Thursday, March 31, 2011

Whole Foods Opens Another Bar

We're kind of intrigued by the move Whole Foods' has been making over the past year to get into the on-premise beer and wine biz with the opening of in-store bars in six of its stores around the U.S. The latest, called Bar Lamar, opened a few weeks ago in Austin, and features craft brews and locally produced wines. Apparently, the grocery chain is planning open more bars in stores across the U.S. over the next year, so keep an eye out in your neck of the woods. It certainly seems like a clever money-making tactic, but what do you think? Would you belly up to the bar at your neighborhood grocery store?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Q&A With Jim Rutledge of Four Roses Bourbon

Jim Rutledge is about as southern as southern gets. Born and raised in Kentucky, and the master distiller for Four Roses—where he’s worked for more than 40 years—bourbon practically runs through his veins, and he knows just about everything there is to know about the classic southern spirit. Here the bourbon Hall of Fame-r chats with us about whether it was love at first sip, how he takes his whiskey and what southern food he’d be lost without.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Drink of the Week: Batdorf & Bronson Brazil Pedra Redonda

Coffee culture in the South is at an all-time high, and today’s Drink of the Week proves why. The Brazil Pedra Redonda from Batdorf & Bronson (who has roasting facilities in Atlanta, Georgia and Olympia, Washington) is a honey-processed coffee, which means the fruit and skin around the bean is removed but the sticky mucilage underneath dries on the bean, creating a light honey-colored appearance prior to roasting. The result is a smooth and mellow body with sweet, earthy flavors and a hint of acid on the finish. It’s the perfect way to start your day—in fact we’re about to pour ourselves a second cup. For more southern coffee roasters and cafés we love, check out “100 Best Places to Drink in the South” in our March/April issue.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March’s Where to Drink Now: The Wilson, San Francisco

From the crew that introduced us to Bourbon & Branch, Rickhouse and Swig comes tonight’s much-anticipated opening of The Wilson. A bar within a bar, guests gain access by entering Bourbon & Branch, but only with a prior reservation. Once confirmed, you’re escorted through a secret door and into The Wilson. Inside, bartenders Jayson Wilde and Ian Scalzo will greet you with a personalized daily menu that includes about a dozen cocktails. Opt for the prix fixe drinking experience and choose a cocktail from each of the three categories (aperitif, main and digestif), or order your libations à la carte—either way you’re sure to get a taste of the bar’s creative array of bitters, tinctures and infusions. Reservations must be made online, cap at 20 people per night, and are going fast, so be sure to book your seat well in advance.
Coordinates: 501 Jones St., San Francisco;

Friday, March 18, 2011

Drink Whiskey—Help Japan

If you happen to live in Seattle or will be there later this month, Seattle-based One Pot is holding a great event to help with relief efforts in Japan. As part of their Drinking Lesson event series, One Pot is welcoming bartender and Japanese whiskey specialist Neyah White and Maker’s Mark ambassador Cody Rossen to lead a whiskey class at the Sorrento Hotel on March 31. Together, the two will talk guests through tastes of six different whiskeys, as well as the history and traditions behind each. Tickets are $25 and all proceeds will go to Doctors Without Borders to support their efforts in Japan. Get your tickets here.

Imbibe's Cover Cocktail Contest: We Have a Winner!

We have a winner for the Imbibe Cover Cocktail Contest, and we couldn't be more excited about our choice. We had about 200 submissions, with so many fantastic recipes and stories to go with them, but in the end, we selected David Delaney (pictured below), who works at The Citizen Wine Bar in Worcester, Massachusetts. We won't be revealing David's recipe until the May/June issue comes out, but we can say that not only is his cocktail delicious and balanced; it's also creative and very fun representation of the spirit of Imbibe with a great backstory about how the magazine inspired his cocktail's creation (and just a hint: it's a rye whiskey cocktail but with some surprising supporting ingredients).

In addition to having his cocktail featured on the May/June cover, David is receiving a Founder's Day Pass to this year's Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, as well as a four-night stay at the beautiful Hotel Le Marais, located in the heart of New Orleans' French Quarter—he was so excited when he received our email that he said he screamed in the middle of a meeting. Congrats, David—we're thrilled to show off your cocktail on our upcoming cover, and look forward to seeing you at Tales!

Thanks to everyone who submitted recipes—we really were so impressed by the quality of the recipes and enthusiasm behind each entry. We also want to give a special shout-out to the people who made it into our group of top 25 finalists because we were blown away by the thought and creativity that went into each submission (listed alphabetically).

