Welcome to Imbibe Magazine's between-issues look at liquid culture with drink recipes, news and more. From coffee to cocktails, Imbibe celebrates your world in a glass.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Summer Drinks!

In many parts of the country, warm weather is already creeping in, and in others, we're just starting to get teases of the impending summertime. Thankfully, our 2008 Summer Drinks Issue has started hitting newsstands and mailboxes, and it's full of fantastic warm-weather drink inspiration to get you geared up for the season. Bartenders across the country, including Kevin Ludwig of Beaker & Flask, Albert Trummer of Fraiche, Charles Joly of The Drawing Room and many more, contributed delicious recipes (Kevin's incredible carrot margarita is already becoming a reader favorite). This issue also includes features on iced coffee, summer wine picks, rosewater cocktails, Saison ales and the most unbelievable homemade ginger ale recipe—seriously, it's become a staple among the Imbibe staff!

We hope you enjoy this year's Summer Drinks Issue, and if you haven't gotten your copy yet, or you just want a little something extra, here's a recipe to tide you over from one our favorite bar mavens, Alberta Straub. Also be sure to check out our online recipe section, where you can find other bonus drink recipes.

Bourbon & Peach Smash
2 slices fresh peach
Handful fresh mint
1 slice fresh ginger
1 oz. simple syrup
1 1/2 oz. fine bourbon
Splash Punt e Mes
ginger ale
Tools: muddler
Glass: Old Fashioned
Garnish: mint sprig and ginger slice

Add ingredients in a glass and muddle vigorously. Add bourbon and Punt e Mes. Pack with large chunks of ice, top with ginger ale and garnish.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tea of the Moment: White Orchard

You might think the Imbibe offices are a nonstop party, but during the workday we drink a lot of tea and coffee. Lately we've been enjoying Mighty Leaf’s White Orchard tea, with whole-leaf China white tea flavored with peach and melon. Some fruited teas can taste a bit sour, but this one’s flavors are true and juicy, with a subtle sweetness that complements the white tea and makes additional sweeteners unnecessary. While we generally prefer loose-leaf tea, Mighty Leaf’s large, fine-mesh pouches yield a lot of flavor, and are the next best thing. They’re convenient and quick on busy days.

-Shoshanna Cohen

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

10 More Days to T Time

There are just ten days left in our Imbibe 2008 T-shirt Design contest. What would you dream up if you could imagine Imbibe on a shirt?

Read our announcement post for submission guidelines and details.

The lucky winner will lay claim to more than just notoriety: the Grand Prize winner gets six months of artisan-roasted coffee from Batdorf & Bronson plus a Bodum French Press.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Celebrating the Brews Brothers

Yesterday we attended a fun celebration to mark the opening of Widmer Brother’s impressive new brewing facility in Portland, part of a large expansion the company has been completing over the past few years. Guests were treated to great food and blues and several beer stations pouring perennial favorites like Widmer’s Hefeweizen, Drop Top Amber, Broken Halo and W’08, all served within view of the brewery’s German-engineered keg line and six gorgeous new fermentation tanks. Another highlight was a sneak peek tasting of Widmer’s upcoming winter seasonal, as yet un-named but incredibly delicious.

While the set-up of this new operation was something to behold, what was even more striking was realizing how far this once-tiny brewery run by two brothers has come. Today the company is still run by Kurt and Rob Widmer, but the brewery’s growth has been very gradual and organic, allowing the brothers to stay true to their ideals and maintain the quality their fans have always come to expect from their beers. It really is a fantastic story of how to grow a business sustainably to the benefit of both employees and customers. So we say congrats and cheers to many more successful years of Widmer Brothers beers!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Win Tickets to a Coffee Mecca in Minneapolis

Once a year, the world's best baristas, roasters, bean buyers, retailers and coffee farmers come together for a three-day event to celebrate and promote coffee at the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) annual conference & exhibition. This year's 20th anniversary event will be held May 2–5 at the Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minn., and will focus on the roots of the specialty coffee industry—quality-driven and community-based excellence.

Leading up to this great event, we're getting together with our friends at Café de El Salvador to give away 10 exhibition tickets available to serious coffee imbibers who live in or around Minneapolis or who are looking to travel to this year's event. In addition to the many coffee and tea products and like-minded coffee geeks on hand, this event also hosts the always exciting United States Barista Competition.

