No. 96 March/April 2022 - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

No. 96 March/April 2022


Last summer, during my first foray back into the world after a year-plus of Covid shutdowns, I rented a car at the San Francisco airport and drove north. I took the scenic route, up Highway 1, through the Presidio and over the Golden Gate Bridge, eventually turning east out of Marin County and heading to the heart of Napa.

There’s no shortage of reasons to go to this part of Northern California these days, culinary tourism and wine tourism among them. But I didn’t have wine in mind as I steered past miles of vineyards—I was after another type of bounty that stems from California’s grapes: brandy, in particular, the spirits I tasted and brought back home from the California Brandy House in downtown Napa.

Whiskey touches my imagination, and gin can help stiffen my spine (and my resolve), but when I want to feel weak in the knees and swept away by a spirit’s passions, I reach for brandy. Whether it’s from the Cognac region or California, or if it’s aged New Jersey apple brandy or a clear eau de vie from Austria or Germany, fruit spirits have a character unlike anything else in the bar. For this issue (which can be purchased here), we’re taking you on a deep dive into the brandy category, starting.

Our new digital content editor Caroline Pardilla has a taste for brandy, too, and she shares some suggestions for cocktails using unaged fruit spirits. We’ve also got a taste test of the expanding range of American apple brandies, and Matthew Rowley shares how brandy can make you into a time traveler—kind of.

Pizza and beer have been at the heart of many a Friday night, and Josh Bernstein explores the enduring and deepening relationship between the two. And if you think reds are the only type of wines worth aging, then think again—Chasity Cooper takes us into the world of aged white wines. We also have a photographic survey of Stockholm’s coffee culture, Wayne Curtis’ historical study of war and peace and cocktails, and Kate Bernot’s profile of Em Sauter, a Connecticut cartoonist with a deep and abiding enthusiasm for beer.



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