LIFESTYLE BEYOND THE GLASS
LIFESTYLE BEYOND THE GLASS
LIFESTYLE BEYOND THE GLASS
[COLONIAL LIFE] Our Libation Legacy
Issue 14 drink me JUNE/JULY 2011
LIFESTYLE BEYOND THE GLASS
and the Government of Peru
Invite you to celebrate on July 7th, 2011 the 100th Anniversary of the Rediscovery of Machu Picchu by creating the once in a lifetime
Centennial Macchu Pisco Sour
Winners will travel to Peru to visit our distillery Details at Lizzie@macchupisco.com
Photo by Megan Fraser
Because our founding fathers weren't eating hot dogs to celebrate our independence... drink me 1
Note from the Editor 8 Design: Bottle it up 10 Making the British Pale:
Creating the original IPA by Corey Hill
New Booze: Whistle Pig
by Amy Murray
On the Oregon Ale Trail
Paving the way out west by Brian Yaeger
Resurrection of Rye
American Whiskey - the other side of the grain by Nate Nicoll and Chris Jew
from a Soldier
The Benefits of Pappy's Whiskey by Samir Osman
30 Madeira Habits of the Founding Fathers
Our Wine-stained Constitution by Victoria Gutierrez
The first brew by George Washington
Stephen Beal, Master of Whiskey
by Samir Osman
Roads Lead to Wine
The Roman influence on oenology by Paul Ross
Like a French
French influence in the New Orleans cocktail scene by Paul Oswell
The Evolution of Kentucky Whiskey
Babycakes by Denise Sakaki
to Drink to 59 Libation Laureate
By Ale Gasso
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress
Note from the Editor
hank you, George Washington. While you were the first President of the United States, and slightly after you were cutting down cherry trees, you were making wine and whiskey. You set a precedent for our newly founded country that has carried into modern-day glasses and allowed us to enjoy liquid victuals from the moment the constitution was ratified. In the release of this “Colonial Life” issue, we acknowledge that Colonialism in all of its forms has had grave consequences and negative impacts across the globe. It has taken many forms — some with more unspeakable abominations than others. We’re not raising our glasses to Colonialism as we know it nor glorifying a world trend that we hope in all sincerity is waning. Rather, we’re taking on colonial life as a moment in history and a pivotal time in the development of some of today’s most prominent drinking trends. With a focus on the American experience, this issue is celebrating the spirits, wine, and beer that have acted as the liquid foundation of our country. As a nation, we have a knack for taking existing customs and styles and exacting them as our own. Almost every article and alcohol discussed in this issue was born, and gained popularity from, a necessity of the landscape — liquids that would last the long voyage from their country of origin, beer and whiskey that was developed with available grains, and drinks that were tailored to the American palate. Now those trends are world leaders in their own right, and that’s something to cheers to. We’re distilling the American spirit and we hope you’ll raise your bottle to the grand ‘ole booze in the glass. Happy 4th of July!
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LIFESTYLE BEYOND THE GLASS
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Editor In Chief: Daniel Yaffe TRAVEL Editor: Paul Ross Art DIrector: Lance Jackson Web Developer: Aman Ahuja Copy EditorS: Sam Devine Victoria Gutierrez BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: Stephanie Henry Online EditorIAL: Samir Osman
Advisory Board: Jeremy Cowan, H. Ehrmann, Cornelius Geary, Hondo Lewis, David Nepove, Debbie Rizzo, Genevieve Robertson, Carrie Steinberg, Gus Vahlkamp, Dominic Venegas contributOrs: Megan Fraser (flickr.com/photos/megan_fraser), Ale Gasso, Donald Gruener (donaldgruener.com ), Victoria Gutierrez, The Library of Congress, Stephanie Henry, Lance Jackson, Nate Nicoll & Chris Jew of Whiskeywall, Madeira Islands Tourism, Amy Murray, The New York Public Library, Samir Osman, Paul Oswell, Walter Quirtmair, Paul Ross, Denise Sakaki, Brian Yaeger, Sierra Zimei Thank you: Sangita Devaskar, Sacha Ferguson, Reliable Distribution, Skylar Werde Publisher: Open Content www.opencontent.tv Eriq Wities & Daniel Yaffe
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Bottle it up By Samir Osman
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Distillery 209 not only creates a world-class gin, they also distribute it in an elegant bottle. The bottle’s shape is inspired by an antique genever bottle that founder Leslie Rudd stumbled upon while traveling. The wide shoulders tapering to a smaller bottom was due to the manufacturing limitations at the time of the original, and was designed as such to make it easier to remove from the molds. The bottle features a punt (the indention in the base that protrudes up into the bottle cavity) as a nod to the company’s wine-making roots in Napa Valley. Hidden inside the punt is an old guild symbol that stands for “Perfection in Glass.” On the back of the bottle is the crest of the family of Gen. Keyes, one of the original owners of Edge Hill Winery in St. Helena, 209gin.com which became the eventual site of the first Distillery 209 in 1882. The bottle’s beauty is in its simplicity in form and recognition of the past, while still maintaining an original aesthetic. The front tells you only what you need to know, and hidden throughout are little surprises and the occasional homage to its past. If you know the gin inside this beautiful vessel, you already know that it is the perfect vehicle to bring this spirit to the masses.
St. Germain and Domaine de Canton
When the Cooper brothers split off from their familyâ€™s Chambord business to make their own liqueurs, they crafted not only two of the hottest new sprits on the market, but also a pair of stunning bottles. St. Germain and Domaine de Canton stand out on the shelf like few other bottles do. The similarities are almost familial in their design, but have distinct differences, much like their creators. St. Germain, created by the younger of the two, Robert Cooper, is a tall and elegant bottle with vertical concaves that seem to be stretching upward to stand above the other bottles on the shelf. Domaine de Canton, older brother Johnâ€™s creation, has horizontal concaves that, while not as striking to the eye, give it a much more ergonomic feel in your hand and are reminiscent of a bamboo stalk, which seemingly is a nod to its ginger flavors that are a perfect accompaniment to Asian cuisine. Each bottle design appears to have been painstakingly crafted to complement the character of the spirits they contain and do so perfectly, which is no surprise considering both brothers grew up in the business of making Chambord, one of the most distinct cordial bottles to ever be produced.
Mak the Briti By Corey Hill
Creating the original IPA Though the international cultural and political reach of the United Kingdom might now be limited to the occasional export of a series of books about a boy wizard, at one time the British Empire was the largest in the world. Â For hundreds of years, the Union Jack flew all over the globe, from North America to Africa, Australia, and Asia.
Continued on page 12
king ish Pale
drink me 11
ollowing us kicking their ass out in 1776, the jewel in the crown was India. Exploiting India provided a great deal of benefit for the homeland — from mineral wealth and spices to an export market for finished goods — at the expense of the lives and livelihoods of the indigenous people of many locales. For some Brits, landing a stint in India was a cushy deal. Land, power, and wealth were the prerogatives of the rich upper class who held dominion over the subcontinent. But not all the colonials were upper crust. For them, life in India was tough. The weather was a bit warm. Home was far. Naturally then, Brits in India wanted something to drink. The local drink was a type of ‘Arak,’ a variation of the Arabic word for juice, araq. Arak’s tasting notes would read as “strong enough to knock down Gary Busey” and so impure that it would cause illness. The drink was a close relative of the (now much more improved) beverage still enjoyed throughout the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Brits were not big fans. They really wanted something more like what they had at home. Brewing beer since before the Normans landed and Frenched the place up, the English knew their way around barley and hops. In the nineteenth century, when the British empire was at the height of its power, British brewing culture was flourishing, with a dizzying array of stouts, porters, and ales widely available across the sunstarved isles.
