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ROOT Beer Float

Boozy ROOT Beer Float

Did you know that the original root beer float was first invented right here in Philadelphia?

Tradition has it, that after running out of ice for the flavored drinks he was selling, Robert Green used vanilla ice cream from a neighboring vendor, thus creating the Root Beer Float.

So in honor of National Root Beer Float Day on August 6th we mixed up our own boozy version.

You’ll need:

ROOT Liquor
Root Beer soda
Caramel sauce
Whipped cream
Vanilla Bean ice cream

Boozy ROOT Beer Float

First, drizzle the inside of your glass with caramel.

Boozy ROOT Beer Float

Then add in 2 big scoops of vanilla bean ice cream.

Don’t skimp on ice cream quality! Use the good stuff – we like this Tahitian Vanilla Bean ice cream we picked up at Whole Foods.

Boozy ROOT Beer Float

Pour in 2 parts ROOT Liquor.

Boozy ROOT Beer Float

Then top it off with 4 parts Root Beer Soda.

Boozy ROOT Beer Float

Add a dollop or two of whipped cream, another caramel drizzle, and enjoy!


Tamworth Distilling makes magic with The Good Reverend’s Universal Spirit

07/14/2015

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The multi talented folks over at Quaker City Mercantile just sent us word about this new bottle design from Tamworth Distilling & Mercantile, a new farm-to-bottle distillery from Steven Grasse, creator of Hendrick’s Gin and Sailor Jerry Rum.

 

The Good Reverend’s Universal Spirit is a 151-proof, neutral spirit distilled in-house from organic New England corn. It is intended for a variety of uses — infusions with herbs, fruits and spices to create custom blends, or mixed and diluted to make household cleansers and aromatic sprays.

The label and bottle design for the Universal Spirit reflects its truly universal nature. To begin with, the bottle itself was custom molded to conform to the Golden Ratio (a mathematical expression of designs found in nature, adopted as a guiding principle in early art and architecture). Every inch of the label, both inside and out, is covered in symbols spanning centuries — from ancient Egyptian alphabets to tarot card symbols to Platonic solids. In particular, it plays with the way many of these traditions correspond numerically. For example:

4 – corners, directions, elements, seasons, evangelists, winds, and alchemical signs
7 – chakras, days of the week, alchemic symbols, and archangels
12 – months in the year, and signs of the zodiac

The bottle was designed and illustrated by the Good Reverend himself, Rev. Michael Alan. (His art may be familiar to you, as it also graces the labels of Art in the Age Craft Spirits, another Steven Grasse creation.)

Tamworth Distilling makes magic with The Good Reverend’s Universal Spirit 

Where To Drink AITA In SF

Not much better than a refreshing cocktail with a good dose of sunshine on the side. Here’s a list of where you can drink Art in the Age and San Francisco, California!

Corner_Store-9480

 

Corner Store

5 Masonic Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

  • “Buon Pomeriggio” ($11)
    • RHUBARB, Gin, Aperol, Strawberry Balsamic Shrub, Basil

Former_Buffalo_Bar-9443

Cease & Desist (formerly “Buffalo Club”)

2331 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

  • “Sage & Strawberry” Pitcher ($35)
  • SAGE, Strawberry, Mint, Lime, Sugar, Soda Water

Rock_Bar-9384

 

Rock Bar

80 29th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

  • Serpentine Tea” Cocktail ($10)
    • RHUBARB, Vodka, Averna, Lime, Mango, Rooibos Tea

SFAC-9490

San Francisco Athletic Club

1750 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94115

  • “Summer Snap“ ($10)
    • SNAP, Vodka, St Germain, Ginger Beer, Lime

bombshell1

 

Third Rail

628 20th St, San Francisco, CA 94107

  • “Bombshell” ($11)
    • SNAP, Rhum Agricole, Lemon, Clove, Orange Juice

 


The Whiskey Rebellion And The Bourbon Restoration

07/10/2015
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Case Study Image

 

they do in Scotland, land of elegant single malts.

I was willing to acknowledge that Ireland has begun to distill a few good spirits. Also Japan — hard to believe as that may be for those of us old enough to remember when “Made in Japan” suggested transistor radios and underpowered motorcycles.

