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Liquor Gift Guide for Father's Day

Paul Clarke 9 comments

On behalf of fathers everywhere, let me make this clear: don't buy a lame gift for Father's Day. If your dad likes to relax sometimes with a glass of something that wears its age well, here are a few suggestions for bottles that will make much better gifts than any tie or coffee mug ever could. More

Cocktails and Spirits with Paul Clarke: Applied Math

Paul Clarke 1 comment

While you can always improvise your way into a half-decent gin and tonic or even a martini (assuming you don't mind a little variation in your drinks), cocktails that require more than a couple of ingredients typically follow common structural formulas that have been honed over time. More

Cocktails and Spirits with Paul Clarke: Where to Start?

Paul Clarke 15 comments

But how to share that excitement with others? What's a good way to try to create that sense of sudden wonder in a mixological virgin? More

Cocktails and Spirits with Paul Clarke: Moonshine in the Modern World

Paul Clarke 9 comments

A big part of being an adventurous eater is the experience of DIY--of starting with basic ingredients and utilizing heat, time, a deft hand and a little salt to come up with culinary brilliance. (At least, that's the way it's supposed to work.) As it goes with food, so it goes with drink. More

Cocktails and Spirits with Paul Clarke: Starting from Scratch with Scotch

Paul Clarke 12 comments

I've been covering spirits and cocktails for the better part of five years, and while I've plumbed deep on rum, American whiskey, absinthe, and other spirits, scotch has long eluded me as a subject of fascination. More

Belt-Tightening in the Liquor Store

Paul Clarke 17 comments

Around last year's tax day I put up a post called Cheap(er) Drinks: Tips for Enjoyable Drinking Without Going Broke. Well, compared to now, April '08 was downright rosy, and in this post-Madoff era, "drink cheap" has become the imbiber's new mantra. More

Spiced Rum: It's Not All About the Captain

Paul Clarke 8 comments

Spiced rums are dodgy creatures. True, the sweet, vanilla-tinged Captain Morgan has an agreeable enough flavor, but for rum fans the Captain's appeal is not unlike that of fast food--satisfying on a certain level but ultimately disappointing and altogether forgettable. More

Buying Liquor Online (The Headache's Thrown In For Free)

Paul Clarke 4 comments

The good news is you can find that bottle of single-barrel bourbon, Dutch gin, or small-batch bitters online more often than not. Bad news, though: it's a royal pain to find it and buy it, and oftentimes it's illegal. Some states prohibit all shipments of liquor, while the others cherry-pick which states it's acceptable to order from or ship to More

Befuddling Liquor Laws

Paul Clarke 5 comments

As the interstate sale of wine and spirits has blossomed in the Internet era, the rules have only grown muddier. More

Cocktails and Spirits with Paul Clarke: Local Spirit

Paul Clarke 6 comments

It's good to get excited by the growth of small-scale distilleries, but as more people enter the industry, products of questionable quality will inevitably show up on shelves, bearing the boutique label and a hefty price tag. To better establish a standard of quality for this rapidly growing industry, it's a good idea to keep talking up the distilleries that are doing it right. More

Drinks With a Little Meat on Their Bones

Paul Clarke 1 comment

Meaty drinks have been gimmicks for so long that it's hard to take the concept seriously (witness the bacon martini at Las Vegas' Double Down Saloon, made with vodka stored in a bottle with slices of bacon), but the level of attention being given to the idea by top-flight mixologists such as Klemm and Freeman suggests this unusual approach may well have legs. More

Cocktails and Spirits with Paul Clarke: Coming on Sloe

Paul Clarke 7 comments

While quality sloe gin is as scarce as blackthorn trees around here, for the past few years the Black Friars Distillery in England--maker of the wonderful Plymouth gin--has been producing a traditional sloe gin using natural ingredients for the European market. More

Cocktails and Spirits with Paul Clarke: Very Sherry

Paul Clarke 2 comments

My previous experiences with sherry had mainly been with either the super-dry finos or the sweet and rich dessert sherries like the creams and the noteworthy Pedro Ximenez; exploring the classes of dry yet robust wines really gave my palate something to get excited about. More

Cocktails and Spirits with Paul Clarke: Scotch or Bourbon?

Paul Clarke 4 comments

Think of a big hotel ballroom filled with tables stacked with bottles of whisky (the pour list topped 250, if you include the handful of rums and gins tossed into the mix), typically served either by guys in kilts, with rich Scottish accents, or by guys in jeans and boots, with thick Southern drawls. More

Cocktails and Spirits with Paul Clarke: The Bitter End

Paul Clarke 10 comments

Bitters aren't particularly big in America--and here we're talking potable bitters, as opposed to aromatic bitters such as Angostura which are used in drops and dashes--with a few notable exceptions. More

How Would You Like Your Drink? Scrambled or Over Easy?

Paul Clarke 7 comments

It may not carry the same fear-inducing firepower as challenging foods like tripe, brains, or other "variety meats," but there's an ingredient in occasional use behind the bar that sometimes rattles the unsuspecting customer: raw eggs. More

Going Antiquing, the Whiskey Way

Paul Clarke 1 comment

Baseball fans have opening day, but what do whiskey drinkers have to look forward to all year? If you're talking bourbon and rye, it's the annual release of the Antique Collection from Kentucky's Buffalo Trace Distillery. More

I'll Take (a) Manhattan

Paul Clarke 15 comments

Even after Prohibition, the Manhattan continued to rival the Martini for dominance at the bar until a demand for lighter spirits--coupled with the ascendance of vodka and, later, the Margarita--pushed the Manhattan into semi-retirement as king of the cocktail heap. More

When All Else Fails, Do It Yourself

Paul Clarke 1 comment

Fans of classic cocktails often run into the same problem: Many distinctive ingredients called for in vintage recipes have disappeared from the local liquor store, and sometimes from the face of the earth. One such ingredient is the French aperitif Amer Picon. More

Cocktails and Spirits with Paul Clarke: Fightin' Words on Vodka

Paul Clarke 20 comments

Vodka is the top-selling spirit in the United States, but this liquor-market leader has taken a couple of very public punches in the last few days. More

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