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Atlanta Food & Wine Festival started as a way to shine a spotlight on the rich food and beverage traditions of the Southern United States. Now returning for its eighth year, the 2018 festival will feature 150 chefs, sommeliers, bartenders and pit masters from Texas to the District of Columbia. From seminars to tastings and dinners, this event is a perfect way to get to know the flavors of the South.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

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The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience is returning for its 26th year! During this five-day festival, guests can enjoy samples from hundreds of wineries and restaurants, attend educational seminars, and join the Royal Street Stroll for a true New Orleans experience. Over two dozen restaurants feature special dining evenings throughout the festival, and menus feature local flavor from talented chefs across New Orleans. Over the past 26 years, the festival has raised more than $1.2 million for local charities.

For more information and tickets, click here.

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Lush sherry and tart rhubarb make for a perfect flavor contrast in this modern fizz.

1¼ oz. gin
¼ oz. PX sherry
¾ oz. rhubarb compote
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
¼ oz. simple syrup (1:1)
1 fresh egg white (pasteurized, if you like)

Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: Collins
Garnish: orange peel, 1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine all the ingredients into a shaker and shake for 15-20 seconds to whip. Add ice and shake for another 15-20 seconds. Pour 2-3 oz. of cold sparkling water into a rocks glass. Slowly strain the cocktail into the glass to create a frothy texture. Garnish.

Rhubarb Compote
4 stalks fresh rhubarb
1½ cups white sugar
2 oz. fresh lemon juice

Slice the rhubarb into 2-inch slices, then add all ingredients to a pot. Place the heat on low and let simmer until the sugars dissolve. Pour the liquid into a heatproof container and let cool. The consistency should be thick like jam.

Alex Fletcher, Trick Pony at Harlowe MXM, Dallas

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As spring settles in, shelves are starting to fill up with rosés, and among them are some rosé ciders worth taking a look at, including today’s Drink of the Week. The Shacksbury Rosé Cider is a collaboration with Sunday in Brooklyn. Made from 100% fresh-pressed apples from Sunrise Orchards in Cornwall, Vermont, and to earn its blush, the fermented cider is left to age on Marquette grape skins (also from a local winemaker), which contribute a slight tannin to help even out the sweetness from the apples. Expect juicy, bright flavors of strawberry and peach with a perfect balance of sweetness and tartness. You can buy the cans online for $50 for a 12-pack, or check out for more details on distribution.

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Riffing on the classic Margarita, this cocktail gets an refreshingly earthy flavor thanks to the addition of fresh carrot juice.

1½ oz. blanco tequila
½ oz. fresh lime juice
¼ oz. simple syrup (1:1)
Carrot juice
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: Collins
Garnish: mint bundle

Shake the first 3 ingredients together in a shaker tin with ice. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice. Top with carrot juice to taste. Stir to incorporate. Garnish.

Rustic Root, San Diego 

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Atlanta is a close-knit cultural center deeply rooted in the tradition of southern hospitality. Its diversity is exemplified not only in music and arts (Gladys Knight, John Mayer and Outkast are a few that call the city home), but also its culinary and cocktail scenes, where bartenders like Empire State South’s Beverage Director Kellie Thorn are crafting world-class drinks.

Thorn has been working in the restaurant industry for more than 16 years ago, 13 of which she has spent as a bartender. She’s known for her ability to craft balanced cocktails that are equally delicious sipped on their own or paired with food. Sourcing inspiration from Atlanta’s heritage, Thorn has created cocktails for almost every type of drinking establishment, and among her favorite spirits to mix with is Cognac (so much so that she become a BNIC Certified Cognac Educator in 2015). “Cognac is a spirit with a sense of place, and because of that it has a transportive quality,” she says. “It’s a very versatile cocktail ingredient. The fruit and floral components make for light and refreshing drinks, and the barrel and spice notes give weight to more rich styles of drinks.”

Like Thorn, there are many Cognac enthusiasts behind bars in Atlanta. Here are some places to either explore Cognac as a cocktail ingredient, or to get lost in its layers as a sipping spirit.

  1. Kimball House
  2. Ticonderoga Club
  3. Golden Eagle
  4. The Mercury
  5. Marcel

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Negroni Week 2018 will take place from June 4-10, and venue registration is officially open! For the sixth year, bars and restaurants around the world will join forces to celebrate one of the world’s great cocktails while raising money for a wide range of charitable causes.

To participate, each venue can sign up at, chooses from our list of official charity partners, and make an immediate donation to that charity. Then they can return during and after Negroni Week to make additional donations to their chosen charity. After Negroni Week is complete, we tally up how much was raised collectively by all of our participating bars, restaurants and partners.

Once again, we’re thrilled to have Campari as our Presenting Sponsor, as well as Beefeater Gin, Bols Genever and Cinzano as Supporting Sponsors. New for 2018, we’re also excited to be partnering with Beefeater on a special printed and downloadable Negroni Week Charity Guide. This quick-reference resource highlights our official charity partners and provides information about how they’re each working to make the world better. If you’re an Imbibe subscriber, you received a printed version in your May/June 2018 Issue, but you can also download a digital version by clicking HERE.