Parched Britsyin India wanted something from home. Thing is, some brews didn’t travel well. Naturally on a longer journey, from, say, England to the Indian empire
(roughly four thousand miles, which took a lot longer back then due to a lack of direct flights), ales went bad. But although many say that beer couldn’t make it the distance, that’s not entirely true. Porters and stouts were able to make the trip quite handedly, and manifests from the earliest days of the East India Trading Company record their entry. Most ales, though, were unfit for the trials of the long journey. And sometimes you just wanted an ale. Solution: Increase the alcohol, increase the hops. Alcohol helps strengthen the brew for the road, and the hops are a natural preservative. Brewers at the time used an early version of Kent Goldings hops, a traditional English aroma hop. Prior to casking, brewers added dry hops and used a higher amount of sugar. Tinkering away at the problem from various angles, many brewers arrived at this modification simultaneously. As a result, there is no single brewer credited with inventing what later came to be called India Pale Ale. The first big player was George Hodson’s Brewery, whose business solidified in the late 1700s due to geographic felicity. The brewery happened to be located on the docks where cargo was loaded and unloaded. The people at Hodson’s took advantage and started shipping their pale ale to India. In the 1820s, Allsop Brewery became another early supplier, and the formula was later perfected by Burton’s Brewery. Alternately known as India Ale, Pale Ale as Prepared for India, and Pale India Ale, the hopped-up, higher alcohol ale was a great success with ex-pats in India. The folks at home took note of the big Continued on page 14
Jim Beam® Devil’s Cut™ Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 45% Alc./Vol. ©2011 James B. Beam Distilling Co., Clermont, 13 KY
flavor of this new ale as well, and by the early nineteenth century, demand for the product took off in domestic markets. By the 1830s, India Pale Ale had earned a permanent spot in the pantheon of beers.
s Americans, it is our duty to take all things British and make them our own. They had the Magna Carta and Parliament, and we wrote the Declaration of Independence. They had Ricky Gervais, we have Steve Carrell. They had subtlety, irony, and wit — we have baseballs to the testicles. Following in the tradition of crossAtlantic modification, the American IPA is a slightly different beast than its British brethren.
The original American IPAs produced were close in taste and production to their cross-Atlantic cousins. But we had prohibition here, which had a detrimental effect on beer production. When cooler heads prevailed and prohibition was repealed, drinking tastes and cultures were drastically different. American beer drinkers tended toward lighter lagers, and the IPA was consigned to the background while the brewing giants exercised near monopoly on taste for decades. It wasn’t until the emergence of a strong craft brewing scene in the United States, commonly pegged as beginning in the 1970s, that the modern IPA began to see wide production.
The primary difference in British and American IPA is the hops. British hops tend to have a floral spiciness. Ours tend more toward citrus notes. We favor the use of bold American hops, like the Centennial, Challenger, and Cascade varieties. The distinction between American and British IPAs is somewhat difficult to pin down now, as the breadth and variation in IPA production in
the United States is astounding. What most share in common with their British ancestors is the use of dry hops – additional hops added to the young beer after fermentation, giving a fresh-hop aroma to the beer. IPAs are now hugely popular in the American craft brewing scene, and have come to be a staple in the line-up of most respected microbrewers. Just like in the 1950 World Cup, it looks like we’ve beaten the Brits at their own game yet again. <insert USA chant here> High Seas IPA from the Michigan Brewing Company takes top honors as the winner of the 2010 U.S. Open Beer Championship. Lagunitas IPA, with a crisp citrus taste, is the best seller in California. San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Liberty Ale is light bodied and a tad on the dry side. Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo India Pale Ale hints at piney hops with slight bitters. Long Trail IPA from Vermont, Sweetwater IPA from Sweetwater Brewing Company in Georgia, Bear Republic Racer 5, Firestone Walker Union Jack, Shipyard IPA from Maine . . . the list goes on. Once a niche beverage for weary exploiters, the beverage has spread across the world of drink. Now, you can sit on your porch and watch the sun go down, and enjoy the delicate balance of hops, an ingested testament to humankind’s enduring ingenuity in the face of brewing obstacles. Thankfully, the sun has finally set on the British Empire and former colonies have been liberated. As one of the first countries to give them the what-for, it makes sense that we have taken their IPA and made it our own. Anti-colonialism, as it turns out, tastes a bit more hoppy, with some nice citrus notes. n
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New Booze: Whiskey
Whistle Pig By Amy Murray of Cask, SF
ye whiskey is one of the first spirits to have been made in this country, and in recent years it has made quite the comeback after decades of obscurity. Right at the cusp of this boom, Dave Pickerell began the hunt for premium barrels of whiskey to begin bottling under the new label, Whistle Pig. Pickerell spent fifteen years as distiller for Makers Mark before moving onto this project; while the Whistle Pig Distillery is too young to be releasing its own product, the first bottling more than displays his expertise in sourcing barrels. The barrels were of ten-year old, 100% rye-mash rye whiskey and bottled at 100 proof. Only a few whiskeys on the market can claim that mash bill and none come close to that age. Most rye presently being released is between two and six years old as distilleries scramble to fulfill the huge consumer demand. My anticipation to see how well rye grain can stand alone at that age was soon to be glutted. What a cherry! Sleek, yet robust; booming spice of cinnamon and clove and burnt orange zest lead to honey and cereal sweetness. Big apricot tang follows with pink peppercorn, honeysuckle and lilac to finish, though the spice never quits. I look forward to as many of the extant 6,000 bottles as I can drink and will henceforth follow Pickerell's golden finger. WhistlePigWhiskey.com drink me 17
On The Oregon Ale Trail
By Brian Yaeger
Not for gold, not for fur, not because they couldn’t stand their crazy neighbors who had settled the prairies, but those who blazed The Oregon Trail did so in search of hops to make killer beer. Okay, fine. That was just a happy residual effect once pioneers reached the Pacific. But when Lewis and Clark paddled up the Missouri River to its headwaters and ultimately down the Columbia River to the ocean, they discovered the fecundity of the Willamette Valley. Save for some early adapter furriers, the initial gold rush was a green rush.
Then there’s Oregon’s two-row barley, which is richer in extractable sugars compared to the cheaper six-row barley popular among corporate lagers. Capitalizing on the specialized crops and prime water source (snowmelt from nearby picturesque Mt. Hood), Portland is now home to about forty breweries, the most of any city in the world. There are well over a hundred brewing concerns that are members of the Oregon Brewers Guild. It’s no wonder it has been dubbed Beervana and Brewtopia. Mark your calendar because the Oregon Brewers Festival (OBF) falls on the last weekend in July, where over eighty breweries — mostly from the Northwest — pour samples to a crowd of around eighty-thousand celebrants, making it one of the largest and oldest beer fests in the country. As part of the exploration to charter the Louisiana Purchase and the American Pacific Northwest, predating Manifest Destiny and the ensuing Oregon Trail, Captain William Clark wrote of this
area in 1805: “Welcome to the theater of majestic beauty — the Great Northwest.” “Go west, young man” became a popular phrase, imploring young men from the overcrowded cities to leave the “idlers and imbeciles” behind — according to publisher Horace Greeley (though there is dispute who first uttered the idiom) — and take up agriculture. Tens of thousands of young pioneers, bachelors, and whole families pushed past the frontier towns of the West, making it the modern-day Midwest. However, the first brewery along the Pacific Coast wasn’t found in Oregon, but in California. Unsurprisingly, it was established in 1849, since nothing slaked the thirst of all those Forty-Niners like a little golden beer. The direct benefit to the Oregon economy and the eventual Oregon Ale Trail is that settlers from Northern Oregon who panned and mined for gold in California quickly moved back to their families in Oregon flush with cash. Henry Saxer established the Liberty Brewery in Portland in 1852. And Henry Weinhard contributed greatly to the local brewing evolution, launching his brewery here in 1856. By the end of the nineteenth century, he’d become such a successful beer magnate that he offered to pump in beer to flow from the Skidmore Fountain, today known as the area where the infamous Voodoo Donut is located.
Photos by Donaled Gruener
ituated between the Cascade and Coast Range mountains, Oregon’s Willamette Valley is situated along the north fortyfifth parallel, where the rainy, cool climate constitutes excellent growing conditions similar to Bavaria’s and, hence, lends itself particularly well to cultivating hops. It is the second largest hop-growing region in the country after Washington’s Yakima Valley.
