The Iconic Spirits Blog

In Search of the Ultimate Manhattan

March 28, 2012

Tags: Manhattans, vermouth, bitters

Iím a Manhattan drinker. It has little to do with nostalgia for the Big Apple, my place of birth, and more to do with the fact that I crave flavor. On top of that, I have a weakness for the generosity of texture found in a range of traditional whiskies. (more…)

Shackleton's Scotch: You Don't Have to Freeze to Death to Enjoy It

March 21, 2012

Tags: Ernest Shackleton, Mackinlay's Rare Old Highland Malt

You may not have the resources to mount an expedition to Antarctica, but you can drink like the explorers who got there.
In 1907, Ernest Shackleton and his men set out for the South Pole on their ship, the Nimrod. They were forced to evacuate in 1909, about 100 yards from reaching the Pole. Even more heartbreaking, they had to abandon a stash of Mackinlayís Rare Old Highland Whisky, leaving it under a floorboard in their expedition hut. (more…)

The Spherification of Cointreau

March 14, 2012

Tags: Cointreau, Cointreau Pearls, Spherification, Richard Lambert

El Bulli may be closed, but the legacy of Ferran Adria has entered popular culture. One of Adriaís most replicated techniques is spherification---the conversion of liquids into edible balls that look like caviar, and explode in the mouth exactly like fish eggs. When I first encountered this bit of culinary theater, at his restaurant Hacienda Benazuza outside Sevilla in 2005, it was the height of cutting-edge experimentation. Today, itís likely to turn up at the corner bistro. (more…)

Is the Renaissance in Ice Maiming Our Best Bartenders?

March 7, 2012

Tags: Ice, Kold-Draft, Repetitive Stress Injury

Weíve heard of carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow, and we know thereís hardly a major league pitcher who hasnít had rotator cuff surgery. It turns out that being a bartender is just as dangerous.
Mixologists just love to show off their technique. Many cocktails require vigorous shaking to blend the components together, and bartenders have incorporated a bit of theater into their over-the-shoulder gyrations. As a result, many of them are now suffering from Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI). (more…)