Chow has really been wowing us lately with some of their recipes - we posted about their DIY Amaretto a while back, and now they're hitting us with a recipe for "smoky" scotch apple cider. We will be mixing up some of these ASAP, you'd better believe it.
1/2 cup apple cider
1 teaspoon honey
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 (1-by-2-inch) lemon peel
2 tablespoons single-malt, not-heavily-peated Scotch whisky, such as Glenlivet
1/4 teaspoon heavily peated Scotch whisky, such as Laphroaig
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Heat apple cider, honey, cinnamon stick, and lemon peel in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the honey has melted and the cinnamon is fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Turn off the heat, add both Scotches and the lemon juice, and stir to combine. Transfer to a heatproof glass and garnish with the cinnamon stick and lemon peel.
Historically, we didn't spend much time finding the appropriate glass for our beer and spirits - hell, we'll still drink out of a cleaned-out spaghetti sauce jar if we don't have any other options. But it isn't a myth that using the right glass can affect the flavor, aroma and overall experience of the spirit you're drinking - we love our set of Spirit Sippers and use them all the time, especially for reviews. If you're looking for a little something to enhance your next dram of Scotch, check out the Glencairn whisky glass.
Put whiskey on a pedestal with Glencairn whiskey glasses. A smooth, fluid shape echoes the traditional nosing glasses used by blenders worldwide. In luminous, lead-free crystal with a palm-friendly profile and wide bowl to best showcase your spirits.
If you're looking for Cyber Monday deals for the beer pong (ahem - Beirut) player in your life, look no further than a 20% discount from beer pong equipment purveyors Bombed. You can get the 20% deal on tables, gear, balls, cups - even clothing, posters or a beer pong book. Just use the code PONGMONDAY at checkout and remember - the deal is only valid today.
'Tis the season for buying gifts, it being Cyber Monday and all, but it's also the season for scratching your head over just what to get people. We're having the same problem, so we decided to see what you, our readers have bought for yourselves and others this year, to help with the hard decisions. We crunched the numbers and broke things out into five quick and easy categories.
Remember we can't guarantee any of these items will be part of Cyber Monday sales - just think of this as a nice addendum to our Holiday Shopping Guide to laser-focus your shopping efforts and keep you out of the bad gift club.
Oversized Drinking Glasses
It probably says a little something about our audience when the biggest sellers in 2010 were oversized drinking vessels. The biggest seller was the The Full Bottle Wine Glass, but you can also pick up the XL Champagne Glass or the XL Beer Glass, which holds five bottles.
We're consistently surprised at just how popular breathalyzers are, but we can't deny the strong sales, especially for Alcohawk products. This year's biggest sellers were the Slim and the ABI, followed closely by the PT500.
We already covered our Top 10 Booze Books in our holiday shopping guide, but we wanted to call out a few that seem to be exceedingly popular. 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die - which is awesomesauce for even the slightest of whiskey nerds - is completely worth picking up.
Decanters and Gift Sets
It's always nice to give a liquor nerd a means to display the object of his obsession, and one of the most popular items for this seems to consistently be the Bormioli Rocco Selecta 7-Piece Whiskey Gift Set, which includes six rocks glasses and a decanter, all reasonably priced. You can also get just the Dedalo Decanter from the same folks if you don't want to spring for the glasses.
If you'd like to step it up a bit, the Godinger Dublin is a popular and slightly pricier six-piece decanter option.
We here at Liquor Snob would like to with you and yours a great Turkey Day, and we came up with some ideas for things you can do while you're waiting for the tryptophan to wear off so you can go back for round two:
One of our favorite things about the holidays is it's an opportunity to not just drink more booze, but a nice way to figure out other ways to consume it too. We usually put it in our desserts, but you can find creative ways to get liquors into just about anything. That's why we're bummed we just discovered The Gourmet's Guide to Cooking with Liquors and Spirits. It just came out in September, and it's chock full of all kinds of boozy treats for every course:
Try one of these recipes tonight!
