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Jun 20, 2017

ManMade Guide: Step Up Your Summer Drinks with Grown-Up Flavored Ice Cubes

Around here, we've moved past the short glass - the whiskey in a tumbler, the shaken 3 oz. cocktails of spring -and opting for the long and tall. With sunshine comes all-day drinks: those mixed with plenty of ice and fresh ingredients to keep you cool.

How to make flavoured ice cubes

Of course, it's ice that keeps 'em cool, and when your glass sits around in the heat...well, ice melts. So, this summer, make that a good thing. We're sharing our technique and recipes to allow the ice to actually contribute to the flavor of a drink or cocktail, not just its temperature or dilution. Check it out!   

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Jun 14, 2017

Everything You Need to Cook Amazing, Flavorful Food with a Cast Iron Skillet

A few weeks ago, we had a couple of friends over for dinner, and the husband joined me in the kitchen as I was finishing up some carrots I'd blackened and blistered then finished in the oven.

"Oh, you like your cast iron skillet?" he asked.

"Like it?" I replied. "I have three of them, and I use 'em as much as possible."

He was a little surprised at my response, and me by his. He'd said he and his wife had registered for both a large skillet and a dutch oven for their wedding, and received both. But once they got them home and unboxed, they could really figure out how to season them, how to clean them, or how to care for them. This, of course, broke my heart a bit, and I vowed that if he brought them over sometime, I'd help him get them ready to go, and show him what they could do.

So, whether you're just getting started in the wonderful, flavorful world of cast iron, or you'd like to move beyond special occassion meals and use these as your daily cookware, there's just a few things you should know, and keep around, for smooth, non-stick, generation-lasting success.     

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May 18, 2017

Eat This: 5 Authentic Cowboy Recipes to Make in a Cast Iron Skillet

Cowboy StewThere is nothing like a long day of hiking or horseback riding to get you in the mood for some good, hearty eating. And so the American West's roving cattlemen and cross-country venturers created a long tradition of fantastic, simple meals meant to fill you up on the trail. So bust out that cast iron skillet and prepare yourself for some authentic cowboy eating.   

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May 05, 2017

Five Tequila Cocktails You've Probably Never Tried Before (But You Totally SHOULD!)

Unlike some other spirits, tequila is inextricably linked to one particular cocktail: the margarita. And, to be fair, with good reason. The margarita is a great drink, especially when it's made right, with quality ingredients. But sometimes you want to enjoy your amazing agave flavor in a variety of contexts. So we teamed up Olmeca Altos to share five delicious tequila cocktails you can make for Cinco de Mayo (or any celebration!) that aren't margaritas. I think you're going to love these. Just don't drink all five at once.    

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Mar 29, 2017

Essential Skills: How to Cook the Best Steak of Your Life

Here's the thing about beef: it's expensive. And it should be; it's a part of a huge, expensive-to-raise animal. So, when you've invested in a high-quality piece of meat, especially a nice thick one, you don't want to screw it up. This recipe is the only way I cook it, partially because it's so darned easy, but mostly because it's the best steak I've ever tasted. Here's how to do it. 

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Mar 15, 2017

Healthy Breakfast, Made Easy: 5 Flavorful, Fitness-Friendly Smoothie Recipes to Make in the Mornings

Starting off the morning with something fresh and healthy sets the tone for the entire day. I've been blending my breakfast for most of the past 6 months, and it's changed my day. It's fast, easy, and tastes great. Plus, you can make the mornings hum along faster by preparing the portions ahead of time. I use single-serve sandwich bags packed with the ingredients, store them in the freezer, then just add water and blend.

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Feb 22, 2017

16 Under-$25 Cooking Essentials You Need in Your Kitchen Right Now

We believe in investing in long-lasting, high-quality kitchen gear; things worth saving up for, that you know will stand up to daily use. Opting for a legit forged steel chef's knife, say... one that can be sharpened and honed over and over and will last you the rest of your life, and then some.

