GSN Alert: National Drink Beer Day – September 28th

Like most things, we look to the ancient Egyptians for answers. Historians point to beer as a ceremonial drink over 5,000 years ago because papyrus scrolls have been discovered documenting early beer recipes. But the Mesopotamians may have actually been the first to develop beer over 10,000 years ago, before recorded history.

Beer made its way to Europe and gained popularity during the Middle Ages. (Why drink polluted, possibly contaminated water, when you can drink a safer alternative, beer?) Eventually, German monks became master brewers, coming up with some of the fermentation techniques that brought the world closer to the beer we know and love today.

Did you know in European cities like Prague — ordering beer in a restaurant is cheaper than ordering water?

Europeans who arrived in the New World actually complained when they were out of beer and had to brew more. (Apparently, the love of beer was so strong, that upon arrival, brewing beer was one of the first things on the Pilgrims’ to-do list!)

Today, there are light beers with great flavor and less calories as well as dark beers like Guinness, served up warm in authentic English, Scottish and Irish pubs alike. There are ales and lagers which are distinguished by the type of yeast used in the fermentation process.

Is craft beer on your radar? Millennials especially are showing much more refined palates and a broad knowledge of all kinds of beer. You’ll find a wide spectrum of craft brews, foreign and domestic, to fit every taste.

If you’re really looking for something different, try hard cider. It has a great “kick” to it! Plus, Foodie Alert: Don’t miss the perfect opportunity to pair a great beer with a delicious dish. And if you’re the adventurous sort, DIY with a home brew kit.

So on National Drink Beer Day, drink responsibly and in moderation, but enjoy. Just this once, pass up the white wine or your evening Cabernet. Get a frothy, ice-cold glass of beer with a good “head” on it and remember that beer is no longer just your parents’ brew!

Courtesy National Today

GSN Alert: September 20th – National Rum Punch Day

A_Midnight_Modern_ConversationBack in my college days, I thought that punch equalled a 1.5l bottle of Silver Bacardi mixed together with a few cans of tropical flavored Hawaiian Punch.  After a few different occasions where this was the beverage of choice, I had enough to last me a lifetime and moved on to other less cloying things like IPA.  In fact, I hadn’t had any punch for a few decades until I read David Wondrich’s phenomenal book Imbibe! back in 2007.  I decided to make a batch of Philadelphia Fish House Punch for my first effort, and there’s been no turning back for me.  Granted, there is a bit of extra work involved than just emptying bottles into a large bowl (oleo-saccharum, anyone?), but it pays off in spades.  Not only is a real punch incredibly tasty, but you realize why punches are gaining popularity again.  These days, many of the best bars offer punch bowls on the menu, and some are even served with antique cups.

Here’s the recipe for PFHP (luckily, it doesn’t actually call for any fish).

Philadelphia Fish House Punch
(Servings: 18 – 20)
1 cup sugar
4 lemons, peeled and peels reserved
4 cups black tea (or water)
1 cup lemon juice
4 cups rum, Jamaican
2 cups cognac
1/2 cup peach brandy
Garnish: lemon wheels and freshly grated nutmeg

In a large bowl, add sugar and lemon peels, and rub together to release the citrus oils into the sugar. (This is called oleo-saccharum).
Allow oleo-saccharum to infuse for at least 30 minutes.
Dissolve sugar with warm water or tea.
Add rum, cognac, lemon juice and peach brandy and stir to mix.
Add a block of ice to chill, and continue to add smaller pieces of ice for desired dilution.
Garnish with lemon wheels and freshly grated nutmeg.
Ladle into individual glasses.

Another quite popular punch is Planter’s Punch, the recipe for which was first published as a poem in the New York Times on August 8, 1908.

Planter’s Punch
This recipe I give to thee,
Dear brother in the heat.
Take two of sour (lime let it be)
To one and a half of sweet,
Of Old Jamaica pour three strong,
And add four parts of weak.
Then mix and drink. I do no wrong —
I know whereof I speak.