Lump Crab Cakes with Basil and Kaffir Lime Vodka Aioli
White Chicken Chile with Cilantro and Whiskey
Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Blackberry Brandy Sauce
Grilled Vegetables with Anisette and Balsamic Vinegar
Curaçao Rum Cake
Irish Crème Pudding with Candied Cashews
We can tell you what would happen - you would go off the rails in a giant flaming fireball of a wreck. But what if you put the results on video? Pure Internet gold, that's what. Check out the diary and all seven (seven!) videos from the experiment - we've included the final one below. If you need some convincing to watch it, here's the summary line from the article - "(Four Loko is) pink death piss from Satan's prick in a 22 ounce can and it should not only be made illegal, the people responsible for making and selling it, right down to the poor chump at the convenience store, should be put to death."
If you're looking for a coffee table book featuring some kick-ass cocktails, you could do a lot worse than picking up Tony Abou-Ganim's Modern Mixologist. It's big, it's beautiful, it's badass - and if you don't care about the "coffee table" aspect, you can get it quite a bit cheaper for Kindle.
...in The Modern Mixologist, Abou-Ganim has established the new standard in cocktail books -- a must-have guide to home mixology in a beautiful, coffee-table-suitable format. Featuring gorgeous full-color photography throughout by the award-winning Tim Turner, this book instantly becomes the most beautiful guide to creating cocktails available anywhere. If you carry one high-end cocktail book, this is it -- sure to be a terrific gift item all year round.
We've always been suckers for a book with a good subtitle, and this one may take the cake - Living Loaded: Tales of Sex, Salvation, and the Pursuit of the Never-Ending Happy Hour. Written by Playboy's Dan Dunn, these are the stories of a man who is paid to drink for a living, and seems to enjoy what he does.
We haven't read the book yet (it's not out until February 2011) but the celebrity quotes make us want to, badly. After all, who else but Dan Dunn could get endorsements from everyone from John Oates (of Hall & Oates) to adult film star Savannah Samson? A snippet from the description and you'll want to read it too:
I hereby invite you to join me, as I conduct "revealing" hotel room interviews with porn stars in LA; go Zip Cat racing in Scotland with Stifler from American Pie; enjoy whiskey-fueled romantic encounters in alleyways behind East Village watering holes; get dumped by my stripper/med student girlfriend (mid-lap dance, no less) simply for not being "husband material;" wake up naked on a big-shot Hollywood producer's living room floor; and learn, the hard way, why NEVER to order an Irish car bomb in a Dublin pub.
Ever since we did our initial story on the canned blackout that is known as Four Loko, we can't stop hearing about the stuff. Is it just perception, like when you get a new car and suddenly see them all over the roads, or is there some kind of media saturation going on with the stuff? Either way, that's not what we're here to talk about. We're here to talk about the fact that even though it's being banned six ways from Sunday, people have figured out how to make their own blackout juice.
That's right - the folks over at BuzzFeed have made their own homebrew Four Loko, involving watermelon Jolly Ranchers, caffeine pills, malt liquor, Sprite and energy drink. In other words, pretty much exactly what we would have thought the real stuff contains, if we'd ever stopped to think about it. Check out the recipe and watch the results of their blind taste tests with the real stuff here.
Oh and also - if you're contemplating making the stuff for yourself, maybe the "honest advertising" video from College Humor after the jump will help you make the right decision. Thanks to interns Tom and Andrew for letting us know about these two awesome pieces of Web history.
When our fearless Editor in Chief was out in Las Vegas last month, he happened to go to a bar called Frankie's Tiki Room. Since then, he has done nothing but talk about how great the drinks were, how much fun the kitschy atmosphere was, blah blah blah. Since we're not scheduled for our Liquor Snob Intern Vegas Getaway and Fun Run* for a while, we figured we'd try to find a good resource for tiki drink recipes.
