• cocktail recipes, featured, spirits

    Watch Zach Braff and Donald Faison Make the Perfect Appletini


    Scrubs was an enormously popular sitcom that ran for nine seasons (eight, depending who you ask). It went off the air in 2010, but maintains a loyal following to this day. In fact, Zach Braff and Donald Faison co-host a Scrubs re-watch podcast – called “Fake Doctors Real Friends” – that is wildly popular and successful, with tens of thousands of listeners. One fan-favorite bit from the duration of the show is Zach Braff’s character’s affinity for appletinis. To paraphrase JD, he doesn’t drink beer; he prefers appletinis – light on the “tini” – because they make

  • negroni
    cocktail recipes, spirits

    Celebrate Negroni Week with This Classic Negroni Cocktail Recipe

    Florence, Italy, 1919. Count Camillo Negroni is sitting at the bar of the Caffe Casoni on a hot day, cooling off with his favorite aperitivo, the Americano – a refreshing mix of Campari, soda water, sweet vermouth, and a lemon wedge. It’s been a tough day and he’s looking to take the edge off. He asks the barman, Forsco Scarselli, to strengthen the drink a bit. Scarselli pours him another, this time replacing the soda water with gin and the lemon wedge with an orange peel. The classic Negroni cocktail was born; and it became a

  • 8 black owned distilleries
    featured, spirits

    8 Black Owned Distilleries Producing Some of America’s Finest Whiskeys

    Black owned distilleries are few and far in between. Similar to the craft beer industry, there is a big gap between the whiskey industry and Black whiskey consumers. Distillery owners aren’t nearly as diverse as their clientele. There have been recent efforts to change that, though, with groups like Black Bourbon Society who are bridging the gap through outreach and education, and Black entrepreneurs who are founding distilleries of their own. Brothers who brought economic opportunities to their hometown. A head chef who experiments with smoke infusion. A brewer that expanded his operations to breathe

  • uncle nearest

    Uncle Nearest 1856: How a Slave Helped Launch America’s Most Famous Distillery

    For 160 years, whiskey had a secret history. The story behind America’s Jack Daniel’s Distillery wasn’t entirely factual. Today, in celebration of Juneteenth, I’m sipping Uncle Nearest 1856 and will tell the secret history of how a slave helped launch America’s most famous whiskey distillery. It’s true that Jack Daniel went to work for Dan Call in the 1850s. And it’s true that Jack Daniel went on to distill whiskey for Call. But the story that Call hired Jack Daniel because he was a naturally gifted distiller…? Not so. Actually, Jack Daniel was

  • coffee, coffee reviews, spirits

    Cardinal Spirits // Songbird Coffee Liqueur

    Cardinal Spirits, a craft distillery in Bloomington, Indiana, has collaborated with Chicago’s Metric Coffee on an Illinois-only edition of their popular Songbird Coffee Liqueur. Songbird Coffee Liqueur (49 proof; 24.5% ABV; $29.99 MSRP) infused with Metric Coffee is now available at select Binny’s Beverage Depot and Whole Foods stores in Chicago. The small-batch spirit can be enjoyed straight or in cocktails, and is made with just four ingredients: coffee, vodka, bourbon vanilla and cane sugar — no flavor extracts and no coloring. “With so few ingredients that go into this spirit, the right coffee beans are everything,” says

  • beer, spirits

    Pipeworks Brewing Company // Brown and Stirred

    Beejay Oslon and Garritt Lewis, founders of Pipework’s Brewing Co, met while working at West Lakeview Liquors in Chicago. There were both homebrewers who received their education at De Struise Brewery in Belgium. When they began discussing starting their own larger scale brewery, they decided they wanted to do something exciting. They vowed to only create unique, small batch brews that were “one-and-done.” This is where the idea of Pipework’s Brewing began. Since then—with the addition of Kate Brankin (brewer extraordinaire)—Pipeworks has established itself as one of Chicago’s premiere breweries. In early 2017, the folks at Pipeworks approached their

  • boulevardier
    cocktail recipes, spirits

    The Boulevardier Cocktail

    From 1927-1932, Erskine Gwynne was living in Paris, running a monthly magazine he founded called Boulevardier—a sort of Parisian version of New Yorker. Gwynne was an expatriate writer, socialite, and nephew of railroad tycoon Alfred Vanderbilt. During that time period, American was in the midst of Prohibition (which, of course, was the national repeal of alcohol). Ironically, the Volstead Act helped revive the American cocktail—it provided creative liquor salesmen a handy way to disguise hooch with preferable flavors and a pretty name. But Prohibition also sent thousands of bartenders into a tailspin. Most had to find other work, since their profession had

  • fitzgerald cocktail
    cocktail recipes, spirits

    The Fitzgerald Cocktail

    I’m introducing a new feature, today: the Friday Happy Hour. Every Friday (or maybe most Fridays) (or maybe even just some Fridays), I’ll post a small write-up about a cocktail I’m really enjoying, including its history, its recipe, and my recommended ingredient brands. First up on the menu is (quite possibly) my favorite cocktail—the Fitzgerald cocktail. If you’re a literary person like me, you might wonder if this classic cocktail was named for the famous writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Well, it wasn’t; though his favorite cocktail was the Gin Rickey (which we’ll explore in the future). The reason that we might think