It’s no secret that Americans love drinking, it’s a huge part of our history. The founding fathers planning the American revolution in a tavern. The Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. The grip beer has on the world of country music. Most recently, even Ted Cruz was freaking out about non-existent beer limits.

 

Can you imagine the national backlash if we made alcohol illegal? Well, once upon a time, that actually happened. 

 

How Did Prohibition Happen?

 

Let’s crack open the history books. In the 1800s, a wave of anti-alcohol sentiment, called the Temperance movement, began to sweep the country. Its supporters believed that complete abstinence from alcohol would eliminate immorality, domestic abuse, crime, and make society better as a whole. They might have been onto something, considering that Americans were drinking more than 3x the average today.

 

The Temperance movement reached its peak in 1919 when congress passed the 18th amendment, prohibiting the manufacturing, distribution and sale of any intoxicating liquor. There were some loopholes, like the fact that you could still get alcohol for medical or religious purposes (doctors could even prescribe it), but for the most part, alcohol was outright banned. 

 

What Happened During Prohibition?

 

Supporters of this movement hoped that this measure would decrease crime and other immoral behavior, however, the 1920s gave rise to the gangster era. Organized crime in the U.S. saw a massive increase thanks to prohibition, with gangs profiting from the illegal sale and smuggling of alcohol into major cities like Chicago and New York. They made millions by setting up speakeasies where locals could come and drink in secret, and while they were there gamble, use other drugs, or hire prostitutes. 

 

By the end of the 1920s, it was clear that Prohibition had led to the rise of gang violence and actually increased the very immoral behavior it sought to erase. Then the Great Depression hit. FDR became the president, and in a stroke of new policy to help bolster the struggling economy (and popular demand), he quickly signed the Cullen-Harrison act which allowed for the manufacturing and sale of low alcohol beer. Nine months later, the 21st amendment repealed Prohibition.

 

What Happened After Prohibition

Some states hung on to the anti-alcohol dream. Mississippi, the first state to ratify the 18th amendment, enforced state-wide prohibition well into the 60s (our condolences). By all reports, the states that allowed alcohol again celebrated responsibly

 

Because the states hadn’t been producing alcohol for over a decade, the popularity of neighboring countries’ booze (think Canadian whiskey, and Caribbean rum) exploded, as Americans were eager to get their hands on the hard stuff again. And thanks to the mixology that developed in the speakeasy-era, those new imports were used in new cocktail recipes that would stand the test of time. You might’ve heard of the sidecar or Al Capone’s favorite, the Southside. 

 

The world has changed a bit in the last 100 years. Alcohol has been cemented as a part of our country’s culture (they even have blogs about it now), but Prohibition was a unique piece of American history that definitely shaped the nation we know today. 

 

What other aspects of drinking history are you curious about? Let us know in the comments section!



 

What does it mean when someone talks about the bitters in their cocktail? Do they mean anything with a bitter flavor? Is it a specific brand? Which ones? Let’s start at square one.

 

How did bitters become popular?

Bitters were initially created in the olden days for medicinal use. In the 1700’s, people thought bitters could cure a number of ailments from digestive issues to kidney failure to erectile dysfunction – so if you had an issue, you drank some bitters. Unfortunately, medicinal bitters aren’t that tasty on their own. So, rather than a straight shot of bitters, people began to consume them with alcohol to mask the taste. Since then, doctors and other smart people have realized that those added benefits weren’t legit after all, but the taste in their cocktails was.

 

 

How are bitters used?

To better understand modern bitters, we turn to author and bartender Sammi Katz, who considers them, “the spice rack of the cocktail world.” Basically, they’re added in very small amounts to round out the flavor of a cocktail, like pepper on a steak or salt on some bar peanuts. 

 

 

How are bitters made?

Sold in small bottles, bitters require three basic ingredients:

1. One or more bittering agent – The most common is gentian root. Others include (but are not limited to) dandelion root, burdock root, cinchona bark, quassia bark –you get the idea.

2. Botanicals – Nothing is off limits. Cinnamon, lavender, rose petals, walnuts, hibiscus, ginger, chamomile – there’s a wide range of options.

