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...
“Claret is the liquor for boys; port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy”
Brandy, for too many people, has a reputation as a spirit enjoyed by a more mature crowd. Picture an older man in a plush wingback leather armchair, next to a roaring fire with a cigar between his lips—he has a glass of brandy in his hand, right? However, these days, brandy is enjoyed across the board by young creatives, cocktail enthusiasts, and even stay-at-home moms—as well as, of course, distinguished silver-haired gents with suits and cigars.
Brandy is exploding in the American market. It may not get the popular-press attention and cultural buzz that other spirits do, but the numbers don’t lie. Between 2002 and 2015, sales by volume increased overall by 27.8%, with super premium bottlings rocketing up by 226.9% and premium by a mind-boggling 340.5%, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
GIN - From the Gutter to the Top Shelf
From the Gutter to the Top of the Shelf
William Faulkner once said, “Civilization begins with distillation.” Unfortunately, that was not the case in Great Britain.
Gin is a divisive drink. It has been for centuries. Responsible for an early booze-fueled crisis in England, the botanical-infused distilled spirit was once seen as scourge on a society. Gin’s reputation as the crack cocaine of its day was cemented with lurid press tales about gin-fuelled degradation and squalor, culminating in William Hogarth’s infamous 1751 engraving “Gin Lane.”
Three hundred years later, it’s become the elegant answer to vodka and, increasingly in the US and Britain, an artisanal concoction. The industry has been undergoing a welcome renaissance. Many of the gins being produced in small batches across the countries bear little resemblance to the stodgy London dry gin your parents drank. While we’ve ...