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, July 31, 2009

Drink of the Week: Castillan Cup

As we sit broiling in the summer sun, limply watching the mercury rise toward unsightly triple digits, all we can think about is drinking something cool and refreshing. Lucklily, Carlo Splendorini, bar manager at Gitane in San Francisco, is on top of things, crafting a perfect cocktail for beating the heat. Based on that old English standby, the Pimm's Cup, Splendorini's Castillan Cup has been modified to highlight Gitane's Spanish influence (castillano is Spanish for, well, "Spanish"), creating a sangria-Pimm's hybrid that's guaranteed to lower your core temperature a few degrees (and make use of your summertime produce). Splendorini uses Bierzo Roble wine from Castilla y Leon, a solid and fruity wine made from the Tinto Mencia grape; for the ginger beer, he uses Bundaberg.

Castillan Cup
1 oz. red wine
1 oz. Pimm's No. 1
5 slices fresh strawberry (cut lengthwise)
3 slices medium cucumber
2 mint leaves
Large ice cubes
Ginger beer
Tools: muddler, shaker, strainer
Glass: white wine
Garnish: 2 slices medium cucumber, 1 mint leaf

Muddle strawberry, 3 slices cucumber and 2 mint leaves in cocktail shaker with Pimm's. Add ice and red wine, shake vigorously, and strain over fresh ice into glass. Top off with ginger beer and garnish with remaining cucumber and mint.

Carlo Splendorini, Gitane, San Francisco

Friday, July 24, 2009

Drink of the Week: Next Riesling 2008

Perfect for a casual cookout on a warm summer evening, the 2008 Next Riesling, a second-label wine from Willamette Valley Pinot producer King Estate, is just hitting shelves. The grapes are all sourced from the Wallula Vineyard in southwest Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills AVA, where vines grow along the Columbia River banks and in places climb up to heights of 1,300 feet. Look for lots of bright lemon and green apple aromas with big citrus acidity on the palate to match. Letting this wine sit open at room temperature for a few minutes allows softening flavors of ripe stone fruits to round out the palate. The assertive lemon acidity and a hint of residual sugar begs to be paired with shellfish like shrimp or clams bathed in a white wine butter sauce or try it with a flaky white fish and sweet corn succotash. $12, next.kingestate.com (the 2008 will be available on the website by next week).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Give Props to Your Favorite Beer City

America is fortunate to be blessed with incredible craft beer cultures from coast to coast, but which city tops them all? Be sure to cast your vote in our latest online poll asking what you think is the best craft beer city in the U.S. Voting just opened, and so far, Portland, Ore., and Asheville, N.C., are duking it out for the lead.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Drink of the Week: Dale's Pale Ale

Somehow, it's mid-July and we've yet to make one of summer's most satisfying eats: beer can chicken. But this is the weekend for it, and today's Drink of the Week will provide a key ingredient. Canned beers often get a bum wrap, but these days there are actually some great craft beers to be found in cans. Dale's Pale Ale is a perfect example. It's a light and snappy beer that has a nice balance of malt and hops, making it perfect for sipping on a hot day and also infusing a grilled chicken with just the right amount of beer flavor. Looks like it's going to be another scorcher this weeked across the country, so invite some friends over, head to the backyard, fire up the grill and let Dale's Pale Ale take care of the rest. And for a killer beer can chicken recipe, click here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Vive la France!

It’s Bastille Day, and what better way to celebrate France’s anniversary of the storming of the Bastille prison than with a classic French 75 Cocktail? Named after the quick-firing World War I artillery piece whose effects were said to be as potent as the drink itself, the popularity of this effervescent sipper endures around the world today.

