When hearing someone mention, Boxed Wine, the first thought that comes to mind is a forgotten, dirtied box of Franzia containing a lukewarm bag of White Zinfandel on the bottom shelf of a pantry. Am I right? Well in 2016, along with many other once passé trends, boxed wine is making a comeback. In their article, "The Secret Nobody Wants You To Know About Boxed Wine", the NY Post reports that premium boxed wine appeal is increasing at a rapid rate amongst consumers. "In 2005, Black Box Wines kicked off the boxed wine revolution by packaging premium, appellation-specific, vintage-dated wine in its signature black box. The company now boasts a wide array of award-winning varietal wines and blends that it says cost approximately 40 percent less than a comparable amount of wine sold in bottles. The reduced packaging, production and transportation costs are being passed on to consumers, and they are taking note". Read more about the Boxed Wine Revolution here.
When thinking of the most popular drinks ordered at bars across the U.S., some cocktails which come to mind are Margaritas, Mojitos, Bloody Mary's and Mimosas. According to the NY Times, Moscow Mules can now be added to this list. At the ripe age of 75 and consisting of vodka, lime juice and ginger beer, the Moscow Mule has begun making an appearance in popular television shows, as well as bars filled with Millenials. The NY Times reports that the comeback of the Moscow Mule cannot solely be attributed to luck. "The Mule is one of the few classic cocktails made with vodka - the industry has promoted it heavily. GuestMetrics, a data analytics firm that tracks consumer spending, reports that Moscow Mule menu placements in 2015 rose 60 percent over the previous year". So, break out your once vintage, now trendy, copper cups and make a toast to the Mule!
As if Amazon.com Inc did not already their own product in almost every industry, they have just released their new coffee brand, Happy Belly Coffee. According to the Wall Street Journal, "Happy Belly Coffee is grown by small scale farmers and is sustainably sourced". Costing $9.99 for a 12 ounce bag of coffee, Happy Belly is $2 more than Starbuck's Breakfast Blend but $3 less than Starbuck's French Roast. Everyone loves a happy medium!
For any (sane) person, early morning alarms are synonymous with a cup (or two) of coffee. UK designer Joshua Renouf has created an alarm clock which also doubles as a coffee brewing machine. Waking up to a hot cup of coffee without even having to get out of bed is an ingeniously motivational invention.
California has consistently been at the forefront of the American Green Rush from hybrid strains, to edibles, to wax. The newest form of ingesting cannabis is through a cocktail. Bartender Jason Eisner at Gracias Madre, an organic plant based Mexican restaurant, created a recipes for Cannabis Cocktails. According to the L.A. Times, "The essence of the pot tincture used in the cocktails is called CBD, the lesser-known of the two most prevalent cannabinoids in weed. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t get you high, but has the medicinal effects of being anti-anxiety, anti-seizure, and antipsychotic — even inducing wakefulness". Although CBD's reportedly do not have the same effects as THC, we have a hunch that mixing alcohol with any cannabis by product will have a stronger affect than alcohol alone.
The Conrad Hotel in the Maldives has a totally one of a kind interactive wine experience for guests. Interactive how? According to their website, "12 guests sit around the table next to the sommelier and participate in an interactive journey around the best of the old and new world wine regions, presented on personal video screens". There is also a skillfully matched five course gourmet menu and up to 8 hand picked wines. Cheers to the future!
Is there any drink other than Hennessy that deserves a hand-blown Baccarat cystal bottle and copper silk ribbon applied by hand with a sealed "H" on the bottle's neck? Most likely not. Industrial designer Arik Levy has created a limited edition bottle honoring 250 years of Hennessy. The bottle's design is quite symbolic. According to contemporist.com, the bottle's "8 inset rings each represent one of the 8 generations and 8 eaux-de-vie of Hennessy". Only 250 bottles have been created. For a meager €35,000 you call one of these bottles your own.
Liquor.com posted an article featuring the "13 Most Influential Craft Cocktail Bars in the USA". Interestingly enough, more than half of the mentioned bars are located in New York City. Like in most other industries, it seems that NYC is at the forefront of the trendy craft cocktail movement. Some of the other bar are in locations such as Miami, Chicago, L.A. and San Francisco. Heading out to one of these places soon? Check out Liquor.com's detailed list here to ensure that the cocktail you order will be far from ordinary.
Italy and West Virginia. What could possibly be the connection between these two locations? Well we are ready and excited to tell you. Meet Bloomery SweetShine, a log cabin mini-distillery based out of Charles Town, West Virginia. The inspiration behind Bloomery Sweetshine was conceived when a few very special people were enjoying a traditional drink in Italy called limoncello. For those of you who are not too familiar with this beverage, limoncello is an Italian liquor originally produced in the Napoli region of southern Italy. The folks at Bloomery Sweetshine were so enamored with the drink, that they were decided it was their time to create the product on their own, in West Virginia. Now, Bloomery Sweetshine not only produces limoncello in their distillery, they also produce a variety of Sweetshines from proprietary raspberry lemon to “Moonshine Milkshake Cremma Lemma”. YUM.
Oh wait, we haven’t even gotten to the best part : their lineup of spirits will soon be featured at Chappaqua Station. With all products products created straight from fruits grown on their own farm, Bloomery Distillery is the perfect addition for Chappaqua Station’s “farm-to-town” concept. We hope you are as excited as we are. Stay tuned!
This week makes the beginning of Doug Evan's new startup, Juicero . The product for sale is a juicing machine, but not just any juicer. Juicero's juicer never has to be cleaned but is reliant on WI-FI and a smartphone app. What about people without a smartphone? Do they even exist? Are they worthy of these carefully crafted raw juices? We are not quite sure ourselves. Juicero juicers are currently only available in California (they always get the good stuff first) but will be rolling out nation-wide soon. Head to Juicero's website to learn more about this crème de la crème machine.
