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.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Drink of the Week: Chris McMillian's Mint Julep

Saturday is Derby Day, so we couldn’t resist making Chris McMillian’s famous Mint Julep our Drink of the Week. Recently featured in Fred Thompson’s book, Bourbon (Harvard Common Press, 2010), McMillian’s recipe uses peach syrup in place of the standard simple syrup, elevating this classic cocktail to a new level of deliciousness. McMillian describes it best as he recites from J. Soule Smith’s 1892 ode to the Mint Julep, “Sip it and dream,” he says, “for it is a dream itself.”

Chris McMillian’s Mint Julep

12-15 fresh mint leaves
1 oz. peach syrup (McMillian recommends Monin)
Crushed ice
2 1/2 oz. bourbon
Superfine sugar
Tools: muddler
Glass: Julep cup
Garnish: mint sprig

Place mint and 1/4 oz. of the peach syrup in a Julep cup or Old-Fashioned glass and gently crush the mint leaves with a wooden muddler, working them up the sides of the glass. Loosely pack the glass with finely crushed ice, then add your bourbon. Drizzle the remaining peach syrup on top. Lightly dust the mint sprig with sugar, add garnish the drink with it.

Read more about McMillian’s poetic bartending style in Past & Presence, from the May/June 2009 issue of the magazine. And be sure to check out our Q&A with him here.

Photo courtesy Brian Hagiwara and Harvard Common Press

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Imbibe 25 ... and Birthday Wishes

The May/June issue of Imbibe is arriving in mailboxes and heading to newsstands, and this issue features a cover story we're incredibly excited about: The 25 Most Influential Cocktails of the Past Century. Tackling lists of any kind is always risky since they tend to be unavoidably subjective, but one of the great things about these types of stories is that they generate conversation, and that's what we're hoping to inspire with this feature. Imbibe contributing editor Paul Clarke did a fantastic job of researching and writing this story, especially considering the daunting task of narrowing the list to just 25 cocktails.

In settling on those 25 cocktails, we looked for recipes that have stood the test of time, inspired imitations, established trends and/or carved out their own place in popular culture—recipes that aren't necessarily the best-tasting, but have certainly helped define the way we enjoy cocktails today (and many are delicious). The 100-year cutoff narrowed things even more (though we did stretch that with a couple of entries), and we wanted to be sure the list reflected drinks from the full span of the last century. And, of course, many iconic cocktails, like the Manhattan and Old Fashioned, pre-date our century cutoff, hence their absence. Which cocktails have most influenced the way you enjoy cocktails? It's a fun question to ponder, and we'd love to hear your thoughts on our Facebook page.

In addition to the Imbibe 25 cover story, May/June also marks our 4-year anniversary. We've had so much fun creating Imbibe, and we get more excited about producing the magazine with each issue. It's hard to believe it's already been four years—in some ways the time has flown by—but it's been a fantastic ride, and we feel so grateful for all of the amazing readers, writers and advertisers who have supported us since we launched. Our goal is to keep getting better with every issue, and your support and enthusiasm helps us do that, so this issue is just as much a celebration of you. Now we just need to decide which of our 25 most influential cocktails we should toast in celebration...

Thanks as always for reading, and cheers to good imbibing!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Five Things You Never Knew About … Leslie Sbrocco

Recognizable from her regular appearances in wine segments on the Today Show and as the host of Check Please! Bay Area on PBS, Leslie Sbrocco is an Emmy award-winning oenophile whose fun, laid-back approach to wine has garnered her countless fans. Aside from having authored two books on wine and regularly contributing to the San Francisco Chronicle and Epicurious.com, here are a few things you might be surprised to learn about this wine-loving lady.

1. “I sing, and one of my jobs in college was at a jazz club. I still sing … but in the shower.”

2. “I used to be a hand model. Yes, I did the Pillsbury Dough Boy.”

3. “I love red meat. Maybe that’s why I’m so comfortable in Argentina. Malbec and meat.”

