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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Quick Sips: Tasty Bits from Around the Web

Turns out those “small-batch” whiskeys may not be so small. Daily Beast

Tips for ordering wine like a pro. Thrillist

Five not-to-miss wine stores from around the globe. Wall St. Cheat Sheet

Guess which ingredient is causing beer prices to skyrocket. USA Today

How to MacGyver a French press from items found in a hotel room. Huffington Post

Monday, July 28, 2014

Session IPAs All Week Long

Imbibe's Beer Correspondent, Joshua M. Bernstein, with his daughter Violet and dog Sammy.
What do corgis and craft beer have in common? Meet Joshua M. Bernstein (@joshmbernstein), Imbibe’s longtime, Brooklyn-based beer correspondent and contributing editor who we’d like to go ahead and say has the best Instagram feed in the beer biz. Photos often star Sammy—the corgi pictured above—his adorable baby girl Violet and whichever beer Bernstein has deemed the quencher of the moment. This week, he’ll be taking over our Instagram feed for a #beeroclock happy hour inspired by his latest Imbibe article covering sessionable IPAs. He’ll be sharing his session-of-the-moment at 2 PM PST / 5 PM EST, so tune in @imbibe

Friday, July 25, 2014

Drink of the Week: Bourbon Sweet Tea Sour

Few drinks are more quintessentially southern than a glass of sweet iced tea. Except bourbon, of course. Combine the two in one glass, add in a squeeze of lemon juice, and get ready to drink in a supremely quaffable summertime cooler. Made with a rich sweet tea syrup, this twist on a classic sour matches a subtle smokiness with the liveliness of fresh citrus. And if you feel like making a zero-ABV version, you can easily skip the bourbon and just top with soda and serve over ice.

And for more on the history of sweet tea, and why we love it so, click here.

Bourbon Sweet Tea Sour
2 oz. bourbon
1 oz. sweet tea syrup*
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: sour
Garnish: fresh lemon twist

Combine all ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish.

*Sweet tea syrup: Steep 2 tsp. of black tea in 4 oz. of near-boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain and stir in an equal measure of granulated sugar until dissolved; let cool before using.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Do You Have the ABSOLUT Best Bloody Mary Recipe?

BARTENDERS! The Food Network New York City Food & Wine Festival presented by Food & Wine is once again showcasing America’s best Bloody Mary recipes—this year, yours could be one of them! Finalists will be flown to New York City to serve up their best ABSOLUT Bloody Mary at the CHOPPED! Best Bloody Mary Brunch. Food Network celebrity chefs will host and judge, crowning America’s Best Bloody Mary on October 18.

Entry is simple!
1.  Create your original version of the ABSOLUT Best Bloody Mary using your choice of ABSOLUT vodka(s).
2. Snap a picture to showcase your creative presentation.
3. Click here to submit your entry.
4. Enter by August 31, 2014.

Good luck!  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Quick Sips: Tasty Bits from Around the Web

A letter to a young bartender, penned by an industry great. Yahoo Food

Is China really turning tiger bones into wine? io9

This handy calculator will tell you exactly how much you’re spending on each cup of joe. USA Today

Will climate change affect the future of wine corks? Discovery

One Imbibe contributor covers Dubai’s cocktail scene. Miami Herald

Friday, July 18, 2014

Drink of the Week: The Hurricane

Photo: Stuart Mullenberg
It’s that time of year again, when cocktail and spirits enthusiasts from around the globe descend on the Big Easy for the mother of all drinks fests, Tales of the Cocktail. And while we’re saving our new, super-secret drink discoveries for upcoming issues of the magazine, there’s one Nola classic that we currently can’t get enough of. The official cocktail of this year’s fest, the Hurricane is as timeless as it is misunderstood. An electric mix of rum, passion fruit and citrus first mixed in the 1940s at Pat O’Briens bar in New Orleans’ French Quarter (its name comes from the hurricane lamp-like glass it’s served in), many of today’s versions rely on a powdery mix and bottom-shelf booze, but thankfully, venerable Nola bartender Chris Hannah has adapted his own version, which is as fresh and summery as can be.

2 oz. full-bodied rum 
1/2 oz. fresh orange juice 
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice 
1/2 oz. passion fruit syrup (B.G. Reynolds’ makes a great bottled version)
1/4 oz. grenadine
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: Hurricane
Garnish: fresh orange or lime wedge

Combine all ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into an ice-filled glass, and garnish.

