I Thought I Hated Beer Until I Tried Porters

I have never been a beer person. I’ve tried and failed (or, rather, it failed me). I’ve sipped fruity IPAs that are supposed to taste like a dichotomy of bitter sunshine or juicy pineapple mixed with volcanic ash (all I tasted was ash), Oktoberfest bee…

I have never been a beer person. I’ve tried and failed (or, rather, it failed me). I’ve sipped fruity IPAs that are supposed to taste like a dichotomy of bitter sunshine or juicy pineapple mixed with volcanic ash (all I tasted was ash), Oktoberfest beers to get back to my German roots, and light summer ales (or maybe they were lagers…what’s the difference anyway?). I all but swore of the category altogether, opting for hard ciders at breweries and literally anything else at a restaurant or cocktail bar.

That is, until a painfully exhausting day when I helped my sister and her husband move into a new apartment. We were bone tired, hungry, dehydrated, and in desperate need of a cold drink. We grabbed lunch at a nearby brewery where I ordered an 8” cast iron skillet of baked macaroni and cheese and the only hard cider that was on the menu (this is, for the record, my ideal last supper).

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The Best Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Wine for Holiday Toasts

When I first quit drinking alcohol, the only thing about it that I feared I would miss were champagne toasts. I associate sparkling wine with Christmas, when my mother usually hosts a huge, festive feast. For years, one of my jobs as her co-host has be…

When I first quit drinking alcohol, the only thing about it that I feared I would miss were champagne toasts. I associate sparkling wine with Christmas, when my mother usually hosts a huge, festive feast. For years, one of my jobs as her co-host has been to make sure everyone got a glass of champagne as soon as they walked in the door, which meant I spent at least half an hour watching the animated bokeh effect of the bubbles as I made sure the red and clear Waterford cut crystal champagne flutes she uses only once a year didn’t overflow.

As Christmas rolled around the first year that I didn’t drink, nearly a decade ago now, I replaced champagne with sparkling cranberry cider, but it wasn’t the same. Even though I didn’t miss the effects of alcohol, I missed the taste and the fine, tickling bubbles of a decent sparkling wine. Luckily, non-alcoholic sparkling wine making has come a long way in the past ten years, and bubblies without the buzz have improved tremendously. Recently, I had the delightful task of tasting and reviewing over seventeen offerings that are available now for your holiday parties, New Year’s toasts, or whatever you might be celebrating all year long! Here are my recommendations:

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Cardi B Made Boozy Whipped Cream—So We Did Too

If you’re looking for a way to upgrade a cup of hot chocolate this holiday season, Cardi B has the solution. Wait…did you just say Cardi B? Yes, the rapper has joined forces with Starco Brands to release three flavors of vodka-infused whipped cream—van…

If you’re looking for a way to upgrade a cup of hot chocolate this holiday season, Cardi B has the solution. Wait…did you just say Cardi B? Yes, the rapper has joined forces with Starco Brands to release three flavors of vodka-infused whipped cream—vanilla, caramel, and mocha. The boozy whipped cream, duped “Whipshots,” is totally dairy-free and does not require refrigeration. It’s said to add a "playful shot of sophistication to any drink, dessert, or party" so that everyone can party like Cardi.

Whipshots hit shelves sometime this December, so if you can’t wait to dress up a piece of pie with a little bonus booze, you can make alcohol-infused whipped cream at home.

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14 Best Cocktail Books for At-Home Mixology

Are you sick of paying $16 for a cocktail and want to learn how to mix drinks at home? Me too! This sounds like the start of an infomercial, but I promise it’s not. It’s a plea to invest in a cocktail book…well, maybe two. Written by bartenders, mixolo…

Are you sick of paying $16 for a cocktail and want to learn how to mix drinks at home? Me too! This sounds like the start of an infomercial, but I promise it’s not. It’s a plea to invest in a cocktail book…well, maybe two. Written by bartenders, mixologists, and bar managers for home bartenders, this lineup of the best cocktail books includes hundreds of recipes, thousands of techniques and tricks for mixing drinks, and pages of fascinating cocktail history. In each book, drinks experts share their go-to spirits for any number of classic cocktails and how to determine what you really like (not what you think you should like).

With a well-stocked home bar and any one of these insightful cocktail books, you’re well on your way to mastering the martini, nailing the Negroni, and feeling victorious with a bottle of vermouth in hand.

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24 Best Gin Cocktails to Shake, Stir, & Sip

Gin cocktails can range from refreshing sips featuring mint leaves, tonic water, and lemon simple syrup to the bold and bitter, like a Negroni made with dry gin, dry vermouth, and Campari. In this roundup of 24 essential gin cocktail recipes, we’ll sta…

Gin cocktails can range from refreshing sips featuring mint leaves, tonic water, and lemon simple syrup to the bold and bitter, like a Negroni made with dry gin, dry vermouth, and Campari. In this roundup of 24 essential gin cocktail recipes, we’ll start you off with the basics—a classic (and a frozen!) gin and tonic—before diving into the frothy, fizzy, and everything in between.


Best Gin Cocktail Recipes

1. Frozen Gin & Tonic

Frozen cocktails aren’t just reserved for margaritas. This big-batch classic cocktail is exactly what we want to drink poolside. Or on the balcony of a cruise ship. Or sprawled out on a big picnic blanket on a hot summer day. Or maybe tucked into a blanket on the couch, imagining those things.

