Muddled Madness

Muddled Madness

There are a lot of intricacies in the craft beverage industry. They range from managing your distillery all the way through understanding how to serve your hooch. One awesome technique serving drinks is muddling. Knowing a bartender's muddling techniques and their view of how this crucial step is handled is an excellent window into knowing whether or not they genuinely get cocktails or they just see bartending as another job.

Cocktails for the Rest of the Summer

Cocktails for the Rest of the Summer

Summer is half over, and with the 4th of July done and gone, there are no more holidays until Labor Day. Sitting around for two months waiting for an excuse to break out the cocktails is a non-starter. There are plenty of good reasons to have a little gettogether with friends or even a big party – a day that ends with the letter y, a baseball game is on TV, or the sun rose.

Whiskey and Food Pairings

Whiskey and Food Pairings

We're all used to people gushing over what color of wine, goes best with what dish. On the other end of the spectrum, we have beer, which mostly pairs well with hamburgers, hotdogs, and pizza (and fireworks on the 4th).

Best 4th of July Drinks

Best 4th of July Drinks

Part of the fun of the Fourth of July is to mix a little bit of alcohol in with the cookout and fireworks – with those dandy little explosives only being handled by those who aren't drinking. (Like that's going to happen.) Traditionally, people do the beer thing on this particular, and often hot, summer evening. There's nothing wrong with that, but that doesn't mean we can't mix things up a bit. Literally.

Patriotic Toasts to Share this 4th of July

Patriotic Toasts to Share this 4th of July

So, we are coming up on another Fourth of July and are getting ready to celebrate the birth of our great nation, during one of the most divided periods in history. There really isn’t anything that is going to change that anytime soon. People are entrenched on their side, and are unwilling to give an inch to the opposition under any circumstances. Arguing with friends, family, and neighbors at the backyard bar-b-que isn’t going to win over any minds, and will only ruin what could be a perfectly good evening with fine spirits and amazing food topped off with some dazzling fireworks.

Best Drinks to Have During the Preakness

Best Drinks to Have During the Preakness

Are we allowed to say “Get your Preak on!” for this? I’ll leave that to you and any friends who hate puns. Anyway, if horse racing is the sport of kings, then like royalty, enjoy your idle leisure with a good drink by your side.

The Art of Whiskey Tasting

The Art of Whiskey Tasting

The world is so familiar with the concept of wine tasting that it has spawned countless numbers of people who throw out all manner of wine tasting jargon while at parties or a fancy restaurant, even though they have no idea what they are talking about. They are also the type who hide their lack of knowledge behind a contemptible sneer when someone brings up whiskey tasting. Whiskey has every bit the levels of taste, aroma, and character as any wine, and thanks to the hard work and dedication of craft distillers around the world, everyone is starting to find out this remarkable fact for themselves.

Taking the Que from Craft Beer

Taking the Que from Craft Beer

Beer hasn’t been doing all that well over the last few years. Most of the blame is focused on everyone’s favorite economic scapegoat the millennials. The more health conscious and frugal demographic tends to favor wine and spirits when it comes to alcohol.

2017 Distilling in Review

2017 Distilling in Review

What will historians say about 2017? Whatever it is, chances are they will need a drink first. Things have gotten so crazy in the world and national politics that when the Pentagon admits that UFO's are real, nobody notices. And with 2018 starting off with kids eating Tide Pods, chances are future historians are going to die from alcohol poisoning before they finish out talking about this decade. It will be up to us to make sure those drinks get made, so let's take a look at some of the big things that hit the craft distillery industry this year good, bad, and in between.

Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fingers…

Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fingers…

…Or maybe it doesn’t. I’m sure that you can find someone on Reddit that will swear up and down that they and a friend tried some in Europe, and some “super freaky” stuff happened. There are also the tales we heard in college where a cousin of a friend of a friend smuggled some in and had a bad trip where he ended up in a mental institution. Movies like Moulin Rouge with the green absinthe fairy scene don’t do anything to dissuade people from buying into this weird reputation of absinthe being the LSD of liquors. However, the truth is far less psychedelic.

