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Inspired by the rumor that Ray Charles would request coffee and genever in his dressing room before performances, the Mess Around cocktail from Genever in Los Angeles is a decadent mix of genever, sherry, coconut, cold-brew and bitters. “I wanted to highlight the versatility of coconut, the richness of the milk and the nutty, toasted sweetness of the dark coconut sugar, which are both great complements to coffee,” says bar director Kelso Norris. “The maltiness of genever and nuttiness of amontillado sherry round it out!”

1 oz. Bols genever
1 oz. amontillado sherry
2 oz. coconut milk
1 oz. coconut sugar cold-brew syrup
Dash of Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: Collins
Garnish: shaved chocolate, nutmeg and banana leaf

Add all the ingredients to a shaker with ice cubes of and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass, top with crushed ice, then garnish.

Coconut Sugar Cold-Brew Syrup: Combine 2 parts coconut sugar to 1 part water. Cook on low heat until dissolved. Once cool, add equal parts cold-brew concentrate to syrup. Refrigerate.

Kelso Norris, Genever, Los Angeles

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Classic cocktails like the Caipirinha (and its endless variety of riffs) and the Batida paved a path for cachaça to take root in American cocktail bars. Now, bartenders have tapped into the spirit’s versatility to elevate cachaça cocktails even more. Here are a few that have recently caught our attention.

Beg Your Pardon Swizzle
This summery swizzle gets a peppery perk thanks to a splash of jalapeño-infused green Chartreuse.

Brazilian Vesper
The Vesper takes a trip to South America.

Caldo De Caña From Blacktail
A super-refreshing summer sipper.

A tangy watermelon shrub helps to brighten up this cachaça-fueled cooler.

Fog Over Rio
Lemons and tea syrup give the Brazilian classic a new twist.

Por do Sol Cachaça Negroni
This Negroni-inspired recipe’s name means “sunset” in Portuguese.

Sylvain’s Rat Race
Rosemary syrup anchors this easy-to-make highball.

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The post 7 to Try: Cachaça Cocktails appeared first on Imbibe Magazine.

In response to numerous requests for alcohol-free drinks at Coltivare, bar manager Sarah Keck created a menu of zero-proof recipes, including this thirst-quenching combo of cucumber, mint and tonic.

6-8 fresh mint leaves
1 cucumber slice
¾ oz. cucumber shrub
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. fresh lime juice
2 dashes of salt tincture (1:4 salt to water)
Tonic water, to top (Coltivare uses Fever-Tree Mediterranean)
Tools: muddler, swizzle stick
Glass: rocks
Garnish: cucumber wheel and mint sprig

Muddle mint leaves and cucumber slice in mixing glass. Add shrub, lemon juice, lime juice, salt tincture. Fill stemless tulip or rocks glass with crushed ice, and strain contents of mixing tin into the prepared glass. Top with tonic water, and swizzle to combine. Garnish.

Cucumber Shrub: Combine equal parts peeled diced cucumber (2 cups each), rice wine vinegar and sugar. Refrigerate, stirring once a day for 3-4 days until flavors taste balanced. Keep refrigerated when not in use.

Sarah Keck, Coltivare, Houston

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The post Zero-Proof Recipe: Doctor Pepo’s Tonic appeared first on Imbibe Magazine.

All Day Café at the Breakers in Montauk.

Summertime means surf’s up in one of New York’s favorite vacation spots. Long a beachside favorite for weekenders looking to escape the city, Montauk now draws visitors from near and far thanks to its epic sunsets, world-class surf and quickly growing food and drinks scene. While Long Island is known more for its wineries, the beer scene is well worth exploring, and locals will tell you not to miss Montauk Brewing—one of the first craft operations to bring fresh beer to the area when it opened in 2012. Co-founder Vaughan Cutillo was born and raised in Montauk, and while the red barn that houses the brewery he opened with his buddies is considered a destination in itself (the barn was built by Cutillo’s parents in the mid-90s), to fill up the rest of an itinerary, Cutillo shares his favorite local spots for summer drinks.

Morning Coffee: For what Cutillo calls “some of the best coffee in town,” head to Left Hand Coffee in the heart of downtown. One of the first specialty coffee shops in the city when it opened in 2015 (they now have a second location by the harbor), this charming café roasts its own blends and captures the local spirit with design details like a reclaimed driftwood-clad...

