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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.