But, investment pieces are just that: investments. Those things cost money, and they're well worth it. But thankfully, you can fill in the gaps with a selection of totally affordable and super useful kitchen tools, many of which cost less than a lunch at a local bistro. So with that in mind, here's our list of inexpensive, high-quality, and crazy versatile culinary tools with which you should be stocking your kitchen, all of which come in at less than twenty-five bucks.

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Feb 22, 2017

The Magic Highball Formula: How to Memorize One Recipe, and Make Dozens of Drinks

 They say if you learn just three chords, you can play a million songs... well, if you can learn this one formula, you can make a million highball cocktails.

simple Highball recipe

And? They're right. Any musician can tell you the I-IV-V permeates the majority of popular music, and knowing that progression is the trick for picking up an instrument and playing along with a song you've never heard before.
 

The same is true for the class of mixed drinks called a highball. Many of these classic combos are just known by the name of the ingredients - gin and tonic, rum and Coke, and the like. They're a huge hit at get-togethers and parties, because they can be easily built without any special tools barware (i.e. no shaking), and folks can stick with the same spirit and change up the mixer for a little variety throughout the evening.

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Feb 13, 2017

Everything You Need to Make Totally Killer Bread (and Pizza!) at Home

Baking supplies for the beginnerIs baking making? What category of craftsmanship does it really fall into, after all? I think the answers to these questions are, yes, and I don't care. Since I spend way too much of my everyday life sitting in front of a computer, moving invisible bytes around, baking is one of the easiest, fastest ways for me to get my hands dirty when I get home from work. 

It's magical; actually. You take this stuff (usually wheat flour) that, by itself is bland and horrible and inedible, and you mix it with a little water, a little salt, and some heat, and suddenly you can achieve a ridiculous variety of breads. By tweaking the ratios just a bit, you

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Jan 30, 2017

A Man's Guide to Making a Hearty Breakfast in No Time

make a hearty breakfast in no time

Making a delicious and hearty breakfast can be a chore when you're still trying to decide which pants to wear with your cap-toe shoes. Until recently, this was my daily struggle. Most days, I walked out the door with just brewed coffee and a piece of toast. No fun.

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Jan 19, 2017

19 Powerhouse Ingredients Every Man Needs in His Pantry at All Times

You know the basics. The onions and carrots.  The potatoes, rice and noodles. The salt and pepper. The goods that can help accompany fresh proteins and vegetables into a proper meal. But today, we're talking those "secret ingredients" — those back-of-the-lazy susan bottles and powders that improve anything they come in contact with, and take food from being simply filling to truly satisfying. Keep them on hand, understand and respect their powers, and you can use them to blow any dish out of the water.    

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Jan 12, 2017

Make This: DIY Health Tonic to Help You Feel Better During Cold and Flu Season

I'm a big fan of a glass of DIY fire cider to help keep your system in prime fighting condition during the winter months. It's the single best way to keep your immunity up as best can be. (We love you, too, flu shot!)

But, still, sometimes you get sick. And you feel terrible. And all the OTC bottles in your medicine cabinet just don't seem to be doing anything.    

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Jan 10, 2017

7 Essential Cocktail Recipes You Should Memorize Right Now

Often, when I try to explain the idea behind ManMade or what I do for a living, someone who doesn't quite get it will inevitably say to me, "You mean like MacGyver?" Um...I guess?

7 cocktails recipes you must memorize right now

For the record, I don't think making stuff out of ordinary materials – what we do on ManMade – is anything like MacGyver. But I do like the approach of understanding how things work, and then applying standard techniques to whatever materials sit in front of you. Especially when those materials are bottles of spirits, and the techniques result in something like delicious cocktails.

'Cause here's the thing: when you become known amongst your peers as a guy who knows something about tasty cocktails, you become the guy who everyone turns to to make a tasty cocktail, whatever the occasion. And that's a good thing. It's a solid skill to have, and it's even more impressive if you don't have to look a recipe up on your phone before you start shaking and stirring.

So, with that in mind, here are seven standard recipes, ratios, and approaches to cocktail making that you can tuck in the back of your mind to whip up a tasty option, whatever you find in front of you.  (Oh, and if you need bottle recommendations, here are our picks for stocking your home bar without spending a ton of money.)

