Drinks

Gleaning the Importance of the Family Tree

Buffalo Trace’s Hunt for the Perfect Bourbon

"Buffalo Trace is already making the bourbons of the future”, said our guide Freddy Johnson. It sounded bold until we stopped to think about it. Whiskey has to age before it can qualify as bourbon, so technically, every distiller is making “the bourbons of the future” today. Still, after we spent an afternoon learning about the company’s quest to make the world’s perfect bourbon, his phrasing seemed prophetic.

Admiring the Selection at Lexington's Blue Grass Tavern

Rare Bourbons Not Named Pappy: A Budding Collector’s Guide

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.

The Taste of a productive day

The Kentucky Sundowner

The Irish have Irish coffee, the Scotch have Highland Coffee, the Germans have Rüdesheimer Kaffee, and college students have vodka and red bull. Kentuckians have the Kentucky Sundowner. Here's how to make one.

Demystifying A Legend

The Complete Guide to Pappy Van Winkle

I'd say that Pappy Van Winkle is a brand that needs no introduction, except that it does. The truth is that most people don’t know anything about “Pappy”, other than that it’s supposed to be the best of its kind. So let’s set the record straight by getting a couple of basic facts out of the way.

Wilderness Trail, Four Roses, Wild Turkey and More

Kentucky Bourbon Trail Travelogue: Day Three

In day three of our Kentucky Bourbon Trail adventure, we check out small (Wilderness Trail) and big (Four Roses, Wild Turkey) distilleries on the way to Lexington -- and get to taste something particularly special.

Maker's Mark, Willet, and More

Kentucky Bourbon Trail Travelogue: Day Two

In day two of our Kentucky Bourbon Trail adventure, we get lost in the backwoods, explore the Willet Distillery, taste a few bourbon cocktails made by a pro, and more.

How a next-generation master distiller helped relight the stills

Willett’s Long Path Back to Bourbon

Willett Master Distiller Drew Kulsveen doesn't have time for bullshit. It's not something he has to tell anyone. The message shoots from his eyes like a railgun. Even at a relatively young age, it's clear he's heard it all before. He talks like someone who’s lost years listening to others dribble on, and worked hard to eradicate the behavior in himself; his speech is terse, verging on curt. You can't blame him for him ignoring the noise. A lot rides on his shoulders. He and his family worked for years to rebuild the family distillery, which reopened in 2012, and now he's determined to prove a point.

High proof cocktails in the bourbon capital

Three Bourbon Cocktails, Made By a Pro

Sometimes out of the bottle with a beer is the best way to have a bourbon", admits Chef Newman Miller, owner of Harrison Smith House in Bardstown, Kentucky. But not always. The three bourbon cocktails he showed us are truly made to meet the expectations of the local Kentuckians.

From Brunch Spot to Global Food Sensation

Louisville’s Hillbilly Tea Has a New Take on Soul Food

Hillbilly Tea sounds like an Urban Dictionary revelation -- or the latest product from the minds of White and Pinkman. For all we know, both of those statements are true. It’s also one of Louisville’s hottest brunch spots, and a burgeoning international brand. And if founders Karter Louis and Chef Arpad "Arpi” Lengyel realize their ultimate vision, that’s just the beginning.

Greetings from the Bluegrass State

Kentucky Bourbon Trail Travelogue: Day One

We figured the best way to get to the bottom of the recent bourbon boom was to head to the Bluegrass State with a few cameras, some notebooks and clean livers for five days of Kentucky scenery, friendly locals and distillery tours. Here's a play-by-play of day one of our investigation on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Whiskey Wisdom

Bourbon Terms, Explained by the Pros

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.

A Roaming Journal of America's Spirit

5 Days on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Bourbon is booming, but only decades ago, it was on a path toward failure. This was most evident in the 1980s, at the height of vodka and big hair, when distilleries in the Bluegrass State were shuttering their doors. They simply couldn’t give bottles away, the same bottles that just a generation before were lining executive conference rooms and hotel bars throughout America. It was by definition an all-American drink, and it was quickly fading. But then in the mid-2000s, distillers realized the atmosphere was changing. Bourbon started coming back. Fast. This explosion, which continues to grow to this day, raises plenty of questions. What's fueling the bourbon boom? Is it going to burst, like tech and housing? Are some bottles really worth $5,000, and more importantly, who’s buying them? What makes a bourbon good? The best way to get to the bottom of this was to head to the Bluegrass State, where 95 percent of the world's bourbon is made, equipped with a few cameras, some notebooks and clean livers for five days on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail -- a triangle of distillery tours throughout the state with endpoints at Louisville, Lexington and Bardstown — for many early mornings and late nights drinking and talking with some of the foremost professionals in booze. We came back with five days of fear and loathing on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Americana in a bottle

The Spirit of Autumn: Best American Apple Brandies

If you're into vintage -- your dad's aviators, reclaimed wood counters, old military watches -- then it doesn’t get much more old school than apple brandy, a spirit distilled from the hard cider of fermented fresh apples and then aged in oak.