Pretty easy to figure out what the measurements are, if you’re handy with a jigger.

Cheers!

GSN Alert: September 15th – National Crème de Menthe Day

Qtimthumb.phpuick!  How many classic crème de menthe based cocktails can you name? Go!

That’s what I thought.  Highlight the area to the right to see if you got them all -> Grasshopper, Stinger

Crème de menthe is one of those liqueurs that once you try, you will never forget.  For obvious reasons it is used in a fair amount of obscure Irish cocktails, but personally I avoid those.

Crème de menthe is not a cream based liqueur, but rather a category of spirits known as crèmes, which are more syrupy and sugar laden than standard liquors.  It is made from Corsican mint or peppermint and is either colorless (white) or vibrantly green.  Most products today use food coloring to achieve the effect.  The flavors are exactly the same however.

If you want to try making your own at home, here’s a recipe courtesy of Marcia Simmons, co-author of DIY Cocktails which I have previously reviewed here.

DIY Creme de Menthe
1 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves (divided)
1 1/2 cups vodka
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water

  • Measure out 1 cup of mint leaves and tear them in quarters Place mint leaves in a sealable glass jar and pour vodka on top. Shake and let steep for 12 hours.
  • After steeping is complete, strain mint leaves from infused vodka. Return infused vodka to the jar.
  • Bring the water and sugar to a boil, and let simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, then add syrup to mint-infused vodka.
  • Take the additional 1/2 cup of mint leaves, tear them, and add them to the jar. Shake and let steep for 10 hours.
  • Strain twice to remove all mint leaves, keep in resealable bottle. Keeps for two months.

GSN Alert: September 7th – National Beer Lover’s Day

Beer and the process of brewing beer may predate known history.  As varied as the methods, grains, and flavors, beer continues to change and evolve over time.
Virginia colonists brewed beer. William Penn included a place for brewing beer within the colony of Pennsylvania which can still be visited at Pennsbury Manor today. The first President of the United States recorded a recipe for brewing beer in his notes. Samuel Adams holds a place in both beer and tea history in this country.  There were a few beer lovers and patriots among the nation’s founders.
The United States also derives its rich brewing history from beer-loving German immigrants during the mid-1800s. Some of those immigrants families’ names are as familiar today as they were a hundred years ago.
While some names have faded into the past, smaller batch brewers continue to experiment with old and new recipes.  The crafting of beer carries rich traditions, often requiring years of training and experience in the trade. Depending on the brewery, the path to brewmaster may take years to develop the skill and expertise necessary to produce a quality beer every time.  One certain requirement is a love of beer and the craft. Toast to this iconic beverage on September 7th with a pint of your favorite!

GSN Alert: August 28th – National Red Wine Day

It’s always a good time for red wine, especially on August 28, National Red Wine Day. Today, we throw out all those stuffy rules about how and when to drink this nectar from the gods.  Instead, we grab our coolest glass and savor the taste of our favorite red wine.

Red wines including merlot, pinot noir, Bordeaux, cabernet sauvignon and blends like shiraz, don’t always have to rest at a  temperature of between 65-70 degrees before you can enjoy a glass.  In fact, there are some experts who say it’s perfectly acceptable to refrigerate red wines and drink them cold, especially during exceptionally hot weather.

So, ignore the wine snobs, make your choice and commit to drinking responsibly. Then, hoist your glass in a toast to National Red Wine Day.

Courtesy of National Today

GSN Alert: Tales of the Cocktail Foundation Announces Top 4 Finalists for the 2020 Spirited Awards®

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (August 24, 2020) — Tales of the Cocktail Foundation (TOTCF) is honored to debut this year’s Top 4 Finalists for the 14th annual Spirited Awards®. Founded in 2007, the Spirited Awards celebrate beverage professionals, products, and establishments across every facet of the global spirits and cocktail community. The award categories spotlight a range of talent from bartenders, journalists, and brand ambassadors, to brands and media, to ensure each aspect of the industry is well represented and recognized for its contributions.

