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.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Drink of the Week

At a recent rooftop dinner in Portland, it wasn’t the North Park Blocks view (which was amazing) or the tender suckling pig (also amazing) that had the crowd buzzing, but a nectar-like cocktail that Gilt Club bartender Joe Turner had crafted specially for the evening’s rooftop soirée. Subtle and sweet with bright citrus acidity and herbal undertones, this Hummingbird Cocktail soars with prosciutto and melon, or with roasted pork.

Hummingbird Cocktail
2 oz. cantaloupe-and-honeydew-infused silver tequila (see below)
1/4 oz. honey water (equal parts honey and water)
1/4 oz. St. Germain
2 oz. limeade (equal parts fresh lime juice, water and simple syrup)
Ice cubes
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: cocktail
Garnish: lemon twist

Combine all ingredients and shake. Strain into a glass and garnish.

For the infusion: Remove the rind of 1/4 a honeydew and 1/4 a cantaloupe and cut fruit into large pieces. Combine with one bottle of silver tequila. Turner recommends infusing the tequila for about 4-5 weeks before serving.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Oktoberfest With a Twist

Dig out your lederhosen and raise a stein. With Oktoberfest celebrations in full swing in cities across the country (and world), we thought we’d offer a sampling of some of this year’s festivities that have yet to unfold. And while beers, brats and oompah music typify the 16-day celebration, these particular festivals are also raising money for charity, making them especially worth a toast—prost!

Philly Oktoberfest, Philadelphia
Saturday, September 27
Philly’s first large-scale Oktoberfest features more than 50 American and German craft beers, including five of the authentic Munich Oktoberfest brews on draft. Their “Mugs for Jugs” showcase from 1-5 pm supports breast cancer research.

North by Northwest Restaurant and Brewery, Austin
October 4-5
Support the Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Texas, the Central Texas Dachshund Rescue and Therapy Pet Pals of Central Texas while enjoying festivities that include a bratwurst-eating contest and a “weiner dog” costume contest. Also be sure to try the special Oktoberfest brew created by brewmaster Don Thompson and head brewer Ty Phelps.

Rustico, Washington, D.C.
Saturday, October 18
Join one of D.C.’s best restaurants (see our “100 Best Places to Drink Beer in America” feature in the Sept/Oct issue, on newsstands now) as they fight to end hunger with spätzel, goulash and suds. Proceeds benefit Capital Area Food Bank’s anti-hunger efforts.

Heathman Restaurant, Portland, Oregon
Friday, October 24
James Beard Award-winning chef Philippe Boulot raises the roof with Full Sail Brewing at this Oktoberfest benefit for Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East. Enjoy a night of traditional German food and Oregon microbrews, while helping raise funds for Habitat for Humanity.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Beer Bound

Congratulations to Imbibe reader Bill Balcziack from Prior Lake, Minnesota, who won the giveaway we announced in last week's Tasting Notes e-newsletter. Bill won an all-sessions pass to the 2008 Great American Beer Festival (Denver, Colo., Oct 9–11) for himself and a friend in a random drawing of replies we received from readers naming their favorite beer of the moment.

Bill's pick? Minnesota-brewed Surly's Furious, an IPA-style beer that boasts four varieties of hops and Scottish Golden Promise malt. Surly Brewing Company will be in attendance at the annual beervana, along with nearly 400 other breweries. Tickets are going fast, with most sessions already sold out. If you'll be in Denver for the big event, be sure to stop by and see us at booth K-36. We'd love to see you there!

Thanks to everyone who submitted their favorite beer picks for this drawing; we enjoyed reading every entry. If you'd like to hear about giveaways in the future, sign up for our monthly Tasting Notes e-newsletter.

See you in Denver, Bill!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Drink of the Week

Our latest Drink of the Week comes from Don Lee of PDT in New York City. This recipe is the grand prize winner of the final Averna Cocktail Competition held last week in Sicily. Don was in good company, competing against Jeff Hollinger of Absinthe Brasserie, Thomas Waugh of Alembic Bar, Debbi Peek of the Drawing Room at Le Passage, and Damon Dyer of Flatiron Lounge. This competition was the culmination of several regional competitions held across the U.S. as well as a recipe submission process, which garnered more than 200 entries. Congrats, Don!

