Booze Muse

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Another Round? Highlights from the 2012 New York Bar Show

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At the 2012 edition of the New York Bar & Restaurant show at New York’s Jacob Javits center, countless brands old and new were vying for consumers’ attention. Not everything was specifically about booze, though—it was also about new ideas that might bring extra profit for bars and restaurants.

Jinro USA–producer of soju, Korea’s national spirit–was showcasing Makguli, a traditional rice wine that is mostly available in ethnic markets but that is now being introduced to wider audiences. Makguli has a milky consistency, and it tastes like a lightly sweet, frizzy soy milk. It is quite refreshing when chilled, and has no bitter aftertaste. Jinro also had a great soju aged in oak barrels, but unfortunately the product is only available in Japan at this time.

Hangovers are the inevitable companion of regular drinkers, and someone is always trying to come up with a remedy for the problem. The latest is Resurgence, a three-capsule supplement they recommend taking ten minutes before drinking. I tried it before tasting some more spirits, and the next day I woke up with a bit of dry-mouth, but no real hangover. Then again, I didn’t drink that much.

For fans of Mexican beer, the news is that beloved brands Pacifico, Modelo and Negra Modelo (all produced by Modelo, which also makes Corona beer) will soon be widely available on draft in the US market. The brands are well-known to those who frequent Mexican restaurants, but they hadn’t been easy to find on draft outside their native country–until now.

Another highlight was Tirado, one of the first distillers to open in The Bronx since Prohibition ended production of spirits in New York. The brainchild of a teetotaling M.D., Tirado offers a moonshine-like corn whiskey and a small quantity of rum. The whiskey packs quite a punch, and has that characteristic taste of burnt corn. Tirado also makes maple liquor that is memorable for the small quantity of sugar—it has no syrupy flavor, but instead seems like something intended for mixers. (Ernest Barteldes)

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