The Original Barrel Aged Beer

Tasting the Full 2014 Bourbon County Stout Line

If you heard Goose Island Beer Co. was coming into town with their upcoming Black Friday release of their Bourbon County Stout lineup, which features some of the most coveted beers brewed in the US, you’d expect a little fanfare. But when Mike Siegel, innovations manager for Goose Island, carried the lineup in for tasting, it was at room temperature and accompanied by little plastic cups, the sort any corner store would carry.

Not Poppin' Bottles

Wine Preservation’s Silver Bullet

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

The Perfect Bar Cart

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.

Don't Leave Home Without It

10 Flasks for Every Type of Sipper

Use a flask wisely and you'll have a great hint of lawless confidence; the look of wonder in your buddies' eyes as you swig your just-so-uncouth booze will be all the sweeter. (Smokier, if it's Balvenie 18.) These ones deserve a place in your coat pocket.

Your last iced coffee of the season

What We’re Drinking: Espresso and Tonic

The objective of most post-Starbucks coffee shops has been an almost authoritarian pursuit of purity. But it seems we're turning a corner. This summer the Kaffe Tonic, a mixture of espresso and Fever Tree tonic served over ice at Saint Frank Coffee in San Francisco, caught on.

Update your food pyramid

Cream of the Crop: The Best American Fruit Beers

Fruit beers have long been the redheaded stepchildren of the beer world. But now American brewers are using more complex bases -- stouts, brown ales, rye ales and barleywines among others -- and taking cues from the Belgians, those oldest of fruit beer brewers, to harness the nation’s harvest, from pumpkins to pluots. These are the best fruit beers of their labor.

Everyone Loves the Hefe

Drink Your Wheaties: The Best American Wheat Beers

If you associate wheat beer with Blue Moon and a slice of orange, this is your primer to the world of American brewers doing something more with their wheat malt. They’re adding aromatic hops. They’re open fermenting. They're cultivating a beer that’s front-palate friendly with a full finish. These ten are perfect examples.

Beware of the dark side

Highland Park’s Dark Offering Takes Aim at New Fans

We review Highland Park's latest edition to their core lineup of single malts, Dark Origins, which is defined by a high percentage of double first fill sherry casks and a peatiness yet unheard of from the brand.

Pat's Backcountry Beverages Supplies Passable Camp Beer and Excellent Soda

For Happy Hour in the Backcountry, Just Add Water

Leave it to an Alaskan to invent a new way to drink alcohol outdoors. Pat Tatera, the founder of Pat’s Backcountry Beverages, developed a system for carrying concentrated forms of both alcohol and soda into the wild for hikers to make their own carbonated beverages in minutes with the help of stream water and small carbonation pouches.

Some very old wine indeed

Tasting Notes: Taylor Fladgate 1964 Single Harvest

Taylor Fladgate, one of the council of elders in the Port world, released a 50-year-old tawny port in 2014. In honor of our other stories about Portugal, we raised a glass of it.

The slow creep of one wine collector's addiction

More Mature With Age

I come from a family of beer drinkers, firmly rooted in the blue-collar heritage of my grandfather’s construction and carpentry business. My father likes to say that it was his own skill at unskilled labor that paid his way through college. He whole-heartedly embraced the craft beer movement. My brothers share his taste for the malt, but my passion has been for wine.

A pocket-sized whiskey connoisseur

In Distiller, a Whiskey App Aimed at Educating the Masses

Brent Stiefel and Mikael Mossberg didn’t know much about whiskey when they met up for drinks in May of 2011. Like many people navigating an ocean of Scotch and bourbon, they "were intimidated by folks with mustaches", Stiefel says, but didn’t want to drain their bank accounts by buying every bottle to learn more about what they liked and what they didn't. Feeling a booze-filled higher calling to drink better (and more), the two began drawing up plans for the ideal whiskey resource they'd been searching for but never found.

Four Award-Winning Whiskies

Tasting Notes: Aberlour Full Line

On a recent visit to Aberlour distillery smack dab in the middle of the famed Speyside region, our task at hand was to gain an appreciation for the distiller's unique malting, mashing, blending and maturation processes, and of course, the tasting.

