Articles


Inside Bushwick’s Invite-Only Covert Cocktail Club

Ever dreamed of running a secret bar out of your home? This guy does—and his isn’t the only one around, either. My night at a real-life Brooklyn speakeasy.

PUNCH, January 12, 2017

 


The New Mocktails

Creative non-alcoholic cocktails to make at home.

Wine Enthusiast, January 2017

 

 


What Your Martini Says About You

My favorite party trick: tell me what’s in your glass, and I’ll tell you about yourself.

Wine Enthusiast, January 2017

 

 


luckyHow Pittsburgh Became an Eccentric Tiki Mecca

The ocean is nowhere in sight, but that hasn’t stopped Steel City from developing one of the deepest–and quirkiest–tiki scenes in the country.

PUNCH, November 21, 2016

 

 


havana_classic_dodgeViva Havana: Wine Enthusiast Explores the Cuban Capital

After 50 years of travel restrictions, Cuba is finally opening to Americans again. I traveled there to scope out the drinking and eating scene.

Wine Enthusiast, November 2016

 

 


winter_gin

A New Breed of Gins Are Dark, Bracing, and Perfect for Winter

If you’ve shelved the spirit till warmer weather—or are sticking with your usual Tanqueray & tonic—you’re missing out.

Bloomberg Pursuits, January 14, 2016

 


WSJDrink in the Views at These Distillery Hotels

A new breed of inn is offering guests meals and a room for the night along with their wee dram.

The Wall Street Journal, January 12, 2016

 

 


OFSBehind The World’s Best Airport Bar

Up the airport drink ante with craft cocktails on Concourse E.

Wine Enthusiast, January 2016

 

 


RumPunchA Punchy Pilgrimage

Essay: My visit to Haiti turned into a full-on hunt for a legendary rum punch recipe.

Wine Enthusiast, December 2015

 

 


GriffithsSustainable Cocktails and “Zero-Waste” Bars Are Changing How You Drink

Eco-responsibility has arrived at the speakeasy.

Bloomberg Pursuits, November 25, 2015

 

 

 


roomtempAre Room Temperature Cocktails A Trend Worth Exploring?

A groundswell of bartenders are making drinks without ice. I road-tested the trend.

Eater, November 18, 2015

 

 


Blue_Ribbon_Downing_Street_Cocktail_Omakase_Credit_Steve_Hill.0 (1)Omakase Cocktails Are Raising the Bar

Elaborate tasting menus aren’t just for food — here’s the backstory behind how the cocktail omakase caught on in the U.S.

Eater, November 5, 2015

 

 


spicyspiritsTime to Take Spiced Spirits Seriously

Liquor made with chile peppers, cinnamon and other spices –and the cocktails made with these spicy spirits –have come a long way.

The Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2015

 

 


vermouthWhy You Should Fall in Love With Vermouth

Never before have there been so many sip-worthy vermouths — or fabulous cocktails showcasing vermouth.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine, October 2015

 

 


cider trailOn the Cider Trail

How the hard stuff became the hottest drink in the Northeast.

Arrive Magazine, September/October 2015

 

 


Paper_PlaneThe Ultimate Bourbon Cocktail You’ve Never Heard Of

Why Sam Ross’s Paper Plane is my new favorite cocktail.

Liquor.com, September 20, 2015

 

 


vodkaThicker Than Water

Texture matters in vodka, more than you may realize.

PUNCH, September 2, 2015

 

 



salazarJapanese Whisky Is Growing Scarce

So stock up on these new-to-the-U.S. cult brands while you still can.

Bloomberg Pursuits, August 24, 2015

 

 


Walking_StickBehind The Recipe: Jason Asher’s Walking Stick

This Scottsdale, AZ set up a quirky pop-up where Cuba meets Cubism.

Saveur, August 10, 2015

 

 


RumOn The Rum

Show your chops by mixing timeless cocktails incorporating three styles of this summer-ready spirit.

Wine Enthusiast, June 2015

 

 


churchnightChurch Night

On Sundays in Birmingham, a craft cocktail pop-up is a savior from the city’s blue laws.

