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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Editor Picks

Editors’ Picks: Best Thanksgiving Drinks

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Thanksgiving Drink Picks

© Frances Janisch

Thanksgiving is all about the turkey, the stuffing, the sweet potatoes. But for F&W editors it wouldn’t be complete without the perfect cocktail, beer or wine. Here, expert suggestions for terrific Thanksgiving drinks from a bracing vermouth cocktail to a rare late harvest zinfandel that will go perfectly with the holiday spread. MORE »

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New Spiced Bitters from Cocktail Master Dale DeGroff

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Dale DeGroff's Pimento Bitters

Dale DeGroff's Pimento Bitters. Photo by Phil Jimcosky / Mutineer Magazine.

A pioneer of modern American mixology, “King Cocktail” Dale DeGroff is best known for his turn as head bartender at New York’s Rainbow Room, which recently was granted landmark status. Inspired by a Jamaican liqueur he loved that’s no longer on the market, DeGroff just unveiled a new product: Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters. The infusion of distilled high-proof alcohol with pimento berries (a.k.a. allspice), orange peels, demerara sugar and a top secret strain of anise makes a super-aromatic cocktail component that’s richly spiced and comforting, especially in cold-weather drinks. He’s producing the bitters in France, and the product is now available in signed 250 ml bottles with his kitschy tuxedoed portrait on the label. Here, DeGroff talks about his path to bitters and how to use them in a delicious Thanksgiving punch. >

 

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Delicious Pear Cocktails

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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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Perfect Fall Pairing: Apples and Booze

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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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American Sparkling Cider Cocktails

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Woodberry Tavern: Whiskey Smash

Whiskey Smash © Dusan Vuksanovic

With lightly sweet flavors and a soft fizziness, hard sparkling ciders from American craft producers are a fantastic fall alternative to sparkling wine or soda water in cocktails. At Woodberry Kitchen, the Whiskey Smash calls for cider that is made in the same way it was during colonial times. »

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Fernet Branca Cocktails for Fall

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Fernet Cocktails: July Square

Courtesy of Manresa

Bartenders familiar with the dark, medicinal Italian liqueur Fernet Branca as a digestive or hangover cure are now using it in fantastic, herbaceous cocktails. The long-standing industry favorite earned extra buzz last month as the main component in San Francisco Cocktail Week's signature drink: The Black Lily with Fernet, citrusy Cointreau and fresh lime juice over ice. Just south of San Francisco in Los Gatos Manresa is serving a Fernet-and-Coke-inspired cocktails. »

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MoMA’s Provocative Cocktail Collaboration

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Crushed Nun Cocktail

Crushed Nun cocktail at The Modern. Photo by Leah Herman

Ehren Ashkenazi, bar director of The Modern at the New York Museum of Modern Art, often collaborates with Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewery on specialty brews (like the French painter–inspired Paul Saison), but he recently unveiled the restaurant’s first project with exhibiting artists. The two avant-garde filmmakers behind "The Quay Brothers: On Deciphering the Pharmacist's Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets," which runs through January, worked with Ashkenazi on a cocktail called The Crushed Nun (Light on the Veil). Its name comes from a scandalous portrait, by 19th-century painter Jean-Jacques Lequeua, of a nun exposing her breast. The dark, herbaceous riff on a Champagne cocktail combines absinthe, fresh blueberry syrup infused with Strega (an herbal liqueur similar to Chartreuse), sparkling rosé and Angostura bitters. Here, Ashkenazi discusses what it’s like to make drinks with artists >

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Late Summer Jam & Marmalade Cocktails

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Summit Bar's Shu Jam Fizz

Summit Bar's Shu Jam Fizz. Courtesy Pamela Vlahakis.

Preserving sweet summer fruits in jams and marmalades is a tradition for many home cooks, but home mixologists should consider stocking up as well. Preserves are good for more than just spreading on toast; they add bright flavors and a silky texture to cocktails >

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Icy Adult Cocktails: Snow Cones, Lushies and Shave Ice

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Adult Snow Cones

Courtesy of Casa del Mar

Spiking childhood refreshers like slushies and snow cones is nothing new, but craft bars now treat these drinks like real cocktails. Read more about these nostalgic, icy treats >

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Pimm's: Think Outside the Cup

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War of the Roses Cocktail

© David C. Sampson

In 1823, English restaurateur James Pimm developed a tea-toned, spicy and lightly fruity gin-based apéritif called the Pimm's House Cup. Now bottled and known as Pimm’s No. 1 (or simply Pimm's), the formula remains a guarded secret and is still primarily used in an iconic British long drink topped off with sparkling lemonade and garnished with cucumber, fruit and mint. Leave it to Americans to rebel against tradition. Mixologists on this side of the Atlantic are mixing the delicious spirit into a variety of creative and refreshing summer cocktails.

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.