But when I thought of American whiskey, what came to mind was a cowboy strutting through the swinging doors of a saloon, ordering a shot of rye, downing it in a gulp, and then grimacing like he’d swallowed a cockroach dipped in Tabasco. Or cloying bourbons suitable only for mixing with sugar and mint and serving to ladies wearing oversized hats on Derby Day. Or Canadian Club, a libation favored by Mad Men — guys interested only in a speedy alcohol delivery system.

Back in the day, my snobbery was justified. No longer: American craftsmen are now making world-class — one might even say Scotland-class — premium and ultra-premium whiskies. And even many of those that don’t sit on the top shelf — inevitably the lion’s share of what most people drink most of the time — represent good value.

These products are virtually flying off the shelves. For example, last year, for the third year in a row, over 1 million barrels of bourbon were filled. By contrast, in 1999 production totaled less than half a million barrels.

That’s the news. Now for the analysis: Two distinct and rival schools of American spirits-making have emerged. On one side of whiskey creek you’ll find the traditionalists or, more precisely, the restorationists. Sticklers for old-time recipes, tools, and methods, their goal is to re-create the libations Americans imbibed in days gone by. On the other side are the innovators. They’re using science, technology, and energetic experimentation to develop spirits unlike any ever tasted by anyone in history. Who is right and who is wrong? I say, let a hundred corn, rye, wheat, and barley flowers bloom!

And blooming they are, all over the country: Over the past half decade, the number of artisanal distilleries has more than doubled to close to 700, turning out a wide variety of spirits, brown and white alike — and many of the latter are worth drinking as well. One important reason: federal and state laws that had made it expensive and complicated for wannabe entrepreneurs to open distilleries have been — and are being — reformed. (At last, some government agencies are doing something right!)

The quintessential American whiskey is bourbon. Which raises a question: If Scotch must come from Scotland, doesn’t bourbon need to be made in Bourbon County, Kentucky? The answer is no. You can make bourbon anywhere in the U.S. so long as you stick to the basic recipe: a minimum of 51% of the mash that is fermented into beer and then distilled into spirits must be from corn. The remainder of the mash can be a creative mixture of other grains — rye, malted barley, and wheat among them. The resulting spirit must age in charred new oak barrels before bottling at no less than 80 proof (40% alcohol). Age it for at least two years and it can be called “straight bourbon whiskey.” (If it’s aged less than four years, the date of the distilling must appear on the bottle.)

So yes, bourbons are being made all over America but, truth be told, 95% of the world’s bourbon is still Kentucky born and bred. The Bluegrass State remains the capital of American whiskey-making — a distinction it shares with neighboring Tennessee.

You may wonder: What is the difference between bourbons and Tennessee sour mash and “sippin’ whiskies”? I will tell you: The latter are charcoal-filtered (usually — I’ll note an exception in a moment). That makes them smoother. Some drinkers like that. Some like it hot.

Try this experiment: Ask your favorite local bartender to set you up with a shot of Jim Beam bourbon and a shot of Jack Daniel’s sour mash — just the basic booze from the bottles on the lower shelf.  Make it a blind tasting. See which you prefer.

Both bourbons and Tennessee whiskies are aged in charred American white oak barrels. Over time — a minimum of two years — the spirits draw tastes, aromas (more formally known as congeners), and colors from the wood. Other variables include the quality of the water (in Kentucky, a limestone shelf beneath the soil provides pure, iron-free H2O for Jim Beam and other bourbon makers; Jack Daniel’s water has always come from an underground spring); the temperatures in the cellars or warehouses where the whiskies mature (because of the southern climate that process is much faster than in Scotland); and the yeast used to convert sugar into alcohol — each distillery has its own special strains, some of them dating back a couple hundred years.

Which allows me to segue to a little history: European immigrants, the Scots Irish in particular, brought their distillation skills with them from the old country, and were not long on American soil before they began turning their grain harvests into liquids with a long shelf life and a bit of a kick.

In 1791, President George Washington decided to help reduce the debt incurred during the American Revolution by taxing these products. That set off what became known as the Whiskey Rebellion. When 500 armed men attacked the home of a tax inspector in western Pennsylvania, President Washington saddled his horse and led 13,000 militiamen to suppress the insurgency.

The rebels, many of whom had fought the British under Washington’s command, high-tailed it back home before he showed up. Epilogue: The whiskey tax was repealed after Thomas Jefferson’s Republican Party came to power in 1801. Today, however, up to 50% of the cost of a bottle of whiskey is tax. (Forget what I said earlier about the government doing something right!)

