Freelance Portfolio: Alcohol
Hunkering down with my galpal during the pandemic made for some fancy cocktailing, with wistfulness one of the main mixers. (After reading this again, I don’t like how overwritten the first two paragraphs feel, but it’s out there, now. Good lesson in developing crisper intros.) Published in May 2021 on The Bold Italic.
A piece on a Colorado distillery that commissioned a modern still from 19th-century designs that—with great care and attention—produces whiskey with flair and flavor. Published in May 2021 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
Who knew that vampires prefer bourbon to blood? The former stars of “The Vampire Diaries,” Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley, make a bourbon. And they are mighty serious about it. Published in April 2021 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
Like your whiskey mixed with your history? Here’s a piece of mine on Pennsylvania rye (and though only a bit wry, the article has some deeply distilled history). The first Penn rye guys are from way back and the new craft distillers work from there. (By the way, my suggested headline, “Catchers in the Pennsylvania Rye” was way better.) Published in March 2021 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
Fascinating interview with an Indiana distiller who is a warehouse’s worth of information on distilling history and practices. For instance, he hunts out old yeasts from long-defunct distilleries to add punch to his whiskies. Published in February 2021 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
Carefully tended malted grains give whiskey (and beer) some oomph. This piece of mine explains some of the techniques, some quite old, in producing quality malts, and the quaffable results. Published in September 2020 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
Some people have some mistaken—and tragically dangerous—ideas about using spirits to prevent or help with curing coronavirus. Nope. This interview with a whiskey-drinking epidemiologist sets that straight. Published in March 2020 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
A quick profile of Craig Pakish, who works some grain-based alchemy in his one-man distilling operation in Gonzales, CA. And by “one man,” I mean this guy truly does it all. Published in the Winter 2020 issue of Carmel Magazine.
Vodka made from light, air and water. And it helps the environment. Yeah, right. No, really. Published in November 2019 on Popular Mechanics magazine.
Let’s see: would I spend $2 million for a bottle of whiskey? Ask me after I’ve had 33 shots and I’ll think about it. My Vox piece on the rarefied world of collectible whiskey; drink it in. Published in October 2019 on Vox.
My interview with the fascinating folks at Napa Valley’s Splinter Group, who use some educated wine barrels to further educate whiskey. Published in May 2018 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
Yes, they do put whiskey in cans. Yes, it can actually be good. No, really. Published in April 2018 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
My did I have fun with this one. My cache of reasonable (?) advice on how to accomplish orderly drinking of Irish whiskey on St. Patrick’s Day. Published in March 2018 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
Whiskey? Why, yes! Scotch whisky, especially the burning-house smoky kind? Hmm. Published in February 2018 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
Why use those big, bland, commercial corns for your craft bourbon when you can use heirloom varieties that make for unique, subtle flavors? Three distillers tell us why indeed. Published in January 2018 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
Making bourbon at home—what could be more simple? Ahh, but I turn the simple into complex. Scientists: what is this stuff? Published in December 2017 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
These Germans—they know their way around a liter of beer. Well, maybe a few liters. Spending some jolly time in historic Stuttgart—cheers! Published in November 2017 on Dave’s Travel Corner.
One of the delights of staying in the Caribbean is the wonderful rum—it’s everywhere. But by my grandfather’s socks—where’s the whiskey? Published in September 2017 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
Sometimes you just don’t want to hit the bar, either while out or at home. So when you want a good—no great—cocktail, you make a bunch and put it in a barrel for a month or so. Here’s how. Published in June 2017 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
Your dad might try and weasel out of the fact that he really would like a nice gift. One that pours. Published in June 2017 on the fine spirits blog known as Flaviar.
I get to taste-test three American whiskies with six high-end chocolate bars—yes, life can be very, very good. Published in December 2016 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
You probably suspected all along that whiskey drinking transforms the commonplace person into a stellar soul, but here I offer all the evidence. Published in April 2017 on the fine spirits blog known as Flaviar.
Nancy Fraley snatched a snootful of bourbon at a wedding when she was six years old. “Wow, that’s good!” Many years later, she is a professional distillery industry “nose,” telling spirits makers what’s right and what’s not about their hootch. Published in September 2016 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
They first took a page from the Scots, but Japanese whiskies have rewritten the book. Published in August 2016 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
The odd histories of some way-out (and now great) whiskies, which had some gap years between bottles. They’re making up for it now. Published in July 2016 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
Canadian whisky has often been kicked around as soft-faced younger brother who keeps hanging around. No more. A little history on our boozy brothers from the north, along with some new big-brother releases. Published in May 2016 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
Here’s an article I wish I could offer you in the glass, but alas, here’s the page instead. A primer on Irish whiskey, with a little history, distilleries old and new, and a wee bit of rivalry between the Scots and the Irish. Published in April 2016 by the Whiskey Wash newsletter.
Unexpectedly Good Integrations In Life: Amazing Bitters-And-Booze Pairings That Make Life Worth Living
Here’s a difficult assignment: get me to write about how bitters can enhance—and make more complex and interesting—the taste of cocktails, particularly the classics. Yeah, they even paid me decently for it (and this boozy blitz from an IT company, of all things). Published in August 2015.
Whiskey alchemy? Profiles of a St. George Spirits, a pioneer in craft distilling, and Venus Spirits, upstart newcomer. Looks at the creative insights as well as the science of small-scale distilling. Published in May 2015 on Forbes.
A look at Greg Medow’s Bar Car, an impossibly polished vintage Airstream transformed into a spiffy mobile bar serving the San Francisco Bay area. Published in February 2015 in Outside Interests, an online Airstream newsletter.
Whiskey alchemy? An interview with the co-founder of Time and Oak, a startup marketing a product to transform low-tier whiskey into the high-test stuff, naturally. And almost instantly. Published in Jan. 2015 on Forbes.
Despite being more of a peanut-butter sandwich (or peanut-butter cup) kind of guy, once in a while, by hook or by crook, I get to live a bit of the luxe life. Thus this piece on what it’s like to take a vacation in a luxury villa. Published in the Spring 2014 edition of The Glenlivet’s Cask app.
You probably thought writers used fervid affirmations to propel themselves to pile words on the page. Nope. Tequila and cookies, baby, tequila and cookies. Published in June 2013 on Writer Unboxed.
A few unusual venues for the whiskey arts, including how to take your shots in popsicle form. Published in the Sunday, November 6 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle.
A peek behind the barrels at the distilling practices and pursuits of St. George Spirits, a California craft distiller that produces a notable range of soulful libations. Published in the Winter 2010-2011 edition of Whisky Life and Spirits magazine, a publication of the Whisky Guild.
A word-tour (too bad there are no shot glasses) of the Urban Bourbon Passport Program, a jolly lineup of bourbony bars in Louisville, KY where you can quaff from a liberal collection of fine bourbons at nine warm establishments. There will be a gleam in your eyes as bright as the one in the glass. Published in the Winter 2010-2011 edition of Whisky Life and Spirits magazine, a publication of the Whisky Guild.
Who knows what’s going on in your neighbor’s house—or more precisely, their bathtub? A piece on home distillers of booze, currently in resurgence, and not restricted to the Southern rum runners of old. Published in the July/August issue of Draft magazine.
My twisted saga of what is now 30 years’ correspondence between me and the Jack Daniels Distillery. And yes, they did send me chewing tobacco. Published in the San Francisco Chronicle; reprinted in the Brown Forum.
Published in the online magazine, Zinos.