Gin Blossom


Bridget Albert has gin in her blood. Albert, the chief mixologist for Southern Wine and Spirits and the co-author (with Mary Barranco) of the newly released “Market-Fresh Mixology,” from Surrey Books, is a fourth- generation bartender. Her lavender-eyed great aunt Tilly started the string by hopping behind the family tavern in Coal City, Illinois as a 12-year-old. Bridget’s then 10-year-old great grandmother soon joined Tilly and became a fixture in the street, hand-chiseling ice off the old delivery trucks with her fierce ice pick. Albert says, “My great grandfather used to get scared when he saw his wife running around with that pick.” The family lived above the tavern, and Albert’s great-grandmother would occasionally manage the tavern by peeking through the knots in the rickety floor down to survey the bar room below

Wall Street Journal Wine Writers Protest Too Much


The Wall Street Journal wine team of Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher examine what happens in high end restaurants when you request by the glass wine pairings to accompany a tasting menu. What could have been an interesting nuanced exploration turns into the typical crochety affair of a couple of journalists living high on the hog and their expense accounts hoping to be taken care of at high end restaurants. They seem to be more obsessed with rejecting tables they don’t think are good enough and communing with head sommeliers than parsing their pairings.

A Tale of Two Pours


Despite what Jay-Z would have you believe (before he turned his back on it), Cristal isn’t the shiznit. It’s a good bottle, but I can think of many different Champagnes, some cheaper than “Cris,” that taste better. Like many luxury items, Cristal’s ascendance as the champagne of choice in the hip-hop community had as much to do with its marketed prestige and high price tag as with its quality.

Release the Grapes


I love champagne like fat kids love cake. Of course I’m a fat kid and I love cake, too. But the state legislature isn’t banning the out-of-state retail sales of cake. On August 7, both houses of the Illinois legislature passed bill HB429, which is supposed to reconcile state law with a Supreme Court ruling that requires states to treat in-state and out-of-state wineries the same.