Adapted by Chris Hannah, French 75 Bar, New Orleans

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Quick Sips: Tasty Bits from Around the Web

Does half of the world actually prefer instant coffee? The Washington Post

A tasting trip to one of the wine world's most sacred spots. New York Times

Why iced coffee price hikes have us feeling the heat. Gothamist

German capers nab thousands of liters of beer. Wall Street Journal

Five important facts about your a.m. cup of joe. Forbes

Friday, July 11, 2014

Drink of the Week: Marcel Lapierre “Raisins Gaulois” 2013 Gamay

Looking for the ultimate summertime red? We’ve found it. This young-vine Gamay comes from a founding estate of the natural wine movement and is crafted with biodynamic grapes grown mostly in the Morgon cru of France’s Beaujolais region. Pop it in the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to serve, and get ready to uncork an easy-drinking freshness that’s ripe with juicy red fruits, stone minerality (thanks to its granite soil) and kiss of baking spice on the finish. Easy enough to drink solo, but with enough oomph to stand alongside burgers and brats off the grill, this bottle has summertime drinking written all over it. $14, astorwines.com

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Quick Sips: Tasty Bits From Around the Web

This 3D newspaper ad offers up quite the caffeinated surprise. Gizmodo

When it comes to wine, the additives debate rages on. Wired

Guess which wine school just scored big with a top-dollar endowment. Press Democrat

One ballpark just debuted self-serve beer machines. Twin Cities

Could this coffee cup change the way we take our joe on the go? Business Week 

Monday, July 07, 2014

Champagne Wishes and (Bottled) Cocktail Dreams

It started in December, when Katie Burnett, Imbibe’s Marketing Director, came back from the Christmas holiday engaged. Then, about a month later, editors Tracy Howard and Miranda Rake both came to the office sporting new engagement rings of their own. Over the past six months, all three have been in wedding-planning mode and have found three different ways to answer the age-old question: what drinks to serve to guests? Anyone looking for ideas and tips for their own wedding planning should look no further—we’ve got you covered.

Imbibe:  How would you describe the style of your weddings?  

Tracy: I’m having the outdoorsy farm wedding—complete with bluegrass band, lawn games and lots of local beer and wine.

Miranda: We’re having a black-tie, winter wedding. The ceremony will be at a church in downtown Portland, and our reception will be at a private club. I wanted it to feel really classic, and hopefully timeless.

Katie: We’re approaching the wedding like we’re throwing the party of the year for our friends and family. Think rock band over cover band. Cocktail menu over open bar. I wouldn’t call us very traditional, so we’re throwing all wedding conventions out the door and moving forward with something that reflects who we are as a couple and something our friends and family will love—even if they don’t know it yet … eek!

Is there anything you knew you wanted to serve, drinks-wise, right off the bat?  

TH: My fiancé and I want things that feel authentic to us, so we knew right away we wanted to serve lots of Oregon Pinot Noir, beer from a favorite local brewery and then Fernet-Branca with dessert!

MR: Good bubbly! I had dreams of serving excellent Champagne all night long and devoting as much of my budget to that as was necessary, but reality set in pretty quickly once we started to plan the wedding. That said, we will still be serving something very lovely, just probably not grower Champagne—at least not all night long.

KB: Palomas, Negronis and Boulevardiers. These are our go-to’s all year long. Yes, I do drink Palomas in the winter!

How did you figure out how much to plan for, drinks-wise—how much to order, to serve or to budget for? 

TH: We definitely allotted a big part of our budget to booze. Our friends like to drink (a lot), and we definitely don’t want the well to run dry! We’re serving drinks from cocktail hour through the end of the night (not during the ceremony) and for 125 guests basically figured one case each of white wine and rosé and 10 cases of red (case=12 bottles), since we figure people will switch to red for dinner. We’re also ordering two full kegs since whatever is leftover will come on the bus with us to the after party. Which brings up an important detail—transportation! We want our friends to cut loose and have a good time, so we’re springing for school bus transportation to and from the farm. I’d definitely recommend carving room in your budget to get friends to and fro.

MR: It’s such a guessing game. Our reception site is a club that houses a restaurant and a couple of bars, so running out of booze isn’t a concern. However, I wanted to know what to plan on for budgeting purposes, so I went with the one-drink-per-person-per-hour formula, and I am guessing that 40% of people will have a cocktail, while the rest will stick to wine and beer. We’ll see how accurate it was when all is said and done!

