If the thought of a pumpkin-pie martini offends your cocktail sensibilities, here are some festive holiday drinks that don't involve whipped cream, cookie crumbs, or canned squash.
NY Times discovers a small group of vintners ditching the countryside and opening wineries in old factories and industrial showrooms in cities across the country.
Strange Brews: Unusual beers that Men's Fitness says "you gotta try", in categories like Most Un-Beer-Like. Most Potent, and Just Plain Unique.
Vom Fass Gold Cuvee: Pinot blanc wine with real gold flakes. Large orders can be personalized with specially designed labels.
How to open wine without a wine key ~ And that's only 1 of 500 things you should know in the new book Show Me How ~ see scans of some of my favorite pages!
Looking at how wineries are packaging their eco-credentials, SF Gate notes Fetzer removed the punt (bottom indent) on its bottle, left, and reduced the thickness of the glass to make it lighter.
BeyondDrinks reports that UK department store Harvey Nicks offers tableside Martini service. Cocktail butlers serve each bespoke beverage in a Boston shaker to top up as you please.
Mexico Cooks! teaches readers about Dia de los Muertos and the offerings placed on altars to the dead. These nearly life-size liquor bottles are decorated "down to the last detail of the labels."
RumDood reviews Old Mill Gold Rum, "developed for the Pacific Northwest", and samples an Old Mill Daiquiri.
Washington Post laments that "despite importers' enthusiasm, oolongs, a range of semi-oxidized teas that fall somewhere between green and black teas, remain defiantly below the radar."
Cheers reports on Tullamore Dew 10-year-old, a 900-case limited release. Medium amber gold in color, it displays a fresh, malty and slightly woody nose with intriguing citrus notes.
Cocktail Culture features two gingerbread liqueur recipes from the Munat Brothers, and asks readers to decide which is "victorious in this sibling match-up".
"Citrus liqueurs are indispensable in both classic and modern cocktail making," says Duggan McDonnell in a Table Matters story that tastes many of the most-popular offerings.
In a recap of different Mumm expressions, the Intoxicologist notes that bubby rosé is different from still wine: "It's made by the age-old Champagne tradition of mixing red wine ... with white wines."
Yes that's a foie gras garnish you see, part of Cameron Bogue's "Belvedere Wedzony" recipe
Quantum of Solace ~ at Harrods! They have a Bollinger Champagne Bar featuring the limited edition bullet shaped champagne cooler
Stirrings special holiday offer: Buy two Cocktail Connoisseur gift sets (with eight 4-oz mixers), and get a Small But Mighty free, through November 26.
Keep track of drinks with a set of kitschy dry-erase coasters. When the party's over, stick them on the fridge via embedded magnets.
Gary Regan highlights the Canary Flip, a yellow Chartreuse and Cognac cocktail created by Nicholas Edwards of Lark in Brisbane, Australia.
Jimmy Patrick shares a harrowing (and hilarious) tale of making three drinks for cocktail legend David Wondrich as part of his Bar Smarts exam.
Ilva from Lucullian Delights makes "dense, hot, wonderful cup of chocolate better by adding spices to it". So thick, it's almost like pudding.
When in Barcelona, step back into the twenties with a perfect martini at Boadas.
The Cellarist recommends The Wine Snob's Dictionary: "It's funny because it's true. But also because the parody is more informed than the average perky would-be expert."
The Intoxicologist samples "bold and spicy" Templeton Rye, recommending it sipped neat or stirred into a Capone: Whiskey, Grand Marnier and Champagne.
Liquor Snob finds "the greatest stocking stuffer known to man" -- a keyring corkscrew with plenty of style to spare. [Editor's Note: i used to carry this in my purse ~ by Suck UK]
In a Baltimore Sun interview, Dale DeGroff, declares the Old Fashioned the quintessential Thanksgiving pre-dinner cocktail.
My Life on the Rocks says the new Mr. Boston "provides a concise reference for what the modern bartender needs while also offering up cocktails from the most creative minds in the business."
SF Gate has the skinny on Cask, the retail spirits shop from the owners of San Francisco's well-known Bourbon & Branch, Anu, and Swig.
Homage to an heirloom from White on Rice Couple: "The opener itself has a lot of style. Beautiful curves. Polished edges from the many hands that have used it to bring innumerable wines to life."
Pineapple caipirinha cocktail made with infused cachaca, limes, sugar, crushed pineapple, and ice
Try your next latte sprinkled with "Toast Dope", a gourmet version of cinnamon sugar.
Mixology.eu features a video of world champion Taiwanese bartender Gong Huijun's unique routine. "After Asia brought us the Hard Shake it seems to be time for the Soft Shake," says Helmut.
An after-dinner temptation, the German Chocolate Cake: Malibu rum, creme de cacao, Frangelico, and half-and-half.
The trend for niche energy drinks continues apace and this time it’s 418, a drink especially formulated for golfers.
The roundup is up: Pegu Blog recaps more than 30 entries in Mixology Monday: Made from Scratch.
The Oakland Tribune gets wind of a trend: "A new type of bar is emerging where cocktails made with seasonal ingredients, artisan liqueurs and craft spirits are winning over drinkers."
SF Gate claims "the best place to learn the intricacies behind the controversial subject of terroir [is] a homey warehouse space on San Francisco's Folsom Street" with these three guys.
Drinkhacker reviews Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey. "If the name of the spirit didn’t tip you off, this is a rarity for Irish whiskeys, which are traditionally not peated at all."
Eric Asimov recommends the 1998 Rioja blanco Viña Gravonia from López de Heredia: "absolutely superb: bone dry yet sumptuous, complex" ...not to mention "dirt cheap".
Glowing orbs and glitter: the Savoy Cocktail Book's Golden Slipper features an egg yolk suspended in yellow Chartreuse and gold-leaf liqueur.
Video at Howcast of how to make a Sombrero, a vodka-free White Russian topped with whipped cream.
The Sipping News reviews The Beer Book, "an encyclopedic accounting of foamy-headed quaffs from around the world."
Seattle Times reports that "times have changed for the better" for female vintners, profiling eight Walla Walla woman winemakers. (Say that three times fast!)
The Liquid Muse awards Plan B Bar + Kitchen an A+ for humor for their drink called the Tom Selleck: “Strong and distinguished. And yes, it really does come with a moustache.”
The NY Times proposes Thanksgiving wines "must be ... light-bodied, limber and above all refreshing," then offers a bevy of options under $25.
At the Hendrick's Limerick Cocktail Competition. Kendra Norma creates the feminine Lady Jane Grey: lemon, sage, chamomile, orange water, gin, creme de violette, and elderflower.