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Seven New Drink Books On Cognac, Sake, Cocktails, and More

These are seven newish drink books that have arrived at Alcademics HQ for your consideration. Most of the below descriptions come from the book blurbs and are not reviews, as I'm about 30 books behind on my reading list. Nicholas Faith's Guide to Cognac by Nicholas Faith (Not sure why this book is so expensive on Amazon; it's only 132 pages. The Kindle version appears to be free.) Nicholas Faith’s Guide to Cognac is a directory supplement to Nicholas’s best-selling book Cognac: The story of the world’s greatest brandy. Bitter: A Taste of the World's Most Dangerous Flavor, with Recipes... Read more →

The Cognac D'USSE 2014 Culture Cocktails Competition

Last week at the bar 67 Orange in Harlem, New York, I helped judge Cognac D'USSE's annual Culture Cocktails competition. The contest pulled six competitors from local Harlem bars and they, friends and neighbors packed into this tiny cocktail bar for the competition. And I do mean packed - the bar's capacity is about 35 people and there were over 60 in the room at one point. Luckily, I had a good view from my barstool along with my co-judges, blogger Paola Mathe from and model Diandra Forrest. I was definitely helping balance out all that beauty. The number... Read more →

Why Add Sugar to Rum When it's Made from Sugar in the First Place?

As mentioned in yesterday's post, rum is distilled from any sugar cane derivative like fermented fresh cane juice or molasses. But some producers add sugar to their finished rum after distillation. Adding sugar to any spirit can soften it and hide some flaws, but if you look at the (allegedly) sweetened rums in this post on, you'll notice two general patterns among the rum bottlings that allegedly have sugar added: They come from big companies that shouldn't need to add sugar to cover a bad distillate. They know how to distill. They're aged rums, rather than white rums. Well... Read more →

Live from Buenos Aires: David Wondrich on Drink History in the Americas

Hello from Tales of the Cocktail on Tour in Buenos Aires! I am attending three seminars today held at the lovely Intercontinental Hotel. (Then the rest of the time I'll just be in bars.) The first seminar was a talk by David Wondrich called Drinking the Americas from Punch to Prohibition Below are notes I took in the seminar, mostly unedited, but let me know if these raise any questions and I'll try to answer them. When Columbus arrived some South American and North American peoples had localized fermented beverages but not really any trade or exchange in them. When... Read more →