We tested three beers, because… Friday.
Spring has sprung, he wrote sarcastically. Here in Birmingham, we, like the majority of the country, anxiously await spring's permanence. Keep the April showers and give us the May flowers already. BUT when spring finally arrives, what better way to enjoy it than with sunshine at your back and a frosty beverage in hand? Ergo, we dutifully tested three beers—lager, Pilsner, and saison—to peg a springtime champ:
Eating healthy should still be delicious.
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1. SweetWater Road Trip: This seasonal Pilsner was far-and-away the hoppiest of our three guinea pigs. It's smooth, has a subtle maltiness, and a crisp, hoppy finish. While not the day's winner, this beer would be ideal for grabbing some friends and floating down a river on a warm spring day. And at 5.2% ABV (comparable to a Budweiser), it's light enough to have a couple and not lose confidence in your backstroke on aforementioned river.
2. Victory Swing Session Saison: If we were Siskel and Ebert—I'm old, this would be our two-thumbs up favorite. And while I never (read: NEVER.) condone the usage of the word swagger, I will concede that Victory's description of this Belgian-style ale having a "citrusy swagger" is more or less apt. We enjoyed the refreshing peppery-citrus flavor, and it goes down like water at only 4.5% ABV. Our only gripe was that we didn't have more to go around. This would be a perfect beer for taking in a spring baseball game.
3. Omission Lager: Hello, I'm Matthew Moore. If you or someone you love suffers from a gluten allergy, I recommend a delightful Omission Lager (in my best Wilford Brimley voice). In all seriousness, we had several gluten-free testers, and they loved this beer. It's a great starter beer—light, not too hoppy, relatively low 4.6% ABV. It is very approachable and goes down smooth. This would be a great beer to enjoy after a cardio-based activity, like running to the beer store.
9 Bourbon Cocktails For A Lusciously Unproductive Summer
Fairly or unfairly, thoughts of bourbon and the summertime make us think about a woozy southern drawl, quite possibly coming out of the mouth of an older gentleman who’s sitting on a deck chair in seersucker, finishing up an old tale while the sun sinks into the horizon like a melting cherry popsicle and…wait, what the hell were we talking about?
Oh yeah. Bourbon and summer, dear friends and allies in the mission to keep us all pleasantly immobilized for a month or two. And yes, they make us weirdly nostalgic for the halcyon days of a southern summer childhood some of us never actually had. But that doesn’t mean we can’t pretend (it’s summer, after all).
To fuel our seasonal whimsy, nine distinct bourbon-based summer cocktails. Especially since most of us aren’t drinking whiskey straight this time of year, we figured it might be nice to have a bunch of different ways to keep bourbon on seasonal rotation (OK, there are two lemonades, but it’s summer). From fresh berries to pig fat to the sweet-savory kick of five-spice syrup, we gathered some of the best of bourbon, shaken and stirred, to keep your summer nice and languid.
36 Gifts and Gadgets For Anyone Who Loves Drinks
Summery Garden Old Fashioned from GardenandGun.com
Don’t let the name of the site freak you out—emphasis is fully on the “Garden” part here, with a lighter take on the bourbon classic. An herbal simple syrup from the author of The Drunken Botanist lets you play around with whiskey in ways you probably haven’t.
Bacon Bourbon Summer Cocktail from BaconToday.com
Learning how to infuse bourbon with bacon is a skill that’ll yield a lifetime of joy (check here). Once you’ve got that down, you can make any number of bacon-bourbon cocktails, like this one with fresh fig puree and Punt e Mes (you can sub sweet vermouth).
Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade from AHealthyLifeforMe.com
Say “lemonade” and you’ve already got summer in a glass. Add some plump blackberries and a generous dose of bourbon, you’re suddenly holding that glass on an imaginary wrap-around porch facing the beach/lake/rolling meadow of your dreams. Cardamom and bitters add some complexity, but nothing to keep you from focusing on…absolutely nothing at all.
