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, December 31, 2010

Drink of the Week: Hou Hou Shu Sparkling Saké

It’s our last Drink of the Week of 2010, and we’re wrapping up the year with a pop and some fizz—the Hou Hou Shu sparkling saké from the Marumoto Saké Brewery. Referred to in Japan as “happo-shu,” sparkling saké gets its carbonation by going through a secondary fermentation in the bottle, similar to the method used to produce Champagne, and it’s a fun and unexpected way to ring in the New Year. This particular sparkling saké is rich and creamy, but a low alcohol level and balanced acidity help keep the sweetness in check. Plus, it’s among the most widely available sparkling sakés on the market, so finding a bottle or two won’t be any trouble. Keeping enough of it around to toast the New Year, though, may be a different story. $9/180 ml., klwines.com

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Win Two Tickets to the Second Annual Tasty Awards in Hollywood!

For two years now, the Tasty Awards have been celebrating tastemakers of the food and drink worlds by honoring excellence in food, drink and fashion programming. Hosted by Zane Lamprey on January 13 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, this year’s show is set to be an entertaining line-up of celebrity presenters and nominees, including Eric Ripert, Anthony Bourdain and Aida Mollenkamp. And we’re excited to be giving one lucky imbiber the chance to win two VIP tickets to both the awards show and after party. To be eligible, simply click here to email us your pick for the winner in the Best Drink Program on Television category by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, January 4. One randomly chosen winner will be notified by email by January 5. Not planning on being in the Los Angeles area? You can still get in on all the Tasty action by voting in their viewers’ choice awards, here. But hurry, voting closes on January 5, 2011.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

8 Cocktails to Try in the New Year

Order the same drink every time you throw a party or visit a bar? Resolve to broaden your cocktail compass with this list of eight cocktails to try in the New Year. With everything from whiskey to tequila, this list of soon-to-be favorites will be your easiest (and most enjoyable) resolution to keep.

Compass Rose
Cognac and Campari meet a hint of maraschino sweetness in this sophisticated sipper.

Honey Bear
Love a Moscow Mule? Consider taking its honey vodka-flecked cousin, the Honey Bear, for a spin.

Irish Fiji
A pint of Guinness becomes even more irresistible when mixed with spiced rum and tawny Port in this flavor-packed beer cocktail.

Morning Glory
Looking for a unique classic to add to your cocktail repertoire? Try this potent combination of rye, Cognac, curaçao and absinthe.

Paloma
Margarita fans will fall for this Mexican refresher that combines tequila with fresh lime juice and grapefruit soda.

The Edgewood
Salt adds a subtle burst of flavor to this blend of gin, sweet and dry vermouths and fresh grapefruit juice.

The Sweet Taste of Victory
This luxurious combination of bourbon and Chambord gets even more delicious with the addition of bitters and homemade vanilla syrup.

Vieux Carré
The end of Prohibition saw the creation of this classic New Orleans cocktail that combines equal parts rye whiskey, Cognac and sweet vermouth with a splash of Bénédictine and two different bitters.

2010/11 Bols Around the World Finalists Announced!

We're excited to announce the finalists in the 2010/11 Bols Around the World Competition! The theme of this year's competition is Mix Your Way to Cocktail Heaven, and about 750 bartenders entered from 29 countries. Now eight finalists will be heading to Amsterdam to compete for top honors on February 28, where judges from around the world will be on hand to choose the grand prize winner who will receive 2500 Euros (about $3300 US), the 2nd-place winner will receive 750 Euros (about $985 US) and the 3rd-place winner will receive 500 Euros (about $650 US).

And the finalists are:

John S. Pomeroy, Jr. and H. Joseph Ehrmann of the United States representing the Americas

Hirohito Arai of Japan and Dennis Nam of South Korea representing Asia

Bill Bewsher and Daniel Gregory of Australia representing Australia, Africa & Middle East

Oscar Quagliarini of Italy and Frank Hagedorn of Germany representing Europe

Congrats and good luck to all of the finalists—we can't wait to see who takes home top honors! In the meantime, here's a sneak peek of the top eight recipes—this one's from H. Joseph Ehrmann of Elixir in San Francisco:

