Philadelphia Fish House Punch

Or how to restore punch to its former glory

28th Mar 2011

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Until recently, my first thought upon hearing the word "punch" was a frat party, something electric red, and indiscriminate drinking--a concoction spiked with a slew of spirits that might be laying around and then covered in Koolaid. That seems to be the reputation punch has gotten—but if cocktail writer Dave Wondrich has anything to say about it , we are all missing the point. Punch is not...

The Winter Gimlet | Province Restaurant, Chicago

A Variation on a Classic That Goes Down a Little Easier

10th Feb 2011

Winter Gimlet with Old Tom Gin

Ah, gimlets. I've always been too much of a wuss to enjoy them. The gimlet is all harsh lime and bracing alcohol, befitting to manlier men like the British seaman who invented it, at some point in the 19th century, halfway across the Atlantic. They were looking for their allotment of vitamin C (scurvy sucks), had Rose's lime juice , and they were drinking a lot of gin. How's that for a cockt...

Two Cocktails to Celebrate New Years Eve in Style

With one secret ingredient

31st Dec 2010
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For the third year in a row, Nick and I will be spending our New Years Eve with friends eating tacos and drinking cocktails. It's become something of a tradition, fondly known as Cocktails and Carnitas , and I can hardly wait.

It's a given that the food is good. But we also believe in drinking very, very good cocktails. Cocktail. Rather than conjuring up images of sugary vodka-laced conco...

The Rum Sidecar

Substituting brandy in this variation on a classic cocktail.

9th Apr 2010

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Making cocktails is a tricky business. The balance--between sour and sweet, harsh and smooth--can easily be lost if one isn't careful; most recipes are so expertly calibrated that making any kind of substitution is a bad idea. A cocktail is often a significant investment that goes down the drain if you screw it up (or in my case, gulped down with a wince because I am incapable of admitting...

The Strange Appeal of Vinegar in a Cocktail

Taking the balance in a whole new direction

18th Mar 2010

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Do they belong together?

Most cocktails have too much sugar in them. I'm not sure when the barrage of overly sweet cocktails began (not to mention the tradition of putting mini umbrellas in the glass), but it leaves me with a stomach ache. Unlike the bracing experience of an Old Fashioned, possibly the first cocktail to be invented in a dusty bar in the 19th century, a succinct, aromatic si...

Homemade Compound Gin (No Bathtub Required)

What we did with an unwanted bottle of vodka

25th Feb 2010

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I cannot be fooled. If a bartender accidentally swaps vodka for some gin in my drink, I can tell. I'm not trying to be difficult, but I will send it back. Why?

Because I hate vodka. Hate hate hate hate it. I hate the way it smells, and how it makes me feel. While I can talk your ear off about every other spirit you throw at me (Gin, Rum, Tequila, and especially Bourbon), I don't really have...

Wednesday Links: Can You Learn to Cook from Cookbooks?

10th Feb 2010

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Welcome to Wednesday Links, our weekly collection of the most interesting food links we've discovered in the past week. Enjoy!

What's the Recipe?
Can you learn to cook from cookbooks? We linked to this article a few weeks ago and this week it's making the blog rounds.  Adam Gopnick believes "you can only learn from watching someone in the kitchen."

On Cookbooks
Ruth Reichl does...

Wednesday Links: Olive Oil Barons, Secret Ramen Shops, and How to Be a Terrible Bartender

3rd Feb 2010

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[Photo by Basil Childers for The New York Times]

Welcome to Wednesday Links. This is our weekly collection of four of the most interesting food links we've discovered in the past week. Enjoy!

The Olive Oil Barons
Awesome story about growing olives and pressing them into oil from a couple of complete amateurs.  Who knew that slightly less ripe olives are important for a peppery taste?...

Idea Lab: What To Do With An Unwanted Bottle of Vodka?

Other uses for the unloved spirit.

2nd Feb 2010

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I have this large bottle of vodka and I don't know what to do with it. It was lugged over by a friend (Blake) during a party as some kind of gift for the festivities, but I could see through his evil plan. He was trying to pawn this half finished bottle off on me because he didn't want to drink it. Sure enough, while the whiskey and gin were manhandled during the party, stirred and shaken into...

Wednesday Links: Cocktail Videos and Grits for Northerners

27th Jan 2010

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Welcome to Wednesday Links. This is our weekly collection of four of the most interesting food links we've discovered in the past week. Enjoy!

