The gentlemanly nip is a delicate thing. At its best, it’s a venal pleasure, a moment of rebellion from the troubles of the day. At worst...you’re just getting drunk at lunch.
But Izola’s line of flasks offers two tricks to keep you on the right side of the line. First, they’re beautiful—each is a perfectly circular polished-steel talisman, like jewelry with whiskey in it.
But more importantly, they’re very small. The lesser of the two holds three ounces, a little less than a double shot. It’s just enough to loosen your tie. There’s also a five-ounce, depending on your threshold for trouble, but anything bigger than that should be left to the professionals.
It’s a traditional Irish liquor that can range up to 190 proof—and thanks to that unusual potency, it was outlawed by the British for nearly 300 years. But in recent decades, the queen has loosened her restrictions, and we’re on the cusp of seeing the first commercially available bottle in America.
The project is raising money on Kickstarter now thanks to an Irish émigré living in the states, and if he manages to raise another $35,000, you can officially add poitín to your liquor cabinet.
The drink itself is pot-distilled from potatoes, sugar and yeast, which means the closest American equivalent is moonshine—but even that’s not terribly close, given the strength of the spirits involved. If you’re curious (and you don’t feel like waiting a month for the first bottle), you can also find it in a few distilleries in Ireland.
Bitters have been a cocktail go-to for years—and hopefully a bottle or two found its way into your liquor cabinet at some point—but thanks to Brad Thomas Parsons’s Bitters, we stumbled upon some more interesting uses for the magic drops.
So if by some coincidence you find yourself overstuffed with turkey in a few weeks’ time (possibly as a result of excessive thankfulness), a few dashes of Angostura may be just what you need to get back on your feet.
When we heard word of a Rhubarb liquor, we were understandably curious. So we got our hands on a bottle of the stuff, and after an unusually bracing evening with the stuff, we’re ready to offer our considered verdict…
A little known fact: before the temperance movement got a hold of it, root beer had some real kick to it. As in booze. And the folks behind Hendricks Gin are getting ready to bring the old hooch back.
The result is ROOT, an 80-proof version of the drink you remember from your tenth birthday party. We first sampled it at a recent BillyKirk party and were surprised at the result: somewhere between Barq’s and bourbon. The flavor’s all natural, distilled from organic sugar cane along with nutmeg, black tea and a handful of other spices, so it couldn’t be farther from the world of flavored vodkas. And because it comes from a cohort of Philadelphia crafties, everything from the label to the cork radiates homegrown scrappiness.
Usually we want our liquors to be as artisanal as possible. We want them stored in musty oak barrels in obscure parts of Europe, crafted lovingly by inarticulate old men with beards, and delivered to us in packaging that reflects the whole beautifully anachronistic process.
But we can’t all be artisans...and “scientist” isn’t bad as a backup. Elements of Islay's whisky line bucks the usual warm design aesthetic in favor of chemical-looking beakers and table-of-elements labeling. Of course, the contents are more or less the same barrel-aged concoction, but you’d never guess it from looking.