The Peño Blast from TheDrinkBlog.com
The only proximity to heat you’ll have to endure is when you’re making the jalapeno simple syrup (very easy, trust us). OK, when you take a sip, you’ll also have some proximity to heat, thanks to that spicy simple syrup, but fresh watermelon juice and cooling mint balance it out to the point where you may indeed be chugging this stuff. In which case, let the sweat drops pour down your face and ask for seconds.
Bourbon-Thyme Cocktail from SettheTableBlog.com
Fresh herb simple syrups add an extra step to a cocktail recipe, yes, but you’ll end up with plenty to spare (and you can use them in other, even non-cocktail, recipes…though, why?). Thyme and honey make the base of this simple, fresh bourbon drink. If you can’t get your hands on Meyer lemons, regular will do. Just make sure you use your favorite bourbon, and then everything will seem just fine.
Lemon Verbena Whiskey Sour from AThoughtforFood.net
Speaking of fresh herbs, you should check out lemon verbena (and not just because it can be used to make a calming tea). It has a delicate, almost perfume-like lemon quality to it, with a little lacing of “green” that makes the overall flavor totally unique. And that flavor shines in this prim take on a whiskey sour, with bourbon and angostura and lemon stirred and strained for your summer sipping pleasure.
Bourbon Five-Spice Punch from StirandStrain.com
A homemade five-spice syrup is the major player in this drink (we’re wondering if you can’t buy five spice seasoning already mixed?). If you have time on a languid summer day, prep the syrup fresh, since the cocktail is so simple you’ll want both spice and bourbon to be top notch. Sweet and spicy (even slightly savory), this recipe makes a full pitcher for you and (we assume) at least one guest.
Bourbon Lemonade Cocktail from CafeTerraBlog.com
Boy do we wish there were lemonade stands for adults, because this would be a huge money maker. Another lemonade cocktail because it’s summer and when the hell else do we get to drink lemonade? This one’s really simple, minimalism at its boozy best. (Just don’t mix it up with what you’re serving to the kids.)
Indian Summer Apricot Bourbon Cocktail from ASpicyPerspective.com
Peach gets all the cred in summer, but let’s not forget the lovely little apricot, especially when we’re working with bourbon. This recipe doesn’t call for fresh apricots but apricot jam, so you’ll get a lot of concentrated flavor, mixed in with Mediterranean-in-a-bottle Limoncello and, of course, quality bourbon, topped off with a delicate hit of fresh sage. Just ’cause it’s lazy summer doesn’t mean we can’t still be fancy.
Favorite Bottles: Top Holiday Spirits
If there’s a time of year when you need a special bottle of something, it’s the holidays. Whether you’re looking the perfect gift for those you really appreciate, or need a memorable bottle to open up and share with family and friends, we’ve made sure to bring in our favorite picks to feature in the shop.
Here is our selection of Gin, Vodka, Rum, Mezcal, Whiskey, Scotch, and even Chartreuse that we find especially delicious and interesting. Plus, they’re easy on the eyes! Cheers!
Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin – A delightfully dry gin made with cool, crisp cucumber & aromatic citrus. As well suited to a Gin & Tonic as a dry Martini, this bottle is a real treat for the gin lover in your family. Make a Botanical Spritzer
St. George Botanivore Gin – A remarkably well balanced gin in the London Dry style. Deeply aromatic, its juniper flavors blend seamlessly with note of citrus & herbs. Try it in a Dorflinger
St. George Terroir Gin – This heady gin is made with botanicals that grow in California. It has a big nose of spruce tips, with a finish of laurel & oranges. Our recommended cocktail: Terroir Martinez
St. George Dry Rye Gin – Rye is super spicy! This gin is electric with bright, spicy, dry rye flavors. Perfect for a Dry Rye Negroni .
19 Easter-Themed Cocktails to Make for Your Holiday Celebration
Pull your palate out of hibernation with bright florals, zippy fruits, and fresh veggies in these unexpectedly cool cocktails.
