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May 31, 2018

Why I'm Quitting the Glencairn Glass

It comes as no surprise that spirits and beverage industry has identified the ideal glass for tasting whatever product they're trying to sell. There are separate wine glasses for enjoying your pinots noir and pinots gris, a wide variety of glasses to complement a certain style of ale or lager, and specific glasses for "fully experiencing" tequilas, gins, and brandies.

Mostly, this is insider stuff, employed at competitions, industry events, and certain high-end bars and restaurants with expansive "programs." But there is one specialty glass that has made its way into the homes of consumers and fans since it came into production in 2001: the Glencairn whisky glass.   

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May 22, 2018

Move Over, LaCroix: This is the Sparkling Water You Should Be Drinking All Summer

Topo Chico sparkling water bottle poured over iceSparkling water. It's a thing. Whether a weird normcore love of the dated 90s can design, or an earnest attempt to cut back on sugar and chemical-laden soft drinks, the cool kids have embraced LaCroix. And drink manufacturers, in an effort to capture the energy, are coming out with dozens of their own brightly-colored alternatives. I went to the grocery store yesterday, and spied no less than seven distinct brands of pink and orange-canned flavored waters, all of which basically look the same (and all which include a version of pamplemousse), attempting to capitalize on the trend.

I'm no hater. Live and let sip. If it keeps you hydrated and drinking less sugary soda, or even beer, then enjoy yourself. But, if you truly love the bubbles, then allow me to nominate my lifelong favorite sparkling beverage that never doesn't taste unbelievably delicious and refreshing, and, dare I say, defines effervescence?    

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Apr 04, 2018

How to Make a Cocktail from a Tree

During spring time, pine, fir, and other evergreen trees grow by producing new tips at the end of each branch. The new growth is a lighter, vibrant green, and you can (and should!) eat it. The tips have a wonderful citrus-y, woodsy flavor that tastes awesome in all kinds of sautes, seafood, and roasted dishes. But the easiest way to preserve their flavor is steep them gently in a syrup, which will last in your fridge for weeks. 

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Mar 27, 2018

8 Truly Extraordinary Whiskeys Under $75

Look. We love a solid, affordable whisk(e)y roundup. We've certainly written our share on ManMade: see here, here, here, and here. But there are times in life where "good enough" isn't... those times where you're really to spend a little more to experience something seriously amazing.    

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Mar 19, 2018

Totally Awesome Distillery Tour: Kozuba & Sons

You’re at the liquor store standing in front of 5-tier shelf that stretches the entire wall and your just here to pick up a bottle of spirits. There are a lot of different brands and an array of price points for each bottle. What goes through your mind?

I think for those of us who enjoy an adult beverage, buying alcohol, spirits specifically, can fall into two categories:

  1. I’m looking for an affordable bottle of spirits that doesn’t taste terrible, and,
  2. I know what brand and style I want. I’ve had it before and I’ll enjoy it again

And possibly a third, oft youth oriented thought: I’ll take the cheapest swill there is please.

But do you ever choose a bottle because you know where it comes from? Who made it? The story of how this spirit came to be?

I’d argue the answer to these questions are just as important as cost or a familiar label. There’s something special about knowing what goes into a craft. Even more than that, there’s a tangible connection when you not only know the story of a product, but experience the story first-hand....

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Dec 06, 2017

DIY Gift Idea: Make Your Own Wood-Infused Booze

As far as holiday gifts go, it's hard to beat something to sip. And this year, you can do a little better than swinging by the grocery store and grabbing a bottle of wine. 

This wood-infused project only take a tiny bit more work than buying something from the liquor store, but boosts all kinds of flavor benefits and handmade points, turning the spirits into a proper gift. 

Make some in bulk for everyone you know, and your holiday shopping is done.    

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Oct 26, 2017

These are the Best Bottles of Whiskey Under $20

There are occassions to spend a little more on an investment bottle. But there's absolutely nothing wrong with looking for something to enjoy that cost less than an Andrew Jackson. None of these second-to-the-bottom shelf bottles are going to blow your mind and or cause you to use the word "revelation," but you know that already.

Though,  seriously, if you're having fun and the evening is more about the conversation than what's in the glass, twelve servings of anything palatable for less than twenty bucks is money well spent.    

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Sep 12, 2017

Never Buy It Again: Three Ways to Make Your Own Killer Ginger Beer

Dark and Stormy Ginger Beer

One of my favorite cocktail mixers is the spicy ginger beer, used for the summer favorite "Moscow Mule", or evening sipper, the "Dark and Stormy." But I've had enough of the spendy, over-sweetened bottles from the supermarket, so I figured: it's time to make our own. Here are three ways to make an extremely tasty version happen at home. 

