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, March 29, 2013

Drink of the Week: Ponzi Pinot Gris 2012

With Easter on Sunday and April around the corner, we’re ready to shelve our wintertime reds and uncork a few of our favorite springtime whites. Enter today’s Drink of the Week: the Pinot Gris from Ponzi Vineyards. Hailing from one of Oregon’s most respected (and longstanding) producers, Ponzi was among the state’s first to plant Pinot Gris (some of their vines date back to 1978), and this year’s 2012 release once again proves Ponzi is a major player among Oregon’s fast-growing white-wine scene. Fresh and zingy with expressive tropical fruit aromas and flavors (think passionfruit, pineapple and mango), a crisp lemon acidity (thanks to the absence of any malolactic fermentation) and a soft hint of residual sugar (4 grams per liter), this wine is equally at home on the brunch table or the backyard picnic table. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Quick Sips: Tasty Bits from Around the Web

Peep-infused vodka? Believe it. Baking Bites

One wine collector uncorks a nasty lawsuit against another. The Raw Story

Several big-name beer companies are looking to launch brewing operations in Africa. CNBC

Are the French drinking less of their beloved vino? BBC

One wine publication sues a former critic. Los Angeles Times

Could you drink beer instead of water and survive? Io9

Friday, March 22, 2013

Drink of the Week: Cuvée Coffee’s La Violetta

Texas’ coffee scene is buzzing, and today’s Drink of the Week—La Violetta from Austin-based Cuvée Coffee—is doing its part to help with that. Named after the jungled Costa Rican farm where Cuvée sources the beans for this brew, La Violetta yields everything from its namesake flowers to lemon zest to chocolate. Try it brewed via press pot, pourover or over ice—you can’t go wrong. And for more on Texas’ bean scene, check out our March/April Texas Issue.

$13/12 oz., cuveecoffee.com

Thursday, March 21, 2013

5 Kickstarter Campaigns We’re Keeping an Eye on

Photo: Mike Newton via Kickstarter
In just a few short years, the process of raising start-up cash for a new business has completely transformed, thanks in part to Kickstarter, which has helped raise over $500 million for entrepreneurs around the world. Among some of the most interesting ventures are a myriad of drink-related propositions, from book publishing to bitters production. Here are five projects we’re keeping an eye on at the moment.

With a combined 26 years in the drinks industry, the trio behind this cocktail-centric campaign is ready to break into the bitters biz. With a little more than $1,000 off their goal and a little less than two weeks to go, San Diego-based RX Bitters Co. hopes to introduce its vanilla-forward aromatic bitters, potent sarsaparilla and springy cherry-apple bitters to the cocktail community at large. Click here for more info.

It’s no secret that Portland, Oregon, has a thing for beer. And the video-savvy crew behind this campaign wants to share the city’s ongoing quest for the perfect pint via webseries and podcasts with beer enthusiasts around the globe. They’re still a ways away from their $10,000 goal, but with about a month to go, they have plenty of time to garner the needed support. Click here for more info.

The sweet swag alone is reason enough to support this coffee-fueled campaign that hopes to convert an old van into a “rolling craft coffee oasis” (complete with a custom pourover bar and espresso machine) and hit the road spreading the gospel of great coffee at festivals and farmers markets around the country. Pledge $199 or more and score a wooden pourover stand handcarved by Bonlife’s WWII veteran grandfather, Papo; pledge $2,500 or more and join them on the cross-country coffee tour; and pledge $3,500 and score an epic origin trip to a coffee farm in Central America. Click here for more info.

Having a pub-fresh pint at home used to mean spending weekends building a bulky kegerator only to have the beer go flat before you could finish it. But Denver-based Robert Scott has designed an ingenious way to pour pillow-capped pints at home. His TapIt Cap turns an ordinary growler into a miniature dispenser for fresh, frothy beer with plastic tubing, CO2 and some clever engineering, but only if he’s able meet his $80,000 goal. Click here for more info.