Saveur, June 2015

 

 


martiniThe Ultimate Martini Guide

Everything you need to know about the most classic of cocktails. Includes five original drink recipes.

Saveur, May 18, 2015

 

 


bluehawaii.0

The Past, Present, and Future of Blue Drinks

Pondering the history –and future– of blue drinks.

Eater, April 16, 2015

 

 


malting-1The Rebirth of Truly Local American Craft Whiskey

Until recently, American distillers had largely forgotten the art of malting their own local and heritage grains. I wrote about the rebirth of proprietary malting floors and how it’s changing the character of American craft whiskey.

PUNCH, February 18, 2015

 


moutai

Baijiu, China’s Potent Liquor, Is Poised to Try to Make a Splash in the U.S.

Can Americans be won over by baijiu, China’s firewater-like liquor?

Bloomberg Pursuits, February 17, 2015

 

 


cannabisThe Next Hot Ingredient in Cocktails is Cannabis

In which I coin the phrase “cannabitters.”

Bloomberg Pursuits, February 11, 2015

 

 


141217_DRINK_Cocktails.jpg.CROP.promo-mediumlargeThe Rise of the Four-Figure Cocktail

And you thought a $20 drink was ridiculous? Bartenders are charging hundreds and even thousands of dollars per drink. It’s as indefensible as it sounds.

Slate, December 18, 2014

 


Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 11.18.50 AMCraft New York Act Unleashes Craft Distillers

Thanks to a new law, New York’s craft distilleries can serve mixed drinks – which opens a slew of new business opportunities.

The Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2014

 

 


cubaDrink This Now: Excellent Rums with a Cuban Connection

My adventures chasing down Havana Club — during the final weeks before the easing of U.S.-Cuba embargo restrictions.

Bloomberg Pursuits, December 11, 2014

 

 


woody-creekGonzo Vodka: Drinking a Bit of Hunter S. Thompson

Woody Creek, Colorado, is an enclave of leftist hippies and the home of late Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Now it has its own distillery making “farm-to-flask” vodka, which, it turns out, is about the closest thing you’ll get to having a drink with HST.

PUNCH, November 17, 2014

 


WE_Dec2014Humble Pie On the Rocks

I thought acing a cocktail competition would be easy. I was wrong. Here’s what happened.

Wine Enthusiast, December 2014

 

 


Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 12.02.13 PMWarm Up To Brandy Cocktails

From riffs on the classic sidebar to fancy punches, brandy cocktails are the ultimate fireside sipper.

Arrive Magazine, Nov/Dec 2014

 

 


BlmbergDrink This Now: Meaty Mezcals Distilled With Chicken, Pork and Rabbit

This slightly racy article yielded one of my favorite compliments of all time: “I have never been so hungry, thirsty and turned on all at the same time.”

Bloomberg Pursuits, October 24, 2014

 

 


The Best of History’s Rum Cocktails Brought to Life

Counter_Punch

From Colonial-era flips to whimsical tiki fantasies, the molasses-based spirit has been an important part of drinking life over the last two-plus centuries.

Liquor.com, October 20, 2014

 

 

 


shutterstock_186138269_2A Look At Sea-Aged Liquor

Whether aged on board a ship, below sea level or simply near the water, I investigated three distiller claims that access to the ocean makes for better booze.

Wine Enthusiast, October 2014

 


boozyBakeries With a Twist on the Rise in the City

A look at the growing “boozy bakery” trend – pies, cakes and more with an alcoholic kick! There’s a video, too.

The Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2014

 

 


dead-rabbitThe 13 Most Influential Cocktail Bars in the USA

These are the bars that changed the way people drink in the 21st century.

Liquor.com, September 19, 2014

 

 


ciderAmerican-Made Ciders Redefine the Apple Cocktail

Forget those toxic-green apple-tinis; a new wave of American ciders has arrived, and bartenders are using them in fresh new cocktail combinations.

The Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2014

 

 


SojutinisThe World’s Easiest Cocktails

This feature on cocktails made in perfectly equal proportions was one of the most-read articles on Wine Enthusiast’s website for months after it was published!

Wine Enthusiast, September 2014

 


highballKick Into Highball Gear

After years of dandyish and devastatingly strong cocktails, this long, cool drink is back in a big way. How refreshing!

The Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2014

 

 


tiki

The Rise and Fall (and Rise Again, and Fall Again) of NYC’s Tiki Scene

Until about a year ago, a devoted subsection of New York bars focused on the rum-soaked tiki culture, before the cruel vagaries of Manhattan’s real estate market crushed them like fresh fruit beneath its massive muddler. But New York Tiki refuses to die.

Thrillist, August 6, 2014

 


brown_vodka

Would You Drink Brown Vodka?

Traditionally, straight vodka has always been barrel-free. Now brands are releasing wood-aged batches, and it’s stirring up controversy over whether it’s actually legal to call this new breed “vodka.” But the mixologists experimenting with barrel-aged vodkas don’t care.

Wine Enthusiast, July 2014

 


gin_cocktails

Gin: Summer’s Coolest Spirit

Now more than ever, there’s a gin—and a gin cocktail—for every taste, not only in summer, but year-round. Here are four cocktails, each showcasing a different style of gin.

Wine Enthusiast, July 2014

 


vintage-spiritsThe Wine-ification of Spirits

A growing number of spirits producers—making everything from vodka to liqueurs to American whiskey—have begun to explore how variables like variety and vintage impact the character of spirits. I wrote about how values once reserved for wine are being assimilated into the world of booze production.

PUNCH, June 11, 2014

 


recipe_pomme-roseRight On Target

A century ago, World War I broke out, and with it came a cocktail: the French 75. A look at the drink’s storied past, and how bartenders are refreshing the drink for today. (That cocktail at left is the Pomme Rosé, created by San Francisco’s Slanted Door.)

Saveur Drink, June 2014


 

Chili_Version03_053The Wine Lover’s Guide to Chili

No one does chili – or chili cook-offs – quite like Texas. In addition to stellar chili recipes, Texas-based somms offer wine, beer and spirits pairings suggestions – all from Texas producers, of course!

Wine Enthusiast, June 2014

 


sliv62054In Praise of Slivovitz

Plum brandy or paint thinner? My ode to the spirit we love to hate.

Tablet Magazine, April 9, 2014

 

 


ItalianSpiritsleadBeyond Grappa

Ciao! Seven best-in-class Italian spirits worth seeking out – plus cocktail ideas to put each bottle to work.

Wine Enthusiast, April 2014

 

 


HIMYMScotch.jpg.Good Riddance, Glen McKenna

The story behind TV show How I Met Your Mother‘s stupid fake Scotch brand – and why it drives me crazy.

Slate, March 16, 2014

 

 


WSJ_vodkaVodka Goes to Extremes

Neutral no more, vodka is finally expressing itself. A few industry innovators are pushing the boundaries, with surprising (and flavorful) results.

The Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2014

 

 


Irish Whiskey Goes Upscale

Cocktails that prove Irish whiskey isn’t just for St. Patrick’s Day anymore.

Arrive Magazine, March/April 2014


disco_drinksDisco-Era Cocktails Are Groovy Once Again

Are 1970s-style cocktails replacing tiki drinks as the guilty pleasure du jour?

The Wall Street Journal, February 20, 2014

 

 

 


copperseaWhiskey & History

I wrote the cover story for Edible Manhattan’s annual alcohol issue: a profile of Coppersea Distilling, a unique “heritage distiller” using 1880s techniques.

Edible Manhattan, January 2014

 

 


TV WinesDuck Dynasty Chardonnay Tastes Better Than Downton Abbey Bordeaux Blanc

I drank and evaluated 13 pop-culture wine bottlings, including Downton Abbey, Star Trek, Duck Dynasty and 50 Shades of Grey wine – and lived to tell the tale.

