Welcome back folks! This week we take a look at Japan’s blossoming gin trend, Ardbeg announces its first permanent whisky An OA in years, a San Diego distillery is making vodka out of food waste and Twinkies, and the New York Times looks at why waiters drink and why it’s important. Cheers!
Oh Tony, we all got it don’t we? That “disgusting, shameful traveling guilty pleasure”. This week on Thrillist Anthony Bourdain reveals his: “Every restaurant in the world, every hotel has spaghetti bolognese on the menu, and I have a perverse desire to see how they make it. It’s become a joke with my crew. We try to always eat what’s local always — especially in a country with delicious food — but in our down time, we all succumb now and again to the spaghetti bolognese, if only for the comedy value. But my real guilty pleasure — my really disgusting, shameful pleasure — is the mac and cheese at Popeye’s fried chicken.” Okay dude, that’s really not so bad. Everybody calm down and continue to face palm cheesy Doritos on your next flight.
The Blossoming Trend of Japanese Gin
Ha, clever headline The Spirits Business – we see what you did there! “In Japan, the shoots of a craft gin movement have grown into a force to be reckoned with. But, asks Melita Kiely, what actually makes a gin ‘Japanese’?”. Recent years have seen an increase in Japan’s popularity: as a travel destination, as a culture as a whole, and certainly in terms of food and drink. So it would only make sense that spirit’s leading cult child, gin, would merge with the most popular of cultures. “Trailblazing the way for other producers to follow was UK-based The Cambridge Distillery, which has carved a revered reputation throughout the industry for its innovative, experimental approach to spirits. In March 2014, the distillery created the “world’s first” umami Japanese gin, made using Japanese botanicals including yuzu peel, shiso leaf, sansho pepper and sesame seeds.”
The Cambridge Distillery’s co-founder and Master Distiller Will Lowe says that they’d been working with Japanese flavor profiles and became obsessed with the botanical range the country had to offer. More and more distilleries have jumped on this bandwagon, last October the Kyoto Distillery launched the company’s first gin Ki No Bi, and in May of this year they launched two limited edition bottlings.
Bean Suntory unveiled its premium Japanese gin Roku in May and Nikka followed shortly after, with hits Coffey Gin. “In Japan itself, gin has never been the spirit of choice – particularly in the off-trade. Croll attributes this partly to the Japanese culture of living in smaller houses, meaning consumers are more selective over what spirits they keep at home because of storage constraints.” Two different styles of gin are emerging, one created in the country itself and one created abroad that emulates the country’s ‘flavor profile’. “As Craig Fell, director and co-owner of Japanese-inspired gin Kuro, says: “If gin gets good traction in Japan and becomes the drink of choice, the potential for growth is huge. Brands like ours that use ingredients that Japanese consumers know will help open up the market and create more demand.”
An OA: Ardbeg Announces First New Permanent Whisky in Nearly a Decade
The new single malt, Ardbeg An Oa, is inspired by the untamed part of The Ultimate Islay Malt’s remote Scottish island some, BevNet reports. “Like the complex whisky which shares the name of An Oa, Islay’s Mull of Oa is noticeably rounded. At the southernmost point of Ardbeg’s remote Scottish island home, the headland’s towering cliffs stand defiantly against the raging Atlantic storms, providing welcome shelter for Islay’s south coast, to which the Ardbeg Distillery has clung for more than 200 years. Ardbeg An Oa pays homage to its untamed provenance, with contrasts of powerful intensity and sweet silkiness that celebrate the spot where storm meets calm”.
The whisky An Oa is said to be smooth and creamy with a syrupy sweetness on the palate. Notes of milk chocolate, orange, and smoky tea leaves mingle with spices and grilled artichoke before finishing long and smoky. This is the first time in years that the company as added to its core rangy of smoky, peaty Islay malts.
A California Distillery Is Making Vodka From Twinkies and Food Waste
Oh Vodka, when will you stop coming in flavors like “candy cane” and “oreo pie”?? Apparently, not anytime soon. GrubStreet reports that the San Diego based distillery Misadventure & Co. “has concocted a sustainable version of the liquor that really puts vodka’s charcoal filtration process to the test — the thing that makes it neutral, or “tasteless” — by using food waste as the starch”. They collect the waste that would usually be thrown out by a food bank, things like twinkies, ho hos, french baguettes, and crullers. All of this goes into a warm blender which gets mashed into a wort. Yeast is added, the product is fermented and then you’ve basically got a vodka made from stale, fake baked gods.
“Distilling with food waste obviously reduces Misadventure’s production costs as well, giving customers a bottle of vodka that retails for $22. But so far Chereskin and Rigali are marketing its Earth friendliness more — they claim to be “the first in the world” to produce vodka this way. “If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest contributor of greenhouse gases behind the United States and China,” Chereskin says. “In 2014, the amount of food wasted could fill the Empire State Building 90-some times.”.
Why Waiters Drink. And Why It Matters
Last week Brittany Bronson wrote a personal account about drinking on the job, as a waiter. She recalls “My former co-worker once drank so much during a waitressing shift, she stumbled through the restaurant with her intoxication on full display to guests. Even the chaos of the service rush couldn’t hide the state she was in. By closing she was fired”. Getting drunk on the job wasn’t a irregular occurrence, she’d simply gotten too drunk. The food service industry is notorious for how it treats its workers, namely: bad. Demanding work hours, increasing pressure on the body, and easy access to alcohol make for a veritable shitstorm of perfect drinking conditions. “According to a report, the industry currently has the highest rates of substance use disorder, at nearly 17 percent of its workers. That percentage is especially jarring when you consider that the restaurant industry is the second-largest private-sector employer”.
And the problem goes all the way to the top; one in 10 managers has a substance abuse problem. Bronson’s article is basically a call to action, action that needs to take place soon. She ends on this note: “But not everyone in food service can or will pick another career. If leaving the industry entirely is the primary path toward recovery, then we are not actually solving our problems. We are running away from them“.
Bildquelle: Photo via Shutterstock.