What We’re Reading:No Eggnog Allowed D.I.Y. Cocktail Party? They’ll Drink To That!; Boston Beer’s 2013 Utopias Blurs The Lines Between Gimmick And Greatness; The Folly Of Prohibition Then And Now: Bond, Booze And The War On Drugs; The 10 Best Christmas Cocktails; Taste Test: The Best Legal Moonshine

December 13th, 2013 — 5:48pm

No Eggnog
No Eggnog Allowed D.I.Y. Cocktail Party? They’ll Drink to That  12/10/2013 – New York Times
So as the holidays are upon us again, I feel the need to reach out. I can’t quite decide what I dread more: the canned holiday music at the grocery store, the abundance of red or all those cloying glasses of eggnog handed to us at office parties. One of the most puzzling things about our drinking culture is that while we have restored, revived and invented wonderful cocktails over the last decade, our holiday drinks often remain woefully antiquated and disappointing. I don’t want eggnog unless it is exceptional. Phooey on the sauvignon blanc, which we all should have retired at the beach last August, and peace out, please, to the sherbet punch. I don’t think it has to be this way. We can do better as a people for our holiday parties by embracing classic ingredients, seasonal citrus fruits and holiday colors — but ditching the clichés. We may be amateurs, but it doesn’t take much to throw together some great cocktails, and even a great cocktail party. Read the rest here!

Boston Beer’s 2013 Utopias blurs the lines between gimmick and greatness  12/13/2013 – Los Angeles Times
Challenging the definition of “beer,” Samuel Adams Utopias is a high-gravity concoction that’s more about flavor than most stunt-beers. There’s been an arms-race for the most potent fermented malt beverage for the past few years, and years ago the brewers after that crown raced past the mark where flavor takes a backseat to booze. (The current record-holder, Snake Venom from Brewmeister, weighs in at an astonishing 67.5%ABV — that’s 135 proof!) Way back in 2002, the World’s Strongest Beer title was held by the modest-by-today’s-standards Utopias at 24%ABV, and Boston Beer Co. periodically has been releasing limited batches of the high-test brew. Utopias is, obviously, completely unlike Sam Adams Boston Lager. The beer comes in a fancy ceramic bottle shaped like a brewer’s kettle, and because Utopias is not carbonated and the bottle is resealable, you can store the bottle in the liquor cabinet while slowly working through it, 2-ounce pour at a time. And you don’t need much more than a scant snifter of this syrupy, boozy treat. Read the rest here!

The Folly Of Prohibition Then And Now: Bond, Booze And The War On Drugs  12/9/2013 – Forbes
It is seems strange now, but alcohol was once a political and cultural fault line. Terms such as “dry” and “wet” served as stand-ins for, and caricatures of, Republicans and Democrats. Republicans’ strong Protestant convictions and provincial attitudes were often expressed as hatred for Democratic urban political machines and Catholic immigrants. Infamously, the “three Ps: Prohibition, Prejudice, and Prosperity” produced a landslide victory for Herbert Hoover in the presidential election of 1928. His Catholic opponent, Governor Al Smith of New York, was routinely denounced as a tool of the Pope and criticized for his affiliation with Tammany Hall. Prohibition’s supporters cloaked their “moral crusade” in positive terms. Drying out the U.S. would cleanse corrupt cities, benefit public health, and instill virtue in unruly drunken immigrants. The do-gooders even allowed for humane exceptions. The 1919 Volstead Act, a precursor to the 18th Amendment, permitted the production of alcohol for “medicinal purposes.” Whatever the intent of legislating temperance, criminalizing booze did not remove the demand for it or make anyone more virtuous. In some ways, the ban did the opposite. Prohibition raised the prospect of considerable reward for quenching the thirst of innumerable speakeasies given the risks of fines and imprisonment. Initially, Prohibition was more farcical than anything. The federal government banned the production and consumption of alcohol within its territory, and liquor salesmen migrated to a legal no-man’s land. They chose international waters: “open air liquor stores operating on the ocean beyond the three-mile limit and beyond the reach of American law.” Ship captains peacefully supplied vice to customers out on “Rum Row” in the early 1920s. Read the rest here!

The 10 Best Christmas Cocktails  12/2013 – Liquor.com
You’ve been shopping, wrapping, decorating and baking for weeks now. It’s time to take a break and enjoy a delicious cocktail. No matter if you’re in the mood for a steaming Hot Toddy or a rich and boozy glass of Eggnog, we put together a list of 12 of our favorite Christmas drinks. Read the rest here!

City Hall Moonshine
Taste Test: The Best Legal Moonshine  12/13/2013 – Huffington Post
Moonshine is one of America’s oldest traditions. From George Washington, to the Prohibition years and beyond, the one thing that’s remained true is that moonshine was made without the blessing or involvement of the U.S. government. But moonshine has seen a rise in popularity in recent years outside the places where it’s traditionally been made and enjoyed. From the mountains of Appalachia to the concrete jungle of New York City, the people want their moonshine. This has given rise to a whole new school of legal moonshine distilleries, churning out the clear liquor for a whole new audience of consumers. Moonshine even has its own reality show now. You might be thinking, “Isn’t legal moonshine an oxymoron?” Although for most of our lives moonshine has been considered contraband, it wasn’t always illegal. Moonshine simply refers to unaged whiskey that’s bottled straight off the still. Since we at HuffPost Taste love booze, the tradition behind moonshine and the taste buds of our readers, we threw ourselves a little moonshine taste test. We pulled together a few of the most recognizable brands that have hit the market in recent years, as well as a few wild cards. Read the rest here!