This year the Foundation and its Co-Chairs have made some changes to champion this community more thoughtfully. The Best Bar Mentor category was expanded in order to recognize additional mentors worldwide who continue to nurture and inspire others. Previously, one mentor was selected annually, and now there are American and International recipients. Further, the Pioneer Award (which since its inception in 2012 has lived within the annual “Dame Hall of Fame,” program) has now been folded into the Spirited Awards. This decision was made in order to amplify the accomplishments of individuals who have made unique and lasting contributions to the accessibility and intersectionality of the global drinks community over their careers. Additionally, the “Philanthropy Award,” which was first introduced as a single award in 2019, will be used as a platform to highlight examples of the altruistic work that so many organizations and individuals are undertaking in the wake of the COVID-19 global health crisis.

After much consideration and discussion with the Spirited Awards Committee, the Foundation has made the decision to update its policy around repeat winners. Its goal in doing so is to acknowledge that past Spirited Award winners have received honor and recognition for their achievements, and the Foundation wants to ensure that others who have not yet had this recognition have the opportunity to be awarded for their work in 2019 and beyond. This policy went into effect after this year’s Top 10 announcement, which means that this year’s Top 10 nominees who had previously won the category they were again nominated for were determined ineligible for the Top Four Finalist list. Moreover, moving forward, if a bar has previously won “World’s Best Bar,” they are no longer eligible to win another Spirited Award, except for “Timeless” or “Philanthropy” (which are selected through a different set of criteria).

These new rules affected a handful of Top 10 nominees this year. As such, the Spirited Awards judges had to re-cast their votes for those categories in order to determine the new Top 4 Finalists. Mandating this change in the middle of the judging process was not easy. The Foundation believes it is imperative to ensure the Spirited Awards process is more transparent, equitable and fair. In the coming months, the Foundation will announce additional changes to the submission and judging process, designed to make the Spirited Awards more inclusive and accessible for all.

“For many months now, we debated whether an awards ceremony is what the world needs right now,” shared Caroline Rosen, President of Tales of the Cocktail Foundation. “Ultimately, we decided yes, we do need to continue to celebrate the resilience of our peers. Doubling down on philanthropic recognition and introducing categories that more accurately depict the range of voices contributing to the progress of our industry in meaningful ways — these are just a few of many steps forward we’re looking to make as an organization. Changing policies mid-awards cycle and recasting votes was a very difficult decision that we do not take lightly, but our hope is that it will create a more equitable and fair structure for all nominees.”

For the first time in history, the Spirited Awards will exist in an entirely digital format with a robust digital playbill spotlighting changes to this year’s awards, information on the nominees and insight into the process employed by Spirited Awards Co-Chairs. TOTCF will leverage its social media and digital platforms to celebrate global excellence. This will occur in two phases: a September 21 rollout of specific category winners via Tales’ website and a pre-recorded digital ceremony for select categories on September 24 (categories and dates denoted below). Given the volume of categories, spreading winner announcements out over the course of the Tales of the Cocktail® 2020 week will enable the organization to more thoroughly spotlight the winners and their work on the organization’s channels.

The Raise a Glass: 2020 Spirited Awards Preshow will be hosted on September 24th at 3pm CST and the awards presentation will begin at 4pm CST. For more information, visit www.talesofthecocktail.org.