The lush farmlands of New York state are fertile grounds for hops, as the generations-old Szaro Farms discovered when they came across some wild vines taking root along an old barn. Szaro has since successfully transplanted several rhizomes and is hoping to raise funds to grow its hop yard, which will in turn provide farm-fresh hops to a host of local breweries. Click here for more info.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Quick Sips: Tasty Bits from Around the Web

For some people, colors sights and sounds all have distinctive tastes. NPR

How beer helped develop modern day social civilization.  New York Times

The benefits of red wine in pill form? Not so fast. Forbes

The Washington Post kicks off its annual Beer Madness tourney. Washington Post

When wineries enlist drones for promotion videos are they breaking the law? Press Democrat

Friday, March 15, 2013

Drink of the Week: Meadowlark Cocktail

Photo: Riffle NW
Who needs a lucky charm this St. Paddy’s Day when you’ve got today’s Drink of the Week? A spirited mix of Irish whiskey, brandy and aperitif wine, the Meadowlark cocktail highlights Irish whiskey in an unexpected but delicious way. It’s also easy enough to batch out in advance, leaving you time for more important matters—like doing your part to toast Sunday’s festivities.

3/4 oz. Irish whiskey
3/4 oz. brandy (Josie uses a Brandy de Jerez)
3/4 oz. Bonal Gentiane-Quina (you can substitute Carpano Antica or Dolin sweet vermouth if you don’t have Bonal)
Barspoon maraschino liqueur
Tools: mixing glass, barspoon
Glass: coupe
Garnish: brandied cherry

Brandon Josie, Riffle NW, Portland, Oregon

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Quick Sips: Tasty Bits from Around the Web

One tea company is developing a comic book to tell its tale. New York Times

Food guy David Lebovitz dishes on his favorite recipe for wine-spiked mustard. David Lebovitz

Bloomberg’s soda ban gets overturned. NPR

Planning a wine-fueled vacay? Check out these lesser-known locales. Forbes

Is Texas hoping to overhaul its beer laws? Dallas News

Friday, March 08, 2013

In Austin for SXSW? We’ve Got Your Guide to Drinking in the Best of the City.

Photo: Stuart Mullenberg
Right now, throngs of music, movie and tech geeks are converging on Austin, Texas, for the annual South by Southwest festival. And, of course, we consider it our civic duty to help those festival-goers stay appropriately hydrated. After all, before a long morning of Hacking for Social Good and the SXSW BBQ Crash Course, you’ll need to caffeinate, right? And by afternoon, you’ll surely need a beer and/or cocktail to go with some smokin’ Texas BBQ. Here’s a guide to imbibing the best the city has to offer. And for even more recommendations on where to drink in Austin and elsewhere in Texas, pick up our March/April 2013 Texas Issue on newsstands nationwide.

MORNING: PATIKA COFFEE. The Patika coffee cart, a mere four blocks from the Austin Convention Center, offers first-rate coffee and espresso from local roasters Cuvée and Flat Track, as well as freshly baked sweet treats from Flour Bakery. Opened in 2010 by friends Andy Wigginton and Nick Krupa, this caffeinated kiosk will fuel you through whatever awesomeness SXSW has in store. 
402 Congress Ave., 512-535-3955, patikacoffee.com

BRUNCH: DRINK. WELL. elevates neighborhood spirits with inventive cocktails, domestic beers and a whiskey collection more than 75 bottles strong. Plus, they open early on weekends for all your pre-meet up/panel discussion/screening boozy brunch needs! Start the day right with a killer Bloody Mary and a kim chi Reuben.
207 E 53rd St., 512-614-6683, drinkwellaustin.com

LUNCH: FRANKLIN BBQ. Texas is barbecue country, and no Texan bastes up better brisket than Lone Star native Aaron Franklin. Since opening his namesake Franklin Barbecue in East Austin back in 2009, Franklin’s pulled pork, sausage and beef brisket (slathered in his top-secret espresso barbecue sauce) draws daily crowds that often wind around the building and down the street. Once inside, order a two-meat plate with a side of beans, crack open one of the local craft brews on offer and dig in—Texas barbecue doesn’t get better than this. And click here for our Q&A with Aaron Franklin. 
900 E. 11th St., 512-653-1187, franklinbarbecue.com