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The No-Explosion Way to Open Champagne

I don’t believe that you need an excuse to open champagne, but when you have a bottle of really good bubbly, you might want to save it for a special occasion. Say, an anniversary, date night, or New Year’s Eve, or a Thursday. But opening a bottle can b…

I don’t believe that you need an excuse to open champagne, but when you have a bottle of really good bubbly, you might want to save it for a special occasion. Say, an anniversary, date night, or New Year’s Eve, or a Thursday. But opening a bottle can be intimidating. There’s no electric corkscrew or fancy wine preservation system to help you out. It’s just you, the cork, the wire cage, and a kitchen towel. Whether you have a pricy vintage champagne or an inexpensive bottle of sparkling wine, the last thing you want is a cork flying across the kitchen and bubbles bursting out of the bottle and onto your kitchen countertops. And cabinets. And the floor. And that new velvet dress that you bought just for tonight.

How to Open Champagne

When learning how to open a bottle of champagne, who else would I turn to than Veuve Clicquot for instructions? My fiancé and I enjoy a bottle of the iconic yellow label champagne for every special occasion in our lives—birthdays, anniversaries, new jobs, new apartments, and holidays. No one does champagne like the French.

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All I Think About Is Timothée Chalamet’s Espresso Martini

There are a few things that Timothée Chalamet has that I, and many other people between the ages of oh, say 18 to 45, aspire to have. His cheekbones. His thick, curly hair that manages to look tousled, not tangled (my bedhead achieves the opposite). Pr…

There are a few things that Timothée Chalamet has that I, and many other people between the ages of oh, say 18 to 45, aspire to have. His cheekbones. His thick, curly hair that manages to look tousled, not tangled (my bedhead achieves the opposite). Probably his eyelashes (because men with thick, dark hair usually have long, dark eyelashes, too). And a piece of his heart. Why Timothée asked Larry David and not me on a date to drink espresso martinis at Sant Ambreous is beyond me, but let the chips fall where they may.

For some context about a month ago, Timothée was spotted sipping espresso martinis with Larry David the day after the 25-year-old co-chaired the Met Gala. The two actors got a little tipsy at Sant Ambroeus, a pricey, celeb-sprinkled Italian restaurant with multiple locations in the ritziest parts of the country.

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16 Best Wine Subscriptions, Based on 40 Taste Tests

There are thousands of wine subscriptions and clubs all around the United States, all making various promises of having the best wine. But to determine the quality and value of what they’re selling takes an understanding of the fine print, years of exp…

There are thousands of wine subscriptions and clubs all around the United States, all making various promises of having the best wine. But to determine the quality and value of what they’re selling takes an understanding of the fine print, years of experience, and lots of taste testing—all of which we did to find the best wine subscriptions.

We researched dozens of wine subscriptions, went through various signup processes, waited (im)patiently for well-padded boxes, and ultimately tested almost 40 bottles of red, white, orange, sparkling, and more. (Yes, we drank and wasted an intimidating amount of wine, with regrets).

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20 Best Bourbon Cocktail Recipes That Everyone Will Love (Promise)

When you picture bourbon and whiskey, what comes to mind? Bonfires and campgrounds, buffalo plaid, a cozy knit blanket, and maybe some softly falling snow, right? But bourbon is delicious 365 days a year—it all depends on the type of bourbon you choose…

When you picture bourbon and whiskey, what comes to mind? Bonfires and campgrounds, buffalo plaid, a cozy knit blanket, and maybe some softly falling snow, right? But bourbon is delicious 365 days a year—it all depends on the type of bourbon you choose and how you shake (or stir) it up for a cocktail. But before we dive in to our favorite bourbon cocktail recipes, let’s get a brief bourbon 101.

For starters, what’s the difference between bourbon and whiskey? “All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon,” explains Ashley Barnes, co-founder and master blender for Off-Hours Bourbon. “Whiskey is the overall category, and bourbon is a subclass within that category,” she says. In order for whiskey to be classified as bourbon, Barnes says that it must be made with 51 percent corn, has to be aged in a new charred oak barrel, and must be made in the United States.

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Everything to Know About Hard Apple Cider, Fall’s Signature Drink

Now that the leaves are changing and we’re eating apple cider donuts every hour on the hour, it seems hard to remember a time when hard apple cider wasn’t also part of our autumn menu. While the craft beer craze and consumption of spiked seltzers and c…

Now that the leaves are changing and we’re eating apple cider donuts every hour on the hour, it seems hard to remember a time when hard apple cider wasn’t also part of our autumn menu. While the craft beer craze and consumption of spiked seltzers and canned cocktails are at an all-time high, so is hard cider. Cider is naturally gluten-free, so a lot of people are able to consume it, which is a big reason why it has become so popular. Five years ago, you could count on one hand the number of hard ciders available nationwide, and most of them were quite sweet. Now, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of cideries producing warm and spiced, fruity, funky hard ciders for consumption from the Finger Lakes of New York to the Pacific Northwest.

If you’ve never tried hard cider before, maybe you’re skeptical. Or maybe you’re excited, but just have no idea where to begin. It’s not nearly as saturated of a market as craft beer is, but there is still plenty to learn and lots of varieties to sip.

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