Cocktails And Spirits With Paul Clarke, Cocktails And Spirits With Paul Clarke

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Celebrate the Fourth of July with American Spirits

Paul Clarke 6 comments

It just doesn't feel right to toast the Fourth of July with vodka. Or with scotch or aquavit, for that matter, or any of a number of other spirits that are perfectly appropriate pretty much any other day of the year. But for a celebration on the Fourth, it's not a bad idea to keep the drinks in theme, and turn to a classic American spirit for the day's festivities. More

Beat the Summer Heat with Tall, Fizzy Refreshers

Paul Clarke 2 comments

In today's Washington Post, Jason Wilson dips into this broad family of sparkling coolers that generations of thirsty Americans have used to beat back the fiercest sweltering weather. As Wilson notes, there's not a great deal of variance on paper between these drinks, but these seemingly minor differences can mean a lot when the drink is in your glass. More

Pusser's Rum Discovers the Cost of Trademarking Drink Recipes

Paul Clarke 25 comments

It's hard to imagine that fruity, freewheeling rum drinks would be something to get too worked up about. But in the past week, news of a settlement in a lawsuit over one such drink has been resonating through the bar world, and the public-relations disaster the lawsuit has prompted could have repercussions for years to come. More

Is Tequila Going Downhill?

Paul Clarke 10 comments

Today, tequila is still one of the fastest-growing categories in the spirits world, but some of the bloom is off the rose. As a rising tide of new brands has flooded the market, tequila's story has become more tangled, and some recent debuts have seemed to be little more than a marketing plan and a fancy bottle with an afterthought of a low-rent liquor inside. More

Hot Weather Booze: Essential Summer Spirits

Paul Clarke 8 comments

With a successful Memorial Day weekend now under our belts (along with untold quantities of pulled pork and potato salad), the summer entertaining season is officially open. To best prepare for everything from weekend barbecues to warm, quiet evenings on the deck, it's helpful to lay in a stock of summery spirits so no glass need ever go empty. Here are a few things I make sure to keep on hand for summer entertaining. More

Thinking Big for Summer Party Drinks

Paul Clarke 7 comments

The large-format drink is the savior of the summer party. When everything heads outdoors starting with Memorial Day weekend, pitcher drinks and cooling punches seem especially welcome, and they can make hosting a barbecue or backyard get-together much more convenient. More

Coming to Terms with Scotch Whisky-Based Cocktails

Paul Clarke 19 comments

My attitude toward cocktails based on scotch whisky can be neatly summarized: I like scotch whisky, and I like cocktails, but I (almost) never like scotch whisky-cocktails. But I'm noticing a few new drinks based on scotch whisky on bar menus around the country, and some of them are worth trying. Have you come across a scotch based cocktail that you'd add to the "keeper" list? More

The Single Oak Project: Searching for the Ultimate Bourbon

Paul Clarke 6 comments

The premise behind the Single Oak Project is simple: much (some say most) of a whiskey's character comes from the spirit's interaction with wood during the years it rests in an oak barrel. So what happens to the whiskey if you tinker with the wood and other variables in different, tightly controlled ways? More

Meet Sotol, Tequila's Northern Cousin

Paul Clarke 8 comments

Not that long ago, tequila and mezcal were déclassé, the spirits that you were likely to reach for only if you were vacationing in Mexico (or the backup option, sitting in a Mexican restaurant), or looking to venture into the "Damn, did I really do that?" realm of inebriation, or possibly both. Today, of course, tequila's reputation has changed into one with a lot more gleam and glitter, and artisanal mezcal's 15 minutes in the spirituous spotlight has turned into two-plus years. But as delicious as these agave spirits can be, it's worth taking a few minutes to explore another of Mexico's distilled spirits: sotol. More

Ron de Jeremy Rum: Celebrity-label Booze Takes a Weird Turn

Paul Clarke 22 comments

Just in case years of entertainment-industry headlines and reality television have left any doubt, let's state it up front: many celebrities are quite fond of their booze. Increasingly, high-profile personalities have been formalizing this liquor/stardom arrangement by using their image, name and fame-slash-notoriety to sell spirits or even launch brands of their own. More

The Rise of Organic Spirits

Paul Clarke 6 comments

Unlike the food world, where emphasizing local and seasonal and working to diminish food's ecological footprint have become recurring themes, the bar has always approached things a bit differently. But that's changing. As the craft-cocktail movement matures in its second decade, some procedures are starting to more closely align with those in the food world. The use of fresh fruit and other produce is now de rigeur in cocktail bars, and today, it's not unusual to see a bottle of organic spirits somewhere in the mix. More

Drinking Seasonally: Light, Bright Cocktails for Spring

Paul Clarke 4 comments

While April's arrival means putting away the heavy sweaters and antifreeze until they're needed again next December, the changing of the seasons also has an impact of the bibulous sort, as we put aside the winter warmers and deep, richly flavored drinks in favor of the lighter, brighter flavors of spring. More

When Bad Things Happen to Good Drinks

Paul Clarke 37 comments

The segue from ambrosial elixir to undrinkable muck can be due to something as simple as a mangled or misunderstood recipe, and as complicated as a gradual shift over time in the quality, composition, or mere existence of a necessary ingredient. More

Old-school Distilleries Take a Page from the Microdistiller Playbook

Paul Clarke 2 comments

Now, as more small-scale craft distillers are starting to get into the whiskey business, the American whiskey part of the liquor store is becoming a much more dynamic place. As Malt Advocate publisher John Hansell noted last week on his blog, the boundaries between old-school, large-scale distillers and brand-new, small-scale startups are becoming increasingly blurred. More

Tales of the Cocktail Takes the Show to Canada

Paul Clarke 1 comment

Last week the organizers and sponsors of Tales of the Cocktail brought this signature New Orleans event to Vancouver, B.C. How did the event function in another, less notoriously party-hearty city? Did it translate into Canadian? After spending several days in Vancouver for before-and-after celebrations, as well as for the main event on Monday, I can say with a little surprise that the answer is "mostly yes." More

Taking A Look at Irish Whiskey

Paul Clarke 27 comments

Increasingly, Irish whiskey is becoming a big player behind the bar, and with some once-obscure brands becoming more widely available, it's worthwhile to take a closer look at this easy-to-embrace style of whiskey. More

Two New Whiskies Rev Up Bourbon and Rye

Paul Clarke 9 comments

For devotees of American whiskey, these are exciting times. Bourbon has brushed off its once tarnished reputation and has reinvented itself as a sippable, collectable spirit. And rye whiskey, only a decade ago mostly written off as an archaic relic, has seen its popularity surge and is now considered a staple ingredient in most craft bars. In the last couple of weeks, the selection of American whiskies has become a little more interesting with the debut of two new spirits from a couple of familiar names. More

An Introduction to Cynar

Paul Clarke 7 comments

Let's get this out of the way at the start: Cynar doesn't taste like artichokes. The edible thistle is only the most prominent name in an array of more than a dozen botanical ingredients that make this liqueur so memorable. More

What's the Deal with Cocchi Aperitivo Americano?

Paul Clarke 9 comments

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? More

Valentine's Day: Does It Have to Be the Worst Cocktail Day of the Year?

Paul Clarke 1 comment

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. More

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