Booze

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Glass of Punch May Pack a Punch, But the Two Have Nothing in Common (Etymologically Speaking, Anyway)

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 6:21 PM

COURTESY OF PHOTOSPIN
  • Courtesy of PhotoSpin
I picked up Henry Fielding's novel, Tom Jones, once again after putting it down in the middle and moving on to other things. Back in April, I noted my surprise at finding that the phrases "ass kicking" and "ass kissing" were alive and well in the 18th century. In the part I'm reading now, our hero and others are on the move and stopping at inns along their way, and they frequently drink "punch" in the evenings. I wondered, is "punch" just a random alcoholic concoction in a punch bowl, or does it refer to something more specific? The answer is, it was a specific type of drink in the same way as, for example, a martini. It's of semi-exotic origins, as is its name.

Here are the basic ingredients, according to an online source, which are similar to ones described elsewhere.
In the beginning, punch was a simple mixture of five canonical ingredients: lemon or lime juice, sugar, water, "spice" (which could have been anything from nutmeg or tea to ambergris, a musky whale secretion now used only in perfume making), and, of course, liquor. Batavia arrack, a fiery but highly aromatic molasses-and-rice distillate imported from the Dutch East Indies, was the preferred spirit, but Caribbean rum and French brandy were right behind it. The earliest known reference to the drink dates from 1632, appearing in a letter to an India-bound merchant from an English colleague, who strongly warned against drinking it (if punch has a fault, it's the ease with which one can absorb too much of it).

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tough Luck Club's Stephen Ott on the Art of a Summer Stirred Cocktail

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2016 at 4:30 PM

Mezcal and Irish whiskey play nice with sherry in Tough Luck's San Patricio. - HEATHER HOCH
  • Heather Hoch
  • Mezcal and Irish whiskey play nice with sherry in Tough Luck's San Patricio.

I tell the same joke a lot during winter when people ask me what my favorite seasonal cocktail is. "Cup of scotch," I say, and everyone laughs (at least, in my head they do). Anyway, the thing is, if you're the type of person who enjoys just cups of booze, stirred and served up, summer can be kind of a downer. A parade of fruity ingredients, floral liqueurs and more can make and liquor lover hesitant to dive into cocktail bar menus. However, that's not all you'll find on Tough Luck Club's new summer menu.

Sure, the volume, which is illustrated by artist Veronica Stice, features bright drinks like the Summer Lovin'—a mix of basil vodka, Riesling, watermelon syrup and lemon juice—or the Every Morning Coming Down with white rum, spicy green chile vodka, lemongrass syrup and lime juice with a turmeric tincture. But, even some of those fruit-forward drinks have some deeper notes. Case in point, the Midnight Rodeo, which offers cognac, red wine, salt and a grilled blackberry syrup. Bartender Stephen Ott says the drink reminds him of "nighttime in the summer."

Summer Lovin' is a refreshing drink, embellished with Riesling. - HEATHER HOCH
  • Heather Hoch
  • Summer Lovin' is a refreshing drink, embellished with Riesling.

Of the 15 drinks on the menu, six are dubbed "stirred and boozy." The trick to making a stirred cocktail that doesn't become burdensome to sip in the Tucson summer heat is the simple method of substitution. You can take the structure of a drink like a Manhattan or a Vieux Carre and switch out some of the heavier components, like sweet vermouth, for brighter liqueurs or sherry. The San Patricios does both, mixing mezcal and Irish whiskey with elderflower liqueur, amontillado and orange bitters. 

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Get Five Courses of Prep & Pastry Brunch (and Plenty of Beer) at Tucson Hop Shop

Posted By on Tue, May 24, 2016 at 3:05 PM

There will be maple bacon dossants, of course. - PREP & PASTRY / FACEBOOK
  • Prep & Pastry / Facebook
  • There will be maple bacon dossants, of course.

Look, we all love brunch and many in town look to one restaurant to satisfy all their boozy breakfast needs. So many, in fact, that getting a table at the well-loved Prep & Pastry on the weekends can sometimes be a challenge. For those looking to get a taste of P&P without the wait, get your ticket now to the restaurant’s special collaboration with Tucson Hop Shop (3230 N. Dodge Blvd.).

On Saturday, May 28 at 10 a.m., Prep & Pastry will be offering a five-course brunch at the beer bar and bottle shop, highlighting the beers of New Belgium Brewery. Dishes to be served include housemade cheddar-herb biscuits with duck fat and sausage gravy, a summery spinach salad with avocado and strawberry and maple bacon dossant (donut + croissant) bites. Local singer-songwriter Karima Walker will perform during the event. Guests will also have the chance to win Prep & Pastry gift certificates, New Belgium growlers and more.

The beer-paired brunch is limited to just 50 people with complementary and complimentary coffee provided by Presta Coffee Roasters. You can get a ticket, which are $45 per person, through the Tucson Hop Shop website

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

3rd Annual Sour Beer Fest at Tap & Bottle Showcases More Than 20 Tart Brews

Posted By on Thu, May 19, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Pucker up, Tucson! - PYZATA
  • pyzata
  • Pucker up, Tucson!

The art of brewing beer sour has taken hold of the craft beer world and no event showcases this more in town than Tap & Bottle’s (403 N. Sixth Ave., #135) annual Sour Fest. Now in it’s third year, the two-day tap takeover of all things tart will showcase more than 20 different sour beers from all over the country.

