Archive for the ‘2012 Holiday Gift Guide’ Category

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Nobler Holiday Gift Guide – Simply Gather

December 19, 2012

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At the Nobler Experiment, we take our drinking seriously. Not in some obnoxious, holier than thou, drink this not that, type of serious. But rather, in the way we share in experiences over a mutual interest and curiosity in liquor, wine, and beer that keeps us gathering. So I couldn’t think of any better way to end this year’s Holiday Gift Guide with one of the easiest gift suggestions out there…

Purchasing gifts for everyone that you consider a friend, may not be so possible. And quite frankly, with all of the gifts we give and receive at this time of the year, they might go under appreciated anyway. So instead of wrapping paper and ribbon, go with a bar stool and a bourbon. Take a second to re-connect and share with each other the year that was, and the years that will be. It’s the least you can do this Holiday Season!

As for us, tomorrow night is our second annual Holiday Gathering which I’m pretty damn pumped for. Looking back (check out some of the pictures above), we’ve had a great year at the Nobler Experiment and next year even more is brewing (like what I did there?). We’ve got new batches of Cow Thieves on the way, a bunch more tours and tastings, and hopefully a few more Night Cap events early next year. For all of you out there who check in daily to see what we are up to, thanks a ton! If you want to be involved even more, and start making your way to our Gatherings, don’t forget to sign up to follow the Experiment above!

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Nobler Holiday Gift Guide – Time For Some Wine

December 18, 2012

Time for some of the Noblers to get in on the Gift Guide mix. Here’s some great advice from our self proclaimed wine geek, Adam…decanter-horz

With so many gizmos out there for the wine lover in your life, it is easy to get overwhelmed.  So many of the gadgets and gizmos run the risk of being played around with a few times and then left to collect dust. 

That’s not to say that every wine gift out there is a waste, but one should be cautious of gimmicks when purchasing wine geek gifts.  One of the safest routes for a wine-related gift is nice glassware.  There is no point in drinking wine unless you share it with others, and when you share wine with others often, it’s pretty likely glasses are going to break, so even if the wine geek in your life already has stemware or a decanter, one can never have too much!  A go-to brand I really like for its quality is Riedel.  The great thing about Riedel glasses, and decanters as well, is that they have several lines at various price points, so you can always find nice glasses that are within the price range you want to pay.  At my house, I just have one glass shape from which I serve both white and red, but you can always go crazy and purchase glasses perfect for every varietal under the sun.

Another gift that is perfect for wine geeks is a mixed case of wine.  Head to your local wine shop, give them a price you want to spend and have them put together an interesting case or half case for your friend.  Then, when you deliver the gift, tell the friend your intention was that the two of you would try each of the bottles in that case together over the next few months, a win-win!

Happy Holidays!

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Nobler Holiday Gift Guide – Ice

December 17, 2012

ice-horz

We’re heading down the home stretch, and with just a few gift guide posts left to finish out this week, it’s time to think about your cocktail lover’s most overlooked ingredient…

Ice, has taken on a bit of a resurgence in the cocktail world as more and more mixologists and bartenders are starting to pay attention to the flavor impact of ice as it melts. This is something I came across in my own home cocktail making as nothing spoils a perfectly balanced drink more than the smell and taste of some nasty ice. So considering it might be weird to give the gift of cleaning someone’s freezer for them, these covered ice-cube trays are a perfect fix. You’ll be amazed how big of a difference odorless ice makes.

For a little more fun with frozen water, these Kotobuki Spheres’s have quickly become one of my favorites for cocktails and whiskey drinking a like. The cool thing about these spherical ice cubes is not only the excitement they’ll garner from the guests you serve, but also from the science behind them. A sphere is the most compact shape for physical matter with the smallest surface area for a given volume. Besides just sounding smart (particularly after you’ve served a few strong cocktails to your friends), this phenomenon is truly ideal for mixing up drinks. These large ice cube varieties are really meant for straight up liquor or alcohol forward cocktails and the lower SA/volume ratio means slower melting; providing the chill without dilution.

With only a few days left to go, make sure you check back all week for some last minute gift guidance! Happy Monday!

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Nobler Holiday Gift Guide – Floating Coolers

December 13, 2012

intex

It may be mid December, and you may be tempted to buy your special alcohol lover in your life something seasonal, but I’ve got a must have item that will have you looking forward to some warmer times…

I’ve written about our now annual summer clamming trip quite a bit in the past but it was this uncanny find by Emily just a few years ago of the Intex Mega Chill floating cooler that completely changed the game. These coolers hold two dozen cans plus ice in the center cooler and have 6 cup holders along the outside. We load this guy up (actually we have two) with beer, head out into the water and drink merrily as we build our haul of sometimes close to a hundred clams and oysters. It’s the greatest weekend of the year, every year, and the Intex makes it happen.

There’s no question, this floating cooler will be one of the most appreciated gifts of the season…

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Nobler Holiday Gift Guide – It’s All About Beer!

December 12, 2012

Time for some of the Noblers to get in on the Gift Guide mix. Here’s some great beer advice from Luke Fraser, writer of  the Beer Style Projectbeergifts

The upcoming holidays mean two things: holiday parties and gift giving.  Whether you are trying to make it through that family gathering, or wondering what to get that hard to buy for person, beer can provide the answer.

