Happy Hour: Gandhi's Negroni


We all know that salt is a cook's best friend, and we’ve seen bartenders following suit, adding what James Beard called “one of our greatest culinary gifts” to their shakers. At the Other Room, a craft cocktail lounge in Nebraska and a 2015 semifinalist for our Outstanding Bar Program award, proprietor Jill Cockson adds a dash or two of her briny housemade Hawaiian red salt solution to her Gandhi’s Negroni. A riff on the classic combination of Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth, Cockson’s version uses Dutch genever, the heady, juniper-scented ancestor of gin, along with satisfying and bitter-sweet Amaro Averna, yielding an inspired and savory sipper. Get the recipe.

 ... Read more >

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Happy Hour: The Franklin Bar's Night Sledding Cocktail


Now that we're in the throes of winter, there's nothing more appealing than cozying up to a boozy beverage at home on a blustering Friday night. We've got your drink plans covered: dive into the Night Sledding cocktail from Philadelphia's Franklin Bar, a 2015 semifinalist for our Outstanding Bar Program award. General manager Sara Justice channeled the flavors of childhood when creating this herbaceous tippler featuring a cooling... Read more >

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Happy Hour: The Tramp Cocktail from Seattle's Canon Bar


Made famous the world over by New York City's legendary Waldorf Astoria, the classic pre-Prohibition Charlie Chaplin–inspired cocktail gets an effervescent update at Canon, Seattle’s whiskey and bitters emporium and a 2015 semifinalist for our Outstanding Bar Program award. Crafted by proprietor Jamie Boudreau, the Tramp cocktail is an homage to the beloved early 1900s tippler. Tradition calls for equal parts apricot brandy and sloe gin, and the addition of bubbly cava brings complexity and whimsy.... Read more >

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Happy Hour: The Optimist Cocktail from the Hawthorne


For a delicious cocktail that intrigues the palate (and any booze-loving friends), opt for the Optimist cocktail from Boston's beloved watering hole, the Hawthorne. The staff of the 2015 semifinalist for our Outstanding Bar Program award knows a thing or two about the pursuit of the perfect cocktail. Hawthorne bar manager Jared Sadoian crafted this heady mix of liquors featuring sherry as the low-key superstar ingredient, noting that it "brings a ton of flavor and acid to a cocktail without overpowering other ingredients." Combined with the herbaceous, grappa-based Amaro ... Read more >

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Happy Hour: Minch's Lure from Anvil Bar & Refuge


As the weekend nears, we often find ourselves lusting after a quick dive into the boozy embrace of a perfectly crafted cocktail. And what better way to accomplish such a feat than with a libation from a 2015 semifinalist for our Outstanding Bar Program award? The kind folks at Houston's Anvil Bar and Refuge, the city's first bar to wholly devote itself to classic cocktails, have offered up their recipe for the Minch's Lure, a clean tippler that highlights Scotch in all its glory. "My goal was to showcase Scotch in a way that reminded people of how delicate the spirit can be, explained ... Read more >

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JBF Award Winner Sean Brock’s DIY Whiskey Bar


JBF Award winner Sean Brock has a passion for educating friends and family about the plurality of fine bourbon in our country, but at parties he often found himself playing bartender instead of host. In this excerpt from his Beard Award-winning cookbook Heritage, Brock gives tips for setting up a DIY bar, which allows him to showcase some choice whiskeys while letting guests go wild with cocktail experimentation—and frees him from the role of permanent bartender.


Choose five whiskeys that are different in flavor, age, and proof: 

  • A high-proof bourbon, something above 107 proof
  • A rye whiskey
  • A lower-proof bourbon (between 80 and 90 proof)
  • An older bourbon (at least 10 years old)
  • White corn whiskey 


Fill out your station with glassware, water, ice, and various items like bitters,... Read more >

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Happy Hour: Sean Brock’s The Charleston Light Dragoon Punch 1792

Excerpted from Heritage by Sean Brock (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Peter Frank Edwards.


Although JBF Award winner Sean Brock is a self-proclaimed bourbon buff, his innate Southern love of entertaining extends across the spirit spectrum. This punch is a mélange of the historic and the present-day South, updated from an antebellum militia recipe found by a friend of Brock’s at the South Carolina Historical Society. Mixing a sweet tea base with rum and brandy, this crowd-pleasing punch is a perfect expression of Southern hospitality.


Get the recipe here.

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Happy Hour: Cardamom Old Fashioned


A subtle riff on the classic Old Fashioned, this version—a staple of senior editor Elena North-Kelly’s cocktail repertoire—uses maple syrup in lieu of standard sugar, while handmade cardamom bitters step in for the more traditional Angostura variety, creating a warm, fragrant antidote to cold-weather doldrums. Get the recipe here. 


Elena North-Kelly is senior editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

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Happy Hour: Butcher and the Rye's Salinger's Sling


As we settle into the colder weather, there’s nothing we love more than cozying up with a good book and a delicious cocktail in tow. But how about combining the two into one warming libation? At the Pittsburgh hot spot Butcher and the Rye, the mixologists are pros when it comes to connecting classic literature with whimsical drinks. Take their name: it's an homage to J.D. Salinger’s beloved novel, Catcher in the Rye, which also was the inspiration for many of their signature drinks. This creative Steel City establishment has garnered widespread acclaim for its multi-level bar, including a semifinalist nod for our 2015 JBF Outstanding Bar Program Award. Their ... Read more >

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Happy Hour: Thanksgiving Wine Recommendations


With so many flavors on offer at Thanksgiving, the task of finding a bottle that plays nicely with all of them can make us even grouchier than our in-laws. Thankfully, we’ve enlisted Terroir's Paul Grieco, who won the 2012 JBF Award for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional, to do the pairing for us. His suggestions, which range from values to splurges, will take you from stuffing to turkey and back to leftovers.


Hirsch Zöbing Riesling 2009 
"Because nothing needs good, bracing acidity and crunchy terroir like a plate full of turkey and all the fixings."


Argyros Assyrtiko Santorini 2009 
"This Greek wine’s salty tang and bright, lively flavors make it the perfect... Read more >

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