Candy and cocktails. Not just cocktail-flavored candies, but sweet little chewy guys, full of actual spirits and the classic flavors of the mixed drink that inspired them. In short: Best. DIY Project. Ever.
I'm always down to try a new cocktail recipe. But, it can be a pretty big investment to go in for a whole bottle of flavored vodka or special liqueur when you're not even sure if you like the drink in the first place. And, often, many of them taste like candy, artificial extracts, or weird chemicals.
So, make your own. They're much less expensive, taste way better, and you can make as little or as much as you want. With all the fresh summer produce coming to the markets, there's every reason to give it a shot.
You usually can't tell what kind of bar you're in within the first five minutes. You've got to sit for a minute, watch the other patrons, let the jukebox play a few selections, let the bartenders do their thing, perhaps even order some food. Sure, you may know you're in a dive by the general smell and look at the place, but it'll take a round or two to know whether you're in a great dive.
Each Wednesday, I post some of my favorite can't-miss links, images, and otherwise mindblowing goodies from across the web.
Designers Philippe Stark and scientist David Edward have invented WA|HH Quantum Sensations, an alcohol spray that gets you instantly drunk.
Ah...whiskey. It's mostly just grains, mashed up and fermented, then distilled and aged a bit.
But, when you think of all the different grains - barley, rye, malted barley, malted rye, wheat, corn - plus all these distinct flavors that occur during the fermenting proces and, particularly, the aging process, which results in the various kinds of whiskey - like bourbon, Canadian whiskey, single malt Scotch, blended Scotch, Tennessee whiskey, Irish whiskey, Japanese whiskey...it's a lot to get your mind around.
When architecht Eric Schiller was inspecting the oak staircase in his Victorian-era home in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY, he noticed a curious rectangle on the landing, an out of place solid slab amidst the planking of the floorboards. He located a small thumbhole, and lifted the slab to discover
Oh, man...I dunno how I missed this until yesterday, but apparently, the new season of Mad Men starts this Sunday. I mean, I remember nearly a year ago when it was supposed to come out, all the reports said, "March 2012," but who can actually keep track of those things? Musn't dwell. Moving on.
Anyway, you should watch it, and better yet, you should participate even more fully by finding some reason to wear a suit, listening to Sam Cooke, and mixing up some classic cocktails.
Popsicles are nearly the perfect food: they're sweet, they're frozen, they're a little messy, and, most importantly, they come on sticks. And not as a novelty, but by defintion.
The only thing missing? A little extra kick and fun from a bit of alcoholic spirits.
Enter the Dirty Pirate...
There are drinks that are fairly easy to serve, such as beer and wine, as you simply need to open and pour. Many spirits can be enjoyed in nearly the same way: whiskey neat, brandy in a glass, sake warmed. There are the highballs that are fairly easy to figure out: the vodka cranberry, rum and Coke, gin and tonic. There are the drinks that are so open to interpretation, you'll likely never make them the same way twice: the Bloody Mary comes to mind, as does any number of adverturous use-what-you-have mixes.
But then, there are the classic cocktails, those time-proven combinations that have proven themselves for decades. Besides being tasty, these have emerged as the standards for a reason: they're made from typical ingredients that you can find easily, at any store, and probably should be keeping in your own home bar.
They're so essential, I'm making the claim that every man should have these recipes memorized so he can shake one up at a moment's notice. Trust me, you want to be that guy that knows how to mix drinks: at a get together, after a date, at a work function or meeting. None of these are particularly difficult to commit to memory, and once you've got 'em, you've got 'em, and they'll never go out of style.
Maker and artist Mike Warren has invented "the Gentleman's Ski Pole," a clever option to add a small, concealed flask inside the handles of his skiing stocks.
But what he's really done is show all of us how to secretly stash a DIY flask inside of anything you can imagine: a walking stick, a book, a portfolio or breifcase...
If it's got some solid material, you can put a flask in it. And, oh, should you put a flask in it.
If you're not already aware, cocktail bitters are aromatic infusions that are used to give mixed drinks an incredible depth of flavor. Think of them as the spice cabinet for your home bar. Many of the standard flavors - Angostura, Peychaud's - originated as tonics to settle stomachs and cure sickness.
If you're also not aware, artisinal bitters have exploded on the cocktail and home mixology scene, and all the cool kids are mixing up their own. These make an awesome weekend project, as well as a great gift to give to your friends as favors or holiday gifts.
The visual appeal of this killer vintage Silvertone television is obvious, but even if it did work, it likely would be rather tough to watch when the average mobile phone has a better resolution, and get likely get more channels.
So, when Dylan and Bethany stumbled across it in a secondhand shop, they took it home, and did what anyone might. They built a bar out of it.
When it comes to strange foods and drinks, I'm easily intrigued (have you tried our peanut butter cheeseburger yet?!). But here's one that might be a little too bizarre for me: Pizza Beer. Granted, beer and pizza are both wonderful creations that I enjoy on a regular basis, but a beer that tastess like pizza...?
If you're not aware, the reason that aged spirits - such as bourbon and scotch whiskeys, reposado and añejo tequilas, brandy, dark rum, sherry, and even some wines and vinegars - are smoky and aromatic and, well, tasty, is due to a traditional aging in charred (or "toasted") oak barrels. The water content will absorb the flavors in the wood, such as such as vanillin and wood tannins, as well as the smoky flavors from contact with the wood.
The trend of barrel-aging whole cocktails has emerged among mixologists (likely attributed to expert Jeffrey Morganthaler), and in the absence of your own tiny casks, you can aged your own "white" cocktails for a mere $10 investment.
If beer cans with color-changing mountains make you laugh and groan at the same time, then I think you'll enjoy this cartoon/illustration/infographic (I dunno what to call it) by lunchbreath. It's a series of "unsolicited proposals for new and wonderful beverages", and is conveniently divided up into four categories for your viewing pleasure...
I don't know what it is. Perhaps it's the obvious contrast between a childhood favorite meal and a very adult beverage, or just the pure curiousity of seeing whether a cocktail can not only taste like a savory food, but a complete meal, but I'm gonna do everything I can to make a grilled cheese and tomato soup martini.
High-end, underlit, swanky joints and well-worn, leathery pubs alike have it in common: a lot of bottles of spirits. On first glance, even the smallest restaurant with a liquor license will seem to have just a few selections, but start counting, and you'll realize that most bartended spots have, on average, around 35-40 bottles, with many going up to into the hundreds.
For the home mixmaster, that can be intimidating. You're interested in creating classic and contemporary cocktails alike, but have neither the budget, the space, nor the use for even an average restaurant-style selection.