While a few of the larger industrial breweries had outposts here such as Blitz-Weinhard Brewery (that bounced around in ownership among the conglomerates such as Stroh, Pabst, and Miller and is now the multi-use Brewery Blocks in downtown Portlandâ€™s Pearl District), it would take over a century for the Pacific Northwest to earn its place in the pantheon of epic brewing regions. This was thanks to the efforts of pioneers such as Kurt and Rob Widmer who launched their Widmer Bros. Brewery in 1984 in tandem with BridgePort followed by other stalwarts
of craft brewing such as Full Sail (1987), Deschutes, and Rogue (both 1988). Born in 1951 and 1956, respectively, Kurt and Rob Widmer exemplify the roots of the pioneer’s and artisan brewer’s spirit. They sprouted from formulating their own root beer as kids to following in their Uncle Walter’s footsteps in the homebrewing hobby. “Turning our hobby into a paying job sounded pretty good. And this just seemed like the spot to be in if you were going to start a brewery in the mid-eighties, around the Pacific Northwest, anyway,” Rob Widmer said, referencing harbingers of microbrewing like Northern California’s Sierra Nevada, which opened in 1980, and Washington’s Redhook, which opened in 1982.
is older brother Kurt added: “The reason craft brewing started here on the West Coast is not so much a link to the Old World as it is quality of life. And, of course, here we have beer drinkers who are receptive to new things. And that’s not the case in a lot of the country.” Case in point, Portlanders consume craft beer at a rate of thirty percent. Compare that to the national average of five percent. And while I can’t find the numbers, I’m guessing that Pabst Blue Ribbon accounts for another thirty percent of Portland’s beer sales, since it’s hard to argue with dollar specials.
To immerse yourself in the Northwest beer culture a step beyond the pint, circumnavigate the farmlands in the Willamette Valley to a hop farm where the beauty of hop vines growing up trellises over ten feet high is superceded by the pungency of all that fresh Humulus lupulus. In fact, there’s a brewery called Oregon Trail Brewing in Corvalis — home to the USDA’s hop breeding program — that specializes in brewing with the freshest, whole hop cones imaginable. Fear not, though. Portland’s focus remains on quality of output, not quantity of producers. The Cascade Brewing Barrel House is the nation’s first all-sour beer brewpub (well, a few other styles go on tap in the same way other brewpubs offer wine for the unconverted). At Burnside Brewing, not only does the chef experiment with molecular gastronomy on various menu items, but he is partnering with the brewmaster to apply those oddball notions to the beer. What does that mean exactly? Duck Confit Ale may show up on tap this year, though they already have a wheat beer brewed with apricots and Scotch bonnet peppers. And the man behind Ambecht Brewing is not only a keen brewer, he grows his own cherry trees whose fruit ends up in his beers; likewise the honey culled from his beekeeping hobby. From the wellspring of tasty IPAs made with plenty of local hops (if you think Pliny the Elder’s great, try Vortex from Ft. George Brewing in Astoria), to the continuing pioneering efforts of craft brewers such as the newly popular style of Cascadian dark ales made with, well, tons of local hops (the first-ever gold medal for this style of beer at the Great American Beer Fest went to Turmoil brewed by tiny Barley Brown’s in Baker City), Oregon brewers have always and will always be trail blazers. n
Beer lovers continue to go west to seek liquid prosperity. Beyond Beervana’s forty-odd breweries, the Central Oregon Visitor’s Association said that foodand-beverage tourism raked in $500 million last year, calling out the region’s breweries as a major factor. As for ale trails, Bend, Oregon, touts their own Bend Ale Trail featuring eight breweries all within walking distance of each other, including Deschutes, the exciting and award-winning Bend Brewing, and the
proudly-small 10 Barrel Brewing.
The Resurrection of By Nate Nicoll and Chris Jew
American Whiskey the other side of the grain
Rye whiskey symbolizes the American colonial spirit. For all their puritanical pursuits, when the colonists weren’t busy with the sordid details of colonizing, they were making booze. Those hailing from Ireland and Scotland, while not uniquely familiar with the magical art of distillation, were both experienced with the process and disposed to consume the elixir.
available to you when you ordered a whiskey in the colonial era. Because our colonial predecessors had a healthy thirst, both bourbon and rye whiskey had no problem surviving in the market and making the rounds, as it were.
Pennsylvania and Maryland were among the first colonies, and the new locals distilled rye whiskey because the grain — which is very similar to wheat and barley — was plentiful. This differed from those who later settled in Kentucky, where there was plenty of corn available. There, bourbon was born, cobbled together, than codified. But that is another story. Both styles of American whiskey were popular, and you could expect to have both styles
Rye’s namesake and defining characteristic is its prominent expression of the grain from which it is distilled. Bourbon generally tends to have a sweeter more caramelized profile, putting its dark sugars and barrel char out front. Scotch often invokes the local air, earth, and water, with a smoky, peaty flavor. But rye stands alone in that the base grain is what it is known for, what you taste when Continued on page 25
eing practical, and based on necessity, the colonists used what grains were on hand, therefore American whiskies became closely interrelated with localized agriculture and farming.
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it hits your palate. Rye boasts a tightly bound, peppery note that may hint at licorice or a wisp of mint. But in the end, its dominant taste is a decidedly brightyet-dry beacon rising above the tide of alcohol and sugar flavors surrounding it.
ith the passage of time, while bourbon went from local tradition to legal standard, rye whisky flourished in its own, malleable right. Perhaps bourbon was gradually engendered with a certain cache that came with its iron-clad requirements, while rye took on the hue of a slightly more rustic, at times, bucolic spirit. But rye did succumb to legal requirements of its own, in short: at least fifty-one percent rye grain is distilled at no more than 160 proof and at no less than 125 proof, and is interred in charred new-oak barrels where it must bide its time for a minimum of two years. These legal requirements are the same for bourbon except that bourbon must be made from a mash containing a minimum of fifty-one percent corn and a maximum of seventy-nine percent corn.
and newcomers alike, rye reached the West Coast, found its place in many a respectable cocktail, and enjoyed a good degree of national favor. Two cocktails in particular take advantage of rye in their own fashion. The Manhattan seeks to restrain the potency and fragrance of a rye, caging the beast in a manner that permits the drinker to enjoy its edgy strength through the filter of sweet vermouth and bitters. Conversely, the Sazerac relies up the spicy, cut-through-the-fog nature of rye to stand out against a backdrop of absinthe, bitters, and citrus.These drinks, among other rye-based concoctions, were popular until rye and everything else good in the ex-colonies went straight to hell on the Nineteenth Amendment expressway — prohibition. So, from 1920 through 1933 all production — legal production, that is — stopped. Many of
Bourbon generally tends to have a sweeter more caramelized profile, while rye boasts more peppery spice, licorice and some argue a wisp of mint in the “good stuff.” It is this ineffable spicygrain note that is the name and nature of rye. Not truly spicy in the sense of heat, it is a dynamic activation of the right combination of tastebuds and olfactory nodes necessary to create the mental impression of a tightly bound peppery note that rises above the tide of alcohol and sugar flavors surrounding it.
