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.
This faucet really blows
There are more inefficient and grosser routines in life, but washing and drying our hands has that certain je ne sais quoi — the feeling that there must be a more sensible, genius solution on tap somewhere. The genius solution comes courtesy of the folks at Dyson; their Occam’s Razor solution is the new Dyson Airblade Tap (call to discuss pricing), a hyper-efficient washer/dryer faucet combo.
Take it outside
Music lovers don’t want to be tethered to an indoor system — loud enough to be heard outside is too loud for inside — but even “outdoor” systems rarely last long out in the wet and cold. Bowers & Wilkins AM-1 exposes your music to the elements with impunity, thanks to a durable, weather-resistance speaker enclosure.
Burn the lamp at both ends
Melatonin is a hormone produced inside the brain that helps regulate sleep. It essentially burns away when light enters the eyes; when there is no light it builds up in your noodle and you snooze. Good taste is something the regulates the aesthetic appeal of your personal environment; the more good taste you have, the more friends you will have. What we’re saying is, it’s time to ditch the lava lamp and invest in the Satechi Smart LED Desk Lamp ($100).
Rack 'em up
Indoor bike racks come in all shapes and sizes, most of them trending toward “modern chic” or “classic natural”. Some just look like ugly contemporary sculptures. The Make 001 Bike Rack ($180), first product of fledgling design group Make, combines the best of both worlds with an unpresumptuous shape and clean design.
Rock Out With Your Crock Out
There’s a magic cauldron for preparing food — one you’re likely not using — that combines convenience, a near-guarantee against overcooking and the ability to transform inexpensive, tough cuts of meat into tender, flavorful dishes. This fire-and-forget-it tool? The slow cooker. A slow cooker, as the name suggests, takes low heat, moisture and a long…
Drill baby drill
The cordless drill is the most useful tool in any man’s bag. Untethered power and portability combined with the ability to go from drill to drive in mere seconds make it the go-to grab for most projects around the house. While the 18V and 20V bit-twisters of the world have homes on the belts of contractors and semi-pro weekend warriors alike, breaking out the big guns just to hang a picture or tighten some screws is well, overkill — plus every now and then things can get a little tight. Whether you’re just beginning your collection or adding to the fleet, the torque and twist-time offered by today’s 12V versions rivals many of their corded counterparts, minus the heft; that can often be the difference between completing a job and cursing til the cows come home.
Pamper the pooch
He eats your food. He sleeps in your bed. Hell, he kisses your significant other more than you do. Yet you bathe your dog with a hose and a bottle of harsh, ineffective soap. Aesop Animal Wash ($35) is a bit of a splurge, for sure, but it’s made to the same standard as Aesop’s…
Whittle away at your meal
Sure, you’ve used an Opinel blade to eat — but that was a skewer of venison charred over a kindling fire under the stars. Enjoy quality cutlery under different circumstances with Opinel’s Bon Apetit Table Knives ($70). These dishwasher-safe, olive wood-handled knives feature Swedish stainless steel blades and handsome, sleek design, somewhere between a paring and a steak knife
Not-so-large, but in charge
As mother nature continues to channel Tony Danza — reminding us of who’s the boss of this marble — on an increasing basis, proper emergency preparedness is more important than ever. The Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Generator is a breadbox-sized lifeline for powering both critical gadgets like lights and radios along with all of the touchscreen comforts of an upper middle class home.
How a stove suits up
Listen, we’ve all said some stupid things to impress people. The only difference is that we’ve never said anything that can be disproved (go ahead, see if there’s evidence on the internet proving our uncle wasn’t the inspiration for Weekend at Bernie’s). But you. You actually told a young lady that you’re an excellent cook,…
For the notary public and/or spy in your life
We have a ton of questions about the Ion Audio Air Copy, which was just announced at CES 2013. The primary one is, what’s a company most known for making inexpensive USB turntables doing throwing out a wireless scanner? More importantly, who actually needs — literally, needs — a wireless scanner? From our deep and…
A Plant Tracker To Root For
For obsessive but absent-minded tech geeks whose thumbs are jonesin’ to go green, the Flower Power app by Parrot is the perfect gardener on the cheap. Using a wireless bio-dongle — a kitschy divining-rod-shaped device that plugs into the soil next to your budding buddy — the app monitors plants’ stats in real time. Data…
Your home or office may not be a hazardous environment, but that shouldn’t stop you from hanging a vintage explosion-proof clock ($1,200) from the Crouse-Hinds Company on your wall. Designed with heavily insulated components to make it safe for use in volatile environments such as mines, paint factories, and grain processing plants, this 40-pound clock…
Stop cutting corners
With over 300 patents and almost ninety years of experience under their belts, the toolmakers at Festool have a reputation for Über-engineered innovations for the discerning craftsman. The Festool CMS Router Table ($1,200+) is their latest piece of all-aluminum handiwork for cabinetmakers looking to soften some edges without cutting any corners. Seamless integration of either…
Right on time
If you’ve been to Switzerland — or just watched The Eiger Sanction or The Bourne Identity — you may have seen the clocks of the venerable Schweizerische Bundes Bahnen (SBB), or Swiss Federal Railway service. The clock design, created in 1944 by then-SBB employee Hans Hilfiker, is instantly recognizable. Black points stand starkly against a…
Time to print some rocks
Ah, those childhood days when you turned your parents’ kitchen table into your Revell model building station. But now you’ve got a job, and your own kids, who care more about their smartphones than about creating fine small-scale automotive replicas. Do yourself a favor and take back your inner maker with Papercruiser foldable PDF models ($3-$7).
