8 articles I’m glad I wrote in 2014

One of my goals for 2014 was to write more narrative-driven pieces, particularly those with a personal connection. Here are a few I’m particularly proud of – I hope you enjoy reading them. See you in 2015.

Drink This Now: Excellent Rums with a Cuban Connection (Bloomberg) Yes, it’s a particularly ironic twist of fate that an easing of the Cuban-U.S. trade embargo was announced barely a week after this ran. (It had been in place for 50+ years!!! Couldn’t you have waited one more month, President Obama?) But I still had a blast chasing down Havana Club and other rums, so sorry/not sorry.

Humble Pie On the Rocks (Wine Enthusiast) I’ve loved how many people have responded to this essay about blundering my way through a cocktail competition.

Gonzo Vodka: Drinking a Bit of Hunter S. Thompson (PUNCH) I went to Woody Creek, Colorado, an enclave of leftist hippies and the home of late Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Now it has its own distillery making vodka, which, in a crazy way, is about the closest thing you’ll get to having a drink with HST.

Drink This Now: Meaty Mezcals Distilled With Chicken, Pork and Rabbit (Bloomberg) 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.”

In Praise of the White Russian (Saveur) Because I’ve always wanted to write about the time I knocked back a bunch of them with my Nana at a bat mitzvah, culminating in a Rockettes-style family kickline. There’s video footage of that moment somewhere. Don’t judge.

The Rise and Fall (and Rise Again, and Fall Again) of NYC’s Tiki Scene (Thrillist) This piece took a LOT of reporting: interviews, outings to various tiki nights (I know, poor me), tracking down old newspaper articles. But I felt like it let me connect the dots between various waves of tiki culture, and give me insight into why New York Tiki refuses to die.

In Praise of Slivovitz (Tablet) Plum brandy or paint thinner? My ode to the spirit we love to hate. After this and the White Russian story, I’m declaring a moratorium on titling anything “In Praise of…” in 2015.

Whiskey & History (Edible Manhattan) This profile was two years in the making – after meeting the producers quite a few times and sampling on the fly, I finally got to spend some quality time at their Hudson Valley and witness first-hand Coppersea’s unusual approach to “heritage distilling.”

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