KB: We are not having an open bar, but are instead curating a cocktail menu for our guests. This makes it somewhat easier, because we can better calculate the amount of product needed and don’t have to guess how many people will order a gin martini vs. vodka martini. We’re doing a family-style supper, which could pose a problem for wine. The trick here is not to place another bottle on the table until the other is finished. Otherwise, you could wind up with five half-open bottles of red.

Hard alcohol: To serve or not to serve? Was this a tough choice for you? How did you decide? 

TH: It was a tough choice, but for reasons you might not think! The quality of the cocktails we’d serve is paramount, and I was nervous about bartenders maintaining consistency while having to churn out dozens and dozens of drinks. The other concern was trying to keep guests from getting too schnockered early on.

MR: There’s always the fear that people will abuse an open, full bar, but now that most of our friends are in their 30s, we’re trusting that they can handle it! That said, five hours of a full, open bar might be a bit much, so we’re going to offer hard alcohol during the cocktail hour and switch to just wine and beer when people move upstairs. I’m also planning to talk with the bartender before the wedding and encourage them to feel very free to cut people off at any sign of trouble.

KB: Serve away! We’re a cocktail-loving couple. It just wouldn’t feel right to not have cocktails be a big part of our wedding. Like I said, we decided to create a cocktail menu, rather than open bar, to provide a point of view and to make it a bit more personal. We’re picking four drinks we love and that can be tweaked to please any palate.

What cocktails will you serve and why?

TH: We have a Friday-night tradition in our house of making pizza and Negronis every week, so we knew if we were going to serve a cocktail it would be a Negroni. Issue is, it’s a somewhat strong drink. But our solution to maintain consistency while keeping the proof in check was to dilute, carbonate and bottle them! We tested different dilution levels and opted for adding in 25% water prior to carbonating. Now it tastes like a Negroni soda, which is super refreshing.

MR: People can order anything they’d like, though I think the bartender will mostly be mixing up the classics! We’ve got some devoted Martini and Manhattan lovers in both of our families, which was a big part of why we decided to offer hard alcohol.

KB: We are doing Palomas, Negronis and Boulevardiers at our main bar during cocktail hour. We’re also doing a Highball bar (this was Merit Badge’s brilliant idea) where we’ll have a vodka and gin + soda water. Then guests can pick their own fruit or herb syrup to customize the drink. We’re going to work with our friends at The Commissary for these. They do incredible seasonal syrups. We’ll also have a whiskey room that opens later in the evening, plus a welcome bottled cocktail aperitif available upon arrival before the ceremony.

Any tips for DIY-ing drinks? 

TH: Our original plan was to prebatch everything out for the bartenders, but we opted to bottle individual cocktails instead. And after several rounds of testing we got it dialed in! A few tips: Refrigerate the whole batch before carbonating; and after carbonating, funnel into individual bottles with a small siphon hose attached to the bottom of the funnel to direct the cocktail right to the bottom of the glass—this will help hold the carbonation. Also, cap right away to hold in as much of the carbonation as possible!

KB: Yes and yes. Batch, batch, batch! I’ve been to so many weddings with the dreaded drink line, so we’re being very mindful of this. Again, hiring a cocktail catering company like Merit Badge means having a clear plan of action to address this in advance.

How and why did you pick your bartender? 

KB: Our venue allows for outside caterers of our choice, so I immediately called Merit Badge. They’re an incredible cocktail catering duo based in Portland, Oregon. Cocktail caterers are a godsend. Seriously. My belief: You should not have to batch all your cocktails for your own wedding! Sure, the awesomely crafty DIY-ers will (ahem, Tracy), but I loved the idea of checking this off the list and putting it in the hands of someone I trust! Luckily, there are incredibly talented bartenders who now offer these services around the country. Dear friends of mine run a similar company in Los Angeles, Cocktail Academy, and they’re going to be curating the cocktails for our rehearsal dinner. My advice: do your research and delegate to the right team!

TH: Unfortunately, we don’t have the option to pick our own, so are trusting that the two provided by our caterer will get the job done!

MR: I’m in the same boat as Tracy—we’re trusting the venue to do a great job of picking someone!

What about wine and beer—what will you be pouring?  

