The Whiskey Rebellion And The Bourbon Restoration

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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

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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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The Best Summer Cocktails: Beer

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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 

Drink This Now: Summer Pimm’s Cup and Rajasthani Royale at Bluestem

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This week’s Drink This Now is a twofer: After chatting with Andrew Olsen last week about his new position as the bar manager at Bluestem, I knew I needed to go sample one of the Pimm’s Cups he mentioned. (Well worth it. More on that after the jump.)

But Olsen, back behind the bar after a four-month dry spell as the assistant manager at Cleaver & Cork — work that took him “away from his craft,” as he put its — Olsen was eager to experiment, and having justone of his cocktails seemed like gross negligence on my part.

First, that Pimm’s Cup. Olsen has plans, he says, to launch a build-your-own Pimm’s Cup bar during Bluestem’s Sunday brunch over the next month or so, featuring a bevy of fresh garnishes and sodas fromLittle Freshie, as well as a few that Olsen will make himself.

When I visited on Sunday, Olsen had no elaborate station, so he made a Pimm’s Cup of his own recipe — which, honestly, was a far safer bet than anything I could have devised on my own. Unlike a traditional Pimm’s Cup, there was no muddled cucumber in Olsen’s version. He combined Pimm’s, lemon juice and simple syrup, shook them together, then strained over ice into a glass. He garnished with a pretty fan of sliced strawberry.

The recipe might have been straightforward, but the flavor was not. Olsen’s version of a Pimm’s Cup allows the spirit’s profile to really shine, and I got big notes of black tea, tarragon and thyme, with a healthy pulse of citrus. It was all I could do to scribble those notes before the the drink disappeared.

Olsen was quick to replace my empty glass with a startlingly pretty cocktail. In a Collins glass over what he later revealed was Sonic ice, Olsen presented a drink that so closely resembled liquid gold, it practically glittered.

“For this, I did a rapid-infused turmeric Plymouth Gin,” Olsen told me. (He had batched the gin on Saturday.) “I put the [turmeric] root in the gin and charged it twice with nitrous oxide, let it sit for 10 minutes, released the pressure and strained it out. I also used an Art in the Age rhubarb liqueur. I’ve done this drink a bunch of different ways — every day, it changes.”


Looks aren’t everything, of course, so I was pleased when Olsen’s second cocktail tasted every bit as delicious as it was attractive. The turmeric brought a bright, ginger-like spice to the drink, but the effect wasn’t overly herbaceous. Instead, the rhubarb liqueur added a tartness cut with some helpful sweetness. This was a drink I knew I’d want again. I asked Olsen how to order it again.

“I don’t have a name yet,” he said. “There were some people in here yesterday from India, and turmeric is very popular in India. They said it tastes very much like this area in India called Rajasthan. And, oddly enough, the Rajasthani cricket team — they’re the Royals, and their colors are blue and gold. Pretty awesome. So I was thinking Rajasthani Royale, but I don’t want it to be uncomfortable for people to say, so I don’t know.”

Hard to pronounce, maybe, but very easy to drink. Rajasthani Royale it is.

1-1/2 ounces Pimm’s
3/4 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup

Shake, strain over ice, garnish with your choice of fruit medley.

3/4 ounce turmeric-infused Plymouth Gin
3/4 ounce simple syrup
3/4 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce Art in the Age rhubarb liqueur
2 dashes orange bitters

Shake, strain over ice, garnish with sprig of lavender.

Drink This Now: Summer Pimm’s Cup and Rajasthani Royale at Bluestem 

Whole Wheat Lemon Mint Olive Oil Cake (Vegan) for a Farm Cookout


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“Farming is a strange combination of forced patience and instant gratification,” is how local farmer Tara Rockacy explained her endeavor, and she would know! The lady has been moving and hustling, expanding, growing and evolving with each season, from CSAs to goats emerging from new barns to mingle with the city’s top chefs. The “forced patience” aspect reminded me how a farm must work in tune with the season and the elements. Unlike a business startup, there can’t be a complete change of direction mid-season. There can’t be a last-minute decision to focus on flowers because that’s what the market wants. That decision has to be planned and put in motion long before the competitive scrambling to catch a bridal bouquet. That’s why a bloom, at long last, is so instantly gratifying.

Nonetheless, my dreamer, imaginative, event designer, stylist side gets swept away with the farm’s full potential, until a brief reality check finds me ensnared in visions of long tables, farm-fresh bouquets, wedding vows amidst the basil, banjo nights, yoga by the hoop house, drawing classes with edible still lifes, herbalism workshops, etc, etc, etc. The “forced patience” is remembering the main goal for this season: to repair the soil, grow food and feed people. Everything else will come in its due time. Due time means starting small: one picnic table, four friends, and one enjoyable evening of just being on the farm.


