Rhuby- A surprise in my glass
My friends over at Art in the Age in Philadelphia sent me the most lovely bottle of a truly new liquor the other day. Who is Art in the Age you ask? They are the creative minds behind the products like Hendrick's Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, Snap and the precursor to Root Beer known simply as Root. I actually first tasted Rhuby in the offices of Steven Grasse, the gregarious and intense owner of the Quaker City Mercantile. Steven has a way with something that is known as Brand re-Invigoration. I just call what he does- brilliant. Within the past few years, Steven has sold his product line to the William Grant Company from Scotland, freeing up his career to create new and interesting products, marketing for existing products and the anticipation for new ones.
Rhuby at AITA
During September’s First Friday I popped in at Art in the Age to see the new show by the Reverend Michael Alan’s new show – a collection of drawings that eventually influenced the design of the AITA’s Rhuby label. Not yet able to find a bottle on the shelves, I was delighted to try this new spirit (I’ve only been waiting for months!) In 1771, Ben Franklin sent our nations first botanist, John Bartrum* a packet of rhubarb seeds from Britian,and America had a new, sourly delicious crop. Bartrum, smart man that he was, concocted a “garden tea” rhubarb, beets, carrots, lemon, petitgrain, cardamom, pink peppercorn, coriander, vanilla, and pure cane sugar. This early beverage is the inspiration for Root. Below you can see a slightly fuzzy photo that illustrates these influence.
A Foobooz Pop-Up That'll Be One For The History Books
So you’ve all been watching our competition to pick Philly’s signature cocktail, right? Yeah, we know you have. And now that we’re coming down to the wire on the contest deadline (it’s tomorrow at 5pm) and have gotten more than 50 solid recipes from seasoned pros, award-winning drink-slingers, well-meaning amateurs and a few righteous and proud Philly drunks, it is time to test the best of the bunch and get down to the business of picking Philadelphia’s official cocktail.
Which we’re going to do by throwing a party (of course), having a lot of drinks (of course), and pitting these cocktails against each other in head-to-head competition.
Magic Beyond the Gardens Gala Happening this Weekend at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
If you’ve followed my articles here at CultureMob, then you probably already know that I am a huge fan of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. But if you’re new, let me take a moment to share my love for this place with you.
RHUBY 80-Proof Rhubarb Tea by Art in the Age
Philadelphia-based Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction has got to be one of the most pretentious design firms on the planet. Their name is a reference to a seminal 1936 essay by German cultural critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin. They describe themselves as a “community of free thinkers and artistic innovators deliver[ing] inspiration and aspiration back to The People.” Geez, we get it – you’ve got taste, personal as political, fuck the Man and all that jazz; you don’t have to lay it on so thick. Luckily, in spite of all the questionable grandstanding, Art in the Age backs up their rhetoric with some pretty damn cool stuff. Case in point: RHUBY, an 80-proof Rhubarb Tea that hearkens back to the days of yore, when 18th-century luminaries like Ben Franklin and horticulturalist John Bartram were knocking back glasses of the stuff to celebrate the America’s birth. Bartram’s original garden tea recipe employed rhubarb, beets, carrots, lemon, petitgrain, cardamom, pink peppercorn, coriander, vanilla, and pure cane sugar (uh, pretty sure that covers our five fruits and vegetables for the day!), which Art in the Age has re-appropriated into a spirit. Best of all, even today, rhubarb tea is as versatile as it is tasty: Art in the Age offers a bunch of cocktail recipes, with such delightful names as Red Hound (RHUBY + grapefruit), Rhuby Tonic (RHUBY + spring herbs + tonic water), and Black Rhuby Lemonade (RHUBY + blackberries + basil + sparkling lemonade), intended to spark your own cocktail creation creativity. So are your taste buds tingling in anticipation yet? Unfortunately, RHUBY has yet to be formally rolled out, but while you’re keeping your eyes peeled for it at your local liquor store, you can get more details about this splendid creation’s history (and the full recipe list) over at the Art in the Age blog. Long live rhubarb!
One Last Lemonade
You know the old saying when life gives you lemons you make lemonade? Well it’s more like life has been chucking them at me, in the face and then laughing at me. Since that is a bit more dramatic I figured spicing up some homemade lemonade with herbs, fruit and spirits, would be appropriate.