Category Archives: Uncategorized

Chicha de jora, Machu Picchu & high-altitude light-headedness

On the latest episode of “The Drinkable Globe” I go to Machu Picchu and Cusco, Peru in search of chicha de jora, the Incan fermented corn beverage—essentially the Americas’ first beer, long before the Europeans brought their own version. I apologize for my lethargy in this particular video. I was a little loopy and woozy from being about 11,000 feet above sea level.
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WSWA: Taste of the Industry

Taste of the Industry is always a highlight of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America Convention. It’s a chance for marketers to showcase emerging brands in front of key decision makers at the major distribution outfits across the country. It’s impossible to even come close to trying everything in the hall in two hours—it’d be tough to do so if they dedicated an entire day to the event. But among the beverages I did manage to try, there were quite a few standouts. Here’s my shortlist, in no particular order.

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WSWA: Colombian aguardiente

MGB Corp.’s Ana Vincentelli talks about Colombia’s Aguardiente Antioqueño. For those not familiar with aguardiente, it’s the term (meaning “fiery water”) for a range of Central and South American spirits. It tends to be drunk as a shot. Regional traditions often dictate flavors; in this case, the prevailing flavor from Colombia’s Antioquia Department is anise.

WSWA: Whiskey from Oaxaca, Mexico (Yes, you read that right!)

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One of the great surprises at the 74th Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America Convention was Sierra Norte, a new brand of whiskey from Oaxaca. Oaxaca, of course, is known for mezcal, but one particular producer and importer of the agave spirit has decided to make use of the Mexican state’s abundant corn crop and produce a line of whiskeys—a rarity in those parts. Caballeros, Inc. is best known for Scorpion mezcal (featured in my first book, The Year of Drinking Adventurously) and now it’s marketing a line of whiskeys made from yellow, white and black corn. I caught up with Caballeros, Inc.’s Barbara Sweetman who detailed the creation of master distiller Douglas French.

WSWA: Blend including 150-year-old Cognac in artistic masterpiece of a bottle

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If you like Cognac and you’ve got $8,500 burning a hole in your pocket, you might want to buy one of only 300 of these gorgeous, horn-like bottles from Chapters of Ampersand. (No, they didn’t let me try any at the WSWA Convention).

WSWA: Winestar brings French wine in cans to the U.S.

Wine in cans can be a polarizing concept, but if the French can embrace, it’s probably okay for the rest of us. Winestar shows off its line of aluminum-packaged wines at the 74th WSWA Convention