When most people think winter and beer they think dark.  While I certainly enjoy a dark beer as much as the next guy (see below), the holidays are also a time for celebration, and that always brings to mind something bright, bubbly and refreshing. A fantastic style of beer, that is often overlooked, is Berliner Weisse.  This style has been called both the ‘Champagne of the North’ after Napoleon’s troops took Berlin in 1809, and ‘the most refreshing beer style in the world’.   A great example of this style is Professor Fritz Briem 1809. This beer is light, highly effervescent and very slightly sour.  It drinks like a nice sparkling wine (think Prosecco). It’s a great beer for the beer aficionado, and for those that think they don’t like beer.

If you prefer sticking with dark beers I can suggest another German beer.   Schwazbier is another style that does not get enough love on this side of the Atlantic.  Mönchshof Schwarzbier has everything you want in a dark beer: it’s roasty, slightly bitter and really complex.  After hitting you with a really complex, interesting flavor the beer finishes incredibly cleanly.  You get great flavor, and could drink this all night.

You can find both of these beers at fine beer stores around New York City (Good Beer, Whole Foods on Houston, New Beer Distributors, Eagle Provisions).

Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher is a fantastic gift idea for beer geek.  It covers all aspects of beer, working through history, how beer is made, flavors, and a very thorough discussion of styles.  I enjoyed reading this book cover to cover, and frequently pull it off the shelf as a reference.

One very important, and often overlooked aspect of enjoying beer is glassware.  Many styles of beer have glassware associated with them for historical reasons.  For my money, though, the stemmed tulip glass is the best glass to use with almost any style of beer.  It looks great, the stems helps prevent your hand from heating up the beer and the bulbed shape captures and enhances the aroma. I drink almost all my beer out of Spiegelau Stemmed Pilsner Glasses. They are reasonably priced, the perfect size and the glass is very thin so the glass seems to just get out of the way. 

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Nobler Holiday Gift Guide – Owney’s Rum

December 11, 2012

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With all of the craft distillers opening up within NYC, you can’t really go wrong with gifting a bottle of local spirits. But if you are looking for a stand out option amongst the many contenders, I’d suggest you pick up a bottle of Owney’s Rum. In fact make it a few; you’ll want to keep one of these for your own collection as well…

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Last night the founder of The Noble Experiment distillery, Bridget C Firtle, hosted the Noblers for a tour and tasting and what we saw was both exciting and impressive. Bridget clearly has a knack for the historical relevance of the craft distillation boom in NYC and despite the tendencies of many to focus on American Whiskey (us included), her first product, Owney’s Rum is a throwback to the true original US distillate. She reminded us all of a time before the revolution where molasses from the British tropical territories was used to produce Rum in the some of the very first American distilleries. A major molasses tax, a revolutionary war, and some western migration later, corn and grain based spirits became the quintessential leaving Rum a bit forgotten.

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But after trying Owney’s Rum, it’s easy to get excited about what Bridget is doing to bring back rum in a big way. And I say Bridget, because one of the most impressive components of The Noble Experiment without a doubt is that from creation to batching to labeling (so yeah, just about everything), this operation is a one employee show. She called it crazy, we call it impressive, but no matter what you call it, it’s pretty inspiring.

And luckily for all of us, her efforts are rewarded with a unique and one of a kind spirit that makes a great addition to any liquor collection. Unlike the big named white rums out there, Owney’s is smooth and delicate to enjoy on its own but still contains the complexity needed to stand up to cocktail creation. Bridget herself is working on infusions and simple syrups that work well with Owney’s but just from a few tastes, I can tell you that this rum will be one of my go-tos in my own recipe making. Currently, there is only a handful of liquor stores selling Owney’s but you can grab yourself a bottle online at Astor Wines just in time for the perfect Holiday present.

Thanks to Bridget for a fantastic Nobler Gathering and best of luck with the Noble Experiment!

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Nobler Holiday Gift Guide – Go Vintage

December 10, 2012

Time for some of the Noblers to get in on the Gift Guide mix. Here’s some great advice from one of the originals, Marc Geffen…

antiquedecanter

A classy decanter is a great centerpiece for a home bar

Any good home bar is always a work in progress. It grows, diversifies, and evolves with your development of taste or with the shift from season to season. And so it seems that a good home bar should have something to say about time – and timelessness.

This nod to the past is what romanticizes the drinking experience, adding a taste of history to a well-crafted cocktail. Maybe that appreciation for time is what’s noble about our obsession with the alchemy of a good buzz. What does this have to do with a holiday gift guide? Well, here’s my suggestion: go vintage.

This idea came from my awesome mom, who, beyond being a talented interior decorator, is an avid antiquer and thrifter. She’s got a great eye for vintage pieces, and often passes her coolest finds on to me as gifts for my bar.

I’ve learned that a few one-of-a-kind pieces can bring your bar to the next level, and even elevate your home décor by bringing elements of nostalgia to your space. However, this is about more than just aesthetics.

Vintage items are unique: no one else is going to have the snifter-set you just bought your brother-in law. They are functional: sure, looks great, but your uncle will also use his 1960s shaker all the time, and he’ll probably prefer it over much of the new gear out there. Finally, vintage provides great value: you can get aesthetics, rarity and function for under $20…$10…$5.

So if you’re giving the wonderful gift of booze this holiday, why not pair it with a unique companion piece from your local Flea market or thrift shop? Below are a few examples of great vintage bar accessories that I’ve received over the years.

– Marc

1960’s cocktail shaker with essential mix recipes

1960’s cocktail shaker with essential mix recipes

bartendersguide

An inherited Bartender’s Guide, copyright 1934.

whiskeycontainer

Retro glass Whiskey container

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