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August 2012

This spring I went to Avery Island, Louisiana, to see how Tabasco pepper sauce is made. Avery Island isn't really an island, but more of a dry mound (a salt dome) surrounded by wetlands. It's about 165 feet high and that makes it the tallest point in the Gulf Coast. The island is owned entirely by the Avery family, of which the McIlhennys form a branch. The first of them on the island was a man named Marsh, who built the Marsh House in 1818 that is still used for family weddings and other gatherings. Marsh wasn't a pepper sauce... Read more →

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The Ice Cream Bar in San Francisco, a real soda bar with shakes and sodas made of things like candy cap mushrooms, sassafras root beer, and chicory coffee, has been granted a beer and wine license. This Friday August 24th they'll debut the new menu with some boozy drinks. Below is the menu. The drinks will be in the $9-$14 dollar range. Menu consultant Russell Davis says with the big pour of bitters in the Angostura Phosphate, he's hoping they'll become the top Angostura account in the city. “REMEDIES” For those 21 and over - these fountain sodas contain alcohol... Read more →

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In June I took a short trip to Islay, Scotland to see how Laphroaig single-malt scotch whisky is made. Islay is an island off the coast of Scotland known for its smoky, peaty whiskies. What Laphroaig does differently from other scotch producers, as you'll read, is: Floor maltings Separation of malt flavoring (with peat smoke) and malt drying An uneven number of pot stills Quarter Casks Floor Malting Laphroaig is one of six scotch makers that floor malts some of its own barley. Floor malting is the historic technique of preparing barley for fermentation. Most of the 100 distilleries in... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

In my second story for Details.com, I wrote about the wonderfully pungent pot-still rums and blends from Jamaica. Bring the Funk: New Jamaican Rums Embrace the Stank August 16 is National Rum Day—a virtual invitation for bloggers to post recipes for crappy blender drinks and liquid fruit salads. Not only does this celebrate dumb cocktails, it misses the bigger news about how new rums are embracing bigger, bolder, more assertive flavors. Yes, stankiness is in. Read the story here on Details.com. The story discusses Jamaican rum-inclusive brands including: Smith & Cross Plantation Renegade Rum Denizen Banks Appleton Estate Wray &... Read more →

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In tomorrow's post I'll share technical details about how Laphroaig single-malt scotch whisky is made, but how about today we just look at some pretty pictures of Islay, Scotland? Most of these were taken in Port Ellen, not far from the Laphroaig distillery. Port Ellen Hotel, Where I Stayed The big blue building is a grain silo for the Port Ellen maltings Read more →

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I attended a good portion of a seminar called Anise: Treasure of the Mediterranean at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans this July. Though I couldn't stay until the very end, the seminar was great. The speakers were Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller of Mixellany, Franesco LaFranconi of Southern Wine & Spirits, and Orietta Varnelli of Varnelli. Like all things at Tales of the Cocktail, my memory is spotty when it comes to the seminar, so here are my notes copied and pasted from my iPad. I hope someone writes a book on anise liqueurs (HINT HINT Mixellany) so... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

I received and email from Karol of the bar Lorelei in Warsaw, who says s/he's been reading Alcademics and making clear ice at the bar. Karol shared the menu, which is below. Smoked syrup, Angostura-caramelized raisins, fig-infused rum: This looks far more sophisticated than anywhere I visited last year. A good reason to come back... Click below for the full menu. LORELEI’S COCKTAIL MENU spring/summer 2012 our cocktail menu comes from a passion for mixology, exquisite liquors, fresh and aromatic ingredients, herbs, and spices. homemade infusions, bitters, and syrups are combined in a way that amuses and gives a unique... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.