2020 Spirited Awards Top 4 Finalists (listed in alphabetical order)*:

AMERICAN CATEGORIES

Best American Bar Team presented by William Grant & Sons

Winner announced on September 21

  • Café La Trova — Miami, FL
  • Jewel of the South — New Orleans, LA
  • Nickel City — Austin, TX
  • Pacific Cocktail Haven — San Francisco, CA

Best American Bar Mentor presented by BarSmarts

Winner announced at the Spirited Awards Ceremony on September 24

  • Bridget Albert
  • Alex Day
  • Lynn House
  • Don Lee

American Bartender of the Year presented by Pernod Ricard

Winner announced at the Spirited Awards Ceremony on September 24

  • Kevin Diedrich — Pacific Cocktail Haven, San Francisco, CA
  • Mary Palac — Paper Plane, San Jose, CA
  • Masahiro Urushido — Katana Kitten, New York, NY
  • Christine Wiseman — Broken Shaker, Los Angeles, CA

Best American Brand Ambassador presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Winner announced on September 21

  • Tad Carducci — Amaro Montenegro
  • Vance Henderson — Hendrick’s Gin
  • Robin Nance — Beam Suntory
  • Dominic Venegas — Pernod Ricard USA

Best American Cocktail Bar presented by Pernod Ricard

Winner announced on September 21

  • Best Intentions — Chicago, IL
  • Katana Kitten — New York, NY
  • Pacific Cocktail Haven — San Francisco, CA
  • Raised by Wolves — San Diego, CA

Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar presented by Diageo Bar Academy

Winner announced on September 21

  • ABV — San Francisco, CA
  • Anvil Bar & Refuge — Houston, TX
  • Café La Trova — Miami, FL
  • Nickel City — Austin, TX

Best American Hotel Bar presented by Diageo Bar Academy

Winner announced on September 21

  • Death & Co at the Ramble Hotel — Denver, CO
  • Libertine Social at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino — Las Vegas, NV
  • Mr. COCO at the Palms Casino Resort — Las Vegas, NV
  • The Spare Room at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel — Los Angeles, CA

Best American Restaurant Bar presented by Woodford Reserve 

Winner announced on September 21

  • Cleaver — Las Vegas, NV
  • Jewel of the South — New Orleans, LA
  • Jimmy’s — Aspen, CO
  • The Silver Dollar — Louisville, KY

Best New American Cocktail Bar presented by Elijah Craig

Winner announced on September 21

  • Bar Goto Niban — Brooklyn, NY
  • Century Grand — Phoenix, AZ
  • Silver Lyan — Washington, D.C.
  • Thunderbolt — Los Angeles, CA

INTERNATIONAL CATEGORIES

Best International Bar Team presented by House of Angostura 

Winner announced on September 21

  • La Factoría — San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • MAYBE SAMMY — Sydney, Australia
  • The Clumsies — Athens, Greece
  • The Connaught Bar — London, UK

Best International Bar Mentor presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Winner announced at the Spirited Awards Ceremony on September 24

  • Simone Caporale
  • Alex Kratena
  • Lauren Mote
  • Agostino Perrone

International Bartender of the Year presented by Martini & Rossi

Winner announced at the Spirited Awards Ceremony on September 24

  • Bannie Kang — MU, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Kelsey Ramage —  Supernova Ballroom, Toronto, Canada
  • Rémy Savage — Le Syndicat, Paris, France
  • Kaitlyn Stewart — Royal Dinette, Vancouver, Canada

Best International Brand Ambassador presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Winner announced on September 21

  • Camille Austin — Casa Lumbre Spirits
  • Martin Hudák — Mr Black Spirits
  • Daniyel Jones — The House of Angostura
  • Dave Mitton — Lot No. 40 & J.P. Wiser’s Canadian Whisky

Best International Cocktail Bar presented by Tequila Fortaleza

Winner announced on September 21

  • Floreria Atlántico — Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • MAYBE SAMMY — Sydney, Australia
  • Native — Singapore
  • Swift — London, UK

Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar presented by Beam Suntory

Winner announced on September 21

  • La Factoría — San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Licorería Limantour — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Panda & Sons — Edinburgh, Scotland
  • The Baxter Inn — Sydney, Australia

Best International Hotel Bar presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation 

