Nick Griffiths suffered from frostbite while running in the Yukon Arctic ultra-marathon. After surgeons amputated three of his toes, he mailed two of them to Dawson City in the region where the Downtown Hotel's Sourdough Saloon
uses (and reuses) disembodied digits in their infamous Sourtoe Cocktail that's been on the menu for forty years. From The Guardian
The beverage consists of a mummified human toe floating in a whiskey shot; patrons must let the digit – or its blackened nail – touch their lips in order to receive a certificate and qualify for admittance to the Sourtoe Cocktail Club.
He kept one of the toes as “insurance” because, (Griffiths) said: “I’m not sure really you should be posting toes.
More than a month later, the toes arrived in Dawson City. “We couldn’t be happier to receive a new toe. They are very hard to come by these days,” said the hotel in a statement.
Terry Lee, the hotel’s “toe expert” will now preserve the digits in rock salt for at least six weeks before they are served in whiskey.
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The intrepid travelers of Atlas Obscura suggest nine traditional hot drinks from across the world that may seem weird to our narrow, boring palates but are quite popular in their regions. From Atlas Obscura
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Kaffeost: In northern Scandinavia, cups of coffee get enhanced with cheese.
The dried cheese, called juustoleipä (sometimes leipäjuusto or just juusto), absorbs the steaming brew, softening without melting, like a rich, moist cheese sponge...
Juustoleipä translates to “cheese bread,” which not only refers to its dry and sturdy texture, but also its culinary use as a sort of bread-like vehicle for jam, syrup, and, of course, coffee. To make the cheese, milk—once reindeer milk, now often goat or cow milk—gets curdled, baked, and dried into thin rounds. This process not only allows for the cheese to be preserved for up to a year, but invites special preparations when it is ready to be consumed, one of which is kaffeost.
Hriatô: Slovakian winters call for a honey-and-bacon hot brandy cocktail.
...Traditionally served around Christmas, hriatô is relatively straightforward to make. Home cooks begin by frying up bacon in a healthy dollop of lard. Once it’s crisp, they drizzle in honey, allowing the sweet and salty blend to mingle. Finally, they add a stream of potent fruit brandy to the mix.
Hriatô can indeed look a bit unappetizing on first glance. As the cloudy, orangish liquid begins to cool, the fat separates, initially forming glistening droplets on the drink’s surface, then a layer of settled fat. But when enjoyed fresh, the fried bacon bobs in the boozy brew, balancing the honeyed liquid with a savory umami pork flavor.
My longtime friend Jared Hirsch (previously) is an amazing mixologist (or as he humorously describes himself, a "cocktologist"). As a popular bartender at Sidebar in Oakland, he's always mixing up something new and creative for their menu.
Now, with his business partner Absinthia, he's crowdfunding a new line of craft cocktail syrups. They did this once before with great success three years ago. Their Caged Heat syrup hit its goal in just seven days. This time they're rolling out three new flavors: Crimson Smoke, Cherry Bomb, and Fairy Dust (which is like an alcohol-free absinthe). Check all of them out over at Kickstarter. Read the rest
From The Dude’s White Russian to James Bond’s shaken martini, Binging with Babish demonstrates how to make six movie-inspired cocktails. He also recreates How I Met Your Mother’s magical hangover cure, which might not be so magical after all. Read the rest
"Isn’t a cocktail as much an experience for the eyes as well as the tongue?" asks Mr. Homegrown of Root Simple. "Thankfully it’s easy to make clear ice free of cloudy impurities. His technique is to fill a small cooler with water and putting it in the freezer. "The insulation in the cooler will cause the water to freeze from the top down. The minerals and impurities in the water that cause cloudy ice will settle to the bottom of the cooler. Later, you will harvest the pristine, clear ice off the top." Read the rest
Just in time for the return of Twin Peaks, the YouTube channel Cocktail Chemistry whips up two different versions of the “Black Yukon Sucker Punch,” a colorful drink Judge Sternwood orders in season two. Read the rest
50ml is 1.7 ounces. which makes these glass beakers perfect for serving a healthy shot of liquor. You can buy a set of 12 for $(removed) on Amazon. Read the rest
I'm not much of a drinker, and I didn't know what a Moscow Mule was until I saw the Bali Hai episode of Better Call Saul. The drink, made from vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, poured over ice, was served to Kim Wexler (my favorite character on the show, played by Rhea Seehorn) in a copper mug. Recently, I went on vacation with my wife, and she ordered a Moscow Mule at a restaurant. It was served in a copper mug. It turns out you are supposed to serve them that way.