Todd Appel, Chicago, IL (Piranha Bros.)

Charlie Bradshaw and Kathleen McCook, Alpharetta, GA (Drink Bloggers)

Brittany Chardin, Atlanta, GA (Beverage Writer)

Anthony DeCoste, Lane Douglas, MA (Home Enthusiast)

Preston Eckman, Philadelphia, PA (Opa)

Paul Edlund, Seattle, WA (Home Enthusiast)

Nathan Greene, Las Vegas, NV (Vanguard Lounge)

Brian Johnson, Tacoma, WA (Home Enthusiast)

Ted Kilgore, St. Louis, MO (Taste)

Bob Lamb, Mount Rainier, MD (Home Enthusiast)

Jessica Maria, Albany, CA (Hotsy Totsy Club)

Darlene Mann-Clarke, Greenville, SC (American Grocery)

Marcelo Nascimento, Austin, TX (Spirits Professional)

Joshua Pearson, Chicago, IL (Sepia)

Daniel Perrigan, Madison, NJ (Home Enthusiast)

Matt Seiter, St. Louis, MO (Sanctuaria)

Nate Selsor, St. Louis, MO (Monarch Restaurant)

Colin Shearn, Philadelphia, PA (The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.)

Dave Shenaut, Portland, OR (Beaker & Flask and Irving Street Bistro)

Jason Sobel, New York, NY (Home Enthusiast)

Karin Stanley, Brooklyn, NY (Little Branch, Dutch Kills, Milk and Honey)

Summer Voelker, Pittsburgh, PA (Salt of the Earth)

TJ Vytlacil, St. Louis, MO (Monarch Restaurant)

Lance Andrew Warner, Atlanta, GA (Top Flr)

Photo of David Delaney ©2010 Scott Erb/

Drink of the Week: Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bourbon

Considered one of the forefathers of the bourbon industry, Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. purchased his first distillery in 1869 and introduced industry innovations that modernized bourbon for generations. Today’s Drink of the Week, the Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. Old Fashioned Sour Mash bourbon, replicates his patented sour mash technique, which was developed after retired employees recounted a method in which Taylor would have made his mash more than a century ago. Sour mashing uses materials from an older batch of mash to help kick-start the fermentation of the new batch, much as in making sourdough bread, and after nine years of aging this bourbon is incredibly smooth and complex. Sweet brown sugar and candied apple aromas open into flavors that evolve from peppery spice to fresh tropical fruits to a hint of barrel smoke on the finish. A one-time limited release, this bourbon hit the nationwide marketplace earlier this week. And for more on the history of bourbon and some of its key players check out “Spirit of the South” in our March/April issue.
$70, for distribution information

Thursday, March 17, 2011

5 Places to Score a Perfect Pint of Guinness

Today is St. Paddy’s Day, and you don’t need the luck of the Irish to find a well-poured pint of Guinness here in the States. First brewed in 1759 at St. James’ Gate in central Dublin, Guinness is a hallmark of the stout style, and when poured properly in stages over a two-minute period, the result is like liquid velvet. From Los Angeles to Boston, here are five bars that pride themselves on pouring you the perfect pint.

Photo: Stuart Mullenberg,

B.D. Riley’s
In the midst of Austin’s art and entertainment district you’ll find this Irish pub so authentic that it was actually built in Ireland and later shipped to the Lone Star State. Their Guinness pints are also just as genuine, “with time taken to pour and settle in two parts,” according to manager Steve Basile, “through clean lines and into spotless imperial pint glasses.” The result? “The perfect pint o' dark.” Basile says. “Every pint. Perfect. Every time." And it seems that more than a few regulars have taken notice sometimes emptying two kegs a day.
Coordinates: 204 E. 6th St., Austin, Texas; 512-494-1335;

Casey’s Irish Pub
What was once a basement bath house in turn-of-the-century Los Angeles has since become downtown’s most popular Irish pub, with each bartender taking the time to produce the requisite two-minute double-pour. According to head barman Mark deSalvo, they “fly through at least six kegs a week,” with some of that Guinness finding its way into dishes like traditional Irish stew, Guinness-battered fish and chips and even a beer float.
Coordinates: 613 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles; 213-629-2353;