Winner announced on September 21

  • Fifty Mils at the Four Seasons Hotel — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Punch Room at The London EDITION — London, UK
  • Scarfes Bar at the Rosewood Hotel — London, UK
  • The Bamboo Bar at the Mandarin Oriental — Bangkok, Thailand

Best International Restaurant Bar presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Winner announced on September 21

  • ámaZ — Lima, Peru
  • Le Mary Celeste — Paris, France
  • Sexy Fish — London, UK
  • Sober Company — Shanghai, China

Best New International Cocktail Bar presented by Perrier

Winner announced on September 21

  • BYRDI — Melbourne, Australia
  • Kwānt — London, UK
  • Tayēr + Elementary — London, UK
  • Tres Monos — Buenos Aires, Argentina

WRITING & MEDIA CATEGORIES

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Winner announced on September 21

  • DRiNK Magazine Asia
  • Half Full
  • The Spirits Business
  • VinePair

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writing presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Winner announced on September 21

  • “Mixopedia: Under Foot” by Wayne Curtis for Imbibe
  • “JaNee: Where is She Now” by Aaron Goldfarb for PUNCH
  • “Can There Be Terroir in Spirits?” by Kara Newman for Wine Enthusiast
  • “The Case for Drinking Scotch in Tiki Cocktails” by Becky Paskin for The Daily Beast

Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Winner announced on September 21

  • Cocktails with a Twist by Kara Newman
  • The NoMad Cocktail Book by Leo Robitschek
  • The Martini Cocktail: A Meditation on the World’s Greatest Drink, with Recipes by Robert Simonson
  • Minimalist Tiki: A Cocktail Wonk Look at Classic Libations and the Modern Tiki Vanguard by Matt Pietrek and Carrie Smith

Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History or Spirits presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Winner announced on September 21

  • Drunk in China: Baijiu and the World’s Oldest Drinking Culture by Derek Sandhaus
  • Last Call: Bartenders on Their Final Drink and the Wisdom and Rituals of Closing Time by Brad Thomas Parsons
  • Understanding Spirits: Explaining Style and Quality by Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET)
  • Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World by Derek Brown and Robert Yule

Best Broadcast, Podcast or Online Video Series presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Winner announced on September 21

  • Difford’s Guide
  • Happy Hour History
  • The Speakeasy
  • WhiskyCast

GLOBAL CATEGORIES

Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Winner announced on September 21

  • Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal Las Milpas
  • Heaven Hill 7 Year Bottled-in-Bond
  • Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice
  • Tequila Fortaleza Winter Blend 2019

World’s Best Cocktail Menu presented by Perrier

Winner announced on September 21

  • ATLAS Bar — Singapore
  • Little Red Door — Paris, France
  • Raised by Wolves — San Diego, CA
  • Tayēr + Elementary — London, UK

World’s Best Spirits Selection presented by Beam Suntory

Winner announced on September 21

  • Amor y Amargo – New York, NY
  • Raised by Wolves — San Diego, CA
  • Sexy Fish — London, UK
  • The Office — Chicago, IL

Timeless American Award presented by Q Mixers

  • Angel’s Share — New York, NY

Timeless International Award presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Boadas Cocktails — Barcelona, Spain

*By the time of the Awards, some bars may have closed temporarily or permanently in the wake of the pandemic. Some individuals listed might be furloughed or laid off at the time of the Awards, changing their bar or brand affiliation. The Spirited Awards assess the body of work from the year prior and represents how the individuals, establishments and brands were originally nominated.

The following Awards will be announced on September 24, 2020, during the digital Spirited Awards ceremony: Helen David Lifetime Achievement, presented by William Grant & Sons; Philanthropy, presented by Santa Teresa 1796 Rum; World’s Best Bar, presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation;  and the Pioneer Award, presented by Diageo Bar Academy.