We love a warm wintry cocktail as much as anybody, but as the temperatures start to rise and flowers begin to bloom, our tastebuds crave something fresh to snap them out of hibernation. Whether you're looking for an Easter appropriate mimosa, a creative way to use fresh spring veggies, or a tasty tipple with flowers and berries, we've rounded up refreshing recipes you'll enjoy as much on Easter Sunday as you will all season long.
1.5 oz Código 1530 Rosa tequila
.75 oz lemon juice
.75 oz agave nectar
1 egg white
Add all ingredients to a shaker with no ice and shake vigorously. Then add ice to the shaker and shake again. Double strain the mixture into a sugar-rimmed glass and garnish with your favorite color Bunny Peep. Dust the top of your drink with dried raspberry powder.
2 oz vodka
.75 oz carrot juice
.5 oz lime juice
.25 oz simple syrup
Shake all ingredients except ginger beer over ice and strain into a highball glass. Top with ginger beer and garnish with carrot peel.
1 egg white
1.5 oz Absolut Vanilla vodka
1 oz triple sec
.75 oz milk
.75 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
Drops of raspberry and strawberry puree for glass decorations
In a shaker glass filled with ice, add egg white from freshly cracked egg (discard yolk, or put aside for other use). Add vodka, triple sec, milk and orange juice. Shake vigorously. Prepare rim of martini glass with orange zest and sugar-in-the-raw. Decorate glass like an Easter egg using drops of raspberry and strawberry puree. Strain cocktail into martini glass.
4 oz Love and Hope Rosé
1 oz simple syrup
.5 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Lemon wheel, for garnish
Raspberries, for muddling and garnish
Mint sprigs, for muddling and garnish
In the glass half of a Boston shaker, muddle raspberries, mint, simple syrup, and lemon juice. After muddling, combine the rosé, then pour back and forth between the two halves of the shaker to mix. Double strain into a on goblet over ice. Garnish with the lemon wheel, mint sprig, and a raspberry.
1.5 oz Amethyst Lavender gin
.5 oz Cointreau
.5 oz Monin Lavender syrup
1/2 lemon squeeze and discard
Build all ingredients in a shaker tin with ice and shake. Pour into a pilsner glass and top with a splash of club soda
1.5 oz Old Forester 86 Bourbon
.75 oz passionfruit puree
.75 oz simple syrup
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
3 leaves of fresh basil
1 oz ginger ale
1 red grape
Add bourbon, passionfruit puree, simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, and ginger ale into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled and strain into a Mason Jar filled with ice. Garnish with a red grape and fresh basil.
4 oz Rosé All Day Sparkling wine
1 oz fresh carrot juice
Carrot for garnish
Add the carrot juice and Rosé All Day Sparkling slowly, avoiding any spillover. Garnish with a carrot.
2 oz. Don Julio Blacno
.75 oz. lime juice
.75 oz. agave syrup
3 fresh basil leaves
In a tin, muddle strawberries and basil together. Add ice into tin and shake. Strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice and garnish with one basil leaf.
2 oz Casamigos Blanco Tequila
.5 oz fresh grapefruit juice
.5 oz fresh lime juice
.5 oz orgeat
.5 oz simple syrup
6&ndash8 Dashes of Peychaud&rsquos Bitters
Combine all ingredients into tin shaker, except bitters. Add ice, shake vigorously, and strain into Collins glass. Add fresh ice, top off with 6&ndash8 dashes of Peychaud&rsquos bitters, and garnish with 3 edible flowers in center.
2 oz black tea and dried flower infused Bar Hill gin*
.5 oz lemon
.5 oz honey syrup**
.25 oz yellow chartreuse
2 dashes of Fee Brothers Gin Barrel Aged Orange bitters
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, shake vigorously, double strain over one big ice cube. Garnish with a full lemon peel rolled into the shape of a flower.
*Bar Hill gin infusion: Add 2 oz of black tea mixed with a variety of dried flowers and zest from half an orange to a bottle of gin and leave to infuse.
