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.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Booze Bazaar Strikes Again!

Yes, imbibers, it's that time again—time to escape the winter rain and cold for the cozy comfort of the annual Holiday Booze Bazaar in Portland at House Spirits. This has become a tradition for us at Imbibe, and we look forward to it every year. This year's event will feature everything from meats from Olympic Provisions to chocolate from Theo to cheese from Jacob's Creamery, and the folks from House Spirits will be releasing a small batch of 750 ml. bottles of their White Dog. This is a always a fantastic way to spend a winter weekend and a great place to snag some special gifts for the imbibers on your holiday list. Entry is free, but you must be at least 21 years to attend. So be sure to swing by—we hope to see you there!

What: Holiday Booze Bazaar; free to the public, 21 and over
When: Saturday, 12/11, 11-5 p.m.
Where: House Spirits, 2025 SE 7th Ave. Portland, Oregon

Celebration Brews: Holiday beers that’ll help you toast the season

From classic Belgian strong ales to recipes that change year to year, the flavors of holiday beers are the ideal match for the rich, decadent foods of the season, and they make perfect gifts for your beer-loving friends. Like everything else during the holidays, these are indulgent beers meant for savoring and celebrating. Here are 20 of our favorites.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Drink of the Week: Cranberry Cobbler Cocktail

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and if your fridge looks anything like ours, it’s full of leftovers. Sure, you can slather a turkey sandwich with all that extra cranberry sauce, but we’ve got a better idea—make a cocktail! Our Cranberry Cobbler cocktail is a cinch to make and a great way to keep your house guests happy over the holiday weekend. Cobbler-style cocktails incorporate sugar and fruit, and in this cobbler-inspired recipe, cranberry sauce fills that role, offering a perfect counterpoint to rich, spiced rum—the addition of OJ and a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters sweeten the deal just right. Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend!

Cranberry Cobbler
2 oz. spiced rum
1 oz. orange juice
2 barspoons cranberry sauce (see note)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Ice cubes
Tools: shaker, strainer, fine-mesh strainer
Glass: small cocktail or coupe
Garnish: orange twist

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with the ice and shake. Double strain into a chilled glass and garnish. Note: We found that using a sweeter cranberry sauce eliminated the need for any additional sweetener, but if your sauce is on the tart side, you might want to add a little simple syrup to taste.

From the Imbibe Kitchen

For more wintry spiced rum cocktails, check out our article “Spice Is Nice” in the Nov/Dec 2010 issue.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Turkey-Time Tipples

Thanksgiving is only a few days away, and though we’re almost prepared for a house full of hungry holiday revelers, one thing we haven’t completely decided is what to drink with all that food. The current issue of Imbibe has lots of great recommendations, and we thought we’d also check with a few faces familiar to the magazine to see what they’ll be pouring come Turkey Day. From a pumpkin-pie-inspired milk punch to domestic dry ciders, here’s what you’ll find gracing the holiday table of a few notable imbibers.

Julie and Jason Atallah
The husband-and-wife team behind the beloved beer shop Brusin’ Ales in Asheville, N.C., will be keeping their Thanksgiving guests happy with an international offering of craft beers like Baird’s Jubelation Ale, Scaldis’ Prestige de Nuits, Nöel de Géants from Belgium’s Brasserie de Géants and L’Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien, a barrel-aged beer that Julie says pairs well with turkey and duck. Turducken, anyone?

Adam Avery
Most recently featured in Imbibe’s March/April collaborative beers story, Avery Brewing founder and brewer Adam Avery will be reaching for a few beers that’ll nicely complement the traditional flavors of Thanksgiving. “I know I have a 2 Turtle Doves from Patrick at The Bruery that probably doesn't stand a chance of living past that day, and I believe a couple of 3 Fonteinen may go down as well,” he says. “And if I get started on that sour train, Duck Duck Gooze and Isabelle Proximus [both from The Lost Abbey] are in trouble.”

Paul Clarke
Imbibe contributing editor Paul Clarke will be kicking off his Turkey Day with a round of Northern Spy cocktails, rich with the autumnal flavors of applejack and fresh cider. And the apple theme continues into to the main meal with bottles of dry cider being poured alongside turkey and trimmings. “We've gone for dry cider the past few years—sometimes French, sometimes from the U.K.,” he says. “This year we'll go for something from the Pacific Northwest, like the dry cider from Snowdrift.”

