History or hooch? Chicago – I’m coming your way!

 Chicago area friends:  I’m so excited to be heading to the Windy City next week! Here’s my schedule – whether your taste runs to history or hooch, please mark your calendar.  I hope to see you while I’m in town.

Monday, April 22:  Lecture on The Secret Financial Life of Food, with the Culinary Historians of Chicago. 

I’ll be giving a talk about my book, The Secret Financial Life of Food, at an event presented by The Culinary Historians of Chicago.

Since so much of agricultural commodities history took place in Chicago, I’m especially thrilled to have an opportunity to talk about grain, cattle and other food-related futures here. And I fully expect to learn a thing or two from this particular group!

Location:  Kendall College (900 N. North Branch St., Chicago, IL)  at 6:30 pm.

Tuesday, April 23: Drink.Think heads to Chicago!

I’ll be hosting Drink.Thinka literary reading event about all things drink. Come out and hear your favorite Chicago-area beverage and food writers read from their work. We have a great line-up of writers, authors and industry pros coming out for the event. Admission is free, plus we’ll have some complimentary whiskey tipples on hand. (Win-win!)

Location:  Tavernita, 151 W. Erie St, Chicago, IL. Come out at 6pm to drink; the reading starts at 7pm.

See you in Chicago!

Literate drinking: Drink.Think heads to San Fran on Feb 5!

image courtesy Monica BhideDrink.Think is going on the road…to San Francisco!

If you’ll be in the Bay area on Tuesday, Feb 5, I hope you’ll come out to Cantina to enjoy a drink and hear an amazing group of writers read from their work about beverages.

In addition, Karlsson’s Vodka and Santa Teresa Rum will be pouring samples of their products.  (The regular bar also will be available.)

Date & Time:  Tuesday, February 5, 2013.  The bar will be open starting at 6pm – the reading starts at 7pm.

Location:  Cantina, 580 Sutter St at Mason St, San Francisco, CA

Admission: FREE admission and samples of Karlsson’s Vodka and Santa Teresa. Drinks will be available for purchase.

Featured Readers:  Curated by wine and spirits writer Kara Newman, participants include:

  • Camper English, cocktail/spirits writer for San Francisco Chronicle, Details.com andFine Cooking
  • Courtney Humiston, columnist, 7×7 Magazine and founding editor, TableToGrave.com
  • Duggan McDonnell, writer, bartender and boozy entrepreneur
  • Gayle Keck, food and travel writer
  • Virginia Miller, food and drink correspondent, San Francisco Bay Guardian and blogger, ThePerfectSpotSF.com
  • Jill Robinson, travel writer, San Francisco ChronicleAmerican Way and more
  • Michael Shapiro, freelance travel writer, National Geographic Traveler and Islands magazine
  • Stevie Stacionis, wine writer and Director of Communication at Corkbuzz Wine Studio
  • Liza B. Zimmerman, editor-at-large Cheers and contributing editor to Wine Business Monthly

I hope to see you at Cantina on Feb 5 – come thirsty!

Literate drinking – Drink.Think returns on Oct 16

After a one-year hiatus, I’m delighted to announce that Drink.Think  is back!

If you’ll be in the New York area on Tuesday, Oct. 16, I hope you’ll come out to Casa Mezcal to enjoy a drink and hear an amazing group of writers read from their work about beverages.

In addition, Montelobos Mezcal will be pouring samples of their new mezcal. The product comes to market this month, so you can be among the first to try it. (The regular full bar also will be available.)

Date & Time:  Tuesday, October 16, 2012.  The bar will be open starting at 6pm – the reading starts at 7pm.

Location:  Obra Negra, below Casa Mezcal – 86 Orchard Street, NY, NY

Admission: FREE admission and samples of Montelobos Mezcal. Books will be available for purchase and signing; full cash bar available.

Featured Readers:  Curated by wine and spirits writer Kara Newman, participants include:

  • Jenny Adams, cocktail/spirits writer for Imbibe Magazine
  • Alia Akkam, drinks writer and editor
  • Jennifer Fiedler, Associate Editor, Wine Spectator Magazine
  • Caren Osten Gerszberg and Leah Odze Epstein, editors of Drinking Diaries anthology & blog
  • Michael Neff, bartender/co-owner of Ward III/Rum House, and writer at Serious Eats
  • Peter Joseph, author, Boozy Brunch
  • Rosie Schaap, Drink columnist, New York Times Magazine and author, Drinking With Men
  • Laura Weiss, author, Ice Cream: A Global History

I hope to see you at Casa Mezcal on Oct. 16 – come thirsty!

