Grant’s Whisky is looking for a global brand ambassador, which is a fancy way of saying they’re looking for someone who will travel the world convincing people to drink their whisky. Which means the traveler is also going to be drinking a lot of whisky. The application process has three parts, the first of which is easy. Simply make a three ingredient cocktail that uses Grant’s whisky and post a picture of it with the recipe on Instagram or Facebook. The second part is a whisky mixer in Speyside, Scotland, where the distillery’s 20 favorite applicants will come and bump elbows with Grant’s higher ups. If you make it through that, you’ll be sent off on one of three separate global treks involving three different destinations to help the company plan events and sell whisky. Each of the destinations will net you a suitcase of Grant’s, so even if you don’t get the job, you’re going home with one hell of a souvenir.
Anyone that lives near an Aldi knows the supermarket chain offers some of the best values on groceries. You didn’t really need any more of a reason to shop there, but you got one anyway because a gin from Aldi won a gold medal from the prestigious International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC). The £9.97 (about $13) a bottle Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin took home a top honor and beat out a bottle that costs four time as much. But before you start getting your hopes up and planning a trip to the store so you can stock up for all those gin drinks you want to make, Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin is only available in the UK at the moment. You might not be able to pick up a cheap bottle of award-winning gin there if you’re in the States, but the store does still have quite a few affordable bottles of wine that drink well outside their cost.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you walk into Target, Bed Bath & Beyond or any of the other brick and mortar stores and get handed that gun that allows to you select all of your favorite items for your wedding registry. You get to pick and choose everything you want your friends to deliver to you on your special day in exchange for a seat at the table and a quality meal. But what if you’re more interested in quality bottles of booze or vino than kitchen gadgets you’ll probably never use? ThirstyNest is a wedding registry for booze and drinking related products. Whether you want bottles of Hibiki whisky, Lagavulin scotch, Widow Jane bourbon, La Chapelle Hemitage 2010 Jaboulet Aine, Pahlmeyer 2013 Proprietary Napa Valley Red, or La Crema 2014 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, ThirstyNest has you covered. If you happen to be less interested in the bottles of the good stuff than the accessories that go along with them, ThirstyNest has a whole line of barware, furniture and drinking accessories to fill out the registry.
Death Wish Coffee Co. and Black Insomnia have been battling back and forth for the title of World’s Strongest Coffee for as long as we’ve been familiar with both brands. The World’s Strongest Nitro Cold Brew title is one that absolutely goes to Death Wish Nitro Brew, however, if for no reason other than the fact that Black Insomnia isn’t making one yet. Sold in 4 packs of 11 ounce cans, Death Wish Nitro Brew combines their signature coffee with a nitrogen infusion to create a rich, creamy coffee with a fair bit of head. The black coffee is made without preservatives and drinks almost like a stout beer except, you know, it’s highly caffeinated coffee designed to kick your ass with a single can. Keep the cans refrigerated and you can have a delicious cup of cold brew whenever you want without having to worry about cleaning a cold brew coffee maker. Just don’t go crazy with the stuff unless you have a cardiologist on speed dial, because it’s dangerously strong.
At this point, we’ve heard—probably literally—a million different ways to grill a steak. Char-grilled, flat top, cast-iron skillet… Hell, we’ve even heard about steak cooked in water. But a “new” method that’s popped up recently and making waves is the reverse sear. We use new in quotes because it actually isn’t new at all, but it is experiencing a resurgence with everyone from DIY kitchen kings to some of the best chefs in the world. Frankly, we’re glad everyone is hopping on the reverse sear bandwagon, and while it sounds a little odd at first, the process does make a lot of sense. And the results are undeniable.
What is a “Reverse Sear”?
For ages, the undisputed king of steak cooking methodology revolved around the following: Take your steak, sear it evenly on both sides (and edges, if it’s thick enough), and then finish it in the oven. That’s an excellent way to cook a steak, and one that ensures perfection just about every time you do it.
The reverse sear, however, flips the script on the traditional sear and instead starts the cooking process in the oven, and then finishes it in the skillet. You season your steak as you ordinarily would, then throw it in the oven at a low temperature for a long time (depending on thickness, you can figure something like 250 degrees until the internal temperature is between 115 and 125 degrees), let it rest on the cutting board for a few minutes, and then finish it in the skillet.
We know, we know… It sounds weird. But, it is, in our humble opinion, the by-far best way to cook a steak we’ve ever experienced—for a couple reasons.
Why Reverse Sear?
The first reason is that the surface of the steak is a lot hotter than it normally would be at room temperature, which makes it a lot easier to get a “harder” sear on it in a shorter amount of time. As most people will tell you, that crust of seasonings mixed with the soft, buttery, tender interior meat are what make seared steaks so special. Reverse searing makes that crust better than ever.
Another reason is raw steaks that have been chilled or frozen for a significant amount of time will “weep” and release moisture/condensation. Unless wiped thoroughly that moisture will wreak havoc on you when you finally drop the steak in your white hot, oiled cast-iron pan.
