We haven’t been this excited about milk since we discovered Frosted Flakes in 1982. 100 years ago the Shatto family started raising cattle. In 2003 they decided to start making their own milk and then cheese, then, butter, cookies, ice cream and now juice. They also decided to brand everything with an irreverent and slightly off utter humor. They developed a list of core values for their brandd and then punned the hell out of them. Lines like, “No hormones. Yes Whey.” and “Udder to store. Under 24.” We love everything about the Shatto Milk Company but mainly their milk. It’s a testament to a pure and best-in-class, raw ingredient being the cornerstone of so many other products. In the case of the Shatto family, that means their OWN products. Ohh right, and they brought back the milkman too. OMG. Yes. My Frosted Flakes will never be the same. Now, if I only lived in Kansas City.
All Drink Stuff
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 You can gift (yourself if you are so bold) not only a unique addition to ones home bar BUT a historical reference and story to go along with all the fabled Santa Claus tales.
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.
With a week left to meet their goal, The Bierbox crew is trying to bring the beauty of 5 gallons of beer and the art of the nuances of hops and barley to your front door. Every three months they release a new recipe. This takes the guess work, and fear that your home brew will suck after all the work, out of the equation. The co-founders know their stuff having been in the home brew game for almost a decade. They are also supported by the awesomely, smart folks at Brooklyn Kitchen. With that deck of contributors you’re delivered a royal flush every time a box arrives. More proof? They made this history of beer infographic and a comprehensive homebrewing guide. Get knowledge. Buy beer (making kits).
You know we love lemons. You know we love Italy. You know we love local food makers. All those hearts collided in Amsterdam of all places. While poking around De Hallen mesmerized at all the incredible, local, makers we found Bello Limoncello. The svelte, frosted bottle and clean, bold graphic triggered our pavlovian response to hipsterized old world classics. Considering my 89 year old uncles high octane version of citrus aperitif, this mustache adorned version gave me hope for a sipable post meal drink that augments instead of memory erases the completed meal that proceeds the ritual. Started by two Dutch buddies on a trip to Italy, it’s now quite the craze in Amsterdam. Their description is perfect so we’ll just cut and paste this perfect explanation. “A high-quality drink for the highly ambitious. Produced with Italian maschismo and Amsterdam bravoure.” Boss. Right? Their IG is pretty dope too. Check it. We’re hoping it makes it to the states soon but if you just can’t wait, like us, you can get it online.
It’s been five elections now since 7-Eleven started this brilliant campaign. This year dubbed “7 Election”, customers show their support for their favorite candidate by choosing the appropriate Speak Up Cup. It’s as simple as that. End of the day — they count the cups and gauge American’s sentiment. I’m not sure Hil and Trump pay much attention to the convenience store’s stats but I’ve always thought it was a smart way to see a non-partisan, anti-bloated government, data set. Plus, you wind up with a hot cup of coffee when done voting. From what we can figure out, this year, stats are being hosted on The Onion. Kinda weird they don’t have their own website but, hell, The Onion makes sense…I guess. Get out there America, it’s your birthright. Morning coffee that is. Voting is good 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.”
We don’t really condone soda. It might be one of the worst offensive product types created by us humans. That said, there is a time and a place. For us that was when we were 14 year old BMX rats who spent most of our free time riding fast and jumping off curved stationary objects. aka – We burnt more glycogen than a space shuttle launch. Since those pre-teen days, we’ve cut the soda imbibing down to the random Mexican coke paired with an animal style In and Out burger. But, the nostalgic ring of a Mellow Yellow jingle can still get conjured up pretty fast, especially when you see a move like this. Over the years Mellow Yellow, Coca Cola’s answer to the popularity of Mountain Dew, has gone through it’s iterations of can designs. Initially targeting the post 70’s hippies and then into 80’s surfers. Finally it settled in with a few iterations for the skate and X-games crews of the 90’s and early oughts. The juice hasn’t changed BUT this post was never about that. The new brand graphics are a huge departure from their history. The move puts them squarely into the energy drink line up (although no new energy added). We love the graphics. We love the “MY” double entendre. We can’t say we love the inner contents but sometimes our excitement isn’t just based on taste.
The wall of colorful boxes with the quirky logo and bad grammer copy drew us in moments after stepping foot on the Renegade Craft Fair floor. Christopher Coccagna, founder of T-WE TEA, holds the company title of “Director of Truth & Beauty” as well as “Expert in Fabulous” We didn’t want to take his word for it so we cupped. Then we cupped some more. After our third cupping (a tea tasting BTW) we saw past the intoxicating packaging and tasted the hand picked ingredients. We felt the hand mixed batches. We even saw the regions from which the brew was harvested. To add to all that, every tea is 100% organic, fair trade, and kosher sourced. That doesn’t make it easy to source but it does make it tasty.
Finally there’s a companion for my stadium buddy. For those tough times when you need to fake out the cops, security, your parents or your wife, Lolo Lids has you covered. Literally. Disguised as a bad airport kiosk coffee you’re left to meander the streets, stadium or floors in Bloomingdales while nipping on your favorite carbonated beverage. Masquerading as a hot cup of java, your beer (let’s be honest, that’s what we’re talking about here) will help you avoid the sneers and jeers of grimace faced citizens on that 11am furniture fabric selection appointment. We don’t mean to sound so jaded or alcoholic about things. We’re just saying, sometimes you have to do something boring and sipping a drink can make it a little better.
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.
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.
Keeping with this weeks theme, next St. Patrick’s Day be prepared with your own craft brew. The Craft Beer Brewing Kit gives you step-by-step directions how to get the hoppiest, grapefruit infused, saison your tongue has ever tasted. Ok, that’s actually an impossible beer. You’ll have to pick one style for each batch. Choose from a dozen types from Hefeweizen to IPA to Irish Stout and in about 2 weeks time you’ll have your own craft brew ready to drink.
We love chai at FTHQ. When Dona Chai’s concentrate version popped up in our Brooklyn backyard we were, needless to say, first in line. They steep this stuff in small batches (unwritten law here in the BK) keeping an Hindu deities eye on quality. Our favorite thing is the recipes they provide for non-tea use. Talk about a multi-tasker.
As cocktail trends get oakier and smokier mixologists are always looking for new tricks to enhance the taste and the theater of their work. Gone are the oohs and lick lipping ahhs of Tom Cruise flipping bottles. On a recent trip to Milan I had a bartender smoke infuse my Old Fashioned right in front of me. The guys at Oak Bottle are bringing some of that mixology magic to your dinner party or, just your daily post work unwinder sips. The idea was born from the technic of using smaller barrels to “age” wine faster. Taking that a step farther, Oak Bottle aims to age whatever you’d like to put in it. Consider it super small batch.