Turkey Day Cocktails

Turkey Day Cocktails

What kind of Thanksgiving are you expecting to have? Do your plans involve great food, catching up and bonding with distant family members, all followed by a football game. Or are you anticipating a lot of arguments over politics, that "weird" boyfriend or girlfriend who was unexpectedly invited this year, or another debate on whether or not Star Wars is better than Star Trek?

Blackout Tuesday

Blackout Tuesday

We’ve all heard of Black Friday—the day after Thanksgiving. But for those of us in the craft whiskey business, it's the Wednesday before, Blackout Wednesday, that kicks off the holidays.

Fun Facts About Your Beverages

Fun Facts About Your Beverages

If there is one thing that interests people about the liquor industry, aside from the craft aspect, it is the odd bits of lore and history that surrounds hard drinks. People may want to know about the origin and history of a particular drink, the reason certain ingredients are necessary – aside from the apparent flavors they bring, or what famous hard drinking politician or entertainer loved one specific label and why.

The Awesomeness of Irish Coffee

The Awesomeness of Irish Coffee

Two of the biggest things that have literally been helping people make it through life for centuries is coffee and whiskey. So, it’s no wonder that at some point in history some brilliant individual decided to mix the two. One of the earliest known official coffee-whiskey mixes was done in the mid-1800s at coffee houses in Vienna. It wasn’t called Irish Coffee, but the concept was sound, and it hung around.

Winning Over Wine Drinkers

Winning Over Wine Drinkers

It can be easy to let our preconceived notions get the better of us, especially when it comes to who drinks what. It isn’t fair, but it happens, and let’s face it, we all do this. A good part of this is what pop-culture has shown us. When we think of the people who drink whiskey, we see power players Don Draper in a Manhattan high-rise, or Clint Eastwood’s nameless characters dusting themselves off and downing a glass.

Drink it from A...

Drink it from A...

Sometimes whiskey connoisseurs and experts get so caught up with what to drink that they neglect to tell people new to the world of fine whiskey that what they drink it from also matters.

5 Whiskey Trends 2017

5 Whiskey Trends 2017

Whenever anything gains popularity with a new crowd or a new generation of consumers that comes along, some level of change always follows it. Music and fashion are the first things that come to mind since we can turn on the radio and see what people are wearing to the dying meccas of local retail. The liquor industry is no different. Millennials are a key element in this change, but not the only thing. Even longtime customers want a change of pace now and then.

Distillery Tour Bucket List--Suntory-Hakushu-Distillery

Distillery Tour Bucket List--Suntory-Hakushu-Distillery

Travel is something that is on the top of everyone’s wish and bucket lists. It doesn't matter where, people want to see new things and have a few different once in a lifetime experience. It could be the old romantic finally booking that flight to Paris or the retired couple loading up the RV and visiting every state in the US where wheels can get them. For us though, it would be hitting some of the best and most fantastic distilleries in the world. My first stop on my wish list that I would hope to visit for real someday is Suntory Hakushu Distillery in beautiful Yamanashi, Japan.

Blended Whiskey

Blended Whiskey

Every product or industry has its basic products that can be described in one or two words, but go much deeper than most people realize. Take muscle cars, for example. They are more than just a sedan with a powerful engine. There are gear ratios in the transmission, the kind of tires, steering, and weight distribution that go into not only the design but the definition as well. The liquor industry has blended whiskey, which is just as complex.

Where is the Love for Rum

Where is the Love for Rum

One of the best things about the craft distilling industry is how it is changing the way people see liquor. For decades, it's been a giant corporate whiskey maker's game, with other spirits relegated to the minors or just something you add to make a proper drink. That glass ceiling was cracked when small distilleries showed that a better product could be made and that Jack, Jim, and Crown weren't the only choices around. They are also showing us that whiskey itself isn’t the only spirit that can be made with artisan attention to quality. This loving dedication to making some of the best non-whisky liquors isn’t without its pitfalls, however. Let’s use rum to illustrate this point.