4. “I make wine. A bit in my garage so that makes me a garagiste, right?”

5. “I put myself in regular TTOs: Tequila Time Outs. They don’t last long.”

Friday, April 23, 2010

Drink of the Week: Ameztoi Txakolina Rosé 2009

Rosé season is sneaking up, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with a bottle of this Basque-country beauty. Crafted with fruit from 150-year-old Hondarrubi Zuri and Hondarrubi Beltza vines and bottled with its characteristic Txakolina spritz, this refreshing rosé is full of fresh strawberry flavors balanced by stone minerality and a touch of salty sea air. Each year, this bottle flies off the shelves as soon as it’s released, so be sure to pick up a bottle (or two or three) while you can. $22.50, coolvines.com

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

5 Things You Never Knew About … Jeffrey Morgenthaler

As one of the country’s most well known bartenders, Jeffrey Morgenthaler and his cocktails have been featured in countless magazine, blogs and websites, and when he’s not behind the bar at Portland, Ore.’s Clyde Common, he’s busy holding down the fort at Jeffreymorgenthaler.com or traveling the world to judge cocktail competitions. He’s spent many a bar shift hearing about the personal lives of his patrons, but here are a few things you might be surprised to learn about Morgenthaler himself.

1. “I have an associate's degree in physics and a bachelor's in interior architecture.”

2. “I spent the summer of '91 in Budapest studying Hungarian baroque architecture.”

3. “A Martini is my least favorite thing in the world to drink.”

4. “I drive a beautifully restored 1964 Vespa 150 scooter.”

5. “My favorite movie is The Sound of Music, and I can sing every song by heart.”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tour de Fat Spins into 13 Cities

For the 11th year, New Belgium Brewing's Tour de Fat is back and ready to roll into 13 cities across the U.S. The Tour kicks off in Chicago on June 26 and ends in Austin, Texas on October 30. This fun event originated in Ft. Collins, Colorado to increase awareness and participation in cycling. At each Tour de Fat stop, one volunteer will hand over his or her car keys and commit to a year of car-free living, and that person will receive a hand-built Black Sheep commuter bike. The volunteer will be chosen after submitting a video or essay describing his or her desire to live car-free for a year. To submit an application, log on to newbelgium.com/tour-de-fat.

The Tour de Fat is always tons of fun, and each one begins with a costumed bike parade. It's free to participate, with beer and merchandise proceeds going to local cycling non-profits. All music acts perform on a solar-powered stage with decorations made from recycled materials, trucks and transport use biofuel sourced from recycled waste oils, and all vendors operate off the grid.

The 2010 Tour de Fat Schedule:
June 26: Chicago, Palmer Square Park
July 3: Milwaukee, WI Humboldt Park
July 10: Minneapolis, Loring Park
July 31: Seattle, Gasworks Park
August 14: Portland, OR Waterfront Park
August 21: Boise, ID Anne Morrison Park
September 4: Fort Collins, Mothership
September 11: Denver, City Park
September 25: San Francisco, Lindley Meadows in Golden Gate Park
October 2: San Diego, Balboa Park
October 9: Tempe, AZ Tempe Town Park
October 23: Los Angeles, L.A. Historic Park
October 30: Austin, TX Fiesta Gardens

For more info, check out newbelgium.com/tour-de-fat.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Upcoming Event: Manhattan Cocktail Classic

In a few weeks, the Manhattan Cocktail Classic will kick off a five-day celebration of the history, culture and craft of the cocktail in New York City. From May 14-18, bars and restaurants across the city will be opening their doors for cocktail parties, tastings and classes led by some of New York's most talented bartenders. From "Terroir in Tequila" to "Vermouth: Misunderstood" to "The Life, Bars and Cocktails of Harry Johnson," there will be plenty of great opportunities to learn about spirits and cocktails. You can check out the full list of events by clicking here, and be sure to snag a spot in the sessions that interest you because some classes are already sold out. We can't wait for this event to kick off and hope to see you there!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Drink of the Week: Widmer Prickly Pear Braggot