Friar Serra Flip
1 oz. Bols Triple Sec
1 oz. Dry Sack Sherry
3/4 oz. Bols Genever
1 fresh egg
4 dashes Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas Bitters
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Angostura bitters in an atomizer

Combine first 6 ingredients in a mixing glass and dry shake hard for 5 seconds. Add ice and shake again for 10 seconds. Strain into a coupe. To garnish: (prepare ahead of time) With an exacto knife, cut a stencil of an "angel's wings" shape from a piece of cardboard and rest it over the glass. From 4-6 inches directly above, spray the bitters from an atomizer 2-3 times to create a ghostly appearance of Friar Serra's angel wings on the head of the flip. Say a prayer and serve.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Countdown: 1 Day to Go!

’Tis the day before Christmas and we can't think of a more fitting way to conclude our countdown than with today’s Drink of the Week: Tim Stookey’s And to All a Good Night. Spicy bourbon, warming tequila and the soft sweetness of Cherry Heering combine in a cocktail made for curling up by the fire (or winding down in the kitchen while you pack up leftovers and do the dishes) on a holiday eve. Either way, this cocktail will warm you and yours to the core, without any complicated steps or hard-to-find ingredients. So from our home to yours, we wish you the most spirited of holidays!

Photo by Stuart Mullenberg.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Video: Muddling

Muddling cocktails is one of those techniques that seems so straightforward that it doesn't require much thought, but there are actually some techniques involved that can make a big difference in the flavor of cocktails. In the latest episode of Imbibe Sips, Evan Zimmerman talks about the subtleties of muddling while making a Whiskey Smash—check it out!

Christmas Countdown: 2 Days to Go!

With parking lots packed with last-minute shoppers, consider checking everyone else off your list without having to leave your house by giving the ultimate gift of liquid culture—a subscription to Imbibe! From coffee to cocktails, we’ve got you covered with the best recipes, how-tos, reviews, travel destinations and more. And if you order a gift by December 25, you can still make sure you’re your favorite imbibers receive the January/February issue. Click here to get special holiday savings, and you can print out a handy recipe card to announce your gift. And hopefully your friends will thank you by making you great drinks all year long!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Countdown: 3 Days to Go!

Whether you’re looking to expand your own cocktail repertoire during the holidays, or still shopping for last-minute gifts, Left Coast Libations is a cocktail enthusiast’s best friend with 100 recipes from some of the most skilled bartenders on the West Coast. Authors Ted Munat and Michael Lazar provide entertaining bios for each bartender, from Eric Alperin to Zane Harris, and they thoroughly tested each recipe—no matter how many obscure, housemade ingredients it called for—resulting in a book that’s as entertaining as it is reliable. $25, amazon.com

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Countdown: 4 Days to Go!

Throughout the holiday season wine flows as freely as water, but in many countries around the world, millions of people still lack access to clean drinking water. Today, our Christmas Countdown continues with Wine to Water, a non-profit dedicated to getting clean drinking water to those in need around the world. Since 2004, Wine to Water founder and former bartender, Doc Hendley, has helped get clean drinking water to people in nine countries by drilling wells, distributing filters and installing running water systems. But with nearly one billion people across the globe still lacking access to clean drinking water, the organization’s work is far from done. You can help by donating directly through their site, hosting a wine-party fundraiser with friends, or ordering a case of their old-vine Zinfandel and estate-grown Chardonnay. Want to learn more about Wine to Water? Check out our interview with Doc Hendley here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Countdown: 5 Days to Go!

We’re down to Christmas crunch-time, and with just under a week to go, DIY gift ideas that didn’t seem overly ambitious a month ago will now have to wait until next year. But one imbibe-worthy gift that’s a cinch to pull together is homemade Masala chai mix. This recipe from Jesse Jacobs, owner of Samovar Tea in San Francisco, adds in the unexpected but delicious elements of saffron and licorice root. Double or triple the recipe as needed, scoop into a decorative tin with brewing instructions and voilà!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Countdown: 6 Days to Go!

