history

A Brief History of American Homebrewing, the Foundation of Craft Beer

A Brief History of American Homebrewing, the Foundation of Craft Beer

Homebrewing wasn’t legal in all 50 states until 2013. (Alabama and Mississippi were the last to take the plunge.) Of course, this was 35 years after homebrewing was federally legalized, and 80 years after the 1933 repeal of Prohibition. In a country as large and diverse as America, change sometimes takes longer than we’d like.

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A High-Flying History of Champagne, Hot-Air Balloons, and French Farmers

A High-Flying History of Champagne, Hot-Air Balloons, and French Farmers

Sipping Champagne aboard a hot-air balloon sounds like an over-the-top photo op designed for and by the Instagram era, but the practice has 250-year-old roots. Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, a chemistry and physics teacher, and military officer François Laurent le Vieux d’Arlandes, took the maiden voyage into the sky on a hot-air balloon on Nov. […]

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The Nazi-Defying History of the Kir Royale Cocktail

The Nazi-Defying History of the Kir Royale Cocktail

During World War II, as Americans were planting backyard victory gardens, residents of Burgundy, France responded to wartime privation in the most French way imaginable: They created an elegant cocktail out of Nazi-resistant wine. The Kir cocktail is made with one part crème de cassis, or blackcurrant liqueur, and four parts dry white wine.

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Why We ‘Christen’ Ships by Smashing Bottles of Champagne Against Their Hulls

Why We ‘Christen’ Ships by Smashing Bottles of Champagne Against Their Hulls

While he definitely wasn’t the first to do the deed, Ocean PenaVega may well have been the youngest. On Nov. 15, 2018, the 1-year-old christened the world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s 6,680-passenger Symphony of the Seas, by smashing a bottle of Champagne against its hull. (Granted, he didn’t actually smash the bottle himself.

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The Florida Marketing Stunt That Gave the World the Sex on the Beach

The Florida Marketing Stunt That Gave the World the Sex on the Beach

A sweetly simple mix of vodka, schnapps, cranberry juice, and O.J., the Sex on the Beach is an easy-drinking party starter. Yet behind its tropical facade lies uncertain origins. According to one version of the cocktail’s history, in 1987, an ominously named spirits company called National Distribution wanted to boost sales of its new product, […]

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The Bear Who Drank Beer, Smoked Cigarettes, and Became an Unlikely War Hero

The Bear Who Drank Beer, Smoked Cigarettes, and Became an Unlikely War Hero

In 1942, a group of Polish prisoners of war traveling from a Siberian labor camp to Alexandria, Egypt found an unlikely companion in the mountains of modern-day Iran: a brown bear cub. They named the bear Wojtek (pronounced “Voytek”). His story is one of hope, heroism, and beer-fueled perseverance. After leaving a Soviet gulag, the […]

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The History of Lager in America

The History of Lager in America

Let’s take it back. When John Wagner, a Bavarian brewer, arrived in America in 1840, he came with some precious cargo: a supply of lager yeast from his native Bavaria. And as far as American cities go, he picked the right place. Philadelphia had been brewing beer for 160 years. However, the beer that Philadelphia, […]

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The Underground Wine Shop That Saved a Hotel From Two World Wars

The Underground Wine Shop That Saved a Hotel From Two World Wars

When you pass through the harried restaurant kitchen of Switzerland’s Grand Hotel Kronenhof, the floor changes quickly. White, industrial tile suddenly morphs into small black cobblestones, and then you’re suddenly faced with a rickety descending staircase made of oak. Follow it, and you’re in the wine cellar of the renowned Swiss hotel. This is no […]

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Everything You Never Knew About Chianti (And Why to Drink It Now)

Everything You Never Knew About Chianti (And Why to Drink It Now)

Say the words “red sauce,” and many of us immediately conjure the smell of hearty tomato “gravy” bubbling away on grandma’s stove or in the kitchen of a favorite Italian restaurant. Whether you’re of Italian descent or not, it’s hard to argue that the fresh zing of basil and oregano, the spicy scents of veal, […]

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