What We’re Reading: Bartenders Look South for ‘Next New Thing’, Big Brewers Make Summer Wacky Beer Season in Japan, An $1,100 Ice Press and Other Accessories for Your Bar Cart, Hydrating Beer, Mojito Taste Test: Will Expensive Rum Make Your Cocktail Better?, Great Rum From Where? Yes, Thailand, Homemade Ready-to-Drink Cocktails

August 16th, 2013 — 4:46pm

Bartenders Look South for ‘Next New Thing’ Pisco, a Chilean Spirit, Comes to New York,  8/15/2013 – Wall Street Journal
Earlier this month, booze connoisseurs were invited to the bar Bathtub Gin for a so-called educational tour about pisco, a Chilean spirit, part of a national tour promoting the liquor. Claudia Olmedo, a sommelier and the author of “40 Grados,” a Spanish-language guide to pisco, is presiding over the events, which feature spirits from the popular brand, Pisco Control. “The pisco category in the United States is starting to get legs right now,” said Scott Goldman, who works for a company that imports the drink. Mr. Goldman said pisco was popular during the 1800s but “has been kind of dormant since that time,” and its popularity took a hit during the Prohibition era. So why the resurgence? “Bartenders love the next new thing, tequila has had its day and this category has been generally untouched in modern years. And in general pisco is in an artisanal category,” he said. The drink is created through distilled wine produced in Chile and Peru. Read the rest here!

Big Brewers Make Summer Wacky Beer Season in Japan Kirin and Asahi Test Innovations Like Soft-Serve Foam, Extra-Cold Brew and Beer Cocktails,  8/14/2013 – Wall Street Journal
Care for some pineapple juice or fermented milk in your beer?  Strange brews are on tap in Japan this summer, as the country’s biggest beer-makers—Asahi Breweries Ltd. 2502.TO -0.79% and Kirin Brewery Co. 2503.TO -1.76% —experiment with novelty beers they hope will appeal to younger Japanese drinkers, particularly women, who prefer drinks sweeter than the average pint.  The gimmicky concoctions are available mainly at bars and temporary beer gardens the companies have set up for the peak quaffing season in cities across Japan. The drinks are becoming a regular summer feature, a way for Asahi and Kirin to promote and test new-product ideas, the most promising of which can be sold more broadly later.

Kirin is selling 12 cocktails featuring its Ichiban Shibori beer leavened with mixers like pineapple, grapefruit or tomato juice, as well as cassis or lemon liqueur. The company calls them Ichiban Shibori Two-Tone Drafts, for the layers of color created in the glass before the beer and mixer are stirred.  Even more unusual is Ichiban Shibori Frozen Draft, which is beer topped with frozen foam dispensed like soft-serve ice cream from a special tap. Read the rest here!

Bar Cart
An $1,100 Ice Press and Other Accessories for Your Bar Cart King-Size Ice Spheres Cubes, Silver Julep Cups, Copper Moscow Mule Mugs and the Cirrus Ice Ball Press Are Big in Home Mixology, 8/8/2013 – Wall Street Journal
Bar carts are in vogue, especially those that look like they just rolled off a “Mad Men” set, and at-home mixologists are equipping them with some of the same tools their favorite bartender might use.  There are classic stainless-steel shakers, muddlers and strainers for whipping up cocktails in style, as well as accessories that were once hard to find, such as solid copper mugs and frosty silver-plated cups for serving icy cocktails like Mint Juleps or Moscow Mules. There are ingenious gadgets, like the “bar10der,” a Swiss army knife of cocktail tools.  “They are experiencing this in restaurants and bars and want to recreate that experience at home,” says Jacob Maurer, senior vice president of merchandising for Sur La Table stores, based in Seattle. Several products aim to improve upon classic ice cubes. Silicone freezer molds make extra-large ice spheres or cubes that melt more slowly, improving a drink’s flavor and aroma.  And there are rocks substitutes, including Sparq’s soapstone Whiskey Stones that go from freezer to drink and don’t dilute. The Corkcicle Chillsner is a stainless-steel spout inserted into a bottle of beer that keeps it cold to the last drop. Retailer Sur La Table says it is selling as many deluxe ice molds as spatulas or kitchen peelers.  At Williams-Sonoma, the aluminum Cirrus Ice Ball Press uses gravity to press an ice block into an ice sphere, one at a time. The kit, with freezer molds for creating the ice blocks, retails for $700. Read the rest here!

