The rival empires of Japanese whisky
March 26th, 2014
03:18 PM ET
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The first thing offered to me at Suntory's Yamazaki whisky distillery - the birthplace of Japanese whisky - is a glass of water. It's so delicious it comes as a shock.

Even before the reason is explained to me, I'm asking: why does it taste so crisp, so different?

The distillery is surrounded by beautiful bamboo forests on a mountain - they must be getting to my brain.
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Filed under: Japan • Japan Eats • Japanese • Sip • Spirits


March 4th, 2014
12:00 PM ET
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The Scottish Highlands and Speyside region.

The back roads of Kentucky and Tennessee.

Suntory's Yamazaki Distillery and Hakushu "forest distillery."

For seekers of premium malts, these are some of the touchstones of whiskey travel.

Now a new whiskey region is laying claim to world-class status.
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Filed under: Business and Farming News • Sip • Spirits


February 7th, 2014
07:30 PM ET
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KSTU reports that Utah liquor laws allow some connoisseurs of coveted bourbon Pappy Van Winkle to score a bottle for a delicious price.

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Filed under: Obsessions • Sip • Spirits


Winterize your daiquiri
February 5th, 2014
08:00 PM ET
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Editor's note: Duane Sylvestre is the head bartender at Bourbon Steak in Washington, D.C. and an active member of the DC Craft Bartenders Guild and the Masters Guild of Sommeliers. Follow him on Twitter @dcelixirmixer.

My family is from Trinidad where drinking rum is common all year round. While rum cocktails are generally associated with warm weather from tiki drinks to one of summer’s classic cocktails, the daiquiri, I’m of the belief that rum can and should be drunk all year.

One of the ways I enjoy drinking rum in the winter is by replicating the flavors of a classic daiquiri but with slight modifications edging it closer to a toddy (a category of drinks that pre-date the "cocktail") territory.

A regular daiquiri consists of three ingredients, rum, lime juice and sugar. In this spiced, steamed version, I take those flavors but use them in a way that’s more appropriate for winter.
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January 26th, 2014
10:46 PM ET
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A bottle of The Macallan M Scotch whisky has sold for $620,000 in Hong Kong. Becky Anderson finds out if it could actually be worth that much.
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Filed under: Sip • Spirits


January 22nd, 2014
03:45 PM ET
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This is the seventeenth installment of "Eat This List" - a regularly recurring list of things chefs, farmers, writers and other food experts think you ought to know about. Pictured above: supermarket shelves plundered in anticipation of a blizzard in January, 2011.

Weather outside? Frightful. Inside? As delightful as you care to craft it.

Just in case you've been huddled up in an igloo or a Tauntaun with no mobile or cable reception, massive snowfall has thwacked a big chunk of the country. Millions of people are either digging out or frozen in place, and it's it's gonna stay chilly over the next few days.

Might as well hunker down and fuel up. Here's what's on my cold weather menu. Or it would be if I were at my home, rather than snowed in an airport motel far from home.
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Filed under: Baked Goods • Bread • Cocktail Recipes • Dishes • Eat This List • Make • Recipes • Soup • Spirits


For relaxing times, Suntory buys Jim Beam for $16 billion
January 14th, 2014
10:00 AM ET
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Suntory Holdings, a massive Japanese beverage company, is acquiring American spirits maker Beam for $16 billion, creating one of the largest premium spirits companies in the world.

The all-cash deal values Beam at $83.50 per share, a 25% premium over Friday's closing price.

Shares in Beam shot up in premarket trading Monday after the deal was announced.

Beam is known for its brand-name products, including Jim Beam bourbon, Maker's Mark whiskey and Courvoisier cognac.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of the year, provided it receives all necessary shareholder and regulatory approvals.

Read - Japan's Suntory pays $16 billion for Beam

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Filed under: Business and Farming News • News • Sip • Spirits


Spirited gifts for cocktail lovers
December 16th, 2013
01:00 PM 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.

The gift-giving season is upon us, and amid the stress of dealing with family members for whom it is perennially impossible to find an appropriate gift (here, Dad, have another tie!), we should give thanks for cocktail fanatics.

The reason for that is that there’s an endless and ever-changing world of cocktail-related widgets, tools, ingredients, glassware and whatnot out there, and cocktail fanatics never tire of adding new items to their collections. Of course, there are limits. An antique silver punch bowl like the one that sold at Sotheby’s back in 2010 for $5.9 million seems a little over the top to me. Similarly, you could fly him (or her) to Vegas, jump into a limo to the Wynn’s XS Nightclub and splurge on a couple of Ono cocktails at $10,000 a pop. But honestly, why bother? There’s so much out there that’s so cool for so much less money. Here, for instance, are some great cocktail-related gifts for those on more modest budgets.
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Filed under: Christmas • Content Partner • Food and Wine • Gifts • Hanukkah • Holidays • Sip • Spirits


In praise of vermouth
December 9th, 2013
08:00 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.

When it comes to the contest for “least respected, most versatile alcohol in the world,” there’s no question that vermouth has a fair shot at the prize. Without it, there would be no Manhattans, no martinis, and (as if things could get any worse) no Negronis - the latter somehow having become the cool-kid cocktail of the season, in addition to being just plain great.
 
Cocktails aside, good vermouth can also be delicious poured straight over an ice cube or two. But what is the stuff, actually? The first clue comes from the name, vermouth, a French bastardization of the Old High German wermuota, or wormwood, an aromatic ingredient once used to flavor it (and absinthe, too).
 
There are two main styles, sweet (originally Italian) and dry (originally French). Both are made with wine that has been infused with herbs, roots, spices and other botanical ingredients; the specific recipes are usually secret. These days most brands make both styles. Because vermouth is wine-based, it should be kept in the refrigerator after it is opened, and will last for two to three months before losing its character (use what’s left for cooking).
 
Noilly Prat and Martini & Rossi tend to dominate store shelves, along with Cinzano. All are fine for everyday use. Recently, though, there’s been an explosion of new brands, as well as higher-end offerings from the big names, some of which are extraordinarily good. Here are five that would make great gifts this season.
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Filed under: Content Partner • Food and Wine • Sip • Spirits • Wine


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