It’s the dilemma that most of us face at least once during the holiday season: What to get for the person who has everything. These pillowy, mail-order marshmallows from Indiana-based 240 Sweet might just be your answer. Alexa Lemley and Samantha Aulick have elevated the classic confection to new levels of deliciousness with more than 70 flavors that include everything from the traditional vanilla to more experimental (yet equally delicious) bacon maple toffee or roasted pineapple, all made with locally sourced ingredients and no preservatives. And if you’re feeling especially generous, go for the marshmallow-of-the-month club.
$130/6 months, 240sweet.com

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Countdown: 7 Days to Go!

Today’s the last Saturday before Christmas, which means you’re probably juggling more than one holiday party this weekend. But instead of arriving with another bottle of wine in tow, why not gift your hosts an exceptional bottle of beer? Any of the brews from the following mixed six-pack will ensure an invite back to next year’s parties.

Affligem Noël
Opwijk, Belgium, 9% ABV
Brewed by monks from an abbey that was founded in 1074, this bottle-conditioned strong ale is a flavorful mix of rum-soaked raisins, orange-scented chocolate and Christmas spices.

Deschutes The Abyss
Bend, OR, 11% ABV
This barrel-aged imperial stout goes down easy with its rich, malty notes of dark molasses, licorice and spice. Released each November, this wax-capped bottle is one to revisit year after year.

Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
Chicago, IL, 13% ABV
Bourbon and beer prove to be an ideal match in this dark, imperial stout that’s been aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels. Chocolaty and intense, this brew offers up notes of toasted wood, vanilla and a touch of smoke.

New Belgium Frambozen
Fort Collins, CO, 6.5% ABV
This beautiful brown ale offers loads of rich fruity flavors from raspberries picked in the Pacific Northwest, all underscored by a solid malty backbone. This is a great special-occasion beer and a perfect gift.

Samichlaus
Vorchdorf, Austria, 14% ABV
The name alone implies a joyous holiday season, which is partially why this Bavarian doppelbock is one of the most beloved holiday beers. Brewed each year on December 6 and allowed to slowly ferment before being bottled and released the following year, you’ll find sweet notes of raisins, toffee, plums and loads of warming spice.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
Chico, CA, 9.6% ABV
This bold barleywine is at once malty and hoppy, with assertive notes of dark chocolate, molasses and dried fruits. And, it’s another great candidate for cellaring, if its recipients can resist that long.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Win a Trip to New Zealand for the World Cocktail Cup!

Attention bartenders! It's time for one of the greatest shows in cocktails, the 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup. For the seventh year, the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) invites the world’s most ingenious and audacious talents in mixology to showcase their skills, represent their country and square off against their peers at the 2011 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup in New Zealand.

Six countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, France and Italy will hold contests at regional and national levels in which bartenders will compete to create the most innovative cocktail as judged by leaders in the cocktail industry. The top three bartenders from each country will then be selected to represent their nation in the 2011 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup finals in New Zealand from March 21–26, 2011.

The deadline for U.S. entries is December 31. Of those entries, finalists will be chosen to compete in a series of regional competitions that will take place from January 16–25 in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. The top two finalists from each city will move on to compete at the national finals held in New York on February 13. From that group, three U.S. champions will be chosen to represent the United States in New Zealand where they will compete against five other teams for the world title.

This is one of the most fun and adventurous cocktail competitions out there, and an amazing opportunity to visit New Zealand and spend time with bartenders from all over the world. So get the creative ideas flowing, and for the official rules and to submit a recipe, visit cocktailworldcup.com. Remember, the deadline is December 31, so you have exactly two weeks to submit your winning recipe.

And for inspiration, check out the recipe from last year's World Cup winners, the US team represented by Mark Stoddard, Sean Hoard and Todd Thrasher.

I Have Too Much Time on My Hands at This Point in My Life
1 oz. 42BELOW vodka
½ oz. artichoke liqueur (such as Cynar)
1 ½ oz. lime thyme syrup
Liberal dash of apple bitters
Ice cubes
Tools: mixing glass, barspoon, strainer
Glass: coupe
Garnish: apple thyme balls

In a mixing glass half filled with ice, add all ingredients, stir for 30 seconds, then fill with ice and stir for another 30 seconds. Strain into a coupe and garnish with the apple balls on a skewer.

Apple Thyme Syrup
2 cups water
1 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh thyme leaves
2 oz. fresh lime Juice

Bring water to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer stir in the sugar, and once dissolved, add lime juice and thyme. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 1 hour. Stain through a chinois and let cool.

