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  • Hot Takes with La Maison & Velier's Kate Perry
    October 25, 2018 Patrick Smith

    Hot Takes with La Maison & Velier's Kate Perry

    We love nerding out with passionate people about particular products.  To celebrate the Habitation Velier line's arrival, Kate Perry, rum expert, former GM of Seattle's Rumba, and now North American Market Manager for La Maison & Velier, graciously let our own rum devotee, Patrick Smith, pepper her with questions. Get informed and thirsty!
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  • Your Frontier Field Guide to American Whiskey
    October 15, 2018 Patrick Smith

    Your Frontier Field Guide to American Whiskey

    We talk to people all the time who know they like American whiskey, but maybe don’t know exactly where to start. Sometimes they’ll know a few bottles they’ve tried and liked, sometimes they aren’t sure it’s Bourbon or Rye or a Single Malt they go for, and sometimes they just aren’t quite sure what whiskey is at all. That’s what we’re here for!

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  • 6 Handy Brandy Cocktails for a Dandy Good Time
    September 23, 2018 Patrick Smith

    6 Handy Brandy Cocktails for a Dandy Good Time

    Brandy may be scarce on many of today’s cocktail menus, but it’s really the OG spirit of classic cocktails, and we think it deserves a bit of a Renaissance. Brandies of various kinds were distilled throughout the American northeast before Whiskey was ever even dreamed up farther inland, fueling the livers of the revolution and eventually making some of the first cocktails. Old school drinks that we generally associate with whiskey, like an old fashioned or Sazerac, were originally made with brandy, before changing national tastes made American whiskey the barrel aged spirit du jour.

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  • Lemorton Calvados and the Quest for an Honest Spirit
    September 17, 2018 Patrick Smith

    Lemorton Calvados and the Quest for an Honest Spirit

    The Lemorton family is one of the most notable and unique producers of Calvados, having been growing apples and pears and producing brandies from them in Normandy for generations. On a recent trip to the area, I got to visit with them, take in the sights, smells, and tastes, and discover just what makes this traditional, family made spirit so special.
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  • Lowering The Bar: Uncorking The Facts About Brandy
    August 31, 2018 Patrick Smith

    Lowering The Bar: Uncorking The Facts About Brandy

    What the hell is brandy anyway?

    The most common kind of brandy, and what most people are talking about when they say brandy, is produced from grapes, and is often aged in barrels, though not always. The grapes are picked younger than is usual for table wine production, making a more acidic and less sugary white wine, which is then distilled into an eau de vie, or unaged brandy, before generally going into oak barrels.

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  • Will the real Margarita please stand up?
    July 30, 2018 Patrick Smith

    Will the real Margarita please stand up?

    The Margarita is perhaps the most oft quaffed cocktail in America, where people who don’t even consider themselves cocktail drinkers will still regularly order one. It’s almost a category all it’s own, millions of them served daily by the veritable “Tex-Mex Industrial Complex”, that inescapable Americanized Mexican restaurant with the same 7 ingredients served in various guises along with any variety of fruit flavored ‘rita your little heart desires. But what is a Margarita, really?
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  • Causing A Stir With Agave: Six Spirit-Forward Tequila and Mezcal Cocktails
    July 10, 2018 Patrick Smith

    Causing A Stir With Agave: Six Spirit-Forward Tequila and Mezcal Cocktails

    Agave spirits, much like Mexico itself, have a complicated relationship with American drinkers. Our common association with Agave spirits is that of parties, fruity drinks, and bad decisions. Margaritas are the first, and often only drink that comes to mind when folks are confronted with the question of Agave cocktails, maybe a Paloma if they are especially well traveled and sensitive to local proclivities. But again, like Mexico, Agave is so much more than this.
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  • Keeping It Couth With Vermouth
    June 27, 2018 Patrick Smith

    Keeping It Couth With Vermouth

    Poor vermouth. It’s the Rodney Dangerfield of many a home bar: everyone has some, but dammit, it gets no respect. It’s the key ingredient in your beloved Manhattan, Martini, or Negroni, but at shopping time it rarely receives the same attention that your Whiskey or Gin selection does. Generally, this isn’t out of a true disdain for the stuff, but rather habit and lack of awareness of what it really is. 
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  • A Very Sherry Situation
    June 20, 2018 Patrick Smith

    A Very Sherry Situation

    My first association with sherry was as a boy reading the Harry Potter books, in which the crazed, clairvoyant, and apparently alcoholic teacher, Professor Trelawney, is constantly described as smelling strongly of cooking sherry. Although I had no clue what sherry was, this association with the “crazy, spinster aunt” type stuck. I proceeded to live my life quite happily for some years before being untimely sucked into the world of cocktails, where I found myself avoiding recipes that called for all varieties of this mysterious sherry, never quite being sure of what it was or where I would start with it, not to mention the probably deep seated fear that I may eventually become a spinster myself if I tried it. 
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  • Spritzes & Fizzes & Highballs, Oh, My!
    June 13, 2018 Patrick Smith

    Spritzes & Fizzes & Highballs, Oh, My!

    While a stiff drink never goes out of style, in the summer heat it’s hard to beat something refreshing, something bubbly enough to tickle your tongue as well as it tickles your fancy. Enter our three summertime players: the Spritz, the Fizz, and the Highball. 
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  • A Gin Cocktail Odyssey, Act II: You Only Live Twice
    May 23, 2018 Patrick Smith

    A Gin Cocktail Odyssey, Act II: You Only Live Twice

    Cocktails that have been consistently ordered at cocktail joints in some form since they were first served long ago. That’s a classic. But what about all those old cocktails that seemingly went the way of the Dodo? What are those? Well, we’re simply calling them Vintage cocktails, and luckily tons of them have been rediscovered by curious bartenders, thirsty historians, and scholarly cocktail drinkers of all stripes.
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