Call it the Pappy effect if you want, or just plain business savvy, but most distilleries saw an opportunity in limited, premium bourbons in the early 2000s. At one of Lexington’s best bourbon bars, the Blue Grass Tavern, we laid eyes on some of the absolute best.
Admiring the Selection at Lexington's Blue Grass Tavern
A full command of bourbon terminology is a necessity when it comes to distinguishing between distilleries and knowing what’s in your glass. We asked employees in the bourbon industry to arm us with a basic vocabulary.
Not Poppin' Bottles
Through crafty engineering, some physics, and one medically precise needle, the Coravin 1000 uncorks a world of wine possibilities (without pulling the cork).
A Study in the Finer Points of Drinking
Alcohol remains an enduring motif in the great American narrative. That’s probably because those that wrote it drank, and drank well — epitomized by the enduring symbol of the most sophisticated of drinking cultures: the bar cart.
What follows is just one interpretation of how the home bar should look and taste. Like with all things great, a great bar cart is a long term investment and requires time to develop. It’s not necessary to stock everything; ours is listed simply to help guide those starting from scratch in the finer points of home drinking. Click, learn and imbibe well.
Get Your Glass in Order
There are serious benefits to matching your glass to your beer. Here’s our guide to the different types of glasses and the brews you should sip out of them.
Here's your soda, jerk
Given new life by the advent of SodaStream, the do-it-yourself home soda stand is becoming increasingly popular. With the ability to tailor CO2-infused drinks to individual tastes (and control sugar content), pop-aficionados and mixologists alike can don Dr. Pepper’s lab coat to keep themselves awash in bubbly. These are the best soda makers for doing just that.
Gifts He'll Actually Remember in the Morning
What to call a man who obsesses over alcohol? A connoisseur? A fanatic? A drunk? We call him The Mixologist, and you know him well. He’s the man whose cupboards are stocked with more bitters than spices, whose basement is reeking of homebrew, whose glass is always half-full — at least. And yours too, for the Mixologist prides himself in the cocktails he makes and the beer he serves. He’s an enabler of fun, an anti-Scrooge, a Holiday MVP. He’s every character in Billy Joel’s Piano Man — in fact, he does a mean Billy Joel if the night goes late enough. So cheers to The Mixologist. Here are a few gifts he’ll cheers to.
Only good things in store
A decent drink can be hard to find, especially when you’re at home. For the do-it-yourselfers who would rather the “do” simply be mixing the strong stuff with the not-so-strong stuff, we’ve compiled a list of the top five mixers you can find in your friendly neighborhood high-end liquor store. All you have to do is add booze, ice and maybe a wry wink as you drop in the cocktail straw.
Ensuring your scotch survives, even if you don't
The fine single malt makers at The Macallan have teamed up with Oakley to create a limited edition box set and spirits container packed with enough raw masculinity to rob the entire Expendables cast of decades of sequel paychecks. While the traditional groomsmen pleaser is designed to serve as a portable and discrete vessel for drinking on the go, The Flask is a boldly designed, laser welded masterpiece whose material spec sheet reads like the space shuttle’s.
Old School, High Quality, No BS
In the constant pursuit of a high-quality, stylish lifestyle, it’s understandable that we men may stray from the path a time or two — a truck stop frozen burrito here, a discount-grade pair of white socks there. Most times, though, we regret purchasing shoddy products. Owen & Fred, The Store For Men is a response to just such disappointing gimmickry, providing the superbly crafted choice for everything from dopp kits to ties to kitchen accessories and all the rest.
A stagger on the wild side
For the connoisseur of fine spirits, the dabbler of craft brews, arcane wine regions and exclusive distillations, we’ve got a read that’s a cat of a different feather. Twisted like a mixed metaphor, Alt Whiskeys: Alternative Whiskey Recipes and Distilling Techniques for the Adventurous Craft Distiller ($30) offers the experimenting distiller some whiskey recipes that step past the fringe.
Fill 'er up
It can be emitted by your stomach, your dog or your angry in-law, but the best form of the low rumble is the growler, beer drinkers’ response to the doggy bag. Portland Growler Co. knows their way around these 32- and 64-ounce jugs o’ joy better than just about anybody. The (you guessed it) Portland company proudly designs a range of growlers, which are then slip cast, trimmed and made to order by Mudshark Studios (also of Portland, of course).
Do Go Tipsy Into that Good Night
There are a number of different ways to use your final hours on this earth: You could scramble for last-minute supplies, or put the finishing touches on that
coffin bunker in the backyard. Pack up and bug out to hopefully greener pastures, perhaps; visit with family and friends for some final goodbyes, if you’re the sentimental type. The way we figure, though, this final Friday affords you the perfect excuse to settle down, put your feet up and enjoy one last drink (or five) and enjoy the show.