3. A neutral, liquid base – A high-proof alcohol is almost always the choice, as it extracts flavor and has a long shelf life. 

 

If you’re not in the market to spend your hard-earned time and money on trying all those options, you’re probably wondering what they taste like. Sadly, there’s not a clear blanket answer. All of them are sharp with a strong flavor. What that flavor is really depends on the type of bitters. Angostura bitters are spicy, with hints of cinnamon. Peychaud’s bitters – featured in Sazerac cocktails – are brighter, with hints of orange and cherry. 

A couple of drops are added to balance the flavor profile and balance sweet or sour elements. If you’re like us, you defer to the bartender on which ones go in what drinks. 

 

What’s your favorite cocktail that uses bitters? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re at a cookout and have to keep the party going or want to break the ice, a good old drinking game never hurts. Here’s a list of our top 5 outdoor drinking games:

 

 

Beersbee or Bottle Bash

This game requires a little bit of preparation and typically comes in a kit to play. You grab a frisbee and stick the poles into the ground about 30 feet apart. Next, put an empty can or bottle up on top of the pole and take turns throwing the frisbee at the opposing side’s pole. If you hit the pole, the opponent takes a drink. If you hit the bottle on top of the pole, the opponent takes multiple drinks. The fun of this game is that it actually forces you to be slightly sporty (so you can feel better about your day drinking). 

 

 
Stump 

Beware: This game involves throwing around a hammer and nails (something every intoxicated person should definitely be doing). A backwoods classic, stump starts with finding a literal tree stump, a hammer, and some nails. To begin, put a single nail in the center of the stump and an additional nail for each player around the outer edge. Each player then takes turns flipping and catching the hammer. From there, here’s the breakdown of outcomes:

 

 

Be smart with this one, don’t hurt yourself. 

 

 

Beer Die

Beer die has become one of the most popular games at college darties (day parties, keep up) across the US, and for good reason; it’s incredibly fun. To start, you need four players, four cups, a die, and a large rectangular table (or at least a rectangular piece of wood). You draw a line down the middle of the table (hamburger style), and each player puts their cup on a corner. There are two teams of two, and each person takes turns tossing a die into the air (about 10 feet) and trying to get it to land on the other side of the table. If the die lands on the opponents’ side of the table and bounces onto the ground, you get a point. Meanwhile, the other team tries to catch the die before it hits the ground to prevent you from scoring. If your toss hits the opponent’s cup and then hits the ground, that’s 2 points. If you toss it into the cup, that’s 3 points and that person has to finish the drink. The first team to 11 wins the game and the opponents have to finish their drinks. 

 

 

Flip Cup

Flip cup is easy to set up, so it’s always a good option if you want to get a game going ASAP. All you need is a table and an even number of people on each team with cups. Each team goes on opposite sides of the table and sets their cup in front of them with a little bit of their drink in it (about the size of a shot or two). Then, the two people at the end of the table race to drink what is in their cup, place the empty cup on the edge of the table, and try to flip it upside down. Once the cup lands upside down, the next person goes, and so on until everyone on your team finishes. The first team to finish, wins! …and then you go again. That’s it! Simple, yet highly competitive.

 

 

Beer Pong

Beer pong is synonymous with drinking games for a reason. It’s easy to set up, easy to play, and has withstood the test of time. Set up 10 cups in the shape of a triangle at the ends of a table and fill them up with a little beer or whatever else you’re drinking. Two teams of two on each end of the table take turns throwing ping pong balls into the cups on the other side. If you land the ball in a cup, the opponents take it out and drink it (or take a sip of their drink on the side for a more sanitary option). Keep tossing until one side has run out of cups, and boom, you’ve got a winner! 

 

The only thing that’s better than drinking is playing games while drinking! Remember to always drink responsibly so you don’t make a fool of yourself when you finally catch the invite to the neighborhood block party. If you’re feeling creative, these games can be tweaked and changed to your liking! We’ve seen everything from slip n’ slides to roombas implemented to make drinking games more challenging. Enjoy being the cool person at the cookout who gets everyone going with a fun game – and remember where you learned it from! 

