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The Aperitif Hour

A more relaxing pause in your day

Unlike the American happy hour—the main purpose of which, it seems to me, is to wait out traffic and perhaps fill up on nasty food—the l’heure de l’apéritif is a sort of gentle musing, accompanied by a glass of something modestly alcoholic such as a vermouth (a fortified wine, flavored with herbs and spices) or a pastis (an anise-flavored liqueur) diluted with water. Read More

Your Personal Sommelier

A wine gig worth envying

When I met Michael Bowden, I blurted out the same words to him that I often hear when people learn I’m a food critic: “Man, I want your job!” Bowden identifies himself as a “personal sommelier.” He manages the cellars of two wealthy oenophiles (who wish to remain anonymous), keeping track of 130,000 bottles of wine between them. Read More

Wild Man

The city's next great brewery

Nick Purdy does not dabble. Ten years ago he cofounded Paste magazine to spotlight the kind of music he loved. Never mind that he couldn’t play a note. Two years ago he cofounded Wild Heaven Craft Beers. Read More

Join a Brew Crew

The D.I.Y.ers of beer

The booming U.S. craft beer industry (up 15 percent in sales in 2011 and 12 percent in 2010) can trace its spate of stardom to enterprising do-it-yourselfers. The American Homebrewers Association estimates that at least 90 percent of the country’s professional beer makers began by mastering their skills in their houses. Read More

Cocktail Improv

Tres Bullard of Top Flr puts the art into action

The new breed of cocktail list, with its eccentrically named spirits and esoteric brands, sometimes needs as much interpretation as an overwhelming wine menu. More than ever, serious bartenders have to foster an articulate exchange with customers. Read More