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.
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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 You can gift (yourself if you are so bold) not only a unique addition to ones home bar BUT a historical reference and story to go along with all the fabled Santa Claus tales.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.
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.
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).