By allowing the steak time to cook in the oven for a while, that moisture is removed from the surface, meaning a lot less spatter and mess.
Finally, because the steak has already been rested and allowed to cook from residual heat before it hits the skillet, it’s perfectly okay to remove it straight from the finishing sear and start carving nice and hot. It means no more 10-minute wait time for lukewarm steak, which is a huge, huge plus for us.
What, Exactly Makes Reverse Searing So Special?
We already talked about the crispier seasoning sear, but is that really worth all the extra cook time? Eh, maybe not.
But one look at the inside and you’ll understand exactly what makes reverse searing so special.
So, when you cook a steak—whether you’re searing it, char-grilling it, tossing it on the flat top, whatever—there’s a bull’s eye effect that occurs depending on how well done the meat is cooked. You’ll have either the crust or the char on the edges, followed by a small ring of well done meat, then a small ring of medium well meat, and then finally, a small portion of that perfect medium meat that everyone loves so much. The problem with this is that, when you look at it statistically, only about a third of your steak is actually medium. The rest is varying between medium well, and well.
When you reverse sear, there is no bull’s eye. There’s no gradient between well done and medium. All there is, really, is that deliciously seasoned crunchy crust, and an inside that’s medium all the way through, from edge to center. Right below the crunchy crust lies that buttery tender, perfectly done pink meat that everyone craves so much.
We’re on board for incorporating booze into any of our meals. While we have plenty of ways to grill with beer and handle a boozy dinner, we’ve been limited on alcoholic sweets for afterwards. Luckily, Häagen-Dazs is stepping up to the plate to assist. Their new Spirits line is a collection of alcohol-filled ice creams. While they don’t really pack much alcohol (less than 1%, according to Nestle) the flavors do sound fantastic—Rum Vanilla Caramel Blondie, Whiskey Chocolate Truffle, Irish Cream Coffee & Biscotti, Vodka Key Lime Pie, and Rum Ginger Cookie. Right now they’re only available in Canada, but we’d imagine the higher-ups at Häagen-Dazs will realize we Americans also need booze-fueled ice cream in our lives.
Otterbox, one of the world’s most trusted phone protection and accessories companies, got their start in the ’90s making water resistant boxes for the outdoors. You can finally carry your beer with the same level of protection you have for your phone because Otterbox is now making growlers. The brand is returning to their roots with a line of rugged outdoor gear, but our favorite piece is obviously the new Otterbox Elevation 64 Growler. If you hadn’t already guessed based on the name, the rugged stainless growler holds up to 64 ounces of whatever liquid you want to put inside. Since you’re probably going to be using it for beer instead of coffee or water, it’s also worth noting that the vacuum sealed growler has an interior copper lining specifically built for superior cooling capability. Will it hold enough beer for an entire weekend trek? Doubtful. But it will keep four pints cold for longer than you’ll be able to resist drinking them.
Don’t judge a book by its cover is awful advice. How else are you going to make a decision when your local Barnes & Noble stocks something like a bazillion books? The same issue arises when we hit our local bottle shop. With fresh releases all the time, sometimes we just go with a cool label. Few are cooler than this. And Union’s Unfiltered Lager is a 5% beer with a malty taste and finish that’s packed in a can that looks like a game of Tetris played in a blizzard. We can’t speak to the quality of the beer itself, but we can say that it’s rather interesting, as And Union is a German brewery somewhat at odds with the Reinheitsgebot. While “craft beer” has been a trend slowly adopted outside of the U.S., it’s only now taking hold in Germany, and thanks to And Union, they already have the packaging right.
Do you cry when your dog runs away? Get angry at the bills you have to pay? How about when your mom smokes pot? No? Perfect! Keep on chillin’ and crack one of these bad boys while you do. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Sublime’s “40oz. to Freedom,” AleSmith Brewing Co. brewed 40oz. to Freedom Mexican Lager. (By the way, we know “What I Got” is not on “40oz. to Freedom, FYI.) The beer is made to be thirst quenching and refreshing at 5.2% ABV and slightly sweet and malty. And yes, it’s packaged in a 40. The bad news is you’ll need to make your way to the brewery in San Diego to snag a bottle. But if you’re a fan of Bradley Nowell and company, this is the beer you need in your fridge. And since AleSmith brews some of our favorite beers, you can rest assured this will be one of the finer Mexican Lagers that crosses your lips.
Depending on your point of view, the drinking culture in Game of Thrones is either a bunch of functional alcoholics trying to run a kingdom or a great party with good beer (in some pretty nice horn tankards) and appetizingly simple food. If you’re more in line with the latter, you might want to check out the Game of Thrones pop up pub in Washington D.C. The pub displays some of the show’s most iconic pieces, including the Hall of Faces, the Iron Throne, Winterfell’s Weirwood, and enough show-inspired cocktails to make Tyrion proud. Danaerys’ dragons will occasionally torch the corners and house banners adorn the walls, so you can plot for any side you support and feel right at home. The pub’s only open until August 27 of this years, so plan a road trip if you have to. And get there early. Reservations aren’t accepted and lines form well before the pub opens for the day.