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The Big Man of Jim Beam: Booker Noe and the Number One Bourbon In the World

In Book Reviews by Brett AtlasLeave a Comment

My deep dive into bourbon began in earnest with Knob Creek and Basil Hayden’s. They were the first premium small batch bourbons released, and their mastermind was Booker Noe. At the time of their release, Booker’s legendary career was pretty much over, and I had no idea who he was.

Today, the Bourbon Trail is like Disneyland for adults, whiskey festivals draw crowds of thousands, and they all line up for photos with the Master Distillers. This can all be traced back to Booker Noe, the grandson of Jim Beam, and the first true star of the bourbon world. “One day they just started calling me [Master Distiller],” he said, “I’m not even sure what the hell it means.”

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Amaro: The Spirited World Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs with Cocktails, Recipes and Formulas Book Review

In Book Reviews by Thomas FondanoLeave a Comment

If you read articles on cocktails and drinking trends, the word “bitter” will inevitably come up. If get serious about cocktails, you will inevitably go through a “bitter, brown and stirred” phase. The Italian word for bitter is amaro.

Amaro: The Spirited World Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs with Cocktails, Recipes and Formulas by Brad Thomas Parsons is a primer and guide to every widely available amaro on the market. Parsons takes the reader through the various styles: apertivos like Campari and Aperol; Italian classics like Averna, Cynar, Meletti; aromatized wines like vermouth, quinquina and barolo chinato; American made bitters like Art in the Age Root, Calisaya and the much maligned Jeppson’s Mälort (tasting notes: Urinelike hue. Intensely bitter. Astringent and aggressive. Rocket fuel kick.) Think you’ve never had amaro? If you’ve had Jägermeister, you’ve had amaro.

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The Manhattan: The Story of the First Modern Cocktail Book Review

In Book Reviews by Thomas FondanoLeave a Comment

The Manhattan: The Story of the First Modern Cocktail by Philip Greene offers a richly detailed history of the ingredients and the evolution of the cocktail itself. Greene takes the reader through the myriad origin stories (spoiler alert: most of them aren’t true!) and beyond to the descendants of the Manhattan such as the Brooklyn. One of my favorite stories in the book details how the Manhattan exposed a politician’s hypocrisy and destroyed his career.

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Bourbon: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of an American Whiskey Book Review

In Book Reviews by Brett AtlasLeave a Comment

Fred Minnick truly needs no introduction, but he deserves one anyway. He is a bestselling whiskey author, a judge for the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and World Whiskies Awards, a bourbon ambassador for the Kentucky Derby Museum, a contributor to Whisky Advocate, a photographer, and a guy willing to talk bourbon with literally anyone on Twitter. Without question, his face belongs on any Mount Rushmore of bourbon experts. In his fourth book (due in October), Bourbon: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of an American Whiskey (BourbonRebirth, using his own hashtag), Minnick traces the entire tumultuous history of bourbon from the dawn of our nation to the present-day boom.

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Dead Distillers: A History of Upstarts and Distillers Who Made American Spirits

In Book Reviews by Brett AtlasLeave a Comment

Dead Distillers, Colin Spoelman and David Haskell’s follow up to 2013’s The Guide to Urban Moonshining, is a truly unique walk through the history of whiskey- in many cases a walk through actual cemeteries! Spoelman, a Kentucky native, and hobby moonshiner founded New York’s King’s County Distillery. The first NYC distillery opened since Prohibition, King’s County produces all of its whiskey including its brand new Bottled-In-Bond Bourbon (distillery-only right now but will see wider distribution). Haskell, deputy editor at New York Magazine, just happens to be the great-grandson of a prohibition-era New York Bootlegger.

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The Architecture of the Shot Book Review

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Note: Thanks to the fine folks at Quarto Publishing for providing us with a copy of The Architecture of the Shot for review and giveaway with no strings attached. If you walk into a bar these days, you’ll see machines that can dispense chilled shots of Jaegermeister, Fireball, or whatever the local favorite college hangover inducer happens to be. Ask for a shot, and you’re likely to be handed something that smells like cotton candy and tastes like Kool-Aid with a hint of paint thinner. But it doesn’t have to be that way. When skillfully prepared, with layers of flavors, a …

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The Bourbon Tasting Notebook Review – The Fitness Tracker of Bourbon

In Book Reviews by Erin PetreyLeave a Comment

Disclaimer: A review copy of The Bourbon Tasting Notebook was provided by the authors and their publisher for this review. I appreciate their willingness to allow Bourbon & Banter to review the book with no strings attached. Thank you. One of my favorite memories during my time with Bourbon & Banter was when I made the trek over to St. Louis from DC for Mike Veach’s Filson Bourbon Academy. Even though Mike was slated to come to DC a few weeks after, I wanted the opportunity to experience the Bourbon Academy with my fellow B&B folks. It was a brisk November morning in 2013 …

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A Wet Drunk Midwestern Summer (a tale of Tiki Cocktails)

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Note: Thanks to the fine folks at The Countryman Press for providing us with a copy of Tiki Drinks for review and giveaway with no strings attached. We might be at the un-official end-of-summer, but we’re still in the thick of it. The wet, hot, hair-glued-to-your-forehead, soggy crotch thick of it. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s a classic Midwestern Summer. The only way to survive a Midwestern Summer? Inebriation. Constant inebriation, from June all the way through August. (September if you want to play it safe). Which brings me to why we are here: you …