If there was ever a time for opening a champagne bottle with a sword, the holidays is that time. You don't actually need a sword - a chef's knife will do - but I figure this is just one of those things a man should know how to do. And since this is also the season of fizzy, corked bottles of sparkling cider and grape juice, you can snag a few more affordable bottles to practice without having to waste any bubbly.
GQ shares this fascinating chart excerpted from the new book The Kings County Distillery Guide to Urban Moonshining: How to Drink and Make Whiskey by Colin Spoelman and David Haskell.
A sour is one of the original families of cocktails, and, done properly, is pretty straight forward: base spirit, an acid to create complexity and brightness, and a little sweetener to tame the sourness and round things out. Which means: a whiskey sour is a perfect cocktail to make at home, without any need to buy an overly sweet commercial sour mix.
The tradition of barrel or cask aging distilled spirits, wine, and beer goes back thousands of years. Letting the liquid mature within wood is what gives them their distinct flavors, aromas, and colors...when spirits are distilled, they're as clear as vodka; it's spending time with charred wood that develops the brown color of whiskeys, aged tequilas, brandies, and the like. The alcohol and the wood continue to interact, pulling out flavorful compounds known as vanillins and tannins, further distinguishing the product.
Over the last few years, some creative bartenders and cocktail experts have been experimenting with aging entire drinks
Studies have shown that a well-stocked liquor cabinet increases the chance of feeling awesome (studies conducted by ourselves over the weekend). This includes having several custom, home-infused spirits: one bottle suddenly has multiple options and flavor profiles.
There comes a time in every man's life when, offering a rum and coke to your guests simply doesn't cut it. You may be able to fake your bar knowledge with a few recipes from Google, but that can only last so long. Like a scout needs a map to wander the world , a true modern connoisseur needs some solid cocktail books to guide his journey.
This roundup will take your bar skills to a whole 'notha level. Let's get to it!
Some anthropologists argue that just one dominant feature separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom: we use fire and heat to cook our food. Like salt, smoking has long been a means of preserving food, and over time, we've learned that it also tastes pretty awesome as well. Those flavors are why we're still willing to use the grill and light fires when we have access to electric heating elements: the taste just can't be matched.
Many drinks and spirits come with smoky qualities - lots of teas, coffee, beer, and whiskeys. But you can also smoke entire cocktails or mixed drinks to add a whole other level of flavor and complexity. As my friend Mike remarked after trying one of my smoked Old Fashioneds, "I don't know if I can ever drink a regular one again."
Recently, I was invited by DIY and creative lifestyle site Brit + Co to create an introduction post for those who were interested in learning more about tasting and enjoying whiskey, but never quite knew where to start. Since Brit + Co has a largely female readership, I wrote it in the style of "a woman's introduction to whiskey" (hence the lipstick), but it works equally well for any novice who'd like to have a little more info.
A cocktail is a mixed drink that contains at least one base spirit and a modifier (liqueurs, bitters, fortified wines) mixed with something to give the cocktail a little flavor, such as another spirit, fruit juice, etc.
A highball, on the other hand, is much more basic. It's a single spirit and a non-alcoholic mixer, and rather than being built in a shaker or a mixing glass, they're typically assembled in the very vessel in which you'll drink it.
There's nothing wrong with a classic stainless steel flask, but in my experience, a basic, clean-faced model is sorta hard to come by. Instead, I frequently see flasks with printed phrases, weird iconography, or overt brand names. Which is just fine, with this easy project that shows you how to customize them in a classy way with some basic leather scraps.
These cold winter months, with their insane wind chills and 5:00 p.m. sunsets, are the season of curling up with a tumbler of, as Don Draper says, "something big and brown." No mixers, shakers, or bar tools required - just a heavy glass, and a quality whiskey that can stand up on its own for some serious sipping. And if you know what you're looking for, there's no reason you have to spend more than $40 a bottle. Single malts included.
As far as hot chocolate fans go, I'm among the biggest. Especially during December. I like it all kinds of ways - thick Mexican drinking chocolates with a churro, the powdered milk-cocoa mix from the stand at the holiday light show at the zoo, and the fancy versions from my local coffee shop. And marshmallows? I'm for 'em.
Especially if they're homemade. Like lots of food crafts, the difference between a who-knows-how-old factory made 'shmallow and the pillowy complexity of a homemade version are simply incomparable. And while I like storebought marshmallows just fine, I love a homemade one. Especially when it's infused with holiday
For those who appreciate well-crafted spirits, a bottle of something new (or old, as the case may be) always makes a great gift. It gives the recipient a chance to try something else, an opportunity to entertain, and if your timing's right, an instant way to thank you by uncorking that guy and sharing a pour. Whether it's your boss, your new in-laws you want
All this week, ManMade is excited to be teaming up with America's Test Kitchen to share lots of cool, DIY food crafts and ideas, any which would make an excellent weekend project or a great handmade holiday gift for your family and friends.
I'm not advocating for spiking your morning coffee every weekday, but if you have a bottle
Whether you've a fairly stocked bar to draw on, or you need to make a pit stop at the store before the Trick-or-Treaters arrive in a few hours, make sure whatever you'll be enjoying tonight is seasonal, tasty, and just scary enough to be festive...like these three "blood splatter" cocktail recipes that can be as eerie as you want 'em. A "Trinity" of Dexter-inspired drinks, if you will. (Get it?)