February 15 • Flavors
It’s long been thought that spices are good for the sex drive. Eating spices like cloves and ginger increases the blood flow, which should make for a more passionate Valentine’s night. Red wine is already known to be good in that respect too, but if your idea of a spicy spirit is Fireball Cinnamon Whisky you definitely need to up the ante and get a special liquor for a special occasion. Here are eight of our favorite spicy spirits for Valentine’s Day.
Maggie’s Farm Spiced Rum
Spiced rums are a common style of rum, and among the spices usually used are cinnamon, pepper, cloves, and cardamom. One of the most awarded spiced rums around comes, surprisingly, not from the Caribbean but from Pittsburgh. This independent craft distillery uses all-natural ingredients and infuses its regular white rum with Tahitian vanilla bean, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, anise, and fresh-grated orange zest, to produce a quality spiced rum. http://maggiesfarmrum.com.
Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum
New Orleans is famous for spirits and spices, and this spiced rum brings them both together. The distillery takes all the spices that traditionally go into Cajun cuisine – cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, ginger, and cayenne, along with vanilla and chicory – and create a kind of tea-bag with them all in it. They then steep their regular rum in this for 4-6 weeks to produce New Orleans in a bottle. https://oldneworleansrum.com.
Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila
If tequila is your tipple there are several spicy options to choose from. One that is 100% blue agave is Tanteo’s Jalapeño Tequila, which has picked up lots of awards. It manages to retain the taste of the agave but spice it up by infusing the tequila with jalapeño peppers, but also retain a bit of the sweetness that peppers have too. It gives margaritas a real kick, and if you like it Tanteo also does habanero and chipotle tequilas too. www.tanteotequila.com.
Cascade Chipotle Pepper-Flavored Vodka
You don’t have to be in the Southwest or Mexico to like your flavors hot. This sizzling vodka comes from the little town of Sisters in Oregon, using local spring water. The vodka is infused with slow-smoked jalapeños to produce a drink that is deliciously smoky and very reasonably priced. http://cascadestreetdistillery.com.
Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin
Most gins contain some spices, although it isn’t actually a legal requirement. Cinnamon, coriander, and nutmeg are all common. If you want a gin that’s really been spiced up, though, try this English London Dry Gin. The flavor’s been enhanced by including a bunch of spices that were originally brought back to the UK along the Old Silk Road. These include Indonesian Cubeb berries, Indian black pepper, cumin seeds, cardamom, and ginger. http://us.opihr.com.
Darnley’s View Spiced Gin
This English gin is so heavily-spiced that some critics have said that the spices overpower the juniper so much that it isn’t really gin at all. So if you like spices but don’t like gin’s juniper taste, try this. Spices include cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cumin, cloves, and coriander. An unusual addition is grains of paradise from West Africa. A member of the ginger family, the seeds give an extra pepperiness to the drink. www.darnleysview.com.
St George Green Chile Vodka
Made in Alameda, California, this superior spicy vodka uses California-grown hot and sweet peppers (jalapenos, Serranos, habaneros, red and yellow bell peppers) to produce a spirit you can sip or use to hot up a cocktail. It’s a very subtle vodka and you can read my review of it here. www.stgeorgespirits.com.
Ancho Reyes Ancho Chili Liqueur
To round off the meal, and keep the spices flowing, try a sip of this liqueur that’s infused with spicy ancho chiles. You can sip it on its own, if you like your flavors strong, or you can use it to add a dash of fire to a late-night coffee or even a hot chocolate. www.anchoreyes.com.
July 25 • Music
Jim Morrison and The Doors remain one of the most enduring enigmas of American Rock N’ Roll. The band that met in film school and called the streets of Venice their home, opened “the doors” to a psychedelic Rock N’ Roll discography that has planted and blossomed millions of fans around the world. And yet, there is still so much that has been overlooked, especially for what the city of Los Angeles meant for Jim Morrison.
July 15 • shots
It’s always a race against the heat in the West. Hell, there’s a score of difference races around here. There’s a race to the riches and a race to the hills where the riches lay. There’s a race to food and shelter and the means in which a man might make to get them. There’s a race to the women and to the brothels and saloons where you can find them at. I don’t look for my women in those places but I often find myself in them for other races. Mine is a race to whiskey. It’s only a matter of time before I find myself in one today.
March 01 • Distillers
France’s contributions to the world involve gourmet food, beverages, wine, the revolution, and the Eiffel Tower, to name some. Beverages like Cognac, Armagnac, and Champagne are famous the world over.
August 12 • Coffee Producers
The Stumptown coffee buyers are called the Green Team members. These people sit down around a
campfire or in the home of a producer and talk about the year’s crop. They have met with these
producers many times because they have slowly been working on building long-lasting relationships.