Rye was arguably the king of American whiskey prior to 1920. As the American thirst for whiskey increased, so did its production. Rye slowly departed from its agrarian roots due to this demand and became an industry in its own right. After enjoying westward expansion along with the descendants of the colonists
the once flourishing distilleries soon went out of business with no product to pedal. And the swill that the bootleggers were providing just wasn’t up to par. Prohibition did end, more or less, and the hobbled alcohol industries of the ex-colonies (who now had a few colonies of their own) got back to work. Unfortunately for rye, like the times, peoples’ palates had changed over the thirteen dry years. Rye — and its distinctive flavor — was no longer king; instead the corn based bourbon became the preferred tipple. To compound the problems for a rye comeback, Pennsylvania and Maryland had other industries established that were able to absorb the void in work created by prohibition. There was no real economic need to get the rye distilleries back in action and so much of the investment money found its way to Kentucky and into the bourbon country. As a result, the once beloved rye spirit slowly faded away out of people’s memories and all but disappeared. Old Overholt primarily carried the flag of rye whiskey production out of the
prohibition period. This distillery still exists today under Jim Beam. While bourbon rose steadily back to prominence after prohibition, rye languished. It wasn’t that there weren’t good ryes available for the past several decades, but it has suffered a bit of an image issue.
or those in the know, rye has been well appreciated. Until recently, however, rye has all too often been associated with good ol’ boys, cowboys, and not a whole lot else. Perhaps the single most influential and lasting commentary on rye and the reason for its mistakenly lower status in the pantheon of spirits lies at the feet of Don McLean and his enigmatic 1971 hit "American Pie." In his seminal tune, we behold a world of Chevies, arid levees, and good old boys drinking whiskey and rye. Whiskey and rye. This implies that not only is rye something oft quaffed by less cultured sorts, but that it isn’t even whiskey. Whether he personally undermined the status of rye or was simply distilling the then-popular
Some great Rye's to keep your eyes out for:
impression of the spirit (or merely enlisting a little poetic license), the gritty, moonshiny nature of it stuck. In the cycle of things, however, that rustic liability has taken on a certain allure. Rye has slowly crept back into America’s and the world’s alcoholic consciousness. Indeed, with the resurgence of rye beyond the aficionados, makers and purveyors of rye are taking advantage of a youthful, hip interest in the other American whiskey. A recent player in the game, High West, in its name and labels, is an unabashed play on the pioneering mystique of saloon doors and shoot-outs. Bulleit, no stranger to bourbon, held a release party for its new 95 Rye in the Log Cabin in San Francisco with biscuits and other victuals. As the name indicates, the mashbill contains ninety-five percent rye, but surprisingly it is welcoming and not overpoweringly hot. The spicy character of rye comes on quickly in an unmistakably strong dose, paving the way for a lush wave of spirit and heat. Subtle sugar and more-subtle wood notes make the rounds before the high-rye content
resumes an autocratic domination of spice on the palate. And then the flavors slowly fade into memory.
ulleit sources the contents of the 95 Rye from the oft mysterious Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana (“LDI”). Aside from being a good sipper when served neat, it should make excellent cocktails. Templeton is another rye that has been gathering a lot of attention for its flavor – but that might not be too surprising since they source their spirit from LDI as well. Beam Global put a new spin on rye by releasing (ri)1 (pronounced rye one). It comes in a cool, hip bottle and carries a premium price tag, but this more subtle and slightly sweeter rye expression is a welcome addition as a straight sipper or used in craft cocktails. Some other distilleries that have readily available rye whiskies include Sazerac, Rittenhouse, Jim Beam and Wild Turkey. You might also find some un-aged rye from Copper Fox and from a local San Francisco distillery named 1512 Spirits. n
drink me 27
I pray this letter finds you healthy and in good spirits. I struggle to believe that it has come June of 1775 so quickly, yet seems as though I have been estranged from my home for many more years than so. The scant hours I find myself far enough removed from battle so that i may rest my weary head are peppered with dreams of resting that same head in your tender bosom, and is of great comfort to me in this terrible place. I shan't linger upon the hellish fields of battle upon which I toil day and night with only the memories of you and a bottle of Rye to warm my soul, as some pictures are better left unpainted. Suffice to say that when my brave Green Mountain Boys took Fort Ticonderoga last week it was a scene unfit for the eyes of most any man, much less by those of an angel such as yourself. A man in my company procured a years worth of his uncle Pappy's homemade whiskey upon his deployment and gifted a bottle to each of his superior officers, yours truly included. The sweet tobacco laced burn in my throat are the fuel that carries me on each day closer to leaving the red coats behind, bloodied and defeated, and returning home to you, my love. I pray you happiness and health, and look forward to nothing more than a warm meal from your own hands, and a glass of this rye with which to wash it down. With all my love, Francis
By Samir Osman
My dearest Martha,
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WITH HINTS OF GINGER. CRUZAN®
Strawberry Mojito 2 parts NEW Cruzan® Strawberry Rum & Liqueur 1 part simple syrup 6-8 mint leaves 1 part fresh lime juice Club soda
Muddle simple syrup, mint and fresh lime juice in a tall glass. Fill glass with ice and add Cruzan® Strawberry Rum & Liqueur, club soda and gently stir to mix. Garnish with a strawberry.
drink me Cruzan® Rum with strawberry liqueur, 21% Alc./Vol. ©2011 CRUZAN International, Deerfield, IL USA29
Madeira Habits Of
By Victoria Gutierrez
The United States’ relationship with alcoholic beverages has always been a dynamic one. Even as you read this, both statelevel and federal-level legislation to change alcohol laws is being introduced. In 1697, what is now the state of Massachusetts declared “strong liquor” illegal. A tolerance movement beginning in Evanston, Illinois, became the impetus for prohibition’s Volstead Act. There are still dry counties in some states. Some states take on the role of liquor store. Some stand between you and your Sunday game day beers. The list goes on!
In a word: Madeira. There are two main reasons as to why the men of
early America were drinking a fortified wine made on a small island belonging to Portugal. First of all, products of the island of Madeira were curiously exempt from a law that was preventing the exportation of certain goods (such as wine) to British colonies in the New World. Thus a few barrels (or â€˜pipesâ€™) of this sticky 18% abv stuff became a staple of any supply ship. The second reason for the popularity of
s diverse and ever-changing as our laws regulating alcohol have been, examining exactly which drinks fall in and out of favor proves even more fascinating. What did Americans first drink? And more specifically, what did the founding fathers seek out to quench their colonial thirst as they worked to establish a nation?
he Dutch East India Company brought a particularly large shipment of Madeira wine all the way to India, and despite the fortifications, the heat and constant motion on the ship oxidized and transformed the wine. The shipment was returned (and thus oxidized and changed even more). But a quick bit of customer research in Madeira found that the new style of Madeira was preferred. The oxidative qualities made a deep brown wine with raisin, caramel, and smoky flavors. Called vinho da roda (basically, wines that have been around the world), it was rather cost-prohibitive for Madeira
producers to send all of their wares on a round-the-world trip prior to sale, so they developed a technique called “estufagem,” where the casks of wine are heated by the sun and shaken right at the winery to achieve the same effect. Thus Madeira had three qualities that helped it to keep indefinitely and survive the voyage across the Atlantic: residual sugar, fortification to a high alcohol level, and the fact that it had already been “spoiled” through heat and oxidation. Practicality aside, one might safely assume that the fortifications might have been just the thing that George Washington and company needed, as they likely welcomed something a bit stronger than cider to keep them cozy and warm during the New England winters. Legend has it that John Hancock’s ship, Liberty, came into port stocked with over one hundred pipes of Madeira, arriving in the middle of the night so as to bypass the pesky formality of registering the cargo and paying tax on it. A port official making a midnight round happened
Photo courtesy of Madeira Islands Tourism
Madeira lies in its composition. The wine dates back to the Age of Exploration, when the Madeira islands were a standard stop for ships on the way to various colonies. Made from grapes such as Malvasia, Boal, Verdelho, and Sercial, the wines start as highly acidic quaffers with various levels of residual sugar. To ensure the “stability” of the wine during these long voyages, they were fortified with neutral cane sugar alcohol.
upon the Liberty and demanded knowledge of its contents. Here is where the story gets a little wild: It is said that the official was tied up and locked in a cabin while Hancock’s men unloaded all but a handful of the pipes of Madeira. In the morning, when their hostage was released and the ship was impounded for smuggling, John Hancock somehow got away without a criminal charge (perhaps his persecutors were plied with a bit of liquid persuasion). Madeira was so loved by the founding fathers, and smuggling by colonials was so rampant, this unverified story probably has more than a grain of truth to it.
t the signing of the Constitution, America’s official coming out party was undoubtedly toasted with a few glasses of Madeira, and the founding fathers’ love of the stuff didn’t stop there. As the inaugural president, George Washington graciously waived any form of salary during his term but did submit receipts for the operating cost of his household to be paid by the treasury. Of course this meant payment for servants, for food supplies, and for clothing, but Washington also submitted booze receipts for a more than $6,000 (over $262,000 today) covering a period of just six months. The receipts were largely for first-rate Madeira but included cases of choice Bordeaux sent by Thomas Jefferson straight from the chateaux.