LUNCH: ANTONELLI’S. Opened in 2010 by cheese-loving husband-and-wife team John and Kendall Antonelli, this shop stocks hundreds of cheeses (including an impressive number from local creameries), domestic and imported charcuterie, upwards of 40 bottles of mostly Texas craft brews and another 40 bottles of wine. Add to that fresh-baked bread, single-origin honeys and bean-to-bar chocolate and consider your picnic packed. Pack a picnic and soak up some sun between meetings, or grab some provisions for later. Nothing like a 2 a.m. salami sammie to cure the one-too-many-cocktails blues. 
4220 Duval St., 512-531-9610, antonellischeese.com

LUNCH: HILLSIDE FARMACY. This East Austin pharmacy-turned-café charms with its vintage décor (think antique apothecary cases, beehive tiled floor and pressed tin ceiling), while its afternoon tea service, old-fashioned soda fountain, farm-fresh foods and cocktail cures makes it the perfect lunchtime escape.
1209 E. 11th St., 512-628-0168, hillsidefarmacy.com

LUNCH: HOPDODDY. Every town needs a good burger joint, and Hopdoddy takes tops honors for a menu that highlights Texas-raised beef, buffalo and lamb, locally grown produce and an entirely Texas-brewed beer list. 
1400 S. Congress St., 512-243-7507, and 2438 W. Anderson Lane, 512-467-2337, hopdoddy.com

HAPPY HOUR: FRANK’S. Housemade hot dogs. Cold craft brews. Super close to SXSW. What more could there be? How about a fully stocked bar and a killer cocktail menu with rotating seasonal sips and mainstays like the Dirty South with rye, pecan-infused maple syrup and sarsaparilla? Hit up happy hour for $3 pints, half-price waffle fries and an order of Lil Smokies smothered in homemade Dr Pepper barbecue sauce. 
407 Colorado St., 512-494-6916, hotdogscoldbeer.com

DINNER: LUCY’S FRIED CHICKEN. From deviled eggs to chicken gizzards, this South Congress favorite fires up the fryer for some finger-licking southern feasting. Best yet? You can wash it all down with their wholly Texas tap list, homemade sweet tea and house cocktails like the Bee Sting with reposado tequila, citrus, honey and jalapeño. Click here for the recipe.
2218 College Ave., 512-297-2423, lucysfriedchicken.com

DINNER: CONTIGO, a mile to the east, offers a taste of country life in the city, modeling its flavors and down-home hospitality after its namesake, family-run ranch in south Texas. Its light-strewn patio is just the place to park it on a warm Austin night for bar snacks and charcuterie as well as wine, local brews, and cocktails like the El Pepino with tequila, cucumber and fresh mint. 
2027 Anchor Lane, 512-614-2260, contigotexas.com

DINNER: HADDINGTON’S serves up elevated pub grub and pours drinks morning, noon and night. Wash down a burger with a local draft brew, pair a cheese plate with a bottle from one of the best wine lists in town, or settle in with some signature sips like the Fernet Me Not cocktail with Fernet-Branca, sweet vermouth and honey syrup. Click here for the recipe.
601 W. Sixth St., 512-992-0204, haddingtonsrestaurant.com

DINNER: FOREIGN & DOMESTIC keeps neighborhood bellies filled with a small, focused food menu and will keep SXSW-goers cool and refreshed with drinks like the beer-topped Cyclist cocktail with preserved lemon and ginger beer and the So Long Summer with Prosecco, pomegranate and lime juice.
306 E. 53rd St., 512-459-1010, fndaustin.com

DRINKS: MIDNIGHT COWBOY. This “massage parlor”-turned-cocktail bar opened this past summer to well-deserved fanfare for its deliciously executed drinks mixed tableside. 
313 E. Sixth St., 512-843-2715, midnightcowboymodeling.com

