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, January 31, 2011

RIP Don Younger

We're so sad to hear news that Don Younger has passed away after a fall that left him unconscious. Younger was a true legend in the beer world and played an integral role in the growth of Portland's own craft brewing scene—he will be sorely missed. Please join us raising a pint to Don, and click here to read a little more about his long-lasting influence on beer.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Drink of the Week: Mezcal

We’ve been celebrating agave spirits lately with our current feature story on artisanal tequilas and mezcals, and today’s Drink of the Week keeps that trend going. At once sweet and savory, and with smokiness to spare, mezcal is the not-so distant relative to tequila. But unlike tequila, where the hearts of the agave plants are oven-steamed, mezcal production involves slow-roasting the hearts in covered, underground firepits. The pulp from the smoked agave is then fermented and distilled, resulting in a spirit redolant of the smoke that permeated it early on. But as a class of spirits, the similarities among mezcals end there. Like winemakers, mezcal producers often talk about how elevation, soil and climate affect the agave plants, which are left to mature for five to 10 years before harvesting. Add to that production methods that have been passed down for generations, and you have a spirit with remarkable depth of character. And that’s one of the things we love most about mezcal—each bottle can express anything from tropical fruit flavors to a sea-air saltiness with levels of smokiness ranging from a touch of campfire to mouthful of barbecue. Wholly satisfying as a sipper, mezcal is also a stellar ingredient in cocktails. Here’s how several bartenders from across the country are mixing the spirit’s trademark smokiness into their own signature drinks.

Mezcal’s unofficial ambassador to the States, Mayahuel co-owner Phil Ward, mixes aged mezcal with apple cider and cinnamon syrup for his warming Cinnsation.

The Other Word speaks volumes to the delicious mixability of a new-to-the-market mezcal.

Wanting to imbue a little smoke into an old classic, Austin barman Rob Pate first experimented with scotch before realizing mezcal was the answer for his Smokey Negroni.

Aged mezcal and an Italian amaro meet in the Los Muertos cocktail from Los Angeles barkeep Raul Yrastorza.

As a desert dweller, Tucson bar manager, Aaron DeFeo found the ultimate refreser with his Oaxacan Ice Water.

Mezcal’s meaty cousin, pechuga, makes an appearance alongside a splash of pineapple juice and a sliver of spice in The Helena.

And for more on agave’s other star spirit, tequila, check out “Heart and Soul” in our current issue, along with a round-up here of some of our favorite aged tequilas and mezcals.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Drink of the Week: Torremorón, Ribera del Duero, 2009

In “The Price Is Right” feature from our current issue, writer Amy Zavatto offers up tips on how to get the most bang for your wine buck. Today’s Drink of the Week, Torremorón’s 2009 Ribera del Duero is one of those great-value finds, offering aromas of rose petals and plums, flavors of juicy berries and a lingering finish of black pepper spice. Crafted from 100 percent Tempranillo, this medium-bodied wine is one to stand up to hearty winter braises, soups and stews. It comes from the Ribera del Duero region in Spain’s northern plateau, an area perfectly suited for growing Tempranillo, and it’s just one of the many incredible wine values the region has to offer. $12, astorwines.com

For more wines we love that come in under $15, click here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Video: Classic Cocktails With a Modern Twist

It can be intimidating to create original cocktails from scratch, so sometimes trying a simple twist on a classic can be a great way to dip your toes in the process. In the latest episode of Imbibe Sips Evan Zimmerman offers an easy example with a classic Blinker. Click here to check it out!

January’s Where to Drink Now

2011 has already seen a flurry of newly opened bars, restaurants and cafés, and we couldn’t settle on just one spot to feature as January’s Where to Drink Now. From coffee to cocktails, coast to coast, here are a few spots worth a visit.

61 Local
This no-frills neighborhood café keeps Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill residents satisfied with inexpensive pints from local brewers, kegged kombucha from Kombucha Brooklyn, New York wines on tap and artisan local meats and cheeses.
61 Bergen St., Brooklyn; no phone; 61local.com

The newest addition to downtown Austin’s ever-growing bar and restaurant scene, Haddingtons opened its doors last month with British-inspired comfort food like Scotch eggs, fish and chips, and duck meatloaf, along with delicious cocktails to match. Former barkeep at Austin’s Fino restaurant, Bill Norris, heads up the bar program with a mix of classic cocktails, including the Japanese Cocktail and the Stinger, and personal creations, like Haddingtons’ Word with Springbank 10-year scotch, maraschino liqueur, Strega and lemon juice.
601 W. 6th St., Austin; 512-992-0204; thehaddington.com

The Haddingtons' Word
3/4 oz. Springbank 10-year scotch whisky
3/4 oz. Strega
3/4 oz. Luxardo Maraschino
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
Ice cubes
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: coupe
Garnish: flamed lemon peel