What started as an interest became a lifelong pursuit when, in 1784, Thomas Jefferson joined Ben Franklin and John Adams as a Commissioner in Paris. Without skipping a beat, one of his first purchases in Paris was twenty-four cases of a top vintage Chateau Haut-Brion. And beyond this initial purchase, Paris was a veritable playground for Jefferson as he deepened his interest and knowledge in wine. Interestingly enough, John Adams shared none of this oenological zeal and noted in his diary after an 1807 dinner with Jefferson: “There was, as usual, a dissertation on wines. Not very edifying.” Adams preferred to import his own cider from the States. After a bit of lobbying, in 1787 Thomas Jefferson was named the American Minister to the King of France. This position was of a trade nature, and naturally required a tour of the country to assess what goods might be desired in the U.S. (Whether or not the tour needed to center on the country’s major wine regions is another story altogether.) Jefferson’s tour took him to Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, the Rhone Valley, and elsewhere (including the Piedmont, which isn’t even in France). This trip did much to stock Jefferson’s private Paris cellar, the storied center in the must-read "The Billionaire’s Vinegar." Perhaps most notable is that Jefferson took copious notes of every wine he tasted and even put the various major chateaux into his own ranking. This ranking is a nod to Jefferson’s impressive palate and command of wine quality, as
Which brings us to the next important beverage in the founding fathers’ liquor cabinets: wine. The United States is now the world’s largest consumer of wine, and we certainly have Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson to thank for that. With alcohol levels much less potent than the rum and whiskey some colonists were drinking, its virtues as a temperate — and even medicinal — drink were extolled
greatly by many of the Founding Fathers. Franklin is well known for some choice quotes and commentary on wine, such as: “Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.”
it is extraordinarily close to the official ranking of Bordeaux wines laid out in the Classification of 1855. His very favorite wines were those of Volnay and Montrachet in Burgundy, but later in life he became much more interested in the more value-oriented wines of Languedoc-Roussillon, Italy, and Spain.
ithout a doubt, Thomas Jefferson was the founding wine geek and unofficial sommelier of America. He was responsible for stocking the wine cellars for the first five presidential households and made sure that the presidents and visiting dignitaries suffered no shortage of top Bordeaux and Burgundy wines. Throughout his political career, Jefferson lobbied extensively for lower wine tariffs.
At Monticello, Jefferson worked tirelessly to establish a working vineyard with French grape varieties on the property, but never saw a vintage. In fact, a handful of the Founding Fathers also tried their hand at growing vineyards from clippings of vines brought from France. However, as they would eventually learn, the U.S. is home to phylloxera, a louse that eats the roots of grapevines and renders them useless. This was frustrating to Jefferson, as the native American grape varieties seemed immune to the pest but produced some rather offensive wine. It would take a phylloxera disaster of massive proportions in Europe to realize that American grape rootstock was resistant, and vineyards could be safely rebuilt by grafting European vitis vinifera vines onto the rootstock of American grape species. Nonetheless, Jefferson wrote that “we could, in the United States, make as great a variety of wines as are made in Europe, not exactly of the same kinds, but doubtless as good.” Two centuries later, Virginia is the fifth largest producer of wine in the U.S. and the Monticello American Viticultural Area was established in Jefferson’s honor. While it would be great to go out and buy a bottle of 1787 Madeira or early nineteenth century Bordeaux to truly taste what the Founding Fathers drank, it’s going to cost you probably the sum of a small condo in San Francisco — and that’s if you can find it. Even so, I encourage you to go out and buy a bottle of Madeira, read a bit of "Thomas Jefferson On Wine" by John Hailman, and raise a toast to the men that made it possible for you to enjoy drinking your libation of choice. n Wine fields and villages on Madeira island Photo by Walter Quirtmair
George Washington's Brew
To make Small Beer
Take a large Sifter full of Bran Hops to your Taste. - Boil these 3 hours. Then strain out 30 Gallons into a Cooler, put in 3 Gallons Molasses while the Beer is scalding hot or rather drain the molasses into the Cooler & strain the Beer on it while boiling Hot. Let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm. Then put in a quart of Yeast if the weather is very cold, cover it over with a Blanket & let it work in the Cooler 24 hours. Then put it into the Cask - leave the Bung[hole] open till it is almost done working - Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed.
recipe (and fix it up - apparently his original porter was much more syrup-y and thicker). Unfortunately, they only made enough for the library's birthday - and for us to try out in New York at Rattle and Hum.... the rest of you might have to wait for the Bicentennial anniversary. For more info: Shmaltz.com & Nypl.org
Our founding father's original beer recipe. Locked away in the archives of the New York public library, it seems that maybe George was a better president than he was brewer. Nonetheless, he took up fine passions indeed. In honor of the NY Public Library's centennial birthday, they teamed up with Coney Island Brewing Company to recreate Washington's
Profile: Stephen Beal By Samir Osman
The title Master of Whiskey is not one that is handed out lightly. We sat down with Stephen Beal to find out what makes a master a master. DM: What does it mean to be a master of whiskey? SB: I think it means that you have to love it, first. You have to have a passion for it. It has to be part of your soul. You can talk about experience, or expertise, but I think it all comes down to a passion for the spirit. It also means long, late hours, and that most of my friends are bartenders. The “Masters of whiskey” themselves are a brand that represent the Diageo portfolio of whiskies. I was recruited as a brand ambassador for Johnnie Walker in 1997. Since then I have visited dozens upon dozens of distilleries, and done training in them on an extended basis, and gotten to know the distillers. Being a master of whiskey has been a very good, very happy experience for me. DM: What is your favorite whiskey? SB: That’s really hard to say. I have a love affair with Bulleit bourbon, and Bulleit rye. The rye is actually the consequence of bartenders in San Francisco begging Tom Bulleit to make a rye. The first whiskey I tasted was Johnnie Walker Black label, and it’s still my go to. So, JW Black is my favorite, but if there were a competitor it would be Bulleit. DM: How did you first get involved in whiskey? SB: I come from a Scottish background. People in my family have been involved in the Scotch Whiskey industry in years past, so I knew it, I drank it, I even wore a kilt. I happened to be in the right place at the right time and had a passion for it. It went from being an ambassador of scotch whiskey to my first title, which was Master of Scotch. My job was, and still is, to educate and entertain people about the brands. DM: What do you drink when you go out? Is it always whiskey? SB: If I’m going to drink straight whiskey, it’s Johnnie Black on the rocks. I’m also a big fan of single malts. Johnnie Black is my social whiskey. Single malts are more my educational one, kind of like wine when you get into terroir and such. North American whiskies are very much my cocktail whiskies. I tend to like my cocktails made with the rule of threes. About three ounces, about three ingredients, made in three minutes or less. That way it stays cold and delicious to the very last sip. You get a lot of resistance these days with the ten ounce martini glasses out there. What good is five ounces of hot gin, or Manhattan? If you want a good one, have another one. I want my cocktail to be good from start to finish.
ÂŠ2011 Imported by Pilsner Urquell USA, Washington D.C. * Beer Please drink responsibly.
ALL ROADS L Article & photography by Paul Ross, Travel Editor
The Roman influence on oenology
All I did was innocently ask my guide in Abruzzo, Italy, a historical question. I was, in no way, prepared for his vehement response. “The Romans!” bellowed Luigi Minnucci. “They drank filthy wine!” Granted, Signore Minnucci was effusive even by Italian standards, but he did know what he was shouting about. “First, the ancient Romans didn’t filter the juice,” he exclaimed. “Then, the pitch lining and even the terracotta from the amphorae leached into the vino and, ultimately, there was the lead!”
LEAD TO WINE
e was right, of course. But that didn’t stop the Roman Empire from proselytizing the product of the grape and reaping the financial rewards of selling it.