Using the classic Caipirinha cocktail as inspiration, Derek Walker swaps in lemons for limes and uses a tea syrup in place of sugar for this vibrant riff.

2 oz. aged cachaça
½ oz. earl grey-lavender syrup
4 lemon quarters
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: rocks
Garnish: lemon twist

Muddle the lemon quarters and syrup in a shaker tin. Add the cachaça and shake lightly. Strain over a large ice cube. Garnish.

Earl Grey-Lavender Syrup: Make a 2:1 ratio of loose-leaf earl grey tea and dried lavender. Steeped with 1 vanilla bean in hot water for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid, then add equal parts of cane sugar and allow to cool. Bottle and keep in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Derek Walker, Ēma, Chicago

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The post Caipirinha Riff: Fog Over Rio appeared first on Imbibe Magazine.

Taking note from Dick Bradsell’s classic Bramble recipe, Fessier Stone uses crème de cassis instead of blackberry liqueur for a tart twist.

2 oz. gin
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
¾ oz. simple syrup (1:1)
½ oz. crème de cassis
Tools: barspoon
Glass: rocks
Garnish: edible flower (optional)

In a glass, combine the cassis, gin, lemon and simple syrup. Stir to combine. Top with crushed ice.

Feisser Stone, Barlingual, Los Angeles

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Just in time for the hottest part of summer, Allegro Coffee has released a new bottled cold-brew. There are two options—Straight Black and Amber Maple—both made from Allegro’s Organic Continental Blend, which combines beans from Ethiopia, Sumatra and Latin America. The Straight Black is super smooth and chocolately, and the Amber Black is sweetened with just a touch of maple syrup and cane sugar. Both are available now at Whole Foods, making them easy to find the next time you’re looking for your summer coffee fix.

The post Drink of the Week: Allegro Cold-Brew Coffee appeared first on Imbibe Magazine.

With more than 6,000 craft breweries across the United States, it’s never been easier to find fresh beer at your neighborhood taproom. But as beer gets packaged and shipped out to restaurants, bars and stores, figuring out if a brew is beyond peak freshness or not (and how much that matters) can be trickier than it seems. “There’s a general lack of knowledge about what happens to beer when it sits in a package over time,” says Mitch Steele, the Stone Brewing alumni who recently relocated to Atlanta to open New Realm Brewing (he was also one of our 2017 People to Watch). “The biggest thing people need to understand is that beer is like bread—it’s going to go stale over time. It’s not going to be bad for you, but it’s going to taste bready and grainy and different as it ages. So there’s a huge opportunity to educate people and emphasize the importance of why a beer should be consumed within its shelf life.”

Hoppy beers in particular taste best when they’re enjoyed fresh, but when it comes to picking out an IPA or Pale Ale in bottles or cans, the decision can be confusing because brewers often determine shelf life very differently. For Stone’s Enjoy By Series, Steve Gonzales, small batch senior...

This summery drink highlights the softly herbaceous qualities of blanc vermouth and cachaça, with fresh pineapple sweetening the deal.

1 oz. cachaça
1 oz. blanc vermouth
1 oz. fresh pineapple juice
½ oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. rich cane syrup (2:1)
1 dash absinthe
Soda water, to top
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: rocks

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice cubes. Shake briefly. Strain into a rocks glass over a single large ice cube. Top with soda.

Jesse Vida, BlackTail, New York City

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The post Caldo De Caña From Blacktail appeared first on Imbibe Magazine.

As summer puts every movement into slow motion, the season’s bounty offers an easy opt-in to involved entertaining. “This is not the time for making complicated food,” The Sunday Telegraph columnist Diana Henry says in her newest cookbook, How to Eat a Peach. Plucked at their peak, fresh cherries offer unrivaled flavor, and here, they’re simmered in wine and served over whipped cardamom cream, with pistachio shortbread for dipping.

For the cherries:
1¼ cups granulated sugar
2¼ cups Valpolicella, Pinot Noir or other cherry-ish red wine
2 broad strips of unwaxed lemon zest
2 lbs. sweet or sour cherries (pitted or unpitted)
3 Tbsp. kirsch (optional)
Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)

For the shortbread:
1⅔ sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened
⅔ cup powdered sugar, plus more for serving
Pinch of sea salt flakes
Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
⅔ cup cornstarch
1 tsp. rose water
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
½ cup shelled, unsalted
pistachios, chopped
Candied rose petals (optional)

For the cream:
Seeds from 4 green cardamom pods
1¼ cups heavy cream
Powdered sugar (optional)

To make the cherries, combine the sugar, wine, strips of lemon zest and a scant cup of water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to help the sugar dissolve, then continue to boil for 8 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the...

