As the hours of the day ticked away, a newly familiar magazine crossed my mind more than a few times. I can’t think of the last time I actually consciously looked forward to reading a magazine this much – maybe back in the days when I eagerly anticipated the arrival of the next issue of Dragon magazine, but never since, even with the plethora of food and drink magazines that fill my mailbox on a regular basis.
Beyond being a clinch title for the news section, the name gives the impression that I’m going to find out something new about my passion that I didn’t know – or maybe an extra snippet about something I had only heard as rumor. A few of these tasty morsels caught my eye. The first confirms that Imbibe isn’t in the dark ages: a listing of food and drink podcasts. Is a blog listing in the future (he hopes wild-eyed)? I was pleased to see a mention of Victory’s new wheat beer, Sunrise, made not too far from Philadelphia, the home of one of my favorite restaurants, Morimoto (warning: obnoxious window resizing and flash website). A mention of the first American Cocktail Awards, dubbed “The Olives,” wasn’t new information, but it was nice to see nonetheless.
Flipping through the magazine for the first time, I was really hoping to see book reviews, but I was saddened to find none. On a more thorough read through, though, I found what I desired. The Wine Lover’s Dessert Cookbook was reviewed, and one key phrase is worth note: “With few exceptions, the recipes actually seem accessible to home cooks, a rarity among cookbooks this stylish.” How true. Some days, it’s fun to make pompous desserts that take 14 hours of preparation, but most days, it’s not. I sincerely hope that more cocktail and drink-related books grace the pages of uncorked, and not just new books on the shelf.
Though my excitement was peaked by the discovery of a book review, my favorite news item was the short bio of Wayne Roemhildt and his interesting cocktail. Beyond reminding me of one of my favorite TV series, The Firefly looks mighty tasty. Now as I mentioned in Part I, my bar is pretty small compared to the likes of Dr. Cocktail’s (thanks for the link Paul), but I’d definitely need to pick up Bacardi Limon and habaneros, not to mention making mint syrup, pureeing up that mango that was meant for a tasty risotto topped with salt-cured duck breast, oh… and infusing blanco tequila for 4 days. I guess I’d like to see some sort of rating system or a definite confirmation that The Firefly is worth the work for the home bartender.
Another fabulous title – I’m honestly not gushing here just because Karen, the editor, responded to my post within a matter of hours; there are some really well-thought-out, captivating section heads in this magazine. Here is your typical Q&A section, and I feel comfortable saying that no food or drink magazine does better Q&As than Cook’s Illustrated. There have been so many times where I’ve thought, “Wow, I’ve always wondered that,” or “Nice! That’s a trick I use,” that I couldn’t even count them. Imbibe comes close to this glory, but the answers are a touch long and lack that pithy, to-the-point responses I was looking for. I was hoping for a few more than four questions too, but this is the first issue.
Enough with the commentary – on with the questions already! (rated in order of goodness)
- … Which beers lend themselves to a warmer serving temperature?
- I love shiraz. Which foods go best with it?
- What makes vermouth dry?
- What are some ideas for making office coffee taste better?
Want to submit a question to Imbibe? Send them an e-mail.
This is exactly what I’ve been looking for, good sir. Cocktail books and blogs tell us what their favorite version of a recipe is (or their favorite beer), but they don’t tell us about the ones they don’t like… and why. This issue, the focus was on Pale Ales. Their categories were split into hometown, look, smell, flavor, and overall drinkability. The one thing that this taste test was missing is something that isn’t enjoyable.
I jumped into this section with mirth and excitement, but I left thinking that maybe I wasn’t the right demographic for this magazine. Featured this issue were bars. I’m going to break this down simple for you. The bars showcased would probably hold 1 1/100th of Dr. Cocktail’s collection and probably a comfortable 15-20% of my own. And, they ranged in price from a reasonable $775 to $3,950, with most being near or over $2,000. Who spends $2,000 on a bar that holds less than twenty bottles?
This post is getting long again, isn’t it. So I think I’ll save this section and more for Part III, yet, I feel bad leaving you without a cocktail, so here it is (pictured at the top). My recent favorite.
Ace of clubs
- 2oz Barbados rum
- 1/2oz creme de cacao
- 1/2oz lime juice
- 1tsp simple syrup
Shake with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Killer Cocktails, David Wondrich
A note on the picture: The wind in central Pennsylvania is very angry. It’s like taking pictures in a warzone.