**Honey syrup: Equal parts water to honey and mix together.
Buy Now Chartreuse Yellow Liqueur
2 oz Banks 5 Rum
.5 oz lime juice
.25 oz Campari
.25 oz pineapple juice
.25 oz sugar syrup
1 oz egg white
1 edible flower for garnish
Combine all liquid ingredients and dry shake. Add 3 ice cubes and shake again. Strain into chilled coupe and garnish with edible flower.
By Kenneth McCoy for The Rum House, NYC
2 oz Los Arangos Reposado
1 oz grapefruit juice
.5 oz agave syrup
2 chopped strawberries
5 basil leaves
Soda to top
Smoked sea salt for rim
Rim your glass with smoked sea salt. Combine all ingredients except soda in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to chill and combine ingredients. Fine strain into a hi-ball glass over fresh ice. Top with soda.
1 oz Beefeater Gin
.5 oz lemon juice
1 oz canteloupe juice
.5 oz simple syrup
Shake all ingredients together and serve in a champagne glass, garnished with lemon peel.
By Sam Ross of The Dorsey in Las Vegas
1.5 oz Royal Gate Gin
.25 oz yuzu juice
1 oz lemon juice
Splash of agave
.5 oz egg whites
Top with Bundaberg Blood Orange Soda
Lemon twist for garnish
Add the gin, yuzu, lemon, agave and egg whites in a shaker. Shake first without ice to get it frothy. Add ice, shake and strain over new ice in a rocks glass. Top with the blood orange soda to finish and garnish with lemon twist.
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
3 snap peas, each snapped in half
.5 oz Fresno chili
1 barspoon honey simple syrup
2 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
Muddle lemon juice, snap peas, and chili with honey in a rocks glass. Add vermouth, then fill the glass with crushed ice. Garnish with skewered pea slices.
From Lady's in Brooklyn, New York
1 oz Hendrick's Gin
.75 oz cucumber syrup*
.75 oz lemon juice
3 oz of rosé champagne
3 drops of rose water
2 raspberries for garnish
Shake gin, cucumber syrup, lemon juice and rose water, and then strain into Champagne flute. Garnish with raspberries. Makes 1 cocktail.
*Cucumber Syrup: Peel 3 long English cucumbers. Blend 1 cup white sugar with 1 cup of water until dissolved. Add cucumber until pureed. Strain and store in a refrigerator until ready for use. Shake before use.
3 oz Drambuie
1 oz Triple sec
1 cup white wine (Chardonnay is suggested)
1 oz orange juice
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz honey
2 cups frozen berries
10 dashes cherry bitters
Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. Garnish with skewered berries and a basil sprig.
By Drambuie ambassador Vance Henderson
1.5 oz Casamigos Blanco Tequila
1.5 oz fresh carrot juice
.75 oz lemon juice
1 oz agave syrup
1 jalapeno slice
Add all ingredients to a shaker tin with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass over fresh ice and garnish with lime wheel and Tajin rim.
.25 oz Chambord
.25 oz St Germain
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a champagne flute and top with prosecco until filled. Garnish with an orange zest.
Boring Technical Crap
Written by: Harmony Korine
Directed by: Harmony Korine
Selena Gomez – Faith
Ashley Benson – Brit
Vanessa Hudgens – Candy
Rachel Korine – Cotty
Heather Morris – Bess
Lauren Vera – Spring Breaker
Emma Holzer – Heather
Cait Taylor – Tiffany
James Franco – Alien
Home Bar Spring Favorites
We’re having some grey, dark days right now. So while I’m staying inside watching the weather, I think it’s time to brighten up the home bar with these pops of color! Sunny days ahead! At least with my drinks…
About the Author
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Addicted to Nuts – $9
Might as well face it, we’re addicted to nuts. A mix of pecans, walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and cashews tossed in olive oil, dijon mustard & orange bitters, then coated with chef’s secret mix of herbs & spices. (We could tell you, but then we’d have to kill you. And we’re too pretty for prison.)
