Category Archives: Alcohol in the News

Big Flats 1901

As you know, I am a big supporter of local booze.  Guess I haven’t been doing enough beer shopping at Walgreen’s. 

It is worthwhile to read the full article that came out on Tuesday in my home-town newspaper about this “premium” and “genuine” brew that retails for $2.99 a six-pack.  I hope the traffic up there doesn’t get out of control this summer when I’m trying to visit friends and family.

Stephen Colbert featured the beer in a segment at the beginning of this month.

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Wine for Oscar Night

Last week I wrote a piece pairing wines with Oscar-nominated films.  So far, it got picked up by Variety and NYPress picked it up from there.

Update: On Saturday, 2/26, Cork Savvy posted it as well.

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Wine grape vines haven’t been getting busy

The New York Times reported last week that grape vines weren’t having enough sex.  At first glance, this may not seem like a major problem (insert sex joke here).  Alas, it is a big deal.  Look at the mess of a family tree that has been created as a result:

A geneticist from Cornell determined that 75% of wine grape varieties are as closely related as a parent and child or brother and sister.  This is as simple as the NYT could break it down, and I won’t try to compete:

“Thus merlot is intimately related to cabernet franc, which is a parent of cabernet sauvignon, whose other parent is sauvignon blanc, the daughter of traminer, which is also a progenitor of pinot noir, a parent of chardonnay.”

What happened to cause this?  The ease of propagating vines through grafting, phylloxera, wine laws, and our palates.  As a result of so much genetic similarity, the grapes are more susecptible to a wide range of pests, and vineyard managers have resorted to herbicides, fungicides and other nasty chemicals. 

The Times points out three options: add genes for pest resistance, go organic, breed sturdier varieties. 

Big problems with these three options: folks don’t like genetically modified plants, grape vines can have a hard time surviving in an organic environment, and breeding new varieties takes time, money and we’re not guaranteed a tasty result. 

The article went on to discuss a new plant breeding method, called genomic selection or marker-assisted breeding, which would enable scientisits to explore the grape genome.

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Frommer’s visits the Finger Lakes

Brian and Thomas at the distillery. Photo courtesy of Amy Zavatto.

Amy Zavatto, one of the writers for Frommer’s Community Blog, Between Bites, recently wrote a piece titled, “Sipping Whiskey in the Finger Lakes“. 

On assignment for a wine job, she stumbled upon Finger Lakes Distilling on her way out of town. 

She got a tour and did a tasting and reports that her favorites were the Seneca Drums Gin, the Cherry Liqueur and the McKenzie Rye.

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Filed under Alcohol in the News, Spirits

Sommelier Journal

Over the summer, I agreed to help the Sommelier Journal with their ad campaign.  For those of you in the industry who don’t subscribe to it yet, it’s worth checking out.  This just ran in the December 2010 issue:

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How to get filthy rich, part 2

As you may know, in addition to being a blog about beverages, A Thirsty Spirit has occasional posts on how to get rich, like this one from last spring, focusing on an ill-conceived plan for the pursuit of tycoon-ship through winery ownership. 
Well, here’s another.  According to a recent study published in Bloomberg today, wealthier Americans are more likely to binge drink than their not-so-wealthy neighbors.  Ergo, binge drinking must make you rich.  The study also shows that (surprisingly) binge drinking is more common with 18-24 year olds. 
Sounds like it keeps you young, too!

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Craft distilleries featured in NYT today

Finger Lakes Distilling got a great mention in an article in today’s dining section titled, “Just Don’t Call it Moonshine“.

The McKenzie Bourbon and FLD Cherry Liqueur were also used to cap off the evening at last night’s Finger Lakes Christmas at The James Beard House.

Oh, what a year it has been.  Happy Holidays, everyone!

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Bitters to go

Leave it to the ever-traveling Germans to come up with a way to have classy cocktails on the go.

Today’s Times clued me in to this adorable kit.  Tasting notes from the company’s website:

CELERY BITTERS: Very complex and exotic. The initial flavor of celery is dominant, leading into a complex palate with aromas of lemongrass, orange peel and ginger.
OLD TIME AROMATIC BITTERS: Classically bitter and tangy. Combining the aromatics of cinnamon, cardamom, anise and cloves, it reminds one of gingerbread.
ORANGE BITTERS: The aroma of bitter orange peel is in the foreground, complimented by the spicy flavors of cardamom, caraway and nutmeg.
CREOLE BITTERS: The complex combination of flavors hints upon spice, bitterness and cardamon with a subtle floral finish that evokes the flavors of Creole cuisine in New Orleans/Louisiana.
CHOCOLATE BITTERS: Deep chocolate notes are supported by classic bitter flavors and accented with a hint of spice. Plays perfectly with most dark spirits, rums and tequilas.

Noah and I had recently been discussing saving airplane-sized bottles and filling them with booze from home in order to have a tastier tipple while in the air.

What a perfect stocking stuffer!

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Undersea wine cellar

Last week, the Brisbane Times reported that Ivan Simonic, a Slovenian winemaker, retrieved 600 bottles of sparkling wine from the bottom of the Adriatic.  He had put them there on purpose, citing the temperature of the ocean at this depth (12 to 13 °C, 53 to 55°F) was perfect for storing and aging wine.  Even more interesting, he seemed to imply that the movement of the ocean would eliminate the need for riddling.

photo courtesty of AFP. The article mentioned the wine had aged undersea in clay amphoras, but that looks like a sea-crusted glass bottle to me.

His “Poseidan” will hit the market at 100 euros per bottle, and if it sells well, he’s considering a more permanent undersea cellar.

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Study: Americans Get Majority of Exercise While Drunk

I originally came across this video on Eater and I’ve been waiting (im)patiently for someone to post it on YouTube.  Enjoy!

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Filed under Alcohol in the News, Videos