Short Film: Absinthe

Proof that the social scare film is as old as the cinema itself, Absinthe is the 1913 equivalent of Reefer Madness. The titles here are not in English, but it’s a silent film so you shouldn’t need them to follow the story anyway. Note that the main character is an artist with a particularly goofy beret. It is a testament to the social scare film’s habitual oversimplification that within days of his first sip of absinthe, the artist’s life has fallen apart completely; and within moments of giving up the drink, his life is put back together.

Absinthe is interesting both to enthusiasts of silent cinema and as an example of society’s attitude towards absinthe as La Belle Époque drew to a close.


Absinthe Week!

So next week Shanna and I will be exploring the sights, sounds, and booze of Walt Disney World. But while we’re away we’ve lined up a whole series of posts about one of the most neglected spirits in boozology: absinthe.

So be sure to check back Monday and all week because we’ve got long posts, short posts, recipes and videos. By next Friday you’ll know so much about the green fairy you’ll be able to make a teetotaler’s head spin.

Absinthe Week!

Post #100: the Century Cocktail

Holy crap you guys! We have officially reached our 100th post. It’s a small milestone to be sure, but I’ll take any excuse to pour a celebratory tipple. To mark the occasion we thought it’d be appropriate to invent an IPTB original cocktail which we have fittingly dubbed the Century. I was actually rather surprised to find that there wasn’t already a drink by that name, but all the better for us. We fiddled with the recipe for a few days and tried a few variations, but it was Shanna that hit upon the winning combination. Those who know us and/or are regular readers won’t be surprised by the ingredient list. The result is a cocktail that’s complex in flavor, but not in execution, and which we think has the merits of a classic.

So let’s raise a toast: May the next 100 posts be even more fun than the first, and may you always drink in good health and better company!

Celebrating 100 posts with a Century Cocktail

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Kickstarter Alert! Milkman Brewing

This past Saturday Shanna and I had the honor of serving as judges at the Pittsburgh Rugby Club’s annual Brewfest. (We’ll post more in-depth coverage in a day or two.) Almost 30 breweries came out, both local, national, and international. However, my top-rated beer and the winner of the festival came from right here in Pittsburgh. Milkman Brewing Company is currently a small homebrewing operation with dreams of becoming a small microbrewing operation. They’ve launched a Kickstarter to help defray their start-up costs, and are off to a solid start. But they still have a long way to go.

If this weekend was any indication, the Milkmen have the chops to create something very special and delicious here in Pittsburgh. All they need is a little help. There’s no minimum donation, but the more you give, the more swag you end up with. Check it out and hopefully we can get these guys – and one lady – off to a running start.

Contribute to the Milkman Brewing Kickstarter here!

Milkman Brewing Company

Wigle Whiskey Distillery Photos

Recently we were lucky enough to take a look around the soon-opening Wigle Whiskey Distillery. Ending an over 80 year dry spell, Wigle (pronounced “wiggle”) will be the the first commercial distillery to operate within Pittsburgh city limits since Prohibition.

Master distiller Eric Meyer, his father Mark, and a host of supporters will be producing rye whiskey along with the less common wheat whiskey. And because aged whiskey needs at least 3 years in an oak barrel, Wigle will also be producing un-aged white rye and wheat whiskeys, which should be on shelves by the end of the year. White whiskey has been picking up steam lately amongst cocktail enthusiasts across the country and we personally can’t wait to try Wigle’s first offerings.

The entrance to Wigle's Strip District location

During our visit, our friend, production assistant, and guinea pig Hawkeye was kind enough to snap some excellent photos for us. Wigle’s combination pot/column still is itself a work of art and worthy of many more photos than we have space for here.

So check out the photos after the jump and let us know in the comments whether you’re daring enough to try an un-aged whiskey. Continue reading

How did you get to Boozehound?

Updated: 12/08/11

Search terms are a funny thing – you can use them to answer a question, learn something new, find something old, and so on. When you look at the reverse side of search terms, and you find out how people got to your blog, it can be hilarious, enlightening, or just plain curious. We won’t get into the technical sides with SEOs and blah blah blahs, but here are some top picks from our site stats – and answers to a few questions people on the internet seem to have:

Kraken – the biggest leader on how people came to our blog is by searching for Kraken rum. From the one article we wrote at the very beginning we have gotten maybe 80% of our hits. People want to know what to mix it with – apparently lemonade and Kraken is a real thing that 43 people wanted to read about before daring to try. So the bottom line is: Yes, Kraken is good. It’s good with coke, and it’s good in a Dark and Stormy. We don’t know of The Kraken Gin or Kraken Brandy, but we’d love to try it if they made it. We wouldn’t put it in fruit punch (we don’t DO fruit punch for that matter) and we’d advise against a Kraken Daiquiri (use a white rum – all 4 of you). No, Kraken doesn’t need to be refrigerated. We advise against mixing Hendricks Gin and Kraken Rum.