Erik Ellestad
“I've lately been making these ridiculously old-fashioned milk punches for special events,” says cocktail blogger and part-time bartender Erik Ellestad, who we featured in our July/August issue. “They’re so old-fashioned that Thomas Jefferson had one among his recipes.” And Ellestad should know—he’s a cocktail historian of sorts, who became a blogging sensation for chronicling his quest to mix every drink from The Savoy Cocktail Book. Nearly finished with his Savoy Project, this recipe for Great Pumpkin Punch, which will grace his holiday table, is an adaptation of a classic recipe. Combining sweet potatoes, citrus and spices with bourbon, Cognac and Batavia Arrack, Ellestad describes this potent sipper as, “pumpkin pie in punch form.”

Randall Grahm
Often referred to as the “Rhône Deranger,” it’s no surprise that Bonny Doon Vineyard owner Randall Grahm is looking toward France this Thanksgiving with a bottle (or two) of Cornas from the northern Rhône. “Cornas is perhaps the most mineral-intensive Syrah on the planet,” Grahm says, “and the density of the minerals somehow seems to make a great counter-balance to the textural softness of the turkey—at least in my febrile imagination.”

Mitch Steele

Head brewmaster at San Diego’s Stone Brewing, Mitch Steele is gearing up for a suds-soaked Thanksgiving, even getting the turkey in on the action. “I’m roasting a turkey that I’ll brine in part with some wit beer or a Belgian tripel.” he says. And though Stone’s IPA flows freely from Steele’s kegerator, he’ll also be kicking back pre-meal with Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale. When it’s time to sit down to dinner, “My plan is to start the meal with a bottle of Russian River Temptation and close with a Bruery Autumn Maple,” he says. “And follow that with a 2003 Fuller's Vintage Ale for dessert.”

Terry Theise
“It makes sense to drink Champagne,” says cult wine importer Terry Theise, “but with all those yummy cooking smells, I don’t need serious Champagne—give me something giddy and simple.” As for mealtime, Theise favors low-alcohol German whites. “The meal makes you drowsy enough,” he says, “and who needs to be half-tanked when there’s all that cleanup?” Even more important, a lot of German whites offer just enough sweetness to handle the side dishes. “But again, this isn’t necessarily a wine occasion,” Theise says, “so I’d choose something lusty and good, but not mystic or complex.” Check out our article, “White Winter,” for more recommendations on winter whites.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Eggnog Taste Test: Which One's Best?

Like clockwork, every November our cravings set us in search of rich, creamy (and sometimes boozy) eggnog. With the busyness of the holidays, there isn’t always time to whip up a batch of homemade nog, and there are plenty of store-bought brands to choose from—but which ones make the cut? We recently blind-tasted six eggnogs—four dairy and two non-dairy. We tasted them all solo and also mixed with bourbon, and while the moral of the story ended up being that it’s tough to beat a good batch of the homemade stuff, there are a few packaged versions worthy of a little yuletide cheer.

Horizon Organic
This nog is light on spice and big on sweetness with a slightly odd banana pudding flavor that might make it appealing to kids. It’s creamy but not heavy and blends well with bourbon.

Mountain Dairy for QFC/Kroger
Mountain Dairy has a full and creamy body with loads of vanilla flavor, a touch of sourness and hint of mint, which some might find a little out of place. Bourbon, however, rounds it out nicely.

Rice Dream Rice Nog
It’s tough to compare a non-dairy nog to its creamier counterparts, but for those who can’t drink milk, Rice Nog might take the edge off a craving for the real stuff. It’s really more horchata-like with a light, grainy mouthfeel and strong spice flavors. Definitely not made for mixing with alcohol.

Organic Valley
This is a decadent nog, with a very thick, creamy body and lots of nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla flavors. Bourbon flavors become very pronounced but not overwhelming when added to the equation.

Silk Soy Nog
Again, a tough comparison, but Silk’s Soy Nog tastes more like a slightly thickened version of vanilla soy milk than a spiced eggnog and becomes nearly undrinkable when mixed with bourbon.

Lucerne for Safeway
This one has the most classic eggnog profile of the bunch—rich and creamy (but not too heavy) with a balance of vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon flavors. The addition of bourbon brings out the spice notes and thins the thick texture nicely.

