Dana Goodyear has a marvelous, lengthy piece in the April 4, 2016 copy of the New Yorker on Mezcal.
Tequila has gotten a lot of limelight in recent years, but Goodyear reminds readers that tequila is but one of the many types of mezcal. And whereas tequila is mostly produced by hulking distilleries, mezcal mostly is made by micro-distilleries utilizing old-fashioned and unusual techniques.
Not to pat ourselves on the back, but…. 15 years ago AlcoholReviews.com called attention to the wonders of mezcal when we posted reviews of Del Maguey mezcals. Back then, mezcal still was commonly viewed in America as the crappy half-cousin of tequila.
Some years ago, I lived in New York and had two friends recently arrived from Ireland. Neither of them thought well of America’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Considering the tsunami of green garb and schlock, Siobhan asked bemusedly, “What does any of this have to do with Ireland?” Dermot was less generous. “If I see another f****** shamrock, I’m going to kill someone.” Neither wanted anything to do with the raucous Manhattan parade or hordes of sodden boys and girls with clovers painted on their cheeks.
That does not, however, mean one should hide inside and pretend it is not March 17. It is what it is, and one should embrace this spring-heralding holiday.
To this end, there are some very basic don’t and do’s for having a decent St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t affect an Irish accent. Don’t say “lassie” or, god forbid, “Begorrah.” Suppress the temptation to put on an emerald green plastic derby, or hang a cardboard cut-out Leprechaun on your wall or window. And, perhaps most critically of all, don’t get stupid drunk. It’s embarrassing. Continue reading “Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Right with Irish Drinks Old and New”→
What is this booze bash? Well, it’s simple: you bought a ticket, and for three and half hours you got to amble about the cavernous Grand Hyatt with glass in hand soaking up the manifold marvels of our Whiskey World.
Midway through 2015, something remarkable happened in Dublin—a whiskey distillery opened. The city, which is world renowned for its bibacity, had been without an operating distillery since the 1970s. Teeling distillery’s arrival in the city’s ancient Newmarket Square was greeted warmly, not least for the droves of spending tourists it has lured.
For much of the 20th century, Irish whiskey was a dead man walking. Jameson’s pleasant, fruity whiskey was known worldwide, as was Belfast’s more grainy Bushmills. But few other brands found their way off the Emerald Isle, and only a handful of whiskey distilleries were in operation. Scotch whisky and American bourbon were held in far higher esteem most places.
It was quite a fall-off from the glory days. In the late 1800s, Ireland was the world’s biggest whiskey-maker, churning out even more alcohol than Scotland. Dublin alone had a few dozen whiskey distilleries, such as John Power and Son’s massive John’s Lane distillery. It belched forth 900,000 gallons of liquor per year, employed 275 men and had its own fire-suppression crew. (Alcohol and its vapors are very flammable.) Back then, Irish whiskey was highly regarded, and it was served as far away as San Francisco, where wharf bars put it in coffee.
Irish whiskey’s terrible fall began before the fin de siècle. Scottish distillers proved to be tough competition. Many of them replaced or supplemented their pot stills (which look like gourds) with more efficient and productive column stills. A whiskey glut ensued, and prices plummeted. Liquor firms in both nations went bankrupt. Continue reading “The Resurgence of Irish Whiskey”→
“As drinkers became bored of the same tipples from the same corporations, craft brewing found its niche. Over the last five years, the number of breweries has exploded, bringing artisinal ale out of speciality shops and appreciation clubs to high street chains like Wetherspoons and to the shelves of Big Four supermarkets. But now it seems there’s a new trend in town. While the consumer passion for independent producers shows no sign of abating, it seems the sheer volume of small brewers may have caused ale fatigue. Enter: Gin.”