Pickled Things – $10
House made! Pickled veggies change all the time, but include beets, carrots, celery, sweet onion, asparagus, cucumber, cauliflower, green beans, & peppers. (Vegan and GF)
Garlic Bread & Burrata – $12
Buttery garlic bread served hot from the oven alongside a ball of fresh burrata cheese with balsamic syrup, parsley oil, and fresh red & green grapes. (Vegetarian)
Eggs on Eggs – $10
Four creamy deviled eggs topped with diced chives and caviar for perfect little celebratory bursts of salt. Cheers! (Vegetarian option available)
Fennel Salad – $13
Beautiful shaved fennel tossed with arugula, shaved apple, fresh pomegranate seeds, & toasted walnuts. Served with our house Champagne Vinaigrette. (Vegan & GF)
Classic Wedge Salad – $13
A wedge of iceberg lettuce topped with blue cheese, apple, red onion, crispy bacon, and a house-made Green Goddess dressing that gets its luscious creaminess from avocado. (GF, veg-possible)
French Onion Stuffed Mushrooms – $14
Five bite-sized mushrooms with a savory stuffing of brandy-caramelized onions, breadcrumbs, gruyere cheese, garlic, and thyme. Served with a mellow but rich whole-grain mustard brandy cream sauce. (Vegetarian)
Cheddar Ale Soup – $13
Delicious, homey, and comforting. Beer cheese soup is a classic Midwestern staple, and ours is SO good. Tillamook cheddar and Mt. Tabor’s Checkered Flannel Brown Ale comprise the base of this cold weather classic. Served with crunched up pretzels for garnish. (Vegetarian)
Cheese & Charcuterie – $29
Two chef-selected cheeses (some funky, some mellow) and meats (some sliced, some spreadable pate) served with grilled crostini, fresh fruit, pickled veggies, toasted walnuts, and truffled almonds. (Vegetarian Option Available)
Linguine with Pancetta & Clams – $24
How to make this timeless classic even better? Add cured pork belly, of course! The broth is a white clam sauce with fresh oregano, lemon juice, and crushed red pepper (watch out – this dish has some spicy kick!) tossed with al dente linguine. Finally, you’ll enjoy two grilled crostini to sop up all that saucy goodness and scoop up any stray clams & pancetta. YUM!
Potato Chip Crusted Sockeye Salmon – $32 (GF)
Our fun little spin on fish & chips! A filet of succulent oven roasted sockeye salmon crusted with (here’s the really good part!) a buttery & delicious potato chip crust. Served with lemon-caper aioli, Yukon gold mashed potatoes, and green beans.
Chicken Stroganoff with Wild Mushrooms – $28 (GF)
Holy cats is this dish tasty. Chef Michael’s stroganoff includes earthy, delicious mushrooms and caramelized onions smothered in a creamy sauce, spiked with white vermouth. A little different: he’s serving it alongside butter rice instead of noodles. (When you get a whole bite, you’ll know why. YUM!) Oh! There’s also a side of delicious sautéed seasonal veggies, to keep you honest.
Steak du Jour – $39 (GF)
The finest steak in the shire! Chef Michael knows his way around a steak, and we’re all reaping the benefits! He likes to change up the starch and veggies with what’s fresh and most beautiful that day, but you can always count on a delicious hand-cut 7 ounce filet mignon, grilled to order. Give us a call to see what the sides are today!
If you didn’t make it to Home Slice on Friday night, you were clearly doing something that sucked. It was a stone jam. A rad bash. A shit show, in the best possible way.
Tons of great Detroit food companies were there, Slow’s, Porktown Sausage Project, Brother Nature, etc., all showing off their wares and donating a portion of their sales to the museum. I was fortunate enough to get to run the bar (as The Sugar House) and put together the cocktail menu. Fortunately my buds Evan and Todd were willing to help out – I would have been boned otherwise. Here’s what we were mixing:
The Archbishop is a traditional “mulled wine,” made with claret, mixed with spices, orange peel and sugar. The recipe comes from Jerry Thomas’ 1887 book, “How to Mix Drinks or The Bon Vivant’s Companion.” Slightly sweet, with strong notes of orange, clove and cinnamon… served warm, a perfect fall drink.