“This is the first time I’ve had people on the farm and haven’t put them to work,” the Urban Farmer joked, and though the work is rewarding, just sitting, laughing and eating sausages was a welcomed change of pace.

Starting small, or simply starting, can be such a hurdle, so this cookout was a much needed reminder for me to slow down, enjoy this season, and take advantage of the here and now. I should probably plaster that reminder all over my apartment: Start small, start small, start small!

Bricks that once clad homes on these vacant lots, were born again as a our fire pit, where we grilled sausage and smoky potato wedges with herbs. The Urban Farmer picked the salad straight from the ground- a flavorful mix with bitter, citrusy notes and crunch- a far cry from the plastic container of greens in the produce aisle. The watermelon was juicy, the cocktail was refreshing, the view of the city was stunning, and dessert was just the right mix of sweet and tart.

While my head will probably always spin with ideas and grand dreams, I’ll take plenty more of these small, first steps and remember to appreciate patience, albeit forced, and cherish the ensuing moments of instant gratification!







Whole Wheat Lemon Mint Olive Oil Cake & Sage Lemonade Cocktails

About These Recipes: Olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest make this a moist, spongey cake fit for vegans and dairy-loving fools alike! Serve with homemade whipped cream, organic vanilla bean ice cream, or vegan whipped coconut cream. The cocktail is a loose recipe for a fruit-infused punch. Free of precise ratios, it’s an effective way to serve cocktails to multiple people. You’ll need a gallon jug or pitcher.

Whole Wheat Lemon Mint Olive Oil Cake (Vegan)




2 cups organic whole-wheat pastry flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill)

1 cup chopped fresh mint

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

3/4 cup fresh organic lemon juice

1/4 cup water

2 Tablespoons organic lemon zest

2 Tablespoons organic lemon extract




Raspberry or Strawberry Jam



Fresh Mint




Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan.


In a large bowl, whisk together flour, chopped mint, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.


In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, maple syrup,lemon juice, water, lemon zest, and lemon extract.


Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until just combined. Do not over mix.


Pour the batter into the prepared pan.


Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs clinging to it.


Transfer to a rack to cool. Remove from pan.


Spread a layer of jam on the cake surface, leaving about a 1-inch border on the edge. Top with strawberries, blueberries and fresh mint.


Sage Lemonade Cocktail




64 oz (half a gallon) Trader Joe’s Organic Mango Lemonade

60-64 oz (half a gallon) Ginger Peach Black Tea, brewed extra strong (such as this)

Fresh Lemons, sliced

Fresh Strawberries, sliced

Fresh Blueberries

Fresh Mint

Art in the Age Sage Liquor




Pour the mango lemonade into a gallon, glass jug or pitcher. Add fresh fruit and mint, to your taste preferences. Top off with the Ginger Peach tea. Keep chilled until ready to serve.


To serve, add 1-2 ounces of Art in the Age Sage Liquor to a glass with ice. Top with tea-lemonade combination. Garnish with fresh mint and fruit.





Whole Wheat Lemon Mint Olive Oil Cake (Vegan) for a Farm Cookout 

Signature Cocktail – Blueberry Sonata


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Need the perfect summertime cocktail for your 4th of July festivities?  Paula Le Duc has you covered with this delicious Blueberry Sonata, the latest addition to our signature cocktail series!  Original recipe from Paula LeDuc Fine Catering and photos by Josh Gruetzmacher.

Blueberry Sonata


• tritan coupe glass
• Isi Whip Cannister with two N20 chargers
• 3/4 oz. bar syrup
• 12 blueberries (muddle well)
• 3/4 oz. lemon juice
• 2 oz. gin

Directions: Muddle blueberries, add ice; shake and strain into coupe glass. Using an Isi Whip Cannister that has been double charged with N20, top with Paula LeDuc’s house-made lemon-sage foam. Garnish with lemon sage foam; sage leaf and 3 skewered blueberries on a sword pick.

House-Made Lemon & Sage foam:

In an empty, chilled Isi Whip Cannister add:
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
2 oz Art in the Age Sage Liqueur
1 oz. sage Simple Syrup, more to taste as needed based on personal preference (equal parts sugar, water, fresh sage leaves)
4 oz Fresh, strained Lemon Juice
Seal tightly with Isi lid
Charge with one N20 cartridge and shake hard for 10 seconds
Remove spent cartridge and then charge with a second N20 cartridge
Shake again and then let chill in refrigerator for one hour. Shake well before each use.

Signature Cocktail – Blueberry Sonata 

Summer Cocktail Series With Standard Tap, Featuring Garden Grown Herbs & Local Spirits

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As the season of cookouts and get-togethers warms up, having the right beverages to pair with all your summer festivities is essential.
Ice cold drinks, made with the freshest of ingredients and local spirits… that’s what I’m talking about. Having a few good recipes on hand will make hosting your summer parties a breeze, so I stopped by Standard Tap here in Philly and enlisted the help of one of their bartenders (and also one of my best friends here in Philly), Brendan.

