While on vacation last week, we indulged in quite a bit of 2013 hindsight. (I mean, what else do you do while on a sluggish drive from NYC to DC?) This was the year we nurtured our surroundings like never before, experienced an exciting coup, and learned and learned and learned so many things about gardening. It’s amazing, all the people we met and bombarded with horticulture questions, people who responded with their wisdom in the most generous ways.
So here’s a roundup of our favorite gardening (and food, and design) insights from a kale-filled 2013. Continue reading for what we discovered about bonsai trimming, how beets increase your confidence, “emotional” minimalism, and why you should be putting nasturtium flowers in your salads.
Steven Grasse, Art in the Age spirits: “I really wanted it to taste like it might have come right from Jefferson’s garden at Monticello, the garden that was inspired by what Lewis and Clark brought back from the West. […] Spirits, if done right, are literally horticulture in a glass.”
Yes, it is that time of year again. Time for a good, stiff festive drink!
We found what looked to be an interesting recipe. And with the help of Brother Kent and GamGam we found all the ingredients. We used Templeton Rye. The VERY BEST rye whiskey, in our opinion, and it’s produced right here in Iowa. But, alas, we couldn’t find any of the other exotic ingredients in our home state. That’s where Brother Kent and GamGam come in. Brother Kent picked up the St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram at the Village Bottle Shoppe in Lafayette, Indiana and the Punt e Mes vermouth at Lambrecht’s Liquors in St. Joseph, Michigan. GamGam found the root-beer liqueur produced by Art in the Age at Tiffany’s Wine and Spirit Shoppe in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
When it was time to mix, GamGam taught us how to create a twist of orange. What fun! How festive!
Instead of making cocktails one at a time, borrowing a mixology trend, we prepared them in batches and served with flair.
Most of us agreed we liked this strange brew, a spiced wintery cocktail. Even GamGam who after a few declared, “it tastes like a dental office smells.” So, naturally, we christened our holiday drink The Root Canal.
12 ounces bonded rye
12 ounces Punt e Mes vermouth
3 ounces root-beer liqueur (preferably Art in the Age Root)
1 1/2 ounces allspice liqueur (preferably St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram)
24 ounces water
Combine the ingredients in a pitcher and stir well. Chill for at least 4 hours, until very cold. Serve on the rocks with orange twists.
The city of Philadelphia can get a bad rap but what’s often shrugged off as the home of just cheesesteaks and Rocky Balboa has undergone an amazing cultural revival in the past few years. As New York has steadily priced out anyone who wants to try anything new, many visionaries in food, fashion, art and drink aren’t looking to Brooklyn but Philly to start their next venture.
As progressive bars, restaurants, and galleries have sprung up in neighbourhoods like Olde City, Northern Liberties, and East Passyunk so too have menswear boutiques catering to a new interest in raw denim. Take a good look below as we count off the best places to get and stay raw in the city of brotherly love.
Art in the Age is the nexus of refined alternative culture in Philadelphia. Like the name implies, the store stocks products of the past still living in the present. Edison lightbulbs, hand-stitched quilts, and hatchets sit alongside Gitman Bros. Vintage shirts, Battenwear fleeces and selvedge denim fromTellason, Raleigh Denim, and Philly’s own Norman Porter.
Such an eclectic collection could come off as contrived, but Art in the Age is so plugged into the local art scene – they constantly rotate work from local artists in a gallery corner of the shop – that it feels more like a representation of the area instead of romantic fantasy. Their house line of spirits are also worth a stop in on their own – I’m particularly fond of their Root – catch their happy hour between 4 and 6 every Thursday for a free taste.
Nothing says New Year’s Eve quite like some bubbly. But for your New Year’s party, do you really want to offer just another glass of champagne (we’re sorry, sparkling wine) on a night that is ushering in the exciting and new? Well now you don’t have to. We asked five area bartenders to create an original cocktail that you can re-create at your own holiday party. Each of these cocktails is made with a $20-or-less bottle of “champagne,” so they won’t break your party budget.
How to make the Root Beer Royale
1 tsp. simple syrup
1 tsp. heavy cream
2 oz. Art in the Age “Root” Organic Liqueur
1 oz. dark rum (Beatnik uses Kraken)
Fantinel Prosecco Extra Dry (approx. $12)
Large ice cubes
Chill large martini glass. Open the Fantinel and have it ready. In a tall cocktail shaker, add the egg, simple syrup, heavy cream, liqueur and rum, in that order. Fill shaker with large ice cubes and shake ingredients vigorously for at least 30 seconds until the metal shaker bottom is frosted and getting too cold to hold. Strain into chilled martini glass 2/3 full and top with the prosecco.