Continued on page 41
At its zenith, the Roman Empire sprawled from England to Africa, Spain to Mesopotamia. Its legacy is roads and aqueducts, architecture and art, place names and wine. The last is all the more amazing because, as Luigi Minnucci
asserted, most of the vino wasn’t very good. Even back then, consumers knew what they had and how to handle it. They never drank wine undiluted (that was considered “barbarian”) and sometimes added chalk or marble dust to lessen the acidity. They also laced their wines with honey, spices, herbs, flowers, fish sauce, onions, and even seawater.
But the wine wasn’t all bad. Improvements came with time and there inevitably were good wines too, if you were rich and powerful enough to buy them. Falernian was arguably the most celebrated wine of ancient Rome, and some served to Caligula had been aged for a century and a half. Other wine imbibers at the time averred that Caecuban was as good. These top wines could cost up to 1 Denarius (there is no accurate modern exchange rate, but 1 Denarius equaled 20 ases, and one as could buy a loaf of bread).
ut good or bad, pricey or cheap, everyone in the empire drank wine, right down to the lowliest slave. About 47 million gallons were consumed each year, which averaged out to approximately half a pint a day for every living Roman. Undoubtedly, some
folk had more than their share. Such huge demand required an enormous supply and therein lies the main wine contribution of the Roman world, for the ancient empire was as much built on trade as it was on warfare. Julius Caesar, leading his legions to the far frontier of Gaul, found two Roman wine merchants already there ahead of him trading with the enemy. The Romans didn’t invent wine. Archaeologists have unearthed prehistoric pots of fermented grapes and found Macedonian presses that are almost 7,000 years old. The Etruscans and Greeks began the cultivation of grapes and standardization of the winemaking processes in the Mediterranean. But, when the Romans entered the scene, they contributed wine barrels, glass bottling, and structures of
drink me 41
branding, shipping, and selling that are still used today. “In France, the main trade routes used in Roman times now correspond to the key wine regions,” said Johnathan Reeve of WineSearcher.com. “To travel from Rome to Paris, one passes through Provence, Rhone, and either Burgundy or the Loire Valley. Provence (“our province”) was named by the Romans.”
he lasting Roman wine heritage is also prominent in the regions of the Languedoc, Bordeaux,
Beaujolais, Burgundy, and Champagne as well in the wines and wine regions of Spain (Rioja, Galicia, and in the sherries of Cadiz), Germany (most notably in Mosel and Rhine wines), Switzerland (the Humagne is a heritage grape still cherished there), Britain (which was warmer than it is today), Palestine (which also had a very different climate from what it has now and produced some of the finest vintages of ancient times) and, of course, throughout the Mediterranean.
Still, some former outposts of the past lead to unexpected discoveries. Phoenician Carthage (now Tunisia) was long the bitter enemy of Rome. The Carthaginian general Hannibal famously marched his war elephants over the Alps to deal the empire an unforgettable blow. When this affront was avenged by the Romans in 146 BCE, they destroyed just about everything Carthaginian except the treatises of Magon (alternately, Mago). He was an agricultural writer and viticulturist whose rules and advice about growing and producing wine proved so sound that they are still used.
There’s very little in the world of wine that we don’t owe to the Romans, and that includes wine snobbery. In the heyday of the empire, classifications and consumption of wine were linked to class structure. At the low end, for slaves and sometimes soldiers, there was Lora, a watereddown second or third grape pressing,
Continued on page 44
and Posca, which was more like a vinegar infusion. Posca was popular with travelers as it helped to disinfect polluted water and acted as somewhat of a painkiller. In fact, it’s thought to have been the potion given to Jesus on the cross, which puts a different spin on the story.
ext came Mulsum, a wine liberally spiked with honey prior to serving. Usually served as an aperitif, it was in such demand that widespread planting lead to a famine and an imperial grape crop restriction that remained in place for almost 200 years.
Then there was Massilitanum, a smoky swill promoted for its health benefits, and at the top, Caecuban and Falernian. “Almost all the respected Roman wines were white and quite sweet,” writes Dr. Stuart Fleming in his book "Vinum: The Story of Roman Wine."
So maybe Luigi Minnucci was right and we wouldn’t want to drink our
wine exactly as the ancient Romans did: watered down three to one, redolent with lead, resinous, and hypersweetened. But I’m sure grateful that their soldiers, merchants, scientists, and epicureans paved the way for us to enjoy what we do today. n If you’re curious enough to want to taste close approximations of what the original Roman wines were like, the Mas des Tourelles winery in France is replicating the recipes and utilizing the techniques of the ancient Empire. The traditional methods are authentic enough to also serve as the basis for an on-site museum. Mas des Tourelles’ catalogue lists several Roman Empire wines including Turriculae (containing fenugreek, iris root, difrutum and seawater), and Mulsum (aromatic herbs and, acquiescing to modern tastes, only 5% honey). To find nearby retailers, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
LeaD SPOnSOR SUMMeR & tHe SyMPHOny
my classic Russian Favorites Fri July 8 8pm Come early for a pre-concert vodka tasting, hosted by the folks at Drink Me magazine and the San Francisco Symphony! Use promo code DrinkMe50off, and email email@example.com with the purchaserâ€™s name to RSVP. Michael Francis conductor Valentina Lisitsa piano San Francisco Symphony Mussorgsky A Night on Bald Mountain Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade
Use promo code DrinkMe50off
The Martini Brothers will perform pre-concert and intermission music for dancing in the lobby. For more concerts, visit:
sfsymphony.org/summer (415) 864-6000 Box Office Hours Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat noon-6pm, Sun 2 hours prior to concerts Walk Up Grove St between Van Ness and Franklin Concert at Davies Symphony Hall. Program, artists, and prices subject to change.
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French influence in the New Orleans cocktail scene By Paul Oswell
The further you delve into history, the more contentious the stories become. Cocktail origins are often hidden in the murkiest of waters, and there are claims and counter-claims to invention that can keep people in the friendly argument business for years. Here are two rock solid facts, though:
irstly, since the mid 19th century, many mixed drinks have been invented in New Orleans. Secondly, many of those drinks have been marinated, infused, and shaken up with an undeniable slug of French flair. Walk into any of the high-end hotel or restaurant bars, or one of the newer craft cocktail bars such as Cure on Freret Street, and you can sip cocktails that ooze continental sophistication. There’s the Champs Elysees, Sidecar, French 75, reputedly invented in France. Cocktails such as the Sazerac, La Louisiane, Pousse Cafe, Absinthe Frappe, Brandy Crusta, or the Brandy Milk Punch were created in New Orleans, albeit under a heavy pour of Gallic sway.
Immediately thriving as a port, New Orleans became a desirable gateway. Other European empires eyed the colony with no little jealousy, and in 1762 New Orleans was ceded to the Spanish. The odd scrape with pesky Brits aside, the Spanish had uninterrupted control of the region until 1801,
Here’s why. Although La Nouvelle-
Orléans was founded by the French, their immediate influences on the region were less than palatable. Arriving early in the 18th century as an outpost of the French Mississippi Company, the immediate concerns were not mixing drinks for the locals, but enslaving them. By 1718, what was euphemistically called ‘peace’ was declared, and a new French colony was named for Philip, Duke of Orleans.
when, once again, the French moved in. Importantly, though, during this time, the Spanish had established the architectural style that now defines the historic central district known as the Vieux Carré.
