2019 James Beard Award Nominees (Just the drinks)

2019 James Beard Foundation Book Awards

Category: Beverage
Apéritif: Cocktail Hour the French Way
Rebekah Peppler
(Clarkson Potter)

The Aviary Cocktail Book
Grant Achatz, Nick Kokonas, Micah Melton, Allen Hemberger, and Sarah Hemberger
(The Alinea Group)

Cocktail Codex
Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, David Kaplan, and Devon Tarby
(Ten Speed Press)

Wine Folly: Magnum Edition
Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack
(Avery)

2019 James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards

Category: Wine, Spirits, and Other Beverages

“The Gulp War”
Dave Stroup
Eater

“‘Welch’s Grape Jelly with Alcohol’: How Trump’s Horrific Wine Became the Ultimate Metaphor for His Presidency”
Corby Kummer
Vanity Fair

“Why Is the Wine World So Un-Woke?”
Jon Bonné
Punch

Outstanding Bar Program
A restaurant or bar that demonstrates exceptional care and skill in the selection, preparation, and serving of cocktails, spirits, and/or beer.

Bar Agricole
San Francisco

Dead Rabbit
NYC

Kimball House
Decatur, GA

Lost Lake
Chicago

Ticonderoga Club
Atlanta

Outstanding Wine Program (Presented by Robert Mondavi Winery)
A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in wine service through a carefully considered wine list and a well-informed approach to helping customers choose and drink wine.

Bacchanal
New Orleans

Benu
San Francisco

Miller Union
Atlanta

Night + Market
Los Angeles

Spiaggia
Chicago

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer
A beer, wine, or spirits producer who demonstrates consistency and exceptional skill in his or her craft.

Cathy Corison
Corison Winery
St. Helena, CA

Ann Marshall and Scott Blackwell
High Wire Distilling Co.
Charleston, SC

Steve Matthiasson
Matthiasson Wines
Napa, CA

Rob Tod
Allagash Brewing Company
Portland, ME

Lance Winters
St. George Spirits
Alameda, CA

GSN Alert: April 19th – National Amaretto Day

Amaretto_Bottles_4 Today is National Amaretto Day.  I’ll bet you had no idea.  Well, break out that dusty bottle from where it’s languishing in your closet and fix yourself an Amaretto Sour while I tell you a little background behind this unusual liqueur.

Amaretto Sour
2 oz Amaretto liqueur
1 oz Fresh squeezed lemon juice
½  fresh organic Egg white
2 dashes Aromatic Bitters

Dry shake (without ice) all ingredients. Add ice, shake again and strain into ice-filled glass.

Amaretto literally means “a little bitter”.  The original recipe contained bitter almond, but today’s liqueurs tend to be quite sweet.  We’ve all tasted a brand at least once.  Usually our first experience was sneaking a swig from our parents liquor cabinet.  Memorable and probably not our finest drinking moment.  “It has essence of tree nut, with elements of cane sugar”.

Yet, Amaretto has a long and distinguished heritage.  And it’s not necessarily almonds that you’re tasting.

Interestingly, the world’s best-selling brand DiSaronno contains no almonds, but rather uses a blend of seventeen herbs, fruits and most importantly apricot pits.  In fact, this recipe has been around since 1525, so who’s to say whether the product is supposed to be almond or apricot pit flavored?

Lastly, Portland bartender extraordinaire Jeffery Morganthaler claims to have perfected the world’s best Amaretto Sour.  You can check out his version here.

GSN Alert: April 9th – International Gin & Tonic Day

b42086b2206396354f7173a543355bc0“85% of all known worlds in the Galaxy, be they primitive or highly advanced, have invented a drink called jynnan tonnyx, or gee-N’N-T’N-ix, or jinond-o-nicks, or any one of a thousand or more variations on the same phonetic theme. The drinks themselves are not the same, and vary between the Sivolvian “chinanto/mnigs” which is ordinary water served at slightly above room temperature, and the Gagrakackan “tzjin-anthony-ks” which kills cows at a hundred paces; and in fact the one common factor between all of them, beyond the fact that the names sound the same, is that they were all invented and named before the worlds concerned made contact with any other worlds.” – Douglas Adams

Be that as it may, we here on planet Earth will be celebrating International Gin & Tonic Day this weekend.  Cheers!

Gin and Tonic
2 oz. London dry gin
Tonic water (from a fresh bottle)
1-2 ample wedges of lime
Plenty of cold ice cubes
Highball glass

Preparation
1) Chill the glass. You may want to fill it with ice, then empty it and refill, as some bartenders do with a martini glass.
2) Fill the glass with whole ice cubes. If you wish, take a wedge of lime and moisten the rim the glass with it.
3) Pour the gin over the ice, which should be cold enough that it crackles when the liquor hits it.
4) Fill glass almost to the top with tonic.
5) Squeeze one wedge of lime into the glass. Drop the squeezed lime into the drink as a garnish if you like; it’s not necessary, but can add a bit of extra flavor. (If you do, notes Dale DeGroff, make sure the peel has been washed.) Serve.

