One thing we love about the end of the year (besides the buckets of Champagne we consume at all of those holiday parties) are the lists. Best bars, best spirits, and in this case best beers. Wine Enthusiast Magazine took a break from the vino to rank the top 25 new labels of the past 12 months. That's an impressive feat considering the crazy amount of labels being produced by the American Craft movement. While most of the brews on the list are from small-batch producers, Samuel Adams managed to crack the top three with their special-edition 10th Anniversary Utopia blend, and the number one selection was The Bruery Saison Rue Belgian-Style Ale, which they describe as a classic style interpreted through a new lens. You can see the full list here- we think you have ample time to try all 25 before the end of the year.
There's nothing quite like a good hot toddy when there's a nip in the air (and better yet this classic drink justifies imbibing when you're feeling under the weather, thank you to whoever started that trend). Some Irish coffee is the best part of waking up during the winter months, and a little mulled wine can make any dinner party more memorable. In honor of hot cocktails season, we rounded up our favorite warm libations for Tablespoon. From classics to creative new drinks, you can see the full list here. Which one is your favorite?
Can you say Negroni, Please? You will be begging for a Campari-laced cocktail once you check out the brand’s 2013 Calendar, which stars actress Penelope Cruz in photos that are based around the theme of “kissing superstition goodbye. She poses at the roulette table (where she’s putting all of her chips on the number 13, naturally), on a street surrounded by black cats and opening a Campari-red umbrella – gasp – indoors. The photo shoot is pretty cool. You can take a look at the full spread here. Must. Have. Negroni. Now….
NYC cocktail lovers surely know about LUPEC, aka “Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails.” The organization has put together a fundraiser tonight that should get your whistle nice and wet, and raise money for cancer while providing said lubrication. The female cocktail writers and bartenders will gather in the basement of Macao Trading Co. from 8 PM to midnight, and $10 will get you cocktails and punch made with Caliche Rum. The money raised, including the tips that generous folks throw down during the event, will be donated to Memorial Sloan-Kettering. Once you have one too many, you should be extra generous with those bills. Macao Trading Co. is located at 311 Church St.
What do you get the lush who has everything? For this holiday season, the completely extraneous gift that any drinker must have is the Tumi Mixology Set. The high-end luggage maker has partnered with Ketel One to create a portable bar that is so pretty that we might just cry a tear into our deftly mixed martini. The product is available here at Tumi’s website and at select company stores. There is room for two bottles (Ketel fits perfectly, now how about that) in the leather case. There’s also gear ranging from coasters to a metal barspoon to a – wait for it – vermouth spritzer. Drool.
The product hasn’t been priced yet – speaking of shedding a tear, we’re sure we’ll cry even more when we see the tag on this baby. Stay tuned for details at their website here.
It was only a matter of time before craft distillers turned to crowd funding sites to get those distilleries up and running. We just got a note from the folks at Pruv Vodka, a Denver-based small-batch hooch maker that is trying to get their first batch going with a little help from their friends. Well, by friends we mean “group of anonymous people inspired to donate a few bucks online to the cause,” but you catch the drift.
The spirits makers have 30 days to hit their $10,000 goal, and if you donate you can score some schwag. Gifts for those contributing to the campaign range from sunglasses and T-shirts to invitations to special dinners where you can taste the spirit. Strangely, the one thing that you can’t get is an actual bottle of the sauce once it is finished. State shipping laws prohibit the shipment of alcohol to many of the areas of the U.S. – and this is why the whole crowd funding thing might not work in the realm of booze. If you do want to contribute, you can check out the campaign here.
Um, American government, did you see that the NY Times has reported that the European Commission in Brussels has over 42,000 bottles of wine in their cellar? OK, that number is causing a lot of scandal, since it’s not really appropriate to go buying up fancy reds and whites (plus an additional 2,000 bottles of booze) while half the continent is living under austerity budgets. Our take? Who cares. It sounds like Brussels would make an awesome place for a little par-tay, which is just fine to us (even though the cellar keepers report that folks who attend official shindigs only drink one glass of wine per person – boring!).
The Europeans will surely figure out what to do about the $50K that’s currently spent on wine each year, a drop in the bucket compared to their larger budget. But, we think the whole situation begs a larger question – what is the American government doing to keep pace with Europe’s wine collection? It would be embarrassing to let them be bigger lushes than us without contest. Perhaps it’s time to start a petition (well, maybe after our next drink)…
What goes on in the broken shed? Well, if you’re a vodka maker in New Zealand, some freaky stuff with milk byproduct. This recently launched brand is the first whey-based label that we’ve come across. In case you’re a few years out of home economics class, whey is the liquid that’s leftover when cheese is being made from milk. The spirit makers combine their whey with water from the Southern Alps, a sparsely populated area on the nation’s Southern Island. It’s now available in the states, and we hear that the dairy connection gives it some nice “creamy” notes.
Oh, and for the record the hooch is not made in a broken shed. That is just where the makers experimented with their distillation, and where they go every now and then to drink some of their fine firewater. You can get more info about it here.
We're off early today to enjoy everyone's favorite thing about Turkey Day: the excessive amounts of booze. The night before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest going out nights of the year, so we expect you to make like a Pilgrim and do some shots (that's what they did, right?). We'll be back after the holiday weekend with our regular coverage - until then gobble gobble up those drinks and thank YOU for reading!
Sounds like Jersey Shore Mike "The Situation" didn't get a lot of devotion from a vodka company he partnered with a couple years back. Grub Street has word that the pseudo-star has filed a $5 million lawsuit against the makers of Devotion Vodka, claiming that he didn't get his promised fees of at least $400 K. Maybe the idea is to pitch a thrilling sequel to the MTV show that follows the star through GTL and civil court? In any case, we're shocked that a spirits brand like Devotion could be worth as much as $50 million dollars, according to the math in this article. Ummm, what?