Cocktail Techniques
Recently Gary Regan released his list of basic cocktail techniques, and the San Francisco Chronicle convinced Neyah White and Jackie Patterson to demonstrate them on camera. Of particularly note: how to correctly stir a cockt...

Wednesday Links: The New Classic Cocktails, Mad Science and How to Buy a Duck

6th Jan 2010

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[Photographs: Evan Sung and Christopher Smith for The New York Times ]

Welcome to the first edition of Wednesday Links. This is our weekly collection of four of the most interesting food links we've discovered in the past week. Enjoy!

Nick:

Heston Blumenthal's Mad Scientist Christmas Dinner
This video showcases Heston's perfect Christmas meal...and I thought my Christmas dinner of f...

Year in Review: The Allure of Alcohol

Our favorite drinks of 2009.

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Obviously, this site is mostly devoted to cooking, and always has been. But watchful readers may have noticed over the years the occasional post slipped in about drinking. We've thankfully improved our recipes since the very first drinking post on this site, which involved mixing dark beer from New York's oldest pub, McSorley's, and some cheap vanilla ice cream. The result was the beer shake...

My Perfect Daisy with Homemade Grenadine

It's pink, but manly

9th Dec 2009

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To stretch the metaphor, the essential DNA of the Daisy involves adding a little soda water to a Sour (spirit, citrus, sweetener). Beyond that, though, you can take some liberties .
- Imbibe Magazine

If you're not too careful, cocktails can swallow you into an alternative universe of reason where there are no right answers. The perfectly proportioned Negroni , which I wrote a...

The Negroni

Perhaps the most perfect cocktail.

13th Nov 2009

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"A proper Negroni is as perfectly and tripodically balanced as, say, a water molecule. "
- Jonathan Miles

The Negroni is an incorruptible drink. While the martini can be perverted by nefarious substances like apple pucker and vodka and many places make Margaritas by simply drizzling a little tequila in a cup of sugary mix, a Negroni is a Negroni. It has three ingredients (gin, sw...

The Tombstone Whiskey Cocktail

Whisky and sugar combine to make an unforgettable cocktail.

2nd Oct 2009

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Recently Nick and I were in the gritty West Loop neighborhood of Chicago, after a long, pork-ridden meal at The Publican , where we fed on cracklins, rillettes, belly, shoulder, and all manner of sausages. We slipped out of the restaurant happy and stuffed into the long fluorescent shadows, in search of a good bar to aid all the oncoming digesting to be done.

We ended up at Matchbox ...

Benedictine Spread and a Mint Julep or Two

Nick throws a perfect Derby party.

30th Apr 2009

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The authentic Julep is a drink from the Heroic Age of American Tippling, and as such is not for novices. That's perhaps the chief reason it's fallen out of favor in these weak-livered times.
- David Wondrich

I'll get to the julep soon enough.  But first I want to talk about the Kentucky Derby.  Though I grew up on the Indiana side of the Ohio River, I don't care much about the Indy 5...

The Young Man and the Cocktail

The perfection introduction to mixed drinks.

23rd May 2008

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Over the past year or so, Nick and I have developed a kind of unhealthy obsession with cocktails -- some could argue literally.  We've quietly stocked our cabinets with liquers, liquors, bitters; our fridge doors are weighed down with vermouths (yes, they should be refrigerated ) and simple syrups; a regular supply of rye whiskey, bourbon and gin comes and goes, mixed with a recurring stoc...

Bourbon Tour 1: Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve

26th Feb 2008

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I took a little break from food this past weekend, turning my back on all the pieces of meat curing in my stairwell (I’ll get to those later in the week), and set off for the rolling hills of Kentucky to sip the best bourbon I could.  I’d been blabbering on and on to my brother-in-law about the stuff for well over six months now and it was about time to actually see where it all came from...

Tommy''s Margarita

18th Jun 2007

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My drink of the summer so far has been the margarita, a fact that may leave most of you thinking, “so what?”  And normally that's fine--nothing is that impressive about a cut-rate tequila mixed with a big bottle of margarita mix that’s dumped in a salt crusted glass the size of a punch bowl.  But I’ve been messing with the holy trinity of lime, tequila and triple sec, thanks to one l...

Hot Toddy?

7th Dec 2006

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Feeling a little bit under the weather and a bit perturbed with my job, I returned home last night needing some kind of a cure.  Like hot chocolate made by your mother, I needed a home remedy with exactly zero medicinal value, which would warm me up and send me straight to bed.  I didn't have any chocolate, but I did have a great big bottle of Bourbon and one idea.

I wanted a hot toddy, eve...