Learning about the process of whisky-making is one reason to take a distillery tour, but we all know that the real name of the game is the post-tour tasting. Any day spent sampling a range of whiskies is a special one in our books. Throw in the chance to try 25-, 30- and 40-year-old expressions, and you’ve got a once in a lifetime drinking experience.
Finding 'the best whisky in the world' on the Scottish Island of Orkney
Highland Park has officially been making whisky in Kirkwall since 1798. The distillery requires no introduction for rabid fans of single malt. F. Paul Pacult, known as one of America’s foremost experts on spirits, heralded the 25 year old expression as the “Best Spirit in the World” in 2013; it’s an honor he’s also bestowed on the 18 year old twice before. For more casual imbibers, noting Highland Park’s relationship as the sister distillery to The Macallan generates a good number of nods. Our managing Editor Ben Bowers took the journey to the northern Scottish islands of Orkney to learn first hand how some of the world’s finest single malt is made.
This Scotish archipelago has no shortage of history
Orkney, as it’s called by the locals, is an archipelago of 70 islands off the northern tip of the Scottish mainland. At one point or another, Vikings, Norwegians and Scots all listed the Old Red Sandstone outcrops as their home. The Neolithic monuments of these ancient inhabitants are one of Orkney’s biggest draws; another, of…
Hang your hat in Providence
The Dean is a harbinger of change in Providence, a taste of what’s happening with hotels in New York, Los Angeles and London. Mycah Hogan pops in for a visit — and a locally-roasted coffee — for our latest Stay.
Haute Cuisine in the Divine City
Welcome to The Dorrance, granddaddy of Rhode Island’s burgeoning fine dining scene. It’s housed in a former Federal Reserve bank. The confit chicken wings are crispy. Your cocktail is waiting on the bar.
Why Rare Books Are Really, Really Expensive
We visited the New York Antiquarian Book Fair with a single question: in an age of $1.99 Kindle Singles, why would a book cost thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars?
The Official Drink of Rhode Island
Coffee milk is the official beverage of Rhode Island. Think that’s weird? So do we.
An Original Colony Gets its Swagger Back
At first glance, Rhode Island is right up there with Delaware in terms of states we forget exist, but Providence is an exceptional place to spend a long weekend.
Adrenaline in an Armchair Setting
The strenuous five-day hike on the Appalachian Trail that swallowed half of your vacation days didn’t feel like a vacation. Neither did the team building company rafting trip where you almost drowned. We like to carpe the diem as much as the next guy, but it’s okay to actually relax once in a while. This doesn’t have to mean standing in the buffet line on a Disney Cruise Line ship, but it does meaning choosing an adventure that combines immersion in the natural world with a little bit of everyman recreation. These three destinations are a good place to start.
121 Leagues South of Miami
Unlike Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac don’t have car dealerships, fancy restaurants, banks or clubs. The only company is the companion you flew in with, red-footed boobies, and disarmingly laid back residents who are quick to smile and even faster to offer help. Visit once and you’ll return for life.
Littler, but Just as Grand
A Caribbean island can be perfectly indulgent, but the trappings of modern resort life can also bring a modicum of staleness. That’s why you go the extra mile. Or, in the case of the Caymans, 60 miles. Just beyond Grand Cayman are the Sister Islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, both refreshingly Caribbean and just a puddle-jump away.
Two paths diverged in a deli
Most of the time we don’t take a full hour out of our workday for a methodical lunch, instead finding ourselves at the corner store, collecting what we can to fill our stomachs. This is where two paths diverge: some go for a fried cutlet sandwich followed by dessert; others cobble together a reasonably healthy meal followed by an average life expectancy. Read on to find out how to get a healthy lunch next time you’re eating on the go.
Davy Jones's (Dive) Locker
For centuries, man has found countless ways to send ships to the bottom of the sea. Since the advent of scuba technology, we’ve found ways to explore them. Whether it’s to search for booty, take eerie photos, or just to pay respects, wreck diving is a not a sport for the timid. Often found in deep, cold water with strong currents and dangerous reefs, wrecks demand expertise, experience, humility and marine-grade bronze balls — not to mention a lot of specialized gear. This isn’t tropical holiday diving, so be prepared to shell out for equipment that can stand up to the conditions the Gunilda, the Thistlegorm or the Doria present.
Cheaper Than Tournament Tickets
There’s a time for relaxing with a good craft beer, but this year’s Malted Madness tournament was not one of them. It took a great deal of humility, but we shelved our self-proclaimed beer snobbery for the sake of a single question: what’s the best mass market beer available? It wasn’t easy, but we got an answer, and some other cool articles, besides.
A Weekend at the Big Dance
The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is a full-blown cultural phenomenon, complete with its own vernacular and pseudoscience. We headed down to Dallas to experience this year’s finale and and snapped some photos in between occasional showers, shortages of $9 Miller Lites and gridlocked crowds.
A Cheese Professional Talks Aging
If you walked into your place of employ and found mold colonies growing on your workspace, chances an alarm would sound: time to improve your hygiene. Not so for Brian Ralph. In his world, this is just another day at the office. This gives him a particular view of the world — and you can learn a lot from a guy like him.
