Basement rec-room


Both sets of my grandparents had basement rec-rooms that were clearly grasping after this magnificence. But this is the Ur-room, the thing that casts the shadow upon the wall of Plato's cave. It is the rec-room none of us would ever be allowed to behold, for none of us is pure enough for a rec-room such as this. If you want proof of the lapsarian hypothesis, look no further: the world is in decline. Everything is worse than it was. Oh, rec-room, you were too good for this world of sin.

Pink Basement [Branwynn/Vintage Ads]

Ancient Grumpy Cat LOLs

Yesterday, guest blogger Madeleine Johnson had a story here about a piece of ancient Peruvian pottery — in the shape of a very grumpy little cat. If you haven't read her story, you really should. It's all about the great cat memes of ancient history and how archaeologists can use clues from an artwork to track down who made it, where, and when.

My friend Andrew was kind enough to adapt Ancient Grumpy Cat into the form of a modern cat meme. That's his picture above. Madeleine and I also put together another one, based on Ancient Grumpy Cat's probable history as a ceremonial mug for drinking a corn beer called chicha:

Read the rest

Replica 1920s lightbulb voltage tester with a bar inside it


Restoration Hardware's "1920s German Light Bulb Voltage Tester Bar" sells for $2000. It's a replica of a century-old refitted German lightbulb voltage tester salvaged from a German factory, and it oozes Weimar decadence. It weighs 265lbs.

1920s German Light Bulb Voltage Tester Bar (via OhGizmo)

Map of local word for "beer" in each European country

(Click to embiggen)

Feòrag NicBhrìde has provided us with a vital cartographic reference: a map of Europe showing the word for "beer" in each country.

The Essential Map of Europe and Environs. (Thanks, Charlie!)

Five great myths of cocktail chemistry

There is nothing wrong with adding ice to scotch, writes Kevin Liu at Serious Eats. In fact, a little water can change the flavor profile of the drink for the better. What's more, chilling your scotch won't dampen down the aroma. A chilled drink won't be flinging off scent molecules left and right, but it will warm up enough from your hot breath to get the chemistry of scent where it needs to go — and to give you the flavor experience you want.

Edison cylinder inscribed on a beer-bottle

Mathew sez,

19th Century technology meets 21st Century music over a bottle of beer in the latest extension to the Beck's Record Label project. This time, the art label has evolved, and been replaced by the grooves of Auckland band Ghost Wave. Their new single was inscribed into the surface of a beer bottle which could then be played on a specially-built device based on Thomas Edison's original phonograph.

The idea originated with creative agency Shine in Auckland NZ, but making the world's first playable beer bottle was a formidable technical challenge. The clever people at Gyro Constructivists first had to design and build a record-cutting lathe, driven by a hard drive recording head. Then they reinvented Edison's original cylinder player, using modern materials and electronics and built to very fine tolerances. The Edison Bottle made its public debut at SemiPermanent in Auckland in May to a standing ovation from the assembled media and design community.

The Beck's Edison Bottle

Spirit Airlines is sure you'll enjoy its new 6% alcohol wine-in-a-can

Because "Your choices at 30,000 feet are pretty limited." Cory

Vein-shaped wine carafes

An example of fantastic, whimsical bio-tableware from sculptor Etienne Meneau. Holds a full bottle.

If it looks difficult to pour from or clean, Meneau has an FAQ for that.

Via the good folks at The Annals of Improbable Research

Extreme Bloody Mary, Wisconsin style


Take a look at this impressive, heavily loaded Bloody Mary, served at O'Davey's Irish Pub & Restaurant in Fond du Lac. (Also known as Davey's.)

This ultimate hangover cure is topped with an extensive beer chaser consisting of pop corn, bacon, peanuts, beans, sausage, pretzel, sliders, a pickle and (this is Wisconsin after all) a cracker and cheese curd. Plus a Brewers flag.