Combine all with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into chilled coupe, garnish with flamed lemon peel.
Bill Norris, Haddingtons, Austin

Mary Queen of Scots
Ron Burgundy surely said it best: “Scotch, scotch, scotch—I love scotch!” And now New Yorkers can celebrate the same sentiment at the recently opened Mary Queen of Scots on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Opened in November, this brasserie pours close to 50 scotches and mixes the spirit it into classic cocktails, like the Rob Roy and Blood & Sand, as well as in house drinks, like the Auld Alliance, which blends Compass Box, maraschino liqueur, apple cider and two types of bitters. Oh yeah, and they serve Laphroaig ice cream.
115 Allen St., New York City; 212-460-0915; maryqueenofscotsnyc.com

Metronome Coffee
Setting a new pace for the Tacoma, Washington, coffee scene since its New Year’s Eve opening, Metronome offers rotating single-origin beans from Dillanos Roasters that can be brewed eight ways, including Chemex, cold brew and the Bunn Trifecta. Also on offer—salted caramel lattes, mimosas, local beers and flapjacks.
3518 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA; 253-301-2375; metronomecoffee.com
Photo courtesy Chelle Nicole Photography

Smith Commons
Occupying a renovated carpet warehouse, this three-story bistro features a dining room on the main floor and a public house on the two levels above. Open to the public since New Years Eve, highlights include Maine lobster, duck confit and wood-grilled prawns on the food side, and on the drinks side, you’ll find creative cocktails, a rotating selection of domestic and international craft brews, and a wine list dotted with domestic gems from Virginia, Washington and New York.
1245 H. St., NE, Washington, D.C.; 202-396-0038; smithcommonsdc.com

2 oz. aged rum (Smith Commons uses Cruzan)
3/4 oz. lime juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup (1:1)
1 barspoon maraschino
Ice cubes
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: cocktail
Garnish: lime twist

Combine all ingredients and shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish.
Smith Commons, Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Poll: What's Your Favorite Tequila Cocktail?

We've had tequila on our minds lately with our new issue covering the latest in artisanal agave spirits, and that got us thinking about our favorite tequila cocktails. Are you a steadfast Maragarita drinker, are you partial to a Paloma or do you lean toward a Rosita? Our latest web poll asks this question, so head over there and put in your two cents!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Drink of the Week: Odell Brewing Co.’s Mountain Standard Double Black IPA

With buckets of rain hitting the West and a blizzard blanketing the East, today’s Drink of the Week is a beer you can curl up with. The Mountain Standard Double Black IPA from Odell Brewing is black as night, but with hopped up aromas, bright notes of citrus and a dark chocolate bitterness that cuts right through its 9.5 percent ABV. Part of the brewery’s Single Serve series, this beer won’t be around forever, so best to enjoy it while you can. And to read how six different black IPAs stacked up in our blind taste-test, check out “Army of Darkness” from our January/February issue. $14/750 ml., odellbrewing.com

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Win Tickets the SF Beer Week Opening Gala!

San Francisco Beer Week is only a few weeks away, and we're already excited about all of the great events surrounding this year's celebration, and we're especially excited to be able to give away two tickets to the Opening Gala to one lucky winner!

The Opening Gala kicks off all of the festivities on February 11 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. More than 35 Northern California breweries and their brewmasters will be on hand to pour their unique, rare, and collaboration beers and there will be live music from the Whisky Pills and The Brothers Comatose. There's even a lovely stemmed keepsake glass included.This is always one of the most fun parts of San Francisco Beer Week and a great way to gear up for the rest of the events.

To enter for your chance to win the two tickets to the Gala, all you have to do is click here and tell us about your favorite Northern California Beer. The deadline for entries is Sunday, January 16 at 11:59 p.m. and one randomly chosen winner will be notified by Tuesday January 18.

We hope to see you at the Gala, and to check out the rest of the SF Beer Week line-up, click here.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Drink of the Week: Dark Rose Tea

With the holiday season behind us, we think the Dark Rose tea from the TeaSource is the perfect way to kick-start 2011. Sourced from the Hunan Province in southern China, this tea is allowed ferment like a pu-erh, and it takes on similar earthy nuances. Blended with rose petals and compressed into small disks, this silky tea offers deep, floral aromas and full flavors of dried flowers and sweet cream. One disk yields multiple infusions, and the tea is equally delicious sipped solo or mixed with milk and sugar.
$10/10-disk tin, teasource.com

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

6 Boston Bartenders on Life Behind the Bar

Boston is our cocktail destination in the Jan/Feb issue, and bartenders across the city are reviving the area's love affair with the cocktail. Here, six of Beantown's most talented bartenders give us an entertaining peek into their world behind the bar. Be sure to check out the Jan/Feb issue for the full feature, including some amazing cocktail recipes.