Thursday, March 19, 2015

2015 People Issue: Meet Expert Bartender Lee Parrish

Posted By on Thu, Mar 19, 2015 at 12:00 PM

The 2015 People Issue has landed! We profiled 18 of the smartest, most interesting and most badass Nashvillians, including empanada guru Karla Ruiz, hit songwriter Shane McAnally, transgender rights activist Marisa Richmond, NHL's star rookie Filip Forsberg, the guys who run Nashville Severe Weather and many more.

And because these folks are far too interesting for just one profile, throughout the week we're going to be rolling longer interviews, more photos and videos showing them in action.

First up is Lee Parrish, a longtime bartender at Jimmy Kelly's. "Parrish is a barkeep in the Frank Sinatra sense: a guy who pours the good stuff neat, leaves you alone if you so desire, but stands by discreetly if you need a sympathetic ear," says Jim Ridley. Read more about Parrish here, and watch the above video (created by Matthew J. Nemer) to see how he makes a great martini (spoiler alert: use soda water to help the glass chill faster!).

See the rest of our People Issue coverage here.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Step Away from the Green Beer: Festive Alternatives for St. Patrick's Day

Posted By on Tue, Mar 3, 2015 at 9:18 AM

Around this time every year, we see it: the green beer (cheap green beer). Some pub operator thinks that green beer will draw in the masses to celebrate “St. Paddy’s Day” with baskets of “When Irish Fries Are Smiling” or some collection other equally offensive "Irish" rebranding of menu items. If puns and beer tinted with food coloring aren’t your idea of a good time, you can still get into the spirit by celebrating with some libations from the vine. The good green stuff.

Depending on how hard you’re celebrating, your best bets will likely be a light and refreshing wine, such as a Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, a white blend or heck, even a Champagne. If you prefer something a little heavier, perhaps a Chardonnay. The Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc would be a good wine to consider. This South African white is dry with some citrus fruit as well as some grassy or vegetal notes. It’ll pair nicely with fish and chips or potato soup but is also pleasant to drink on its own. Another to consider is the Domaine du Tariquet Classic, which is a white wine blend that is also citrusy and crisp. And delightfully inexpensive at less than $10 per bottle.

And though the Irish are known for their whiskey, more than a few of us who’ve been off the island for many generations are fans of gin. I’ve got several friends who prefer Hendrick’s, but I like Corsair for its emphasis on juniper and herbs with just a bit of citrus. However, I recently tried a new French gin called G’Vine Floraison.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Sweet Spot: MacFuddy's Distinctively Strong Pepper Elixir

Posted By on Wed, Feb 4, 2015 at 10:59 AM

It says it brings good luck so I thought putting the pepper elixir by my Pekka Rinne bobblehead would help Pekkas knee heal faster.
  • It says it brings good luck so I thought putting the pepper elixir by my Pekka Rinne bobblehead would help Pekka's knee heal faster.
The Sweet Spot is a weekly Bites feature where sugar addict Megan Seling reviews some of the best, worst and weirdest sweet treats sold here in Nashville. It appears Tuesdays.

What it is: MacFuddy's Distinctively Strong Pepper Elixir

Where I found it: Rocket Fizz, the downtown sweets shop, for less than $2 (but I threw away the receipt so I can't tell you the exact amount, ugh, I'm terrible)

What it tastes like: Originally I went to Rocket Fizz to buy a bottle of Lester's Fixins Buffalo Wing Soda and Ranch Dressing Soda because I've never had either and of course the only way to drink them at all is to drink them together, but GAH! They were out of the latter! There must've been a run on the stuff for all the Super Bowl parties.

While I was there, though, I picked up a bottle of this curious-looking drink: MacFuddy's Distinctively Strong Pepper Elixer, with a label that reads "Cures Timidness and Satisfies the Daring" and "Infused with Luck" and "12 oz for 24 hours of Favorable Outcomes."

I love black pepper — Olive and Sinclair's Salt & Pepper Chocolate Bar is just about the best chocolate bar in the world, and one time I had a salt and pepper latte from Hot & Cold and it was the best latte I ever had (or at least in the Top 5). Give me all the black pepper in the world, and it will still not be enough. And there's surely plenty to spare because, unfortunately, this so-called pepper elixir doesn't seem to have any in it. NONE. WHERE IS THE PEPPER?

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Monday, February 2, 2015

This Middle Finger's For You, Local Beer Drinkers

Posted By on Mon, Feb 2, 2015 at 9:58 AM

Not content with having almost 80 percent of the market, the big beer makers have finally had enough of infinitesimally smaller micro-brewers getting all the good vibes. So they fought back last night the only way they know how — by mocking them during the Super Bowl.