“In this very difficult time in the global industry, it is some rare good news to be able to celebrate the hard work of bartenders and bars around the world,” said Jacob Briars, Spirited Awards International Chair. “My hope is that the Awards this year shine a light on this amazing, resilient community, as well as inspiring the public to visit these great nominees.”

Spirited Awards Chairs:

Below is a list of Spirited Awards Chairs, responsible for overseeing the judging process this year:

Spirited Awards Overall Chair — Charlotte Voisey

Spirited Awards International Chair — Jacob Briars

Central U.S. Co-Chairs —  Bridget Albert, Shaun Traxler

West U.S. Co-Chairs — Kiowa Bryan, Mary Palac

East U.S. Co-Chairs — Laura Cullen, Andy Seymour

Europe Co-Chairs — Guiseppe Gallo, Claire Warner

Canada Co-Chairs — Evelyn Chick, Lauren Mote

Middle East & Africa Co-Chairs — Richard Irwin, Stephanie Simbo

Latin America & Caribbean Co-Chairs — Camille Austin, Tato Giovannini

Asia Pacific Co-Chair — Hayley Morison

Writing & Media Co-Chairs — Paul Clarke, Sandrea Lawrence, Francois Monti, Matthew Rowley

“The Spirited Awards not only unite hospitality at a time when we need it the most, they have allowed us to shine a bright light on the talent, passion and dedication of more incredible parts of the world. Although we may not be able to visit many of these vibrant establishments at the moment, the Awards are a reminder that no matter the distance, we are all united through a love of people, culture, food and drink,” shared Latin American & Carribean Spirited Awards Co-Chair Camille Austin.

JUDGES:

Spirited Awards judges are a collection of respected bartenders, bar owners, educators and writers from across the globe entrusted with this critical calling. Drawing on their years of experience and their knowledge of the current work being done locally, nationally and internationally, together the judges can evaluate nominees from far and wide to ensure that the Spirited Awards represents the breadth and diversity of the global drinks industry. Over the past year, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation worked with the regional chairs to ensure this year’s judging panel would be more geographically diverse and focused on recruiting more judges from mid-sized markets to better represent the range of the industry on a global scale. This is especially evident in the addition of three new Writing & Media Co-Chairs who span the globe for 2020. The Spirited Awards® are not based on popular vote and all nominations will be evaluated by their respective judging committees.

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ABOUT TALES OF THE COCKTAIL FOUNDATION:

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is a non-profit organization that educates, advances and supports the global hospitality industry and creates lasting impact in our host communities. Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is the global leader in spirits education and a platform to tackle issues facing the industry. The pillars of the Foundation are to Educate, Advance and Support the hospitality industry through programs that benefit individuals and organizations in the community and to make a lasting impact in communities that host our events. Tales of the Cocktail® 2020 will be held digitally from September 21 – 24, 2020. For more information on Tales of the Cocktail, please visit www.talesofthecocktail.org

GSN Alert: August 25th – National Whiskey Sour Day

Each year on August 25, people across the United States observe National Whiskey Sour Day. “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” – Mark Twain

Traditionally garnished with half an orange and a maraschino cherry, a whiskey sour is a mixed drink containing whiskey (often Bourbon), lemon juice and sugar.  Whiskey sours are shaken then either served straight or over ice.

An alternative to the traditional whiskey sour is the Boston sour which is made by adding a dash of egg white to the recipe.  Another variation is the Ward 8.  The Ward 8 has a base of either Bourbon or rye whiskey with both lemon and orange juices and grenadine syrup added for sweetness.

GSN Alert: August 7th – International Beer Day

Beer is  one of the oldest drinks the world has ever known. International Beer Day gives fans worldwide just one more excuse to have a round on the first Friday in August. Beer has a reputation as the drink of choice for the ordinary working man or woman. When it’s served up cold and frothy or strong and we celebrate International Beer Day on the first Friday in August every year – August 7, 2020 –, when summer’s end begins to loom large. The start of another weekend beckons us to put aside our work, set aside differences, and come together to celebrate our shared love of beer.