French 75

1 oz. gin
1 oz. simple syrup
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
3 oz. Champagne or other sparkling wine
Ice cubes
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: flute
Garnish: lemon twist

Combine first three ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake and strain into a chilled glass. Top with Champagne and garnish.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Drink of the Week: Honest Tea Mango Green

We love Honest Tea's bottled teas for their pure tea flavor and subtle sweetness, so we were excited to try their newest offering, Mango Green. We find that mango can be a tough flavor to infuse into some drinks, but Honest Tea pulls it off perfectly with a natural mango flavor that complements, rather than competing with, the green tea. This organic tea is smooth and refreshing with just a touch of sweetness—perfect for cooling off during these warm-weather days.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

July's Where to Drink Now: Noble Grape

“I’m no sommelier—I just know good wine,” says Alex Basich, co-owner of the Noble Grape, which opened this past week in Chicago’s Noble Square neighborhood. And it’s with that sensibility that Basich runs his 900 square-foot retail shop and event space in which small-batch, boutique wines share shelf space with local artisan spirits and craft microbrews. Noble Grape is eco-friendly, too: the warm, earth-toned walls are coated with VOC-free paint, the floors are covered in sustainable cork and many of the wines on offer are natural, organic or biodynamic. Situated amid a handful of BYOB restaurants—Spanish, Japanese, Italian—Basich stocks wines (and sakes) to complement the local restaurant fare, and in the coming weeks will offer $2 tricycle delivery service to restaurants within six blocks of the shop. Now that is noble.

802 N. Bishop St., Chicago; 312-846-1204; noblegrape.net

Monday, July 06, 2009

New Imbibe Sips Episode: The Hemingway Daiquiri

Check out the newest episode of Imbibe Sips in which Jeff Morgenthaler demonstrates how to make one of the most delicious classics, the Hemingway Daiquiri. This is one of those cocktails with a great backstory and with a recipe that's simple yet incredibly tasty—a perfect drink for a hot summer day.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Drink of the Week: The Declaration Cocktail

“I read somewhere once that, while writing the Declaration of Independence, our forefathers drank eight barrels of beer, wine and spirits,” says James MacWilliams, bartender at Canlis Restaurant in Seattle. “They consumed more alcohol and with less discrimination than we do today. The average was eight ounces of alcohol per person per day. With breakfast, they drank beer and wine; with dinner it was claret and Cognac. And they drank rum all the time.”

With all this in mind, MacWilliams crafted a cocktail that he could imagine the Founding Fathers hoisting to toast their newly minted Declaration of Independence (or to get them through the task of writing it). MacWilliams suggests using a spicy, high-proof rye whiskey like Rittenhouse and a rum with plenty of fruity notes, like Pyrat; for the beer, he suggests “something malty with some body—Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale is my choice; it’s close to a beer Jefferson might have brewed.”

The Declaration
1 oz. rum
3/4 oz. rye whiskey
3/4 oz. brown sugar syrup (equal parts brown sugar and water)
6 oz. chilled beer
Tools: barspoon
Glass: 12 oz. glass, mug or boot

Build drink in glass and stir before serving.

James MacWilliams, Canlis Restaurant, Seattle

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Tampering with Colombian Coffee Wood


Driving past the mounds of discarded coffee wood piled up near a Colombian coffee farm in Concordia, Colombia, gave Brian Franklin, owner of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Double Shot Coffee, an idea. “[Our guide] said that people in town were experimenting with making furniture from the coffee wood,” he says. “I thought that if the wood was dense enough to make furniture, it could probably withstand being crafted into a custom tamper.” But not just any tamper—one made by Reg Barber, who has been handcrafting handles on espresso tampers for 15 years. “I stuffed a big piece of the wood in my backpack, managed to get it past customs and immediately sent it off to Reg Barber,” says Franklin, who five months later received three tony tampers from Barber. But do they make for a better cup of coffee? “I don’t know,” Franklin admits. “They’re kind of like a museum piece and just too pretty to use. But one of these days I’m going to just have to go for it.”

For more on Reg Barber and his custom coffee tampers, check out Around the World in 20 Cups in the March/April 2009 issue of Imbibe.