 

Have any favorites that we missed? Let us know in the comments!

 

Ahhh summer, the official sponsor of outdoor drinking. If you’re like us, a hot day calls for a very specific refreshment, and we’re not talking about ice water. Here are some of our go-tos: 

Margarita 

It wouldn’t be a summer drink roundup if it wasn’t headlined by tequila. The marg remains a mainstay for summer get togethers, in both on-the-rocks and slushy form. Here’s how to make the former.

 

Cuba Libre

Think: a rum and coke, but better. Whether you’re celebrating freedom from the Spanish Empire, or relaxing on a patio somewhere farther north, Havana’s signature drink is sure to be a hit. It’s easy to make, too:

 

Tinto de Verano

You know a drink is perfect for the summer when it has it in the name. ‘Summer Red’ is a favorite in Spain and provides a refreshing way to enjoy the flavors of a red wine in the summer heat. Here’s how it’s done:

 

 

Hugo Spritz

If you’re vacationing in Northern Italy this summer, or just wish you were, this is the perfect drink for you. It requires a few extra ingredients but will all be worth it when you take that first sip.

 



Beer with a Lime

No time for a cocktail? Luckily one of our favorite summer drinks also happens to be the easiest. Whether it’s a draft at the bar, a bottle in the backyard, or a can at the beach, grab yourself a cerveza and a lime wedge for a refreshing summer sipper. 

 

Have a summer favorite that we missed? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll be sure to try it out!

 

Rosé: the wine of choice of the millennial generation. While the “Rosé All Day” cultural craze might be past it’s prime, a nice glass of Rosé is a timeless treat and should never be overlooked when making your wine selection. This classically sweet and light wine can be more complex than it looks, and should be enjoyed by all ages (21+, of course). 

But what makes Rosé different from other types of wine? How does it get that infamous pink color? And what pairs well with a nice, crisp glass?

 

We’ve got all the answers for you here. 

 

Where is Rosé made?

Rosé comes from wherever you get your wine! Many vineyards make a rosé variation throughout the world, but the wine gets its origin from the French. Many of today’s top rosés still come from the wine regions of France; Côtes de Provence, Coteaux’d Aix-en Provence, Provence, Cassis and Bandol are all pretty typical regions to see on a French rosé’s label. 

 

 

How does Rosé get it’s color? 

Upon first glance, one might think that Rosé would be a wine made from red and white grapes mixed together, but this is NOT the case (and many winemakers think of mixing red and white grapes as a no-no, with the practice being illegal in some regions). Rosé is actually made from red grapes, but in the wine-making process, the grape skins are taken out earlier during the fermentation process.  

 

What kinds of grapes are used for Rosé?

 

Rosé can be made from any types of red grapes, but some of the ones that you’ll typically see include grenache, sangiovese, pinot noir, syrah, mourvèdre, cinsault, and carignan. Red grapes are smashed and left to ferment with the skins for 2-20 hours, and then the skins are taken out. The longer the skins stay in, the darker the color of the Rosé. 



What does Rosé taste like?

Rosé is generally known for being fruity and bright, with a crisp and fresh mouth feel. Think notes of strawberry, peach, flowers, citrus and other summery flavors. 

 

What pairs well with Rosé?

When looking to pair rosé, think of similarly light and fresh summer food items that may pair well with fruity undertones. Some good rosé pairings include:

 

 

Does Rosé age well?

The short answer: no. The fresh and fruity flavors in rosé are best enjoyed within a year or two of bottling. So if you’ve had a bottle of rosé sitting around for a while, you might want to use this as your excuse to crack it open! 

 

If you’re looking for a fresh, crisp glass of wine on a summer day, rosé is most certainly the way to go. Have a favorite bottle of rosé? Let us know in the comments so we can give it a try.

 

 

Cinco de Mayo, America’s favorite holiday to celebrate that doesn’t have to do with America. Or does it? 

 

No, it’s not Mexican Independence day (that’s in September). Cinco de Mayo is actually a celebration in remembrance of a 1862 military victory at the Battle of Puebla, where an out-gunned, largely indigenous Mexican fighting force defeated the French. Since then, it’s become a celebration of Mexican-American culture (and an excuse to go to happy hour) that the country has fully embraced!

