Ironically, buttoned-up Utah was the state that tipped the balance on the 21st Amendment by voting for ratification and putting it over the required three-quarters majority to repeal the 18th Amendment. There's a fascinating infographic here that shows how far we have and haven't come since 1933 and how attitudes have changed over the years. I was unaware that there were only 10 other states that share our "no sales on Sunday" law. I would've though it was more widespread than that, but maybe that will be addressed as part of the grocery store wine sales debate next year.
So how should you celebrate Repeal Day? The official website makes it easy:
There are no outfits to buy, costumes to rent, rivers to dye green. Simply celebrate the day by stopping by your local bar, tavern, saloon, winery, distillery, or brewhouse and having a drink. Pick up a six-pack on your way home from work. Split a bottle of wine with a loved one. Buy a shot for a stranger. Just do it because you can.
That sounds like something I can handle. Cheers!
The esteemed panel of judges was made up of an official taster from Woodford who was joined by local tipplers Kim Totzke and Tom Wood. Totzke is the director of operations at Provence, but has probably introduced more Nashvillians to good whiskey during her career in Nashville bars and restaurants than anyone else in town. When asked what her two favorite drinks are, Totzke usually responds "A Manhattan on the rocks and a Manhattan straight up." So she knows of which she drinks. Wood, a distinguished author whose name may be familiar from innumerable stories over the years in the Scene, City Paper, Nashville Post and various other publications, is also known as the wonderful husband of Friend of Bites (and Scene contributor) Nicki Pendleton Wood. Nobody in town looks more natural with a Manhattan in his hand than E. Thomas Wood.
After tasting their way through numerous cocktails, somehow the judges managed to come to a cogent decision. In the end, the winner was Ben Clemons of No. 308. You might recall that Ben had some success with clear liquor earlier this year, but his nutty take on a traditional Manhattan was pretty straightforward save for the addition of some walnut liqueur. If you want to try it at home, here's his recipe for what he calls the "Woody Allen."
1.5 oz. Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon
.75 oz. dry vermouth
.25 oz. cherry cordial liqueur
.25 oz. walnut liqueur
3 dashes Woodford Reserve spiced cherry bitters
Brandied cherry, for garnish
In a mixing glass, combine Woodford Reserve Double Oaked with liqueurs and bitters. Add ice and stir. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with brandied cherry.
If you're looking for a reason to visit, perhaps the new seasonal cocktail menu will get you (me) off the couch and onto I-65 South. The previous menu was already innovative, with a special emphasis on 19th century brandy-based cocktails. For autumn, they have created new drinks featuring the flavors of the season like apple, ginger, fig and molasses.
Other new additions are special French press hot cocktails which serve two people in an interactive fashion, as patrons watch the infusion being created right in front of them. One particular cocktail that employs this process is the Herringbone, which heats vintage Armagnac, sweet vermouth, and rare Madeira with house-made Earl Grey tea and Angostura bitters in a French press at the table.
Grays is also whipping up half-liter batches of punch drinks which can be shared by up to eight people. (Or just one if you've been out shopping for holiday presents.) Grays also recently launched an online cocktail tutorial series that can be found at youtube.com/GRAYSonMain and plans to offer cocktail classes at the beginning of 2014, taught by PourTaste owners Jon and Lindsay Yeager.
Grays on Main
332 Main St., Franklin
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Add to that the fact that we have two high-strung poodles who go berserk every time the doorbell rings (sorry, UPS man), and Hallow's Eve turns into an evening where we sit around on the couch with one hand on a dog's collar and the other wrapped around a stiff drink.
So this year, I was pleased to discover a new fall cocktail from my friends at Tullamore that I intend to use to steel myself against the holiday. Tullamore has always been a favorite of mine, and the town and distillery have a fascinating history. Tullamore is located about and hour from Dublin and Galway and was the site of the world's first air disaster, as a hot air balloon fire in 1785 burned down most of the town. The town was rebuilt, including the construction of a distillery in 1829 right where the balloon went down.
Daniel E. Williams is the namesake of their most famous product, Tullamore DEW. His earliest days in the distillery were spent shoveling malted barley, and he slept in the hayloft during the nights. In 1887 he became general manager and ultimately owner of the distillery. After developing his (literal) signature product, he proudly marked every bottle from the Tullamore Distillery with the initials D.E.W.
Tullamore D.E.W trades on "the power of three." Three natural ingredients, three varieties of grain, three distillations and a blend of all three types of Irish whiskey — pot still, malt and grain. This forms the first triple-distilled, triple-blended Irish whiskey that is both complex and exceedingly smooth.
It also serves as a fine base for this great fall cocktail, the Apple Dew. Find yourself some good fresh squeezed apple juice or cider and mix up a few to enjoy while you wait for the doorbell to ring.
2 ounces Tullamore D.E.W. original
pressed apple juice
Optional twist: Try adding a dash of Angostura bitters for a hint of warm apple-pie spice notes.
Into a tall ice-filled glass add the Tullamore D.E.W.
Top up with pressed apple juice.
Garnish with a lemon wedge.
Still, they persisted, since they have recently launched at local Publix stores. So I gave them a try, and now I know what I've been missing. I do occasionally get the chance to enjoy local artisan milk, but I just never seem to be in need of any when I encounter Cruze Farm or Hatcher Family Dairy products. The convenient availability of Promised Land's all-natural, hormone and antibiotic-free milk varieties might just get me to up my intake.