Beer somehow manages to do what politicians have tried to do for centuries – unite people in a common cause for good. Our insatiable thirst for beer gives us reason to pause; to stop what we’re doing, sit down and converse with one another over a pint or two. The conversation may be pleasant or not, calm or animated, but somehow beer makes it possible to agree to disagree and still walk away friends. Plenty of us have no doubt solved many of the world’s problems over a few pints of beer.

Celebrating mankind’s common thirst for what is likely the world’s oldest and most beloved beverage is what International Beer Day is all about. Humans have been fascinated with beer since the first grains were accidentally discovered to have fermented, producing a bubbly aromatic product that someone dared to taste then drink, did not die but instead felt a lovely little buzz, smiled and said, “Wow.” Mankind has been obsessed ever since with perfecting beer recipes and brewing processes in pursuit of the next “Wow.”

Beer has been consumed by almost every culture throughout human history. The oldest evidence of man’s obsession with brewing beer dates back to ancient Babylonia and Mesopotamia. Archaeologists have unearthed recipes for beer that were written on clay tablets in 4300 B.C., and ceramic vessels from 3400 B.C. that are still sticky with beer residue. Everyone drank beer in ancient Egypt: pharaohs, peasants, priests, even children, as part of their everyday diet.

What may be the first song about beer, “Hymn to Ninkasi”—an ode to the Sumerian goddess of beer—dates back to 1800 B.C.  and includes a recipe for a beer brewed by female priestesses.

By the Middle Ages, Christian monks were brewing beers, and introduced the use of hops. Until then, beers were brewed with local additives like dates and olive oils to add flavor. Today’s beers continue to be brewed with hops, herbs, or fruits that add flavor. Macro, micro, or craft, the art of brewing beer today remains a craft that employs age-old techniques carefully perfected over centuries and millennium.

Courtesy of National Today

GSN Alert: July 27th – National Scotch Day

Observed each year on July 27, National Scotch Day celebrates the iconic whisky. In order to be considered scotch, this classy and distinctive spirit must be made in Scotland. It must be fermented from malted barley, aged in oak barrels for at least three years and have an ABV or alcohol content of less than 94.8%. While most scotch is made with barley, water and yeast; other grains can be included.  All fermentation additives are excluded, per law. There are five distinct classifications of Scotch whisky including single malt scotch, single grain scotch, blended malt scotch, blended grain scotch and blended scotch. Scotch is often identified by the region where it was produced and each region has its own characteristics that influence taste. Despite scotch being made in Scotland,  you can enjoy the spirit anywhere. Kilt not required.

Courtesy of NationalToday.com

GSN Alert: July 24th – National Tequila Day

July 24th means National Tequila Day, and National Tequila Day means twenty four consecutive hours, 1440 consecutive minutes, and 86,400 consecutive seconds of honoring good times had with your favorite liquor over salt & lime. Just enjoy those good times responsibly, don’t swig that beautiful blue agave elixir behind the wheel, and do read up on its storied history in Mexico, the broader American Southwest, and beyond.

Tequila’s precursor, a milky, frothy agave drink known as pulque, dates all the way back to Mesoamerican times circa 1000 B.C., when indigenous Mexican tribes would commonly harvest and ferment it. It wouldn’t be until 16th Century A.D., however, that the contemporary tequila we know and love would be first produced, around a territory of land that wouldn’t officially become known as Tequila until 1666.

That wouldn’t stop Spanish aristocrat Don Pedro Sánchez de Tagle from opening the world’s first tequila factory 66 years prior in Jalisco, the Mexican state where the modern city of Tequila is located. It definitely wouldn’t stop Don Jose Antonio de Cuervo from founding the first Vino Mezcal de Tequila de Jose Cuervo in Tequila over a century later in 1795, birthing the world’s most successful tequila brand to this day.