12 gifts for the booze lover
The Mixologist’s gotten you into plenty of blissful adventures, most of which ended without real long term damage to your record or your marriage. He’s a passionate guy, and he knows his craft: beer, that is. Malts, mash, wheat, barley, rye, and oh yes, sweet sweet delicious hops — he sucks them all down, grinning…
Delicious to the bitter end
A key cocktail element hasn’t gotten much love lately, but Woodford Reserve Bourbon Aged Spiced Cherry Bitters brings small batch excellence back to our favorite drinking “dash”. The notable bourbon maker teamed up with Bourbon Barrel Foods, blending standard gentian root with cherry and spices to create a unique alcoholic add in. The bitters are…
The best kind of warmth
As thoughts of crackling fires, the laughter (and possibly screaming) of little children and more than your fair share of gingerbread descend upon you in the coming weeks, you might need some holiday cheer to get yourself through it all. What better time to start planning for the requisite imbibing by picking up some Crown…
A different kind of pot sticker
Throwing “it” against the wall to see what stuck used to be a hasty solution. Not any longer, my friends. In fact, with the Magic Wall Kitchen Organizer (~$340+), it’s encouraged. Knives, pots, pans, tins, tools, keys and even the kitchen sink (although we don’t recommend it) now have a designated vertical stowage space on this…
Have booze, will travel
Gone should be the days of plastic fraternity tumblers filled with warm beer and a properly unclaimed bottle of peppermint schnapps laying sideways behind the sofa. You’re an adult now (right?). Hosting friends means having the right spirits at hand for magical concoctions, without the mess. The Crate & Barrel Libations Bar Cart ($599) can…
Double barreled flavors
The gentle chill of early fall spurs dreams of crackling fires, wool blankets and some good single malt Scotch. To fulfill that last desire, we looked to The Balvenie’s latest release, DoubleWood 17 Year Old. Created by Malt Master (what a title) David Stewart, DoubleWood is aged in vanilla-imparting oak casks for 17 years and…
A non-partisan pleasure
Regardless of your politics, a brew with the president would be pretty cool. While you wait for your invitation to the White House, try one of Northern Brewer’s White House beer recipe kits ($37+). When that call does come through, you’ll be able to wax intellectual with the leader of the free world about “sweet…
Ditch the canteen, break out the stein.
It’s not exactly practical to lug bottles of beer or soda when you’re roughing it in the great outdoors, but if you can get your hands on something other than water and coffee, it’s a welcomed treat for your parched lips at the end of an active day. Pat’s Backcountry Beverages allows you to do…
50 Ways to Toast America
Looking for a way to celebrate Merica’ year round? The American Cocktail: 50 Recipes That Celebrate the Craft of Mixing Drinks from Coast to Coast ($13) should do the trick. This helpful bartender companion, written by the trustworthy purveyors of liquid culture over at Imbibe Magazine, covers a unique selection of 50 favourites from master…
Oktoberfest on demand
We’ve found home brewers to be a zealous lot, with arguments about proportions of barley/hops/secret ingredients, the virtues of top versus bottom fermenting, and the pursuit of a beer that rocks ABV and IBU values. With a small investment ($45K), you can put your brewing efforts on Viagra and move directly to the top of…
A Vine Time
Winos rejoice! Though the Peugeot Clef du Vin doesn’t purport itself to transform a bottle of Yellow Tail Cab Sauv to a Caymus, it will give you a glimpse of what your wine could taste like if left to properly age. Utilizing an alloy of various metals, the Clef du Vin accelerates reduction of oxygen…
Layering down the party
Having a product made by Dutch entrepreneurs that’s seemingly named by Spaniards makes almost no sense, but then again, what do you expect when dealing with a machine made explicitly to shock and amaze booze drinkers? The LayerNation El Tirador (Spanish for “the shooter”) is a drink dispenser whose power lies in its ability to…
We’re suckers for good gin, so when one pops up in our backyard, we uncap some vermouth and chill our martini glasses. Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin ($30) is a new product from the Greenhook Ginsmiths Distillery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Led by ginsmith Steven DeAngelo, the distillery utilizes a vacuum method that lowers the atmospheric…
Starting relief pitcher
With spring in the air, the NHL already in playoff mode and the NBA’s second season about to start, there are a number of reasons to have the boys over for a beer. The Ice Core Beer Pitcher ($13) is a simple accessory that ensures your suds will stay ice cold, out on the patio…
Jailbreak your beer
Even with the current renaissance of commercial craft brewing, many of us still feel the need to tinker or create our own. Sure this stout is fantastic, but what if I added some espresso beans? Leave it to a Gear Patrol staff and reader favorite, Dogfish Head, to devise an easy and low-cost solution. The…
Leave it to the French to create a better way to schlep wine from chateau to chateau. Wrapped-up in its hexagon tote form, the Zebag can hold and insulate six bottles securely. When not on the move, the carrier can unroll into “bar mode”, functioning as an 11 bottle rack, or simply hang in a…