The World’s Best Craft Gins You’ve Never Tried

The World’s Best Craft Gins You’ve Never Tried

Mother’s Ruin. Dutch Courage. Ladies’ Delight. Gin has managed to rack up a fair share of nicknames since its inception during the Middle Ages. It’s considered to be one of the most versatile and broadest categories of spirits, boasting a massive variety of styles, production techniques, and flavor profiles. But the central component that binds them all together is, of course, the star ingredient: juniper.

The gin that most of us sip today is simply a modern-day evolution of the Dutch liquor known as jenever. Originally used as an herbal remedy, it continued its progression over the centuries, eventually rising to international fame in Great Britain during the late 1600s when William of Orange became King William III of England. Ever since, the world has continued to associate the spirit with the U.K., and the London Dry style still reigns as one of the most popular interpretations (think: … Read the rest

The Difference Between Mezcal and Tequila

The Difference Between Mezcal and Tequila

The age of the craft cocktail is upon us, and tequila is the star of the show. It topped the charts in terms of spirit category growth in 2018, according to Nielsen. No longer reserved for shooting back with some table salt and a dried-up lime wedge at your local dive, bartenders have been getting increasingly creative with the Mexican spirit. We’ve seen it infused with chiles to give cocktails a punch of heat and mixed with bright, fresh ingredients like celery and ginger to impart freshness. But there’s another spirit that’s taken over cocktail lists: mezcal.

With a smoky flavor that instantly adds depth to any drink, bartenders have been showing off the wide range of combinations that make mezcal sing—from fruity preparations utilizing pineapple or passionfruit juice to cooling cucumber and even tart kombucha. But what even is mezcal, and how does it differ from tequila? You … Read the rest

America’s Japanese Bar Boom Is Here

America’s Japanese Bar Boom Is Here

America’s Japanese bar boom is here, and it’s here to stay.

Japan is one of the world’s great drinking destinations, boasting a long history of impeccable sakes and whiskeys and an incredibly diverse bar culture, including Tokyo’s Ginza bars. These hidden cocktail temples pioneered techniques of hand-cut ice and were among the first to treat the simple act of mixing drinks with the dignity of a sacred tea ceremony.

It was also their influence that spurred much of the American mixology renaissance in the 2000s. Today, nearly every major U.S. city has a Ginza-inspired cocktail bar. And a new wave of Japanese-American outposts is loosening things up a bit, drawing on a broader range of influences from the island nation.

“The settings are more care-free,” says Masahiro Urushido of New York’s Katana Kitten. “No pretensions. You don’t need … Read the rest