Road to Morocco Stops in Yonkers, 11/5/2013 – New York Times
Mahia, the traditional eau de vie, or schnapps, of Morocco, is made from dried figs, unlike the European spirits made from fresh fruit. And it is traditionally distilled by Jews like David Nahmias, a Moroccan expatriate who with his wife, Dorit, makes and markets his own under the brand Nahmias et Fils. The family’s distillery was a meeting place both for Jews and for imbibing Muslims who stopped by to make purchases. Their mahia (the name, like eau de vie, means water of life) was knocked back at holiday and family gatherings. And it was used as folk medicine in an area without any hospitals: for earaches, it was given through a dropper. Read the rest here!
The Gin Goes Back Into the Barrel, 11/5/2013 – New York Times
John Little, the founder and master distiller of Smooth Ambler, a West Virginia microdistillery, fell into the aged-gin business by accident. Early in 2012 he had just distilled a batch of his standard gin when he realized he was out of bottles to put it in. The serendipitous meeting of wood and spirit was pleasing enough that he decided to leave the gin in the casks. That June, he released a few bottles. The reaction from consumers was positive, so he gave Smooth Ambler Barrel Aged Gin a bigger debut that fall. It is now tied as the company’s third-best seller, behind its bourbon and rye. Just a year ago, aged gin could still be called an oddity. A few other small distillers were playing around with the niche spirit, including Few Spirits in Illinois, Corsair Distillery in Kentucky and Citadelle in France, which can be counted as a trailblazer, having released its version in 2008. Today, the barrel aging associated with spirits like whiskey, rum and tequila is increasingly applied to gin. Read the rest here!
Drink no wimpy beers on National Stout Day, 11/7/2013 – Los Angeles Times
Friday is International Stout Day, when beer fans can raise a glass to toast the dark, roasty brews of the stout family, and it’s a family with many branches and offshoots to explore. “Taking place in homes, pubs, breweries and restaurants,” say the organizers, Stout Day is ”all about celebrating the craft beer revolution, relishing in this beloved beer style, sharing your photos, tasting notes and events with the world.” The event also hopes to increase awareness of the variety of available variations of the style; stouts range from the Irish dry stout (Guinness) that’s commonly known, to the Russian imperial stouts popular with so many craft breweries. Read the rest here!
Four creative, locally brewed beers for November, 11/6/2013 – Los Angeles Times
L.A.’s craft breweries are maturing quickly as thirsty Angelenos drink the beer as fast as it is brewed, and new beers are being packaged and released each week. November is looking to be a particularly great month for creative, locally brewed beers. Here are four new options to keep an eye out for. Read the rest here!
Vice Index Predicts a Sober Holiday Season, 11/6/2013 – Wall Street Journal
Looks like it’s not going to be such a hot holiday season for liquor companies, casinos, and prostitutes – at least according to the latest reading of the “Vice Index.” The index – a concoction from SouthBay Research’s Andrew Zatlin measures actual spending levels – yes, on vices – and uses the numbers to show where the economy is headed. As opposed to Tuesday’s chipper report on the services sector from the ISM, the vice index’s September sounding came in at 104, its lowest level since February’s 96. Read the rest here!
Schumer would allow mailing of wine, beer, liquor, 10/31/2013 – Wall Street Journal
ALBANY, N.Y. — Sen. Chuck Schumer says he wants to scrap a Prohibition-era measure so that people can mail wine, beer and liquor to friends and relatives. He says the measure would be a boost to wine and beer producing states like New York as well as a benefit to the U.S. Postal Service. He says consumers would see a break in the cost because the Postal Service has flat rates for packages. Other carriers often charge by weight and distance. Currently there are restrictions on mailing wine, beer and spirits. Schumer says he will move to end those restrictions in an upcoming bill regarding the future of the struggling Postal Service. Schumer says the measure could bring the Postal Service another $225 million a year and he wants to “push the envelope.” Read the rest here!
The Great Old Fashioned Debate, 11/07/13 – New York Times
There’s a terrific mini-monologue in the 1942 film “You Were Never Lovelier” in which Fred Astaire’s fast-talking would-be roué tells Rita Hayworth’s ingénue: “As they’d say in Brooklyn, I can’t bat in your league. I’m a plain, ordinary guy from Omaha, Nebraska. Just an old-fashioned, everyday Middle Westerner.. . . But you’re streamlined. You’re today. Sister, I was raised amongst the grasshoppers, I am strictly from corn.” And then the duo breaks into song and dance, which is where Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer’s sublime ballad, “I’m Old Fashioned,” debuted. Read the rest here!