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December 2013

This is a mini-project looking at sweet and sour flavors, sponsored by PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur. Sour tastes are mostly produced by acids, including citric acid from fruits and acetic acid from vinegar. As with sweetness, the taste receptors for sourness are found on the taste buds on our tongues, and our initial reactions to them at birth are hard-wired. But unlike sweetness and like bitterness, we have an inherently negative natural reaction toward sourness. Evolutionarily this makes sense. Fruits are acidic both when they're unripe and when they're spoiled. But when they're ripe, the sourness is in balanced with sweetness... Read more →

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Cocktail History Written as Upworthy Headlines

The first three ingredients were spirit, sugar, and water. It was fourth one that changed drink history forever. The 75-millimeter M1897 was considered a dangerous weapon- until one mixologist did this. The customer wanted something stronger than his usual Americano. You won’t believe how the bartender responded. The waitress wanted a pink cocktail she heard about from a friend. What the bartender made her would change television history. They said he was getting too old to shake drinks, but in this argument it was the bartender who had the last word. He stopped in for a quick drink on the... Read more →

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

Have you looked through your December magazines yet? In just about every one that I get (and I get a lot of them), there is a recommendation for a specialty cocktail syrup of one flavor or another as a suggestion for gifting. By the time I noticed this, I'd already written my latest story for Details.com, which we ended up calling Syrups are the New Bitters. It's not to say that you no longer need bitters now that there are more syrups on the market, but rather where once there was a lack of variety of bitters on the market... Read more →

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

This is a mini-project looking at sweet and sour flavors, sponsored by PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur. Looking at sweet, sour, and the balance between them, we'll now start with sweet. Sweetness is sensed on the tongue as one of the four (up to possibly six) basic tastes. We sense sugars as sweet, of course, but also some proteins and amino acids taste sweet to us. Some things we consume are both sweet and something else. An example used in the book Taste Matters is saccharin, which is both sweet and bitter. The preference for sweetness (and different reactions for sour, salty,... Read more →

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

I've been to the Beam distillery three times now. I wrote about my first visit in 2008 here, with an additional post about the bottling line. Then I stopped by for another brief visit in 2012 where I got a preview of some of the outdoor displays as part of the new visitors' center. In early 2013, I revisited the Jim Beam distillery during my visit for the Bourbon Classic, held in Louisville. In 2014 the Bourbon Classic will be held on January 31 and February 1. This time, the new visitors' center, called the Jim Beam American Stillhouse, was... Read more →

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

I'm doing a mini-project looking at sweet and sour flavors, sponsored by PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur. The sweet-to-sour balance in a cocktail is crucial. I like Sam Ross' quote about it: “The sweet and sour elements in a cocktail are like the pieces of bread in a sandwich. If they’re not in balance, the whole thing falls apart.” I'm going to look at sweet and sour (plus the other basic tastes) separately, then at how they interact. Basic Tastes We all know by now that at least sweet, sour, salty, and bitter are four basic tastes, with others proposed including umami... Read more →

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

In 2008 I first learned about Four Roses Bourbon and its history. Then in 2010 I had the chance to visit the distillery and wrote it up here. In early 2013 on a trip to the Bourbon Classic event in Louisville I had a chance to visit a second time. These are some notes from that visit. Four Roses fills 280 barrels per day, a drop in the bucket compared with other bourbon brands. Their corn currently comes from Indiana and rye from Denmark. The grains are smashed up with a hammer mill before cooking. In the cooking process first... Read more →

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

In early 2013 I visited the Town Branch Distillery in Lexington, Kentucky. At the time it was the newest addition to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. My visit was part of the Bourbon Classic, a great event that is taking place in 2014 on Jan 31 and Feb 1. The distillery goes by a lot of names, so let me try to clarify as best as I understand it. The Town Branch Distillery is owned by the Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company, which is a division of Alltech. Alltech is a huge international company dealing with yeast and I believe that... Read more →

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