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.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Drink of the Week: Herbsaint Original

After months of waiting, Herbsaint Original is finally getting closer to nationwide availability. As distribution rolls out in the coming weeks, you’ll be able to locate it online at places like drinkupny.com and klwines.com for about $35 a bottle. This re-introduction of Herbsaint’s original recipe sheds new light on a spirit that has been somewhat overshadowed since absinthe’s re-emergence on the U.S. cocktail scene, but it’s well worth adding to your home bar. It’s powerful, yet approachable, with pure anise aromas and strong flavors of black licorice and salt. Well-integrated alcohol (it comes in at 100-proof) makes this compelling spirit a great contribution to any number of cocktails, including, of course, a classic Sazerac. Or try it in the Lazone’s Martini, a potent sipper crafted by Dale DeGroff.

Lazone’s Martini
1 1/2 oz. gin
1 oz. Southern Comfort
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 dashes Herbsaint
Ice cubes
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: cocktail
Garnish: lime wheel

Combine all ingredients and shake well. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish.

Dale DeGroff, The Essential Cocktail (2008, Clarkson Potter)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cellar Chat: 10 wine blogs worth a click

In case you haven’t heard, wine bloggers have something to say. Honest, outspoken, accessible and often funny, these web winos are de-snobbing the industry with a no-holds-barred approach to everything from wine travel and bottle reviews to industry news and gossip. Here are 10 blogs we think are especially bookmark-worthy.

1 Wine Dude
Quick-witted and charming, Joe Roberts offers candid takes on wine news tidbits, impromptu tasting tweets and entertaining bottle reviews.

Bigger Than Your Head
Sure, you’re initially drawn to this blog for its larger-than-life name, but one visit and you’ll be sold on Fredric Koeppel’s site which solely focuses on unfettered and unbiased wine reviews and tasting notes. Added bonus? He list the U.S. importer of every wine he mentions, making it extra easy to track down a bottle of your own.

Brooklyn Guy Loves Wine
BrooklynGuy’s poetic tasting notes will have you stocking up on inexpensive, cellar-worthy wines while his mouthwatering restaurant reviews and detailed travelogues will have you booking the next flight out of town.

Dr. Vino
You can trust Tyler Colman, keeper of drvino.com—he’s a doctor (no really, he holds a Ph.D. in political science from Northwestern University). Covering everything from wine-industry politics to seemingly impossible pairings, his blog is as informative as it is entertaining. Recent posts include a conversation about pairing wine with meat pies and a candid interview with grower-Champagne maverick, Terry Theise.

The Good Grape
One glance at the Good Grape will have you hooked. Jeff Lefevere’s blog is chock full of engaging wine biz news and personal tasting anecdotes.

Good Wine Under $20
The name of this blog says it all—dedicated solely to wines under 20 bucks, this site is a great stop for those looking for a good vino without having to drop a lot of dough. More than 400 searchable tags makes locating a bottle based on price, varietal or location a snap.

The Pour
No roundup of wine blogs would be complete without mention of The Pour, Eric Asimov’s near-daily take on wine, spirits and on occasion, beer. For more, check out our Q&A with Asimov, The New York Times’ chief wine critic for a personal glimpse into his vinified life.

Swirl Smell Slurp
Like the couple you invite to dinner only when your parents aren’t attending, the co-authors of Swirl Smell Slurp are honest and unflinching—kind of like the wines they recommend.

Veritas in Vino
The foremost advocate of organic, biodynamic and natural winemaking (and the most outspoken), wine journalist and author of The Battle for Wine and Love: or How I Saved the World from Parkerization (Harcourt, 2008) Alice Feiring rants and raves her way through tastings, travels and encounters with winemakers.

Vinography is the go-to blog for daily doses of wine news, tasting notes and book reviews authored by founder Alder Yarrow and a handful of respected wine journalists.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Drink of the Week: Rishi Blood Orange Pu-erh

We can’t get enough of pu-erh—bold, earthy and the perfect tea for a cold winter’s day. This organic blend from Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Rishi Tea combines pu-erh’s trademark earthiness with bright notes of blood orange and grapefruit, making it perfect for people who already appreciate pu-erh as well as those just wanting to take a toe-dip into the aged tea style. Rounded out with a mix of lemon myrtle, licorice root and hibiscus, you can sip this blend any time of day with everything from breakfast scones to cakey desserts.
$4/1 oz., rishi-tea.com

For more on pu-erh teas, check out Bold & Beautiful from the January/February 2009 issue of Imbibe.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haitian Relief Coffee

We've all been watching the devastation unfold from this week's earthquake in Haiti, and the need for relief there is epic. There are lots of ways to contribute support, but we were especially interested to hear about a relief project created by the folks at Barrington Coffee. The Massachusetts roaster has crafted a special Haitian Relief coffee blend, and all proceeds from the sale of this coffee will go directly to the Partners In Health Earthquake Relief program in Haiti. This full-bodied blend features coffee from Barrington's Haitian Highlands Coffee Project, which works with a small group of highland farmers in the Grande-Anse region of Haiti. So if you're looking for a way to contribute to the ongoing relief efforts, this is a great way to help—the fact that you get some amazing coffee in return makes your contribution even more rewarding. $12.95/lb., barringtoncoffee.com