Here’s something interesting I learned from Google: Those little cocktail umbrellas that were suddenly ubiquitous atop exotic drinks about a half-century ago were designed to keep sun off the ice! They were apparently vital in preventing premature melting as one was engaged in languorous sipping under a summer sun.

Of course, this sunshade origin myth makes little sense, given that cocktail umbrellas are pop-culture mushrooms: They arose in damp, grotto-like tiki bars with no windows and, hence, with no sun to melt ice. So this leaves the question: Whence did cocktail umbrellas arise? And why?

A more credible genesis myth is that the first umbrella found its way into drinks in 1959 thanks to Harry Yee, head barman at the Hawaiian Village Hotel on Waikiki Beach. The claim appears in an interview in 1998 (Yee was then 78 years old), when he told Hawaii-based journalist Rick Carroll that he placed the first umbrella into a now-forgotten drink called the Tapa Punch. The little paper parasols blossomed from that one drink and soon rose to tiki ubiquity.

It turns out the parasol was actually just one of Yee’s cocktail innovations during a vastly prolific period—he also is cited as the first to use an orchid as a cocktail garnish in 1955 and to have invented the Blue Hawaii and the Tropical...

Quinine’s bitterness balances the richness of white port in this simple low-proof aperitif from Sylvain in New Orleans.

1½ oz. white port
3 oz. tonic water
Tools: barspoon
Glass: wine glass
Garnish: lime twist

Combine all the ingredients in a wine glass with ice and stir. Garnish.

Chris Zuleta, Sylvain, New Orleans

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Real watermelon doesn’t make an appearance in this ultra-refreshing cooler from Best Intentions in Chicago, but the combination of Aperol, cucumber vodka and fino sherry do a great job of mimicking the juicy fruit’s flavor.

1 ½ oz. cucumber vodka (Best Intentions uses Crop)
½ oz. Aperol
½ oz. fino sherry
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup (1:1)
2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: Collins
Garnish: mint bundle

Shake all the ingredients together in a mixing tin with ice. Pour over fresh ice cubes in a Collins glass. Garnished with fresh mint, lightly tapped on the back of the hand to release the aromatics.

Andrew Prazich & Calvin Marty, Best Intentions, Chicago

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Canned beer has long held the lead over wine when it comes to portability, but winemakers are increasingly making the move to metal. Canned wine’s meteoric rise began in 2016, with annual sales reaching over $14 million that year, then doubling in 2017. Coated aluminum protects and preserves wine’s subtleties, and the can itself makes a smaller environmental impact. Today’s shelves are awash with canned wines—here are a few you’ll want on standby for relief from summer’s heat.

Una Lou California Rosé
Beloved Sonoma winery Scribe captures the spirit of California casual with their canned Una Lou Rosé, first released last summer. The 2017 vintage is made from organically grown Pinot Noir grapes sourced from three Sonoma vineyards, and it’s packed with flavors of grapefruit and stone fruit. $40/4 pack of 375 ml. cans,

Underwood “The Bubbles”
Oregon’s Union Wine Co. was one of the first to promote the possibility of canned wine, tracing their initial efforts to 2013 with a movement they pronounced the “beerification of wine.” Made from mostly Pinot Noir grapes with added Chardonnay, this supremely sparkling sipper carries the sweetness of green apple balanced by tart layers of lemon. $28/4 pack of 375 ml. cans,

Companion Wine Co. Riesling
Made by Riesling...

The Dandy cocktail is one of many long-forgotten recipes from Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book, but it’s worth rediscovering. The original formula calls for equal parts of bourbon and Dubonnet, but this variation ups the bourbon a tad and adds orange bitters to the mix.

1½ oz. bourbon (such as Elijah Craig)
1¼ oz. Dubonnet
¼ oz. orange liqueur
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 dashes orange bitters
Tools: mixing glass, barspoon, strainer
Glass: Nick & Nora or coupe
Garnish: orange peel

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled glass. Garnish.

The post Dandy Cocktail Riff appeared first on Imbibe Magazine.

