Cigars can be an expensive habit. You can find deals online or less expensive brands, but when I want to really enjoy a good cigar I know it’s going to run me north of $10 a stick. Which isn’t terrible as a sporadic expense, but doing that regularly can add up. Thankfully there’s a way to get your fix, have a decent cigar, and walk away with most of your wallet still in tact: buy the store brand. Read More
The Texas Hill Country (an area south and west of Austin, for those not familiar with Texas geography) is full of more amazing craft breweries, distilleries, and wineries than you can shake a stick at. One of the oldest distilleries in the area is Treaty Oak Distillery, and after years of producing gin and rum they’ve finally put out their own bourbon: the Ghost Hill Bourbon.Read More
Thanksgiving is a time for family to come together from across the country, share their experiences, and catch up on what they missed during the year. This Thanksgiving, one of my relatives brought a little gift from their corner of the US: a bottle of bourbon from their local distillery.
As soon as I took a sip, I was already trying to find where I could get a bottle locally back in Texas. That bourbon: the Traverse City Whiskey Co. XXX Straight Bourbon Whiskey.Read More
Bourbon is a very American drink, big and bold. Scotch, on the other hand, is a more delicate and delicious spirit with nuances and variations in flavor that could be compared to the terroir of a fine wine.
When I’m feeling like a mellower drink, I turn to my trusty scotch collection. A staple of this collection is Oban — one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, and also one of the most interesting in terms of their location.Read More
When I started reviewing whiskeys my wife asked me a very important question: am I only going to do the “good” ones? No, I responded, I need to do them all. In order to understand the height of perfection, I needed to also understand the depth of awfulness that was available. I needed to understand what would constitute a zero star spirit so I could properly calibrate my scale.
In other words, I made a mistake.Read More
My wife works from home these days. She has her own office setup in our spare room, and while she has a decent desk, the lack of real-life interaction with other people means that she often spends the entire day sitting at that desk. She had asked me to look into getting her a standing desk of some sort, but none of the options seemed very appealing — either way too expensive or pretty ugly. So, overestimating my budding woodworking skills, I volunteered to build her one.
In theory everything was as easy as pie. We found some plans for a design she liked online (here from BuildSomething.com) and I had most of the requisite tools already in my workshop (theoretically). But along the way I made three critical errors that resulted in an end product that I couldn’t even give away for free.
Here’s how I screwed up and how to avoid it in your next woodworking project.
Austin may be a hot spot for craft beverage makers, but four years of living in San Antonio taught me not to discount our neighbor city just down I-35. San Antonio has one of the crown jewels of Texas distilleries (in my humble opinion, at least) tucked away in an industrial park on the north side of the city.
For me, smoking a good cigar is as much about the ritual and the environment as it is about the cigar itself. It’s a solid hour of time where I know I can just sit and relax, enjoying the solitude of the outdoors or the warm company of friends. So when I started getting annoyed that my lighter would go missing from its spot or that my cutter was making a racket in my pocket as I walked around, I decided that I needed a way to keep all the necessary tools in an easy-to-grab kit that wouldn’t also look terrible. Read More
Last July, my wife and I were in Paris getting ready to tie the knot. We were there with a group of close family and friends, and looking forward to enjoying one of our favorite cities with some of our favorite people. Mission number one after we arrived was to stock our beautiful hotel patio with plenty of wine and whiskey for guests. I happily accepted this task (it seemed a good bet this would be the easiest item on my wife’s to-do list), and my brother-in-law and I dutifully ventured out in search of the essentials: a box of Cuban cigars, and a good bottle of whiskey.
The cigars were quickly located — in a cigar store on the Rue St. Germain, I procured a box of Montecristo Petit Edmundos. The second item was a little harder to find. That is, until we stumbled across a small shop called La Maison du Whiskey. At first glance it looked average, with a wide enough selection of spirits to justify the name… but then a salesperson mentioned the basement. As we walked down the stairs, it was like walking into the storeroom in the last scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Whiskey as far as the eye could see, with every imaginable type represented.
I’m working my way through the locally distilled brown spirits here in Austin, Texas. I first spotted this bottle at Easy Tiger in downtown Austin and it was pretty darn good as far as I could remember, but then again that was mixed with a couple other drinks. It seemed delicious at the time but there’s always room for a second opinion. And third. And fourth.