Tips & Resources
Tis the season for gift guides! In case you didn’t get all your shopping done by Black Friday weekend, here’s a list of 10 gift ideas that would give any boozy nerd a smile come Christmas morn.
What people ask for the most is just one, simple post about what bottles they should get for "starting out." I'm afraid it's not very simple but here you go! Here you can find a fairly stripped down version of what I recommend for a budget home bar.
Some of the best cocktails are relatively simple, but you'll need a little more than just spirits to make properly balanced drinks.
Let's go over some of the basic building blocks for crafting good drinks at home...
There are some really helpful resources out there for the home cocktail enthusiast and professional bartender alike– and hopefully this site is one of them! However, it just so happens that some of my favorites are in printed form. Maybe it's been a while since you bought a non-kindle-edition piece of reading material. I assure you that these publications are well worth it, especially if you want to up your home bar game!
Thankfully you don't need a lot of expensive tools to start making drinks at home. Here's all you need...
Like most people, I'm not made of money and being an at-home mixologist can be an expensive hobby. The good news is, I've found that you don't actually need to drop a bunch of Benjamins in order to start making really good drinks at home.
People to Know
I came of age during rise of the "coffeehouse culture" and espresso counters of the 1990s. Starting at age 17, I found my way into barista jobs where I learned about drink quality and coffee preparation techniques. When I turned 21 the microbrew movement was a part of Portland culture, and I fell in love with learning about beer…
“Going to the library” probably isn’t what most people think of when describing plans for an exciting evening out. However, what if all the shelves were filled with different styles of whiskey and various spirits from all around the world? That may sound too good to be true, but in Portland, Oregon such a place does exist.
Several of my favorite spirits and liqueurs come from New Deal Distillery. It's also one of the very first distilleries that started Portland's Distillery Row in the early 2000's. I was invited to visit a few months back and received a tour and tasting from Lance, the operations manager at New Deal. It's definitely a special place and they have some really exciting new products coming out in the next few months.
Since I started a cocktail blog and Instagram account, I figured I'd get some insight from someone who's actually in that industry. Turns out the guy isn't just "in the industry," he's a world-renowned bartender, consultant and creative force behind many incredible bars and brands. He's a big deal, but you'd never know it just talking to him.
Products & Reviews
Despite the popularity of butterfly pea blossom in cocktails these days, there are still a lot of people who have never seen a naturally occurring color quite like this before. There is nothing artificial or radioactive about this color… it’s all from a small blue flower.
Sherry is a new world for me but I’ve been diving in and trying to learn all I can. Turns out there is a whole other door to open up: sherry cask whisk(e)y.
I've never been a guy to drink gin neat, but The Walter Collective has changed me. It's pretty citrus-forward (think grapefruit and lemon) but has some other interesting flavors going on that are subtle but still noticeable, like cardamom and cassia (a relative of cinnamon). At around $35 for a 750ml bottle, it may be more costly than your go-to bottle of Beefeater but make no mistake, this is a bargain for this level of quality.
Michter's has always put out really great products. Price-wise, their small batch bourbon and rye are a little high to be considered a good "budget" whiskey. However, if you're looking for a step-up from your usual $25-$30 range whiskies, these are great ones to try out!
This is the whiskey I personally go through the most. It's one of those "desert island" bottles. I use it for most every drink that calls for rye (or bourbon for that matter). It's bottled at 100 proof, and has that spicy-rich kick that you want from a good rye. The best part is that it's super affordable, so using it in a bunch of cocktails isn't going to be too painful on the bank account!
AGE: no age statement
DEFINING FLAVORS: Fruity & Sweet