Wildest Bloody Mary you've ever seen creating buzz for Wisconsin [Gitte Laasby/Journal Sentinel]

(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Independent Brewers United says they own sixes and nines


Magic Hat IP, LLC and Independent Brewers United Corporation filed a remarkably spurious trademark lawsuit against West Sixth Brewery in Lexington, KY. Ben sez:

The suit alleges that West Sixth's own logo, which is a "6" within a circle, infringes upon its trademarked "#9" mark and is "directing Defendant West Sixth to account for and to pay over to Magic Hat all profits realized by West Sixth as a result of its use of the 6 Marks, its infringement of MagicHat's trademarks and trade dress, and its acts of unfair competition" as part of the awards it seeks from this suit.

Magic Hat is owned by North American Breweries, a large, multinational corporation that produces and imports several different brands of beer. West Sixth, on the other hand, is a local startup started about a year ago that strives to give back to its own community through financial donations, environmental stewardship, and community activities, many of which are free for attendees.

Brewer Magic Hat files federal lawsuit against West Sixth Brewing

Dazzle-paint bar

The basement of the Hôtel Americano in Chelsea, NYC has been done over in dazzle-paint reminiscent of the cubist battleship paint used to confound the enemy in WWI (and dazzle makeup used to fake out face-recognition systems). The work is by German artist Tobias Rehberger, who describes it as a re-creation of Frankfurt's Bar Oppenheimer.

The space, which opens May 10 and will remain open until July 14, dazzles the senses with its salonlike atmosphere, tight dimensions and prismatic black-and-white stripes; it’s also a functional bar where anyone can stop in for a drink during the life of the project.

By Design | A Bar That’s Also a Piece of Art [Rocky Casale/New York Times Magazine]

(via JWZ)

(Image: downsized, cropped thumbnail of a larger photo by Matthew Cianfrani, viewable here)

Speed-aging bourbon with the power of technology

When bourbon ages, what's actually happening is that daily fluctuations in temperature are changing the pressure in the barrel, forcing liquid in and out of pores in the oak. At NPR, Alan Greenblatt writes about an entrepreneur who has figured out how to mechanically recreate this process — speeding up the time it takes to age bourbon from months or years, to a matter of days. This may or may not be an appropriate use of technology, depending on your bourbon ideology.

Chiller "Pucs" for your whiskey, etc on Kickstarter


An extremely successful Kickstarter project ($41K raised on a $2500 goal, with 36 days left) promises stainless steel chiller pucks to go in your drinks. They're rather nice to look at, and promise not to impart any flavors, nor water down your bevvy. These are rather similar to the (controversial) Coffee Joulies from 2011, and at #8 for 6 "pucs" in a walnut case, it's a somewhat pricey accessory.

Pucs are precision machined from solid 304 stainless steel - the same material used in most medical, dental and kitchen tools. For that reason they are 100% inert, will not add or subtract from the flavor your drink in any way, will not absorb smells or flavors from your freezer, will not rust, oxidize, degrade, discolor, leak, pit, chip, flake, crack or dissolve. They're impervious to every drink imaginable, can also withstand tons of pressure and have a melting point of 1450°F! Pucs are completely dishwasher safe - either clean them with soap and water or give them a quick ride in the dishwasher, then send them to the freezer to re-chill.

Pucs: rechargeable ice! (via Yanko)

Tiki Room mugs


Designer Kevin Kidney's posted more of the awesome Tiki Room stuff he and Jody Daily designed for the Disneyland Tiki Room 50th Anniversary event this summer (he posted his Luau Bowl earlier). This time around, it's a pair of lidded mugs paying homage to two of the idols of the tiki garden outside the Tiki Room in Disneyland: Pele and Tangaroa-Ru.

New Tiki Room Collectibles Coming to Disneyland This Summer (Part 1)

The classy and fascinating back story behind pink champagne

This article at Lapham's Quarterly by Peter Foges has me rethinking my biases against rose champagne — a drink I tend to associate with undergrads and poorly conceived 7-Up cocktails. Turns out, the history (and the chemistry) of rose are totally fascinating. Traditionally the quaff of queens (and really, really, really high-class hookers), real rose is surprisingly difficult to make, relying on a process that could, with just a small error, go wrong and leave you with a drink that is red, brown, or even blue.