Drink of the Week: Infinium Ale

Today’s Drink of the Week had us at first sip. And by the second, we were so excited we couldn’t wait until its November 29 release date to share it with you. A two-year collaborative effort between Samuel Adams and Germany’s Weihenstephan Brewery, Infinium Ale strictly follows Reinheitsgebot, or the ancient German brewing law that states beer can only be crafted from water, malts, hops and yeast. It’s simultaneously creamy and effervescent, and each sip offers another layer of flavor ranging from honey-sweetened lemonade to tangy apple cider, all while somehow masking its 10.3 percent ABV. It’ll be delicious served alongside the flavors of the winter season, like squash soups and roasted meats, and will also make a great gift for the beer geeks in your life. Look for it on shelves across the country beginning November 29. $20/750 ml.

For other collaborative beers we love, check out our article, All Together Now.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Drink of the Week: Hugel et Fils “Cuvee Les Amours” Pinot Blanc 2008

Think white wine is only for summertime sipping? In our November/December issue, Wes Marshall offers his picks for whites that are right at home at the winter table, and today’s Drink of the Week—the Hugel et Fils “Cuvee Les Amours” Pinot Blanc 2008—hits all the right marks with the same year-round drinkability. The Hugel family has been crafting delicate, nuanced white wines in France’s Alsace region for nearly four centuries, and they continue that legacy with this rich Pinot Blanc. This is a great wine to put in the queue for the holidays. Its fruity olive oil aroma, citrus and stone flavors, and honey and dried apricot finish make it a perfect complement to mild cheeses or white fish, or enjoy it as an aperitif before a big meal. $12/375 ml., saratogawine.com

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Upcoming Event: San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

Now that winter is quickly creeping in, there's no better time to head to sunny San Diego, and the annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival gives you the perfect excuse. Once again, this event is set to host a fantastic range of food and drink from around the world. There will be nearly 200 wine and sprits on hand for sampling, as well as 70 of San Diego's best chefs and two days of cooking and wine tasting classes.

The festivities kick off on November 17 with the San Diego Wine Rave, followed by cooking and wine tasting classes and wine dinners on November 17 and 18. Then on Friday, November 19, the Reserve Tasting and Silent Auction will begin, and on Saturday, it's time for the Grand Tasting and Chef of the Fest Competition. There are so many great things to check out at this festival, and the Grand Tasting is always teeming with delicious samples of wines, spirits, beer and food. Click here to purchase tickets and find more info about the festival.

What: San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival
When: November 17–21
Where: Embarcadero Marina Park North, San Diego

Friday, November 05, 2010

Drink of the Week: Third Street Festivus Chai

For the November/December issue, we blind-tested six chai concentrates and found some great options for those days when you don’t feel like fussing with homemade chai. Third Street’s Authentic chai was among our top picks, and their holiday seasonal Festivus chai is just as delicious. A warming mix of cardamom, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg spices, organic black and white teas, and a touch of white chocolate, we found the tea tannins and spices to be more pronounced when mixed with dairy milk, while the creamy, white chocolate flavors become more prominent when mixed with soy. Either way, this is a chai you’ll want to curl up with all winter long. Look for it on shelves at your local Whole Foods or natural grocer, and check out the current issue of Imbibe to see what other chais came out on top in our taste test. $5/32 oz. 3rdstreetchai.com

Thursday, November 04, 2010

November’s Where to Drink Now: Twelve Mile Limit

During Prohibition, the twelve-mile limit became the distance alcohol had to remain offshore of U.S. soil and, conveniently enough, the name of a rather potent drink. As a nod to both, 27-year-old barman Cole Newton opened this namesake bar in New Orleans just last week. Somewhat off the radar in Nola’s mostly residential Mid-City neighborhood, Newton has created a spot where you can get, “amazing craft cocktails, but at dive bar prices,” he says. Newton spent the past two years managing the bar program at Coquette Bistro, where he crafted cocktails with homemade ingredients and artisanal spirits but found that while “a lot of us bartenders want to drink those same things,” he says, “we don’t always want to do it in those same places.” Local bartenders are indeed finding a home at Twelve Mile Limit, but all sorts of other imbibers are also settling in comfortably at the bar while Newton mixes the bar’s namesake cocktail, as well as a few other original concoctions, all for around six bucks. Add in plates of Texas-style barbecue, a pool table and a few rotating craft brews, and this is one twelve-mile limit you won’t want to stray from.

Coordinates: 500 S. Telemachus St., New Orleans; no phone or website