Slate, December 29, 2013

 

 


Chick Whiskey and Dude Cognac

An opinion piece about gender-specific spirits.

Slate, December 23, 2013


Whisky collageThe Best Whiskey You’re Not Drinking

My essay (with tasting notes) on the ascent of Japanese whiskey and other great whiskies from Asia — all poised to give Scotch a run for its money.

Wine Enthusiast, December 2013

 


bouludThree Spirits From Chefs

Talking (and tasting) with three top toques who have rolled out bespoke spirits created with food-friendliness in mind.

Wine Enthusiast, November 1, 2013

 

 


WE_ryeRye Renaissance

Feature story on rye whiskey, and the cocktails that celebrate its speakeasy past.

Wine Enthusiast, October 2013

 

 

 


BarrieWomen of the Still

These fearless females create some of the world’s favorite spirits.

Wine Enthusiast, August 2013

 

 

 


WSJ_stuntStunt Whiskeys for Armchair Adventurers

Distillers are going to ever greater lengths-the South Pole, outer space-to produce bourbons and Scotches worth writing home about.

The Wall Street Journal, July 19, 2013

 

 


Idiot Proof

Has the trend in super high-proof spirits gotten out of hand?

Slate, July 1, 2013


sidewinderThe New Icee Age

The next gen of frozen cocktails moves well beyond the margarita machine. It’s time to treat yourself to this delicious deep-freeze trend.

Wine Enthusiast, July 2013

 

 


Scotch, 5 Ways

Check out these deliciously complex cocktails that will titillate the most discerning palates.

Arrive Magazine, June 2013


Isle of Cork

Long Island’s North Fork wineries are producing an esteemed collection of unique bottlings perfect for summer.

Hamptons Magazine, June 2013


Imbibe_coverPut a Stalk In It

Celery adds an earthy zest to springtime cocktails.

Imbibe Magazine, March/April 2013

 

 


tequilaThe Sophisticated Side of Tequila

A grown-up’s guide to celebrating Cinco de Mayo, with drink recipes (no frozen Margaritas!) and suggested premium tequila bottlings.

Wine Enthusiast, May 2013

 

 


Past Their Prime:  When is a superaged spirit too old to drink?

The first time I tasted a superaged spirit—a rare 50-year-old Glenfiddich single malt scotch—I was taken aback. Not by the whiskey itself, but by the rapturous swooning of the whiskey geeks all around me. In the world of wine and spirits, we’ve been told that older is always better. But sometimes it’s just not true.

Slate, March 18, 2013


Nick_and_Nora_glassThe New Glassware for Spirits

Can the right glass improve — or ruin — your cocktail? Glassware designers are working overtime to develop new and improved vessels beyond the classic snifters, flutes, highballs, and lowballs for showcasing spirits.

Sommelier Journal, February 2013

 


Cognac: Straight or Mixed?

Whether served neat or in innovative cocktails, this classic spirit is worth discovering, or revisiting. Feature story, with cocktail recipes and bottle recommendations.

Wine Enthusiast, December 2012

 


In the Bronx, Distilling the Spirit of Puerto Rico

Profile of Tirado, the first distiller in the Bronx since Prohibition, which is making “fruit-aged” rums and other products with Puerto Rican heritage.

The New York Times, November 23, 2012


Rock & Rye: Good Medicine

Rock and Rye, an early barroom staple, made its way into the medicine cabinet during the temperance movement.

Saveur Magazine, November 2012

 

 


Fountain of Vermouth

Not content with artisanal spirits and house-made bitters, bartenders are pursuing the perfect cocktail counterpoint by making their own vermouths.

Food Arts, November 2012

 

 


Eight New Vermouths

Whether you sip them straight up or use them to upgrade cocktails, these new vermouths are simply stellar.

Wine Enthusiast, September 2012


The Growing Role of Cooperage in Spirits

Cover story! Although cask aging has always been a key factor in the production of certain spirits, the barrel itself has become as important as any ingredient. Cooperage is now a topic on which bartenders need to be well versed. Are you ready to talk wood?

