Most of the ciders you come across here in the states tend to be sickly-sweet affairs, making them less than ideal for pairing with food — or for drinking more than just one. Soon, however, you'll be able to escape that sad fate by picking up some Stella Artois Cidre ($TBA). Launching May 13 in four-packs and 24 oz. bottles, this new drink is drier and crisper than your normal cider, made with hand-picked apples grown in wine-friendly regions, and design to complement foods like chicken, fish, many cheeses, and even Asian foods.
Just because they have "breakfast" in the name doesn't mean you need to guzzle them before Noon. Although, on second thought, the flavors of Mama Walker's Breakfast Liqueurs ($13) are so perfectly suited to the waking hours that we might have to rethink our first statement. Coming in at a healthy 70 proof, these specialty spirits come in three IHOP-friendly flavors — Maple Bacon, Blueberry Pancake, and Glazed Donut — and are sure to liven up your morning, afternoon, or night.
It's such a catchy name that we're surprised no one's using it commercially, but these two bottles of Shipwreck Whiskey ($TBA; auction) are actually very rare. They were among eight bottles recovered from the SS Politician, an 8,000-ton cargo ship that sank off the coast of Scotland in 1941, bound for Jamaica and New Orleans with 28,000 cases of whiskey. Bottled by W & A Gilbey with an original cork and wax sealed by Christies, you can be sure it'll be one of the more interesting drinks you can take.
Well, at least it's not trying to hide its possible side effects (we're looking at you, Chipotle hot sauce). Colon Cleaner Hot Sauce ($14) is a devastating blend of mustard, scotch bonnet peppers, salt, onions, water, vinegar, sugar, and some other goods that's ready to add a healthy blast of heat to pretty much anything you put it on. Just use it wisely — and by wisely, we mean don't load up on it at breakfast before heading out to a festival where your only chance of relief lies in the line for the porta potty.
Don't let its clear color fool you — this is no typical moonshine. Inspired by the white whiskey distilled by founder Jacob Beam, Jim Beam Jacob's Ghost White Whiskey ($22) is actual, full-on whiskey that offers the woody flavors of a traditional bourbon but with a lighter body and greater versatility. It's aged for at least a year in a charred white oak barrel, resulting in a slightly smoky flavor with light vanilla and sweet corn undertones. And while it can certainly be enjoyed like a traditional bourbon — neat, on the rocks, or in traditional whiskey cocktails — it really shines when you use it to replace white spirits like vodka, tequila, or rum. A bourbon-based Bloody Mary? Yes, please.
Think the Kentucky Derby was your only excuse to visit Louisville this year? Think again. You'll likely be flying into the city to go fetch a bottle of Jim Beam Distiller's Masterpiece ($200). This limited-edition release is available only at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse in Clermont, KY, roughly 30 minutes outside Falls City. As for the booze itself, it's a potent 100-proof, extra-aged in the optimal rack-house position as determined by Master Distiller Fred Noe, and then finished in PX sherry casks to give it a unique dynamic all its own. Smooth, rich, and full-bodied, it will arrive in its own wooden case that's sure to become a highlight of your liquor shelf.
It's been called a precursor to all fermented drinks, and there's a reason for that: it's easy to make. So easy, in fact, that you can do it at home. This Homemade Mead Kit ($60) includes everything you need to make your own honey wine, including a one-gallon fermentation jug with a metal lid, a temperature strip, a hydrometer, an airlock, a stopper, a siphoning tube, and enough yeast for five one-gallon batches. So everything but the honey, and the 4-6 weeks it takes to go from throwing stuff in a jug to tasty goodness.
There's nothing better for bacon lovers than super-fresh bacon, and there's no better way to get it than by making it yourself. The Baconkit ($17) includes everything you need to make 5 lbs. of homemade bacon — save for the pork belly, which you can find at most supermarkets and butchers. Once you've got your meat, simply follow along with the instructions — after a week of curing, you can prepare it in the oven, or in a smoker for a more intense flavor — then cut it into strips, cook it, and eat it! It's that easy — just try not to eat all five pounds at once, or you may find yourself visiting the pig you just ate in very short order.
Tired of scouring through recipe sites trying to pick out a dinner, then trudging to the store only to find they're out of one key ingredient? Give Blue Apron ($10/meal) a try. This handy service ships you the raw ingredients for three delicious meals each week; each meal is perfectly portioned, weighs in a 500-700 calories, and takes roughly 35 minutes to prepare. There are options available for both carnivores and vegetarians, so no matter what your lifestyle, there's an option to match.
Yes, it's still syrup — but that doesn't mean you should slather it on your pancakes and waffles. Instead, Smoked Maple Syrup ($12) is best saved for savory endeavors. This unique product is made by bubbling low-temperature smoke through a vat of pure Vermont maple syrup for approximately 24 hours, then refiltering the syrup to ensure a smooth consistency. The resulting mixture is strong, sweet, and smoky, and can add extra layers of flavor to your glazes, marinades, sauces, soups, and stews. [via]
When it comes to unusual spirits, it's hard to top Clear Creek Douglas Fir Eau de Vie ($46). Inspired by the rare Alsatian distillate Eau de Vie de Bourgeons de Sapin, this unique tree spirit is crafted by infusing hand-picked Douglas Fir buds into clear brandy, which gets re-distilled and re-infused before being strained and bottled. Said to smell and taste like the woods, you'll find notes of juniper, wood, vanilla, and Christmas tree in each sip. In other words, it's as close as you can get to drinking Pine-Sol without making a call to poison control — and we mean that in the best way possible. [Scouted by Eric]
If you're the type of person that starts your day off with eggs and Tobasco, why don't you give yourself an extra boost and replace the latter with DoubleKick Caffeinated Hot Sauce ($10). This flavorful condiment combines Asian and Southwestern chili sauces for a flavor all its own while packing the one-two punch of ginger and caffeine to get you going. With a rich taste that's both savory and sweet, it tastes great on nearly everything — and for added bonus points, put a spoonful or two into your next Bloody Mary and enjoy the results.