Rachel Halpren

Top 5 Wines for Summer

Summer is finally here! While its stays nice and chilly in San Francisco, we have heard that the heat wave has already started in other parts of the country. When the weather turns warm, I turn to lighter wines served chilled. For those white haters out there, don't despair, there are red wines that can be served chilled and roses to try. Here are our picks for wine to try this summer:

Happy 75th Birthday Golden Gate Bridge!

It's hard to believe that the Golden Gate Bridge turns 75 on May 27th. It's been a cultural icon, an engineering marvel and the symbol of San Francisco since it's opening in 1937. I can still remember the awe I experienced when I first time I saw it many years ago. I still experience a twinge of that awe every time I see its majestic orange-red spans suspended above the San Francisco Bay.

The Savoy Cocktail Book Review – Literary Monday

The first print of The Savoy Cocktail Book was written during the darkest hours of Prohibition by a barman that sought refuge at the famed American Bar in the Savoy Hotel in London. Like many great American barman, Harry Craddock was forced to flee his native land in order to ply his craft. Luckily for us, he headed off to the American Bar where he was the head barman from 1925 to 1939 and wrote this time honored cocktail book. For those in love with the current craft cocktail movement, this book can be your blueprint. For many years, it was the bartender's bible and served as an oasis in the American bartending movement, which has only now began to truly recover from Prohibition.

A Party For Repeal Day – A Happy End To Prohibition

While January 16 marks a sad day in US history (it's the day that Prohibition went into effect), it's opposite is Repeal Day, which occurs on December 5. We thought that we would throw a discussion of Repeal Day into the mix to make sure that everyone knew Prohibition ultimately had a happy ending. Repeal Day is celebrated around the United States every year and each year, the celebration grows. For Repeal Day 2011, DOTW took to the road and journeyed across the country to spend it with our friends at the Left Coast Bartenders Guild in Tampa Bay, Florida.

When The Rivers Ran Red – Literary Monday

When The Rivers Ran Red examines the impact of Prohibition on California's wine country, particularly the famed Sonoma County. Vivienne Sosnowski spent many hours researching this little discussed topic, including hours of oral interviews with the few survivors of Prohibition, who were in their 90's by the time Ms. Sosnowsky interviewed them. I have to admit that this book made me see red when reading it. Living in San Francisco, we are in close proximity to the wine country, and I particularly love Sonoma Valley. I could only imagine the impact that Prohibition had on so many hard working Americans in the wine industry.

Absolut Icebar Stockholm Review

On a recent trip to Stockholm, I dropped in to the Absolute Icebar Stockholm. It was cool, very cool! I had always wanted to stay at an ice hotel (and had read up on the one that is built in Quebec each year), but I didn't really know what to expect. It was far more than I expected, and honestly, much colder than expected.

Plymouth Gin Review

Plymouth Gin is the gin of the officers of the British Navy. While the enlisted men drank rum, the officers drank Plymouth Gin. Since 1793, Plymouth Gin has been produced in the town of Plymouth, England, a city located on the south-west coast of England. In fact, the pilgrims on the Mayflower took shelter from a storm there as they set sail for the new world. Maybe this is why they named their town Plymouth. Unfortunately form them, the Pilgrims didn't shelter any Plymouth Gin on their voyage as the famous gin wasn't distilled there until over 150 years later.

Frangelico Review

Italy has a long tradition of making spirits and liqueurs. However, you might not know it as Italy isn't famed for their spirits or liqueurs. In fact, when you think of Italy and spirits, you probably think of Grappa. But, there is definitely more to Italian spirits than Grappa. One of them is called noisette, which are liqueurs that are made by soaking nuts in alcohol and then distilling part of the infusion again. Similar liqueurs are also made with rose, fruits and other florals.

Bacchus & Me – Literary Monday

From the author of Bright Lights, Big City comes Bacchus & Me, Jay McInerney's exploration of the world of wine. A successful author and a connoisseur of fine wine, McInerney was approached to be the wine writer for Conde Nast's House & Garden. Today, McInerney is the wine columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Bacchus & Me is compilation of stories that he wrote while at House & Garden.