You’re invited to Drink.Think!


On Wednesday, October 19, I’m hosting an event for drink and food writers. — the first spoken-word event dedicated to celebrating what we drink!

If you’ll be in the New York area, I hope you’ll come out to Lolita Bar to enjoy a cocktail, and hear some amazing writers read from their work about beverages. Here are all the details on where, when, and most important, WHO is reading. You can also find writer profiles and more on the Drink.Think site.

Date & Time: Wednesday, October 19, 2011. Come by at 6:30 for a drink – the reading starts at 7pm.

Location: Lolita Bar – 266 Broome Street at Allen St., NY, NY

Admission: FREE admission, but drinks are on you, buddy.

Featured Readers: Curated by wine and spirits writer Kara Newman, participants include:

Books will be available for purchase and signing.

The awesomeness of Firecracker Sake

Last week, I had the honor of hosting Drink.Think, “the first-ever reading series dedicated to celebrating what we drink.” (Photos here)

In addition to the general awesomeness of listening to some of my favorite writers read about booze, wine, coffee, and more, there was still more awesomeness in store after the event. Author Ramin Ganeshram, who read an amazing piece about homemade ginger beer (and shared samples too – thanks!) brought along sustainable food activist and restaurateur Bun Lai. And Bun brought….Firecracker Sake.

It’s delicious – warming, sweet and savory, and faintly fiery in a way that gently builds up to a “holy crap!!” finish. Here’s how Bun describes it on the Miya menu (his sushi restaurant in New Haven, CT):  “aged hot chili pepper & citrus sake. painfully euphoric; contains over a thousand secret flavor components. the perfect sake to sake bomb. not for the meek.”  Painfully euphoric. Love it.

In addition to selling it by the glass and by the bottle (!), he also uses it in cocktails such as the Immigrant Cocktail (chinese firecracker sake, club soda, and Coca-Cola), and Korean Hongkee Punchu (fresh watermelon sake, cerveza (beer), and chinese firecracker sake).  As for me, I’m looking forward to trying it lightly mixed with pineapple juice, and maybe a splash of ginger ale.

I also have to flag the inspiring language in the cocktail description — clearly, this is a menu written with heaping doses of joy and humor….aged ume sake is “like a mouthful of sunstreaked ocean,” while the shinjuku shimmy cocktail is described as “a staple of japanese drag queens in kabuki theatre for centuries….england’s favorite schoolboy beverage since it was popularized in the nineteen eighties by singer boy george.” 

When was the last time a cocktail menu — or any menu — made you laugh out loud?

Ramin and Bun, thank you again for sharing with me the awesomeness of Firecracker Sake.

Why don’t you come out and see me sometime?

The next couple of weeks are shaping up to be crazy ones, in the best possible way!   Simply put, here’s my event calendar, and I hope to see you (or hear you!) at one of these events. Cheers!

 Thursday, September 30:  Cocktails For Everyone! radio, on VoiceAmerica.com. I’ll be talking about Spice & Ice on this lively radio show about the people “behind the bottle,” with host Catherine Schiff.

Friday, October 1: Martha Stewart Radio (Sirius). I’ll be on the “Morning Living”  show talking about chile pepper-spiked cocktails.

Saturday, October 2:  Chile Pepper Fiesta at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, NY.  Book signing and drink sampling!

Tuesday, October 5:  Drink.Think, a new reading event about all things drink! New York, NY.

Announcing Drink.Think, a new reading event

It’s been rather quiet on this blog the last week or so.  But that doesn’t mean I’ve been lounging about drinking Margaritas (well – drinking, yes, but lounging, no). Rather, it indicates a furor of activity going on behind the scenes that’s prevented me from blogging.

What have I been up to? Writing – that’s a given. Creating bespoke cocktails for a new client (more on that soon!) Heading out to Brooklyn for an interview and a Sangrita with the Heritage Radio Network. And setting up a new pet project called Drink.Think.

Drink[dot]Think is a reading event focused around beverage writing. It will feature new and established writers reading from their work about drink and food — but with drink always taking center stage. (And no, not always alcoholic drinks, either). Please check out the site for more details! I hope to see you on October 5 for the inaugural reading.