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Aug 09

Mad Men Monday: One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer

Don has always been a bourbon man and if you look closely in the background at Anna’s place, she has a bottle of Wild Turkey on her bar. Wild Turkey, the brand, was created in 1940 on a turkey hunt. The 80 proof version was introduced in 1974.

Don will drink anything in the whiskey spectrum, I swear. It doesn’t matter if it’s low-end whiskey or high-end scotch. I tried my best to get a good look at the bottle he drank with Lane. Across the Internets, speculation is that it’s a bottle of scotch, most likely 30-year old Macallan.

I don’t know the first thing about scotch, so I turned to my scotch-drinking husband. According to Kevin, Macallan is a Highland scotch, so there isn’t as much peat as a scotch from Islay. (Islay scotch makes my house smell like a swamp.) Macallan is a nice and smooth whiskey, still available today at a very high price point. Believe it or not, you can read more about scotch on our site: Jameson, Laphroaig, and Johnnie Walker.

Don also doesn’t discriminate against beer. Both in the comedy club and in the bar with Anna, beer was the libation of choice. I know Budweiser was the preferred beer on this show last season, but I’m not sure what they’re drinking this season – whatever is on draft, I suppose.

While Anheuser-Busch was still the number 1 brewer in the ’60s, there were a lot more regional beers. Locally, you could easily find things like Hudepohl, Schoenling, and Wiedemann. Schlitz was big in Indiana, National Bohemian in Baltimore, Narragansett in New England, and so on. Since then, it is more the craft beers that have become regional, although there are still a few (such as Yuengling and Fat Tire) that hold tight to their regions.

As for the show, well, I think they are seriously focusing on character development this season. It’s definitely darker and slower in season 4, but I’m okay with that. I would like to see a little more of what is happening with Betty, and a lot more of what is happening with Joan and Peggy. There were no creepy children in this episode. In fact, the thing I found the creepiest? As soon as they introduced Anna’s niece, I knew Don would hit on her.

What did you think of episode 3?

Top and bottom photos from the
AMC Mad Men Season 4 Photo Gallery

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Posted by Michelle at 1:49 pm in History, Mad Men Monday, Television | Permalink | Comments (2)
Dec 05

It’s Prohibition Repeal Day!

Happy Anniversary everyone! It’s the 76th anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition and the 18th Amendment with the ratification of the 21st Amendment. (Ooo! A history lesson!)

There was much celebrating on Dec 5, 1933, as seen in this fantastic newsreel:

You now have another reason to officially celebrate today. Get out there and drink some wine!

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Posted by Michelle at 4:21 pm in History, Knowledge, Legislation | Permalink | Comments (3)
Aug 20

They keep telling us we’re drinking …

Recently, there was a small amount of hubbub over the fact that Cincinnati somehow ended up #10 on Forbes Magazine's list of Hardest Drinking Cities.

At first glance, our sales would confirm that. The Ohio Division of Liquor Control released stats yesterday that show a 5% increase from the previous year's sales of spirits greater than 21% alcohol / 42 proof, for a sales figure of $729.9 million.  According to the Business Courier,

That translates to sales of 10.6 million gallons, up more than
309,000 gallons, or 3 percent, from fiscal 2008, when volume nudged up
only 1 percent.Ohioans have increased their liquor intake
by an average of more than 200,000 gallons since the division’s fiscal
1997. This year’s tally broke last year’s record year.
…On a volume basis, Ohioans bought 10.6 million gallons of scotch, vodka
and other spirits, 3 percent more than in the 2008 fiscal year.

That's a lot of scotch, vodka, and other spirits. It does not take into account beer and wine (unlike the Forbes Magazine survey). It also doesn't take into account the out-of-state liquor sales. While that is really only relevant to southern Ohio, a good deal of dollars are exchanged by Ohioans heading to the liquor stores on Kentucky side of the river.

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Posted by Michelle at 1:00 pm in Cincinnati, Cocktails, History, Local | Permalink | Comments (1)
Aug 04

The Night They Invented Champagne

Once upon a time, a monk named Dom Pérignon was making wine and couldn't get rid of the bubbles. After tasting his accidental creation, he exclaimed, "Come quickly! I am drinking the stars!"

Or so the story goes. Wired Magazine points out that this fortuitous accident was supposed to have happened exactly 316 years ago today. On Aug 4, 1693, Dom Pérignon invented champagne.