Apple Bitters
1 750 ml. bottle 42Below Pure Vodka
1 750 ml. bottle calvados
1 granny smith apple
1 red delicious apple
1 gala apple
1 honey crisp apple
1 fuji apple
1 tsp. allspice berries, cracked
1 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. coriander seed
1 tsp. gentian root
1 tsp. dandelion root
1 tsp. rhubarb root
1 tsp. szechuan peppercorns
1 vanilla bean (halved & cored)
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cloves
3 star anise
3 cardamom pods, cracked

Core and macerate the apples, and place in a large mason jar. Add vodka and calvados and stir for 60 seconds. Add spices, stir again and seal lid of jar. Shake vigorously for 30 secs, and keep out of sun at room temperature for 42 days. To speed up process, shake vigorously for 30 seconds every day for 21 days. Strain the bitters through cheesecloth or a fine chinois and bottle.

Countdown to Christmas: 8 Days to Go!

Everyone knows the best eggnogs are made from scratch, and our Christmas Countdown continues with a Drink of the Week that’s among the most delicious homemade nogs we’ve tasted. Swapping out the bourbon, rum or brandy traditionally used in eggnog, bartender and blogger, Jeffrey Morgenthaler, subs in aged tequila and amontillado sherry for an eggnog that we’re pretty sure will become a holiday favorite for anyone who tries it. It’s delicate, balanced and, maybe best of all, made in a blender, making it a cinch to whip up during the holidays.

Tequila-Sherry Eggnog
2 large eggs
3 oz. (by volume) granulated sugar
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 oz. añejo tequila
2 oz. Amontillado sherry
6 oz. whole milk
4 oz. heavy cream
Tools: blender
Glass: coupe
Garnish: freshly grated nutmeg

Beat eggs in blender for one minute on medium speed. Slowly add sugar and blend for one additional minute. With blender still running, add nutmeg, brandy, rum, milk and cream until combined. Chill thoroughly to allow flavors to combine and serve in chilled wine glasses or champagne coupes, grating additional nutmeg on top immediately before serving.

Serves 4.

Note: If using a commercial blender that heats while blending (like a Vitamix) cut the initial blend time down to about 15 seconds.

Jeffrey Morgenthaler, Clyde Common, Portland, Oregon

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Countdown: 9 Days to Go!

Punches are big this holiday season, and if you’re planning to partake, you’ll need a punch set. You can score old-school punch sets at vintage stores or on sites like etsy.com, or if you’re looking for something new, we found this 14-piece set at Macy’s (and the bonus is that it’s on sale). And before you get going, be sure to check out these tips for making and serving punch like a pro.
$99.99, macys.com

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Countdown: 10 Days to Go!

With Christmas less than two weeks away, the holiday hustle and bustle is ramping up, and all of the shopping, entertaining and festivities can put even the most laid-back revelers into a tailspin. So we’re here to help. From now until Christmas Eve, we’ll be offering up daily recipes, gift ideas and entertaining tips on our blog that will guide you through the next couple of weeks. First up in our countdown is a book that will inspire you with plenty of deliciously crafty gifts ideas. Gifts Cooks Love: Recipes for Giving by Diane Morgan offers easy how-tos for everything from Blackberry-Merlot Jellies to Côtes du Rhône-Rhubarb Compote. There’s even a chapter dedicated to drink gifts, like homemade limoncello and this swoon-worthy Mexican drinking chocolate.

Mexican Drinking Chocolate
1 1/4 lb. bittersweet chocolate (61 to 66% cacao), finely chopped
2 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
2 soft, plump whole vanilla beans, split and scraped
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground chipotle chile powder
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Tools: 4 1/2-pint glass jars with tight-fitting lids, large heatproof bowl, measuring cups and spoons, paring knife, medium saucepan, silicone spatula

Wash the jars, including the lids, in hot, soapy water and dry thoroughly. Alternatively, run the jars through the regular cycle of your dishwasher; wash the lids by hand.

Place the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, bring the cream, vanilla beans (seeds and pods), cinnamon, and chipotle chile to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Using a silicone spatula, press the vanilla pods against the side of the pan to remove any remaining seeds and cream. Discard the pods.