Johnny’s Irish Pub
Just a short distance from the University of Rochester, this Irish pub could easily pour pints as fast as the local coeds order and few would know the difference. Still, owner Johnny Savino insists that all of his bartenders use the two-part pour each time, regardless of how busy they are.
Coordinates: 1382 Culver Rd., Rochester, New York; 585-224-0990;

Moon & Sixpence
The English and Irish haven’t always gotten along, but English pub Moon & Sixpence spreads the love with perfect pints of Guinness. And according to bartender Jason Jones, the two-part pour isn’t the only important factor in getting you the best pint, “Our Guinness keg has a short, 14-inch line,” he says, “which definitely minimizes the distance the beer has to travel before it gets to your glass.”
Coordinates: 2014 NE 42nd Ave., Portland, Ore.; 503-288-7802

The Littlest Bar
Irish descendents make up nearly 16 percent of Boston’s population, so it goes without saying that locals have their pick of where to get a good Guinness. And yet a growing number of them continually choose the Littlest Bar, which, for what it lacks in space makes up for in consistent and clean two-part pours that are easily the best in town.
Coordinates: 102 Broad St., Boston; 617-542-8469

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tanqueray's Quest for the Best T&T in America Is Complete

Last summer, Tanqueray’s Global Brand Ambassador Angus Winchester traveled across the pond to find America's best twist on a T&T. Winchester met with bartenders in 22 cities across the country and tested them on their gin knowledge, bartending skills and cocktail creativity. Each bartender was challenged to pull inspiration from a classic Gin & Tonic and create an updated version using Tanqueray as a base.

Tasting more 200 recipes along the way, Winchester chose one winner from each stop. Of the 22 finalists, only one cocktail could be named the Best T&T, and that winner was Eric Ho of Cleveland, Ohio, whose Beetnik’s Tonic combines beet-infused Tanqueray with tonic water and a dash of vinegar. His inspiration? "Restaurants are always busy, so I wanted to create a drink that could be crafted quickly but also have a lot of flavor," Ho says. "I just happened to be roasting beets for dinner one day and it dawned on me that the vegetable-sweetness of the roasted beets could meld well with the spicy and herbal notes of Tanqueray. I threw some of the roasted beets and Tanqueray into a jar and let the mix infuse. I knew it was right the next day when I smelled the infusion and it was a match made in heaven."

Click here to see Ho's full recipe, and check out Tanqueray's Facebook page to see more of Winchester's favorite T&T recipes.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Drink of the Week: Sweetwater Mean Joe Bean

Since launching more than a decade ago, Georgia’s Sweetwater Brewing has developed a loyal following for their sometimes experimental—but always delicious—beers. Today’s Drink of the Week, Mean Joe Bean, is the latest release in the brewery’s Dank Tank series and combines some nice hoppy bitterness with flavors of dried fruits and rich, dark chocolate malts, all with robust coffee notes from Nicaraguan beans that were roasted by Atlanta’s JavaVino. At a surprising 8.5 percent alcohol, this imperial porter goes down smooth on its own, though sipped alongside some dark, bittersweet chocolate, it’ll sing even more. Look for it on tap and in your favorite bottle shops throughout the southeast. And for more southern breweries we love, check out our March/April issue.
$6/22 oz., for distribution

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Join Imbibe for an Evening of Artisanal Tequila

Attention Bay Area Imbibers! Imbibe is heading to San Francisco for a special evening of tequila tasting and cocktails, and you’re invited to join us! On Wednesday, March 16, we invite you to Mijita to sample an array of artisanal tequilas from Casa Noble and enjoy complimentary tequila cocktails and appetizers.

You’ll also get the chance to meet Casa Noble’s Pepe Hermosillo and learn about how Casa Noble is crafted organically in Mexico. Whether you’re an avid tequila enthusiast or you’re just starting to get interested in the spirit, this will be a fun chance to sample and learn more about one of the world’s best tequilas.

Space is limited, and you must RSVP, so click here to email us and secure your spot. We hope to see you there!

What: An Evening of Tequila With Casa Noble and Imbibe
Where: Mijita, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco
When: Wednesday, March 16, 5–7 p.m.

Mardi Gras Cocktails

Celebrating Mardi Gras? Here are five cocktails that'll give you taste of New Orleans, even if you can't be there for the festivities.

Brandy Milk Punch
Popular throughout New Orleans where many bars offer their own variation on the recipe, this 19th century classic is traditionally sipped after a rich meal … and again in the morning alongside breakfast.

