News and Press

Spodee & Sody: A Double Whammy

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Well today is Monday. Get the usual grunts out because here comes the double whammy: it's also the beginning of Mercury Retrograde into Scorpio. Now I don't know about you, but retrogrades have always put me off kilter. And with the past lunar eclipse marking some life changing endings, I'm in a bit of a landslide. So in lieu of these turn events, I turn to some cocktail making that I've been meaning to try!

Last Friday, I was at Kembrel's Blogger event hosted by MSP Squared (my friend Anh of MAI STYLE PAGES and Sabir ofMEN'S STYLE PRO). And I finally tried SPODEE, a Depression era hooch, that has notes of chocolate and grape wine, mixed in with seasonal fruits and cider. It. Was. Delicious. On the sweeter side than I usually prefer but I can see myself mixing this into a bunch of cocktail recipes up my sleeve. But for to drown away todays double whammy blues, I'm drinking a classic and a bit of a beginners cocktail: the SPODEE SODEE. 1:1 ratio deliciousness to kick the Monday Blues.

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Discover Spodee

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Art in the Age at the Savory Grain

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Three course dinner prepared by chef Sean Murphy paired with cocktails created by our own Gregg Brooks. We'll be featuring the Root, Rhuby and Snap spirits from the fine folks at Art In The Age for this occasion. These amazing 100 percent organic products will be highlighted in both the cocktails and in the sauces and bases for the food. Seating is limited so act fast and make your reservations now! Vegetarian options are available with 24 hour notice and reservation!

3 Course Dinner paired with 3 Cocktails featuring Art In The Age Craft Spirits

1st Course:
bacon wrapped scallops with a Snap gastrique, garnished with a mixed greens salad, Rhubarb vinaigrette

2nd Course:
Rhubarb marinated duck breast served with potatoes au gratin and finished with a Rhubarb chutney

3rd Course:
Root cheesecake, topped with Root whipped cream and drizzled with a Root orange reduction

$45 per person plus tax and gratuity

Cocktail meet and greet at 6:30 featuring Happy Hour Prices on Art In The Age Drinks

***RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED! Please call 804-592-4000 or

The Art In The Age craft spirits are truly art in a bottle, handcrafted using techniques and recipes from Pre- Prohibition times. Find out more about these incredible products here, and enjoy special cocktail using the Art in the Age line ALL NIGHT!

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Art in the Age: For Design, Aesthetic, & Overall WOW

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Philadelphia: Why Have I Never Really Come Here?

I’ve been to Philly twice before this trip: once to visit colleges and once for the Cupcake Smash this summer. Both times I was on a schedule that didn’t permit much exploration. And now I’m pissed at those wasted opportunities – because this town is UH-mazing!

Granted, Lara and I didn’t get to explore *every* single nook and cranny but we got around. Staying with two different friends each night of our three-day journey gave us two extremely knowledgeable, interesting, varied views of Philadelphia. But of course it all started with Cheesesteak.


Our first day was spent with the gorgeous, gregarious MB and her family in South Philly where there is only one place for cheesesteak: Cosmi’s. I know, I know – we got a lot of slack for not going to Geno’s or Pat’s (“Meat Vegas” to the locals). But if this hoagie is good enough for Questlove, it’s good enough for us. Oh, and it was good enough. It was great. And when you follow that with a trip to Termini Brothers bakery, it’s unclear if there is a better way to spend your lunch hour really.


When we asked MB where we should spend the afternoon exploring (ie., shopping), she put us in a cab to Old City. I’m not sure there is a way Old City could be more fantastic – unless it included the opening of a bakery by my favorite pastry genius (fingers crossed!). Walking down 3rd Street from Market, we spied so many amazing stores: vintage menswear, midcentury furniture, consignment meccas. Our favorite for women’s clothes and accessories is Sugarcube. They had an amazing selection of interesting fabrics, cuts and textures. I bought a gorgeous wide brimmed asymmetric black hat; Lara got me a delicate but funky bracelet for my birthday. And we were so busy trying on leather trimmed leggings and Princess Jasmine silk dresses that we didn’t take any photos.

For design, aesthetic and overall Wow, Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction has it all. Not only do they create and sell their own line of booze (which we tasted – think herbal and rooty like Sage, Root(beer) and (ginger)Snap, but the decor was a curatorial genius mountain. Exposed brick walls, sign language wall paper, their logo morphed into fabric on an upholstered chair … what’s not to love. And Thank You! Their boozy bottles are sold locally at such fine purveyors as Martignetti’s.

Anyone who knows me well, knows my obsession with candy. Gummies, licorice, chocolate covered anything, marshmallow, caramel (of course!) – yep. Want it all in my face. A must stop? Shane’s Confectionery. Either this place had been restored to its turn-of-the-century grandeur or it just never ended. The glass candy displays, calligraphy signage and substantial details like their good-luck-breaking-into-this gilded cash register completed the feel of the perfect Candy Shoppe. Purchases: nougat chocolate bar, ginger hard candies.


Besides some well-spent time at the flagship Anthropologie store in Rittenhouse Square, bit of work-related activity and a Friday morning massage, the rest of our trip revolved around food and drink. Per usual.


Not sure what I ordered to eat but I remember it being tasty. Everything was overshadowed by the order of what was supposed to be ONE red velvet pancake for the table. You know. Just to try it. A miscommunication provided us a full order – which was essentially a red velvet layer cake. Not sure what qualified this as breakfast but it was so intimidating, we pretty much only chewed off one corner. Needless to say, we were not hungry again until 8pm.