Immediately pour the cream mixture over the chocolate, stirring constantly until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Add the corn syrup and almond extract, stirring until incorporated.

Pour the ganache into the prepared jars, dividing it evenly and leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims clean and secure the lids. Label and refrigerate. Will keep refrigerated for up to two weeks.

To serve: Use a warmed spoon to measure 1/4 cup of the chocolate into a preheated mug. Stir in 4 oz. of hot or steamed milk and continue stirring until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle a little cocoa powder over the top. Serve immediately.

From Gifts Cooks Love: Recipes for Giving (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2010) by Diane Morgan

Friday, December 10, 2010

Drink of the Week: Marotti Campi Lacrima di Morro d’Alba Brut Rosé

Tis the season for a good bottle of bubbly, and these days we’re filling our flutes with today’s Drink of the Week, Marotti Campi’s brut rosé. Italian sparklers always make an affordable option for the holiday season, and this bottle caught our eye for being crafted entirely from the Lacrima grape, a lightly fruity and higher-acid varietal found mostly in the coastal Marches region of Italy, east of Tuscany. Aromatic notes of wildflowers, along with flavors of tangy apples and cassis, mix with lively bubbles for the perfect match to all sorts of hors d’oeuvres, and at only $18 a bottle, you can stock plenty for your holiday festivities.
$18, sfwtc.com

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Win a Year of Wine!

With the holidays in full swing, we're in the gift-giving mood here at Imbibe and want to offer a 12-month membership to Amazing Clubs' Wine of the Month Club to one lucky reader. Every month the winner of this prize will receive two 2 full-sized bottles of premium wines from award-winning, boutique wineries across the globe!

We want to make sure this prize goes to a serious wine enthusiast, so there's a little legwork involved in being eligible to win, but it's fun legwork, we promise! To enter, simply email us a creative photo of your favorite wine, along with an explanation of why that wine is so special. Photos can be of you enjoying your favorite wine, a creative shot of the wine in an interesting setting—you get the idea! Submissions are due by 11:59 Pacific time on December 15, and one winner will be selected from all the photos submitted.

This promotion is open to US residents 21 and over only. Promotion begins on 12/8/10 and ends on 12/15/2010. The winner will be announced on Friday 12/17/2010. We will feature the winning photo on our Facebook wall and our blog. By submitting your photo you are granting Imbibe permission to post your photo in a Facebook photo album and on our blog, and Imbibe reserves the right to reject photos it feels are inappropriate for our audience.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Drink of the Week: The Scofflaw

Sunday is Repeal Day, and this year marks the 77th anniversary of the amendment that repealed the Volstead Act and ended Prohibition. In looking for inspiration for toasting the occasion, we thought it fitting to check in with Imbibe’s resident cocktail historian Ted Haigh. His choice for celebrating Repeal Day? The Scofflaw. Appropriately named after the term given to those who clandestinely sipped spirits throughout Prohibition, this cocktail, featured in Haigh’s book, Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, debuted in 1924 at Harry’s Bar in Paris. “It made righteous fun of Prohibition,” says Haigh, “and humor and great cocktails make good ammo.”

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Imbibe Sips Is Back! First Up: How to Use a Boston Shaker

We're excited to announce that the Imbibe Sips online video series is back by popular demand with all-new episodes sponsored by Chambord! First up, the talented Evan Zimmerman from Laurelhurst Market in Portland, Oregon, shows how user-friendly the Boston Shaker can be. So many people are intimidated by the classic two-piece shaker (having them stay together while shaking, getting them apart, etc.), but Evan shows that it's a cinch to use with a couple of tricks. Check it out here, and look for new episodes in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

New Poll: Cast Your Vote!

The cocktail and spirits world is not immune to trends, and every year, new ingredients, techniques, products and cultural fads pop up and gain so much popularity that by the time a new year is ready to begin, the public's interest in some of those trends has all but petered out. And that got us thinking about some of the trends we've watched lately—like bacon finding it's way into just about every spirit behind the bar or bars with no signs on their doors or those pesky control states; yeah, we know control states aren't a new trend, but we think they still deserve to be on the list. So head to our website to cast your vote for your top pick. And we know there are probably many more possibilities, so head to our Facebook page to chime in there as well.