Bartending With and Without Booze

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Zeke Emanuel reviews the newest addition to Charlie Trotter's menu--non-alcoholic drinks paired with food in a tasting menu. This new trend gives succor, release, permission, and relief to people who don't or can't drink alcohol.

Abstinence will I suspect be on the rise, as the longtime findings about the healthful effects of a modest amount of alcohol come into question--not to mention the 24-hour news cycle that the President may wryly say he's not on but the rest of us are. So hangovers of the sort Derek Brown mentions as a panel subject of a cocktail convention he's attending again this year in New Orleans are a rare treat for most of us--as charming as the notion of attending the panel in a bathrobe, as Brown did, is.

And there's a thirst for new, liquefied flavor combinations, with and without alcohol. Our own Gus Rancatore told me the other day that's he collecting them in every cookbook and Website he can, to give him more ideas for ice creams and sorbets. As summer finally arrives, herb-minded chefs like Rick Bayless, whose Chicago rooftop garden was shown as an example of how chefs grow close to the kitchen, and Charles Draghi, a Boston chef who does grow herbs at home--so many that he picked a name for his restaurant, Erbaluce, that includes the Italian word for "herb"--look for new uses, and infusions in drinks as well as sauces are the new route.

Cocktail menu pairings have been in fashion a while, as mixologists like our Brown have vied with chefs in creativity; they'll feature in the convention he's going to this year (he gets to pair his with steaks). Zeke's post points a way forward for the chef-minded mixologists like Brown, and like the many movingly mentioned in Kim Severson's interesting piece about abstaining bartenders in yesterday's Times, which also featured a lightly devilish bartender's dictionary by Pete Wells--packed with enough information and charm to keep drinkers and abstainers alike lubricated for the season.

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Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." More

Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." Julia Child once said, "I think he's a very good food writer. He really does his homework. As a reporter and a writer he takes his work very seriously." Kummer's 1990 Atlantic series about coffee was heralded by foodies and the general public alike. The response to his recommendations about coffees and coffee-makers was typical--suppliers scrambled to meet the demand. As Giorgio Deluca, co-founder of New York's epicurean grocery Dean & Deluca, says: "I can tell when Corby's pieces hit; the phone doesn't stop ringing." His book, The Joy of Coffee, based on his Atlantic series, was heralded by The New York Times as "the most definitive and engagingly written book on the subject to date." In nominating his work for a National Magazine Award (for which he became a finalist), the editors wrote: "Kummer treats food as if its preparation were something of a life sport: an activity to be pursued regularly and healthfully by knowledgeable people who demand quality." Kummer's book The Pleasures of Slow Food celebrates local artisans who raise and prepare the foods of their regions with the love and expertise that come only with generations of practice. Kummer was restaurant critic of New York Magazine in 1995 and 1996 and since 1997 has served as restaurant critic for Boston Magazine. He is also a frequent food commentator on television and radio. He was educated at Yale, immediately after which he came to The Atlantic. He is the recipient of five James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award.
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