There are few things better in life than a Pop-Up Wine Bar featuring wines curated by A-list sommeliers. New York City's Greenwich Project will be hosting the wine bar (Sundays & Mondays) from 6pm - midnight. Each night will be hosted by a guest sommelier, in addition to offering Greenwich Project cellar wines and private collections. Details from Eater.com
This here is an obligatory St. Patrick's Day post. Instead of writing about the best green cocktails or the newest Irish Soda Bread recipe (probably still tastes like cardboard) we decided to post about the brand new vegan facet of Guinness beer. After 256 years, Guinness is changing their traditional filtration process. According to FoodandWine.com, "Since the 19th century, Guinness has filtered out yeast from its signature stout with isinglass, a byproduct of fish bladders. Though most of the isinglass is removed before the beer hits the market, Guinness has admitted in the past they can't guarantee that no trace of the substance remains in the final product. Therefore, strict vegans have said Guinness is off-limits". The new filtration process is set to start sometime this year. It will be very interesting to see the feedback the company receives from long time Guinness drinkers.
Microbreweries and craft beers companies have been exploding in popularity across the United States for the past few years. Now, Crowlers (no, this is not a typo) are the newest trend in the craft beer movement. Like the well known Growler, Crowlers enable customers to order beer to-go, but instead of being transported in a glass bottle, beer is sealed in an aluminum can. But wait, aren't cans the lowliest method of packaging beer? Not so much anymore. Crowlers have many benefits over traditional glass bottles. Bon Appetit magazine reports that, "Aluminum packaging helps keep beers fresher for longer and maintains the quality by creating an absolute barrier to light and oxygen, preventing off-flavors from developing". If that's not news enough, "the typical growler keeps beer fresh and carbonated for about three days before it really starts to degrade. Crowlers keep their brews fresh for about a month". The down side is that a special crowler machine needs to be used to seal the cans. As of right now, there are only about 600 machines in the country, but as the craft beer movement continues to grow, accessibility to Crowlers will most likely increase as well.
In an interview with Liquor.com, Illustrious mixologist Dale DeGroff explains the critical behaviors and personality traits bartenders must have to set them apart from the rest. Eye contact, confidence and learning how to be human are all examples of such behaviors and traits. Furthermore, DeGroff says, "When we hired bartenders at the Rainbow Room in 1987, we asked them to tell a story and a joke. If they couldn't do it, we'd make a note and have to question whether they'd be able to handle the needs of a guest". Although a seemingly unconventional interview question, thinking on your feet while being able to carry conversations with people from different walks of life is a core part of being a bartender (in addition to creating delicious drinks of course). Read the rest of the interview here.
As a recent unofficial New York City tour guide for an Italian friend who's first time in America was just a few weeks ago, I have experienced first hand how important the art of coffee is to Italians. Sure I have been to Italy multiple times, but when you are on their turf, coffee shops are camouflaged into everyday life. By this I mean that there is a certain standard of coffee/espresso that Italians are used to, and every Italian coffee shop meets the expectations of their people. In the hopes of fulfilling my friend's coffee expectations in New York, I brought him to multiple high end boutique coffee shops where the barista's thought their product was top of the line. Continually he was disappointed claiming that the consistency was not right, there was too much espresso in the cup, the temperature was off etc. After all the disappointments, I shyly suggested that he try Starbucks. I swear he looked right through me as if I had insulted his entire family - he also informed me that one of the major news stories in Italy at that time was on the opening of the first Italian Starbucks in Milan. He said Italians were more than outraged, that the only customers will be tourists. I thought he might be exaggerating a bit but then an article on Wired.com featured the headline, "Italians compare the arrival of Starbucks to the Apocalypse". This all sounds very similar as to when Domino's tried to find its' niche in Italy late last year. In this fight, I am rooting against Starbucks. Italy may be the last place in the world where some coffee originality exists. High hopes to keeping that alive. Read more on Eater.com.
Last week, Stillhouse Spirits Co. released a 100% clear corn American whiskey. Although this product is produced in distilleries across Kentucky and Virginia, its' quality is light years beyond those backwoods moonshiners featured on networks like TLC. According to PR Newswire, Stillhouse Original is "distilled in authentic copper whiskey stills, then charcoal-filtered for superior quality and taste". The best news is that this product is gluten free and comes in a variety of flavors from Apple Crisp to Coconut to Mint Chip.
Naming a drink after a famous individual, whether it be for an author, actor, musician or artist, is far from a revolutionary trend. On the contrary, being so inspired from the texts of classic literature that one is compelled to concoct an original drink is undeniably uncommon. Bartender Chantal Tseng at Petworth Citizen's Reading Room in Washington D.C. claims that for her, there is a "free-association" between books and mixology. Read the full article from the Washington Post to discover Tseng's cocktail recipes which may magnify your love of certain vintage novels.
Although usually thought of as a sipping spirit, cognac is the perfect ingredient to include in a variety of winter cocktail recipes. Holding its own since the early 1800s, cognac has become a critical component of both classic and modern cocktails, from Sidecars to Apple Toddies. We came across a Thrillist article featuring some fascinating facts about this illustrious liquor. How well do you know cognac?
The New York Times reports, KFC, one of the chains operated by Yum Brands, is going to test an edible cup made from a wafer coated in sugar paper and lined with a heat-resistant white chocolate.
The article goes on to say, The cups have been dosed with ambient aromas, including “Coconut Sun Cream,” “Freshly Cut Grass” and “Wild Flowers.” Ms. Wright said they were designed to evoke memories of warm weather, sun and summer holidays — “things that make everyone smile."
You just can not make this stuff up, or can you?