A Prime Spot in Scotland's Scotch Valley

Photo Essay: Walking the Grounds at Aberlour Distillery

Among the big names of the central Speyside region -- Macallan, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet and Ardmore -- Aberlour garners less recognition than most. And yet it's consistently produced one of the most decorated single malt whiskies, with more than 185 awards since the mid-1980s. We walked the grounds of their distillery, which has continuously produced since 1879.

Saison D'etre

Barnyard Brews: The Best Saison Beers

Originally brewed in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium, as a summer treat for farmers who spent hours under the hot sun, saisons often taste spicy, earthy and yeasty, and contain ABV levels that typically run between 4% and 8.5%. Other than a glass of ice water, they’re about as refreshing a drink as you can get on a hot summer day. Here are seven favorites.

two traditional drinks and a classic cocktail with a twist

How to Drink Absinthe Like a Gentleman

Will Elliott of NYC's Maison Premiere shows us the steps to making three types of absinthe drinks: a drip, a frappe and a Sazerac, with a twist.

5 Great Wines Escape their Bottles

White Wine? Just Can It

We got our hands on five canned white wines to find out if they're a clever packaging solution or just an excuse to drink more white wine.

Two Biologists teach Montreal how good craft brews can be

Dieu du Ciel and the Science of Good Beer

A little over two decades ago, Stephane Ostiguy and Jean-Francois Gravel met while studying science at McGill University. Neither got their degrees -- but they do make some of the best beer in the world at Dieu du Ciel, Montreal's best craft brewery.

Get Your Glass in Order

The GP Guide to Beer Glassware

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.

An afternoon with a surfer, winemaker, and philosopher

Viewfinder: Meant to Be

"Why do I surf, why do I make wine?" Johan Reyneke says, laughing to himself. "I don't know. It just happened. It's just meant to be." In this short film by The Perennial Plate, Reyneke surfs in False Bay and explains the way he makes wine. They're two disciplines that may seem quite different but are actually quite similar through the lens of his life's philosophy.

Thanks, Cubans

Weekend Cocktail: The Grapefruit Mojito

It isn't a big secret that we're more than a bit enamored with the beauty and mystique of all things Cuban. That includes the ubiquitous mojito. And while the original recipe will suffice any day, adding the sweet, tangy flavor of grapefruit should boost the mojito to the top of your summer "To-Drink" list.

Yes We Can

10 Canned Craft Beers to Drink Now

Today, at least 400 craft breweries are canning more than 1,400 beers. These 10 are the best of the major styles, from double IPAs to strong ales.

American Beer Meets Irish Whiskey

Tasting the First Beer Aged in Jameson Barrels

Among the fastest growing trends named by brewers at the American Craft Beer Festival was barrel aging, so it's no surprise that the world's largest Irish whiskey producer, Jameson, is constantly approached by craft brewers looking for used barrels. Despite this, not once in Jameson's 234 years of distilling whiskey had the company loaned their barrels to a U.S. company. Well, not until this year, when they gave KelSo Beer Co. founder Kelly Taylor ten barrels to use for an aged IPA.

Drowning in Beer

On the Scene: The American Craft Beer Festival

Only in its seventh year, the American Craft Beer Festival is already the largest beer festival on the East Coast. Unlike the West Coast-dominated Great American Beer Festival, the American Craft Beer Festival isn’t a competition; brewers aren’t asked to pay for their booth space, and they are reimbursed for the beer they serve at the festival. This allows more smaller breweries to attend, and it also makes the festival something of a celebration of beer for beer’s sake.

Drink Pink

A Learned Man’s Guide to Rose

Rosé season is upon us, and while we generally advocate for consumption of pink wine year round, the same warm weather that begs for draping oneself in white linen and opening too many shirt buttons demands the freshness of a crisp, vibrant rosé. Here are our ten favorites.

Meet Your Summer Drink

The Michelada Three Ways

A michelada makes a shandy embarrassed to be liquid. We caught up with our friends at The Third Man in New York for three variations on the drink: one original, one with rhubarb and bourbon, the last with tequila and grapefruit.

Founder of Oskar Blues

Beers and Bikes with Dale Katechis

GP correspondent Will McGough goes for a bike ride with beer pioneer Dale Katechis and ends up with a bloody elbow and an appreciation for the canned beer movement.

Peaty and Proud of it

Tasting Notes: Laphroaig 18

Laphroaig's 18 year old is divisive for more than its bold flavor profile -- it replaced the beloved 15 year in 2009. We give it a try.