Upon his retirement, Washington was unable to command the big speaking and book fees available to former presidents in the modern era. So he returned to farming. He also built what, at the time, may have been the country’s largest distillery. He wisely hired an immigrant from Scotland, James Anderson, to run it for him. Whiskey sales were soon bringing in more cash than any other activity on his spread.

In 2007, with the financial support of DISCUS, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Washington’s still was re-created. So if you’re taking the kids to see the Founding Father’s restored plantation at Mount Vernon, you might want to make a slight detour and buy yourself some beverages said to be identical to those Washington made, sold, sipped — and taxed.

Also worth visiting are the many distilleries along what’s known as the American Whiskey Trail that winds through Kentucky and Tennessee. Let me tell you about a few of them.

The Maker’s Mark distillery in Loretto, Kentucky, claims to be the oldest working distillery on its original site. Rob Samuels, the CEO, told me and a small group of other drinkers with a writing problem that he comes from a family that began distilling in Scotland in the 1500s. “My ancestors made really bad whisky for several hundred years,” he said with pride.

His American forebears both rebelled against King George and fought in the Whiskey Rebellion. One way or another, his family continued to transform grain into spirits because, he said, they couldn’t make a living any other way. “All the distilling families distinguished themselves by their incompetence in everything but the whiskey business,” he acknowledged.

His grandmother advised him to become a whiskey craftsman, not a businessman, and his goal has been to produce “a full-strength bourbon you can hold on your tongue and not have it blow your ears off.” Mr. Samuels’ grandfather was good friends with Col. Sanders — a fact that has nothing to do with the subject at hand but which he couldn’t resist mentioning and neither can I.

Just outside Nashville is Fontanel, a grand estate formerly owned by country singer Barbara Mandrell. It now has lodging and dining, mansion tours, concerts, shopping and even zip lines. More to the point, it is here that Phil Pritchard has set up the first new craft distillery in Tennessee in half a century. It features a beautiful, brand-new, custom-designed, French-style, swan-necked, 400-gallon alembic copper pot still (created by the highly skilled artisans at Vendome Copper and Brass Works in Louisville, Kentucky), sitting on a base of bricks salvaged from an old school house. Adjacent is a log cabin converted into a tasting room.

Pritchard comes from a long line of master distillers. Some of them, he says, even worked within the law. “I’m also related to David Crockett,” he tells me. “In Tennessee, we don’t call him ‘Davy.’ That’s a Disney term.” Live and learn.

Mr. Pritchard is now turning out not only hand-crafted Tennessee whiskies (that are not charcoal-filtered), bourbons, ryes, and single-malts, but also fine brandies and rum. The rum is made from high-grade Louisiana molasses and, to my considerable surprise, I find even an un-aged sample remarkably smooth and flavorful.

“America was the largest rum-maker in the world prior to the American Revolution,” Pritchard instructs. “Near Boston, there were 100 stills making rum. Thomas Jefferson called rum the ‘poor man’s brandy.’” Pritchard sees the production of such rums as a “lost American art form” — one he intends to restore.

About 87 miles south of Pritchard’s is Cascade Hollow in Tullahoma, Tennessee, the bucolic home to George A. Dickel & Co. Here, the distillers hew to tradition, handcrafting their Tennessee whisky (they use the Scottish spelling) exactly as it was made in the 19th century — same methods, same tools — no computers.

Let me now take you beyond the Whiskey Trail to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where you’ll find Wigle Whiskey, named for “a man who was sentenced to hang for his love of whiskey” — that is to say he was a leader of the Whiskey Rebellion. Wigle Whiskey’s goal:  to restore “a tradition championed by these rebellious distillers.”

By contrast, take Darek Bell and Andrew Webber, proprietors of the Corsair Distillery in Nashville. They began their careers home-brewing beer in a garage but they’ve developed  “a passion for alternative grains.” Among their products: a spirit distilled from “red and white organic, food-grade quinoa from South America.” Corsair also produces “barrel-aged gin” and a rum spiced with “several types of citrus peel as well as whole vanilla bean.”

Cleveland Whiskey, made on the shores of Lake Erie, prides itself on innovation. Founder Tom Lix boasts: “I make bourbon whiskey in a radically different way. No excuses. I don’t put it in a barrel and wait eight, 10 or 12 years for the whiskey to slowly age. I’m not that patient. Instead, I developed a technology that uses pressure to literally squeeze the wood like a sponge. I wanted faster, but I also found it makes a richer bourbon, a darker, more flavorful bourbon.”

