Rachel Halpren

The Billionaire’s Vinegar – Literary Monday

In The Billionaire's Vinegar, Benjamin Wallace investigates one of the largest, if not the largest, alleged frauds in the wine business. The Billionaire's Vinegar is a fascinating look into the world of high stakes, high priced wine. Loads of wine obsessed rich people looking to possess rare and elusive bottlings. You can see why this book is fascinating - it quickly caught my attention, and I was engrossed to the end.

The Wild Vine – Literary Monday

The Wild Vine is a must read for any lover of American wine or what we like to call "weird varietals". Weird varietals are obscure wines that are often made from indiginous grapes or hybrids. In this case, The Wild Vine chronicles the birth, growth and near death experience of Norton, a grape that its author calls the most American of grapes. As you learn in the book, it's obscure, a hybrid and indiginous to the United States.

Poptails Review – Literary Monday

Poptails was made for this scorching summer heat! If you are wondering what poptails are, they are essentially popsicles made with booze. Yum! We received this book a few weeks ago and hadn't gotten around to reviewing it. It's hard to be excited about poptails when San Francisco has barely broken 70 this summer. However, we were inspired by the Oxley poptails that we had at the 2012 Tales of the Cocktail. As you can imagine, July in New Orleans is scorching hot with humidity so thick that you can cut it with a knife. It makes me sweat just thinking about it. Luckily, every day at high noon, Oxley served poptails made with their delicious gin. I was inspired.

Happy Pina Colada Day!

July 10th marks Pina Colada Day! The Pina Colada is the perfect blend of pineapple, coconut cream, rum and ice! I have to admit that a virgin Pina Colada (without the rum) is pretty delicious as well. Thanks to some medical issues and crazy antibiotics, I was forced to drink virgin drinks on a recent vacation. The virgin Pina Colada was the best of the bunch. Given the heatwave sweeping America, a Pina Colada would be the perfect way to keep the whole family cool and refreshed with virgin Pina Coladas for the kiddies and Pina Coladas with kick from the parents.

Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes – Literary Monday

This week's book pick is Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes, an appropriate pick given the sweltering heat consuming most of the United States. I love milkshakes, actually, I really love malts, and was pretty excited to see this book show up. Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes covers everything from the basics, chocolate shake anyone, to the exotic, ever try a raspberry rose shake. We tried a few of the recipes and it is clear that Adam Ried, author of Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes, knows his stuff.

Highland Park Valhalla Collection – Thor – Review

The latest release from Highland Park is the first in a collection of four scotches with a release occurring every year, starting in 2012. It appears that each release will be named after a Norse god, and the first release is called Thor after the Norse god of thunder and war. Check out the Thor website. One may wonder why a Scotch house is paying homage to Norse gods. I know I asked myself that question. Well, it turns out that Orkney, the island where Highland Park is distilled, is actually as Norse as Scottish. The Vikings moved into Orkney in the 9th century and controlled it until the 15th century when the Scots gained control. In fact, the Vikings used Orkney as a base for raiding Britain, Scotland and other lands, including their brethren in Norway.

Last Call for Another Season of Mad Men

Mad Men is one of our favorite shows and we can't believe the season is ending already. Can't they make the season longer? I mean, who can't get enough of Don Drapper, the fashion and all the cocktail swigging. Seriously, my goal in life has become to have a booze cart in my office or cube, even if I can't touch the stuff on the cart. It just looks awesome!

6 True Blood Inspired Cocktails

We can hardly contain our excitement with the return of the bloody great True Blood! Our lives aren't the same without Sookie and our favorite vamps from Bon Temps and Shreveport. And, who could forget about the fairies, witches, were-creatures and those werewolves.

Celebrate National Cognac Day

It might be hard to believe today, but cognac was as popular through the end of the 19th century as vodka is today! In fact, cognac was the original "must have" spirit and it was hard for cognac producers to meet demand.
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