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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Homemade Rhubarb Bitters

Photo by Stuart Mullenberg
No longer relegated to desserts, rhubarb has been enjoying a second act as an ingredient in drinks. Fusing the tart fruit (or veggie depending on your view) with citrus and spice, rhubarb bitters add distinctive depth to cocktails, and crafting your own batch is as easy as you-know-what. This recipe from New York bartender Greg Seider combines a high-proof alcohol with the crimson-colored stalks, fresh citrus and cinnamon. Try the bitters in the Bourbon Street and Chet Helms cocktails.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Quick Sips: Tasty Bits from Around the Web

Cows crash a Boston-area bash and help themselves to the beer. Time

It looks like wine and tastes like wine—so why can’t they call it wine? New York Times

A NYC museum offers up a taste of some sudsy beer history with its latest exhibit. CBS News

Pairing wine with the great outdoors is now easier than ever. Washington Post

Has the craft cocktail pendulum swung too far? Huffington Post

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Win a Schwag Bag and VIP Pass to the Portland Beer Week Kickoff Party!

If you were intrigued by #37 on our list of the 50 Drinks of the Moment from the May/June issue, you'll want to check out Portland's second annual Fruit Beer Festival, part of Portland Beer Week. Portland Beer Week runs from June 7-17, and begins with a Kickoff Gala Party at Spirit of 77. After a successful first year, Portland Beer Week has brought together an even more exciting group of events for its second year including a new official beer, a dry-hopped India Red Lager created in collaboration with Deschutes Brewery and Hopworks Urban Brewery—available in both bottles and on draft through this 10-day beer week that includes the Portland Fruit Beer Festival (June 9-10), the new Rye Beer Fest (June 8) and the return of one of Oregon's most unique events, an Olympics-style Brewers Summer Games (June 16). For a full calendar of events, click here.

To celebrate the upcoming festivities, we're excited to offer a VIP Pass to the Kickoff Party and Schwag Bag! The schwag bag includes a 22-ounce bottle of the reserve India Red Lager, a Portland Beer Week pint glass and card good for discounts and specials at participating breweries and bars, an official beer week T-shirt, a copy of the latest issue of Imbibe, a Spirit of 77 sweatband, and a coupon for your first pint free at the kickoff party on June 7!

To make yourself eligible to win, click here to send us an email with your name, address and email. The deadline to enter is Sunday, June 3, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time, and you must be at least 21 years old to win and attend. We will choose the lucky winner at random on Monday, June 4. Good Luck!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Drink of the Week: Q Kola

Sometimes nothing beats cracking open an ice-cold cola. But too often that means tapping a can or bottle full of artificial flavors and cloying sweetness. Which is why we were very excited to taste today’s Drink of the Week—Q Kola. The latest release from the beverage company behind the ever-popular Q Tonic water, this kola sticks with the company ethos of using all-natural ingredients and flavors. Chockfull of spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, real kola nut and just a hint of organic agave, this snappy kola hits the spot with bright, crisp flavors and a dynamic, dry finish. “I wanted something to drink with my lunch that was cleaner with a better balance of spice, tang, savory and sweet,” says company founder Jordan Silbert. “I also wanted something to mix with my bourbon!” We love it sipped on its or mixed with rum and lime juice in a Cuba Libre, but you’ll find it works well in any number of cocktails that call for cola. Look for it on shelves at Whole Foods nationwide, or in liquor stores and other gourmet markets beginning late next week.
Qdrinks.com for distribution info

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Strawberry Cocktails & Recipes

Photo courtesy One-Eyed Gypsy
In our May/June 2012 issue, we feature a recipe for strawberry wine, which is a great way to enjoy the strawberry bounty of late spring and early summer. In fact, when strawberry season hits, we try to find every delicious excuse we can to use them in everything from cocktails to boozy desserts. Here are 10 ways to make the most of one of our favorite early-summer ingredients.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Win VIP Passes to Craft Cocktails Texas!