Of course, there's always Tiki Bar TV (not that they seem to update anymore), but sometimes you want to hold the drink recipe in your hands - or give it as a gift. That's where Trader Vic's, a name indelibly associated with tropical cocktails, comes in:
Every major tropical beverage (alcoholic and non-) is here--daiquiris, mai tais, punches, etc.--and Siegelman gives a snappy introduction to each, interspersing the cocktail recipes with quotes from Vic himself (on the mai tai: "Anybody who says I didn't create this drink is a dirty rotten stinker"). Ninety-five drinks later, a chapter on food appears, with suggestions for 35 pupu platter dishes, finger foods, salads, buffet-style entrees and desserts (some of which call for Trader Vic's bottled sauces). While there are certainly more high-end books on entertaining Polynesian-style available, none beats this one's authentic kitsch.
If you're looking for just the right gift for the GIANT cocktail fan in your life (see what we did there?), look no further than this 60 ounce, three-piece shaker from OGGI. From the zebra stripes to the stainless steel finish, nothing says "You're a great big drunk" like a shaker that will hold 10-ish drinks at once.
The more cynical of our readers out there will look at Medea vodka bottles, with their scrolling LED screens that can hold personal messages, and say "gimmick." We have to admit, we thought the same thing at first, but we put it into our holiday shopping guide because it seemed like something that'd be cool to give as a gift. Now that we've gotten our hands on a bottle we have to admit - it might be a gimmick, but it's certainly a lot of fun. As soon as we got the bottle out of the Fedex box, we spent 20 minutes programming our bottle with a variety of messages, up to 255 characters.
As much fun as the packaging is, will the vodka inside make us as warm and fuzzy? We can only hope, and we'll let you know as soon as we try it. For more info on Medea, both inside and out, go to MedeaSpirits.com, and to see the message in action, check out the video one of the interns took with his phone. (If you can't read it, it says "Let's Get Drunk.")
There are certain things that go great together. Chocolate and peanut butter. Shoes and socks. Ratchet and Clank. If you ask the folks at Shoot A Brew, the latest combo to go on the list is beer and catapults.
The Shoot A Brew is a cooler that holds 24 beers. It has a handle and wheel for transporting it, and a pass-through lid. But that's not the cool stuff. What makes it stand out is the fact it comes with a remote control, which controls a tiny little catapult that can shoot a beer eight feet through the air to your awaiting hand. Because in our experience, combining beer with projectiles will never end badly.
If you want to see Shoot A Brew performing the way its creators intended, watch the video below. If you want to watch guys try to hit each other in the nuts with catapulted beers, watch any group of guys use this thing after a few drinks.
Looking a dip a toe into fermenting your own potent potables, but don't have the time and inclination to do all that "boiling" and "sanitizing"? Sounds like you're the target market for "Spike Your Juice," a kit that lets you ferment any juice that comes in a 64 ounce bottle.
Each kit comes with 6 yeast packets, 6 bottle labels, 1 airlock, 1 rubber stopper, and recipes, and you won't have to wait as long as you do for beer - it can take as little as 48 hours instead of multiple weeks. Six batches of fermented juice, with alcohol content of up to 14% - you don't have to be in math club to know that's pretty easy on the wallet. Of course, it could taste worse than prison Pruno (think vomit-flavored wine cooler) but hey, you're doing it yourself!
You can pick up a kit and try it out for $10 at ThinkGeek; or you can get two kits for the price of two (that's around $20 to the layperson) at Amazon.
If you're half as sick as we are of those ubiquitous Disaronno ads that play on basic cable, you might just be ready to make your own Amaretto. Or, perhaps you're looking for a gift, or just want a project to do to keep you from dwindling into insanity. Whatever the reason, check out Chow's Homemade Amaretto recipe below. [via Liqurious]
If you're looking for a gift for the adventurous cocktailian in your life, it might be time to look backward, into the past of mixology. That's where "Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails: From the Alamagoozlum to the Zombie: 100 Rediscovered Recipes and the Stories Behind Them" comes in. We've never had an Alamagoozlum, but Zombies are damned delicious. Here's the rundown on the book:
In this expanded and updated edition of Forgotten Cocktails and Vintage Spirits, historian, expert, and drink aficionado Dr. Cocktail adds another 20 fine recipes to his hand-picked collection of 80 rare-and-worth-rediscovered drink recipes, shares revelations about the latest cocktail trends, provides new resources for uncommon ingredients, and profiles of many of the cocktail world's movers and shakers. Historic facts, expanded anecdotes, and full-color vintage images from extremely uncommon sources round out this must-have volume. For anyone who enjoys an icy drink and an unforgettable tale.
