Named one of the “25 Most Influential Cocktail Personalities of the Past Century,” Jeff “Beachbum” Berry has written six books on vintage tiki drinks and cuisine, co-created the app Total Tiki for iPad and iPhone, is the owner of tiki bar Latitude 29 in New Orleans, and sells a line of tiki barware with Cocktail Kingdom. If that's not enough, his cocktail recipes have been printed in publications around the world, and it's safe to say he's an expert on rum.
There is no doubt about it: The boom of breweries, brewpubs and bars specializing in serving craft beers on draft, in cans and bottles is in full effect throughout the nation. Innovative concepts, stunning décor, themed fare, and untapped locations are just some of the ways producers stand out in the competitive field. Here are three extraordinary tap-pullers who take pride in both beer selection and customer experience.
Whether you prefer your cocktails be shaken, stirred, muddled, served on the rocks, neat or straight up, the Windy City has you covered. Throughout my recent trip to Chicago, Illinois, I was consistently impressed at cocktail hour. Much of that is due to the talents of bartenders—though calling them “bartenders” is a bit like referring to Michelangelo as a doodler. They are true artists with spirits and fruits (their paints) and glasses (their canvases).
In the years between the end of Prohibition and the beginning of the 21st century, the world of Tennessee spirits was pretty much dominated by two big names: Jack and George, as in Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel, the major players in the Tennessee whiskey category. In fact, state law dictated that alcohol could only be distilled in three counties of the state, two of which happened to be homes to the long-time whiskey stalwarts.
“If we don’t like it, we don’t drink it. If we don’t drink it, we don’t sell it,” is the simple, corporate mission of Grumpy Old Men Brewing. Chipley McKnight, founder and former co-owner, explains that back in 2012 he and his partner were a couple of old retired guys who were home brewing in an outdoor shower before graduating to the old gas station they transformed into a modern brewery. McKnight and his partner eventually passed control of the beer taps to another Grumpy Old Man and his Grumpy Old Lady, but the mission remains the same, as does the variety of beer and ale produced to satisfy a range of palates. In between the dark Hell’s Holler Porter and the lighter Tootla Creek Blonde Ale are both Pale and India Pale Ales.
Songwriter Jimmy Buffett coined the term “boat drinks” in his 1979 song by the same name. Otherwise known as cocktails garnished with umbrellas, and often containing rum and fruit juice, boat drinks are a summer staple—especially in the Gulf South. You'd be hard-pressed to find a restaurant or bar in neighboring Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, that doesn't serve some type of rum-flavored drink. These warm Gulf waters and white sand beaches are the perfect backdrop for sipping a summer concoction.