Hydrating Beer: Researchers Create Brew That Rehydrates Drinkers By Adding Electrolytes,  8/16/2013 – Huffington Post
Good news, beer lovers. You may soon be able to drink a cold one without getting too dehydrated. Australian researchers say they’ve created a hydrating beer by adding electrolytes — a common ingredient in sports drinks. That way drinkers can enjoy their alcoholic beverage, which is known to dehydrate, while still staying refreshed. However, don’t expect the hydrating beer to contain the same amount of alcohol as your average brew. In order to achieve the feat, researchers also had to reduce the alcohol content. The team from Griffith University’s Health Institute recently tested the idea by modifying the ingredients in four different varieties of beer: two commercial, one of average strength and one light brew. Researchers noted that the alterations did not effect the taste of any of the beers. Read the rest here!

Mojitos Taste Test
Mojito Taste Test: Will Expensive Rum Make Your Cocktail Better?,  8/15/2013 – Huffington Post
August 16 is National Rum Day. Even though HuffPost Taste basically assumes that all national food days were made up by some random guy on Twitter, we’re always glad to have an excuse to drink at work, so we decided to celebrate with another edition of our recurring series of Cocktail Taste Tests, which aim to figure out when expensive liquor makes a difference. We briefly toyed with the idea of tasting daiquiris, the classic rum cocktail, but they felt a little close to margaritas, which we already tasted. So instead, we gravitated toward mojitos, one of the most fun drinks in the universe — and the perfect drink for August heat. We mixed up a bunch of mojitos, all using the same recipe (which you can find below) but with different brands of rum, ranging widely in price. We had a couple dozen HuffPost writers and editors taste all 11 samples blind and give their feedback to us. Read the rest here!

Great Rum From Where? Yes, Thailand  8/15/2013 – Forbes
Tomorrow is National Rum Day, and regular readers know that I enjoy fine rum and have covered it here at Forbes.com quite a bit, but not recently. I get sent a lot of samples by rum manufacturers, an increasingly crowded field with lots of new entrants, but lately they have all disappointed: too sweet, too thin, not enough of the special sugar cane taste that makes rum what it is. That’s why it was a pleasant surprise yesterday when I received and tasted a sample of Phraya, “Imported from the Kingdom of Thailand.”  Unlike many new players, Phraya is not something rushed to market, but rather a well-aged rum, blended from barrels 7-12 years old, depending on how each ages. Because it is aged in charred oak for that long it is medium dark in color, and on the bottle describes itself pretty correctly as “Deep Matured Gold Rum.” Speaking of the bottle, it is a knockout, shrouded in a gold metallic filigree cuff, very unique and impressive looking. Since it also tastes quite good and very few people you know will have tried it, it makes an excellent gift. Read the rest here!

Ready To Drink Cocktails
Homemade Ready-to-Drink Cocktails,  8/16/2013 – Liquor.com
We love fixing cocktails at home, but after a long, hard day sometimes we don’t have the energy to dig out the jigger, shaker and juicer. What’s a thirsty drinker to do? Fortunately, we’ve discovered a solution that we think you’ll like: homemade bottled cocktails.  These concoctions have become quite popular recently and can be ordered in bars around the country, but ready-made elixirs don’t have to be difficult to make. In fact, we’ve found a few simple recipes that you can whip up in minutes and store pretty much indefinitely. Read the rest here!