Former Maker’s Mark Distiller Revives American Whiskey,

•February 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

David Pickerell has a crystal ball. The whiskey distiller doesn’t have an actual bulbous glass that he rubs for knowledge, but rather a natural clairvoyance into the future of American whiskey. Formerly the master distiller at Maker’s Mark, Pickerell has a gift for finding a piece of whiskey past and reinventing it. A consultant for more than 20 whiskey producers in the country, Pickerell not only predicts whiskey futures, which he did by pushing the popularity of rye whiskey with WhistlePig (the first 100% aged rye in the country), but he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty mashing things up. Read More


Drinking, Don Draper-Style,

•December 16, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Don and his Mad Men crew can party like it’s 1959. Celebrate the holidays with classic, mid-century style.

Don Draper asks for an Old Fashioned. The befuddled bartender quips that a blind man must have set up the bar: “There’s no bourbon.” Draper graciously hops over the bar to assist. “Rye okay with you,” he asks the bartender, setting up two glasses with his concoction. “You look like you know what you’re doing,” says the bartender. Indeed. Draper muddles the sugar cube, bitters and water in a glass as he prepares a classic Old Fashioned.

The Mad man’s favorite (2 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey, one to three dashes of bitters, a sugar cube and splash of water) is just one cocktail that has survived the past six decades of new, experimental concoctions and remains a classic today, particularly during the holidays. Patrons are more inclined to try something different and more classic during the holidays, because it feels special. It’s out with the old and in with the, well, old.

At New York’s Employees Only, the Old Fashioned, and other ’50s-era classics, are on the menu during the frostier months and year round, but holidays are the perfect time to explore more wintry, fuller cocktails like the Manhattan, Tom Collins, White Russian, Sloe Gin Fizz, Sidecar, Whiskey Sour and other classic blends. Read more

Ole Smoky: 100 Years of Moonshine,

•December 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment


Ole Smoky Distiller, Joe Baker.

Moonshine — white lightning, mountain dew, hooch — was illegally distilled by the light of the moon in the Appalachians for nearly half a century until 2009, when Tennessee lifted the ban on distilling spirits. And when that happened, the folks at Ole Smoky were ready. Set in the Smoky Mountains, the aptly-named distillery is the state’s first to produce now-legal moonshine.

Using a 100-year-old secret family recipe, Ole Smoky’s traditional corn whiskey is made of 80% corn, 20% of a secret ingredient, and is best for sipping. All Ole Smoky moonshines are 100-proof and come three additional varieties: White Lightnin’, a smoother, more distilled spirit for use in cocktails; Apple Pie, which tastes as warm and gooey as the real thing; and a Cherries version (fruits soaking in the old, Ole Smoky elixir).

Proprietor Joe Baker is no stranger to moonshine. He grew up on it. Baker made his first batch of (then illegal) moonshine before he was in high school. Born and raised in the Smoky Mountains, moonshine was always a part of Baker’s ancestry, and today it’s still a family affair. “When we say family business, we mean it,” says Baker, who prefers drinking his ‘shine neat. “Most of the people who work with us, we’ve known our whole lives. People sometimes tease that everyone in eastern Tennessee are cousins, but we really are. There are about 20 to 30 employees who are really related.” Read More

TAP Exclusive Interview: Shirley Manson (

•October 31, 2011 • Leave a Comment


Nearly 20 years since their self-titled debut, Garbage are aware that nothing will ever be like their first—and why should it? “We’ll never sound like the first record again,” says singer Shirley Manson. The Scottish-bred “Supervixen” admits that she felt like a complete innocent when she first joined Garbage, but that was a long time ago. If Manson felt naïve back then, it didn’t show as the raccoon-eyed, sex kitten crooned out dark, pop echoes of “Only Happy When it Rains,” reaffirmed the need for more female prowess in “Stupid Girl” or revealed a blatant girl-boy seduction in “Queer.” Manson, now 45, still oozes that sexy that some female front women work to attain. She’s even retained her potty mouth, randomly blurting out “fuck” in most sentences. Perhaps some things do remain the same, but almost two decades since their inception, there’s an older, wiser Garbage working on their fifth studio album, due out spring 2012. Read More

Morrison Hotel Gallery Celebrates 10 Years with Benefit Concert (

•October 16, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Bebe Buell (center) with legendary rock photographer Mick Rock (r). (PHOTO: Tina Benitez-Eves)

Julian Lennon, rock photography royalty including Mick Rock, Merri Cyr and Bob Gruen, actress Gina Gershon and others were under one roof for the 10th anniversary benefit concert for the Morrison Hotel Gallery at the Cutting Room Thursday night. A Joel Brodsky-captured, bare-chested and back-arched Iggy Pop in black and white, candid glimpses of the Beatles through Robert Whitaker’s eyes, a kaleidoscope-colored Bowie circa Ziggy Stardust (Rock) and more were on display and part of a silent auction. A percentage of proceeds from the event went to Rational Animal, a New York non-profit that works to improve the lives of homeless animals in the city and the White Feather Foundation, which helps increase awareness of environmental and humanitarian issues.

Cocktails paying homage to Beatles’ “Blackbird” from The White Album and other rock classics, a night video tribute to legendary photographer Herman Leonard with Joey Ramone’s Louis Armstrong cover of “What a Wonderful World” playing in the background opened the night. Famous for capturing Etta James, Frank Sinatra, a young Tony Bennett, Miles Davis and other legends, Leonard passed away last year at the age of 87.  More

Hank & Cupcakes Get Closer (The House List – Bowery Presents)

•October 10, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Cupcakes at Mercury Lounge. (PHOTO: Patrick J. Eves)

Cupcakes convincingly wrapped the bass-guitar strap around her neck, looked out to the audience and laughed before passing the guitar to her other half, Ariel Scherbacovsky, better known as Hank. A closer look revealed the left half of Hank’s face, back and torso painted in animalistic black and yellow spots. Offering bass rumble and synth for the band’s 11-song set, Cupcakes, clad in a white business suit, her short, bleached-blonde hair perfectly coifed, pounced onstage as a gender-blurring, Eurythmics-era Annie Lennox.

Fresh from recording their full-length debut at Berlin’s Hansa Studios, the Tel Aviv-by-way-of-Brooklyn bass-and-drum duo felt the New York City love and gave it back. The duo’s chemistry is unyielding. “Ready, naked boy?” asked Cupcakes of a shirtless Hank before her rap reviving some of Blondie’s “Rapture” toward the end of funk-pop groove of “Ain’t No Love.” Dancing, swirling and moving in front—and on top—of her drum kit, Cupcakes is full show-woman-ship. More

Movin’ On Up: The Horrors at Webster Hall (The House List – Bowery Presents)

•October 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The Horrors

Having previously treated fans to an intimate summer show in the Studio, the Horrors moved things upstairs to the big stage last night at Webster Hall. The group covered their full catalog with their third studio album, Skying, setting the barometer for the night and flooding the set with singles like “I Can See Through You” and “Still Life.” Still, the London shoegaze rockers didn’t forget earlier tracks, keeping their 12-song set intact with flashes from Strange House and Primary Colours. Read entire story