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, February 27, 2009

Drink of the Week: Maine Root's Blueberry Soda

Stuck in winter’s chilly rut? Pick up a bottle of Maine Root’s Blueberry Soda for an advance taste of summer. Handcrafted in Scarborough, Maine, and made by brothers Mark and Matthew Seiler, this purple soda is the perfect substitute for those roadside blueberry stands we’re missing right now. The smell of fresh blueberry jam and freesias abound, while flavors of blueberry syrup intermingle with a spike of bright acidity and a pure, fresh-picked blueberry finish. Maine Root makes other lip-smacking flavors, like Lemon Lime, Ginger Brew and Mandarin Orange. And not only do these sodas taste good, but they’re also good for the environment—all of the sodas are sweetened with organic, evaporated cane juice and all local deliveries are made in a bio-diesel VW Jetta, converted to run on recycled cooking oil by brother Matt. They’re also fair-trade-certified. These summer-ripe sodas are available year-round at Whole Foods and other natural food grocers, or can be purchased online at maineroot.com. If buying from their website, add “Plant a tree for ME!” to your shopping cart, and for $5 the brothers will plant a sapling for you in the Pine Tree State.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Win Tickets to Obsello's Absinthe & Burlesque Party

We just got word that in honor of Fat Tuesday, the folks at Obsello are celeberating the launch of their absinthe in NOLA with a party at Bustout Burlesque, and they're offering two free VIP tickets to a lucky Imbibe reader. If you happen to be in New Orleans this week, this will be a great time. In addition to the entertaining '50s-style burlesque show, there will be traditionally prepared absinthe as well as Death in the Afternoon cocktails. All you have to do to make yourself eligible to win is email us your contact information (you must be at least 21 years old to qualify) by tomorrow (Wednesday, February 25) at 11:59 pm Pacific Time, and we'll randomly select a winner on Thursday to receive the two tickets. Details of the event are as follows:

Bustout Burlesque at House of Blues
225 Decatur St. in the French Quarter
Saturday, February 28
Two Shows: 8 p.m. & 10:30 p.m.

Good luck!

Mardi Gras Imbibing

Today is Fat Tuesday in New Orleans, and rather than drinking cocktails of the Hurricane variety, we suggest putting the spirits in your home bar to better use. Whether or not you're in the Big Easy celebrating, a nod to Mardi Gras provides the perfect excuse for a cocktail, especially a New Orleans classic, like a Ramos Gin Fizz or a Sazerac. Of course, it's also Carnaval time in Brazil, so if cachaça is more your speed, then mix yourself a Brazilian Wax cocktail (we promise the drink is better than the name). There are lots of other great recipes to check out on our new website—just search for your spirits of choice to find what you're looking for. Cheers!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Drink of the Week: Whiskey Sour

Today's drink of the week goes out to retailer extraordinaire LeNell Smothers, who lost the lease on her much-beloved spirits shop in Brooklyn and now leaves many thirsty and depressed Brooklynites behind. LeNell has always been a good friend to Imbibe, and since we launched, we've been a huge fan of hers. As anyone who has met her knows, she's a firecracker in the best sense—funny, raunchy and wickedly smart when it comes to spirits and cocktails. So we thought a Whiskey Sour in her name was perfectly fitting—a little sweet, and little sour and a little spice. We hope to see LeNell back up and running in a different Brooklyn location soon, and she assures everyone that she's on the hunt. In the meantime, we're excited to hear that she'll be taking time off to cross the pond for some imbibing in London and Amsterdam. We just have one question for her: Who gets the peeing cherub? Cheers, LeNell!

Whiskey Sour
2 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: sour or old fashioned
Garnish: cherry and lemon slice

Combine ingredients in a shaker, shake, strain into ice-filled glass and garnish.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

February's Where to Drink Now: Brookvin

Fans of Park Slope’s Big Nose Full Body wine shop have a new reason to toast—owner Aaron Hans just opened an accompanying wine bar, Brookvin, across the street. Exposed brick walls and a gilded tin ceiling create a cozy vibe in the intimate space, while by-the-glass offerings—usually 20 wines in the $7–$12 range—make it easy to grab a seat and hang out for a while. If a bottle is more your style, check in with manager Brian Mitchell for recommendations, whose bottle list (including a wide array of half-bottles) is growing by the day with hard-to-find selections from around the world. And don’t leave without trying chef Dave Townsend’s mouth-watering charcuterie plate—his homemade sausages and salumis, crafted with meat sourced from a small Pennsylvania farm, are perfect with a glass of red, white or bubbly. 381 7th Ave., Brooklyn; 718-768-9463; brookvin.com