Haven’t heard of braggot? You’re not alone—this ancient mix of mead and beer was mentioned in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales but has since fallen off of many a contemporary beer drinker’s and craft brewer’s radar. We recently acquainted ourselves with a modern interpretation of the style when we tasted Widmer’s latest release from their Brewmaster’s Reserve series. Napweed honey from northwestern Montana and prickly pear juice are added to pale ale during fermentation, creating sweet, herbal aromas with stone fruit flavors coming through on the super-silky palate and subtle maltiness and hops balancing the sweetness on the finish. Available in 22-ounce bottles and on draught across the country, this brew is a limited release and will go quickly, so pick up a bottle or two while you can—one to enjoy now with friends and one to revisit in a year or so. $10 for 22 oz., widmer.com

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Upcoming Event: Indie Wine Fest

Attention Northwest wine enthusiasts: The Indie Wine Festival is only a few weeks away! This year's event takes place on May 8, and as always, it will be a great chance to meet winemakers and taste wines from some of Oregon's most exciting craft wineries, many of whom release their wines for the first time at the festival. There will also be delicious food from some of Oregon's most talented chefs. This is the signature event for the Indie Wine Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to promoting craft winemaking in Oregon, and all net proceeds from the festival benefit the foundation. Tickets are on sale now, so be sure to get yours soon, as they tend to sell out quickly. We hope to see you there!

Indie Wine Festival
Saturday, May 8
Bison Building
419 NE 10th Avenue
Portland, OR 97232

Five Things You Never Knew About … Cheryl Charming

The always affable Cheryl Charming has spent nearly three decades behind the bar as a bartender, consultant and instructor. The author of 14 cocktail books and keeper of Misscharming.com, Charming is as personable as her name suggests, and while thousands of people call her their friend (seriously, she has 5,000 Facebook friends), here are five things you might be surprised to learn about her.

1. “The Galliano bottle holds a special place in my heart. It was the first bottle I saw looking through the window of a spirits store and I thought it was so beautiful.”

2. “I don't like the taste of chocolate, yet I've created many chocolate-based cocktails for chocolate-loving guests.”

3. “I’ve never gone home with a guest after work in 28 years of tending bar.”

4. “I don’t spend my days off hanging out at bars.”

5. “I love to escape into a restaurant/bar freezer and take 10 slow icy-cold breaths. It recharges my body for a long bar shift.”

Friday, April 09, 2010

Drink of the Week: Scrappy’s Grenadine

Kick-start your spring with this grownup grenadine from Seattle-based bartender Miles Thomas. This ruby-red syrup hits all the right notes with the perfect balance of tartness and sweetness, tons of pure pomegranate flavor, and complex notes of wild cherry, hibiscus and woodsy spice. Mix it in bright, citrus-forward classic cocktails like the Ward Eight and Monkey Gland, or add it to a tall glass of ginger ale for a flavor-packed Shirley Temple.
$22, thebostonshaker.com

And to learn a little more about grenadine, click here.

Photo by Philip Thompson

Thursday, April 08, 2010

April’s Where to Drink Now: Sable Kitchen & Bar

A good hotel bar can be a traveler’s best friend, especially when it comes with a pedigree like that of the recently opened Sable Kitchen & Bar in Chicago’s Hotel Palomar. With a spirits selection curated by bartender Jacques Bezuidenhout and cocktails like the Fernet- and St. Germain-laced Ginger Dram and the strawberry- and mezcal-bedecked Speaking in Tongues being mixed by Violet Hour alum Mike Ryan, Sable is the perfect bar away from home. The wine list is abbreviated but well-selected by master sommelier Emily Wines, and the food menu highlights locally sourced ingredients for dishes like bison short rib sliders and brick oven flatbreads.
Coordinates: 505 N. State St., Chicago; 312-755-9704; sablechicago.com

Photo: Cris Molina, The Photographer's Gallery

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

5 Things You Never Knew About … F. Paul Pacult

F. Paul Pacult is one of the most widely recognized names in spirits, and while he’s best known for his animated and candid reviews in the Spirit Journal, here are five things you might be surprised to learn about one of the world’s most adept spirits tasters.