In 1993, Kentucky-based Heaven Hill bought the U.S. rights to Dubonnet, a sweet aperitif devised in 1846 by Parisian wine merchant and chemist Joseph Dubonnet. Dubonnet’s popularity has endured in Europe, but in the U.S., the formula wasn’t the same, and it never quite resonated with American bartenders. Heaven Hill national brand educator, Lynn House, took notice and decided it was time to reformulate the aperitif to better reflect its original character. The new Dubonnet Rouge, released in July, replaces a blend of merlot, rubired and ruby cabernet with muscat in the base, ups the quinine, replaces corn syrup with cane sugar, and adds black currant and tea to the mix. The result is a smooth, lightly sweet aperitif with rich prune flavors, a subtle bitterness and a slight spice on the finish. It’s perfect for mixing (try it in a Dandy cocktail) or for sipping solo. $17.99, rolling out in U.S. markets over the next few months.

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A light rinse of Branca Menta brings a whisper of minty goodness to this Daiquiri riff from Prime Meats.

2 oz. aged rum (Galli uses El Dorado 3 Year)
1 oz. fresh lime juice
¾ oz. simple syrup (1:1)
Branca Menta, to rinse
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: coupe
Garnish: mint leaf

Prepare a coupe with a light rinse of Branca Menta. Shake the rum, lime and simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Strain into the prepared coupe. Garnish.

Jeff Galli, Prime Meats, New York City

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When it’s 90 degrees in the shade and the sun just won’t stop, cocktail hour benefits from breaking out the heavy artillery. The blender can be a home bartender’s best friend on long summer days, but because many bars use commercial frozen-drink machines, replicating recipes on a smaller scale at home can pose a few challenges. For best results when whipping up summer’s best blender drinks, keep a few basic principles in mind:

1. Using crushed ice, rather than cubes, typically gives a drink better consistency. Give your cubes a quick blast through an ice crusher or food processor, or a few whacks in a Lewis bag, before proceeding with a recipe. If you wind up using cubes, give the drink a longer blend (though keep in mind the next point, below).

2. All blended drinks are not equal. Some drinks (like Manolito’s Daiquiri Menta) benefit from a longer blend (around 20 or 30 seconds with crushed ice), which results in a uniform smoothness, while others (including many classic tiki drinks and some modern inventions like the Jungle Bobby from The Polynesian) achieve the right balance of dilution and texture with a much shorter “flash blend”—no more than five seconds at high speed.

3. Treat the ice like all the other ingredients—be sure to measure carefully in order to avoid weak...

Invented during his time behind the stick at Death & Co. in New York City, the Naked and Famous cocktail is a recipe Joaquín Simó calls “the bastard love child of a classic Last Word and a Paper Plane, conceived in the mountains of Oaxaca.”

¾ oz. Del Maguey Chichicapa Single Village Mezcal
¾ oz. yellow Chartreuse
¾ oz. Aperol
¾ oz. fresh lime juice

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe.

Reprinted with permission from Finding Mezcal: A Journey into the Liquid Soul of Mexico with 40 Cocktails by Ron Cooper with Chantal Martineau, copyright © 2018. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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In Ron Cooper’s new memoir Finding Mezcal, the artist and founder of Del Maguey shares fascinating stories about the people, places and culture surrounding mezcal, a spirit he’s largely responsible for popularizing over the past two decades. One of our favorite stories is how copitas became synonymous with mezcal consumption. In the following excerpt from his book, Cooper explains how these tiny terra cotta cups came to be. 

As civilization evolved, so did vessels. Humans learned to form and then fire clay. The first pots used for storing food and water probably date to 10,000 BCE. When I started looking for a vessel I could use for tasting mezcal, I settled on clay, an organic material. I wanted to mimic the traditional vessel used to taste mezcal, the jícara, a thin-walled, hollowed-out gourd sometimes decorated with etchings on the outside of the bowl. As a material, the gourd skin is porous, it breathes. When you pour mezcal into it, the jícara drinks its share. Over time, the mezcal cures the bowl, but the bowl imparts nothing to the spirit. When you bend your face to it for a sip, you’re enveloped by aromas from the mezcal. There is no intense alcohol burning your nose, just the smell of roasted maguey, mineral, fruit, flower overtones.

I met the Benítez family in the Central de Abastos market, where I’ve...