So, You Want to be a Whiskey Collector

So, You Want to be a Whiskey Collector

Whiskey collection can become a profitable hobby if you learn the right way to buy, sell and trade. The trick to making it profitable is to learn what you are doing. A schooled collector knows which bottles have the potential to grow in value. He knows when to sell and when to wait.

Toasts for Any Occasion

Toasts for Any Occasion

It's not known exactly when alcohol entered the diet. Some experts relate it back to prehistoric times and fermented fruits. Others offer accounts of Ancient Chinese wine or Egyptian beer. But, regardless of where it started, one thing is indisputable about the history of alcohol consumption—it always led to a good time accompanied by some rowdy behavior and some loud noise.

4 Cocktails that are Perfect for Your Easter Meal

4 Cocktails that are Perfect for Your Easter Meal

There’s nothing like spending time with family. It’s great to feel loved and welcomed, and when you have a family to spend a holiday with, you are literally blessed. But the fact of the matter is when families get together; sometimes you need a little a little help counting those blessings.

Spring Drinks for Everyone

Spring Drinks for Everyone

Spring is such a weird time of the year. Sure, it's beautiful. We get the see the colorful blooms and the landscape go from winter gray to a living shade of green. That winter chill finally gets chased away too. What makes it weird is how it rolls through different parts of the country. For people in the Northeast, the first part of spring means there are only one or two snow storms left in the season. For southerners, it means warm, breezy days with light tornados later in the afternoon. For many, spring is a magical two days before summer roasts everyone, and at least one or two people is reading this are asking, "What's a season?".

Why Vodka Deserves Respect

Why Vodka Deserves Respect

Vodka hasn’t always gotten the respect it deserves, and some of that dismissiveness is understandable, if unwarranted. From a purely scientific standpoint, vodka is literally just water and ethanol. Even the official government definition says vodka is a flavorless alcohol. Translation – it isn’t all that complex or exciting. For distillers, vodka brings its own issues. The repeated distillations needed to make vodka makes it expensive to produce, which is ironic considering how simple and plain the end product is. This leads many of the craft distilleries to make flavored vodka and infusions or as a base for something like gin instead of straight up vodka.

The Water of Life, or Whiskey if You’re Irish

The Water of Life, or Whiskey if You’re Irish

Saint Patrick’s Day is a fine holiday. Something about getting rid of snakes, and achieving sainthood. It’s probably quite an interesting story, but I always end up coming back around to what makes the day great – whiskey. Specifically, Irish Whiskey because green beer doesn’t cut it.

Biggest Bar Trends of 2017

Biggest Bar Trends of 2017

One of the first rules of business is that you have to give the customers what they want. It’s a simple enough concept, but some people seem to have a knack for screwing it up. Maybe it’s because they think they already know everything, or they’re so enamored with what they want to do as a business they can’t see what they need to do. Either way, ignoring trends isn't the wisest move a business can make. Even if it isn't a trend, they can be a part of, adjusting plans to handle the impact it will have on the industry is important.

A Lesson in Whiskey

A Lesson in Whiskey

Whiskey is not some singular thing. It's about as generic of a term as car or soda. I'm sure that most everyone reading knows this, but let’s be realistic. Not everyone working in the distillery industry is a hard liquor scholar. There are more than a few partnerships where the one who knows the booze side of things handles making the hooch, and the one with the business sense makes sure it gets sold. There are also accountants, IT people, and office managers who help to make sure we can get our drink on who don't know all the technicalities of the various forms whiskey can take.

Farewell 2016

Farewell 2016

It’s a safe bet that 2016 will go down in history as one of those years everyone will say they want to forget as they talk non-stop about how bad it was to their friends. No doubt there will be endless toasts celebrating its demise this New Years. 2016 had its moments, that’s for sure, but why do we hate it so bad? There have been plenty of worse years, and I’m not talking that far back in history like 1916, 1929-1945, or 1968. 2001 and 2008, 09, and 10 were far more difficult years than 2016. So why the hate? Because we need the catharsis.

