Throwing shade in 140 characters may be all the rage these days, but nothing can replace a good old fashioned word-of-mouth “Oh no, he didn’t!” Sometimes, it even inspires a popular cocktail.
Their fridge is fully stocked with the perfect combination of craft brews and classic beers. Their wine rack is loaded with reds, whites, and maybe even a bit of the bubbly. And don’t even get them started on what it takes to mix the perfect cocktail—the glass, the garnish, whether it’s shaken or stirred—they have all of the details down. That’s right, we’re talking about the Home Bartender. Chances are, you know one of these masterful mixologists, so we’ve gathered a collection of gifts that will surely make any adult beverage connoisseur raise their glass.
Names, like looks, can be deceiving. After all, there’s nothing “simple” about the syrups that UG newcomers Leah Monaghan and Barb Stauffer create together in Columbus, Ohio. Crafted using organic cane sugar and ingredients sourced from local farms, Leah and Barb’s concoctions are all-natural, made in small batches, and, quite frankly, delicious. But that’s not all. Despite being busy moms—that’s how they met, after all—Barb and Leah have grown their business with their own two—er, four—hands, waking at the crack of dawn to get cooking, crossing state lines in the name of distribution, and hand-packing their fair share of tasty mixers, all as part of their first ever joint entrepreneurial endeavor.
When we learned of Barb and Leah’s successes (and saw what tasty flavors they’ve thought up), we knew we had to give them a welcome the only way we know how—that is, with their very own interview. We sat down on a real live phone line and spoke with the duo all about how they got started and how much they’ve grown, touching on victories, troubles, and touching mementos. Read on for more.
I love a good cocktail, but I hate having a drawer filled with utensils that I use once every-so-often. With The Ultimate Cocktail Bar Tool, I will be able to de-clutter my utensil drawer, while not limiting my ability to make a solid realm of drinks.
Editor’s Note: Alex Abbott Boyd is obsessed with cocktails. Fascinating and colorful histories, hidden bars, innovative ingredients – he’s hooked on it all. Once he’d devoured every book he could find on mixology, he began experimenting at home with his own drink recipes. Meanwhile, hoping to become an entrepreneur, he was searching for a product he could be truly passionate about. You can see where this is going, right?
In 2012, one year out of college, Alex founded his own company, Cocktail Crate, to sell cocktail mixes based on everything he’d learned about the craft. Initially, each bottle was handmade and labeled by Alex in his home borough of Queens, and deliveries were made to local stores via the NYC subway. Today, Alex is excited to be working seemingly non-stop to bring the mixers to more and more people who appreciate a really good cocktail!
We asked Alex for some cocktail recipes to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, and he delivered con mucho gusto!
Drinks have been using bitters—alcohol infused with herbs, spices, and botanicals—to create their signature cocktails since the 18th century. They balance a drink’s flavor and aroma, while also cutting any over-the-top sweetness. On their own, however, they’re rather unpleasant. Employing the commonly held belief that anything that tastes unpleasant must be good for you, bitters manufacturers in the 18th Century began claiming that the potions could cure everything from malaria to indigestion. During the Civil War, the Union Army purchased whole train cars of bitters to act as “a positive protective against the fatal maladies of the Southern swamps, and the poisonous tendency of the impure rivers and bayous.” Though the actual medical benefits were, in fact, next to nothing, the 94-proof potency certainly helped to steel nerves. Finally, in the 20th century, the government stepped in and put a stop to the false medical claims and shortly after, all but a few bitters brands began to die off. The few remaining bitters were quickly picked up by savvy bartenders who helped usher a classic cocktail revival in the 1990s. A second classic cocktail boost during the 2010s and the drinking-as-DIY phenomenon gave them a third resurgence that’s still going strong today.
Cocktail Bitters Set | $34.99
Attorney-turned-illustrator Alyson Thomas has always loved drawing, painting, and making things, but says she “didn’t think anything of it” until she was voted “most creative” in her college dorm. She didn’t exactly leap from law school to illustrating designs like the ones featured on our Cocktail Diagram Glasses, either.
Alyson’s career started in a very different place–the Department of Homeland Security. From doodling on sticky notes in meetings, to turning in her badge and spending a year on a drawing project, Alyson’s love of illustration grew and eventually blossomed into a full-time business.
She took a break from diagramming delicious things, visiting “nerdy cocktail bars,” and generally being awesome, to answer a few questions about quitting her day job and the creative endeavors that followed.
Sunday, June 14 is National Bourbon Day! The makers of our Mixology Dice, Liz and Sarah Downey, sent us some fun videos featuring creative cocktail recipes just in time to raise a glass to America’s whiskey.
While the bartender who stirred up the rickey in the featured video opted to pour 2 ounces of rye when he rolled “whiskey,” we encourage our readers of legal drinking age to give the cocktail a try with some tasty bourbon if you choose to imbibe this weekend. Many of these recipes can also be made with bourbon or your whiskey of choice.