 

So, this begs the question, what should we be drinking on Cinco de Mayo? Here are a few of our favorite tequila drinks to order at your local Mexican joint!

 

 

Margarita

Nothing says “Happy Cinco de Mayo” like a margarita on a patio, and generally speaking, one of our favorites for spring. This is one of the world’s most popular cocktails, so definitely one to have in your mixology arsenal. Here’s our recipe:

 

 

 

Paloma

Looking for something a little more pink? A Paloma is your best bet. A classic tequila drink, it’s the perfect mix of sweet and citrus. Here’s how it’s made:

 

 

 

 

Tommy’s Margarita

A margarita-lover’s favorite margarita (and one of our favorite contemporary cocktails), this sweeter version is extra refreshing and has become a modern classic. Plus, only three ingredients. Check it out:

 

 

 

Tequila Manhattan

Imagine the classic cocktail but with the whiskey swapped for your favorite Mexican libation. That’s exactly how you get the tequila manhattan. If you’re not feeling a drink that’s as sweet as some of the others on this list, give this one a shot:



 

 
Ranch Water 

A drink with true Mexican-American roots, ranch water became popular in Texas thanks to its uncanny ability to help the locals beat the hot summer sun. It’s simple, refreshing, and a can’t miss for tequila lovers. Here’s how to make it:

 

 

Have a favorite tequila drink that we forgot about? Let us know in the comments and we’ll be sure to give it a try!

 

If there ever was a drink more closely tied to a specific American city than the mint julep is with Louisville, Kentucky, it’s news to us. 

 

Ever popular at the city’s biggest day of the year, the Kentucky Derby, the mint julep has been cemented as a trademark summer beverage of the American south. It’s been served at the derby for nearly 100 years, to the delight of racing fans and those who are looking for something that will cool them off on a hot summer day. Some bartenders estimate that over 120 thousand juleps are made over the Kentucky Derby weekend in Louisville. 

 

Historically, Kentucky bourbon or whiskey is the liquor of choice for this mix, but some recipes will list brandy, rum, or gin as alternatives (not us though). Looking to make your own this year? Here’s a recipe we like:

 

 
How to Make a Mint Julep

You’ll need:

 

Step 1: In a chilled glass, muddle the mint leaves and simple syrup.

 

Step 2: Add the bourbon and ice.

 

Step 3: Stir with a bar spoon to combine the ingredients

 

Step 4: Top with additional ice and mint for garnish

 

Step 5: Sit back and enjoy the race!

 

 

Ready to try something different at the bar? Want to impress the next time you host a dinner party? Here are some of our current favorites to help you branch out and modernize your cocktail game.

 

Top 5 Contemporary Cocktails 

 

 
The Gold Rush

Simple and sweet, what more could you ask for? The Gold Rush is a modern twist on a whiskey sour, using a honey syrup instead of the traditional sugar. Here’s how it’s done:

1) make a honey syrup by combining 2 parts of honey with 1 part water in a saucepan. Heat and stir constantly until the honey dissolves. Let it cool.

2) Add two ounces of bourbon, 3/4 ounce of lemon juice, and 3/4 ounce of honey syrup into a shaker with ice.

3) Shake, strain, and serve!

 

 

Espresso Martini

All the rage these days, the Espresso Martini has emerged as a favorite of the roaring 20s (2020s, that is). Tasty and strong, this is a great way to end a meal or start a night out.

1) Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, 2 ounces of vodka, 1 ounce coffee liqueur, 1 ounce espresso, 1 ounce simple syrup. 

2) Shake for 30+ seconds, to make sure the combination is frothy. 

3) Strain into a martini glass and serve!

 

 

Tommy’s Margarita

A margarita-lover’s favorite margarita, this sweeter version is a refreshing cocktail and modern classic. Plus, only three ingredients. Check it out:

 

1) Fill a shaker with ice, 2 ounces of blanco tequila, 1 ounce lime juice, 1/2 ounce agave nectar.

2) Shake until the shaker gets a bit frosty.

3) Strain into your salt-rimmed glass.