The Hurricane
The South gets a taste of tiki with this Zombie-inspired combination of light and dark rum, Galliano and loads of fresh fruit juice. Popularized in the 1930s by New Orleans barkeep Pat O’Brien, this heady concoction is named for the hurricane lamp-like glass it’s served in, and has since become a staple of Mardi Gras celebrations.

Ramos Gin Fizz
Also called the New Orleans Fizz, this ethereal mix of gin, citrus juice, egg white and heavy cream was invented in 1888 by New Orleans bar owner Henry C. Ramos.

The official drink of New Orleans (literally—legislation passed in June 2008 naming it so), the Sazerac can trace its origins back to early 19th-century druggist and freemason, Antoine Peychaud, who would host freemason meetings at his pharmacy and serve a mix of Sazerac de Forge Cognac, absinthe and his proprietary bitters.

Vieux Carré
Invented by Walter Bergeron during the 1930s at what would later become the Carousel Bar in the Monteleone Hotel, this spirits-driven mix of rye, Cognac, vermouth, bitters and Bénédictine is named for New Orleans’ old French Quarter.

Monday, March 07, 2011

New Poll: Which Southern City Has the Most Exciting Drinks Culture?

As we found in putting together our latest Southern Issue, the South is a region that's exploding with creativity when it comes to drinks. But which southern city do you think as the most exciting drinks culture at the moment? Atlanta? Nashville? Louisville? Click here to cast your vote!

Friday, March 04, 2011

New Cocktail Video: Rimming Glasses With Salt and Sugar

Don't you hate it when you get a cocktail with clumps of sugar on the rim? Having trouble getting that perfect coating of salt on your Margarita glass? Evan Zimmerman has some simple tips for perfectly salting or sugaring your next glass—no more messy rims allowed! Click here to see the video.

Drink of the Week: Veritas Cabernet Franc Reserve 2008

In our March/April Southern Issue, writer Amy Zavatto explores Virginia’s ever-growing wine scene, which has come a long way since Jefferson’s winemaking experiments at Monticello. Today’s Drink of the Week, the 2008 Cabernet Franc Reserve from Veritas Vineyards and Winery, is an example of Virginia wine at its best. Located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Veritas Vineyards and Winery was founded by the Hodson family in 2002 and maintains its family-run ethos today with wife Patricia tending to the vines, father-daughter team Andrew and Emily crafting the wine, and youngest daughter Chloe managing the estate’s special events. Their reserve Cabernet Franc is aromatic with notes of black pepper and violets, flavors of ripe berries, currants and cherries, and a kiss of toasted vanilla on the finish, thanks in part to its 18 months spent in French oak. $29,

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Win Tickets to Whiskies of the World & Artisanal Spirits Fest!

The 2011 Whiskies of the World Expo and Artisanal Spirits Fest is only a few weeks away, and we're excited to be able to offer two general admission tickets to one lucky imbiber. This is a great chance to sample whiskeys from around the world, as well as an array of other craft spirits. The event is happening on March 26, and a general admission ticket includes spirits tastings, a full dinner buffet, and access to seminars and whiskey and food pairings.

All you have to do to make yourself eligible to win is click here and email to tell us about your favorite whisky/whiskey of the moment. Entries are due by Monday, March 14, and the winner will be notified by March 15. You must be over 21 to attend this event. Good luck!

What: 12th Annual Whiskies of the World Expo
When: March 26, 2011, 6–10 p.m.
Where: The SF Belle Hornblower Yacht, Pier 3 Embarcadero @ Washington St., San Francisco

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Imbibe Southern Issue!

Our latest issue is in the mail and hitting newsstands, and this issue is making us feel a little like kids in a candy store. March/April is dedicated to all things southern, and in creating this special issue, we discovered a veritable gold mine of goodness. We always new the South held a special place in the history of American drinks, but this part of the U.S. has exploded with creativity over the past few years, and our Southern Issue celebrates the incredibly diverse people, places and flavors that are making this region so noteworthy.

This issue includes features on the 100 Best Places to Drink in the South; the Kentucky Bourbon Trail; Virginia Wine Country; Southern Sodas; Iced Tea Cocktails; Southern Breweries (plus a beer mecca in the middle of Kentucky); Rye Whiskey; How to Pickle Okra; and on and on. If you've ever been curious about the South, or you already have an affinity for the region, this issue will give you lots of reasons to explore and celebrate.

Look for the issue on stands starting today and over the next few days (depending on the store)—it's definitely one you won't want to miss!