Goodnight, Minibar

"The hotel minibar, the last refuge of many a tired, emotional business traveller, is supposedly in its twilight years." [via]


The Bourbon Taste Test

"Why not just raise the price?" …

“[Because] Rob’s grandfather did not like ostentatiousness."

A Maker's Mark rep explains why they're watering it down from 45% to 42% alcohol. The last question sticks out in particular.

Elsewhere in beverages: breakfast soda.


Drynuary Halfpoint Check-In

John, how's it going? Are there any questions that came up in the comments of the first Drynuary post that you'd like to address?

John Ore: Fourteen days (and two weekends of NFL playoffs and Downton Abbey) in, it's going swimmingly. The odd bump in the road (more on that later), but still riding high and mighty and dry.

Our first Drynaury chat reminded me that, while I'm old hat at this, we're welcoming more newcomers into the fold each year. And that perhaps begs a quick review:

1) It's called "Drynuary." Say it quickly, it sounds sort of like "January." Some folks out there hate the name. [...]


Size Didn't Matter, Auntie Mame Was Still Hung

FOR TOO LONG, COCKTAILS have been too big. A benchmark is the Martini: Consider the prewar versions favored by Mame Dennis, the chic Manhattanite of "Auntie Mame." We're told in the 1958 movie version that she abjures an olive garnish because it takes up too much room in such a little glass—which, in that era, might have measured anywhere between 2 and 4 ounces. By contrast, in modern glasses of 8 or 10 ounces (or more), there's so much space that three overstuffed olives have become the norm.

Trust us, Wall Street Journal: there's not a thing about Mame we haven't considered.


Troy Patterson Likes Martinis, For Now

"Here is the deal: We sifted through 130 years of history to examine the best and weirdest of what has been written and said about the commingling of gin and vermouth, and we rounded up 80 notable recipes. Check them out, think them over, mix them up if you like — and then upvote or downvote them as you see fit. (Voting ends Sunday, March 17 at 6 p.m. EDT) The 60 most popular recipes will earn seeds in our Martini Madness tournament bracket. … And then what happens? I’m not 100 percent sure — and that’s part of the fun — but the premise is that your correspondent will [...]


Vodka Squirt vs. Vodka Diet Squirt

"[A]fter three to four drinks, people who used diet soda as a mixer had a breath alcohol level that exceeded the legal limit for an adult operating a motor vehicle. People who used regular soda in their drink did not."

It was a very small study, though, if that matters.


Drynuary: What and Why

Edith Zimmerman: John Ore, Drynuary leader and expert, let's talk about Drynuary. Which, for the unfamiliar, is not-drinking for the month of January. Although everything besides booze is fair game, right?

John Ore: Correct. Drynuary centers on booze-fasting, so other vices are certainly fair game during the month. Although I've heard of folks using Drynuary to abstain from other things, like smoking the reefer. But I feel like you need to tailor the nomenclature if you're going to do that. "Drynuary" has a connotation that's very specific to booze.

Participating in Drynuary last year helped me make my brilliant decision to become a smoker. So if you're easily tempted [...]


Gosh I Hope She's Okay

If you've ever fantasized about running away and joining a winery, but all you can picture is a blurry combination of pretty wood, sunlight, your own hand cupping a grape cluster, the clink of glasses, and lots of hearty, attractive people laughing (and then maybe a little bit of that old viral video of the local news reporter), Serious Eats has a sweet roundup of winemakers describing how they actually got their starts (slide No. 18 brings this particular wood/sunlight vision a little more into focus). Abridged version: Being a white dude who grows up on a vineyard/in a winery seems to be more or less the [...]


Nightmare in Qreamland

Uh oh: AllStarHipHop got an exqlusive on the Qream-related lawsuit that Pharrell's filing against the drinq's distributor. (If you're not familiar with Qream, it's a cream-based liqueur that Pharrell qreated in 2011, and which is, in his words, "a truly elegant experience for the modern day queen and her court of friends." This site was an early supporter; here's Qream's best and seemingly only qommercial.)

Pharrell's asqing Diageo North America for $5 million in eqchange for what he sees as a failure on their part to marqet Qream as the "high-end, leisure class" drinq he'd intended it to be, and beqause a lot of the bottles were apparently [...]


Wassail, Wassail

"And therein lies the beauty of wassail: more than just another nice-tasting drink, it’s part of a long (if largely forgotten) tradition of celebrating the life that winter can seem determined to snuff out. It’s a fragrant, warming concoction mixed in bulk and set out for sharing, all but demanding that you call in a crowd. There’s really no such thing as wassail for one." —Speaking of seasonally appropriate drinks, the always excellent Rosie Schaap has a lovely piece in the Times on the history and mini-resurgence of Wassail, which reminds me of the tradition I grew up with, which is that after every Christmas Eve [...]