Yes, Budweiser finally decided that making heartwarming commercials just wasn't enough. They needed to train the sights of their multi-billion-dollar international conglomerate's ad budget onfolks like Yazoo, Jackalope, Black Abbey, Tennessee Brew Works and more who have been growing at a huge rate over the last few years. Beers like Turtle Anarchy's portly stout? That's for sissies. Little Harpeth's dunkel? COME ON AND TRY A MAN'S BEER INSTEAD.

The reason craft brewing is growing at such an astronomical rate, here in Nashville and throughout the U.S., is that beer drinkers got tired of the same tired offerings from big brewers. And don't think they don't know it, either. Budweiser has tried to astroturf its way back into the craft brewing market with brands like LandShark and Shock Top and has bought into regional craft brewers like Goose Island. They know that they have peaked in terms of overall market share, so now they're taking shots at the craft brewers (because nothing says "America" like taking a steaming dump on the little guys).

Let's break this down to get to the heart of just how insulting this ad really is.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Booze Free Libations: What To Drink When You Don't Drink

Posted By on Mon, Jan 26, 2015 at 2:36 PM

This shit is delicious.
  • This shit is delicious.
As I wrote in this week's Vodka Yonic, I don't drink. I have to field a lot of questions about my choice to be booze-free, but there's one more question I didn't have room to address in the column: So what do you drink? — as though liquid can't exist if not in alcohol form. But not drinking alcohol doesn't mean you're relegated to a life of Diet Coke and Shirley Temples. I actually love to drink fancy things! And both my husband and I (he doesn’t drink either) can get just about as excited and nerdy about making a good mocktail as some booze-crafters can get about the perfect ale or bourbon. (Ugh, BTW I also hate the word mocktail.)

One of my most favorite things right now is a cherry-flavored balsamic drinking vinegar from Ritrovo Selections. I haven’t been able to find it locally, but you can buy online here. It’s sweet and slightly fruity with a really bright (but not overwhelming) vinegar punch. A little goes a long way, but I like it strong, so I mix about 1.5 ounces of the drinking vinegar and 1 ounce of vanilla syrup in a 16-ounce glass filled with ice and club soda. It’s especially refreshing in the summer.

I also love Frizz, a sparkling espresso drink made in Italy. It comes in a cute little glass bottle and I’ve found it at Whole Foods and (if I remember correctly) Lazzaroli Pasta (they have a small but delicious selection of other sodas, too). I pour it over ice, add a splash of simple syrup and about 1 ounce of half-and-half. I bet it'd also be delicious with a twist of orange peel.

If you like cream soda, you definitely have to try a homemade rhubarb vanilla soda.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Go Nuts with Rivulet Pecan Liqueur

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 7:56 AM

Did you know that 95 percent of all pecans consumed are grown here in the U.S.? Me neither, but that's why it was a surprise to me that nobody has really pushed a pecan liqueur until now. Rivulet Artisan Pecan Liqueur is a new product out of Louisville, Ky., that has recently entered the Nashville market, and it's already starting to make some waves.

James Marshall, the founder and managing director of of Rivulet (pronounced RIV-yew-lay) is certainly a well-educated man, with a degree in nuclear engineering, an MBA and a law degree. So he was smart enough to know that trying to start another bourbon business in Kentucky would probably be a tough row to hoe. Instead, Rivulet starts with a distilled brandy that has been aged in small oak casks and adds a proprietary pecan extract to create a a smooth and sweet liqueur.

Marshall spent a long time researching his recipe and choosing a site for his company headquarters, finally deciding to return to his hometown where he could share in the expertise of many master distillers and blenders. His product is Fair Trade Certified, and I personally think it's delicious. Retailing in the mid-30-dollar range, Rivulet is distributed locally by Lipman Brothers.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Whiskey Wednesday: Duke Bourbon, Inspired by John Wayne

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 9:19 AM

When you think of John Wayne, you may get an image of a cowboy drinking rotgut rye out of a dusty saloon glass, but in actuality The Duke was quite a spirits connoisseur. In fact, his favorite drink was fine tequila, and he carried crates full of bottles of the good stuff with him on shooting locations in the middle of nowhere since they could last for months.

Wayne also had a fondness for good bourbons, but in the '50s and '60s, Kentucky bourbons were tough to come by west of the Mississippi. So one of his hobbies was blending different whiskeys to create his perfect recipe. Wayne's son Ethan accompanied him on set for 17 years, and the younger Wayne remembers loading and unloading those heavy cases of bottles in the family station wagon.