Autumn Old Fashioned
Franklin Cider Mill cider is reduced down to syrup, paired with Angostura bitters and Rye whiskey, served over ice. Our seasonal variation on the venerable classic, this true cocktail is tart, slightly sweet and nutty.
This classic Champagne cocktail is made with cognac, bitters and sugar, and topped off with sparkling brut, served in a champagne glass. A balance of sweet and dry, with hints of spice and a citrus nose.
The Cherry Bounce, as detailed by Lord Kendal Banning in his publication from 1784, “The Squire’s Recipes,” is a mixture of whiskey, cognac, cherries, almonds and spices which have been macerated for “three fortnights.” Slightly dry, extremely complex, and quite potent. Simply served over ice.
From Trader Vic’s Illustrated Guide to Bartending (1947), the origins of this mysterious drink are unclear but it’s fantastic flavor is anything but. Aged rum, Italian vermouth, lime juice and bitters, shaken, and served down.
Gin Gin Mule
Created by Audrey Sanders at the Pegu Club in New York, this variation on the Moscow Mule is an instant classic. The botanicals of the gin are complemented by the mint and ginger flavors, while the soda makes this a light, yet complex beverage.
Here’s a shot of the syrups, juices and the Cherry Bounce…
I made 96 oz. of cider reduction, simple syrup and ginger & black peppercorn syrup. Evan and I squeezed 4000 ml of lime juice, and I made 5000 ml of Cherry Bounce, which sat about six weeks. The biggest seller was the Gin Gin Mule – we used up all the ginger syrup, so we must have made about 128 of them. The Autumn Old Fashioned was a close second, I am thinking we made about 90 of those, and somewhere around 70 of the Fig Leaf and Cherry Bounce. Probably 50 or so Champagne Cocktails, and maybe 30 Archbishops… it comes out to about 438 drinks, over five hours. As I said, a total shit show. If you’re local to Detroit, we’ve got an article coming out in the Metro Times, with a few shots from the event. Stay tuned.
Tips for Serving Boozy Dessert Drinks
Backyard barbecues, holiday soirees, and casual get-togethers with friends are all perfect occasions for whipping up some delightful dessert beverages with alcohol. While a gathering with family and friends is always special, you can make the event even more memorable by adding a few unique details to every batch of beverages. Keep these tips in mind when serving your favorite dessert drinks.
1. Choose unique stemware: There's nothing wrong with using an everyday glass to serve beverages to family and friends. However, if you want to make the event more interesting, then consider serving your cold drinks in wine glasses or martini glasses. Warm or hot beverages should definitely be served in anything with a handle, including your favorite coffee mugs. Scour yard sales and thrift stores for new stemware, and make sure your set is deliberately mismatched for a truly unique look!
2. Add garnish to any beverage: Don't just pour a special martini in a glass! Garnish, including slices of fresh fruit for a summertime beverage or a stick of cinnamon for a winter dessert drink, can make your beverage look even more special. Other options include serving small cookies with frothy drinks, or sprigs of mint with any chocolate-based drink.
3. Make your ice cubes look even better: When planning a party, ice cubes are often overlooked until the last minute. To make your cold beverages shine, consider making ice cubes with sprinkles inside. Guests will love the added color!
4. Show off your beverages: Are you making a pitcher of your favorite beverage? Let the bright colors shine in a big way by serving the beverage in a glass pitcher.
5. Set aside non-alcoholic drinks: You might be ready to make a boozy milkshake, but you can't forget about the non-alcoholic options for your next get-together, either! From homemade sodas to smoothies, there are plenty of alcohol-free options to offer that are just as special as the alcohol drinks already on the menu.
Ditch the oven this summer! Check out some amazing no-bake desserts in this free eCookbook: No Bake Desserts: 19 No Bake Dessert Recipes Free eCookbook