Friday, February 13, 2009

Drink of the Week: Nino Franco Prosecco Rustico

This Valentine’s Day we’re crushing on Nino Franco’s NV Prosecco Rustico. Fruity aromas of green apple and fresh peaches lead to full-bodied flavors of Granny Smith apples, stone fruits and minerals that dance delicately on the palate and soften into a creamy finish of toasted almonds. Produced in northern Italy’s Veneto region, Rustico is best enjoyed in a white wine glass alongside an antipasto platter of salumi, green olives and marinated mushrooms, or with warm brie baked with apples and almonds. With so much subtlety and sophistication, this handsome bubbly could easily be a heartbreaker, but at about $14 a bottle, it’s a perfect catch.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Still More Beer Appreciation

San Francisco Beer Week commenced last Friday and is off to a fantastic start. Sunday night, the much-anticipated pairing dinner at The Alembic Bar (matching food with beers from Dogfish Head and Magnolia) made a sold-out crowd extremely happy. Here's a peek at the incredible menu guests were lucky enough to enjoy:

Warm Spinach Salad, Smoked Mussels, Fried Oysters, Bacon, Lentils
Dogfish: Red & White
Magnolia: Tweezer Tripel

Chicory-Black Miso-Braised Pork Cheeks, Vanilla-Glazed Turnips
Dogfish: Chicory Stout
Magnolia: Cole Porter

Veal Sweetbreads, Tart Apple Glaze, Cippolini, Endive
Dogfish: Midas Touch
Magnolia: Out with the Old Ale

Crispy Duck Roll, Kabocha Squash, Jerk-Spiced Hearts, Maple-Braised Cabbage
Dogfish: Immort Ale
Magnolia: Antwerp's Placebo

Broiled Unagi & Foie Gras, Palo Santo-Kabayaki Glaze, Radish
Dogfish: Palo Santo Maron
Magnolia: Smokestack Lightning

If this has you drooling and wishing you didn't miss this dinner, the good news is that there's still plenty to come for the rest of SF Beer Week. Magnolia is hosting another pairing dinner tonight with the charcuterie company, Fatted Calf, and on Thursday, Magnolia will also be holding a tasting of their vintage versions of barleywine. Then on Saturday, the venerable Toronado will be hosting the Big Barleywine Festival, and everything will wrap up on Sunday with the Best of the West Fest at the Oakland Convention Center. In between all of that, there are lots of other great tastings and happenings around the Bay Area, so be sure to check the SF Beer Week website, and get in on the fun and deliciousness while you can!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Philly Beer Appreciation

Philadelphia is hands down one of America's most interesting and active beer cities, and next month, beer enthusiasts in and around Philly can celebrate this fact with several great beer events. In addition to Philly Beer Week, which takes place March 6–15, the 2009 Philly Craft Beer Festival will once again bring all of the city's best suds together under one roof for a fun day of local beer appreciation. On March 7, this festival will feature 50 breweries and over 120 beers, as well as well as a lineup of interesting education sessions led by such beer experts as Don "Joe Sixpack" Russell. Tickets purchased online are only $45, and at the door (if available), they're $60. Designated drivers only pay $10.

If you're into matching great food with your beer, then you won't want to miss The Brewer's Plate, another terrific event that celebrates the infinite potential of beer and food pairings. This event happens the day after the Philly Craft Beer Festival at the Penn Museum and will showcase some of the city's most talented chefs and brewers collaborating to create a delicious array of pairings. Proceeds will go to support White Dog Community Enterprises and its main program, Fair Food. Visit the The Brewer's Plate website for more details and ticket info.

For a full list of events happening during Philly Beer Week, click here.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Drink of the Week: Pisco Sour

If you think you don’t have a reason to celebrate this weekend, here’s something to drink to: Saturday is National Pisco Sour Day in Peru. While the origin of pisco is debated among Peruvian and Chilean cocktail connoisseurs, the Pisco Sour has undoubtedly become the iconic cocktail of Peru, and tangy citrus, full-bodied pisco and creamy egg white foam make this a cocktail well worth a national day of celebration in any country. For more on pisco and the drink culture Peru, check out "On the Pisco Trail" in the July/August 07 issue of Imbibe.

Picsco Sour
3 oz. pisco
3/4 oz. simple syrup (1:1)
1 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 egg white
Ice cubes
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: cocktail or highball
Garnish: 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients, except bitters, in a shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into glass and garnish with two dashes of bitters on top.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Get Schooled in Coffee at New York's International Culinary Center

On February 23, illycaffè and The International Culinary Center in New York City will be offering the first U.S. Università del Caffè, a two-day course specifically created for coffee enthusiasts. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about coffee and espresso and how to make it well at home. The course will provide an historical overview of coffee as well as an exploration of coffee's cultural impact and an in-depth look at espresso. There will also be tastings and hands-on coffee preparation training, including a how-to on latte art, all led by coffee pros, including Giorgio Milos, illy’s Master Barista and the 2008 Italian Barista Champion. In addition to New York, illy also offers courses in São Paulo, Bangalore, Seoul, Shanghai, Netherlands, Cairo, Paris, Munich, Croatia, Athens and London. For registration info and pricing, you can go to the International Culinary Center's site. The New York course will be held quarterly, and the next session is scheduled for June 1–2.