The distillers at Angel’s Envy in Louisville, Kentucky, combine both restorationist and innovative tendencies: “We’re restless creators who respect and celebrate bourbon tradition, but try not to shackle ourselves to it.” Lincoln Henderson, the late patriarch of the family behind their brand, is described as both a “revered bourbon conventionalist and renegade bourbon provocateur.” Among other things, he has experimented with bourbon finished in barrels previously used for sherry, rum, tequila, brandy, and port. Angel’s Envy bourbon and rye are both, in my opinion, superior beverages.

Steven Grasse, founder of Tamworth Distilling & Mercantile on the edge of New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest, told me that his goal also is to simultaneously “restore tradition and innovate.” Grasse is a spectacularly successful former advertising executive. Among his accomplishments: turning Sailor Jerry from a clothing line based on the work of a tattoo artist into a spiced rum and combining cucumber and rose petals with juniper to make Hendrick’s Gin. Both are now established global brands.

With a state-of-the-art still built by our friends at Vendome, and a 72-acre organic farm, Grasse sees himself as the “Willy Wonka of booze.” He views his spirits as agricultural products: “farm to table, grain to glass.” His goal is to create a “utopian farm community” in the New England Transcendentalist tradition but, he assures me, “I have enough business savvy to connect to commerce and sell what we produce.” He adds: “Craft distilleries generally make one thing. We’re making so many things — some very weird, some very cool. We’re experimenting with mushrooms, we’re fermenting milk, we’re seeing what we can do with forest moss. The idea is to be in a place where we can forage. We try a few barrels and see what happens.”

Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana is a co-owner of House Spirits Distillery in Portland, Oregon, which is best known for making Aviation American Gin. Flavored with a variety of botanicals including Indian sarsaparilla and lavender, it has developed something of a cult following.

Great Lakes Distillery in Milwaukee makes rum, gin, and Kinnickinnic Whiskey, a blend of hand-crafted Wisconsin malt and rye whiskies and “hand selected barrels of bourbon.” Middle West Spirits in Columbus, Ohio, makes Oyo Whiskey from “soft red winter wheat.” The Bloomery Plantation Distillery in Charles Town, West Virginia, produces “farm fresh cocktail liqueurs.”

And on a recent visit to Big Sky, Montana, I sat down in Buck’s T-4, a restaurant I heartily recommend. A cocktail menu offered “Montana Whiskey Flight: A rotating, hand selected flight of 4 half shots of Montana’s finest hand-crafted whiskeys.” I wasn’t disappointed.

I could go on but let me instead recommend a few other whiskies that you won’t be sorry to have on your bar (or in your desk): Four Roses sounds like something you’d drink out of a paper bag but its Single Barrel is an extraordinarily smooth, flavorful, spicy bourbon. Breckenridge Bourbon “made at 9,600 feet with snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains” is worth bringing back from your next Colorado ski trip. Anything from Pappy Van Winkle is going to be superlative (the Family Reserve 13-year-old rye is ambrosia of the gods but most remaining bottles are in someone’s private collection — I have maybe two shots left in my bottle). 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Barrel Select bourbon is pleasantly peppery. Think of Knob Creek Smoked Maple bourbon as liquid desert.

Little known but more than worth sampling: Clyde May’s Conecuh Ridge hand-crafted “Alabama-style” whiskey. I’m no kin to former moonshiner Clyde and his son, Kenny, “who took his dad’s recipe legit,” but if I should attempt to persuade them otherwise can I count on you to keep your mouth shut? Also: Can you please not tell them that I used to be a whisky snob?

 

The Whiskey Rebellion And The Bourbon Restoration 

The Best Boozy Photos on Instagram This Week

07/10/2015
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We love Instagram (follow us pls!), but we can’t be everywhere at once.  Each week, we’re going to share the best photos of drinks, bars, bottles—basically everything boozy—that Instagram has to offer.

This week on the insta-booze front, people are in high spirits around the globeFrom a star bartender in Hong Kong, a small distillery in British Columbia and one of San Francisco’s coolest bars, the drinkers of Instagram are taking cocktail culture with them wherever they go.

If you want a chance to be featured in our Instagram roundup next week, tag your boozy pics with #liquorgram—but you knew that already, right?