1. “I really do sample spirits as early as 8:30 a.m. for Spirit Journal reviews. People are always incredulous when I mention that in seminars and public tastings, but it's completely true. I'm a morning person, which makes me boring socially. I take particular heat from Dale DeGroff (who’s a few months older than I am) about running off to my hotel room at 9 p.m. when the evening's just getting started. I go by the old axiom, Early to bed, early to rise; makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Can't believe I actually just said that.”

2. “I buy many of my clothes from LL Bean because they last forever, they fit me and I live with my wife Sue in the rural splendor of New York's Hudson Valley. My sartorial sense, or lack of it in Sue's mind, is a source of fun for my Ermenegildo Zegna-smitten colleagues, like writer Jack Robertiello. On a press trip to Spain in 2009, Jack lost his luggage with all his fine Italian duds, and he was forced against every fiber of his being to wear some of my LL Bean clothes. He was horrified, poor bastard. Jack's most memorable comment as he stood looking at my clothes: ‘Even your t-shirts come from LL Bean?’ Friends tell me he’s never been the same since.”

3. “I'm a serious movie fan and have been since my high school days at Notre Dame High School for Boys in Niles, Illinois. I took Spanish instructor Sal Giarizzo's film class in my junior year, and I've been hooked ever since. I'm still haunted by The Seventh Seal. I've given thought to writing screenplays for 30 years, but I never can find the time. I do have a concept, though.”

4. “I wrote a trilogy of unpublished children's novelettes in the 1980s when I lived in California.”

5. “I taught transcendental meditation for five years when I lived in California and Hawaii. I studied with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in two locations: Arcata, California for six weeks in August 1970 and Majorca, Spain for six months from October of 1971 to March of 1972. In Majorca, we meditated for 20 hours a day for three straight months. Studying TM changed my life for the better, and I still use the techniques to this day.”

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Win a Copy of 33 Beers!

One of our favorite recent discoveries is a pocket-sized tasting notes journal called 33 Beers, and we're excited to announce a special giveaway of 5 copies to our Twitter followers. Perfect for jotting down notes at your next beer festival, or just keeping track of what beers you're tasting in general, 33 Beers is designed for beer geeks, by beer geeks. Five lucky Imbibe Twitter followers will receive a copy of this handy journal, and all you have to do to be eligible is head to your Twitter page and answer the following question.

Question: What is the name of one brewer or brewery featured in the March/April 2010 issue of Imbibe?

Copy and paste the following on your Twitter page: Want to be one of 5 lucky @imbibe followers to win a copy of @33Beers? Find out how: http://imbibemagazine.com/blog #BrewerX

Replace #BrewerX with your actual answer to be eligible to win. You must post your answer in this format in order to be eligible (if you don't include @imbibe, we won't see your entry, and the brewer you choose must actually appear in the March/April 2010 issue).

Entries are due by Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 11:59 PM PST. You must Tweet your response before then to be eligible to win. Winners will be selected on Friday April 9, 2010 and announced on Twitter that same day.

Don't forget, your response must be in the following format to be eligible: Want to be one of 5 lucky @imbibe followers to win a copy of @33Beers? Find out how: http://imbibemagazine.com/blog #BrewerX

Questions? Email us here.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Drink of the Week: He’Brew Rejewvenator

Passover ends in a few days, and if you’re looking for a good kosher beer, today’s Drink of the Week has you covered (but note that if you're celebrating passover, Rejewvenator is kosher, but not passover-kosher). The second beer in the Rejewvenator series, this bold brew mixes more than 400 gallons of date juice with a doppelbock and a Belgian-style dubbel to truly unique effect. Dark, malty aromas are met by flavors of dried raisins, figs and earthy dates followed by a mellow hop bitterness on the finish. Open a bottle with friends and sip alongside some honey cake and rugelach.