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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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.
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.
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.
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.