GSN Alert: April 7th -National Beer Day

National Beer Day is celebrated in the United States every year on April 7, marking the day that the Cullen–Harrison Act was enacted after having been signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on March 22, 1933. This led to the Eighteenth Amendment being repealed on December 5, 1933, with ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. April 6, the day prior to National Beer Day, is known as New Beer’s Eve.

National Beer Day was first created in 2009 by Justin Smith of Richmond, Virginia. After much prodding from his friend, Mike Connolly, Smith started a Facebook page that was noticed by Colorado Beer Examiner, Eli Shayotovich. Smith’s promotion of the new holiday via various social media outlets was rewarded when the beer drinking app, “Untappd”, created a badge for National Beer Day that rewarded participants that checked a beer into the app on April 7. National Beer Day has since been trending every year on April 7 using the hashtag #NationalBeerDay.

GSN Alert: International Whisk(e)y Day – March 27th

0403-whiskey-battle-970Whisk(e)y is such a ubiquitous spirit that it is hard to imagine cocktail culture without it.  Think of all the iconic drinks from the Old-Fashioned to the Manhattan to the Sazerac to the Penicillin.  And there are nearly as many countries known for their own particular take on the “water of life”.  Scotland, Ireland, Canada, America, Japan are just the major epicenters of distillation.  Then, you’ve got a variety of styles.  Single malt, single grain, blended, unaged, aged in a plethora of different wood barrels.  It is truly amazing.

So, on this day, toast with a glass of your favorite either neat, straight up, on the rocks, or mixed into a cocktail.  Without whiskey, our lives would be lacking a little joy.

Cheers!

The Editorial Staff

GSN Alert: March 24th – National Cocktail Day

keep-calm-and-wait-for-march-24thOf course every day is Cocktail Day, but now there’s an official holiday!  

The history of the cocktail starts over 425 years ago in 1586. At that time, people drank an incredible amount of alcohol every day, much more than we do now. They drank beer or other beverages for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Children drank it, pregnant women drank it, monks and priests drank it. It touched every part of life.

And this was especially true on board ships. Ships of the time would be at sea for months sometimes without seeing land or taking on new supplies. So rum, beer, wine and other beverages were really important to keep sailors healthy.  Why not water?  The reason was that water was typically unclean from lack of sanitation, but using it to create alcohol of some kind killed the germs that made people sick.

In 1586 the English privateer Sir Francis Drake was pillaging the Spanish settlements in the Caribbean. The English called him a hero, but to the Spanish he was nothing more than a pirate.

On one fateful trip to sack Havana, Drake found his men suffering from malnutrition and scurvy, so he sent a shore party to land in the southernmost tip of Florida called Matecumbe to find local natives who could show them nearby medicinals that would make his men better.

And that’s just what the locals did.

They mixed the bark from a tree called chuchuhuasi with distilled sugar cane juice, known as aguardiente, raw sugar cane juice, lime and mint. (click here for the recipe)

Do these ingredients sound familiar?

This is the precursor to the Mojito, which was supposedly invented in Havana. As it turns out, it was simply modified in Havana not invented. They just dropped the tree bark from the drink and used rum instead of aquardiente.

The concoction worked, by the way. Drake’s men got better, and they went about their business, attacking Fort Augustine not long after.

So here we have the first recorded mixed drink—what we’d consider a cocktail (strong, weak, sour, sweet and bitters).

Information courtesy of Bucketlistbars.com

GSN Alert: National Absinthe Day – March 5th

art_nouveau_absinthe_poster_by_mybeautifulmonsters-d4ya3ntWho would have guessed that there would ever be a National Absinthe Day?  Since it was banned in the United States in 1912, and prohibition nailing the coffin shut in 1919, it is really a miracle that absinthe is back on the market.  2015 marks the ninth anniversary of this new holiday devoted to the Green Fairy.

In celebration of this event, here is the traditional way to enjoy a glass.  And no, you don’t light it on fire!

  • Pour a measure of absinthe in an absinthe glass
  • Place a sugar cube on a flat perforated spoon on top of the glass
  • Drip ice-cold water on the sugar cube to slowly dissolve it
  • Add three to six parts water to the glass
  • Take your time, sip. The slower, the better

If you’re looking for a cocktail that calls for absinthe, try this one from the classic Savoy Cocktail Book published in 1930.

Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail
Absinthe
.75 oz Plymouth Gin
.75 oz Cointreau
.75 oz Lillet Blanc
.75 oz Lemon juice
Rinse a chilled cocktail glass with absinthe and set aside. Add the remaining ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into the prepared glass.  Be revived!