TH: We wanted to marry what we love to drink with things we knew our guests would also enjoy. The Whoa Nelly Willamette Valley Pinot Noir was an easy choice (seriously the best budget-friendly Pinot out there), but the white was a bit trickier. We tasted several varieties, and while I was really struck by a Pinot Blanc, we opted for Pinot Gris, since we thought it was something our older family members would enjoy more. As for the beer, you really can’t go wrong in the Pacific Northwest, but we went with the Double Mountain red, since we frequent the brewery often (including stopping in for celebratory pints right after we got engaged!).

MR: We originally wanted to bring our own wine in and pay the corkage fee because we have friends and family who work for importers and we thought we’d be able to serve better wine for the money that way. But over time, I realized that (as much as possible) I wanted to simplify the wedding-planning process for myself, and serving the wines and beers that are already available at our venue was one way to do that. I’ve started talking with the sommelier and quickly realized that, with enough notice, they’re able to bring in almost any wines we’d like, which I think is a great thing for brides to realize! There’s no need to feel penned in by a venue that already has a wine list set for you to choose from. As long as you’ve got a good amount of time (a few months at least), there’s no reason that you can’t engage the venue in a conversation about bringing in other wines. Ask which importer they typically buy from, and ask to see the entire catalogue. Chances are good you’ll see at least a few wines within the catalogue(s) that you’re excited about. For our wedding, we’re going to offer two whites, two reds, and a bubbly. For the whites, we’ll serve a Chardonnay (many Chardonnay lovers in both of our families) and something light and easy, like a Pinot Gris. This being Oregon, it’s probably sacrilege to not serve a Pinot Noir but considering that it’ll be midwinter, we’re opting for bigger, heavier wines. My fiancé loves chewy, big, tobacco-y Italian bottles and I am partial to herbaceous, earth French goodness, so we’ll probably veer in that direction for the reds.

KB: We’re pouring local wines and getting a ½ keg of beer.

What will you be toasting with? Will you be drinking the same thing as your guests?  

TH: While I love the idea of treating everyone to a big Champagne toast, we’ll be raising glasses with whatever people already have in-hand. That way, we can save the fancy bubbly for just the two of us once we’re out of our wedding cloud and back to real life!

KB: We’re letting people toast with whatever is in their glass.

MR: We’ll probably serve a crémant for the toast. My fiancé and I will be drinking something special that is also yet-to-be-chosen—it’s really important to me that we toast with something wedding-day special on our actual wedding day, and unfortunately, we can’t afford vintage Champagne for everyone at the wedding. I’ve been to a few friends’ weddings where the bride and groom sipped Krug while the rest of us toasted with prosecco, and I didn’t feel anything but excited for them, so I am hoping that no one really minds. Plus, I’ve come to realize that a lot of people don’t really care, which is hard for me to wrap my head around, but I know is true. I’d like to have enough good Champagne on hand to share with those who do care, and something good but budget-friendly for those just want half a glass for the toasts.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Quick Sips: Tasty Bits from Around the Web

Garagistes get their very own wine fest. Daily News

Coffee-infused wine—it’s a thing. LA Times

Rosé—the wine of summer. ABC News

 Bet you’ll never guess which states drink the most beer. 247Wall St.

Beer-fueled TED Talks—we’re in! Paste

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

6 Picnic-Friendly Punches for the 4th of July

Photo: Justen Clay
Because the only thing more all-American than a 4th of July barbecue is a well-made cocktail, and we’ve rounded up six summery drinks fit for a crowd. Whether you’re hoping to be the host-with-the-most, or a grateful guest wanting to offer something than a six-pack, these party punches will keep the party going long after the first sparkler is lit.

Porch Punch (pictured)
Bourbon, fragrant orange flower water, and a happy marriage of Earl Grey and mint tea make for a memorable and simple summertime punch.

Pepper-Watermelon Margarita
Fresh watermelon juice is made extra refreshing with the addition of the cooling heat of jalapeno, tangy lime juice, a bit of salt and tequila.

French 75 Punch
Everyone’s favorite sparkling cocktail is now available in party size.

Spring Street Swizzle Punch
Treat your BBQ guests to a tropical breeze, in the form of this orange-and-pinapple spiked rum punch.

Sparkling Ginger Lemon Mocktail
In between burger bites and sparkler fun, give the kiddos (and the teetotaling grown ups) something extra special to sip on.

Pitcher of Mojitos
If one Mojito is good, isn’t a pitcher of Mojitos better?