Archive for May, 2013

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Night Cap Bourbon Ready to Go!

May 31, 2013

moonshine

This message goes out to all the loyal Night Cappers who made it to the last Night Cap. We’re coming up on 3 months since you all left with a bottle of my mason jar bourbon, and guess what: it’s time to start tasting. Nobler Mark and I have dug into our stashes already and I can tell you, the 3 month age is really damn delicious. I recommend you take a little swig and see what you think before running all of the contents through a coffee filter, just in case you want more age. But I encourage you to enjoy the “young” bourbon now. It’s a nice change of pace from the heavier commercial options and I’ll tell you, nothing kicks off a weekend better than some homemade bourbon. Hope you enjoy and hit me up if you have any questions on how to specifically filter it.

Added bonus, I hope to have some news on the next Night Cap coming soon!

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Operation Swill: Booze Fraud & Rubbing Alcohol

May 30, 2013

swill

What a week for the news of booze! And this story has it all. New Jersey, TGI Fridays, and a bad ass-name in ‘Operation Swill’; no question, I’m intrigued to see where this one goes.

Long story short (because you can read all the details here), 29 establishments (listed here) in New Jersey (13 of which are TGI Fridays) are under investigation for serving low quality alcohol as substitutes for high-end, top shelf orders, essentially swindling their customers for some serious margins. In one case, the situation is even more ridiculous as one particular bar is being accused of serving rubbing alcohol and food coloring as scotch. Yo, seriously: whichever bar that is, needs to be shut down immediately. Just saying…

As for the other bars, I’m sort of surprised this isn’t happening more often (if it isn’t already). Particularly for places that serve mix drinks as the base of their offerings, I imagine it would be seriously easy to pull this off. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is right. In fact, I think it’s awful, but I am saying I think it’s highly likely this could be occurring more than we think.

One thing is for sure though: if I find out that there is actually Rebel Yell in the Jack Daniels BBQ, I’m going to throw a shit fit!

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When Craft is Crap

May 28, 2013

Gillian DiPietro, expanding on her role as Nobler Legal Counsel, passed along this troublesome piece of investigative journalism related to the surge in craft distillation. We all know the numbers by now, but they are worth repeating. According to this Atlantic piece, 81 new “craft” distilleries opened up last year bringing the U.S. total to 315. This is pretty insane considering where we were just a decade ago. But as the piece also suggests, with increased competition has come some increased funny business.

The root of the issue being the fairly flexible designation of the word “craft”. The brewing industry has run in to this issue as well, and for the most part has let the small batch beers battle it out over taste and value. But one can never forget, the power of some intelligent marketers. It seems, in one specific example in the article, a vodka being touted as a “craft” and “local” high-end product was actually pretty stock in character. Commodity neutral grain spirit, purchased through an industrial supplier, fed through some charcoal filters, bottled and labeled doesn’t exactly represent the historical spirit (see what I did there?) of distillation. And since those folks were charging a pretty penny for their product, it makes matters even worse.

But the good news is, that’s a pretty difficult scenario to pull off and maintain without getting “caught”. And it’s really only viable as a quick product solution for spirits like vodka. But I tend to agree with the writer and those he interviewed. As consumers, much of the ownership is on us. If we want to drink the best of the best (or even the cheapest of the cheapest) and have opinions on it all, we should probably do the research to know where and who is making the stuff. And I’ve got faith, because the “craft” drinkers of the world, tend to be quite interested in doing the dirty work. So bring on the “craft” spirits competition. The more the merrier.

Photo above from The Atlantic

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The Noblers Know Cocktails: Part 2

May 23, 2013

cocktails

When the Noblers gather, it tends to be for a real purpose. And last night’s Gathering was no different. Because while we always share in the enjoyment of good drinking, sometimes you have to get back to the basics. The basics of delicious cocktails.

As I’ve said before, everyone should have an arsenal of drinks to pull from. Different cocktails work for different reasons, but knowing you have a few gold standards to draw upon is a wonderful feeling. And last night I think we came up with a new one to add to the list in the Ed Wood (see below for the recipe).

With a few basil juleps, some fantastic Old Fashioneds (with my new batch of bitters), and a couple of Manhattan’s rounding out the cocktail experience, I think it’s safe to say it was another successful Gathering. Thanks again to Mark and Kelly for hosting!

