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, November 29, 2007

Distilling Legends

The Nov/Dec issue of Mental Floss, on newsstands now, includes a piece called "Whiskey Business: The Many Myths of Jack Daniel," revealing fascinating stories behind some of the biggest names in American distilling. Meet Jack Daniel in this quick read that covers the origin of the iconic square bottle, the real reason it's called Old No. 7 and the details of Jack's love life. Other characters are touched on too, like Jim Beam. Did you know that the bottle Jeannie called home on I Dream of Jeannie was actually a painted Beam's Choice decanter?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Glass Act

We recently received an email from an Imbibe reader looking for glasses like the ones used for the cocktails in the “Sherry on Top” feature in the current issue. This gave us the perfect excuse to talk about one of our favorite pastimes over here at Imbibe—finding interesting and unusual glassware, mixing and matching pieces, and sometimes thinking of unexpected uses for our discoveries. Those glasses are the perfect example because they’re actually sold as candle holders (but they look much cooler with a cocktail inside)! In our constant search for new, gorgeous glassware, we’ve learned that sometimes you find it where you least expect it (and once you've worked around drinks long enough, everything becomes potential glassware). We also love serving things like lemonade or soda in small Mason jars, and another reader recently told us that she collected a full, matching set of peanut butter jars for use as water glasses. That’s a lot of PB and J! You can also use vases as decanters or pitchers, and decorative chopsticks as swizzle sticks or stir rods. A clever perspective on glassware becomes especially handy as we dive into the holiday season, sometimes finding ourselves with more guests than Old Fashioned glasses. Is there something unexpected or underutilized in your cabinets? There's no better time to give it an inspired new purpose!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving with a Twist

If you're looking for something other than wine to pair with your Thanksgiving dinner, interesting options abound. In addition to helping to get the festivities going, cocktails can be great for pairing with your favorite holiday foods. Try the sparkling Belle de Jour from our current issue (page 34) with roast beef, or the pomegranate-packed Jefferson's Crimson cocktail (page 36) with turkey or venison. Beer is another fantastic match for food, and there are plenty of special brews to compliment your holiday spread. Brown ales go incredibly well with lamb, pilsners can pair perfectly with salmon, and stouts, of course, can be a decadent match for desserts, like chocolate pecan pie. Also think about specific styles of coffee and tea to go with your holiday sweets. An El Salvador coffee with notes of citrus, cinnamon and nutmeg can make a pear tart even more special, and a Darjeeling tea can be just right with a spicy ginger cake.

If you can't save room for dessert but you still want to cap off your meal with something sweet, try a glass of cream sherry or tawny port, or a sweet but spicy herbal liqueur, like Zwack. Let us know what you plan to drink with your holiday spread this year—we'd love to know what intriguing ideas you have up your sleeves!

Monday, November 12, 2007

More Wine, Less Attitude

We've all been there: reading certain wine tasting notes and thinking, "huh?" Part of the reason tasting notes sometimes seem so obscure is because taste is subjective and we all have unique palates that experience flavors differently. But knowing this can make it much easier to experiment with wine and not be afraid to really taste what you taste. As Gary Vaynerchuk says often on WineLibraryTV, the wine world is changing—it's much more about being fun and accessible rather than stodgy and intimidating.

Taking this concept to heart, the folks at Domaine547.com, an online wine shop whose site boasts "more wine, less attitude," have developed YouTaste TV. Powered by people in their homes with a video camera, they've invited one-minute tasting videos on their website. There are already a few videos submitted, and you can add yours. We'll be watching the YouTaste channel for some Imbibers to take the spotlight...so, get involved and make us proud!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

We Give You: Liquid Pearfection

We received hundreds of entries for the Liquid Pearfection cocktail contest we co-sponsored with the fine folks at USA Pears. Thank you to everyone who submitted recipes!

When the last entry was received on October 10, to the test-kitchen we went, carefully following recipe instructions and finally narrowed the winners down to three. Drum roll, please...

Our Grand Prize $1,000 winner is: Daniel Braun of Oliver's Twist in Seattle with his Pear-Cardamom Flip, using Bartlett Pears.

Our second runner up is another pro, Brian Miller of Death & Company in New York. A pear-infused tequila provides the base for The Vipera cocktail he submitted.

And in third place, Imbibe reader Paul Zablocki had us swooning over his Oh Pear cocktail.

Click the links above to see a photo of each drink accompanied by the full recipe. Try them all at home and let us know which one's your favorite. Stay tuned for more cocktail contests coming from Imbibe in 2008...

Photo by Ed Gowan