From Seed to Smoke
Aging is a well-known part of the cigar-making process. Ask for specifics beyond that fact, though, and things get murkier. The deeper questions of why the process works, how long it takes to make a good cigar great, and the exact role of aging before and after cigars are rolled get little attention, so we asked Jesus Martinez, owner of Martinez Cigars, a store that’s been family-owned and running for 40 years.
Two Experts, Three Cellars, and a Lot of Big Beers
In our own beer cellar, we’ve got a couple bottles of Brooklyn Black Ops, a Firestone Walker Parabola and a Perennial Abraxus — all great beers, but we could use a few additions. For some new suggestions, as well as some tips on beer aging, we contacted our friends at The Cannibal NYC, who run extensive cellaring collections, both personally and professionally.
The Quest for Affordable Pappy
At night, when bourbon connoisseurs go to bed, many dream of Pappy Van Winkle, a line of three exquisite bourbons (15, 20 and 23 years old, all of them colloquially referred to as “Pappy”) distilled and bottled by the Sazerac Company at the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Much of Pappy’s legend comes from its high demand: when it’s released, liquor stores dust off month-long waiting lists to decide who gets a bottle.
At the end of last year, Bourbonr Blog made headlines in the liquor community by posting a recipe for “Poor Man’s Pappy,” a mix of two mid-range W.L. Weller whiskies that they claim, while not being able to emulate Pappy Van Winkle completely, “comes close.” But does the recipe hold up? With $50, a postal scale and a mason jar, we decided to find out for ourselves.
The Good Kind of Extremists
Sociologists talk of FOMO (“fear of missing out”) and never has this feeling been more powerful than 20 minutes before the end of the Extreme Beer Fest. The event, which took place in Boston, MA, had 68 of the world’s best breweries offering 2-ounce pours of more than 300 “extreme” beers — defined simply as “a beer that pushes the boundaries of brewing”. Two GP writers, on hand at the festival, managed to try about 50 different beers between them. Here are six of their favorites.
Two days of boozy exploration
Good weird beers tend to be the rare finds of the beer world, ones that get secreted away to age in dark cellars or traded with like-minded drinkers for other legendary brews. But every year craft fans get a chance to pay admission to a free-for-all zoo of the wildest ones, captured and served at the raucous drunken atmosphere of the Extreme Beer Festival in Boston, Mass.
Less Searching, More Sipping
There’s no denying that bourbon is having a moment. The pride of Kentucky wins out over other whiskies because it’s a little sweeter, a little smoother, and a whole lot easier to mix. It’s also relatively affordable — very good bottles are available at very good prices. But thanks to its newfound popularity, some of the top-tier bottles — Pappy Van Winkle’s family reserve, George T. Stagg — are now shockingly expensive and, increasingly, hard to track down. Luckily, there’s still a wide variety to bourbons at accessible prices that are readily available in nearly every state. Which one to choose? Here’s a list to help you out.
A Champion is Crowned
The winners of their respective divisions — Sam Adams, Guinness, Natural Light and Steel Reserve — match up in the Final Four of the Mass Market Beer Tournament, and we crown a champion.
Seriously fashionable cyclists
New York City has the largest bike-share system in the country, with 600 stations and 10,000 bikes, not to mention more than 600 miles of bike lanes. But as photographer Sam Polcer’s new book, New York Bike Style, shows, the cyclists themselves — and their style — are a city treasure. Polcer, who regularly photographs cyclists in New York for his blog, Preferred Mode, shared a preview of his book with GP.
Mill...Milwaul...That Wisconsin Beer City
At one time considered the “Beer Capital of the World”, Milwaukee was home to four of the largest brewers in the U.S. Now the city is home to only one: Miller Brewing Co. We examine the rise and fall of the foamy city.
Just buy whichever's cheapest
The battle of the lights: Bud, Corona, Natural, Busch, Coors, Keystone, Michelob, Miller. Who will come out on top — and will we even be able to taste the difference?
In Search of the best ugly gems
Dive bars face a tug-of-war: they’re either worshiped or ostracized. This must stop. Dive bars are just like any other bar — plus or minus a few roaches and/or bathroom stall sex stories — in that “good” or “bad” depends on who’s asking. Whatever your cup of tea, we contest simply that “dive” not be used to describe a place that sucks: it should be a place that sucks with vigor, or with style, or with crassness. Here are the sordid watering holes that our staff believes, in their slightly perverse estimations, capture the true spirit of the dive bar.
The Weirdos Come Out to Play
The top selling malt liquors, ciders and flavored beers in America meet in an NCAA tournament of blind taste tests to find the best in the business. We’re talking about both Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita and Lime-A-Rita; we’re talking about Bud Light Lime; we’re talking about Colt 45, Steel Reserve, Angry Orchard and Woodchuck. We’re talking about a fiasco.
Libations the world over
We explore drinking culture from around the world to bring you the best five customs and oddities we could find — from beer-chugging Prime Ministers, to drinking and driving (don’t do it), to the biggest party in Iceland and more.
1 Japanese, 1 Dutch, 1 Belgian, 1 Irish, 1 English, 1 Canadian and 2 Mexican Beers Walk Into A Bar...
In the Imported Division of the Mass Market Beer Tournament, our blind tasters pick the their favorites and grant a Final Four berth to the best in the division. This round, it’s between Corona Extra, Guinness, Heineken, Modelo Especial, Labatt Blue, Newcastle Brown Ale, Stella Artois and Sapporo.