Holiday Toasts

Holiday Toasts

The year is almost over and now we turn to our friends and family to share the love and connection we feel to those closest to us. As much as we care about the people around us, sometimes it’s difficult to find the right words at the right time. As nice as it would be to sound clever or insightful, most of us end up droning on with uninspired crap like, “Sam you are awesome. And Linda, you’re also awesome. It’s been great and stuff.”

Out of This World, or the Next, Cocktails

Out of This World, or the Next, Cocktails

There’s something to be said for classic cocktails and mixers. When you can enjoy the same drink that people were sharing when sitting around the bar arguing whether or not Teddy Roosevelt was going for another term, it shows how durable good taste can be and it shows respect for the traditions behind the liquor.

The Best Craft Spirits for Holiday Gifts

The Best Craft Spirits for Holiday Gifts

With the demise of Turkey Day, the official start of the holiday season is upon us. It doesn't matter if you call it Christmas, Yule, Hanukah, Kwanza, Festivus, or just another Sunday. It's also time for a little shopping. Some of it will be easy. There are our casual acquaintances and coworkers who we will buy gift baskets full of meat and cheese or sweet soaps, and maybe the kids (our own or nieces and nephews) who will want toys, or gift cards if they're teens. What about your real friends and your closest grown up family members? For them, you should get something that they will enjoy and remember.

The Best Drinks for Thanksgiving

The Best Drinks for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dinner is less than a week away, and before we know it, we will be surrounded by our families enjoying a nice turkey dinner. All jokes about family drama and the real bits that actually happen aside, most of us look forward to this yearly tradition.

The Best Hot Drinks to Fight off the Chill

The Best Hot Drinks to Fight off the Chill

I might be channeling Yogi Berra a little bit here, but one of the best things about the weather turning cold is keeping warm. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’ve been running errands all weekend on a damp winter day, or if you’ve been out hunting since before sunup. That chill will seep into your bones, and getting back into a warm house where you can call it a day is one of the best feelings in the world. Why not make it better by topping it off with a hot drink? Here are a few drinks to give you the ideal pick me up.

The Best Hard Drinks for Fall

The Best Hard Drinks for Fall

As fun as summer is, there comes a point where the days sweating our butts off going to the grocery store outnumber the fun days on the lake or being out on vacation. Eventually we want the cooler days and crisp nights of autumn to come around and give us a break from the heat.

Favorite Presidential Hard Drinks

Favorite Presidential Hard Drinks

Every job has its own bits of stress that goes along with it, and that goes double for being President of the United States. Even during the years without wars and depressions, there’s always the other headaches that come from running the country. Past or present it doesn’t matter. It’s no surprise that most of our presidents liked a drink or three to deal with the long days, or to start one off. Most of them stuck to beers, wine, or various kinds of liquor. Not that there’s anything wrong with those choices, but a few of our past leaders liked drinks that were a little more exotic or exciting.

What Does Your Cocktail Say About You?

What Does Your Cocktail Say About You?

Most people enter a bar looking to meet someone or looking to have a good time. If you look closely enough, you can learn a lot about people based on their beverage of choice. Let’s face it a drunk girl dancing in the corner on a Friday night isn’t the most attractive person in the bar. But, who’s to say that she didn’t have a bad week and needed to let loose. You can’t be too perceptive when it comes to meeting people in a bar. One way to learn a lot about a person is the study the beverage he or she is drinking. Let’s have a look.

Top 7 Summer Spirited Drinks

Top 7 Summer Spirited Drinks

Seasons often trigger the senses. And as the seasons changes, so does our palate. So it makes sense that certain craft spirits taste better during particular seasons. With summer quickly approaching, it’s time to stock up on the right craft spirits to keep your taste buds tantalized. Here is a list of the seven best spirited beverages for summer.