Drink of the Week: Baines Pacharán de Arañon

Imagine a sloe berry took a sunny Spanish holiday with a bottle of anisette and you’ll be close to envisioning this velvety, cranberry-pink liqueur from Spain’s Navarre region. Originally formulated centuries ago for Spanish royalty, but not commercially bottled until the mid-1950s, pacharán is made by macerating sloe berries in anisette with a touch of sugar. This particular pacharán from the Baines Licor Company is bright and fruit-forward with sweet and tart flavors of crushed red berries and cherry candy and a lingering trace of anise on the finish. Sip it slightly chilled and solo as a digestif, or mixed with gin, lemon juice and a touch of fresh spice in the Basque Swizzle. $32, astorwines.com

The Basque Swizzle
2 oz. dry gin
1 1/2 oz. pacharán
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
3 fresh oregano leaves
2 fresh red jalapeno rings
1 oz. Rioja syrup (see below)
Crushed ice
Tools: muddler, swizzle stick
Glass: collins
Garnish: float of pacharán, fresh oregano sprig

In a collins glass muddle three fresh oregano leaves and two red jalapeno pepper rings with 1 oz. of Rioja syrup. Add gin, pacharán and fresh lemon juice and fill the glass 1/3 full with crushed ice. Stir. Add ice to fill the glass and stir again. Top with a float of pacharán and garnish.

For the Rioja syrup:
3 oz. red Rioja wine
1 cup granulated sugar
Peel of 1/2 an orange

Combine all ingredients over medium-high heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool andstrain. Store refrigerated for up to one month.

Clif Travers, Bar Celona, Brooklyn, New York

Friday, January 08, 2010

Drink of the Week: Taza Guajillo Chili Drinking Chocolate

Rich, velvety and warming, Taza’s Guajillo Chili Drinking Chocolate is just the thing to carry you through another frigid week of winter. This organic brew is made from only three ingredients—stone-ground, single-origin cacao beans, cane sugar and Mexican chili peppers—giving it a pure, deep chocolate flavor with a kick of heat on the finish. For an added touch of deliciousness, top your mug with a few homemade marshmallows—they melt right into the chocolate.
$4.50 for 2.7 oz, tazachocolate.com

For more recommendations on other decadent drinking chocolates, be sure to read Haute Chocolate in the November/December 2009 issue.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

January’s Where to Drink Now: Table Wine

“What’s for dinner?” is the first question Ernesto Vega will ask when you step into Table Wine, the Queens, N.Y., bottle shop he opened in mid-November. The historic storefront was restored to its pre-war glory (think brass window detailing, a tin ceiling and refinished hardwood floors), but the focus, Vega will tell you, is on the wine. “It’s about food and friends, and the wines you want to bring home and share over a meal,” he says. Hand-written tasting notes accompany each wine from the 250-bottle selection, and most are priced between $10 and $20. “I want to encourage people to try out a smaller producer or new wine region,” Vega says, “and I’ve tried to price my wines to encourage that.” Vega’s current favorite? A $16 Verdiccio from Bisci in the Marche region in Italy—he says the bright acidity and salinity of the wine pairs perfectly with seafood, especially shrimp risotto.

Coordinates: 79-14 37th Ave., Jackson Heights, New York; 718-478-9463; twitter.com/tablewineny

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Upcoming Event: Boston Wine Expo

In the just over two weeks, the 19th Annual Boston Wine Expo begins, where from January 23-24, wine enthusiasts will have the chance to taste nearly 2,000 wines under one roof. This event is an amazing chance to sample a vast array of wines and meet winemakers, chefs and authors from around the world. Wine guru and author Kevin Zraly will be giving the keynote, and in addition to wine tastings and cooking demos, there will be a great line-up of classes covering everything from how to taste wine like a pro to how to pair cheese and wine. If you live in or around the Boston area, you definitely will not want to miss this event—it will be complete wine immersion in the very best way!

And be sure you're signed up for Imbibe's e-newsletter because we will be doing a special ticket giveaway to the Expo in the issue going out next week. Simply click here to sign up.

For a full schedule of the expo and more details on participating wineries and presenters, check out the Boston Wine Expo website.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Upcoming Event: San Francisco Beer Week

San Francisco Beer Week kicks off next month, and this year's festivities look better than ever. From February 5-14, events will be taking place around the Bay Area, all in celebration of Northern California's world-renowned craft beer bounty. There will be beer-specific festivals (like the always awesome Barleywine Festival at Toronado), special tastings and pairings at breweries, beer dinners (how about a beer and chocolate dinner with Chef Bruce Paton?), homebrewing demos and plenty of opportunities to meet Bay Area brewers in person. For a full schedule of events, click here—we can't wait for this celebration to get going!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

New Web Poll: Cast Your Vote!

In our new Jan/Feb issue, we take a look at rum, a spirit that many people don't know or appreciate as a serious sipper. This got us wondering what you tend to favor as your sipping spirit of choice? Do you lean toward scotch, bourbon, rum or tequila? Cast a vote for your favorite in our new web poll, and be sure to check out Paul Clarke's fascinating cover story on the world of premium rum.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Drink of the Week: Inko's White Tea

Happy New Year! Now that the holidays are wrapping up and we've all been eating and drinking our way through the festivities, many of us are on the lookout for something healthy to imbibe. We've got just the thing. Combining white tea with a touch of ginger, Inko's White Tea is crisp, light and refreshing, offering a pure tea flavor and a subtle gingery finish with just the right hint of sweetness—the perfect way to start 2010 off right.