Category Archives: travel

Madrid: City of cañas, cask-aged lagers and culinary adventures

exterior breweryHow could I have forgotten about the caña?

The first time I visited Spain, way back in 2004 (on my honeymoon), my wife and I would always make an early-evening beeline to the bars serving tapas along with the house selection of beers, wines and spirits. The evening typically would begin with una cerveza, frequently costing little more than a euro or two. But the bars really weren’t losing money on the pours, as they were served in these small, 20-cl (roughly 6.7-ounce) glasses, which, I later learned, were called cañas (they hold a volume similar to that of the Kölsch stange glass, just a different shape). If you saw anything even remotely like those in U.S. bars and restaurants, they’d be filled with orange juice. And that’s a real shame because it truly is the perfect-size glass, especially for happy hours and bar crawls. (As anyone who’s had a beer with me will tell you, I’m notorious for leaving unfinished pints). Read the rest of this entry

Video: Exploring genever in Amsterdam & Schiedam

In the latest video I head to the Netherlands to enjoy a bit of the historically Dutch spirit, genever—a close ancestor of gin. I shot the video back in February, so don’t be alarmed by the fact that I’m in winter clothes. Special thanks to Rosalia’s Menagerie, Rutte Distillery, Olofspoort and Distillery Onder de Boompjes. By the way, it’s the first episode that includes the new theme music by Chmcl Str8jckt, the same themes I use in the podcast.

New Video: Chasing spirits in Germany’s Black Forest

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When most of us hear the word “schnaps,” we think of those artificially sweetened liqueurs designed for folks who think they like to drink, but really don’t. True, schnaps, however, is an unaged brandy distilled from any number of fruits in German-speaking countries. The schnaps-making capital of the world is Germany’s Black Forest region, home to some 14,000—yes, those three zeroes belong there—farm distilleries. If you want to drink close to the source, you don’t need to go to local bars. You just need to seek out a few of the area’s Schnapsbrunnen (literally, “schnaps fountains”), small, unattended kiosks with fresh-off-the-stills bottles of the spirit, drinking cups or glasses and slotted lockboxes where drinkers can insert a euro or two for the privilege. It’s all on the honor system, but no cheating! You want the distillers to be able to continue to make the stuff, don’t you?

Enjoy the latest episode, which invites you on my schnaps-soaked odyssey through the Black Forest!

 

Genever, the worldwide gin-assaince, herbal liqueurs and earthy vodkas at Bar Convent Berlin

Last month I attended Bar Convent Berlin 2017, one of the bar and beverage industry’s largest international trade shows. There was a lot to cram into two days, and even more to try to stuff into a four-and-a-half-minute video. Among the elements that made the cut: The Genever District, Japanese gin and some vodkas that get back to their moonshine-y roots. I also reacquaint myself with some old herbal and bitter favorites that appear in my new book, The Drinkable Globe (Now available! Buy here!)

New Video: Aperitivo Time in Rome

The videos return with a trip to Rome to explore Italy’s famously epic aperitivo happy hours. For more about drinking in Italy and the rest of the world, pre-order my new book, The Drinkable Globe!

Video: A return to London Gin Festival

Earlier this year I returned to London for Gin Festival and I lived to tell the tale in the latest episode of The Drinkable Globe.