Sommelier Journal, September 2012


Rebel Chef, Cocktail Prodigy

Did someone say “Foie Gras Martini?” Although he’s not a bartender, San Francisco chef Russell Jackson has developed some thought-provoking cocktails.

Wine Enthusiast, August 2012

 


Building a Better Bubbly

Artisan sodas make a splash at New York bars and restaurants.

Edible Manhattan, July/August 2012

 

 

 


Aperitif Cocktails

Forget about big, boozy cocktails. Increasingly, aperitifs –libations with a lower alcohol content and lighter touch– are what’s in the glass

Wine Enthusiast, July 2012

 

 


Drink & Thrive

An essential journalistic skill no one tells you about:  bartending.

The New York Times, May 10, 2012

 

 


You Don’t Need A Hangover to Enjoy A Brandy Milk Punch

Feeling a little rough around the edges? It’s OK, honey. Put on your sunglasses like the rock star you thought you were last night, and order a Brandy Milk Punch.

Edible Brooklyn, March, 2012


Spirited Traveller:  A Tippler’s Dilemma in New Orleans

Want to start a lively debate? Ask a cocktail aficionado to select the iconic cocktail of New Orleans: The Sazerac or the Ramos Gin Fizz. (The answer is at the end of the piece.)

Reuters, March 26, 2012


Bathed and Infused

Is sous-vide technology the new cocktail “killer app”? These bartenders think so.

Food Arts, March 2012

 

 


Spirited Traveller:  Kansas City next big league cocktail town

One in a weekly series on where business travellers should go to find a great drink in various cities. According to the bartender featured in this article, when this story broke, it “went viral” all across the Midwest.

Reuters, December 13, 2011


Home Bartending on a Budget

We challenged Brooklyn bartender Damon Boelte: with access to just three spirits bottles, suggest six great drinks. Boelte gave us 20. (For months, this was the most-read spirits story on the Wine Enthusiast site!)

Wine Enthusiast, September 2011


Spiced Rum on the Rebound

From classic cocktails to tiki riffs, this historic spirit is back on the modern mixologist’s menu.

Wine Enthusiast, June 2011


Cheeky Tiki

From tiki drinks to a party playlist, here’s how to get in touch with your innter Trader Vic — but with an updated take.

Fresh Home, Summer 2011

 

 


Spirits in Wine Barrels

Distillers are turning to cask-finishing for a richer, more complex product.

Wine Enthusiast, April 2011


A Guy Walks into a Bar (and Says, “Make Me a Drink”)

A growing number of bartenders are encouraging patrons to go off-menu, in what some refer to as “bespoke drinks” or “cocktail omakase.” Leave it to me, they murmur seductively. Trust me. I’ll create the perfect drink for you.

Food Arts, February 2011


Two takes on one story:

To Steep, Perchance to Dream (Edible Brooklyn, Nov/Dec 2011)

From Bitters Builders, A Bar (Edible Manhattan, Jan/Feb 2012)


Beyond Shirley Temples:  The New Maraschino Cherry

With cherry season in full swing, I’m gearing up to hit the market and make very grown-up maraschino cherries.

NPR Kitchen Window, June 2, 2010


Blood Thirsty:  Carnivorous Cocktails

This irreverent indie magazine asked me to write about meat-based cocktails after I organized a seminar at Tales of the Cocktail on the topic. From the “Blood, Sex, Sugar, Magic” issue.

Drink Me Magazine, February 2010


Get Figgy With It

Bartenders are mixing up fresh cocktails with a classic holiday ingredient:  figs!  Look for the magazine on newsstands, it’s worth it for the “When Figs Fly” cocktail alone.

Imbibe Magazine, November/December 2009


Law of Gravity:  A century of drip coffee

This article combines two of my other passions:  coffee and culinary history. Among the countless ways to brew a cup of coffee, James Freeman of Blue Bottle Coffee thinks the old-fashioned drip method is the best. He and other coffee-philes have a Dresden housewife named Melitta Benz to thank for that.

Saveur Magazine, November 2009

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