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Aug 17, 2017

According to Science, the Most Important Ingredient in Your Whiskey is...

Here's the kind peer-reviewed scientific study and journal article that we can all get behind: how to make your whiskey taste better. This year, scholars Björn C. G. Karlsson & Ran Friedman took a look at the molecular makeup of whiksey, and specifically, how dilution with water affects the presence of flavorful compounds that make the sipping experience even more enjoyable.   

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Jun 05, 2017

Father's Day Idea: DIY Leather Coaster Gift Kit

Giving a handmade gift is always better than a mass manufactured one. Whether you make it yourself or support a local artisan, craftsman or favorite Etsy shop, giving something that can't be found in a big box store not only shares an element of care, but of legit surprise.

But do you know what we love even more than giving something handmade? Empowering the recipient to make something themselves. So, this Father's Day, give the gift of DIY with this simple and stylish leather coaster gift kit.    

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Mar 14, 2017

How to: Make a DIY Industrial Bar Cart for Under $40

Frustrated with unnecessarily high prices for unnecessarily flimsy discount store kitchen carts, Andrew decided to get creative and whipped up an industrial-styled bar cart.

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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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Jan 10, 2017

7 Essential Cocktail Recipes You Should Memorize Right Now

created at: 04/16/2013

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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Jun 01, 2016

Home Bar 101: The 7 Essential Spirits Everyone Needs

Old FashionedStocking a solid home bar takes a bit of planning, or lots of experimenting. I built my bar a few bottles at a time, but looking back it would have been nice to have a solid list. Here are my essentials that will make the majority of drinks on the menu.  

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May 25, 2016

Home Bar 101: What's the Deal With Bitters?

BittersJust about any drink can be layered for a more complex flavor with the right dash of bitters, so it’s standard to find a few different bottles in the well-stocked liquor cabinet. So, which ones will serve you best? Let’s talk.   

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Apr 29, 2016

Without This Perfect Tequila Cocktail, Cinco de Mayo’s Just May 5th

Olmeca Altos tequila cocktail recipe

Last time we talked tequila, we showed you how to make a Pasado de Moda, an orange-and-tequila infused take on the Old Fashioned. Today, it's time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a fresh and crazy flavorful cocktail, made with Olmeca Altos Reposado.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican Army's 1862 victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla. It is not, as people often think, the Mexican Independence Day (that's Diez y Seiz de Septiembre). The holiday isn't really acknowledged in Mexico anyway, but any time there's an excuse to enjoy some tequila, we are most certainly a bordo.

Moscow Burro cocktail

But cross cultural mashups don't need a reason to exist

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Mar 25, 2016

Why Aren't All Cocktails Served in the Same Glass?

created at: 03/20/2016As any quality chef will tell you, presentation is of vital importance. And it's no less true when it comes to the pairing of cocktails and glassware. Each glass has its own connotations of class and style, completely aside from its own functionality, and so here's a little history behind it all.   

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Jan 11, 2016

4 Classic Books Every DIYer Should Have on Hand

created at: 01/19/2015

I want to give props to the internet for almost single-handedly fueling the DIY movement across America. If you need to know how to do anything, a search engine will lead you to the answer. Heck, it might even bring you here!   

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Nov 06, 2015

Everything You Need to Know (and Own) to Build the Ultimate Home Bar

created at: 10/27/2015

We love a night out as much as anyone, but the truth is: you don't have to get dressed up to deal with noise and crowds and drop $12 plus a 20% tip to enjoy a great cocktail. Heck, you don't even technically have to be dressed at all to experience a balanced, well-presented drink. A sidecar tastes just as good in your hole-y PJs as it does with your shirt tucked in. No judgment here.

The truth is, the properly stocked home bar is part of our American tradition. It got lost a bit in the blended neon slushies and pitchers of the 70s, 80s, and 90s (we're looking at you, Baby Boomers), but from the original speakeasy cocktail days of the 1930s to the space-age swinging bachelor pad of the 50s and 60s, part of being a grown man meant asking "Can I get you something to drink?" and meaning it.   

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Oct 15, 2015

Best Value in Booze: What's the Best Single Malt Scotch Under $30?

created at: 10/15/2015

There are times to try new things. Times to taste different flavors, experiment with products, seek out something you've never encountered before...And sometimes, you just want to know what the best option is. The easy choice. The go-to. The everyday variety you know will work when you need it, and rely on every time.      Throughout the next few months, ManMade is seeking out the best affordable bottles of a variety of spirits that work well in your home bar, but know you can grab at the store the next time you head to a friend's house or a party.   

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