T “Your Favorite Specialty Beer Bottle Shop & Tasting Bar” Located at:
464 3rd St. Oakland, Ca. 94607 (510) 452-BEER
here were only two short years until the French sold the territory to the United States in 1803 under the terms of the Louisiana Purchase, but in this time, French culture under the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte had enjoyed a renaissance. The city’s almost immediate rapid growth was awash with French influence, galvanized by an influx of Haitian refugees and French Creoles; by 1809, the French-speaking population had doubled. In short, by the time New Orleans had become the social hub it is today, brimming with bars and restaurants, the French had permeated its society. The city’s unofficial slogan, “Laissez les bons temps roullez!” (“Let the good times roll!”) belies this, and since the French enjoyed their food and drink as much as the next person, they were adding a certain je ne sais quoi to menus across the city from the very beginning. Chris Hannah, one of the foremost bartenders in New Orleans, works at the French 75 Bar in Arnaud’s Restaurant, sitting on the edge of the Quarter on Bienville Street. “The French influence on the modern day New Orleans drinks scene is undeniable,” he tells me. “When you look at cocktail lists from the late
1800s through to the early 1900s, you can see just how many cocktails there are consisting of cognac and absinthe.” “The influence becomes more noticeable when you examine cocktails that didn’t last 100 years,” Hannah says. “Instead, look at all those early house-made specialties, such as the Windsor Cocktail at Arnaud’s Restaurant’s and the Ambrosia.”
rnaud’s was established in 1918 by Arnaud Cazenave, a bon viveur with a vision to serve quality Creole cuisine. According to local cocktail history, it is here that Cazenave created the Ambrosia Champagne Cocktail, made with ingredients including apple brandy, Cointreau and Champagne. Showing an admirable family trait, Arnaud’s daughter Germaine Cazenave created the Windsor, which comprised of vermouth, brandy, and red Burgundy. Allegedly predating even these drinks was the Roffignac. There are claims that New Orleans mayor Count Roffignac was offering guests some kind of cognac and berry drink as early as 1822, but what’s more certain is that the drink was made famous via Maylie’s Restaurant (open from 18761986), where a brandy and soda was dashed up with raspberry syrup.
Importation of the Sazerac de Forge et Fils brand of cognac since the 1850s proved catalytic for the evolution of the Sazerac cocktail. Its ingredients took a beating over the years: the phylloxera epidemic necessitated a shift from cognac to rye, and the absinthe ban lead to an Herbsaint replacement. However, the bitters in a Sazerac have stayed true and constant, thanks to the original herbal wizardry of one Antoine Amadie Peychaud. Since 2008, this quasi-French speciality has been the official cocktail of the city of New Orleans. The Sazerac Bar in the newly reopened Roosevelt Hotel is the obvious place to order one, but it retains near-omnipresence, and most hotel and restaurant bars can whip up a serviceable version. There’s a tie for where to drink Café Brûlot, a hot drink made with coffee, orange liqueur, and cloves. The three Franco-New Orleanian behemoths of the French Quarter restaurant arena – Arnaud’s, Galatoire’s, and Antoine’s – all tout it as a specialty, and, again, its origins depend on who you talk to. The French influence was still going strong in the post-war era. In 1949, the Carousel Bar was unveiled at the Monteleone Hotel, a 25-seat circular bar that rotates on 2,000 steel rollers. In its heyday, it welcomed performers such as Liberace and famous authors including Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote. The bartenders here created a local favorite, the Vieux
More exotic ingredients from the French empire were also being fashioned into modern classics. The Grasshopper, for example, was invented at Tujague’s Restaurant, where they mixed creme de menthe, creme de cocao and milk. By the time
Prohibition had been repealed, the drink had gained national recognition.
Carre, which mixes Benedictine, Angostura, and Peychaud bitters with rye whiskey, cognac, and vermouth. It’s not a quintessentially French establishment, but having been a hotel since 1886, it has soaked inspiration from its surroundings.
hatting to bartenders across the city, it’s obvious that French tastes inform both their palates and their menus. Despite not being natives, working New Orleans’ bars somehow mainlines them into local tradition, dousing them in tastes that have been passed down through generations.
Kim Patton-Bragg tends bar at Dominique’s Restaurant on Magazine Street. “Cognac, absinthe and French tastes are just so ingrained in the culture here,” she says. “I make a popular variation on the Bâtonnet
from the Hemingway Bar in Paris, involving a fruit-infused ‘harvest’ brandy and Sauvignon Blanc.” Chris Hannah, too, is indebted to les Français. “If I had never moved to New Orleans I would have never thought to create a drink such as the La Belle Femme,” he says. “It has Cognac, Dubonnet, and Absinthe, all French, including the name, and I don’t even speak French. I never would have said the word frappe, nor would I have realized it’s my favorite way to walk the French Quarter, with one in hand.” Most people probably suspect that New Orleans has streets filled with people wandering around carrying Hurricanes or Hand Grenades. And while this is certainly true of the touristic hub of Bourbon Street, tastes in the city are more sophisticated
beyond the neon and frozen daiquiris. The French-influenced cocktails are now just part of a city that has embraced modern cocktail culture to its very heart. Tales of the Cocktail, which takes place each July, is the industry’s biggest event, and the crème de la crème of bartending and the drink industry attend. Also based in New Orleans is the Museum of the American Cocktail. I asked Chris Hannah why he thought the city had retained this Francophile flavor to its modern day drinking habits and its cocktail lists. His answer came in the form of a direct correlation or a scientific
formula, and provides the perfect summation: “New Orleans is big on tradition and cocktails are a New Orleans tradition, and the French influence on both is fundamental.” C’est facile, non? Salut!
RECOMMENDATION: If you’re only going to go to one cocktail bar in New Orleans, jump in a cab from the French Quarter and head to Cure (4905 Freret Street). It’s the city’s flagship craft cocktail bar and the bartenders here are innovative and unpretentious. It’s a modern, New York-style bar with a healthy regard for the classics. Well worth the trip. n
RECIPES: French 75 1.5 oz London dry gin .5 oz Lemon juice .25 oz Sugar syrup (2:1) Shake first 3 ingredients with ice and strain into a Champagne flute. Top with Perrie Jouet brut Champagne.
Sazerac .75 oz Le Fee Parisienne absinthe In shaker: 1.5 oz Courvoisier VSOP Cognac 1 oz Sazerac rye whiskey .5 oz Sugar syrup 3 dashes Angostura bitters 3 dashes Peychaud bitters Rinse glass with absinthe. Separately shake other ingredients with ice. Discard contents of glass and strain shaker contents into an old-fashioned glass.
Sidecar 1.5 oz Courvoisier VSOP Cognac 1 oz Cointreau triple sec 1 oz lemon juice Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into martini glass.
Champs Elysees 1.75 oz Courvoisier VSOP Cognac .25 oz Green chartreuse .5 oz Lemon juice .5 oz Sugar syrup (2:1) 3 dashes Angostura bitters .5 oz egg white Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into martini glass.
Swallow Your Words: Book Review By Samir Osman
Bourbon: The evolution of Kentucky whiskey Author: Sam K. Cecil Subject: A family tree of Bourbon
Synopsis & Review: My evolution as an adult may very well have began the day I tasted bourbon for the first time. It instantly changed me. Opened my palate and my eyes to new and exciting areas of sense. I was never really a drinker until my mid 20s, and had no idea what I’d been missing. It immediately set me on a path to learn as much as I possibly could about this wondrous liquid, so when I was tasked with reviewing Sam K. Cecil’s “Bourbon: The Evolution of Kentucky Whiskey” it was a perfect a fit. This is more of an encyclopedia of Kentucky distilleries than a book on bourbon itself. It has a Beam family ledger from 1906 showing their operating costs, and how that cost carried on to the public, including the temperance movement that eventually led to prohibition, which it also covers in detail. After a brief introduction, and some in depth although not lengthy explanations of the whiskey-making processes used in Kentucky, and some pictures of stills, bottles, etc., this book plunges head first into a staggeringly comprehensive list of distilleries. Arranged by county, most get a modest two to six pages, and the more densely populated counties having up to 40 pages dedicated to their products.
Why We Recommend It: If you are looking to better understand the process of bourbon making, or why Kentucky is the best place to make it, this is probably not the book for you. It does contain enough of that info, but there are others that would go into much more depth pertaining to the process and mechanical aspects of Bourbon making. This is the book for history buffs, genealogists, or those who already know all they want or need to know about the spirit itself, and want to understand its heritage. It is a virtual family tree that traces Bourbon all the way back to its very beginnings, with Sidney Westheimer’s Distillery No. 1.
About the Author: Cecil very obviously went to painstaking lengths to research for this book, and it pays off with the most comprehensive history or distilling in Kentucky to ever be published.
ABSOLUT GINGER SMASH
ABSOLUT® ORIENT APPLE. APPLE AND GINGER FLAVORED VODKA. PRODUCT OF SWEDEN. 40% ALC./VOL. ©2011 IMPORTED BY ABSOLUT SPIRITS CO., NEW YORK, NY.
