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.
More Drink Stuff
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.
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.
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.
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).