All Drink Stuff
Yeah, we know, you’ve started your detox. You feel horrible about 2020. You’ve finally admitted to your roomate, or spouse, that your pandemic excuse to imbibe undermined all your positive behavioral aspirations leaving you with bar bottles as low as your self-esteem. First off, buck up. You just made it through one of the the hardest years of your life. Coping mechanisms were expected, that is why they are called that. Now that you’ve coped you are ready for a new, vaccinated year of mindfulness and positive manifestation. Good for you but don’t go too far down the rabbit hole only to hiccup in late January and blow the whole thing. My dad used to say everything in moderation and in most cases that works well. I co-opted that idea making it my own, “drink like an Italian”. Which is to say, cold turkey isn’t your only way to mental and physical bliss. For now, we’ll play along. We’ve corralled our top 5 non-alcoholic (or almost alcohol free) substitutes to aid in your epic January crusade to stay off the hooch.
2. Kin we’ve not officially tried yet but their commitment to wellness is so deep that we couldn’t even find the “we are a non-alcoholic” description on their website without serious digging. Talk about manifestation. I guess they think their energy communicates their value prop. Ohh sooo modern millennial of them.
3. Monday Gin is our newest fav because we’ve been know to overstock gin like we were headed to an ark during a flood. The art deco labelling lets us feel quite Gatsby while we sip everything from G+T’s to negronis.
4. Haus was started by an old photographer friend of mine and is this lists only low-alcohol choice. Back to that moderation, a full ABV removal isn’t always necessary and this trio of flavors champions the apertif. Again, Drink like an Italian. With flavors like Spiced Cherry, Citrus Flower and Lemon Lavender, you’re bound to find a refreshing pre-dinner sip that gives you enough of what you crave without too much of what you are trying so hard to avoid.
5. Lyre is last on the list and newest to us. They have the most complete range of alternative spirits on our list. Cleverly they used known alcoholic vocabulary to bundle their products and direct us to what we’d like best. Things like the negroni set or the boulevardier set are trifectors substituting each of those critical ingredients to produce a non-alcoholic version of your 2020, mid-week, home, happy-hour ritual. The line up includes a Dry London Spirit, an American Malt, a White Cane Spirit , a Dark Cane Spirit, a Spiced Cane Spirit, a Dry and Rosso Aperitif, a Coffee Liqueur, an Amaretti, an Italian Orange, and finally an Orange Sec. Not surprising, their dry Jan twelve pack is sold out. Regardless if you are an abstainer or a moderator this January, start with the above list for a leg up in your new endeavors.
Our favorite place to start is linked below. That should get you on your way to turning that bad bar into a good czar of mindfulness. Happy sipping.
Last weeks debacle by our former NYC mayor was just another notch on the ever chipping political follie tree. Shouldn’t it have tiiiiimbeeeeered by now? This mistake, and for those of you who had not heard-check this, caused a lot of attention on an unexpecting Philadelphia landscaping outfit. The reverberations quickly took over the world reaching Dublin and the peeps at Rascals Brewing quite quickly. Debuting their limited edition Four Saisons Total Landscaping Saison beer was not only marketing genius but set up to be quite tasty too. Only available in Ireland for now, you might have a tough time getting your hands on it but I think we can all get tons of benefits from revisiting the can visual every once in a while for a chuckle.
Open sourced beer to lower production costs at all corners might sound like Silicon Valley and Golden Colorado had a baby but actually it was the Connecticut Better Half Brewery guys deciding to help their industry, and community, stay on their feet during COVID-19. All Together Beer is the aptly named collaborative brew experiment now being produced by over 700 breweries in 51+ countries. As they mention in their pointed but heartfelt explanation of this project, their business relies on social gathering. The idea was to align a recipe, label design, printers and other resources to cut the production costs and increase the margin. In turn putting more profit into the small breweries utilizing the open source tools. Donate the excess or use it to stay afloat is the only ask from the Other Half team. Based on the recipe, the brew sounds to be a pretty straight forward IPA which will promote consistency across brewing around the world and as the weather gets warmer a cold, refreshing reprieve from the doldrums of our quarantine. Early batches have sold out but with more crafters jumping in weekly more is just a hops away.