ENJOY WITH ABSOLUT RESPONSIBILITY.®
In a rocks glass, muddle 2–3 lemon wedges, 4–5 mint leaves and ½ part simple syrup. Add 2 parts ABSOLUT½ ORIENT APPLE and ice. Top with 1 part soda water and stir.
ABSOLUT ORIENT APPLE Cockail Perfeced
A vision from Jordana Brewster and Finlay MacKay
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Eat Your Booze
Babycakes By Denise Sakaki
orn is truly a crop of the Americas, having a history that dates as far back as the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. It was introduced to Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries as a result of trade, and has since found its way into many other dishes throughout the world, but it’s a nice thing to say that it’s truly a local crop. Of course one of the best things to come out of corn and its natural sweetness is the distillation of American whiskey. As we come to the season where we officially celebrate what it means to be an American, let’s put all the flavors of the country together in that great big melting pot … and then eat it. As a nod to the saying, “as American as apple pie,” why not make a cornmeal-based cake with a sticky-sweet apple caramel topping, spiked with a little bit of whiskey? It’s
a little nod to America n ingredients, inspired by the French tarte tatin, which is like an upside-down apple cake, and it’s a sweet little finish for any backyard barbecue.
Whiskey Apple Babycakes
For the apple whiskey caramel:
(makes up to 12 mini cakes) Ingredients
2 4 1 1
1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup cornmeal 1 cup hot water 3 tablespoons of softened butter 3 large eggs at room temperature, yolks and whites separated 1/3 cup whole milk 1/3 cup sugar 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon salt
This cake has the toothy granular crunch that one is familiar with in typical cornbreads, but with the extra sugar and the incorporation of beaten egg whites, it adds a pleasant lightness to it. The tart Granny Smith apples mixed with the sweet and smoky whiskey caramel makes a rich topping, so that’s why these are “baby” cakes, using large muffin tins to make individual-sized portions. You could certainly make a full-sized cake, but I found the mini cakes are not only sweet to look at, but easier to unmold, as the caramel topping can be quite a sticky challenge. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced tablespoons of butter cup of sugar cup of whiskey
Special tools: Two jumbo or Texas-sized muffin pans — these come six muffin cups per tin, and 12 large muffin cup liners.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take each muffin pan and insert large muffin cup liners, to make for easy removal of each little cake.
Take the room temperature egg whites and either beat by hand or in a mixer until they form soft white peaks. Set egg whites aside and in a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt) together and mix in the softened butter. Once incorporated, mix in the egg yolks one at a time, and then slowly add the milk and vanilla extract. Slowly drizzle in the hot water and stir until the batter has no lumps. Take a spatula and carefully fold in the beaten egg whites, one scoop at a time. Do not overmix, just incorporate until the batter takes on a lighter color.
Carefully spoon a couple of tablespoons worth of the apple caramel mixture into the bottom of each large muffin cup, just enough to cover the bottom surface. If thereâ€™s any excess of apple and caramel, reserve for pouring over finished cakes at serving time. Take the cake batter and spoon in enough to fill each muffin cup to about halfway, leaving enough room for the cake to rise during baking. Take each filled muffin pan and place into the preheated oven to bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until each cake is set. Once baked, let the pans cool for a few minutes and carefully remove each muffin cup, turning upside down on a serving plate and peel away the paper liner to reveal the caramel apple on the top. Serve warm with a spooning of any extra apple or caramel sauce or a dusting of powdered sugar.
Over the stove, heat a large skillet to medium high. Melt down the butter and add the sugar. Mix constantly, until the sugar starts to caramelize to a light brown. Lower the temperature to medium and add in the slices of apple and continue to stir until the apples soften and the excess water is cooked off. Carefully add in the whiskey, away
from the flame to avoid flare-ups, and stir mixture until itâ€™s thickened and remove from heat.
Websites to Drink to
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ider is as American, as well... Apple pie. Actually it's yet another thing we stole from the Biritish and perfected, but who's counting? One thing is for sure - that Johnnie Appleseed wasn't planting apples to make pie. Anyway you cut it, cider is having a resurgence and craft cider is popping up around the country. OldTimeCider.com is a great resource for everything cider. It's got featured cidermakers, videos and multimedia, a nice collection of cider bottle photos and cider maps from around the country. They've got resources for you whether you're an avid cidermaker and information so you can just go out and appreciate a big glass of it. When Life gives you Apples, Make Cider.
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bounce By Sierra Zimei
In the 1700s, there weren't hundreds of mixologists publishing cocktail-a-day blogs but some documented historical references a few alcoholic beverages have been documented. These Colonial cocktails were simple to make, mostly because there were only a few ingredient options back then. They used what they had and didn't have to choose from 200 vodkas. In fact, they didn't even have one vodka to choose! The base spirit in almost all of these cocktails was rum, brandy, or whiskey and from these spirits many cocktails were created that have become the basis of a drink you might order tonight. Some of the more popular cocktails in the 18th century were Flips, Toddies, Slings, Punches, and Cobblers, but have you heard of the bounce? Made first of cherries, the Cherry Bounce was known as a cocktail containing the base spirit of usually brandy (but rum and whiskey were also used) that has been soaking in fresh cherries, sugar, and spices
such as cinnamon and cloves for about six months. This spirit is then combined with a form of sugar to create the finished cocktail that was usually enjoyed at room temperature, as ice was not readily available. Today bartenders around the world are creating their own improved Bounces. At Comstock Saloon in San Francisco, barkeep Jonny Raglin twisted his own version of this classic:
Comstock Saloon's Cherry Bounce 2 oz. Bourbon .75 oz. lemon juice .25 oz. simple syrup .75 oz. juice from a jar of brandied cherries 1 dash Angostura bitters Shake vigorously with ice.Strain into a cocktail glass over ice, top with champagne and garnish with brandied cherries. drink me 57
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Iâ€™m not on Your Team by Ale Gasso
There was a hold-up at the bathroom door I offered to fix from the back of the line.
Perched on sinks & toilet tanks & smoking cigarettes
When I knocked I got pulledin & circled by five girls who locked the door & offered me wine.
We drank & talked music & travel, laughing at the angry line growing on the other side of the door.
I tried to get them moving but they were set on killing that bottle.
When we finally came out those people said nothing to the girls scared by too many spikes & pink hair
they looked like a band & they were.
but glared at me as if we were somehow on the same team & I failed to complete my mission.
drink me 59
by Brent Butler at Blackbird Bar, SF 1.5 oz Laphroaig 1.25 oz Cocchi Americano .5 oz Creme Yvette Technique: Muddle 1 juicy orange wheel, add spirits, shake and strain over cold draft cubes in a rocks glass. Garnish: Grapefruit peel.
Cinnamon Pick Me Up
by Peter Vestinos of Death's Door 2 oz 1 oz 1Âž oz 2
Death's Door Gin Lemon Juice Cinnamon Simple Syrup* Dashes aromatic bitters Ginger Beer
Technique: Add all but the ginger beer to a cocktail shaker, shake with ice and strain over ice in a Collins Glass. Top with Ginger Beer Garnish: Cinnamon Stick through a lemon wheel
*Cinnamon Simple Syrup â€“ In a saucepan add 1 cup sugar to 1 cup water with 3 cinnamon sticks. Simmer for 10 minutes and then allow to seep and cool for 1 hour before straining off cinnamon sticks.
Sauza® Blue Meets Consumers’ Needs Developed to meet the increasing demand for 100% agave tequila Sauza® brand awareness is 50% above category average* Attractively priced vs. other 100% agave offerings
Sauza® Blue Equals Increased Retail Sales From a brand which significantly outperformed the tequila category over the past year, showing consistent double-digit growth** Generates increased ring due to price premium over leading mixto offerings *IPSOS Brand Tracker, October 2010 **Nielsen volume 1/8/11
Sauza® Tequila, 40% Alc./Vol. © 2011 Sauza Tequila Import Company, Deerfield, IL.
FOR A SMOOTHER, FRESHER TASTE