Jay Ducote spends most of his time as a food and beverage writer, blogger, radio host, speaker, culinary personality, and habitual hugger. Residing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he has been named one of the top 100 amateur chefs in America by FOX’s MasterChef, has appeared as himself on HBO’s drama series Treme, and has been featured on multiple programs on the Cooking Channel and Destination America. Jay is currently working on a book that will be published by LSU Press in 2015. Find him online at www.biteandbooze.com.
I’ve noticed that freshness is the main ingredient at Thomas Creek Brewery in Greenville, South Carolina. They produce seven beers throughout the year, and offer four additional brews seasonally. Tom Davis, Thomas Creek’s owner, brew master, and brewery manager, told me that the natural water source starting high in the Appalachian Mountains contributes to that well-known fresh quality of his beers. From producing only small batches to double filtering, this craft brewery always operates in full swing to keep up with growing demands. I can assure you, [... more]
Yazoo Brewing Company in Nashville, Tennessee, has become a much larger operation than founder/brewmaster Linus Hall ever expected. In the beginning, Linus and his wife, Lila, sold Yazoo Pale Ale, Dos Perros, Spring Wheat, and Onward Stout to local bars in Nashville, and a loyal following blossomed. I toured the brewery on a recent Saturday, and sampled each beer. The staff offered an up-close opportunity to learn more about each brew and the taproom did not disappoint.
I wanted to try a local spot in Jackson, Mississippi, that was known for its food and a large adult-beverage selection. Hal and Mal’s popped up on my radar when a friend from the Hospitality State suggested I give it a try. I walked in and realized it was far from a run-of-the-mill restaurant. The building used to be a freight depot, and if the walls could talk they would have interesting things to say. The martini list, with more options than I could count, may have [... more]
Palmetto Moonshine Distillery in Anderson, South Carolina, uses the color blue prominently on its Web site and its logo, which seems natural. After all, good moonshine has a blue flame when lit. I’d rather drink it, though. I took a trip to the distillery to sip on genuine white lightning and take the tour. The old warehouse in downtown Anderson is at least a century old and the copper still is a thing of beauty. Stop by to check out the rustic charm of this once-illegal distilling [... more]
Donner-Peltier Distillers, based in Thibodaux, Louisiana, crafts six products, all made from Louisiana sugarcane or rice. Though the LA 1 Whiskey is near and dear to my heart, the spirit that stands out the most is the Rougaroux 13 Pennies praline rum. The Rougaroux gets its name from a “bogeyman” creature found in Cajun folklore. According to legend, the Rougaroux can only count to 12, so you can leave 13 pennies by your door to keep him out. While the name may be foreboding, the drink is [... more]
As owner and bartender at Twelve Mile Limit in New Orleans, T. Cole Newton knows that to be the best you have to be different. Cole began working at a fine dining restaurant and quickly learned that it would not be his calling. After noticing a Mid-City building for sale, just a few blocks from the Canal Street bus line, he jumped on the opportunity to open his own spot. Newton is known for drinks with such interesting names as the Baudin, Wind Up Bird, Gunsmoke, and [... more]
Not much reminds me of the South more than the sweet aroma of honeysuckle in the thick, humid air. The Cathead Distillery in Madison, Mississippi, is known for supporting live music—and for their Honeysuckle Vodka that needs no mixer. But it can create some pretty amazing cocktails. Distilled six times in small batches, the finished product can’t be duplicated. Cathead distiller Phillip Ladner showcases this unique liquor in a cocktail called the Show Pony, which consists of mint, black pepper simple syrup, Cathead Honeysuckle, and ginger ale. [... more]
In my opinion, the Skybar in Charlottesville, Virginia, gives you the best view of the historic Downtown Mall. While I was enjoying the sights of the city, I decided to try one of their specialty cocktails, the “Done Did It.” Despite the funny name, this drink was no joke. The Southern Comfort, cider, and ginger beer worked together to pack this cocktail with flavor. The “Done Did It” inspired me to make the extra effort to sip and savor the cocktail. Photo Source: Commonwealth Skybar
I decided to drive through the Lone Star State to find out more about a distillery that has recently gained serious acclaim in the small town of Hye, just an hour west of Austin. The Garrison Brothers Distillery had me fired up to witness the authenticity of the first and oldest legal whiskey distillery in the state of Texas. I took a tour of the facilities on a Friday night for $10 and tasted their award-winning whiskey, wine, and moonshine. Passion was evident each step of the [... more]