La Cola Nostra
1 oz. Averna
2 oz. Ron Zacapa Centenario 23-year rum
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1/4 oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1 1/2 oz. Fantinel prosecco
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: collins
Garnish: lime wedge

Shake first five ingredients and strain into a glass with block ice; top with prosecco and garnish.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Spice Up Your Next Bloody Mary

The Food Network show Unwrapped, hosted by Marc Summers, regularly goes behind the scenes to show the making of some of America's favorite edible pasttimes. This week, the episode titled Red Hot spotlights spicy flavors—from Tabasco hot sauce to Habanero Hot Bloody Mary mix from Freshies. The episode airs Friday night (9/19) at 11:30 p.m. Eastern and again at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday for you night owls, and it's sure to get you in the mood for a round of Bloody Marys.

On that subject, we've been experimenting lately with pickled veggies to garnish our favorite tomato-based drink recipes. This recipe, courtesy of Imbibe assistant editor, Tracy Howard, is a great way to preserve summer's bounty. Grab any assortment of fresh veggies from your garden or farmer's market and infuse them in this garlicky brine for a week in the fridge. We recently pickled onions, carrots, green beans and large slices of fennel bulb, but you can use whatever is available to you.

Pickled Garlic-Ginger Veggies
4 cups water
1 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp. kosher salt
4 tbsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. each:
peeled and chopped ginger
whole black peppercorns
celery seeds
mustard seeds
dill seeds
1 sliced jalapeño pepper
1 large bunch fresh dill
1 fresh grape leaf (optional)
vegetables of choice

1. Thoroughly wash and dry a large glass jar and place a grape leaf at the bottom of the jar (this acts as a preserving agent, but it’s optional). Pack tightly with fresh dill sprigs and your choice of veggies and set aside.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan and heat on low for 5 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

4. Once cooled, pour brine over packed veggies, cover with lid of jar and keep at room temperature for one hour before refrigerating. Your pickled garnishes will be ready in one week and will keep covered in the refrigerator for a month.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Burn Wood, Not Beans

With fall and winter approaching, it won't be long before we're cleaning out the fireplace and stocking up on wood for the season. And if you just so happen to have your very own woodpile in the backyard, we've got a contest for you. Matt’s Wood Roasted Organic Coffee, a roaster in Pownal, Maine, is running a “Show Us Your Woodpile” photo contest. The person with the best photo of the wood they’ll be burning this winter will receive their choice of a Bodum grinder or Aeropress coffeemaker, plus free whole-bean coffee for a year. The only requirement is that you actually stacked, or helped to stack, the wood in the photo yourself. Submissions are due by November 15, and photos can be emailed to woodpileATmattscoffee.com. Entries are limited to two per person.

For more contest rules and details, visit the contest announcement page. This photo from Matt's website should provide some good inspiration.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Drink of the Week

With all of this warm summer weather lingering on, a batch of iced coffee is sounding just right to us, so this Friday’s Drink of the Week comes from the Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar in Orlando, Fla., where the staff is keeping locals cool and caffeinated with their "Mojo Jojo":

1 cup cold milk
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cinnamon stick
5 cups freshly brewed coffee
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Break up cinnamon stick and add to milk. Steam milk and let cinnamon steep in hot milk for 10 minutes. (If you don’t have an espresso machine with a steam wand, you can heat the milk in a pot on the stove for one minute and let it steep with the cinnamon for the additional 10 minutes.) Strain cinnamon out of milk and mix milk with remaining ingredients. Stir well and pour into ice-filled glasses. Makes about 1 1/2 liters.