Whether you're a barista or bean counter, all you need to do to qualify is post your favorite coffee of the moment here by 4/21, and we'll pick winners at random to receive the tickets. And no matter if you're already attending or you win the chance to attend here, be sure to stop by the Imbibe booth (#729) to say hello!

**Update: We e-mailed ticket details to winners 4/21. Thanks for your comments!**

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tax Day Got You Bitter? Cocktail Cures

Sympathetic to the tax day woes of their customers, the folks at Café Matou in Chicago have dreamed up a special drink to relieve tax stress: Le Percepteur ("tax man" in French). Wine Director James Rahn created the cocktail, which blends 360 vodka, F. Meyer Eau-de-vie de Mirabelle (yellow plum), Grand Marnier and of course, bitters. And for a little personalization, the amount of bitters can be adjusted according to your "level of bitterness" surrounding April 15.

Le Percepteur will be on the menu through the end of April at Café Matou.

Do you have a signature tax day cocktail to share? We're listening...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pairing with Friends: Scallops, Sambuca & Aquavit

When two of my friends from Alexandria, Va., came to Portland for a visit, I jumped at the chance to play culinary tour guide. My friend James is a personal chef, so after many meals out on the town, he treated us to an amazing meal at home as a thank you for playing host. I was in charge of cocktails for our first course—scallops with sambuca cream sauce. To riff off the anise flavor in the dish, I paired it with an aquavit creation I'll call the Nordix. I mixed tangy, spicy blood orange gastrique (page 76, Jan/Feb 2008) with aquavit. One word sums up the whole evening: Yum! For more cocktail and food pairing ideas, turn to page 34 of our March/April issue.
—Siobhan Crosby

2 oz. aquavit
1 oz. blood orange-coriander gastrique
1/2 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. lemon juice, fresh-squeezed
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: cocktail
Garnish: blood orange wheel

Shake ingredients together with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a blood orange.

Scallops with Sambuca Cream Sauce
from James Main, Main Course Personal Chef Service
4 large scallops
salt, to taste
1/2 Tbps. butter
1 1/5 oz sambuca
1/2 cup heavy cream

Season scallops with salt. Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in small saute pan over medium/medium-high heat until it's caramel colored. Sear scallops about 5 to 8 minutes on each side, remove scallops from pan and remove pan from heat. Using the same pan, add 1 to 2 ounces sambuca to deglaze. Return to medium heat, carefully ignite alcohol with a grill lighter. When alcohol burns off and the flame dies you will be left with a syrupy glaze. Add cream to the pan, turn hear to low and reduce mixture until it thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Serve scallops on bed of microgreens, if desired, pour sauce over top and serve immediately. Serves 4

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Iron (Bar) Chef on Food Network 4/10

Having just upgraded to standard cable (yes, I'm officially no longer a cave dweller), my TV is now almost always fixed on my favorite, The Food Network. All week, they've been re-airing a classic episode. This twist on the usual Iron Chef brings in mixologists to partner with chefs for to vie for the prize. In this episode, bar experts Tony Abou-Ganim and Bridget Albert partner with chefs Mario Batali and Robert Gadsby to prepare five drinks that also highlight the secret ingredient. Sounds like a page pulled from the cocktail pairing story in our March/April issue. Julie Reiner from Flatiron Lounge and Ted Allen judge.

Tune in or TiVo it, April 10, 12 p.m. ET/PT.

—Siobhan Crosby

Monday, April 07, 2008

Beer's 75th Re-Birthday

Fun fact: Seventy-five years ago today, April 7, 1933, marked the beginning of the end of Prohibition in the United States. New to office, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt pushed for legislation to loosen the definition of "intoxicating liquor," defined as any beverage containing more than 0.5% alcohol by weight (ABW). By late March, Congress had signed the Cullen-Harrison Act to allow the production and consumption of beverages up to 3.2% ABW (or about 4.0% ABV). When the law changed at 12:01 a.m. on April 7, beer flowed legally from taps for the first time in 14 years. These low-alcohol brews would tide the nation over for the next seven months until Prohibition was altogether repealed on December 5. Some states still have 3.2% alcohol content beer laws on the books today, including Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma and Utah.

While most craft beers on the market today have more than 3.2% ABV, today's historical significance will be celebrated around the U.S., with one of America's oldest breweries, Anheuser-Busch, celebrating complete with Clydesdales and the opening of an exhibit containing rare Prohibition-era photos, press and other items (you can listen to August Busch Jr.'s April 7 radio broadcast here).