Social websites can be pretty great, but they can also be a two-edged sword. For every time we've heard about long-lost friends reconnecting through Facebook, we've heard 10 horror stories about people getting on them while in their cups, and saying things they shouldn't. They call liquor a "social lubricant," but there are some times when you should leave your Facebook posts...unlubricated. OK, that came out weird, but you know what we mean.
Rick over at CocktailGoGo let us know about a great tool called the Social Media Sobriety Test, and we've got some friends that should be forced to say the alphabet backward, skipping all the vowels, and giving the sign language for each one before they're allowed on Facebook after 10 PM. This doesn't go quite that far, but it could help you avoid some embarrassing posts...
If you access your computer during the witching hours, it makes you do a simple sobriety test such as use the mouse to make a straight line, follow the finger, or type the alphabet backwards. The last one being something I couldn't do completely sober, but might be a lot more fun if I tried it drunk.
Now, you can make sure you don't post that picture of you in a tankini doing a kegstand while a 9 year old holds your legs up.
Yes, we know Halloween is just barely past our rear bumper, and Thanksgiving has yet to come. But it's never too early to start thinking about what you're going to get the nice (and naughty) people in your life this holiday season. Or, if you're like us, just start making your own Xmas wishlist and fantasizing about what you'll see under the tree this year.
Also, after the jump you'll find everything we could think of that's gift-related we covered in 2010, plus some additional ideas we've seen around the Interwebs. Don't say we never got you anything!
If we had to say we were excited about anything in particular, it's got to be books. Yes, we're nerds, but this year we found some 10 powerful portable primers packed with principles pertaining to potent potables.
Never heard of high-alcohol, caffeinated beverage Four Loko? We hadn't either. But apparently college kids are hearing a whole lot about it, and drinking the pants off it for a couple reasons. The first is that it's cheap. The second is that it comes in flavors that sound like something you'd order at a nine year old's birthday party. To Wikipedia!
The drink is available in nine flavors: Citrus, Grape (Uva Berry), Fruit Punch, Orange Blend, Watermelon, Blue Raspberry, Lemonade, Cranberry Lemonade, and Lemon Lime. It is sold in the US in a 23.5 oz aluminium can, as a caffeinated, alcoholic, malt beverage. Its alcohol content varies from state to state, ranging from 6% ABV in Indiana up to 12.5% in Ohio.
Intern-on-the-street Andrew has supplied us with an article from Chronicle.com about the stuff, and he offers his own summary:
The story takes a dark turn when you find out Ramapo College (in NJ) has banned it from campus due to its popularity and dangerous side effects deeming it "blackout in a can". Overall, the author of the article seems not to know whether he wants the piece to serve as a serious warning or a comedy routine (given the frequent use of ridiculous Animal House-style quotes by moronic students and the section lower down subtitled 'Liquid Crack').
We think the appeal/danger/horror of this drink can be summed up by the following quote from the article, from a student who has obviously lost a firing synapse or two:
"Every time I drank it I got, like, a blackout," says Alex. "Now I usually just drink beer."
Yes, beer, the cause of and solution to all life's problems - luckily no one has ever blacked out from that. It's fairly obvious the drink is being aimed at college kids and maybe even high schoolers, who are only chasing the buzz and have not developed any real taste for good booze yet, and that's pretty shitty.
However, as consenting adults who are also constantly chasing a buzz, we can only say - if you pick some up, spot us a few cans of Fruit Punch and a Cranberry Lemonade. We'll pay you from our allowance.