Baby, it’s cold outside. How about some holiday spirits to warm you up?
While a good, stiff eggnog will never let you down, Boston bartenders are serving up more interesting takes on holiday classics.
“Traditional drinks are great, hot toddies or something in a snifter while sitting around the fire at home,” Eastern Standard bar manager Kevin Martin said. “But with a little work there are some really fun things you can do. You can do twists on Manhattans and Old Fashioneds. You can use those hard spices like allspice to evoke the season.”
If you’re up for the work, the rewards are worth it. If your idea of fixing a drink is pouring a Narragansett into a pink glass, stop by one of the bars below and have an expert set you up.
The Tip Tap Room
11⁄2 oz. Gentleman Jack
1⁄2 oz. Art in the Age Snap organic liqueur
1⁄4 oz. Green Mountain Organic Maple Liqueur
Two dashes of bitters
Build in a mixing glass and stir with ice, pour into a chilled lowball glass.
I’ve covered Art in the Age’s ROOT Liqueur before, and while I haven’t quite found a cold cocktail that I love with it yet, it makes a hot tea to die for, and probably the best cough remedy I can think of, particularly when you use a ton of lemon with it. The recipe is simple (of course):
Papa’s Cough Medicine (by Greg Mays)
Art in the Age is a beautiful operation, in a city that seems to lack brick & mortar commercial venues. You know the stores that once filled Main Streets all over the US. Well the guys over at Art in the Age have magnificently orchestrated a modern conversion of old and modern (they even kept the old signage on the store front)..the result: American-made works of art, whether it be the clothing, home goods, jewelry, bath/body works, and of course bar essentials and liquor to go with it. Wait?? Alcohol in a store, in PA? Well, not so fast, you can try their liquor, which by the way is incredible (take our advice and try SNAP) and then walk a block over to 2nd and Chestnut to buy their various liquors.
Art in the Age should make Philadelphians proud, its a Freemans Sporting Club (located in NYC and now beyond) done right, and it is in Olde City!
For more info:
@artintheage or their website (click here)
116 North 3rd Street Phone: 215-922-2600
Philadelphia, PA 19106 Closed on Mondays
PS: They carry many brands besides their own, including Warby Parker Glasses.
Pennsylvania has a bit of a strained reputation for alcohol sales, all of which are monitored by one state authority, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB). Some people even believe that the PLCB’s tactics “reek of socialism,” as blogger Albert Brooks, behind the site NOPLCB, puts it.
“The PLCB does not provide any benefits to the citizens that a private system won’t do better. It doesn’t provide the selection that private stores can – one only has to look at Joe Canal’s, Moore Brothers or Total Wine to see that,” Brooks said via email.
But local distillers and spirits-blenders see it differently.
“It blocks the big guys from dominating,” said Steven Grasse of the PLCB. Grasse is the founder of Art in the Age in Olde City, and the mastermind behind their unique 80-proof liquors: Root, Snap, Sage, and Rhubarb, each named after the ingredients they are made with.
“They’re really helpful to local businesses. If you get listed, you will suddenly have access to 607 stores,” Grasse said. “Having a secure retail space in the PLCB stores was really key to the success of those brands.”
Grasse, of Philadelphia, created spirits including Hendrick’s Gin and Sailor Jerry rum, and has the Art in the Age spirits distilled outside Los Angeles. He can’t legally sell the bottles at his Art in the Age gallery store on 2nd Street in Olde City — which sell clothes, art, publications, and Warby Parker glasses — but they do give out samples at gallery openings on First Fridays.
Grasse believes that artisanal micro-distillers are the way of the future.
“There’s a handful of distillers in the whole country. Now there are hundreds; soon there will be as many as there are brewers,” Grasse predicted. “The thing with Captain Morgan’s is, why buy the industrial crap in a bottle when there’s so many new choices coming out?”
At Philadelphia Distilling, the first craft distillery in the state since Prohibition, president and cofounder Andrew Auwerda said their trademark Bluecoat American Dry Gin is still their best-seller, but they’re distilling absinthe this month.
“PLCB has been supportive of us from concept through now,” Auwerda said. “There’s no favoritism, but they’re fair.”
Contrary to the state’s reputation, Auwerda said Pennsylvania is a fine place to distill spirits.
“I don’t think it’s any more difficult here than anywhere else. Most of the hurdles are fed regulations, capital, and then, the know-how,” he said.