 

 

Oaxaca Old-Fashioned

If you want something that will make you feel like you’re at an underground speakeasy in the East Village, the Oaxaca Old Fashioned is the drink for you. Old school bones with a new school flare makes for a great drink.

 

1) In a mixing glass, stir together 1.5 ounces of reposado tequila, 1/2 ounce of mezcal, one teaspoon of agave syrup, and 1 dash bitters with ice.

2) Pour over a big ice cube.

3) Add a flamed orange peel for a smoky garnish.

 

 

Revolver

Another great modern drink that’s an easy ask of any bartender (they’ll thank you for it) is the Revolver. The idea here is the template of a Manhattan with a contemporary twist. Here’s what to do:

1) In a mixing glass, combine 2 ounces bourbon, 1/2 ounce coffee liqueur and 2 dashes of orange bitters.

2) Stir on ice until chilled, then strain into your glass.

3) Garnish with a flamed orange twist.

 

Have a different drink in mind when you think of contemporary cocktails? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

When you think of America what do you envision? The Statue of Liberty? The flag with 50 stars and 13 stripes? President Theodore Roosevelt? What if we told you there was an even tastier, boozier American icon that predates all of these?

 

It’s 1880s New York. Air conditioning hasn’t been invented yet. The first ever Labor Day is being celebrated. Enter, the Manhattan, stage left. Sometimes attributed to Winston Churchill’s mother (though this has been largely debunked) the Manhattan is a whiskey-forward cocktail whose recipe has remained largely unchanged across the centuries.

 

If you’re a whiskey lover, chances are you’ve sipped your fair share of Manhattans. If you haven’t, here’s how to make one for yourself!

 

 

How to Make a Manhattan

 

You’ll need:

 

Step 1: Add the whiskey, vermouth, and bitters to a mixing glass with ice. Stir until combined.

Step 2: Strain into your glass.

Step 3: Add your garnish of choice.  

 

Does your recipe look like this? Let us know if you have any tweaks in the comments below!

 

 

Few things are as closely tied to American culture as beer. What started as the colonists bringing their brewing culture with them to North America has evolved into something entirely our own. Whether you’re tailgating before a game or scoping out a new microbrewery for a trivia night, here are some of the best places in the country to crack a cold one.

 

 
St. Louis, MO

 

St. Louis became one of the first great American beer cities with an influx of German and Irish immigrants as the country expanded west, and is still home to the largest American brewery, Anheuser-Busch. But aside from the Bud Light-fueled Goliath, the city’s Davids have thrived as well, creating a vibrant craft brewery scene. If you’re in town, swing by local favorites like Urban Chestnut or 4 Hands and let us know what you think.

 

 

 

Bend, OR

 

Boasting one of the best brewery-to-resident ratios in the country, Bend is quickly becoming a must-see spot for beer lovers. Despite its small town vibe, the hip breweries that call Bend home have risen to prominence around the Pacific Northwest. But are we surprised? Mountain views paired with tasty brews? What could be better! 

 

 
Milwaukee, WI

 

When a city’s sports team is named after their beer scene, it must be good. Home to big time brewers like Miller and Pabst, folks from Milwaukee will affectionately call it “Beertown,” “Brew City,” or even “the Beer Capital of the World.” It gets cold up there, so if you find yourself in Milwaukee over the winter months, snuggle up with a pint (or six) and the locals will respect you.

 

 

 

 

Asheville, NC

 

In recent years, the number of people we’ve overheard at bars claiming that Asheville is a beer-lover’s paradise has risen exponentially. And for good reason. With the highest breweries-per-capita of any U.S. city, dozens of local options can be found on tap around Asheville’s walkable downtown area. Bar crawl anyone? 

 

 

Boston, MA

 

Maybe the most passionate drinkers on this list, Boston is likely the oldest beer city in the nation, thanks to the fact that beer was safer for the Pilgrims to drink than water. Now home to the famous Boston Beer Company (among other newer brew houses), and the thirstiest beer drinkers (ask anyone from Boston and they’ll back us up on that), their business model is a recipe for success.

 

What city would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments section what we’re missing!