The origins of Tequila are fairly well documented, but unfortunately, the history of National Tequila Day’s origins are a little murkier. Not much can be found on who originated the holiday, what originated the holiday, and why it takes place on the dates it does. Perhaps the originators imbibed a little too much on their own supply to remember. Regardless, common zeitgeist rules that National Tequila Day takes place on July 24th in the United States, and the Mexican Senate just ruled in 2018 that their own occurs on the third Saturday of every March.

Courtesy of National Today

GSN Alert: July 19th – National Daiquiri Day

hemingdaq

Ernest Hemingway with his namesake Daiquiri

National Daiquiri Day happens each year on July 19, when people fill their glasses with this rum-based cocktail. Did you know the daiquiri was likely invented by Cuban miners? An engineer named Jennings Cox supervised a mine in a village named Daiquiri in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. After work, Cox and his colleagues would gather at the local bar. One day Cox mixed Bacardi, sugar, and lime into a glass of ice. Named after the Daiquiri mines, the drink became a popular staple in Havana.

Below are three versions of the Daiquiri worth trying today in honor of the holiday.  Each has its own character and flavor.  All are lovely on a hot summer’s day.

Daiquiri
1.5 oz White rum
0.5 oz Simple syrup
1 oz Fresh Lime juice
Pour all ingredients into shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain in chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with half a lime slice.

Floridita
2 ounces White rum
0.75 ounce Fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Sugar or simple syrup (or less, to taste)
1 teaspoon Maraschino liqueur
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker (if using granulated sugar, stir to dissolve it in the lime juice before adding the other ingredients) and fill with ice. Shake well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a thin slice of lime.

Hemingway
2 oz Light rum
0.75 oz Fresh lime juice
0.5 oz Fresh pink grapefruit juice
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Maraschino liqueur
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

 

GSN Alert: July 14th – National Grand Marnier Day

J.Labanda-2It feels as if Grand Marnier has been around for at least a few centuries.  But, this quintessential spirit only dates back to 1880.  The recipe was created by Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle who worked at a fruit liqueur distillery owned by his wife’s grandfather.  He sourced Citrus Bagaradia oranges grown in the West Indies, which are still used in the production today.  The Cognac base is made from the Ugni Blanc grape grown in the Cognac region of France.  Sugar syrup is added, and then everything is aged in oak casks and filtered before bottling.

Here are a few classic cocktails for you to try that call for Grand Marnier:

Leap Year
2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
1 dash lemon juice
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Satan’s Whiskers
3/4 ounce gin
3/4 ounce dry vermouth
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce orange juice
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
1 dash orange bitters
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

GSN Alert: July 10th – National Piña Colada Day

other-caribe-pina-coladaPiña Colada translates to “strained pineapple”, but of course there’s more to it than that.  In fact, the cream of coconut is key to achieving the perfect balance of tropical flavors.  Coco López which was invented in 1948 in Puerto Rico by Don Ramon Lopez Irizarry.  The canned coconut product soon found its way around the country’s bars and by 1954 it was used at the Caribe Hilton Hotel’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan.  One of the hotel’s bartenders, Ramón ‘Monchito’ Marrero Pérez (pictured at left), it generally the person credited with inventing the classic silver-age cocktail. Twenty-four years later, the Puerto Rican government recognized the Piña Colada as the national drink.

Here’s the original recipe as specified by Ramón Pérez.

“Pour 3 ounces of coconut cream, 6 ounces of pineapple juice and 112 ounces of white rum into a blender or shaker with crushed ice, and blend or shake very well until smooth. Pour into chilled glass, garnish with pineapple wedge and/or a maraschino cherry.”

The Caribe Hilton Hotel still serves the original, but also offers a molecular mixology version which contains coconut oil infused white rum, clarified pineapple juice, house made pineapple syrup and coconut water, served with a coconut ice pop.

Now I’m thirsty.  ¡Salud!