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Narragansett Beer Presents: “How to Make a Shandy” (2015) :30 (USA

07/10/2015
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Created by Quaker City Mercantile and All Ages Productions, the animated shorts feature the unique style of Thom Lessner and Harvey Benschor, the design and animation team behind the video for The Darkness’ “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us”. These three short ads are currently airing throughout the New England market on Comcast cable stations. And they’re quirtky, did I mention they’re quirky? In that good way, like the squiggly animation way. I’m pretty sure a generation of 20-somethings will love this oddball campaign forever.

 

Creative Director: Ron Pushkar
Director: Ted Passon
Producer: David Dunn, Laris Kreslins
Writer: Ted Passon, David Dunn
Lead Designer: Thom Lessner
Lead Animator: Harvey Benschor
Sound Design: David Dunn

Narragansett Beer Presents: “How to Make a Shandy” (2015) :30 (USA 

 


The Best Summer Cocktails: Beer

07/08/2015
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Welcome to our summer drinks guide. We’ve pored over hundreds of recipes to select the best cocktails of the 2015 season. The recipes are broken down by category: vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, and beer.

We hope you enjoy our selections and get a few ideas for your summer drinks program.

These are the best beer cocktails:

Paul Revere

1 ½ oz. Kimo Sabe Joven mezcal
½ oz. Ruby red grapefruit juice
½ oz. Fresh lime juice
½ oz. Simple syrup
1 oz. Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin or your favorite IPA

Shake all ingredients together except IPA; pour over ice in a mug and top with Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin.

Mixologists Jeremy LeBlanc & Kate Owca created this recipe for La Puerta in San Diego.

Farmhouse Shandy

2 oz. Art in the Age Snap ginger liqueur
4 oz. Lemonade
4 oz. Smuttynose Farmhouse Ale
Squeeze of lime
Basil garnish

Mix liqueur, lemonade and beer in a tall glass over ice. Add a squeeze of lime, and garnish with a sprig of basil.

The mixologists at Art in the Age Craft Spirits created this recipe.

Scratch Golfer

1 oz. Shellback spiced rum
1 oz. Aperol
1 oz. Carpano Antica Formula vermouth
Top with Allagash White beer

Build ingredients in order over ice. Garnish with half of an orange wheel.

Steve Fette of Fiddler’s Elbow Country ClubBedminster, NJ, created this recipe.

The Don’s Summer Shandy

1 ¼ oz. Tequila Don Julio Blanco
1 ½ oz. Red Stripe lager
¹⁄3 oz. Fresh lemon juice
¹⁄3 oz. Thyme-infused simple syrup
Thyme sprig for garnish

Combine tequila, fresh lemon juice and thyme syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain contents over ice into a highball glass. Top with Red Stripe and garnish with a thyme sprig.

Mixologist Ben Scorah created this recipe. 

Ginger-Pineapple Beermosa

¾ oz. Lemonhart 151 rum
¼ oz. Pineapple syrup
¼ oz. Ginger syrup
½ oz. Lime juice
3 oz. Praga dark lager beer

Build in a tall Collins glass.

Greg Butera of Dusek’s in Chicago created this recipe.

Mad Monkey

2 oz. Orange juice
2 oz. Pineapple juice
¾ oz. Coconut syrup
Light beer (such as PBR or Heffeweizen)

Rim pint glass with honey and dip in toasted coconut. Pour about ¾ of a glass of light beer. Add shaken ingredients on top—pour slowly.

The mixologists at Park Café Group in San Francisco created this recipe.

The Hopster

1 ½ oz. 100% Agave tequila

½ oz. Fresh lime juice
½ oz. Simple syrup
2 dashes Cardamom bitters
Grapefruit beer

Combine all ingredients (except beer) in a mixing glass with ice, shake vigorously and strain simultaneously with beer over fresh ice. Garnish with a lime wheel and salted rim.

Mixologist Dan Marohnic created this recipe for Park on Fremont in Las Vegas.

Spicy Cerveza Cocktail

1 ½ parts Hornitos Plata tequila
¹⁄3 part Lime juice
¹⁄3 part Simple syrup
1 slice Jalapeño
4 parts Mexican lager

Muddle jalapeño in a glass with a salted rim, combine remainder of ingredients except lager in a shaker. Shake vigorously, strain over fresh ice and add lager.

The mixologists at Hornitos created this recipe.  

 
The Best Summer Cocktails: Beer