Behind the Vino Labbra

We sat down with Carla Rivera to chat about her work, low-ABV cocktails, and her drink for November’s That’s Amaro! Box, the Vino Labbra! S&S: Is there an ingredient or technique you’re currently fascinated with? CR: I like to cook, so I spend any spare time making syrups, shrubs, reductions, jams, and more. I like the idea…

Behind the Slippery Slopes

We sat down with Sother Teague of NYC’s Amor y Amargo and Coup to chat about his work and his drink for November’s That’s Amaro! Box, the Slippery Slopes! S&S: You’re most well known, at least to us, as an expert on all things amaro, but you’ve worked at bars ranging from tiki to molecular. Is…

That’s Amaro!

Oh, amaro, that dark, often bitter beloved of bartenders the world over. Why such strong feelings? Perhaps because it’s complex, mysterious, and misunderstood . . . like an irresistible bad boy (though luckily this one can be tamed). What is amaro, anyway? It runs the gamut from intensely bitter and medicinal all the way to…

Wash You Talkin’ About?

Several years ago, when I was first developing my appreciation for swanky bars masquerading as modern-day speakeasies, I went to one in Manhattan’s East Village. I wanted to order something for myself that I hadn’t had before, and that I thought would be difficult to acquire or otherwise make on my own. I didn’t know…

Austin Without Limits

The public television music program Austin City Limits (the only TV show to ever be awarded the National Medal of Arts) helped the city of Austin earn the title of “Live Music Capital of the World” and then spawned an annual festival that happens each October—a very busy time for Austin and its bartenders. We…

Behind the Ma Sour

We sat down with Caer Ferguson of Austin’s The Roosevelt Room and The Eleanor to chat about her work, Austin’s craft cocktail scene, and her drink for October’s Austin Without Limits Box, the Ma Sour! S&S: What’s your specialty? CF: If I had to choose a spirit that I specialize in, it would be tequila or agave-based…

Behind the ’Chata

We sat down with Frank Kurt Maldonado of NYC’s Employees Only, to chat about his work and his cocktail for September’s Rum Away With Me Box, the ’Chata! S&S: Is there an ingredient or technique you’re currently fascinated with? FKM: I’m always exploring and playing with new ingredients, I try to use ingredients that no other bartender…

Rum Away With Me

What makes rum dark versus light? Dark rums are aged longer and in charred barrels or made with blackstrap molasses. Both roads lead to a richer taste with lingering flavors including toffee, vanilla, chocolate, butterscotch, nuts, spice, honey, tobacco, and caramel. And when mixed with the right delicious ingredients—provided in September’s Rum Away With Me…

Use Your ImaGINation

What makes gin, gin? The one real requisite is the distilling of a neutral grain alcohol with juniper, and that’s actually pretty much it. What distinguishes the various gins from one another, on the other hand, is a far more interesting question! With so many distinct flavors, no two gins are truly alike (luckily we…

Behind the Last Guinea Pig in Cuzco

We sat down with Nathan Dalton of Piscobar in the Catahoula Hotel in New Orleans to chat about his work, the history of pisco, and his cocktail for July’s Pisco Fever Box, the Last Guinea Pig in Cuzco! S&S: What’s your specialty? ND: I guess I would have to say pisco is my specialty. I recently opened a bar/café…

Pisco Fever

Hot summer nights call for the spirit of the Incan gods: pisco, one of the purest spirits known to man. The only thing that enters the bottle is the grapes—and nothing else can be added, not even water. The result is the remarkably delicious and shockingly versatile unaged Peruvian brandy that’s sure to be the…

Behind the Tokyo Love Story

We sat down with SeongHa Lee, lead bartender at Las Vegas’s Zuma at The Cosmopolitan, to chat about his work and his cocktail for June’s Sake It To Me Box, the Tokyo Love Story! Photo c/o Krystal Ramirez. S&S: You’ve tended bar all around the world—what’s been your favorite scene so far? SHL: I can say my favorite…