Arizona brewers included in the event are 1912, Arizona Wilderness, Historic, Iron John’s and Fate, while national brew contributions come from Ninkasi, Funkwerks, Ballast Point, Stone, Firestone Walker and more.

Tap & Bottle’s weekend of sour beer kicks off on Saturday, May 21 at 11 a.m. with a sipping session led by Almanac Brewing’s Phillip Emerson. The tasting will offer six different Almanac beers. It is a ticket event with limited space, so send a message to cheers@thetapandbottle.com for more information and to secure your spot.

Otherwise, you can just head into the bar on Saturday or Sunday to try out some of the many beers offered in the 3rd Annual Sour Fest.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Arizona Rosé Week Hits Good Oak Bar with Local Vintners and Plenty of the Pink Stuff

Posted By on Thu, May 12, 2016 at 3:15 PM

Pink wine is perfect for summer. - DOS CABEZAS / FACEBOOK
  • Dos Cabezas / Facebook
  • Pink wine is perfect for summer.
Arizona wines don’t get nearly the love they should. With new vintners popping up all the time, it’s pretty clear that vineyards can thrive in the Sonoran desert and elsewhere across the state. You can spend a whole week celebrating local wine over at Good Oak (316 E. Congress St.) when the bar presents Arizona Rosé Week.

With a little something to pique the interest of lovers of red and white, rosé exists as a happy middle ground, while being something completely on its own that happens to be perfect for warmer weather. Some, including Good Oak's Luke Anable, would peg them as " really good, fresh, quaffable wine."

Now, with six local wine makers such as Dos Cabezas, Rune and AZ Stronghold, you can navigate the world of rosé in the state through a unique, six-day event that spans from Monday, May 16 to Sunday, May 22. Arizona Rosé Week will also feature rosé flights ($14) and 20-percent off select bottles to go. 

Here's the week's line-up:

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Still and Twisted Tandoor Join Forces with Indian Dinner and Cocktail Night

Posted By on Tue, May 10, 2016 at 3:04 PM

The Chandrakanta, made with vokda, lime, bay leaf syrup and cucumber, is just one of eight cocktails featured at Indian Night. - COURTESY OF THE STILL
  • Courtesy of The Still
  • The Chandrakanta, made with vokda, lime, bay leaf syrup and cucumber, is just one of eight cocktails featured at Indian Night.

JAM Culinary Concepts, the parent company of both Vero Amore and Noble Hops, recently took well-loved former Indian food truck Twisted Tandoor under its wing, with promises of an eminent brick and mortar location. Though that restaurant is still projected to be a couple months out, you don't have to wait to get anther taste of Twisted Tandoor.

Vero Amore has already incorporated the Singh family Twisted Tandoor recipes into their line-up with their unique Indian pizza nights for the past year and a half, while seeking to get the truck up and running again for catering and private events. Now, the restaurant's speakeasy-inspired bar, The Still (located behind a rotating wall in Vero Amore at 2920 N. Swan Road), will play host to a special Indian Night event. 

Led by Roopinder Grewal of Twisted Tandoor, Josh and Aric Mussman of JAM and bartender and manager of The Still Tiffany Eldredge, the one-night-only event will run from 7 p.m. to midnight on Thursday, May 12 and will offer seven dishes and eight cocktails inspired by Twisted Tandoor.

Here's the menu:

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Friday, May 6, 2016

Three Wells Distilling Creosote Gin, Prickly Pear and Agave Spirits Become Available Statewide

Posted By on Fri, May 6, 2016 at 1:33 PM

Three Wells crafts spirits with a mind for Sonoran flavors. - COURTESY OF THREE WELLS DISTILLING
  • Courtesy of Three Wells Distilling
  • Three Wells crafts spirits with a mind for Sonoran flavors.

At the intersection of hyperlocal and small-batch craft distilling, Tucson's Three Wells resides. Following Hamilton Distillers lead, Three Wells, which is led by distiller Matt Montgomery and Chris Dudding, became the second licensed distillery in Tucson—but the spirits maker is forging a unique identity by using place-specific ingredients to craft its wares.

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Hotel Congress' Agave Celebration Expands to a Full Week of Festivities, Here's What You Can Expect

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 4:47 PM

Cocktails, spirit samples and more at Agave Fest. - COURTESY OF HOTEL CONGRESS
  • Courtesy of Hotel Congress
  • Cocktails, spirit samples and more at Agave Fest.

Eight years ago, Aaron Defeo, who was then running Hotel Congress' bar program, sought to create an event unlike any Tucson had seen before. He wanted to give pros and guests alike the opportunity to sip spirits, rub elbows and learn more about the liquor world through a place-centric tasting event.

"There just weren't any opportunities for people to taste a wide variety of curated spirits," Defeo says. 

What's more is many of the tasting events that did exist were sponsored by one specific brand, which meant little diversity in the selection.

Flash forward eight years and Defeo's original single-day tasting event at Hotel Congress has exploded into a full week of seminars, tastings, concerts and more and become the Agave Heritage Week. Congress' general manager Todd Hanley wanted to expand the event this year, including off-site venues and more to grow the festival.

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Staff Pick

Frida: Portraits by Nickolas Muray

Tucson Botanical Gardens and Etherton Gallery are collaborating to bring the photography show Frida: Portraits by Nickolas… More

@ Tucson Botanical Gardens Oct. 10-May 31, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 2150 N. Alvernon Way.

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