Freelance Food & Drinks Writer

Tag Archives: drink quotes

Read, Shake, Sip Redux

For those of you who missed yesterday’s Kansas City Star, here’s a list of some worthy cocktails and spirits reads. For those of you who did see it, read on—there are a few extra bits that didn’t make it into the printed version.

The King of VodkaLinda Himelstein recounts Pyotr Smirnov’s rise from serfdom to dominate Russia’s vodka industry. How it became one of the world’s best-selling premium spirits brands is riveting tale. And it turns out that moonshine and efforts at prohibition were rampant in Russia long before the Americans thought of them. Which brings me to Samogon. The Russian word means “home distilled,” and there was undoubtedly a lot of it around in Smirnov’s time. Here in Kansas City, we get something better—a new premium spirit that might remind you of grappa, or perhaps pisco, but that is entirely its own thing. See what bartenders like Arturo Vera-Felicie are doing with it, or check out Jason Burton’s review in the latest Tastebud.

BoozehoundJason Wilson’s romp through the spirits world in search of intense, complex flavors. My favorite of his finds: Cocchi Barolo Chinato, a lush, bitter Barolo-based digestif. Look for it at Michael Smith and the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange, as well as retailers including Gomer’s Midtown and Cellar Rat. It’s also at Grünauer, where the KCBA’s Brandon Cummins graciously treated me to a glass last Friday. Continue Reading

Quote: a rich and magical plenitude

“True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine with a rich and magical plenitude of overtones and rhymes and resolved dissonances and a contrapuntal succession of fleeting aftertastes.” So writes Bernard DeVoto in The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto (Tin House Books, 2010). The original came out in 1948, about the same time… Continue Reading

Quote: a couple of shots

“You just can’t take a recipe and throw a couple shots of alcohol in there, because it’s not going to work,” says Krystina Castella, who co-authored Booze Cakes: Confections Spiked with Spirits, Wine and Beer with Terry Lee Stone. She should know. I interviewed Castella today for an upcoming piece about baking with spirits. I’ve… Continue Reading

Quote: the start of a good cocktail

“Anything that smells good and doesn’t poison us can be the start of a cocktail.” This from Chris Conatser, the botanist bartender at Justus Drugstore in Smithville. During a recent interview about cocktail trends, Conatser told me that he draws inspiration from everywhere—daisies along the road, corn tassling out, aromas from the kitchen. If it… Continue Reading