As always, if you have a favorite drink of the moment, send us an e-mail with your pick. It may become our Drink of the Week!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ice, Ice, Baby

Paul Clarke’s story on the crucial role of ice in cocktails in the current issue of Imbibe definitely got us thinking about what we’ve been storing in our own home freezers. If you're feeling like your ice could use some extra attention, it might be time to invest in some larger molds for those big, beautiful, slow-melting cubes that can add so much to iced drinks. Sadly, this ice mold will probably remain beyond our means. Not that we wouldn’t love to have a frozen baseball in our drink, but $2,500 buys an awful lot of bourbon. Here’s a MacGyver-like alternative. It may be meant for making pyramid-shaped desserts, but this mold works just as well as an ice tray. Put one of these in your rocks glass, and you’ve got yourself an eighth wonder of the world. Or, if you've got the space and the money, buy your very own Ice Butler, and you'll never have to worry about quality ice again.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Stew Crazy

In the September/October issue of Imbibe, wine expert Jill Bernheimer plays the role of an armchair tour guide, taking you on a virtual tour of some of the world’s most prestigious wine regions, spotting inexpensive wine bargains along the way. A stop in Burgundy led her palate to the 2006 Le Jardin De Charlotte Bourgogne, which in turn led our bellies to another the Burgundian classic, Boeuf Bourguignon. Growing up in Arizona, I rarely experienced a winter where the thermometer dipped below 60 degrees, but those cool desert nights didn’t stop my mom from expressing her inner Julia Child and cooking up the famed chef’s soul-warming French stew. As kids, my sisters and I would beg for this time-consuming treat, and once a year, as soon as the first cool winter breeze blew across the desert floor, our house filled with the aromas of Burgundy. —Tracy Howard

Boeuf Bourguignon
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

For the Stew:
1/4 lb. of bacon
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 lbs. boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. flour
1 750 ml. bottle of red wine (we recommend an earthy Côtes du Rhône or Burgundian Pinot Noir)
1 cup beef stock (and additional stock to thin out sauce if desired)
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf (fresh or dried)

For the braised onions:
1 lb. white pearl onions, peeled
1 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup beef stock
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
2 sprigs parsley

For the sautéed mushrooms:
1 lb. mushrooms, quartered
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Cut the bacon into large pieces and simmer for 10 minutes in a pot of boiling water. Drain and dry the bacon and reserve. Put the tablespoon of olive oil in a large casserole or dutch oven over medium heat and sauté the bacon until lightly brown, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Dry off the beef and sauté the pieces, a few at a time, in the hot oil/bacon fat until browned on all sides. Once browned, remove meat and set aside with the bacon. In the same casserole dish, sauté the onion and the carrot in oil/fat until softened. Pour off the fat and return the bacon and the beef to the casserole with the carrots and onion. Sprinkle salt, pepper and flour over meat mixture and toss to combine. Set the uncovered casserole in the oven for four minutes. Toss the contents of the casserole again and return, uncovered, to the hot oven for 4 more minutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 325°F and remove the casserole from the oven. Add the wine and one cup of the stock. Add the tomato paste, garlic and herbs and bring to a simmer over med-high heat on the stovetop. Cover and place in the oven, allowing the liquid to simmer very slowly for three to four hours, or until a fork easily pierces through the meat.

While the meat is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

For the onions:
Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet; add the onions and sauté over medium heat for about 10 minutes, rolling the onions about so they brown evenly. Pour in the stock, add the herbs and simmer covered over low heat for about 45 minutes, or until the onions are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove the herbs and set the onions aside.

For the mushrooms:
Heat the butter and oil over high heat in a large skillet; add the mushrooms and sauté for about five minutes. Remove from heat once softened.

To finish the stew:
Once the meat is cooked through, remove the casserole, place over low heat on stovetop and add onions and mushrooms. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprig. Skim off any fat and simmer for a minute or two, skimming off any additional fat that rises to the surface. Salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock; if the sauce is too thin, boil it down and reduce to desired consistency.

Can be served immediately with boiled parsley potatoes or egg noodles, or stored in refrigerator overnight. To reheat, place over medium low heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until heated through. Serves 6-8.

