BOURBON - Americas Native Spirit
Bourbon has never been so popular, yet many people are still unsure how to approach it. It doesn’t have to be intimidating; you just need a brief lesson to get started (and maybe a few bottles of bourbon, too).
What Is Bourbon?
Bourbon is America’s contribution to the wonderful world of whiskey. By definition, bourbon is made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn, produced in the United States, and aged in charred new oak barrels.
History of Bourbon
The invention of bourbon is often attributed to Elijah Craig, an 18th-century Baptist minister and distiller who is said to have been the first to age the liquor in charred oak casks, a process that gives bourbon its reddish color and distinctive taste. However, that story is almost certainly apocryphal, and it is more likely that bourbon evolved from local moonshine. It wasn’t until 1840 for the whiskey to officially be labeled “bourbon,” so called because it was distil...
CHAMPAGNE & PROSECCO & CAVA, OH MY! - A Guide to Sparkling Wine
We’ve all tasted sparkling wine, at the very least around the holidays or when celebrating a special occasion: Champagne has become the drink of special occasions and Christmas, a status symbol in a delicate flute, yet Americans still don’t know much about it, which means we don’t really know how to drink it either. The French still consume more than half of the Champagne produced. And though the U.S. is the second biggest export market behind the United Kingdom, according to the U.S.-based Champagne Bureau, Americans tend to reserve Champagne for special occasions, when we really should be having it year-round, if for no other reason than it is perhaps the most versatile and foolproof food pairing wine out there.
Furthermore, most people have no idea what the difference is between wines such as Champagne, Cava, and Prosecco—or how they even get the bubbles into the wine in the first place. Let us explain. Time for a history lesson.
OKTOBERFEST - The Largest Volksfest
The Munich Oktoberfest justly lays claim to being the world’s largest folk festival (no, it’s not just about drinking beer). Over the past decade, it has attracted an average of around six million visitors a year, who between them consume almost seven million liters of beer and munch their way through thousands of grilled sausages, chickens, giant pretzels and—for those really wanting to soak it all up—wild oxen.
The festival, which lasts between 16 and 18 days, is held annually in a meadow just outside the center of Munich. In addition to eating, drinking, and dancing, visitors can enjoy colorful parades, a variety of fairground rides, and for those not themselves in traditional Bavarian gear, admire those that are.
Time for Some History
When Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on the 12th of October 1810, the citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fie...
Beer Glasses - Yes They Do Matter
Types of Beer Glasses
Yes, They Do Matter
Ever wonder what beer aficionados are talking about when they say proper glassware? The concept isn’t new, and it’s not something that’s happening just because craft beer is trendy. In Belgium, it has long been the practice of brewers and bartenders to serve each and every beer in its proper glassware. Look up, and you’ll see rows upon rows of sparkling stemware hanging from the ceiling above the bar, each spotless and anticipating its next perfect pour.
Once you get used to proper glassware, it’s hard to go back, because pouring beer into a glass sets it free. It can enhance your drinking experience in pretty much every way: from the visuals, to the aromas, to, ultimately, the taste. Perhaps the most important thing the right glass can do for beer is affect its taste. Glassware won’t magically make bad beer good, but it will encourage you to pick up on the full exp...
WHAT IS A COCKTAIL?
The first definition of cocktail known to be an alcoholic beverage appeared in The Balance and Columbian Repository (Hudson, New York) on May 13, 1806; editor Harry Croswell answered the question, “What is a cocktail?”:
“Cock-tail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters—it is vulgarly called bittered sling, and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion, in as much as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head. It is said, also to be of great use to a democratic candidate: because a person, having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow any thing else.”
Technically, a cocktail is a beverage with at least three flavors: it must contain alcohol, a sugar, and a bitter/citrus. When a mixed drink contains only a distilled spirit and a mixer, such as soda or fruit juice, it is a highball.
It can be ov...