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What We’re Into Right Now

A monthly installment covering what, where and how the editors of PUNCH are drinking. This month, an improved Hot Toddy recipe, the perfect Martini garnish, a notable new Champagne list and more.

Each month, we pull together a selection of drinking-related items that have, for one reason or another, grabbed the attention of PUNCH’s editors, who spend most of their days surrounded by drinks and drink-related items. Here’s what we’re into right now.

Improved Hot Toddy | Talia Baiocchi, Editor in Chief

What do you do when you desperately need a Hot Toddy and the lemons in your fridge are at least a month old? Instead of walking 50 feet from my apartment to re-up, I grabbed a bottle of Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar—the answer to all that ails—and used it as a replacement. Big ups to necessity being the mother of invention: I’ll never look at the Hot Toddy the same way again. Some light modifications later, the below recipe has been in heavy rotation since last month. 

Improved Hot Toddy
2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce Trees Knees Spicy Maple
3/4 ounce apple cider vinegar
Hot water, to top

Add all ingredients to a tempered mug, add hot water and stir until the syrup is dissolved.

Arne Jacobsen’s Martini Mixer | Chloe Frechette, Assistant Editor

Designed in 1967 by Danish architect Arne Jacobsen, the Cylinda-Line Martini Mixer is an object of understated elegance. The same minimalist sensibility that Jacobsen brought to his buildings and furniture, like the iconic egg chair, is reflected in the clean lines and precision of this mixer. Its sleek look refines any at-home Martini experience, including that one time I ran out of vermouth and had to order some to go from my local bar. It arrived in a plastic container usually reserved for sides of hot sauce: an embarrassing moment—for both me and the vermouth—that was quelled when the contents were thrown into the mixing tin.

The Champagne at Loring Place | Megan Krigbaum, Contributing Editor

Natalie Johnson’s Champagne selection at New York City’s new Loring Place isn’t crazy long, but it’s evidence of a sommelier who cares about these wines and who understands how remarkably well they play with Dan Kluger’s layered flavors. A single dish of his can simultaneously be savory, a little sweet and a little spicy, and Champagne proves to be a great foil. I had a glass of the non-vintage Dhondt-Grellet Dans un Premier Temps, a producer I’d not tasted wine from before. Adrien Dhondt, only in his mid-twenties, is using a good portion of reserve wine in this bottling, which shows in its concentration and slightly nutty character. It’s also awesomely affordable at about $40 retail.

Rick’s Picks | Allison Hamlin, Social Media Editor

A pickle might be the world’s most perfect food. As a kid, I drank pickle juice from the jar. As an adult, the dirty Martini fills this void, with the added benefit of garnishes that are also snacks.

Recently, PUNCH relocated our offices, and we found ourselves right down the hall from Rick’s Picks. I’ve since discovered the gold standard for Martini garnish: spicy “Mean Beans” with cayenne and fresh dill. The pickling liquid adds a brighter kick to a Martini than olive brine, and garnishing with both beans and olives means more snacks. They’re also a strong Bloody Mary power move when you’re feeling over the top.

Génépi des Pères Chartreux | Jon Bonné, Senior Contributing Editor

The liqueur known as génépymade from wormwood and a mix of alpine herbs and flowers, shares a close kinship with both absinthe and Chartreuse, although it’s a bit different from either—more subtle and floral than absinthe, a bit drier and less biting than green Chartreuse. If you’re going to indulge, who better to drink it from than the monks who make Chartreuse, given their nonpareil skills with Savoyard herbs? Their génépi is brisk and intensely aromatic, a furtive treat shared among Chartreuse nerds—and sadly almost impossible to find, unless you tote a bottle back from Paris or Chambéry. In which case, Dolin’s génépy makes a more than worthy alternative to end pretty much any meal—one I prefer even to the brilliance of Italian amari.

Olmsted’s Ceramic | Bianca Prum, Managing Editor

During a recent evening at Prospect Height’s new-ish Olmsted, it wasn’t a second round of Soba cocktails that had me flagging down a server, but rather the beautiful ceramic dishware scattered across our table. It turns out they’re from Santimetre Studio, a ceramics company from Turkish artist Tulya Madra, who has a studio on Prince Street where she sells her distinctive goods. Unexpected colors (grass green, matte cobalt, carnival stripes in all shades) meet designs that fall at my ideal meeting point between rustic and elegant. I dig the glasses, in particular, which translate classic milk-glass and Duralex shapes into ceramic for a fresh feel. I’m planning to use them as wineglasses this spring—just like the Romans.

Fresh Sugarcane | Lizzie Munro, Senior Editor

A few weeks back, I hopped a plane to enjoy some warmer-than-average weather in Miami—plus plenty of stone crab claws and a few too many Daiquiris. Hands down, though, the highlight was a trip to Little Havana’s Ball & Chain, where, just behind the bar, a mallet- and knife-wielding bartender was hacking through sticks of fresh sugarcane, turning out dozens of six-inch segments for use in drinks. It was all for the production of the Cañita, a cocktail made with rum, lime juice, honey syrup and guarapo, or freshly extracted sugar cane juice, which comes decorated with one of these sweet, chewable garnishes. The drink, overall, is on the sweeter side, but if you hang onto that sugary swizzle stick and pop it in one of the bar’s signature Mojitos, you’ve got yourself one hell of a chaser.

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