What We’re Reading: Holiday Nostalgia, Served Warm, Holiday Gift Guide, Beer of the Month, Drink of the Week, The Homemade Gin Kit

December 19th, 2012 — 10:35am

Holiday Nostalgia, Served Warm – New York Times
Wassail (a hot winter punch made with cider, ale, spices and an optional garnish of toast. Yes, toast) is enjoying a small revival in New York bars these days, particularly those with nostalgic tendencies, whipped up in big pots or slow cookers. And therein lies the beauty of wassail: more than just another nice-tasting drink, it’s part of a long (if largely forgotten) tradition of celebrating the life that winter can seem determined to snuff out. It’s a fragrant, warming concoction mixed in bulk and set out for sharing, all but demanding that you call in a crowd. There’s really no such thing as wassail for one. Read more!

Holiday Gift Guide – Imbibe
Finding the perfect gifts for friends and family every year can be a challenge, so we’re here to make your holiday season a little easier. For the imbibers on your list you can shop easy with the help of our holiday gift guide in the Nov/Dec 2012 issue of the magazine, featuring 50 gift ideas suited to budgets of all kinds. But we couldn’t stop there: Below are some extra suggestions, from bite-sized stocking stuffers to wine cellar-filling splurges. Whether you’re shopping for a cocktail geek, coffee enthusiast or beer lover, our holiday gift guides have you covered, because sometimes even Santa needs a little help. Read more!

Beer of the Month: North Coast Brewing Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout – Los Angeles Times
For some reason — maybe it’s the longer nights — winter brings out a taste for dark, strong, malty beers: porters and stouts, particularly in the overpowering Russian and Baltic styles. They overflow with roasted flavors, and they’re usually quite sweet. But that’s not the only way they can go. Old Rasputin is a Russian imperial stout, meaning that it’s very dark (it pours nearly black with a very high tan head) and alcoholic (9% by volume), but you taste very little sweetness. That’s because of a bitterness level toward the top of the IPA range, though it doesn’t register in the palate as bitter, rather as a dryness cleaning up after all the malt. Read more!

Drink of the Week: Nikka Whiskey Taketsuru Pure Malt 12-Year – Imbibe
We’re feeling rather warm and fuzzy this holiday season, and we’re pretty sure today’s Drink of the Week—the Taketsuru 12-Year from Nikka Whisky—is partly to thank. Introduced on U.S. soil late last month, this spirit is already taking the drinks world by storm with its silky-smooth texture, flavors of caramelized apple and pear and hint of smoky vanilla on the finish. Read more!

Stocking Stuffer: the Homemade Gin Kit – Los Angeles Times
Forget the costly distilling equipment. And you can forget the bathtub. The kit comes with practically everything you need to make a batch of your own hooch at home legally: fancy glass bottles, double-mesh fine strainer, funnel, a jar of aromatic botanicals, and juniper berries. All you need is a mid-level bottle of vodka and you’re good to go. Follow the enclosed instructions and in 36 hours you have your own infused gin. Read more!