Fortress of Solid-tude
Looking to build a man-cave resembling something out of the Applied Sciences section of Wayne Enterprises? While undoubtedly Batman’s bivouac of choice, the Concrete Canvas Shelter (~$30,000+) is also an incredible achievement in British ingenuity and instant accommodations. Available in both 270- and 580-square foot models, these buildings-in-a-bag can be constructed by two people in under an hour and become semi-permanent structures in just one day. Simply unfurl, inflate and douse the shell with anything this side of sewage, and you have a weatherproof and insulated shelter ready for refuge.
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).
Ask any coffee aficionado about the best method for brewing a cup and they’ll rifle off one of several manual techniques. That’s because doing it yourself is far more precise than your average Mr. Sloppy in terms of water temperature and distribution, which are key for the proper extraction of coffee bean oils. Behmor’s Brazen…
Still safer than your turkey fryer
You worked your ass off during the spring and summer to landscape that patio into a prime entertainment spot — only to watch it all wither away over the last few months. Your bitter attitude or the bitter weather shouldn’t keep you from enjoying moments outside with friends, though. The Loll Designs Fire Ring ($590) is a three foot wide outdoor fire pit made in the USA from 1/8 thick steel that’s perfect for small gatherings.
Knives for a pro to show
Function and performance should always be a cook’s first concerns when picking a set of chef’s knives, but if you assume that means style has to sit on the back burner, you clearly haven’t looked hard enough. The Edge of Belgravia Ceramic Series Chef’s Knives ($422) are a prime example that would look right at…
Coils to spoil
Feeling hosed by your current big box hose? Dramm ColorStorm Hoses ($53) are the Rolls Royces of the home watering world, built with professional nurseries in mind. Made in the U.S.A from molded EPDM rubber and crush-proof nickel-plated couplings, they’re designed to resist kinking and maintain flexibility even in temperatures as low as -25 degrees…
Your drawers are on fire
Ah, the advantages of having your own home office. No micromanager looking over your shoulder, plus you can take conference calls in your pajamas and enjoy a relaxing post-lunch cigar break. No need to step outside of your cozy cubicle, either. Just crack open the e15 SB12 MARTOUB drawer humidor, where your Havanas can be…
No petri in your dishes
You may have hoodwinked a loved one into dropping some coin on a proper knife set this holiday season, but you probably didn’t realize that a decent cutting board is just as important. In many types of cutting boards (both wood and plastic), a knife leaves a scar or slice mark in the material, which…
Big bass, little package
Home theater buffs and audiophiles alike know that to achieve harmonic balance a quality low range is essential. For those who also seek balance in all things feng and shui, that usually means burying oversized towers under foliage of some sort or trying to stuff a subwoofer under a settee. To quell the dissonance, Seattle-based…
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.
Campaign furniture reform
We’re no strangers to the revival of heritage American brands, but what about revisiting cool gear from the heyday of the British Empire? An under-explored category, indeed. On a recent trip to Elephant Pepper Camp in Kenya’s Mara North Conservancy, we slept, dined, drank and chewed the fat in tents furnished handsomely by J&R Guram,…
The War of the Brews
Whether the result of sipping the caffeine-laden mixture it produces or simply seeing its form in your periphery, the CB Industries Jules Espresso Maker ($~1390) will surely open bleary morning eyes. This limited edition espresso maker, created by Swiss artist and Designer Carlo Borer, features a beautifully polished stainless-steel orb perched upon a tripod of…
Drive the line in your own home
Though we’re pretty sure the Tour De France now needs a bit more polishing than its excellent NoMo Design posters could possibly provide, the company’s efforts are never wasted. Such is clearly the case with their new Racetrack Series Posters ($26). NoMo covers eight legendary racetracks — Talladega, Daytona, Laguna Seca, Suzuka, Indianapolis, Monaco, Silverstone…