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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

F&W Bookshelf

'Drinking with Men' Writer on Being a Regular

Rosie Schaap's Drinking with Men

Riverhead Books

Talking with Rosie Schaap, it becomes increasingly evident that any good bar would want her as a regular. She’s easy going, funny, smart and genuinely interested in other people, and for the most part, she orders whiskey on the rocks—a no-fuss drink. In fact, Schaap, the Drinks Columnist for the New York Times Magazine, has become a regular at several bars around the world in her day, something that she writes about in her phenomenal new memoir, Drinking with Men.

Schaap is an expert storyteller. She takes readers from her days following the Grateful Dead through love affairs to working as a minister after the September 11 tragedy, with the bars she frequents and the friends she’s made in them playing a pivotal role in her daily life. For a book that’s purportedly about drinking, it’s intriguing how little of it touches on actual drinks. It’s the neighborhood bars Schaap inhabits that become their own little worlds–like Grogan’s pub in Dublin where everyone knows the words to the same bar tunes, or The Man of Kent in Hoosick Falls, NY, loved by many a biker on Route 7 or the (now closed) Liquor Store in Manhattan’s Tribeca.

Schaap misses Liquor Store most. “I just loved the mix of people there,” she tells F&W. “You just felt that everyone was happy to see each other and perfectly relaxed. It was a very simple unadorned place but it was a beautiful corner bar and the light was really special in late afternoon just before it turned into evening. That was really the most beautiful time there.”

While Schaap mostly chronicles her time as a patron, on Tuesdays she can usually be found bartending at South in Brooklyn’s Park Slope. “There is a lot more responsibility behind the bar, but I still feel as curious about people when I’m serving them as I do when I’m just sitting on the civilian side talking,” she says.

She won't be there tonight. Schaap is doing a reading at 2A in the East Village at 8 p.m.–and then will be off to Chicago, San Francisco and Boston over the next couple weeks on a book tour.

Drink This Now

Historical and Heretical Sazeracs

Sazerac Interpreted

Sazerac Interpreted Courtesy of Restaurant R'Evolution

With Mardi Gras approaching on February 12, cocktail obsessives can honor the holiday by trying a new variation on New Orleans’s famous Sazerac. The basic recipe features rye whiskey, Peychaud’s bitters and sugar, stirred and strained into a cold (but ice-free) rocks glass rinsed with absinthe. At French Quarter newcomer Restaurant R’evolution, wine and spirits director Molly Wismeier makes a Sazerac with brandy. MORE »

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Drink This Now

Toasty Drinks for Winter Weather: Hot Toddies, Irish Coffee and Warm Punch

Hot Drinks: The Dead Rabbit

The Dead Rabby © Andrew Kist

New Yorkers looking for an antidote to the recent blast of frigid weather can take refuge at a new cocktail spot opening next week called the Dead Rabbit, which will offer several warming winter drinks. Located in an early-19th-century townhouse, the new venue is actually two bars in one: a cozy pub, which aims to have the largest Irish whiskey menu in the city, and an upstairs cocktail lounge. Downstairs, co-owners Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry will serve a classic hot toddy and Dale DeGroff’s Irish coffee recipe. But upstairs, among the 72 cocktails divided into 12 chapters, Muldoon and McGarry will employ very modern technology to prepare historically influenced drinks. MORE >

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Drink This Now

The Hottest New Chile Cocktails

Mucho Humo

Courtesy of Florida Cookery at The James Royal Palm

From mild anchos to seriously hot Scotch bonnets, chile peppers add nuanced flavors and, at times, lip-numbing sensations to cocktails. MORE >

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Drink This Now

The Rise of Lighter Cocktails

OAK at fourteenth's Trail Ridge Road

Trail Ridge Road © Phoebe Trotta.

While boozy, brown drinks still rule in pre-Prohibition-style bars, bartenders who take inspiration from Europe are now popularizing aperitif-like cocktails that are flavorful and low in alcohol. In F&W's series of cocktail predictions for 2013, Bryan Dayton, owner of OAK at fourteenth in Boulder, Colorado, championed low alcohol drinks as the future of mixology. "European cultures have always promoted light aperitifs," Dayton says. "Whether it's cider in Normandy or Aperol spritzes in Italy." MORE »

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Drink This Now

The Newest Holiday Punches

New Holiday Punches: Passed Bright Milk Punch

Passed Bright Milk Punch © Nathan Rawlinson.

Long before there were martinis and daiquiris, Manhattans and mai tais, there was punch. Punch dates to the early 17th century, when it was imported to England by officers of the East India Company, according to writer John Ayto, who just published a new edition of The Diner’s Dictionary: Word Origins of Food & Drink.

Made in batches and perfect for holiday entertaining, punches are especially popular this time of year among bartenders looking to put their own spins on festive cocktails. Brooklyn’s buzzed-about Scandinavian restaurant Aska—from chef Fredrik Berselius (Aquavit, Per Se) and partner Eamon Rockey, formerly of Atera—is now serving three innovative punches. “Punch is about community and about enjoying something together,” says Rockey. MORE »

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Drink This Now

Innovative Alpine Mai Tais, Chestnut Old-Fashioneds and More Holiday Cocktails

Innovative Holiday Cocktails: The Alpine Mai Tai

The Alpine Mai Tai Courtesy of The Beehive

Often sugary or creamy, holiday drinks frequently taste more like liquid dessert than balanced cocktails. “The temptation is to do peppermint this and gingerbread that,” says Nate Hayden, bartender at The Beehive, a jazz club, bar and restaurant in Boston’s South End. “But we wanted to create something fun and slightly sweet, but also with real complexity to it as well.” Inspired by the nostalgic scent of pine trees, Hayden came up with the Alpine Mai Tai.

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Drink This Now

The New Old Fashioned

The New Old Fashioned: No. 10

Whitehall's No. 10 Courtesy of Whitehall

When it comes to cocktails, it doesn’t get much simpler than the old fashioned: spirit (typically rye or bourbon), bitters, sweetener and citrus. The uncomplicated nature of the drink makes it a fantastic blank canvas for bartenders. “The old fashioned is arguably one of the oldest cocktails,” says John McCarthy, the beverage director of New York City’s Scotch-centric Highlands and gin-focused Whitehall. “What’s great is that you can change all the elements and just mix and match.” McCarthy created three riffs on the old fashioned for his fall menus. »

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Drink This Now

Delicious Pear Cocktails

Pouring Ribbons' Tahona Smash

The Tahona Smash ©Paul Wagtouicz.

If fall fruits were superheroes, pears would be Robin to Batman-like apples: terrific, but occasionally left behind. But this season bartenders are spotlighting the sweet, fragrant fruit in cocktails made with a range of spirits from brandy to vodka. »

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Drink This Now

Perfect Fall Pairing: Apples and Booze

Apple Cocktails: The Hudson

The Hudson cocktail. Courtesy of Northeast Kingdom.

In fall, when overzealous apple-picking excursions and trips to the farmers’ market end with piles of the crunchy fruit overflowing from kitchen bowls, most people make pies, slice them for salads and do lots of fiber-rich snacking. Here’s a tip: Use fresh apples to create fantastic of-the-moment cocktails. More >

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