Cocchi (pronounced "COKE-ey", not "COACH-ey") Americano has made itself comfortable in craft-cocktail bars across the country since its wide-scale release in mid-2010. Largely unheard of only a year ago, and still a boutique novelty in the cities where it has popped up, Cocchi has nevertheless turned the heads of scores of bartenders and thousands of curious drinkers in just a few short months, sparking stories in the several publications recently. So what's the deal?
Many Valentine's Day drink suggestions include the use of chocolate-flavored spirits or liqueurs, and this is where things usually go off track (assuming they were ever on the right track to begin with). Chocolate is a beautiful flavor when properly delivered, but most often when the flavor appears in the cocktail realm, it's the kind of chocolate with a chemically saccharine, tooth-achingly sweetness. Let's talk about ways to use chocolate liqueurs without turning your drink into an alcopop.
Often made with a base of vermouth or another aperitif wine, low-octane cocktails are popping up around the country. Aromatized wines such as vermouth and quinquinas have an elaborate complexity of flavor, so a cocktail based on these wines can have a robust character without the alcoholic firepower to knock you off your barstool.
With a few notable exceptions (including a battery of yuletide drinks), brandy isn't high in the rotation for many cocktail drinkers, a casualty of its relatively high price (for better brands—as with any spirit, there's a bottom shelf that for most purposes is best avoided) and a robust flavor that can be a challenge for those who don't usually venture far beyond a simple vodka martini. It wasn't always so.
For those who indulged—er, overindulged—during recent holiday festivities, the ache and groan of a hungover New Year's morning is now but a blurry memory. While there are certainly a few who woke up feeling quaky and off-center and resolved "never again," many of us will likely find ourselves in a similar scenario sooner or later. Surprisingly though, or not, there's been very little serious scientific attention paid to the matter of the hangover.
With more people adopting the locavore lifestyle, it was only a matter of time before people would start drinking locally too. As Toby Cecchini writes in today's New York Times, the goal to eat-local (or more accurately, drink-local) is becoming increasingly easy to reach in the Northeast, as the number of small-scale distillers booms. But only in recent years has small-scale distilling become even a possibility in most states.
The first time I hosted a cocktail party, I spent most of my time preparing cocktails to order. The drinks were great, but it prevented me from having much fun. Making batches of drinks in advance is a much better idea—all it takes is a little math.
For those unaccustomed to consuming alcoholic drinks that taste like, well, alcohol, the toddy can be a bit of a challenge. To those who genuinely like the taste of whisky, rum, or almost anything except vodka (I can't recall coming across a tequila toddy, but such a thing is not without potential merit), the hot toddy is the way to go.
One thing that people tend to do more in December than during all other months combined is introduce eggs into their strong drink. I'm not talking about the light, foamy cocktails made with a little egg white that you see throughout the year; rather, these are the rich, thick nogs of winter that trace an ancestral linage back to the flips of colonial America.
Though beloved by small children (and the occasional grown-up) when dropped atop a sundae, maraschino cherries have developed a reputation as a nuisance to many cocktail drinkers. The bright red orb certainly looks attractive while resting at the bottom of a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned, but the whole corn-syrup, FD&C Red #40, industrial fakery of the garnish is utterly unappetizing for many.
There's been a lot going on in the whisk(e)y world these past few years, with distilleries releasing cask-finished bottlings, new expressions and out-and-out experiments to a thirsty market. While much of the excitement has taken place in the realm of scotch whisky, American whiskey makers have been showing a little more creativity recently. Here are seven interesting American whiskies to look out for.
Single-malt scotch whiskies may get the lion's share of attention from whisky aficionados, but blended whiskies are the biggest sellers. But "blend" can mean different things for different whiskies, with the resulting products ranging from excellent to execrable.
The practice of flavoring liquor (by soaking stuff in it) is almost as old as the art of distilling, but as Frank Bruni noted recently in the New York Times, the current prevalence of infused booze is at an all-time high. Vodka infused with lemon peel or bourbon with vanilla beans, anyone?
Summer has crested the hill, and during the hot, bright days of the season, perhaps no other cocktail has more appeal than a classic daiquiri. The drink has earned recent attention. Washington Post columnist Jason Wilson wrote: "If the word 'daiquiri' makes you think of a frozen blender slushie sort of thing that involves bananas or strawberries, that's cool. But you and I are probably not going to be, like, BFFs or anything."
It may still be early in the week for some, but the cocktail community has been running on a 24-hour schedule since Monday night. This week, the annual Tales of the Cocktail event takes place in New Orleans, and while today is the official opening day, many people (myself included) came to town and got started early.
After months of preparation, Maker's Mark introduced its new bourbon, Maker's '46', starting last week. Innovation is hard to come by in the bourbon world, and it often comes at a steep price. With its emphasis on wide distribution and a wallet-friendly price, Maker's '46' aims to change that situation—but is the whiskey worth seeking out? We tried it.
The South American brandy known as pisco has waited a long time for its turn in the spotlight. Now, a new style developed by a San Francisco bartender is giving pisco a fresh chance to make a good first impression.
There are forgettable drinks, drinks that stick around for a year or two, and drinks that have such an engaging character, they endure and inspire for decades. The current issue of Imbibe addresses the latter category by defining the 25 Most Influential Cocktails of the Past Century. The focus is on the creativity and innovation that's taken place since the late 19th-century "Golden Age of Cocktails," from the years immediately prior to Prohibition to today's craft-cocktail renaissance.
Unlike much of Europe, aperitifs have never fully caught on in America's restaurants and drinking establishments. With the debut of two new aperitif wines, and a newfound enthusiasm for aperitifs among craft bartenders and drink aficionados, the landscape of the preprandial tipple may be changing.
Until recently, discussions of whisk(e)y largely centered on the spirits from two places: Scotland and Kentucky. Now, with Japanese whiskies expanding their U.S. distribution, and with a whisky from India now on the market, the whisky landscape is changing.