Of course, just drinking whole milk after a half life of nonfat is a real treat, but when you get Promised Land's more exotic flavors like Cookies-and-Cream and Peaches-and-Cream, these rich milks are like dessert for breakfast. And they're also a great substitute for the non-dairy creamer I've been known to resort to.
Promised Land's chocolate milk is a relatively high in calories and fat content, but dang, I just couldn't help myself and finished it straight from the bottle as a recovery drink after a run. And then went for another run the next day to burn it off. ... A reduced-fat version of their chocolate milk has about half the fat and a third less calories, but I didn't try that out. You gotta splurge somewhere.
So how about you Bitesters? Have you tried Promised Land yet? Do you have another favorite brand of milk that doesn't require a trip to a farmers' market or a dairy to get it?
If you'd like to learn more about these products, Promised Land's Gordon Kuenemann is going to be going on Talk of the Town tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 24. The broadcast is from 11-11:30 a.m. He'll be talking about Promised Land and will be showing how to make a "Midnight Craving Chocolate Banana Pudding."
Over at Knoxville's Metro Pulse, there's a fabulous piece on the newfound popularity of moonshine and whether the new stuff has the mystique of the 'shine from the days when it was illegal.
But for all the new fervor surrounding licit, commercial moonshine, for all the exotic flavors and varieties cropping up at liquor stores and bars, there are a couple of nagging fundamental questions that keeping reasserting themselves, like rude barflies that just won’t go away: Can a product variously steeped in traditions of outlaw defiance, danger, backwoods ingenuity, and rugged individualism truly be mass-produced, bottled, taxed in a proper government-inspected distillery? And can the mystique that surrounds it, and in some part fires the public’s appetite for it, keep sales afloat when the once-furtively passed mason jar becomes standard issue on shelves at liquor stores?
Well worth reading.
And a good excuse to watch this again ...
Well the G-men, T-men, revenuers, too
Searchin' for the place where he made his brew
They were lookin', tryin' to book him
But my pappy kept a-cookin'
Shh, white lightnin'
(h/t to @CariGervin for pointing it out)
Regardless of the exact dates, many beer lovers look forward to the release of Märzen-style beers from many of their favorite brewers. One which I'd never sampled before this year was the Shiner Bock Oktoberfest from the Spoetzl Brewery, which has been bringing Bavarian-style brews to Texans and the world for about a century. Their Oktoberfest beer surprised me by actually being a little more malty than some other domestic Oktoberfest brews from places like Sam Adams. The caramel and Munich malts lend a toasty aroma to the beer, and it has a lovely amber color in the glass. The finish of hops is noticeable, but certainly not overpowering like some U.S. beer makers seem to prefer. I found it to be a very approachable beer, and it's available in cans or bottles around town if you'd like to give it a try.
If you're in the mood to sample a wide selection of Oktoberfest beers (and get the tee shirt), head to one of the local Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom locations (Cool Springs and Murfreesboro).
In a long, exhaustively researched article, Nashville food writer Jennifer Justus (formerly of The Tennessean profiled some of Nashville's best mixologists as well of plenty of folks who prefer to just be called "bartender." The regular hot spots like The Patterson House, Holland House, No. 308, and the newer Music City Tippler garner more well-deserved adulation in the piece, but Justus also spotlights some of our city's best restaurant bars.
City House, Rolf and Daughters, Husk and surprisingly Paradise Park Trailer Resort all make the list of notable dining and drinking destinations. The largest part of the article is dedicated to an in-depth profile of No. 308 co-owners Alexis Soler and Ben Clemons. They have a great back story and are certainly worthy of the attention.
The entire article is available to read online here, or you can look for Imbibe on local newsstands. (You can look for it, but you probably won't find it ...)
Now in the seventh year, the Bombay Sapphire contest is the largest competitive cocktail program in North America, with events in 37 cities in the U.S. and Canada. Since another sponsor is the U.S. Bartenders Guild, technique is also judged in addition to imagination, appearance, aroma and taste, so winners have to be precise with their pours as well. Many of the past winners have moved on to open their own bars or moved on to positions in brand management around the country.
All this is to say that the 17 local bartenders who gathered at The Tippler last week to compete for the title, really, really wanted to do well. I was fortunate enough to be one of the judges, along with two Bombay representatives, Gary Hayward and Scott Mayer, and Kevin Brauch of Iron Chef America and The Thirsty Traveler on television. We had a front row seat as mixologists from such local favorite bars as 1808, Anthem, Virago, Lockeland Table, Sambuca, Cork and Cow, Hard Rock, No. 308, The Tippler and others mixed up creative cocktails featuring the exotic botanicals of Bombay Sapphire.
From up close, we could see that there were some definite nerves among a few of the competitors as hands shook and ice cubes flew out of the glasses while they stirred up their creations. Knowing that we had 17 cocktails to get through in the first round and three more in the finals, we had to use our noses a lot and take small sips to make the tough decisions. Trends we noticed were a lot of recipes that featured lavender and violet flavors, which are nice accompaniments to the aromas and tastes in Bombay Sapphire.
The fledgling Web series You Ought to Know Nashville got down to whistle-wetting this week with a segment on two local brewery favorites: Blackstone and Jackalope. As with previous segments — last week's Station Inn/Stone Fox episode garnered notice from PBS — the format pairs a more established locale with a more recent upstart. And the tone is conversational and laid-back, as both sets of brewery owners walk you through a bit of their history and process. There's a bit more info on the shoot over at host Heidi Jewell's blog Under the Guise.
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