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Jan 09, 2017

10 DIY Ideas to Stay Occupied While You're Snowed In

10 man-made snow day projects

This week they're predicting record-breaking winter storms in my area which means, aside from braving my drive to and from work, I'll be stuck inside. So, instead of heading to the grocery store for bread and milk I'm headed to the hardware store to get some supplies to keep myself busy under the snowpack.

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Dec 13, 2016

The Connoisseur’s Guide to Making S’mores - Perfected

I love s'mores. I hate getting sticky.* Which I mention only to point out how much I truly love s'mores since they nearly always get your hands/face/everything sticky. It's the perfect smoky and sweet desert to finish off any night's worth of camping and hiking or simply sitting around the campfire with friends. But here's a suggestion that takes the s'mores game to a whole new level...   

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Nov 29, 2016

You Need to Know About Yerba Mate: Your Next Morning Pick-Me-Up

Looking for a warm drink that will give you energy without the jitters? You need to try this brewed South American tea.  

For years, coffee has been my go-to AM brew, and I've been dedicated to grabbing a cuppa joe to get me through the morning. Sure, I mix it up with an espresso drink every now and then, but for the most part it's a few milligrams of caffeine that powers me through the mid-morning slump.

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Nov 28, 2016

How to: Bake Simply Stunning Artisanal Bread (on the first try)

Baking bread is one of those hard to qualify skills if you're looking at it from the outside with no real experience. On the one hand, people have been doing it for thousands of years in all sorts of climates with all sorts of varying available ingredients. On the other hand, it seems like a hard science that requires potentially its own baking contraption and yeast (who has baking yeast lying around?), meaning another trip to the grocery store. But here's the thing: it's not really that hard...   

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Nov 23, 2016

How to: The Easiest Way to Make Carbonated Cocktails at Home

Friends, it's time to step up your home cocktail game. But it's not about procuring a special bottle of small batch spirits, or some crafty house-made infusion, or even an obscure, esoteric bitter liqueur made by monks in the mountains of Europe. In fact, it's not about the ingredients of the drink at all. It's about texture.

Carbonating cocktails adds effervescence, tingling the tongue and bringing out new flavors and drinking experiences. Club soda is traditional, and it works, but waters down the drink, and often just floats on top, never fully integrating with the heavier alcohol. 

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Nov 08, 2016

No Drama Noodles: A Man's Guide to Making Fresh Pasta at Home

When we were young men, we turned to boxed pasta and jarred sauce as a crutch. It was cheap, it was filling, it was hard to screw up, and, it was good enough. 

Knead dough

But it's time to liberate pasta from the fallback of the less mature. To take back covering the starch in piles of flavors that cover its lackluster...uh, ness. In Italy, pasta courses are about the noodle, not the sauce. In fact, they refer to whatever get's mixed into the pasta as "a condiment" - just a little some extra to highlight the excellence of what's already there.

Done right, a good pasta dish doesn't need to be drowning in sauce. Done right - pasta stands on its

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Oct 25, 2016

How to Stock Your Home Bar on the Cheap (Yes, We're Naming Bottles)

Look, we love a solid cocktail bar. It's an awesome experience to meet up with some co-workers for happy hour, or connect with a friend or date over something shaken or stirred and served in a quality glass. But there's something to be said for sipping at home. Most importantly, it's much less expensive. Bar and restaurants try to keep their food and liquor costs to 20-25%, which means that $12 martini is actually made up of only $3.00 of ingredients. But we also can't argue with the value of staying home, whipping something up for your partner or friends on the fly in the warm, quite confines of your own living room. (Pajama pants optional).

And while we have no problem dropping some serious change on a truly elegant whiskey or craft spirit, the truth is: most mixed drinks don't actually require the highest end of spirits. So, if you're looking to experiment with crafting your own drinks, but don't want to invest mega bucks in a full fleet of top-shelf spirits, it's time to learn how to stock your home bar or bar cart on a budget.   

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