Friday, September 05, 2008

9/5/08: Drink of the Week

We get a lot of sugary-sweet sodas, juices and teas at the Imbibe office, so it was a nice surprise when a sample of Ito En's Gyokuro Bottled Tea showed up. Gyokuro is a Japanese green tea with a full-bodied earthy but toasty flavor. It's especially delicious served cold, as this canned version exemplifies. It has a pure and strong green tea flavor with no bitterness and no sweetness. And best of all, with this Drink of the Week, we don't have to feel guilty about heading back to the fridge for seconds.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

September's Where to Drink Now

We're lucky to live in a city with everything you could ever want in the way of great bars and restaurants, but the Portland cocktail scene just got a little more interesting with the opening of The Secret Society. Located in a tiny room in the upstairs of an historic ballroom, the Secret Society does make you feel like you're stumbling onto a hidden gem. "No part of the business is visible from the street," says owner Matt Johnson. "We have a recording studio, a beautiful ballroom that holds 260 people and now a swanky cocktail lounge, and the best part is that you would never know that just walking by. It's such a great surprise once you step inside and find out what's waiting at the top of the stairs."

Dark wood and cushy seating make for a cozy atmosphere, and the cocktails pay tribute to some of the best of the classics, all served in lovely vintage glasses. "I decided to approach the cocktails with more of a revivalist or preservationist philosophy," says Johnson. On a recent night, we sampled a classic daiquiri, a Pegu Club, a Sazerac and a Green Flash. They were all delicious, but The Green Flash was definitely a crowd-pleaser, so we thought we'd share the recipe, which Johnson says he found in Mittie Hellmich's Ultimate Bar Book and adapted with a couple of tweaks (i.e., a sugar cube instead of simple syrup).

The Green Flash
1 1/2 oz. light rum
3/4 oz. Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
1 sugar cube
Soda Water
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: cocktail

Shake ingredients, making sure to dissolve the sugar cube. Strain into a glass and top with a splash of soda water.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Beer Walk for Animals

We just got word from the folks over at Beer Advocate that they're holding a fantastic fundraiser this weekend in Boston. BA is partnering with MSPCA-Angell to raise money to help the non-profit in its mission to care for thousands of homeless, injured and abused animals. The walk is this Sunday, Sept 7, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Boston Commons. If you can't make the walk, you can still make a donation. After the walk, everyone will convene at Big City from 4-6 p.m. for beer and snacks. Admission is $25 at the door or $20 if you bring a clean towel, blanket or other item from the MSPCA wishlist. For more info, click here.

So if you happen to be in the area this weekend, definitely check out this great event for a terrific cause. And if you don't subscribe to Beer Advocate already, we highly recommend it—it's always a fun and interesting read.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

RNC Drinking

On the tails of the DNC, this week the Republican National Convention is rolling out in St. Paul, Minn. Last week, we brought you the Denver Mint in honor of the DNC host city, but for the GOP covention cocktail we thought we'd feature a drink that speaks to John McCain and and his wife's mega beer fortune. So if you're inclined, mix yourself up a Millionaire Cocktail #2, as adapted from The Savoy Cocktail Book.

Millionaire Cocktail #2
1 1/2 oz. dry gin
1/2 oz. absinthe
1 dash Anisette
1 egg white
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: cocktail

Shake ingredients in a shaker and strain into a chilled glass.

Monday, September 01, 2008

September Festivities

We generally post individually about specific events as they approach, but there are so many great festivals happening this month that we figured we'd do a round-up of a few we're especially looking forward to.

Depending on where you live, the second weekend in September should have something on tap for you. In San Diego, September 11–13, Spirits of Mexico will once again present some of the finest tequila and mezcals under one roof. If you're a tequila buff, this is always a great event to check out. In the middle of the country that same same weekend is the Epicurean Classic, where food and drink enthusiasts will converge to mingle with well-known chefs and authors in the scenic town of Traverse City, Mich. (check out more details in the post below). Heading east that weekend is Euphoria, a wine and food festival in the lovely city of Greenville, S.C., where you'll enjoy lots of tastings, demos and parties.

And, of course, one of the big events of the month happens September 16-21 in Bardstown, Ky., where the Kentucky Bourbon Festival will satisfy bourbon lovers with a knee-weakening array of whiskies from one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Whether or not you can actually make it this year, be sure to read up on the bourbon trail in the current issue.