The origins of the Moscow Mule are a bit murky, but it appears to have been invented in the early 1940s by the owner of a Hollywood pub on the Sunset Strip called the Cock 'n' Bull. The bartender wanted to clean out a slow-moving stockpile of Smirnoff's and bottled ginger beer that had been gathering dust on the shelves in the backroom, so he mixed them together and started serving them in copper mugs to the movie stars who frequented the pub. It became an instant hit, at least until McCarthyism scared people away from anything with the taint of Sovietism to it. But the Moscow Mule had a kick that people liked, and it made a comeback in the 1960s, which it enjoys today.
You can buy a set of 4 copper mugs with brass handles for $(removed) on Amazon. I just bought a set, and am looking forward to mixing up a batch of Moscow Mules the next time we have friends over for dinner. Read the rest
See sample pages from this book at Wink.
As someone who spent many misguided years of my youth drinking poorly-eyeballed gin and tonics out of coffee mugs, I never really understood: How exactly can you make cocktails "well" or "poorly"? Isn't it a simple matter of ratios – of pouring the right amount of the right things into a glass, chucking in an ice cube or two and calling it a day? Where is the mysterious opportunity in that simple process to either mess it up or do it exceptionally well? Jeffrey Morgenthaler's The Bar Book is a masterclass on that very subject.
The Bar Book is not a recipe book. Instead, it is a techniques book. Morgenthaler elevates making cocktails into a craft, focusing on finding the right recipe, using the best ingredients, and executing it all using effective techniques. While the author does include expertly curated recipes for some must-know cocktails, instead of focusing on what to mix (which can always be found with a quick Google of "how to make a Cosmopolitan"), it focuses on how, why, and when to mix it. He gives you a 360-degree education in barcraft, from what shapes cocktail shakers come in and what the differences mean to why the shape and size of your ice is important and how to make it so that it comes out of the tray clear and beautiful. He’s a big proponent of making things like mixers, garnishes and even liqueurs from scratch, so the book offers up recipes for making things like flavored syrups, infusions, and even tonic water. Read the rest
Jazz pioneer Charles Mingus (1922-1979) had a secret recipe for eggnog that by all accounts was delicious, and incredibly potent. He shared the recipe with biographer Janet Coleman who published it in her book Mingus/Mingus: Two Memoirs. Here's the brew below, followed by Mingus's "Moanin'."
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Charles Mingus's Egg Nog
* Separate one egg for one person. Each person gets an egg.
* Two sugars for each egg, each person.
* One shot of rum, one shot of brandy per person.
* Put all the yolks into one big pan, with some milk.
* That’s where the 151 proof rum goes. Put it in gradually or it’ll burn the eggs,
* OK. The whites are separate and the cream is separate.
* In another pot- depending on how many people- put in one shot of each, rum and brandy. (This is after you whip your whites and your cream.)
* Pour it over the top of the milk and yolks.
* One teaspoon of sugar. Brandy and rum.
* Actually you mix it all together.
* Yes, a lot of nutmeg. Fresh nutmeg. And stir it up.
* You don’t need ice cream unless you’ve got people coming and you need to keep it cold. Vanilla ice cream. You can use eggnog. I use vanilla ice cream.
* Right, taste for flavor. Bourbon? I use Jamaica Rum in there. Jamaican Rums. Or I’ll put rye in it. Scotch. It depends.
See, it depends on how drunk I get while I’m tasting it.
Pop Chart Lab was founded in 2010 by a book editor and a designer, with the modest goal of rendering all of human experience in chart form. Since then they’ve charted a wide array of cultural touchstones. A Visual Guide to Drink is Pop Chart Lab’s comprehensive volume of its most important topics in graphical form: beer, wine, and spirits.
Containing everything from the many varieties of beer and the vessels from which to drink them, to cocktails of choice in film and literature, A Visual Guide to Drink maps, graphs, and charts the history, geography, and culture of the world’s very favorite pastime. The domestic beer-drinking novice and whisk(e)y aficionado alike will relish this perfectly practical primer awash in essentials like charted cocktail recipes, a breakdown of brewing processes, and extensive maps of the world’s wine region in Pop Chart Lab’s trademark clean and elegant design.
The definitive guide to informative imbibing, A Visual Guide to Drink is a fun, functional, and beautiful concoction of data and design that is sure to inspire delight in readers (and drinkers) everywhere. Read the rest
Although the word "cocktail" wasn't coined until the 1800s, mixed drinks were all the rage when America got its independence. Many were made with rum or whiskey, and punch was the term du jour. Both refreshing and timeless, why not toast the weekend with these 3 smashing cocktails of yesteryear? Read the rest
We discover the cocktail's historical origins, its etymological connection to a horse's butt, and its rocky history, post-Prohibition.
If you're in the San Francisco Bay area, you can pregame Season 5 of Game of Thrones at my new favorite SF bar, Blackbird. Why? Because Cersei throws down, and you should too. Read the rest