National scotch day
July 27th, 2012
09:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

We look across the pond for today’s food holiday. The Scots have been making whiskies since at least the 15th century, and it’s that tradition we celebrate today: Happy National Scotch Day!

Scotch whisky (generally not “whiskey”; Scotch and Canadian whiskies tend to be spelled without the “e”, while Irish and most American whiskeys use it) by law must be distilled and aged in Scotland from malted barley and, sometimes, other grains. If it’s made with just malted barley and water and bottled as whisky from one distillery, it’s one of the famous “single malt” Scotch whiskies. If a Scotch is made with other grain, it’s referred to as “single grain.” There are also blended Scotches - such as the top-selling Johnnie Walker - that use whiskies from multiple distillers.

Scotch whiskies are aged in oak casks, but unlike American straight whiskeys, the casks don’t have to be new. Many American white oak casks that once held bourbon or other American whiskeys find a second life in Scotland to age Scotch whisky, and some distillers also use casks that formerly contained sherry or port to add different flavors.
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National tequila day
July 24th, 2012
09:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

Today we set our sights south of the border, and concentrate on a great spirit that’s often maligned. Happy National Tequila Day!

Tequila (the spirit, not Pee-Wee Herman’s favorite jam) is made in and around the state of Jalisco in Mexico, from the blue agave plant. Blue agaves are related to asparagus, and these succulent plants are pollinated by bats and grow at high altitudes. When the plant is twelve years old, the piña - the pine-cone-shaped heart of the agave plant after the sharp leaves are stripped away - is cooked and then mashed, and the resulting pulp is fermented and distilled.
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National Daiquiri Day
July 19th, 2012
09:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

I don’t know where you’re reading this, but in New York City where I’m writing this, it’s hot. More sticky than sultry, the tropical mugginess envelops you when you venture outside, and at the end of a long day you want something that’ll give your insides some contrast. Might I suggest a celebration of National Daiquiri Day?

“A perfect blend of lime, sugar, rum, and ice, the Daiquiri cuts through the humidity, heat, and haze of the tropics with an uncanny precision,” writes Wayne Curtis in And a Bottle of Rum. “It has an invitingly translucent appearance when made well, as cool and lustrous as alabaster.”

Famous Daiquiri enthusiast Ernest Hemingway also rhapsodized about its appearance in Islands in the Stream: “It reminded him of the sea. The frappéed part of the drink was like the wake of a ship and the clear part was the way the water looked when the bow cut it when you were in shallow water over marl bottom. That was almost the exact color.”
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National dry martini day
June 19th, 2012
09:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

For such a simple drink, the classic dry martini has an incredible amount of mystique surrounding it. And with today being National Dry Martini Day, let’s celebrate the lore of a true classic. The history is muddled, even if the drink isn’t; no one can agree who invented it or where it originated, and the recipe has evolved over the decades though it consists of just two main ingredients.

These would be gin and vermouth. Martinis made with vodka are a relatively recent variation, but they don’t have as much flavor as ones made with gin. CNN producer and martini drinker Susan Chun advises, “for all you vodka martini lovers out there, try the gin martini. You’ll never go back to vodka.”
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Make it a double: June 14 is National Bourbon Day
June 14th, 2012
11:30 AM ET
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As it turns out, today is National Bourbon Day as well. June 14 is the 223rd anniversary of the day that the Rev. Elijah Craig first distilled whiskey from corn in Bourbon County, Kentucky. (Elijah Craig’s name lives on as a premium bourbon brand from Heaven Hill.) In 1964, Congress declared that “bourbon whiskey is a distinctive product of the United States.” Any day is worth celebrating America’s native spirit.

To be sold in the US, bourbon has to be, by law, made up of at least 51% corn in the “mash bill” or recipe - it’s often much higher, and the rest is made up of wheat, rye, and/or malted barley. Mash bills tend to be closely guarded secrets, and they have to be aged in new charred American oak barrels.
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