Standard Tap has been one of my favorite restaurants ever since moving to Philly — it’s the place where you can grab a drink after work, the place you go to on Sunday for the best brunch, or the place you take your friends and family when they come to visit. It has my five star rating without a doubt, so I was more than happy to spend the afternoon with B and learn a few cocktail recipes.

The best part? All of the recipes feature locally crafted spirits and herbs picked straight from their greenhouse garden they have growing on the roof. Get served a little taste of Philly in a glass with these summer cocktail recipes from Standard Tap!

Ginger Lynn

2 oz of Rowhouse Spirits Gin

1/2 oz ginger simple syrup*

1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker full of ice. Shake and strain in a coup glass, then garnish with a sprig of Rosemary.

*Ginger simple syrup is as versatile in the home bar as it is easy to make. Mix equal parts of cane sugar and water over medium heat on the stove until the sugar is dissolved. Then add finely minced ginger to taste. Allow to cool and keep refrigerated.

Rum and Rhubarb

1 1/2 oz white rum

1/2 oz of Art in the Age Rhubarb liquor

1/2 oz ginger simple syrup

1/2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

5 shakes Peychaud’s Bitters

5 shakes orange bitters

Pour all ingredients into a collins glass full of ice. Stir, then top with soda water and garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of lime basil.

Cucumber Fizz

1 1/2 oz vodka

1/2 Art in the Age Sage liquor

1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 ginger simple syrup

1 oz cucumber juice*

Pour all ingredients into a goblet filled with ice. Stir and serve garnished with a cucumber slice and sprig of lemon thyme.

*Cucumber juice is surprisingly easy to make even without a juicer. Blend 3 large cucumbers and pass the puree through a fine mesh sieve (available at any grocer.) If you’re sure to squeeze every last drop, it should yield about 1 1/2 cups of cucumber juice.

Summer Cocktail Series With Standard Tap, Featuring Garden Grown Herbs & Local Spirits 

Boozy ‘Poptails’ to Get the Party Started

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What’s better than a fresh summer cocktail? A cocktail frozen into apopsicleArt in the Age makes a line of organic craft spirits that blend perfectly with some of the season’s most delicious and vibrant fruits and herbs, and we’ve used them to create some incredible boozy popsicles. Mix up some of the recipes below for your next garden party, BBQ or backyard hangout.


— 3 tablespoons Art in the Age SNAP Liqueur
— 3 ½ cups coconut milk
— ½ cup toasted coconut
— ½ cups + 2 tbsp organic cane sugar

In a mixing bowl combine the coconut milk, toasted coconut, sugar and SNAP. Whisk to combine and dissolve the sugar. Pour mixture into the ice pop molds and freeze for 1 hour before inserting the sticks. Insert the sticks and then allow to freeze for 4 hours or until solid.


— 1/3 cup Art in the Age ROOT
— 2 ½ cups water
— 1 cup demerara sugar
— 1 cup mint

Add sugar and water to a medium pot over medium-low heat and stir until the sugar completely dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn off the heat and add in fresh mint. Lightly muddle the mint with a muddler or wooden spoon. Let this steep until the mixture has cooled to room temperature (about 45 minutes). Once it has cooled, strain through a fine mesh strainer. Add in the ROOT and stir to combine. Then pour into your popsicle molds. Place this in the freezer and check back after 45 minutes (or longer depending on the temperature of your freezer) and add in the popsicle sticks. Keep in the freezer until frozen solid.


— 2 ounces Art in the Age SAGE liquor
— 1 large cucumber
— 2 limes
— 2 ounces simple syrup
— 1 cup Reed’s ginger beer

In a blender, combine the cucumber, the juice from two limes, simple syrup, ginger beer and SAGE. Blend this until the mixture is smooth. Then, pour the mixture into the popsicle molds and let it sit for 1-2 hours until the pops are solid enough to hold popsicle sticks. Freeze for 10-12 hours, or until completely solid.


— ¼ cup Art in the Age RHUBARB Tea
— 1 ½ cups raspberry lemonade
— 1 cup fresh strawberries
— 1 cup sugar
— 1 cup water
— 5 fresh basil leaves

For the basil simple syrup: Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small sauce pan and warm it over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove it from the burner. Add in 5 fresh basil leaves. Once the simple syrup has cooled to room temperature, strain out the basil leaves and transfer it to the refrigerator to cool.

For the popsicles: Combine the 1½ cup raspberry lemonade, the 1¼ cup basil simple syrup and the ¼ cup RHUBARB Tea into a large bowl. Mix well. Pour the mixture into your popsicle molds. Then drop in the strawberries. Let this sit for 1-2 hours before adding in the popsicle sticks. It needs to be solid enough to hold the stick from sinking to the bottom, but not so hard that it resists going in. Let freeze for 7-10 hours, then enjoy!



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