Now that the World Cup is over, we're guessing your focus has shifted to thinking about which deck, beach resort or patch of grass you're going to occupy, and which summer cocktails you need to get your hands on. The emphasis this month is on the so-called "white" spirits: vodka, gin, silver tequilas, and rums (for those craving new whiskies and other aged temptations, check out our new brown spirits roundup). Get off your butt long enough to reach for one.
Booze News And Trends
In Mobs We Trust: Companies activating crowdsourcing and social media do so at their own risk, as McDonald's can tell you (see: "Hashtag Hijacking"). But ballsy brands are apparently willing to embrace the hazards. Purity Vodka founder Thomas Kuuttanen regularly takes his product on the road for blind tastings amidst bartenders and media who might unknowingly trash his baby to his face (they never do, and it almost always wins). This spring, Ilegal Mezcal asked its fans to share their "Ilegal Confessions" online because... Rob Ford? Actually to raise money for charity and maybe get the shot at free booze and inclusion in an ongoing film project.
And now Laphroaig -- the super smoky Islay single malt whisky -- has launched #OpinionsWelcome, an open-ended forum for submitting your thoughts on the brand, good or bad. Found at Laphroaig.com/Opinions and supported on Facebook and Twitter, master distiller John Campbell says "these authentic reactions will entice those unfamiliar with whisky, and inspire them to share their own opinions." Our favorites so far: "Like the delicious smell of a burnt enemy's flag," and "Caveman sweat. In a good way." Also, a video of father and son sharing their first peaty dram.
A Pinch of Salt: Many people love rimming margaritas with salt. More and more, bartenders are finding that just a bit of salt -- especially fancy sea and smoked salts -- enhances a drink beyond measure. Camper English, of Alcademics, attended Bombay Sapphire's "Most Imaginative Bartender" contest finals in London last month and found NaCL mixed into many of the drinks, including the winning entry from France's Remy Savage (which featured a "paper syrup" designed to make the drinker think of, yes, paper). Savage tells English his bar, Little Red Door, adds salt or saline solution to all the cocktails on their menu "to amplify flavors."
In his new book Liquid Intelligence (out soon), mad scientist and innovative bartender Dave Arnold adds a pinch of salt or a couple of drops of saline solution to most of the book's unusual cocktails including the Schokozitrone (chocolate vodka, lemon juice, ginger), Boozy Shakerato (rum, espresso, cream) and even his Egg White Whiskey Sour. While Arnold goes deep into the physics and chemistry of things like carbonation, nitrous infusions and red hot pokers, we haven't yet found a passage wherein he explains his love of salt.
Flickr / Dana Moos
Tales of the Cocktail, a week-long industry bacchanal in New Orleans takes place this month (July 16 to 20). So if you saunter into your favorite craft cocktail watering hole and all the bartenders are AWOL, figure that's where they've headed. The bonus for you? They'll come back brimming with new ideas for your drinks.
There's more booze news where this came from. Check out the full article to be the first to know about new liquor releases, and to get AskMen's cocktail recipe of the month (it's a Watermelon Mint Margarita).