Reading About Drinking

The Punch Bowl by Dan Searing

Henny Youngman once said, “when I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.” We like to channel the comedian’s wise words by only reading about books that champion drinking, like The Punch Bowl ($10) by Dan Searing. This veritable tome of punchy goodness celebrates the modern renaissance of this social concoction while...

Two casks, one great whiskey

Tasting Notes: Bowmore Islay Darkest 15-Year Single Malt Scotch

Bowmore produces a full range of Scotch whiskeys, from the entry-level 12 year old bottle to the 25-year, plus some really rare drams that sell for thousands at auction. One of the most interesting in the whole lineup though is Bowmore Darkest ($70), aged 15 years. Bowmore Darkest is an apt name for this whiskey....

From Peru to you

Tasting Notes: Pisco Portón

In the mid-to-late 1800s, pisco was all over San Francisco, shipped up the coast from Peru to quench the thirst of hopeful gold miners who moved west in 1849. Pisco Punch was the most popular cocktail at the time, and in general, life was good for pisco producers until Prohibition ended its rampant supply. Since...

A boozy tribute to Kentucky

Tasting Notes: 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon

Named for the year that Kentucky became a state, 1792 Ridgemont Reserve ($28) is a handcrafted small batch bourbon from the whiskey-soaked hills of Bardstown. Created with a high percentage of rye grains, aged for eight years and bottled at 93.7 proof, this bourbon is spicy, complex and full-bodied. On the nose, 1792 Ridgemont Reserve...

Before Gin, there was Genever

Tasting Notes: Bols Genever

Originally produced as medicine in the late 1500s by a Dutch chemist, genever was a spirit distilled from malt wine. It was strong and not particularly tasty, but juniper berries and herbs were added to improve the flavor. Soon genever was a favorite drink among the people of Holland. It eventually made its way to...

Nothing says love and appreciation like liquor

Tasting Notes | Father’s Day Cocktail: The Boulevardier

Your dad. The guy who taught you most of what you know, including the nuances of fine whiskey and the satisfaction of working with your hands. This year, combine both of those valuable life skills to craft Dad a well-deserved drink. The Boulevardier is a fine, father-friendly cocktail – a timeless classic that’s unpretentious, elegant...

Drink your dinner: Chicken-infused booze

Tasting Notes: Del Maguey Mezcal

For years, the mythical spirit mezcal (also spelled mescal) was considered to be Mexican moonshine and often associated with cheap, fiery liquor housing a worm. While the worm was merely a marketing gimmick employed by certain producers, mezcal lives on and is growing in popularity across the country thanks to companies like Del Maguey ($40-$200),...

A Throwback to the Rums of Old

Tasting Notes: Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum

Smith and Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum ($29) is what happened when importer Haus Alpenz teamed up with some industry luminaries to create a new rum – one that pays homage to the rums of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While many of today’s rums feature light and sweet flavor profiles, earlier era Jamaican...

Big whiskey in small batches

Tasting Notes: Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve

Bourbon itself is a manly drink, but ratchet up the proof to 120 – that’s 60% alcohol – and you’re operating on an entirely different level. Of course, we discerning drinkers care about more than just alcohol content. After all, when’s the last time you kicked back with a glass of Everclear? Enter Knob Creek...

The green fairy, made in America

Tasting Notes: Vieux Carré Absinthe

After decades of misinformation and smear campaigns that resulted in absinthe’s being outlawed in the United States since 1915, it was reintroduced to the market in 2007. Slow adoption has since sped up, and these days absinthe can be found in liquor stores and bars across the country. There’s even an American-made product courtesy of...

Single malts don’t just come from Scotland

Tasting Notes: Knappogue Castle 12 Year Old Irish Whiskey

Historically, Knappogue Castle Irish whiskeys have been bottled according to the year of their distillation and labeled with a vintage date, similar to wine. But last year, in an effort to better reflect the age of their whiskeys, Knappogue Castle introduced an age statement –- in this case, a 12 year old bottling. While veteran...

Because bitter is better

Tasting Notes: Campari

Bright red and bitingly bitter, Campari is a solid addition to any well-stocked home bar. The Italian aperitif is sucked down like water in Western Europe, and while it’s found a spot on bar shelves across the U.S., it’s still an intimidating drink for the uninitiated. Campari begins its life as a base spirit and...

Too smooth to shoot

Tasting Notes: Partida Añejo Tequila

The days of shooting bad tequila with salt and a lime are nearing an end. The tequila category has shaken off its sordid past and reemerged better than ever, with renewed interest in the spirit and a spate of new labels on store shelves. This is good news for discerning drinkers, who are rediscovering classics...

Drink like a navy man

Tasting Notes: Black Tot Last Consignment Rum

July 31, 1970 was a tough day for British sailors as the 300 year tradition of daily rum rations ended. With the market for British Royal Naval Rum drying up, remaining stocks were stored away in warehouses laying mostly undisturbed, only brought out for state functions and royal weddings. Luckily for us, in the true...