Part conference and part cocktail party, Craft Cocktails Texas is a four-day cocktail event showcasing the talent of bartenders across the Lone Star state. The inaugural event takes place June 14-17 in Dallas and will celebrate the growing craft cocktail movement in Texas with a host of cocktail receptions, tastings, seminars and competition, and we're excited to offer a pair of VIP passes to one lucky imbiber!

The VIP pass provides full access to all of the VIP parties, classes and seminars, two days of spirits tasting, 20+ happy hours, entrance into the USBG Competition and the Festival at Main Street Gardens, an invite to the bartenders brunch and admittance to the finale Tiki Party! To make yourself eligible to win, click here to send us an email with your name, address and email (be sure to use an email address that you check regularly). The deadline to enter is Monday, May 28, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time, and you must be at least 21 years old to win and attend. We will choose the lucky winner at random on Tuesday, May 29. Good Luck!

Quick Sips: Tasty Bits From Around the Web

Robusta coffee climbs to its highest price of 2012. Bloomberg

How social media is helping build smaller brands. CNBC

Debating what decides the true greatness of a beer. Slate

Grape juice grows up and takes a sophisticated turn in cocktails. Wall Street Journal

A judge rules that the health benefits of one bottled juice brand may not be as wonderful as the company claims. NPR

Friday, May 18, 2012

Drink of the Week: Kona Brewing Co. Longboard Lager

American Craft Beer Week wraps up on Sunday, and we’re toasting its final few days with today’s Drink of the Week, the Longboard Lager from Kona Brewing Co. Making its aluminum-can debut last month, this lagered beer rides the wave of refreshment with a light, summery balance between malt and hops, thirst-quenching carbonation and a low 4.6% ABV that leaves room to crack another. It’s the perfect refresher to welcome the warmer weather ahead, and thanks to its new aluminum packaging, it’s now more portable than ever (think weekends at the beach, summer camping trips and for just keeping in a cooler by the grill).

And for more on the ever-expanding canned beer community, check out the “50 Most Notable Drinks of the Moment” in our current May/June issue.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Q&A With Yael Vengroff

Lady bartenders are badasses. Like their male counterparts, they mix drinks, make conversation and keep a smile all the while, but in a male-dominated drinks world, their cocktail prowess is often overlooked. But that’s been changing, thanks in part to efforts like Speed Rack, a fledgling cocktail competition in which female bartenders across the country compete in timed prelims where they must accurately mix a number of (often obscure) cocktails. In just a year, Speed Rack has boosted the revere of female bartenders, while raising money for breast cancer research, and last week in New York City, the competition crowned its first national champion, Yael Vengroff. In this interview, Vengroff chats about life behind the bar and what her future holds now that she’s taken the Speed Rack title.

Click here for the full Q&A.

Photo: Gabi Porter

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Quick Sips: Tasty Bits from Around the Web

David Chang and DJ Questlove face off in a battle for best fried chicken. Hulu

The top eight airlines for in-flight drinking. Food Republic

A New Zealand bride sparks controversy for being photographed downing a bottle of beer. MSNBC

Beer bombers are officially now legal in Alabama. CBS

An Oregon brewery scrambles to rename a beer after it causes a stir with the Indian parliament. NY Daily News

A 19th-century shipwrecked beer may be re-created thanks to living bacteria found in the bottles. LA Weekly

Friday, May 11, 2012

Drink of the Week: Cocktail, New York Style

The Manhattan Cocktail Classic is kicking off today, and even if you can't be there, you can join the celebration with today's Drink of the Week: the original New York Cocktail. In our March/April 2012 issue, cocktail historian David Wondrich traces the emergence of the cocktail in New York City. "There’s something about the quick, cold snap of a well-made cocktail that fits Gotham’s pace," he says. This recipe, he says, "is for the cocktail as it was when it first captured the hearts and livers of New York drinkers, made with either genever—Dutch gin—or French brandy, and served on ice. If you want to replace the sugar and water with a teaspoon or so of rich simple syrup (two parts sugar and one part water), stir the drink with ice and strain it into a chilled coupe, well, that’s just what New Yorkers did to it once the city started to really jump, back around 1850."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mother’s Day Cocktails, Mocktails & Brunch

Sunday is Mother’s Day (you remembered, right?), and instead of trying to squeeze in last-minute brunch reservations, why not wow her with your own homemade food and drink spread? From a New Orleans-style Bloody Mary to bourbon-spiked French toast, any combination of these cocktail, mocktail and food recipes should make mom’s day.

