Strega ad, 1930s
NEW YORK CORNER
Notes from the Spirits Locker
NEWPORT, Rhode Island
people flock to the legendary island city of
Newport, Rhode Island, by
car, by boat, by cruise ships, all to
experience its white
ocean beaches, its yacht races, its mansions
and music festivals. But if you’d rather enjoy
this historic seaside town in a less crowded,
more leisurely way, the best time to visit is
now, before the crowds arrive.
on my list would be The Castle Hill Inn. Newport
has a plethora of spectacular views but the one
from the Castle Hill Inn is to my mind the best
of the best from just about every window. It is
the only Relais et Chateaux establishment in
across the island from Castle Hill, overlooking
Easton’s Beach, The Chanler Inn at the Cliff
Walk presents yet another splendid view of the
ever-changing Atlantic. On the night we dined at
the Chanler’s Spiced Pear, the early April sun
was just setting behind some silver clouds, and
from our table by the window the surface of the
rippling water looked like polished steel. On
any given day, regardless of the season or the
weather, you’re likely to see some of Newport’s
intrepid surfers carving the waves.
you’re looking for great seafood in a less
formal dinning venue, The Black
Pearl is one of Newport’s oldest and most
appreciated restaurants by both locals and
Located on the docks on bustling
Bannister’s Wharf, the Pearl maintains its
saltwater patina from the 1920’s, when it was
used as a sail loft and machine shop. The
interior is all well-worn dark teak wood and the
floors creak as if you were aboard an
ocean-going vessel. When the
weather warms up, the Pearl unveils its outdoor
patio and raw bar venue with the same menu as
inside The Tavern.
Both the The Black Pearl’s Tavern and Commodore’s Room are open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and closed from January 3rd to Feb. 12th. Reservations are not accepted at the outside patio raw bar or The Tavern. At the Commodore's Room appetizers run $8-$13, entrees $21-$39; at The Tavern, appetizers $3-$12, entrees $17-$29.50.
NEW YORK CORNER
by Christopher Mariani
confidently peacocks its grandeur with truly
awesome architecture, diverse museums,
influential restaurants and an abundance of
impressive hotels. These are just a few of the
extraordinary qualities this unique city has to
offer, so to distinguish oneself in the Big
Apple is no easy task.
NOTES FROM THE SPIRITS LOCKER
by Mort Hochstein
Kentucky is the home of American Bourbon, where farmers discovered it was more profitable to ship corn likker to market than corn itself. There are 18 bourbon distilleries in the state, some, like Jim Beam with multiple brands, and as a person in authority said to me “I can’t tell you many unlicensed.” About 95% of this nation’s s bourbon comes from the Bluegrass State.
Neighboring rival Tennessee had for many years had just three licensed distilleries. Following a recent loosening of regulations, that number is now 12, with others in the planning stage, though both states had many more distilleries prior to the destruction wrought by Prohibition, And, oddly, an unnamed Tennessee official also said to me “I can’t tell you how many unlicensed.” So there must be a lot of moonshine being brewed in the backwoods of The Volunteer State, as well as across the line in Ole’ Kentucky.
It is interesting to contrast the better known names with the growing number of small producers. Jack Daniel's is the biggest name in its field, and though we may think of it as bourbon, it is classified as a Tennessee whiskey, since producers in Tennessee add an extra filtration through charcoal, a procedure not frequently observed elsewhere.
Kentucky is home to Makers Mark (left), Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, Woodford Reserve and Old Forrester, famous names in the long history of American spirits.
Tennessee’s best known brand is Jack Daniel’s, revered by Frank Sinatra, whose passion for “Jack” propelled its sales to record levels. The distillery repaid the favor with Sinatra Select, a special bottling honoring that sold out rapidly.
