for Best Special Interest Magazine, a nice way to head into year two. We’ve had a great first year and have loved getting to know our wonderful subscribers, advertisers and contributors. The drinks universe is full of the most fascinating people and places, all of which provide constant inspiration for the magazine—what a fantastic world to be part of!

Here’s a lovely springtime drink to sip as you help us toast our first year, and many more to come. Cheers, and thanks for your support!

Orange You Glad
Sweet, bright orange oil and bitters mingle amorously with bone-dry Spanish bubbly for a match that might inspire a second round of toasts.

1 slice ripe sweet orange
1/2 oz. honey syrup (equal parts honey and water, blended until uniformly syrupy)
2 dashes orange bitters
1 oz. sweet vermouth
Cava brut
Ice cubes
Tools: mixing pint, muddler, bar spoon, shaker, strainer
Glass: classic champagne flute (6 oz.)
Garnish: orange twist

In a mixing pint, combine orange slice with honey syrup and bitters, and muddle well. Add vermouth and stir briefly. Pour contents into a shaker and shake with ice until the shaker is uniformly cold to the touch. Strain into a flute. Top with cava. Garnish. (Note: If you're using an oversized contemporary champagne flute, such as a 12-ounce stemless flute, adjust recipe accordingly.)