Email us at with any questions or ideas you have about getting involved and keep tabs...

Inspired by Mexican lollipops, this cocktail from Contigo in Austin brings together the bittersweet flavor of Aperol with cooling cucumber and spicy chile-salt.

1½ oz. gin
¾ oz. Aperol
½ oz. fresh lime juice
¼ oz. simple syrup (1:1)
1 lime wedge
6 slices cucumber
Chile salt, such as Tajín
Tools: muddler, shaker, strainer
Glass: rocks
Garnish: cucumber slices dipped in chile salt

Pour some chile salt into a shallow dish. Wet the rim of a rocks glass with the lime wedge, then dip it into the dish to coat the rim and fill the glass with ice. Put 3 of the cucumber slices in a shaker and muddle them. Add the gin, Aperol, lime juice, simple syrup, and a large handful of ice, and shake. Strain into the rimmed glass. Garnish.

Reprinted with permission from The Austin Cookbook by Paula Forbes; published by Abrams Books c 2018.

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Highlighting the softness of Little Blanc and the sweetness of snap peas, this cocktail captures the essence of spring.

1½ oz. vodka
1 oz. sugar snap pea syrup
½ oz. fresh lime juice
¼ oz. Lillet Blanc
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: coupe
Garnish: lime wheel and pea pod

Shake all the ingredients together in a shaker tin with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish.

Sugar Snap Pea Syrup: Using a large pot, add ½ cup of washed, chopped sugar snap peas (skin and all). Make a 1:1 simple syrup in the pot with water levels reaching just above the chopped peas (approximately 1 cup). Bring to a boil and remove from  the heat to steep for 30 minutes. Strain and bottle after cooling. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Benjamin Poole, The Bluebird Cocktail Bar, Baltimore, Maryland

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Venturing into relatively uncharted territory, New Belgium has released The Hemperor HPA, the newest year-round beer that marries the flavors of hemp and hops—genetically related plants that produce similar aromatic compounds called terpenes. Two years of research and development led to their current recipe, which incorporates hemp hearts (the brewery originally wanted to use hemp leaves and flowers, but the use of industrial hemp is still prohibited by federal law) and is dry-hopped with Simcoe and experimental strain HBC 522 to create the pungent hop aromas. The resulting beer is crisp and refreshing with plenty of herbal aromas balanced by a subtle malty sweetness and a gently bitter finish. Currently pouring on draft nationwide, expect to see bottles hit shelves by late May. See for current distribution.

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Brunch at Haberdish always includes cocktails. | Photo courtesy of Haberdish.

Long-time bartender Bob Peters has watched Charlotte, North Carolina’s cocktail scene blossom over the course of his 20 years behind the bar. “Charlotte has always had a really strong drinking scene,” says Peters, who now runs the beverage program at The Punch Room at the Ritz-Carlton, where he’s been mixing for the past three years. “It’s been nice to see Charlotte go from a place with loads of great neighborhood bars to a more rich, diverse culture of drinking. Now we have great neighborhood bars, sports bars, and fantastic cocktail-focused bars.” Here’s his idea of a perfect day in his hometown.


To start the day off right, Peters heads to the NoDa neighborhood for Southern food and brunch cocktails at Haberdish. “Chicken and waffles is one of my favorite things in the world, and Haberdish has a ton of different cocktails that pair well with that dish,” Peters says. The restaurant has a well-stocked bar and top-notch list of rotating cocktails, he adds. “One of the best ways to ease into brunch is some form of mimosa. Going in too hard too fast, especially if you don’t have anything in your stomach, can mean a short day! Low alcohol content is good place...

A simple floral syrup richens the dry, herbaceous character of dry gin in this hibiscus cocktail from Hotel Kabuki.

2 oz. dry gin (Hotel Kabuki uses St. George Terrior)
1 oz. hibiscus tea syrup
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
1 fresh egg white (pasteurized, if you like)
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: coupe
Garnish: cherry blossom petals (optional)

Shake all the ingredients with ice then strain into a tin. Shake one more time without ice, then double strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish.

Stephanie Wheeler, Hotel Kabuki, San Francisco

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The post Hibiscus Cocktail: Sakura appeared first on Imbibe Magazine.

Pineapple liqueur adds a tropical flavor to this Pisco Punch riff, while coffee lends a subtle richness.

1½ oz. pisco
½ oz. Giffard pineapple liqueur
½ oz. fresh lime juice
¼ oz. agave syrup
1 fresh egg white (pasteurized if you like)
5 coffee beans
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: cocktail
Garnish: 4 drops of Peychaud’s bitters and blue curaçao (optional)

Combing all the ingredients in a shaker without ice. Shake until emulsified. Strain into a chilled cocktail, then garnish.

Ariana Vitale, Rider, Seattle

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Charleston’s Cannonborough Beverage Co. is part of the next generation of small-batch soda makers popping up across North America, specializing in all-natural sodas—including honey-basil, elderberry and grapefruit. In honor of the Home Issue, we’re bringing back these tips from co-founder Mick Matricciano to help you make quality sodas in the comfort of your own home.

