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Thursday, April 17, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 45.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
The Daily

SPIRITS

Distill America 2014 highlights beer influences and bigger flavors in Midwestern spirits

When Distill America was conceived six years ago, says organizer Adam Casey (of Star Liquor fame), "It was just a thought: 'let's do a tasting.' We didn't even have a name for it." Now, he laughs, "our biggest problem is getting enough tables." >More
 Steve's Wine, Beer and Spirits celebrates 60 years in business on University

Steve's Wine, Beer and Spirits at 3618 University Ave. turns 60 this year, and the shop is celebrating its anniversary this weekend. The store is still family-owned, and in its original location. >More
 Summer sips from Madison's developing cocktail culture

The revival of the television comedy Arrested Development has caused a rift among Madison bartenders. Many think the comedic timing is off -- the new episodes simply aren't funny. But even if the series is not a complete hit, it has at least helped revive bottle service in Madison. >More
 Muddling 101: Farm Fresh Mixology is a tutorial in fresh cocktails

On a recent Wednesday evening, 20 participants belly up to long, chest-high tables set with bartender tools: stir sticks, strainers and shot glasses. There are also small cups containing ingredients from a local farm: sliced melon, mint and honey. The group hushes as Kiera Mulvey, executive director for FairShare CSA Coalition, begins to explain exactly what a mixology class is. >More
 Madison gets its own producer of the fermented honey drink: Bos Meadery

With new Hobbit movies and the red-hot series Game of Thrones in the cultural consciousness, mead-swilling characters from medieval environs abound. So it is with admirable timing that Colleen Bos has just opened Madison's first facility dedicated solely to mead, combining her backgrounds as a homebrewer and medieval historian. Her Kickstarter project reached its goal in mid-August, and now a clean, professional meadery at 849 E. Washington Ave. is open for business. >More
 Whiskey rebellion: Madison's feisty pour houses

Whiskeys have character. There are rugged rye whiskeys that taste like exotic fruit, Scotch whiskeys that smell like torched rubber bands, and beguiling bourbons that rear up with alcohol blooms so hot they have the flavor of, well, burning. Establishments that are good for sipping whiskey are ones that have character too. Sure, you can get a shot of Jameson almost anywhere, but for the serious business of a good pour, Madison has a few bars with just the right requirements. >More
 Vintage Liquor in Black Earth emphasizes the unusual

Vintage Liquor in Black Earth is an alcohol retail emporium with a shot of estrogen, Antiques Road Show with a dash of Americana à la House on the Rock. I had to giggle inside a little when I saw "PMS" spelled out on the countertop mosaic. "We're the Party MavenS -- that's our initials," says co-owner Pat Michaels of the letters that represent her and co-owner Susan Meigs. >More
 Vino vocabulary

If you want to read some mouth-watering poetry, browse the aisles at your local wine store, where the advertising copy and wine reviews all seem to be channeling Walt Whitman. >More
 Make mine mezcal

Few spirits are more shrouded in myth and mystery than mezcal. An outlaw's drink of ill repute, mezcal has further suffered a long history of lax production standards that allowed chemicals to share bottle space with pure maguey, or agave, liquor. And then there's the ubiquitous worm; introduced into bottles as a marketing gambit in the 1950s, it offers no demonstrable hallucinogenic properties, despite popular perception otherwise. >More
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