alcohol

A Taste of Beaujolais Nouveau for the New Year

Eve M. Ferguson

Considered a vin oridnaire, or local wine, which could only be sold after Dec. 15 by law, it gained popularity after the end of World War II, when the rules were relaxed on Nov. 13, 1951, and the Union Interprofessionnelle des Vins du Beaujolais (UIVB) formally set Nov. 15 as the release date for what would become known as Beaujolais Nouveau. Later, the date was relaxed further to be the third Thursday in November once the wine started to be imported to North America and Asia. 

Researching the Authenticity of Collectable Scotch

Elisabeth O'Leary

Investigators from the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre used carbon-dating to sample 55 bottles of Scotch bought through the secondary market, discovering that 21 were fakes or not distilled in the year declared, Rare Whisky 101, which commissioned the study, said. The sale of rare collectors’ whiskies is more and more popular, and this October a 60-year-old The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 was sold for a record 848,750 pounds ($1.08 million) at auction.

Cider Makes a Comeback in New York

Beth Kaiserman

The "cider" revival refers to traditional alcoholic cider, made by fermenting apples, usually of more than one variety. It's produced like wine, which is fermented from grapes. A number of farmstead cider makers have emerged in New York, turning the beautiful heirloom apple varieties of upstate New York into delicious, unique ciders. These are often less sweet and more nuanced than mass-market ciders Americans may be used to.

‘Boom Varietal’ is a Pleasing Documentary Up Front, But Unspectacular in the Finish

Nancy Lackey Shaffer

Despite a promising start, the rest of this film feels very much like a PR piece for potential investors. Which perhaps isn’t surprising: directed by Sky Pinnick, the producer is Kirk Ermisch, CEO of Southern Wine Group, a Latin American wine importer. Vineyards are beautiful, Mendoza seems like a fun and vibrant city, and it is nice that so many winemakers featured are given the space to talk about wine in their own words—other than a few notes that flash on the screen, the vintners basically tell the story. 

American Spirits: A Look Back at the Prohibition Era

Sandra Bertrand

More than 100 rare artifacts are displayed at the American Spirits exhibit, including such curiosities as the original paraphernalia for making moonshine at home, ratification copies of the 18th and 21st Amendments and a collection of Roaring Twenties dresses. The flask collection alone show you how far camouflage was carried to hide the “hooch.”  One bar set, “Mr. Dry,” is in the shape of a casket, with the cork-headed corpse concealing a corkscrew body.  Even Carrie Nation’s own hatchet from one of many barroom-smashing raids is on display. 

Savoring Tequila and the Sophisticated Tastes of Mexico

Nancy Lackey Shaffer

Mexico carefully guards the name and legacy of its national spirit. Any liquor bearing the label “tequila” must be produced in Mexico, from blue agave (Agave tequilana azul) of the Weber Blue variety grown in Jalisco, or tequila of specially designated regions of Nayarit, Guanajuato, Michoacán and Tamaulipas. Distilleries are also carefully regulated, and assigned a NOM (Norma Oficial Mexicana) number. Much of the mass-produced tequila found in American liquor stores comes from fairly young agave plants, harvested when the sap is tart and acidic. 

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