Simple Flavors
When dreaming up flavor combinations for homemade soda, less is almost always more. There is a culinary equivalent to the Law of Diminishing Returns we like to call “flavor creep,” and it’s an easy trap to fall into. By limiting yourself to just two or three flavor elements to complement or contrast, you can enhance nuances in the fruits that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. A great example is adding seeded jalapeño juice to fresh strawberries. The vegetal aroma of the pepper creates a backbone for the delicate savory qualities already present in the fruit.

Finely Strain
Finely straining your juices is one of the most important steps to making great soda. Not only does it effect mouthfeel, but any remaining particulates will create what are called “nucleation sites,” Because C02 is only weakly held in suspension, these nucleation sites are a pathway for carbonation to escape, resulting in overly foamy sodas. The more finely you can strain your juices, the lighter, cleaner and more crisply carbonated your sodas will...

We are very excited to announce our collaboration with Hedley & Bennett in celebration of Negroni Week 2018. Made from 10 oz. herringbone denim, this durable apron is perfect for the kitchen and bar and features a custom-embroidered Negroni on the top pocket.

Through Negroni Week (June 4-10), 10% of each apron sale will be donated to No Kid Hungry, one of our official Negroni Week charity partners that works to end childhood hunger in the United States.

Supplied are limited, so be sure to pre-order your apron today!

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London dry gin’s touches of spice and citrus find a perfect match with Cynar’s bitterness and the nutty notes of Amontillado sherry.

1 ¾ oz. gin (Ward III uses Portobello Road)
¾ oz. Amontillado sherry
¾ oz. Cynar
Tools: mixing glass, barspoon
Glass: Nick and Nora

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir for 30 seconds, until well chilled, and strain into a Nick and Nora cocktail glass.

Kenneth McCoy, Ward III, NYC

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When Campfire bartender Leigh Lacap realized the restaurant was throwing away roughly half of the mint they purchased every day, he created this riff on the Eastside cocktail to put those scraps to use, along with pulp from cucumbers that would otherwise go to waste.

2 oz. dry gin
1 oz. mint and cucumber pulp syrup
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
Dash of spirulina or wheatgrass (optional)
Sea salt
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: rocks

Shake all the ingredients with ice in a shaker. Strain into an ice-filled glass. Finish with a pinch of sea salt.

Salvaged Mint and Cucumber Pulp Syrup
3 oz. mint (by weight)
32 oz. simple syrup (1:1)
8 oz. cucumber pulp (by weight)

Tie the mint up in cheesecloth like a tea bag.* Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl and set aside. In a pot, bring simple syrup to a boil. Add the mint, making sure to submerge everything for a good 15 seconds. Remove the syrup from the heat and use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the mint. Submerge the mint in the ice bath for a few seconds, then remove it from the ice. Cut the mint loose from the cheesecloth and place it on a tea towel, folding the towel over to remove excess moisture. Allow the simple syrup to cool completely...

John and Melissa Cruse mixing drinks for friends in their home bar in Metairie, Louisiana. | Photo by Rush Jagoe.

One afternoon in the summer of 2005, Mr. Joe invited John Cruse and a few others over to the house for cocktails. Mr. Joe hailed from the old school, and he served up no-nonsense Manhattans, which none of his guests had had before. “We were like, ‘Damn, that’s good,’ ” Cruse recalls. The group committed then and there to forming a cocktail club, meeting once a month to explore the classics.

As it happened, they already had a place to meet. In 1997, Cruse, who’s the general manager of a local television station, had built a basic home bar in his garage in Metairie, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. He and his wife, Melissa, hauled an old and battered bar from his uncle’s backyard. For the first eight years, drinking was confined mostly to shots and beer, but that era concluded in 2005, when Cruse ventured online to advance his knowledge of classic cocktails.

He recalls peering into the screen, like a researcher scanning data for evidence of extraterrestrial life, when he made his discovery. “I said … ‘Hey, guys, we’re not alone. There’s a whole underground out there.’ ”

Cruse had found the early cocktail internet, where...

In a sea of pink wine, the 2017 Grenache Rosé from Del Rio Vineyards in Oregon’s Rogue River Valley is a standout. Made solely from estate-grown grapes, the Del Rio Grenache Rosé was left on the skins for 48 hours, imparting a pale pink hue that belies the structure and complexity of the wine. A heady aroma of peaches and rose blossom is followed by flavors of strawberry and citrus, balanced by a stony, slightly savory finish. It’s a food-friendly wine that can complement almost anything on the table, and it’s a delicious reminder that pink wine can pack a serious punch of flavor. $17,

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Saké softens the cool bite of cucumber vodka in this spin on the Martini.

1 oz. cucumber vodka (Le Fanfare uses Crop Organic)
2 oz. saké
¼ oz. fresh cucumber juice
¼ oz. simple syrup
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: coupe
Garnish: cucumber slice

Combine ingredients in a shaker tin with ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish.

Giorgia Zedda, Luca Fadda, and Nico Paganelli, Le Fanfare, NYC

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