Gray Whale gin could be the hardest working spirit in the business. As gins become more and more interesting to me I’ve begun to seek out the less straight forward botanical mixes. Thankfully the UK is having a craft gin explosion and on a recent trip to California, I discovered the US isn’t far behind. Gray Whale gin chose its flavors based on the migratory path of the gray whale. Aside from being so #verycalifornian the foraged ingredients made for a unique taste and that, after all, is what I am after. With foraged botanicals running from Baja all the way up to Mendocino, the effort for that flavor may be unmatched by any other craft distiller. The outrageously mesmerizing aquamarine bottle that has an enticing depth illusion adds to our allure while their simplistic, contemporary, labeling design sold us. We’re suckers for a well-branded spirit.
They had us at Murder Your Thirst. At first look Liquid Death Mountain Water seems like Johnny Rotten and Gwyneth Paltrow had an illegitimate tall boy. That still might be largely true but on second glance this is an anarchist’s letter to the perfectly pinkified, millennial, wellness, team member walking through Nomad sipping a CBD infused, Cha Cha Macha in their Sweaty Betty bottoms and color matched Lulu top post Pure Barre class on their way to a M N D F L session. We’re not hating, just maybe a little overtired of the strict, gentrified urban experience that’s all too polished around our office these days. People still work in factories. They still triple shift to feed their kids. They still fall off the wagon, smoke two packs of reds and show up for their 8am shift with their brain beating out of their skull. That is not to say that there’s not a middle ground to those two humans. It is to say, everyone needs to hydrate. That’s where Liquid Death Mountain Water levels the playing field with a beverage design that is as sensational as the people behind it. Every part of the experience has been carefully and perfectly thought through. You want to join the mailing list, no problem, just sign a contract to sell your soul. Not kidding. You want to know “About” why they created it? A word perfect description and philosophy explains everything including their intention to take their healthy water brand and help fund weird art, music, and entertainment that big corporate brands rarely will. They even made a righteous animated explainer video and then this fantastic PSA. As if all that was not enough for you to get on board the death hydration train and order up a case immediately, they even tweaked the “email sign up” toggle button in checkout to read; “I’d like to stay in the loop on news and special offers, just don’t bombard me with stupid bullsh*t”. There’s not much more for us to outline here except to hit their home page and click their FUCK YES buy button. Aces to the Liquid Death crew for this masterpiece.
F+B robots are coming at us this week like Rosie when George Jetson gets home from work. On the heels of the Creator burger restaurant, Tipsy Robot in Las Vegas (No shock that a grain alcohol, cocktail making, robot lives in the city of sin) will mix a drink you ordered through your other robot, your phone. See what’s happening here? Robot to robot. Of the extensive Vegas curated menu our clear favorite was the Bionic Bomb. This 28oz frozen cocktail starts with some raw white refined sugar in the form of something they call Passion Berry to get you good and wired. Next they up the ante and sugar taste with none other than the grandmomma of flavored vodka, Stoli Razberi. You gotta respect that Z. Remembering this is Vegas the final robotic, precision pour is 4oz of Cruzan 151 Rum to float this fribble and your sobriety to all but a memory. Did we mention it comes in a Tipsy Robot Souvenir Cup? Yeah, that happens. We were curious what, or who really, was behind this autonomous bartender, so we did some digging. Turns out, the Italians. Seriously, The Makr Shakr, as the white label robot is called, was designed by Carlo Ratti Associati out of Torino, Italy, the birthplace of Vermouth for those who are down with the Negroni. Carlo Ratti Associati specializes in design and innovation, and now I guess robotics. Or, maybe, that’s the innovation part. I imagine the teams beta tests were Aperol Spritz’s and Negroni’s instead of the freebase drinks the Tipsy Robot is pouring in Nevada. Jokes aside, this team has created projects like Supermarket of the Future and Paris navigating Gym (a boat that runs on spin cycle bike power) which is to say, some awesome projects. When we realized they weren’t cucks we really started loving what they created regardless of its location or application. Considering all that, maybe one more Bionic Bomb is not a bad idea. That’s either innovation talking or the 151.
