Full disclosure on this holiday gift reco. We’re tight with the Barking Irons guys. Help you move. Treat you to dinner. Bail you out of jail kind of tight. Disclosure aside, let’s talk delicious unique Americana history. With Barking Irons Applejack at the root of this story, we guarantee happiness under the tree. Or under those gold multi-candle holders. We digress, this spirit is the OG. Meaning, the British and Spanish sailed over to America. They couldn’t find the usual things to make booze from. They found a crap load of apples. “Jacking”, A freeze distillation process to increase the alcohol content, became a thing. They aptly named it Applejack. Boom, the first indigenous American liquor was born. Quick side note, we are by no means stepping over Haren A Pitahaya, the Apache and Maricopa saguaro cactus wine but Applejack was the first “modern” American spirit. Since then, most of us have forgotten about this story and the product it produced. The guys at Phear Creative thankfully have not. They put into production the first new Applejack option since Laird’s in 1780. What does all this mean? You can gift (yourself if you are so bold) not only a unique addition to ones home bar BUT a historical reference and story to go along with all the fabled Santa Claus tales.
More Drink Stuff
My first brush with this was in a small, craft spirits shop near my house. My father has a penchant for ginger and rum so I thought gifting him a bottle would be thoughtful. The following weekend a text storm from my mother was requesting a case. Some for them. Some for the friends they had over for dinner. Apparently, after decoding iMessage, the four of them were really enjoying the Ready-to-Drink part of Gingeroo. My father later expressed to me, in a way only he can, that every adjective on the bottle was completely true to the product. He emphatically recited those adjectives using his self declared third rule of learning, repetition. Last week we got a little closer to the root of the Gingeroo when we were perusing the New Orleans Whole Foods. The Celebration Distillation, located on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans, is the oldest premium rum distillery in the United States and the nice peeps at Gingeroo welcome pop-ins. With descriptors like refreshing, spicy and delicious, if the folks that make this nectar are as true to the words on their bottle, it’s worth a stop and a sip.
We’re big fans of things that are born from passion and experience. Bittermilk is such a product. The married founders, Joe and MariElena Raya, have been tweaking on their version of the perfect elixir for years. We love their line “The labor is in the bottle.” This makes everyone an ace bartender by just adding your favorite spirit. That’s something that come sin handy during the holidays. Your “host with the most” status gets dialed up with a Bittermilk secret behind the bar. Try the limited edition No.7 Yuletide Old Fashioned before the seasons all gone.
Pepsi gets into the craft cola game…AGAIN. It’s hard to imagine the #41 company on the fortune 500 list started as “Brad’s Drink” in a North Carolina pharmacy. Pepsi 1893 is a throwback, although the trending craft culture of our modern, urban, artisanal landscape might have you believing otherwise. Here’s a quick history lesson. Caleb Davis Bradham mixes sugar, water, caramel, lemon oil, nutmeg and some fizzy water over ice. People fall in love. He sells 20,000 gallons of syrup. The US goes to war. Sugar is rationed. Post war sugar prices skyrocket. Bradham has no choice but to buy the high priced sugar to keep Pepsi-Cola alive. In 1923 Pepsi-Cola goes bankrupt. Scratching your chin? Fascinating, I know. That 17th century startup eventually became a success (as you know) so, think of this reissue as a return to Pepsi’s roots, a testament to perseverance, a set of simplistic natural flavors and a small (pharmacy) batch refreshment. There’s a ginger flavor too.
Anything rhubarb we see always winds up in our belly. It’s been that way since I accidentally at a strawberry pie someone laced with rhubarb. (Before I knew that was a thing obvi). Add to that some of my favorite packaging I spotted at the NYC Fancy Food Show and we bellied up to the booth for samples. All Cawston Press waters are quite effervescent and perfectly hinted with flavor. We still give props for to the rhubarb water for it’s uniqueness. Straight, in a cocktail, even in a dressing (that’s right, I brought salad into this) could work as splendidly as the reps British accent did to swoon me in love with Cawston. Add that they are all made with absolutely nothing artificial. We say, “Sip on.”