Campari Acai Brunch Punch
We love a good brunch punch, and this one is springy and bright with its mix of rum, Campari, and fresh herbs and juices.

Homemade Pimm’s
Bottled Pimm’s is a classic brunch favorite, and this recipe let’s you create your very own version of the English classic.

Cochon Bloody Mary
The might be the best Bloody Mary you’ll ever make. The secret lies in pork juice, olive brine and a few other surprise ingredients.

WC and Soda
Enjoy these final days of fresh kumquats with this fizzy Campari and tarragon refresher that you can easily be batche out for bigger brunch celebrations.

The Scarecrow
Is your mom more of a teetotaler? Then you’re sure to score points by mixing her one of these springy mocktails.

Pilsner Waffles with Amber Ale Caramel Sauce
Moms like beer too, and this recipe for waffles infuses beer into both the batter and a rich caramel sauce for some sudsy brunch decadence.

Bourbon French Toast
Bourbon for breakfast is perfectly acceptable when it comes in fork-ready form like this recipe for buttery, boozy French toast.

Chocolate Amaretto Cupcakes
Bake mom a batch of these boozy cupcakes for a sweet treat she’ll love.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Quick Sips: Tasty Bits from Around the Web

Are molecular gastronomy kits coming to a grocery store near you? Wired

Why allowing the USPS to ship wine is a great idea. Drvino.com

Can buying beer help boost our economy? Salon

The Manhattan Cocktail Classic kicks off in a few days, and tickets are selling out quick—do you have yours? Manhattancocktailclassic.com

What the ABV in a beer really means. Chicago Sun Times

Vodka-spiked shrimp tempura tacos? Yes, please! Gilt Taste

Monday, May 07, 2012

What We’re Tasting Now

It’s a happy Monday here at the Imbibe office, and with our May/June issue officially on newsstands and a table full of beer, wine and spirits waiting to be tasted, we figured we’d kick off the week by sampling some bottles—here are some of the highlights.

Grand Teton Snarling Badger Berliner Weisse
Grand Teton Brewing Co. first captured our attention with its Bitch Creek ESB, and over the years we’ve grown rather fond of this eastern Idaho brewery. This upcoming release (it hits shelves May 15) tastes like a cross between a Belgian strong ale and a sour (thanks to a Lactobacillus-spiked secondary fermentation) but still manages to hold onto Berliner Weisse’s trademark wheaty profile. It’s definitely a different take on the northern German beer style, but that we’re happy to enjoy.

Weihenstephan Vitus Weizenbock
Considered to be the world’s oldest brewery still in operation, Weihenstephan has long been known for its outstanding brews, and this weizenbock is no different with its dense, pillowy head; flavors of dried fruits, creamy banana, honey and citrus; and an intriguing finish of smoked meats and sweet tobacco.

Stiegl Radler
New guilty pleasure of summer? You bet. A fizzy, refreshing mix of grapefruit soda and Stiegl’s goldbrau beer, this sprightly sipper offers aromas of ruby red grapefruit juice and a tart, lively palate of fresh grapefruit (complete with a slight pithy bitter edge), thirst-quenching beer and hops. It goes down way too easy, but at a super-low 2.5% ABV, cracking a second (or a third) is no big deal.

Widmer Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout 2012
Dark beer in the summertime? If it’s a glass of this recent release from Widmer, you can count us in. Aromas of fresh raspberries and bittersweet chocolate meet flavors to match along with added notes of roasted malts and a palate-cleansing sweep of hop bitterness on the finish.