When John Wayne passed away in 1979, his estate's executors immediately locked up the actor's house while probate conflicts played themselves out. After years of squabbling, Ethan finally found himself in possession of some of those crates, which were over three decades old. To his surprise and delight, the heaviest of the 40 containers was still full of booze.

Even more importantly, The Duke had left behind his blending notes and favorite recipes. While there certainly wasn't enough archival whiskey left for a commercial release, Ethan knew he was on to something. John Wayne is a quintessential American brand in and of himself, and the possibility of combining it with bourbon was too good to pass up.

Ethan knew that he needed to have some additional expertise to augment his father's notes, so he partnered with California winemakers Jayson Woodbridge and Chris Radomski to start up Duke Spirits. The new partners brought their own resumes of success to the venture from their experience creating Hundred-Acre Cabernet Sauvignon and the Layer Cake line of wines.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

George Dickel 'Hand Made the Hard Way' for Holiday Giving

Posted By on Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 12:55 PM

At the George Dickel distillery in Tullahoma, their motto is "Hand Made the Hard Way," and that's the truth. Despite the fact that Dickel is owned by global spirit conglomerate Diageo, manufacturing at their Tennessee facility is still decidedly local and old school, with a staff of about 30 Tullahomans manning the distillery with little assistance from computers.

Unlike other distillery tours where you can walk through the whole place and see nary a craftsman, at Dickel you'll encounter most of the whole team. And the tour is also worth the trip because Cascade Hollow is one of the most beautiful and peaceful spots in the state.

In addition to their traditional No. 8 and No. 12 expressions, Dickel has recently emphasized their Barrel Select program. Made in small batches from 10 barrels at a time hand-selected by master distiller John Lunn, Barrel Select is an older and higher proof product than the bigger volume items in their portfolio. At 10 to 12 years old and 86 proof, Barrel Select is much more nuanced than No. 12, with strong notes of vanilla and spice.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

New Gathering '3st of the Month' Brings Nashville's Drinking Class Together

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 9:50 AM

3st of the Month (Thirst, get it?) is the brainchild of Jesse Goldstein, a local marketing professional with a lot of experience in food and drink marketing at his primary business as The Food Sheriff. Goldstein has partnered with the promotional team over at The Mountain to create 3st of the Month, a by-invitation gathering of wine, spirits and beer fans who gather on the third day of every month to celebrate "booze, food and all the good things in life."

After just a few months, the group has grown into a vibrant community of enthusiasts that share their love of strong drink and boisterous interaction. Although you need an invitation to attend the monthly events, once you are invited by a current member you can invite somebody else for every event you attend. In other words, if you're into cocktails and spirits, you probably know somebody who can get you in, so ask around. This isn't Skull and Bones here ...

Alternatively, you can contact 3st directly and ask for an invitation, since they periodically open up membership. So what can you expect at one of these events? Local, regional and national alcohol suppliers recognize the value of getting a group of, how shall I put this, avid consumers in a room to sample their wares. Each month's event has a theme that organizes the decor, food and offering of spirits. Past months have featured friends and family, tiki, whiskey and day drinking, and each event has proved to be quite entertaining and informative.

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Another Shake-Up on the East Side: The Edgefield Sports Bar's Building Is for Sale

Posted By on Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Just weeks after news that longtime dive bar Dino's would be changing hands and reopening under the ownership of Miranda Whitcomb Pontes and Alex Wendkos, it appears as though the building housing another familiar East Side haunt is up for sale. The building at 921 Woodland Street, which has long been home to Edgefield Sports Bar and Grill, is listed at $1.8 million. From the listing:

Fantastic Investment Opportunity in East Nashville! Located a block and a half away from FIVE POINTS, this .62 acre property is located in the FIVE POINTS REDEVELOPMENT DISTRICT overlay. There is a current business (Neighborhood Bar) located on the lot which has been around for a decade and currently generates $3,000.00 per month in lease payment. The least terminates Summer 2015. Many opportunities for this land including shops, apartments, condos, retail/commercial, mixed use. Contact agent or see MLS for additional documentation.

Hat-tip to Mr. Heath Haynes, who brought this piece of information to my attention at Edgefield last night. Haynes' band The Hi Dollars has been known to back Queen of Rockabilly Wanda Jackson, and he spins records at Edgefield every Thursday night. For now, anyhow. The above for-sale sign — which I snapped a picture of this morning — is currently hanging on the fence surrounding Edgefield's parking lot.

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