Friday, April 04, 2008

"Studies" Abroad

We recently returned from a whirlwind tour of Amsterdam with the finalists of the Damrak Gin Mixology Challenge. This bartending competition, organized by Tastemakers International and Lucas Bols Amsterdam 1575, challenged California bartenders to create original cocktails using Damrak gin.

The finalists represented a wide range of California bars and bartenders: Amanda Washington (pictured left) of classic-inspired Rye in San Francisco; Manuel Hinojosa (pictured below) at the intriguingly named Walnut Creek Yacht Club in land-locked Walnut Creek; Alicia Walton from San Francisco's Martuni's; Spencer Simons of West County Grill in Sebastopol; Elad Benisti of J Lounge in Los Angeles; Cache Bouren of Fahrenheit Ultra in San Jose; and L.A.'s Monica Lee Burland, formerly of Edison and now at The Belmont and Element. (Micah Wilder, a finalist from San Francisco's Bambuddah Lounge, was unable to attend.)

Finalists flew to Amsterdam to tour the city and the House of Bols. At the Bols Bartending Academy, Bols global brand ambassador Philip Duff presented a one-day curriculum of tasting, mixology and bar skills. There, the finalists competed in a mix-off, forming teams to transform surprise ingredients into original cocktails. The winning team was Elad Benisti from J Lounge, guest Matt Olivas from LA's Good Luck Bar and Hollie Schulze of Cattani Imports. Their cocktail, the Nice Rak, included Damrak gin, fresh lemon juice, muddled tempranillo and hot peppers.

This recipe from Spencer Simons is another great expression of grapes combined with gin (this was the recipe that got him to Amsterdam).

The Sweet Here After
2 oz. Damrak gin
2 oz. Navarro white gewürtztraminer grape juice
2 dashes orange bitters
Splash of brut Champagne
Glass: cocktail

Shake ingredients and strain into chilled glass. Add a float of brut Champagne.

Photographs by Reinier van der Aart for Lucas Bols

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Upcoming Event: 2nd Annual Heritage Festival

Summer festival season is almost here with lots of great events approaching around the country. Be sure to put this one on your calendar: The Second Annual Heritage Festival in St. Louis, Mo., May 8-10. This open-air event brings together local breweries, restaurants and live music to celebrate the long-standing tradition of beer in St. Louis. Over three days, you can sample more than 70 ales, lagers and specialty beers, including the official festival brew, a St. Louis Dark Lager, as interpreted by all eight participating breweries. Also, members of the local homebrew club St. Lewis Brews will be on hand to educate interested festival-goers about home brewing and sample some of their own brews. The festivities kicks off early on Thursday, May 8, with a five-course beer pairing dinner served up by participating breweries and Food Network chef Dave Lieberman.

When: May 8-10
Where: Forest Park, St. Louis, Mo. map
More Info: www.stlbrewfest.com

Look for more info on summer festivals in our upcoming May/June Summer Drinks Guide issue, on newsstands April 29.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tea of the Moment: Really Goethe

We’re in love with SerendipiTea’s flower-flavored Really Goethe ($14 for 4 ounces). With lemon myrtle, jasmine, roses, laurel and whole-leaf green tea, this colorful mix is a delight to the senses. Its sweet, floral aroma and bright, citrusy, complex flavor sing of springtime (even if the weather doesn’t). While it makes a wonderful cup, you could also try it as an invigorating face steam. Store in an airtight glass jar and brew in a clear kettle or infuser to take full advantage of this showy blend.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Upcoming Event: 4th Annual Indie Wine Festival

Spring is here and it's almost time for fourth annual Portland Indie Wine Festival, showcasing small-production (2,000 cases or fewer) artisan wines from all over the state of Oregon. Forty selected wineries fill the two-day event and pour their own wines, affording festival-goers a rare chance to meet the people behind every bottle and interact on a personal level. Included in the price of Grand Tasting tickets are delicious bites provided by 20 local partner restaurants, representing the best of Portland's food scene. This year, seminars have been added to the festival, including one we're especially excited about: Terroir 101 (5/3), moderated by Imbibe Senior Editor Kate Simon.

Travel deals are available for local hotels and dining establishments too, via the Indie Wine Festival website.

When: May 2–4, times vary
Where: Urban Wine Works, Portland, Ore. map
More Info: www.indiewinefestival.com