DRINKS: HANDLEBAR is primed for downtown drinking with a menu of Boilermakers and cocktails like the Doc Holliday with Old Tom gin, Carpano Antica and Campari, and the Magnum P.I. with dark rum, pineapple syrup and ginger beer. 
121 E. Fifth St.,512-344-9571, handlebaraustin.com

DRINKS: THE EAST SIDE SHOW ROOM has long helmed Austin’s cocktail scene with its eclectic, steampunk-like atmosphere, a list of two dozen classic cocktails, and a small corner stage that hosts live music. 
1100 E. Sixth Ave., 512-467-4280, eastsideshowroom.com

DRINKS: WORKHORSE BAR is co-owned by two beer-geek buds and their suds and spirits menus read like a who’s-who of Austin’s craft brewers and distillers, offering a taste of city craftsmanship at its finest. Perfect for a post-Food + Tech meet up. 100 N. Loop Blvd. E., 512-323-5700, workhorsebar.com

DRINKS: BAR CONGRESS. South of Sixth at Congress and Second, you’ll spy Bar Congress, which offers a respite in the form of lower-proof cocktails, lesser-known classics and a 400-bottle wine list that it shares with its adjoining restaurant Congress.
200 Congress Ave., 512-827-2755, congressaustin.com

DRINKS: LA CONDESA AND TACOS & TEQUILA. Austinites love Tex-Mex, and the James Beard-nominated La Condesa on West Second downtown takes tacos and tequila to new levels. How to wash down the citrusy ceviche, decadent tortas and housemade tacos? We recommend an agave-fueled flight featuring selections from the 100+ tequilas and mezcals or a house cocktail like the Alma Blanca with habanero-infused blanco tequila, pineapple juice and fresh corn. And a mile away on West Fifth, the aptly named Tacos & Tequila pairs seared ahi-, corn-crusted chicken- and pulled pork-filled homemade tortillas with tequila on tap and a dozen tequila-spiked cocktails, including a lime sherbet-infused frozen Margarita. 
La Condesa, 200 W. Second St., 512-499-0300, lacondesa.com; Tacos & Tequila, 507 Pressler St., 512-436-8226, tacos-and-tequila.com

For even more recommendations on where to drink in Austin and elsewhere in Texas, pick up our March/April 2013 Texas Issue on newsstands nationwide. Click here to purchase online.

Drink of the Week: Shiner FM 966 Farmhouse Ale

Texas may be an ocean away from Belgium, but today’s Drink of the Week—Spoetzl’s FM 966 Farmhouse Ale—proves that Lone Star locals can tap into inspiration from anywhere around the globe. A new seasonal release from the century-old Spoetzl Brewery (founded in 1909, they stayed afloat during Prohibition by brewing birch beer, though some allege they didn’t fully cease production of their regular brews), this easy-drinking farmhouse ale is reminiscent of traditional European saisons, but with a few flavorful twists all its own. Combining a trio of hops (including the recently discovered Meridian variety), Imbibe contributing editor Joshua Bernstein calls it “a refreshing, wheat-fueled saison with a sweet, lightly fruity flavor.” And as a spring seasonal, it won’t be on shelves for much longer, so pick up a 6-pack while you can. Shiner.com for distribution info.

And for more on Texas' growing beer scene, check out "Big in Texas" in our March/April issue.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Drink of the Week: Texas Fizz

Photo: Stuart Mullenberg
From the Panhandle to the Plains, drinking in Texas has never been more inspired, and our March/April Texas Issue gives you a taste of that liquid culture. And for today’s Drink of the Week we tap into a Lone Star-inspired classic, the Texas Fizz. A simple cocktail with an intriguing history, Dave Wondrich explores its origins in our March/April issue (you can read his story here)—it’s a little sweet, a little tart and a little fizzy. From the juiciest grapefruit cocktails to Texas’ burgeoning whiskey, wine, beer and coffee scenes, get ready to drink in all Texas has to offer.

1½ oz. London dry gin
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
¾ oz. fresh orange juice
1 tsp. grenadine, or more to taste
2–3 oz. chilled brut Champagne (or other sparkling wine)
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: flute

Shake ingredients well with plenty of ice. Strain into a chilled flute and top with Champagne.