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January 2014

11 Bars to Hit in Early 2014 on Details.com

In my latest story for Details.com (and my first one as official cocktail columnist for Details.com, hooray!) I write up 11 new bars opening within the next few months from around the country. The bars are: Melrose Umbrella Co., Los Angeles, California Sweetwater Social, New York, NY Jsix, San Diego, California Half Step, Austin, Texas Good Citizen, Seattle, Washington Sidecar, Jacksonville, Florida Barrel, Washington, DC ABV, San Francisco, CA Double Standard, Oakland, CA Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour, Phoenix, Arizona Julep, Kansas City, Missouri Check out the story here! Read more →

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New Booze, Agave Edition: Mezcal Vago, Patron Piedra, and Sauza 901

New Booze: Gran Patron Piedra Patrón Spirits announces the launch of the brand’s first extra añejo tequila. Like all Patrón tequilas, Gran Patrón Piedra starts with 100 percent Weber Blue agave grown in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. For Gran Patrón Piedra, and its sister tequilas Gran Patrón Platinum and Gran Patrón Burdeos, the very best of the agave harvest is set aside to create this tequila. Gran Patrón Piedra is aged for more than three years in new American and French oak barrels. In addition to extra añejo ageing, Gran Patrón Piedra is also distinguished by its “Tahona” production... Read more →

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New Booze: Scotch, Canadian and American Whiskies January 2014

New Booze: Tincup American Whiskey Proximo announces the launch of Tincup American Whiskey. Created by Jess Graber, founder of Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey, Tincup is made from a blend of corn, rye and malt. Aged in new charred American white oak barrels, it is bottled at 84 proof in Colorado using Rocky Mountain water. Tincup is rolling out in select markets at a suggested retail price of $27.99 (750 ml). Tincup is named for Tincup, an old mining town in Gunnison County, Colo., which itself was named for the tin cups used by miners. Its closure is an actual tin cup... Read more →

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The Fever: Book Review

I'm reading a bunch of books on malaria and quinine to try to track down the true origins of the Gin & Tonic. The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years by Sonia Shah is the most modern book I have that tackles the issue of malaria. The first chapter deals with how the parasite lives between the mosquito and humans and how it evolved over the years. The second chapter reveals the spread of the disease to the New World, in part assisted by the slave trade. In the next, the author looks at the ecology (mosquito... Read more →

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The Malaria Capers: Book Review

The first part of the book The Malaria Capers: Tales of Parasites and People by Robert S. Desowitz isn't about malaria at all but a similar disease kala azar. As my interest is in malaria (actually, quinine that treats malaria and ends up in tonic water), I skipped that whole first section. In the first chapter of that section the author tells the tale of a woman dying in a small village near Burma. The next tells of the study of malaria in monkeys versus humans in the 1960s. The following talks about the history of the disease (in a... Read more →

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The Fever Trail: Book Review

I'm reading a lot of books about malaria while researching quinine and tonic water. So far, none of them have included more than a single sentence about tonic water. That's a little bit frustrating. However, the story of the curse of malaria in world history, the discovery of a natural cure in Peru, the efforts to propagate the tree elsewhere, and then the understanding of the disease and what caused it (which came much later after finding a cure) are fascinating. The tale involves all the major political powers from the 1600s forward and every hot, humid climate on earth.... Read more →

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