Boulevard Long Strange Tripel
For a beer that boasts 9% ABV, this year-round Boulevard offering maintains a lightness not often found with brews so big. It’s nice and bright with fruity, sweet malt flavors reminiscent of its inspired Belgian style, but with a welcome wash of juicy white peach on the finish.

Argento Bonarda 2010
When barbecue season starts, so too begins our hunt for budget-minded (and burger-friendly) wines, and this Argentinian red doesn’t disappoint with loads of raspberry aromas, a nice, dry body and food-friendly acidity that pairs with most any meat you’ll pull off the grill.

Karlsson’s Vodka
Vodka is the last spirit you might expect to see vintage-dated, but low and behold, it’s happened. And in this case, it’s no gimmick—it’s delicious. Produced from Old Swedish red potatoes harvested from a single Swedish farm in 2008, this vodka is uniquely dynamic with creamy flavors that transition from soft and sweet up front to green bell and black pepper spice on the finish.

Breaking & Entering Bourbon
Bay Area distilling stalwart St. George Spirits enters the boubon biz with this spanking-new bottle that combines whiskey aged in a mix of 80 different barrels sourced from some of Kentucky’s best rickhouses. Approachable and easy-drinking, the B&E bourbon is supremely fruity with cinnamon spice coming in on the finish. A great candidate for both mixing and sipping.

Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka
Flavored vodkas are a dime a dozen, but something about this honeysuckle version caught our eye. The nose is delicately floral, and the flavor doesn’t disappoint with pure honeysuckle notes that never venture into being too perfumey. We can see sipping it on a summer day mixed in a tall glass of soda and a squeeze of lemon.

Cheribundi Tart Cherry Juice
This is pretty much as close to biting into a juicy-ripe cherry as you’ll find outside a produce stand. And don’t let the “tart” in its name trick you—there’s enough natural sweetness in this juice to sip it alone (it doesn’t have the same pucker-factor of cranberry juice), though it also shines in cocktails or alcohol-free drinks like this Wild Cherry Phosphate.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Drink of the Week: Strawberry-Basil-Gin Lemonade

The Manhattan Cocktail Classic kicks off next week, but we’re getting a head start on the festivities with today’s Drink of the Week, an über-refreshing glass of Strawberry-Basil-Gin Lemonade. It’s one of a handful of gin-spiked lemonades being mixed next Thursday at an MCC preview party we’re co-host with Bulldog Gin, and with its springy mix of gin and fresh strawberry and basil, it’s a drink we plan on enjoying throughout the warmer months ahead. So if you’ll be in NYC next week, be sure to join us on Thursday for an afternoon of complimentary gin lemonades, great food and a $1000 Topman gift card giveaway to one lucky guest. Click here for details and to RSVP!

Strawberry-Basil-Gin Lemonade
2 oz. lemonade (your favorite homemade version, or a store-bought bottle like Hubert’s or Santa Cruz Organics)
1 oz. Bulldog gin
1 large, ripe strawberry, quartered
3 basil leaves
Ice cubes
Tools: muddler, shaker, strainer
Glass: highball
Garnish: slice of fresh strawberry

Gently muddle the basil and strawberry in a shaker. Add remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass and garnish.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Cinco de Mayo Cocktails

Between Derby Day and Cinco de Mayo, there's a lot to celebrate this weekend. If Cinco de Mayo is your holiday of choice and you're looking to toast the occasion with more than a Margarita, here are 12 cocktails honoring two of Mexico's most delicious native spirits.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Quick Sips: Tasty Bits from Around the Web

Why drinking more beer may be beneficial for some CEOs. Forbes

Beer, bourbon and pork fat—new keys to your health? CNN

Richard Branson-shaped ice makes a splash in cocktails on Virgin Atlantic flights. Huffington Post

Tips on how to go green with your morning cup of joe. Good

Is La Nina helping bolster Oregon’s wine crop this year? KGW

Eric Asimov revisits the age-old cheese and wine pairing debate. New York Times