Archive by Author

What’s It All About, Vodka?

Vodka, the clear and present danger, lives in interesting times, as the ancient Chinese said.* Or are said to have said. Some tony modern barmen dismiss it as lowly industrial knockout juice, and thus beneath their notice. Mixmaster Tony Abou-Ganim isn’t buying it, and he combines facts, lore and recipes in Vodka Distilled to turn […]

A Holiday Garland

To one and all although time be fleeting, To you each bring I this Christmas greeting: Of drinkers books I proffer a bevy, Some light as air are, yet others heavy. These holiday burdens that freight my shelves Lie heaped by eager squads of vinous elves. Come, ease you my bookcase’s weary groan By transferring […]

They Can’t Drink, They Won’t Drink: The Holiday Quandary

Come we now to festive times, amici: Thanksgiving is behind us and Hanukkah too, but Kwanzaa and Christmas lie in wait, as do office parties, New Year’s Eve and various ad hoc jollifications. Waiting with them is the old problem of what to do for non-drinkers. Their tribe increases, what with the too-young, the too-old,designated […]

Farewell, Summer!

The summer’s gone, and Heaven’s to Betsy, all the roses falling. That’s the way of it here in Gotham, where burning Sappho loved and sung. Oft before the gloaming comes on I’ll retreat to the Locanda del Pavimento, a.k.a. sidewalk, there to sit in the open air and sip thoughtfully at some life-sustaining beverage [just […]

Summer Books: A Drink-and-Read Selection

Thirsty Reader responded to my Christmas book post with a line from Auntie Mame: ‘Books are awfully decorative, don’t you think? Mame’s blithe spirit conjured my favorite moment from another film, The Truth About Cats & Dogs, in which Mr. Right gives a book to Ms. Wrong, a gorgeous model he delusionally thinks has a […]

Vodka, Grappa and the Italian Bloody Mary

  Back in the 1960s the Nonino clan began making a silk purse out of the sow’s ear called grappa. It’s Bloody Mary time in Gotham. Here at Wits’ End [corner of Nathan Lane and Wistful Vista] we like to celebrate at Chez Stadium, a.k.a. the roof. Thence we gaze upon the urban ebb and […]

How to Write About Wine for the Slicks: A Beginner’s Guide

Thirsty Reader often asks ‘How can I become a wine writer for the slick magazines? Or the blogs, websites and e-zines? What certifications, arcane courses, secret passwords and weighty degrees do I need to enter the sacred grove? How many years spend in monk-like poring over holy scrolls?’ Fool, he! To think that I would […]

LoatherCon 2013 Scores Gift Bummers for Wine Lovers

It’s the most won-der-ful-l-l t-i-i-i-me of the year! Yes, Thirsty Reader: Your grumpy correspondent’s annual rant about the hideous gifts foisted on we who accept alcohol as our personal savior. There will even be a Year’s Worst selection. [Hint: it makes ice out of ice . . . .] I am rested and ready, too, […]

Books Do Furnish a Room

. . . and minds, too—but in declining numbers these days. Anecdotal evidence comes from the housing market. Real-estate agents and ‘stagers’—the people who dress up empty houses so they look lived-in and buyable—think books are dowdy and old-fashioned. Bookshelves are always small; they display mostly arty knickknacks and tchotchkes, with maybe a few books […]

A Non-Thanksgiving-Wine-Pairing Story

A tedious chore for the wine-scribbler is the Best-Wines-for-Thanksgiving-Dinner story. It’s a statutory requirement, probably because some jealous, sour, water-drinking prig attached a rider to the Repeal Bill back in ’32. And there’s no need or desire for it, because the old Norman Rockwell-style Thanksgiving dinner is a banquet of excess, with too many dishes […]