“How does rose juice grenadine with tequila?” – Well… we’re not fans of how it does. I’m not a fan of Rose’s grenadine.

“All I have is brandy and triple sec what can I make” – Grab a lemon, because you’re having cheap sidecars tonight!

“limoncello premium danny devito” – Please, for the love of good booze, just make your own.

“how do you call vodka water and bar lime” – We call it just wrong. Change that water to soda water, squeeze a few “bar” limes (are those the pre-cut slices behind the bar that have been sitting out all day?), and have yourself a Vodka Rickey.

“popular pgh mixed drinks” – If you’re having a Pittsburgh themed party, unless you want to get creative, you’re probably thinking of our official city Boilermaker Imp’n’Arn. Easily done, it’s a shot of Imperial Whiskey dropped into a glass of Iron City Beer.

“can i drink martini rose with green olives?” – I’m going to take a shot here and assume you mean (1) a flavored gin cocktail with rose water or something equally delicious or (2) a Hendricks martini, which has rose notes. While you certainly can use olives, we would recommend against it – you probably don’t want a salty drink. Use a cucumber, citrus peel, or even some edible rose petals.

If this person did mean Martini & Rossi’s Rosé than… ew.

“the gimlets are back” – It’s true, and we hope that the next season of Mad Men will be on soon. We also loved it when we saw people searching for vodka men.

“cocktails named after authors or books recipe library “tequila mockingbird– For your next literary party also try Papa Dobles, Deaths in the Afternoon, Algonquins, Vespers and White Angels (from Breakfast at Tiffany’s – “half gin and half vodka, no vermouth”).

“can vodka be added to tea?” – No one’s stopping you, but you should probably do a hot toddy with whiskey and black tea (honey, lemon, cinnamon sticks, and so on optional) instead.

Do you also have a question? We’d love attempt to answer it.

What it’s all about

As we boozehounds delve deeper into this endeavor called IPTB, and specifically our recent (poorly kept) secret project, I’ve found myself trying to pinpoint exactly what we’re actually trying to accomplish here. I mean sure, the blog is a poorly disguised excuse to imbibe on weeknights – in the name of research – but we’ve never quite put our thumb on the big whys. Why blog? Why booze? Why is this at all worthwhile? I still haven’t reached any concrete answers, and that’s fine, but last weekend I came a bit closer.

It was a Saturday night on the deck behind my parents’ house. Six of us sat in a small ring of chairs: my parents, my two brothers, Shanna and myself. In the morning my older brother was getting married. Between the six of us we had four $5 cigars and a bottle of Jameson. By the end of the night the bottle was empty and four burnt-out stubs were floating in a few inches of water at the bottom of a coffee tin. In the intervening time we had dug up old memories of growing up together. We talked about the bride-to-be (who sadly wasn’t present) and how glad we were that she was joining our family. We discussed work, the future, and all the other usual topics.

I couldn’t say that it was the booze that brought on that moment of near total contentment. The congregation of loved ones, anticipation of my brother’s connubial bliss, these certainly had more to do with it. But we sat outside that night to smoke cigars and drink Jameson, and the rest followed of its own accord.

Regardless of anything else we write here, what you drink will never be half so important as who you drink it with.

Made by Hand Video: Breuckelen Gin

This is the first in a proposed series of videos by a group called Made by Hand, focusing on products that are “made locally, sustainably, and with a love for craft.” Sort of celebrating the modern day William Morris. And I must say that we’re ever so pleased that their opening effort puts the spotlight on a new craft distiller, Breuckelen Distilling Company. Operating out of Brooklyn, New York since mid-2010, Breuckelen has so far limited itself to gin production, and that’s just fine with us.

So check out this excellent video, and be sure to pick up some Breuckelen Gin next time you’re in the NYC. I know I will.

Cirrus Ice Press

A while back we posted an article about the ice you mix and serve your delightful cocktails with. (Boozehound Basics: Ice) In the comments, faithful reader and fellow booze blogger G-LO posted a video in which a Japanese bartender carved a ball of ice. Turns out he could save a bunch of time (and probably a few stab wounds) with the Cirrus Ice Press. As you can see in the video below, this ingeniously simple device will create a perfect sphere of ice in one minute flat. At $800 a pop though, I might stick with a knife and a box of Band-Aids.