Today is the perfect day to talk Sunday Beer. Not just because it’s the first day of the week but because here in NYC the mercury will not stay above 30 degrees. Sunday isn’t just another straight forward lager craft beer brand. To us it represents a little of that Sunday summer sun we so badly wish we had a ray of right now. We know this for many reasons but our favorite is that the first option on their website nav is not beer, it’s vibes. The story of where they brew and why they put it in cans is as good as my intro to this delectable beverage. Getting your hand son this easy drinking beauty is still a little tough. Available around Brooklyn, we fancy one with our Big Matt at Emmy Squared. A few spots in Manhattan are carrying this day of rest in a can, our go to chicken hit, Fields Good Chicken soon to be added to the list. As they expand distribution we’re guessing this spring every corner bodega will soon have a palette. For now you’ll have to slurp one up at one of these spots.
We missed Christmas with this one but figured it’s not too late to give ourselves a new years gift. The GrowlerWerks uKeg fixes a whole bunch of problems for us with the new beerland mania. We’re those peeps who like to sip at our craft beers over a week or two not guzzle them in a race to beat the carbonation monster. This has resulted in us dabbling in far less bespoke beer than we have access to. Especially now that we are in the Queens epicenter of beer making this beautiful growler system discovery will really change the game for us. Although it comes in two finishes, the copper is by far the more elegant and pish-posh of the two elevating not only the taste but the “I am a serious, dope-AF, beer dude” persona. We like that. Plus, makes the wife love to pour from it as well. They have a real hard time not playing with copper and gold finished objects these days. We’re going to put this thing through the paces at Queens Brewery and Finback for the new year and report back. (On the IG) Happy New Beer squad.
There’s no doubt we live in a rosé world right now. If you have no idea what that means you’re either blinded by the latest micro, small batch, Queens brewery release OR you’ve been in more 12 step meetings than IG rabbit holes (Which we highly applaud). The reality is we’ve gone pink crazy thanks to some brilliant marketing by Yes Way Rosé, the White Girl boys, Pinknic, Summer Water and now Forty Ounce Wines. No doubt the ‘share-ability” appeal breaks the FOMO meter but does any of this tinted hooch actually taste good? Enter Patrick Cappiello, Food + Wine’s sommelier of the year and his idea to make young peeps more excited about wine by putting it into a 40oz bottle. Add in a St. Ides-Classic Muscadet mashup design by Carolyn Frisch and you have your next viral IG double like. Patrick, as we discovered, does back his bottle with flavor as one would expect from a dude who’s wine knowledge is his bread and butter. Although, this isn’t his first maverick wine move. He also hosts this crazy supperclub style dinner at Rebelle Restaurant that uses the wine focus of the night to create the menu. Sometimes it’s a region that leads the dinner, sometimes a grape and sometimes a specific vinyard. Either way, they are as renegade as their namesake and let’s just say, you’re not driving home. Back to the palatability of this Billy Dee Williams throwback with deep french roots, the wine maker Patrick and his partner, Chris Desor, worked with was actually responsible for the whole thing. Had the two not been on a wine trip visiting Julien Braud, a classic producer in Muscadet, and discovered he used 40oz style bottles to store his grape juice, there wouldn’t be a Forty Ounce Wines. (Full interview here.) Which is to say this fruity vino tastes as good as it #hashtags. Backed by some big restaurants and their somms, Patrick’s goal of making wine more accessibly was deemed a success when the first run sold out immediately. You can grab a bottle in person at these spots or, if in NYC, word is Marc Forgione, in the village, is pouring by the glass. If stocking up for a rosé draught is your game, smash the link below for online delivery.
The whole SingleCut Brewery had me on the eyes with their label design but the Jenny Said IIPA got me on the lips. With all the hoppy hop hopness out there these days it was a pleasure to get some stronge floral and fruit bits for balance. We’re not real beer snobs here so enough with the tasting note commentary. Simple truth is, it’s an easy to drink IPA out of a dope graphic can. Plus, these guys hold up in Astoria Queens and you know we’re crushing on #QNS hard these days. Consider your Memorial Day started.
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.
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.