Except he didn't. The story is most likely the result of some brilliant marketing campaigns throughout the years, including the "drinking the stars" line, which dates back to an advertisement in the 1800s.

In reality, Dom Pérignon was a Benedictine monk who entered the order at the age of 19. He resided  at the Abbey of Hautvillers near the town of Épernay (within Champagne, France), where he served as cellarmaster. He was charged by his superiors to get rid of the bubbles in the wine, but was unable to do so. Instead he made great advances in perfecting the method of champagne creation.

Champagne undergoes two fermentations. After the first, traditional fermentation and bottling, yeast and a bit of rock sugar are added to the bottle. The bottle, now sealed with a cap, ages for a minimum of 1.5 years. Once the bottle has reached maturity, remuage occurs. During remuage, the bottles are slowly turned almost upside down so that the residual yeast ends up in the neck of the bottle. The bottle necks are then quick-frozen and the cap removed. The pressure in the bottle forces out the ice containing the residue and the bottle is quickly corked to maintain the carbon dioxide. Several houses will add a dosage (sugar syrup) at this point to maintain the level of liquid within the bottle. 
The bottles are corked and caged, and often aged for a few months to many years before they are released to the market.

Back in Dom Pérignon's day, cellars would lose around 20% of their wine to exploding bottles, as the pressure from the bubbles would be just too much. It was Dom Pérignon's advancements that helped bring about the champagne we know today.

I love that champagne is such a wonderful beverage, inspiring myths about its creation and songs about its invention. So happy mythical birthday, champagne. You wear 300+ well.

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Posted by Michelle at 8:00 am in History, Knowledge, Marketing | Permalink | Comments (2)
Jul 09

Guest Post: An Italian Wine Primer, Part 2

While Kevin & I are in Alaska, we've asked some friends and
colleagues to post on their wine loves, wine experiences and more. For
this post we welcome back Kevin Keith, continuing his post from last week.


Welcome back, it’s Kevin Keith, your friendly neighborhood
wino from Liquor Direct, back with more Italian primer – this time we
take a brisk walk through the Italian wine landscape, starting at the top of
the boot, with the tiny region of the Valle d’Aosta.

Image Credit

Valle d’Aosta is
the smallest of the Italian wine regions, bordering Switzerland to the north,
France to the west, and Piedmont to the south and east.  An ancient growing region, grapes have
been cultivated since the Roman days, with around 22 varieties authorized for
growing, including Picotener (the local name for Nebbiolo), Neyret, Vien de
Nus, Fumin, Mayolet, Prie Route, Petit Rouge, Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir), Gamay,
Dolcetto and Syrah for the reds, and Moscato Bianco (also called Moscat de
Chambave), Pinot Grigio (also known as Malvoisie), Blanc de Morgex, Prie Blanc,
Muller-Thurgau, Chardonnay and Petit Arvine.  There are no DOCG wines from this area.

Piedmont means
“at the foot of the mountains.” 
This region is by far one of the most recognized regions in Italy.  It is the second largest region and has
the most DOC wines (over 40) and DOCG wines (7).  Most of the production of wine originates in the heart of
Piedmont, the Po River Valley. 
Here you will find Barolo, Barbaresco, Gattinara and Moscato
d’Asti.  The first three I
mentioned are all made with the Nebbiolo grape, and the last mentioned is from
the ancient Muscat grape.  Dolcetto
and Barbera are also widely planted red varieties, as well as Freisa,
Grignolino and Brachetto.  The most
popular white grape is the Cortese, used for the DOCG wine, Gavi.  Arneis (nicknamed the “white Barolo”)
and Erbaluce di Caluso are also grown. 
Another important wine product produced here is Vermouth, made with at
least 70% wine, and fortified and flavored with various roots, spices, herbs
and wood – this is what is known as an “Aromatic” wine.

Lombardy sits in
the semi-circle created by the Alps that enclose Italy to the north.  The mountainous north and the flat Po
River Valley in the south define the topography of the growing regions, which
are divided into three:  the
Valtellina in the North, the Oltrepo Pavese in the southwest, and the
Franciacorta in the east. 
Nebbiolo, known locally as Chiavennasca, is the primary red grape grown
in the Valtellina.  The Oltrepo
Pavese is known primarily for Pinot Nero. 
And the greatest sparkling wines from Italy come from the Franciacorta,
and is derived from Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and/or Pinot Nero.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by Michelle at 8:30 am in Guest Writers, History, Knowledge | Permalink | Comments (1)

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