The Ed Wood

3 oz Gin (I used Bluecoat)

1 oz fresh lime juice

1.5 oz rosemary simple syrup (recipe below)

Ed Wood loved himself a few gimlets, and I think he’d love the woody addition of the rosemary. Mix all three ingredients and pour over ice. Garnish with a rosemary skewer.

Rosemary Simple Syrup

2 cups water

1.5 cups sugar

Half a lemon

3 bunches of rosemary skewers

Bring the water and sugar to a boil. Add the rosemary and lemon juice and lower heat to a simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool. Strain the rosemary and keep refrigerated.

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VinePair and Our First Wine Tasting!

May 22, 2013

vinepairlogoIt’s been a while since we’ve had a wine post hasn’t it? Well it’s been for good reason. Nobler wine contributor, Adam and I, along with another good friend Josh have been busy working on an exciting venture called VinePair. VinePair removes the anxiety of choice in the wine purchasing selection and is launching later this summer in the New York City area for delivery service. I’ll share more as the details come but wanted to share some other exciting news in the meantime…

As part of the VinePair experience, we have developed a series of wine tasting events with our first tasting scheduled for June 16th. This won’t be your typical tasting, that’s for sure so check out more details and buy your ticket (space is limited) at our Eventbrite page here:

VinePair’s Summer Wine Tasting

It’s going to be a really fun day. Hope you can make it!

 

 

 

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Hipsters Drive Up Beer Prices

May 21, 2013

It feels a little strange referencing a FoxNews post here at the Nobler but I thought this was pretty funny…

As you all know quite well, PBR has become the epitome of Hipsterama. Almost to the point of absurdity. No, scratch that. It’s past the point of absurdity. But the rush on cheap beer by the growing hipster nation may have had some unintended effects, of which probably doesn’t impact the majority of said hipsters. The price of cheap beer is rising my friends, and at a rate higher than the craft beer offerings. This of course has manifested itself in some pretty ridiculous PBR and Budweiser prices at a number of bars around the city, and while you might be tempted to make the argument that it’s still a hell of a lot cheaper than a cocktail, I question if that’s the right comparison. Beer to beer pricing has become a more interesting evaluation.

I’m always a bit amazed when I see on a beer list the convergence of prices between the medium sized “craft” brews and the sub-premium standards. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not much of a beer snob. I find value in most beer in fact. But it’s all about price point. Or at least it should be. Both in stores and at bars, the prices are becoming too similar to distinguish. $6 for a Sixpoint versus $4 for a PBR seems like a no brainer for example. But there is still one place where the cheapies rule to roost.

The shot and a beer combo (my favorite naming of course being “The Sportsmen”) is a world the PBRs and the Buds should rule forever! Long live the Sportsmen!

 

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The Grapefruit Margarita

May 20, 2013

GM

Last Friday I posted about the appeal of the cocktail. And for real, I had full intentions of working on a few of my new ideas this weekend including some seriously spiced up spritzers, but the pull from one of my favorite and most simple drinks won the day. I figured I’d simply hold off on the next post thinking you’d be bored with a repeat and the basic, but then again, wasn’t I just the person who was touting simplicity?

The Grapefruit Margarita is one of the most refreshing cocktails out there. It takes the bright and delicious standard and adds some serious freshness and bracing acidity. It’s great for a weekend brunch or a summer BBQ and is surprisingly impressive to share with your friends and family. You see, we all claim to love margaritas, but the majority of us drink terrible versions of the margarita the majority of the time. The tequila and orange liqueur should be highlighted with the citrus and the sweetness should be balanced, dare I say subtle. No sugar bombs please!

So if you are still searching for your cocktail, the one that you can make your own, give this sucker a shot and try not to drink 4000 of them…

The Grapefruit Margarita

3 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice (or high quality bottled stuff, not from concentrate)

2 oz Tequila (I often lean on a silver tequila here but a reposado will work just as well)

1 oz Orange Liqueur (triple sec can work but if you haven’t tried some of the nicer options out there, I strongly suggest you do)

Lime Wedge for Garnish

Mix all of the above ingredients and pour over a rocks glass full of crushed ice. Yes, it’s that simple.

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