Buck a shuck and half price wine? We’ll take it. This tiny place on an adorable square in South Philly was so unexpected and just perfect. Overlooking the mid-week farmer’s market in the neighborhood piazza, the giant sliding doors of Stateside open up the entire corner of the restaurant to reveal concrete counters facing outside AND stools that swivel out from underneath. Instant al fresco dining. I only stopped smiling long enough to throw another oyster down the gullet.


This place reminded me of one of the many great restaurants in Chicago with the semi-outdoor picnic table seating under strung twinkle lights and a great funk playlist. This Brooklyn outpost served barbeque cafeteria style. Meat, greens, bread to die for, whiskey drinks – you know we were rolling out happy. And literally, rolling out.


A few times a year, the food truck community – there is no more perfect word for it – of Philadelphia gets together in rotating neighborhoods for a night of food overload, music, dancing, drinks and general coming-together. What luck that we were in town for it!

A walk through the 6–8 blocks of food trucks and crowds of hungry people led us to a roving brass band, Nomad Pizza, pork taco burn-your-face-off-good, fried cheese curd heaven, possibly more tacos and, of course, the local brew special. Capping off the night was a DJ at the far end of the festivities, spinning everyone’s favorite pop hits and really getting the crowd insane. DANCING!


Our other favorite hosts Jamie and Mike created a memorable bon voyage with a bottle of sparkling wine enjoyed on their roof deck at sundown. It must be love. See you again soon, Philly – you have so much left for us to explore!

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Make Art in the Age your Holiday Spirit

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Philadelphia-based creators of organic artisan spirits: ROOT, SNAP, RHUBARB, SAGE.

ROOT is based on an 18th century root tea recipe, an herbal remedy made of sassafrass, sarsaparilla, birch bark and other wild roots and herbs.

SNAP combines ginger root with blackstrap molasses and spices.

RHUBARB is a botanical bounty of beets, carrots, lemons, petitgrain, cardamom, pure cane sugar, and of course, rhubarb.

SAGE is a refreshing garden gin instilled with organic American botanicals including thyme, rosemary, lavender, fennel, and of course, sage.

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Liqueurs That Taste of Autumn

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It’s taken a while, but autumn seems to have finally kicked summer to the curb. Not only does your wardrobe need seasonal layers now, so do your cocktails! Below is a roundup of liqueurs that add that extra note of autumnal flavor to keep you warm and toasty for the cool nights ahead.
Barrow’s Intense Ginger: Ginger is an essential flavor component to cool weather cocktails, one of the four horsemen of autumn/winter spices along with cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. This fresh ginger liqueur made locally in Brooklyn lives up to its name, but isn’t as soapy or bitter as others on the market. Mixes well with a variety of ingredients for a range of cocktails, and you can even make your own boozy ginger beer by adding it to soda or ginger ale!

Art in the Age - Snap: In an era replete with food-based beverages, there is very little success at authenticating the actual thng they are trying to be. Art in the Age Spirits has managed to pull this off gloriously with Snap, a spirit (it doesn’t have enough sugar content to technically be labeled liqueur) reminiscent of ginger snap cookies, but without being too confectious. Its unexpected dryness allows the natural-tasting flavors of ginger, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, molasses and butterscotch, among others, to assert themselves on the palate. It’s perfect for spicing up warm-weather cocktails, and plays well with many ingredients. Another bonus, it’s organic.

Greenhook Ginsmith Beach Plum Gin Liqueur: Produced in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, this gin is inspired by sloe gin, but created by infusing their award-winning dry gin with local beach plums. This sweet-tart treat is delicious simply added to tonic or soda, but also perfect for toddys, punches and even brown spirits for a fruity twist when produce is out of season.
Jack From Brooklyn Sorel Liqueur: This Red Hook, Brooklyn breakout is quite possibly one of the most versatile spirits on the market. A hibiscus liqueur with infusions of Brazilian clove, Indonesian cassia, Nigerian ginger, Indonesian nutmeg and pure cane sugar organic and New York grain alcohol as the base spirit. The result is a balanced, spicy, berry-licious, slightly floral elixir that is a delicious stand-in for red vermouth, or anything requiring a kick of something red (yes, “red” is a flavor, you know it’s true!) It’s that item in your booze wardrobe that always fits perfectly no matter your mood - cold, hot, fizzy or dark and stirry.
Cacao Prieto “Don Esteban” Rum Liqueur: Chocolate rum liqueur. There are so many ways this could be gross - too sweet, too cloying, the cocoa flavor not authentic enough. But in this case, it all goes right. Deep, rich, true flavors of dark chocolate, which somehow don’t overpower the notes of the rum or finish too sweet. Sure, it would be perfect in dessert martinis, but would also lend a seductive splash to Manhattans, Old Fashioneds and even Negronis. Produced in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
1921 Crema de Tequila: Don’t knock it till you try it! You know you have a guilty pleasure for Irish Cream, this is way better. Cream added to high quality, 100% agave tequila with Christmas-y spices. One taste and you’ll be finding excuses to add it to drinks. Your afternoon coffee will never be the same!
Cheers from DrinkUpNY!
Amanda Schuster is a native New Yorker, but without much of the accent. The mobile landscape of the city has taken her on a whirlwind journey from Medieval historian, photo archivist, jewelry designer and invitation specialist to earning her sommelier certification in late 2005. After working as a retail wine and spirits buyer and freelance brand promoter, she turned to the one thing that has stayed a constant all these years – her love of writing. She has published dozens of articles on cocktails, spirits, wine and other culinary interests, and is currently working on her first novel. Her favorite cocktail is a Manhattan.

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