5@5 - Decoding the modern cocktail menu
January 24th, 2012
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Cocktail menus aren’t what they used to be: branded ingredient lists with suffixes like "tini" and "rita" to give you a sense of how a drink might be presented, not how it would taste.

Don’t be afraid though, it is an absolutely great time to be alive if you love good drinks.

The cocktail menu can still be your guide; even if you don’t understand 50 percent of what the heck is printed on it, you can gain a pretty good sense of what a cocktail is going to be like with the other 50 percent.

Here are a few tips from Jackson Cannon, owner of The Hawthorne and bar director of Eastern Standard and Island Creek Oyster Bar, to help you along the way.

Be brave, and remember after you’ve done a bit of reading and deciphering, it is always OK to ask for some guidance.

Five Tips on Reading a Craft Cocktail Menu: Jackson Cannon

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Filed under: 5@5 • Sip • Spirits • Think

iReport: Make a dish with ethically produced chocolate
January 24th, 2012
01:30 PM ET
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Tens of thousands of children toil in cocoa fields in the Ivory Coast, some against their will, to create the chocolate bars that many of us enjoy.

In a CNN Freedom Project investigation, David McKenzie traveled to the West African country and discovered that despite promises the global chocolate industry made a decade ago to end forced labor, there are still child slaves harvesting cocoa, even though some have never tasted chocolate and some don't even know what the word "chocolate" means.

It can be hard to find ethically produced cocoa, but the "fair trade" designation helps ensures that farmers receive a fair price and prohibits the use of slave and child labor.

We invite you to create a dish using fair trade chocolate, with bonus points to those who make a delicacy that’s special to their country or region.

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Filed under: Bite • Buzz • Chocolate • Dishes • Food Politics • iReport • News • Slavery

Box lunch: Boozy news with a little vegan mayo on the side
January 24th, 2012
12:00 PM ET
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Sink your teeth into today's top stories from around the globe.

  • Corkscrews are a waiter's best friend. - Gizmodo

  • Tapping the 100 best beer bars in the United States of Ale. - Draft

  • Where there is a vegan will, there is a way: A vegan mayonnaise tutorial. - Serious Eats

  • The Restaurant Dragon - a sculpture of Chinese dishes, spoons, bamboo dumpling steamers - breathes new life into the Chinese New Year Parade. - 702 ABC Sydney

  • An influx of counterfeit booze is souring the luck of the Irish drinking culture. - JOE
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Filed under: Box Lunch • News

Five grapes to expand your wine horizons
January 24th, 2012
09:05 AM ET
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Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.

Here in the U.S. of A., we drink a lot of Chardonnay - over 53 million cases of it from California alone. Cabernet Sauvignon, too; we love the stuff. Merlot, Pinot, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, bottle after bottle of those as well.

And that's all well and good. But there are thousands of different wine grapes out there in the world, and with all that abundance, why not take a flier on an oddball but tasty option? Here are five lesser-known but nifty varieties to look for.

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Filed under: Content Partner • Food and Wine • Sip • Wine

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