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Cocktails Loved By Famous Writers

The best cure for writer’s block? A stiff drink. Maybe they're on to something here. I just may have to try their technique. Who would have thought that the writing profession and cocktails would go together?

Booze and literature have long had a close relationship - many of the world’s most famous authors were as good at drinking as they were at writing. And the drinks they liked to imbibe made such a strong impression that Raymond Chandler, F. Scott Fitzgerald and many more immortalized a number of classic cocktails in their novels.

Seasonal Spotlight: Kentucky Derby And The Mint Julep

Like a thoroughbred thundering down the track, the Kentucky Derby is just around the corner. So dig out your best Derby hat and check out this little history lesson on the Kentucky Derby and  the infamous, Mint Julep. No matter which horse you’re rooting for, you’ll feel like a winner.

More than two hundred years ago, somewhere in North America, cognac, peach brandy or un-aged whiskey was mixed with sugar and mint, and served on a mound of snowy ice for the first time. The resulting Mint Julep was a chilly masterpiece that conquered the sweltering dog days of summer.

Tequila And Cinco de Mayo...

Tequila has come a long way from the days when every college kid did a shot of Cuervo or was the spring breaker’s drink of choice. It is now one of the favorite spirits used by top mixologists around the country. The selection of brands and premium brands has tripled in the last decade. But there are still so many misconceptions about this mysterious liquor.  So with Cinco de Mayo just a week away, I decided to set the record straight with facts and not-so-facts of the agave-based spirit. Salud!

There’s a worm in the bottle.

Behind The Labels: Dispelling Liquor Myths

Since everyone seemed to enjoy my last post on the craft of bartending and the intricacies of the profession (21 visits in one day = AWESOME and thank you!), I am following up on that interest by debunking some myths about liquor that bartenders are pouring every night and the mysteries behind the labels of those bottles.

Things A Bartender Should Never Do...

I could probably write a book just on this subject alone, but for purposes here, I am listing MY biggest pet peeves behind the bar. There’s no easy way to say this: A bad bartender can ruin an otherwise good night, especially if it's that one time you and your date, spouse, partner, or mistress decide to have a night out. Nobody wants to be faced with an inattentive, surly, or irresponsible bartender—it’s just no fun. I'm sure most of you can relate to having this experience.

Seasonal Flavor: Rhubarb

Rhubarb is an obscure plant and doesn’t get the recognition it deserves as far as being unique flavor ingredient in cocktail.  Rhubarb’s long, spindly stalks are a good sign that spring has arrived. The spring is the time of the year that mixologists get excited about the plethora of harvested herbs, berries, grapefruit, stone fruits, and the little known, rhubarb that are available. It allows for much creativity, innovation, experimentation, and flavor contrasts in your cocktail shakers.

Seasonal Flavor: Grapefruit

The humble grapefruit is a very under-rated fruit. Now is the time to appreciate its simplicity since we are at the time of season where it starts to peak. Often looked upon as a flavorless and boring, the grapefruit has a lot to offer in terms of cocktail balance and flavor.  To cocktail enthusiasts and gurus, it has many applications and has been used in cocktails since the turn of the century. The grapefruit isn’t ‘hip’ and the terms ‘exotic’ and ‘esoteric’ doesn’t apply to this fruit in today’s cocktail vernacular, like passion fruit, plum, acai berry, etc…

2014 Readers Choice Awards

Over the last two months, readers have been nominating and voting for their favorite distilled spirits in 10 categories and the results are in for the winning brands. It is an interesting mix and it is obvious that these brands (some of which are relatively unknown) have a strong following and loyal fans. This may be an indication that they're something to try if you haven't already.

Here are the winners in each of the 10 categories. Search for cocktails with these fine spirits.

Seasonal Spotlight: Whiskies of the World, Part 3 - Rye

Bourbon and Scotch may be the most popular, but the drink of choice for many whiskey connoisseurs is increasingly a glass of classic rye whiskey.

Up until recently, this historic American spirit was fading into obscurity. Liquor stores and bars usually stocked just a few old, dusty bottles. But there has been a miraculous rebirth of the rye category, and drinkers now prize its big, spicy and brash flavors. Distillers are now struggling to keep up with demand.

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