The Jack Daniel’s plant in Lynchburg, Tennessee, is huge, larger than the largest Wal-Mart’s and far taller. The distillery’s website says Jack Daniel’s was founded in 1846, but in the 2004 biography, Blood & Whiskey, the Life and Times of Jack Daniel’s, author Peter Krauss contends that land and deed records show that it was not founded until 1875. Provenance disputes notwithstanding, Jack Daniels’s is the nation’s best known and best selling whiskey. But it is not possible to buy Jack Daniel’s Number 7, its signature label, at the plant because it sits in a dry county. A wrinkle in state law, however, permits a distillery to sell one commemorative product, regardless of local regulations. So Jack Daniel’s now offers Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniel’s’ Single Barrel and a seasonal blend on rotation at the distillery.
In contrast, George Dickel in Kentucky, one of the old line producers in that state, is also one of the smallest. Its low-lying facility barely makes a dent in the landscape. In a proud history dating back to 1870,founder George A. Dickel is credited with the discovery that whisky formulated in colder seasons becomes smoother than a spirit produced in the summer. To this day, Dickel is the only Tennessee whisky to chill the spirit before it enters charcoal vats for mellowing, Dickel is also credited with causing headaches for writers and editors who strive for correct spelling of the terms whisky and whiskey. While most American spirits carry the name "whiskey," Dicker argued that his product was the equal of the finest Scotch, and insisted on using the Scotch spelling whisky for his product.
In recent years, with the growing number of distilleries, there has been a great focus on locally made, hand-crafted bourbons. Many of today’s entries, produced in small batches with minimal technology involved, proudly claim to be hand-crafted. Jefferson's Bourbon is actually a "collection" of three bourbons (and one rye) made in what the producer, Trey Zoeller, calls "Ridiculously Small Batches," totally about 300,000 bottles sold per year. The Reserve is a blend of three different bourbons, some 20 years old, while another, just named Jefferson's Kentucky Straight Whiskey, is a blend of up to 12 different batches of various ages. This last is a spicy, creamy, tangy bourbon with a real peppery edge.
Angel’s Envy, one of the more recent entries, is the latest act for Lincoln Henderson, a pillar of the Bourbon Hall of Fame, who came out of retirement to develop what he describes as the greatest bourbon he ever made. He’s made a few over the decades. In 1983, Henderson developed Early Times Kentucky Whiskey for Brown Forman and later created Gentleman Jack, Early Times Premium, Woodford Reserve and Forrester1870, among the many products that bear his imprint. In 2011, joining with his son, Wes, he reentered the spirits industry to fashion one of today’s most sought after labels, Angel’s Envy.
The name derives from the industry term, angel’s share, ascribed to the spirits lost to evaporation as the whiskey ages. Henderson argues that the angels might have wanted a bigger cut from his superior product, which matures in traditional new American oak barrels for four to six years, and is then finished in port barrels for three to six months. “We’re the only Kentucky distillery doing this and it pays off with an exceptionally smooth and nuanced bourbon, “ Henderson declares proudly, observing that he enjoys the freedom to experiment and call the shots his way. He makes just 600 bottles of Angel’s Envy bourbon each year (he is also releasing a rye this year) and it has become one of the most sought after of bourbons, largely found in fine restaurants. The bourbon and whiskey world covers a wide range of flavors and styles. Each has its own special quality, from the high production facilities of firms such as Jim Beam and Brown Forman and Jack Daniel’s to the smaller houses such as Dickel and the even more limited production of craftsmen like Lincoln Henderson. There is a lot of bourbon to sample, not to mention all that moonshine flowing out of the backwoods of Kentucky and Tennessee.
FURTHER PROOF THAT GOD
While eating a bag of Pepperidge Farm goldfish during Holy Week, Patti Burke (left, with goldfish) of Melbourne, Florida, thought she saw a crown and a cross imprinted on a cracker and, she tweeted, "when I picked this one up, I knew he was special." Her pastor then spoke of the fish during his Sunday sermon, saying "I think it's a sign. I think it points to, I would hesitate to call it a miracle, but I think it points to the miracle, which is Jesus Christ defeated death. And that's what Easter is all about."
. . . BUT NOT UNTIL SHE
SERVED THE FIREMEN
. . . BUT NOT UNTIL SHE
SERVED THE FIREMEN
Elizabeth Niemi of
Hooksett, NH, called 911 saying
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