Featured writer: William Spain


“You’ve met Bill Spain before, right?” asked a friend in response to my query about finding writers in Chicago for Drink.Think. “No? Really?” And here, she lowered her voice to a dramatic whisper:  “You really should. He’s kind of like the Hunter S. Thompson of spirits writing.”

Wow. Sold.

For those of you not familiar with Thompson, he was a journalist famed for his hard-livin’, hard-drinkin’ lifestyle and colorful prose, one of the original practitioners of “Gonzo” journalism. The author of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” was no shrinking wallflower.

But enough about Thomson:  William Spain has covered the spirits industry for almost two decades, writing about it both as staff and freelance for publications and websites including the Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, Penthouse and Advertising Age and has been to almost very kind of distillery there is, from Scotland to Mexico to France to Kentucky to Sri Lanka.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from the Hunter S. Thompson of hooch. Come hear Bill read from his work at Tavernita on Tuesday, April 23.

Posted in Featured Writers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Call for Chicago area writers!

The Drink.Think literary reading series is coming to Chicago on Tuesday, April 23!

We have a great line-up of well-known writers and authors who will be reading from their work about booze and other beverages.

Now I’m looking to add some new voices to the mix. Are you a new or aspiring writer? Do you have a great piece, whether published or not, that you’d like to read for a supportive and slightly inebriated audience? Whether you’ve written a piece about your hunt for the world’s best beer or latte, or about that amazing ginger beer recipe your grandma brought over from the Old Country, Drink.Think is looking to showcase work written about all types of potables and libations.

I have a couple of spots still open for the 4/23 reading – if you’d like to participate, please email me:  kara AT karanewman DOT com.  At each reading, I deliberately reserve a couple of spots in the line-up to showcase new writers, and I love the surprises they bring. These spots don’t last long so don’t procrastinate, don’t be shy – email me right now!

Thanks – I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Featured writer: James Teitelbaum

JamesT 2This week’s featured Drink.Think writer is James Teitelbaum, author of Destination: Cocktails – The Traveler’s Guide to Superior Libations.

Now, I’ve been looking forward to reading this book ever since I spotted it on the sales table at Tales of the Cocktail last summer, so I’m especially psyched to hear James read an excerpt. And if a book about bars ’round the world isn’t enough for you, we hear rumblings that James is in negotiations to write and host a television series based on the book.

He’s also the author of two other books, Big Stone Head: Easter Island and Pop Culture (2009), and Tiki Road Trip (2003/2007) and has contributed to dozens of magazines and web sites, including American Heritage, Playboy, Alternative Press, Road Trip America, and Film Threat.

When not traveling the globe and scribbling about it, James lives in Chicago, where he works in the music business and teaches at a digital media arts college.

Come hear James read from his work at Tavernita on Tuesday, April 23.

Posted in Featured Writers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Featured writer: Lauren Viera


Mark your calendar – Tuesday, April 23 is the next Drink.Think reading event!

Once again, we’ve got a great line-up of writers slated to read from their work — and over the next few weeks, I’ll entice you with mini-biographies, starting this week with Lauren Viera.

Lauren has reported and written articles on the arts, culture, entertainment, style, dining, drinking, business, travel and leisure for publications including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Village Voice, Men’s Journal, Imbibe, Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago MagazineTime Out Chicago and many others. She’s also a Chicago correspondent for Forbes Travel Guide and the Food Network.

She landed in Chicago in 2002 after a stint in New York on the launch staff of Lucky Magazine at Condé Nast Publications, where she also contributed to the company’s Special Editorial Projects division.

But if you really need a reason to come out and hear Lauren read from her work, here it is: she hosts a monthly cocktail club from her home bar.

Isn’t that the kind of person you want to share a drink with? I know I do. So come on out and drink with us at Tavernita on Tuesday, April 23. See you there!

Posted in Featured Writers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Drink.Think is coming to Chicago on Tues, April 23!

Drink.Think is  heading to Chicago!

Mark your calendar – the next Drink.Think event will be Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at Tavernita, 151 W. Erie St., in Chicago, IL.

….If you’ve never attended this gathering of beverage writers before, here’s a look at recent Drink.Thinks in New York and San Francisco. We have a lot of fun, so come out and join us!

…If you’re a writer with something to say about wine, spirits, beer, coffee, or any other potable, email me (kara AT karanewman DOT com) and let’s talk. I’m already lining up writers, and have some open spots though they won’t last long.

Hope to see you there!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Photos & cocktail recipes from San Francisco Drink.Think

Thanks again to all those who came out Feb 5 for the national launch of Drink.Think in San Francisco. We had a great time at Cantina, including some outstanding drinks and dazzling readings from some of the Bay area’s top drink writers. Just take a look at the photos below (all taken by the talented Julia Dio).

All of the writers were amazing. Poems about botrytis? Check! Tequila-fueled travel writing? Check and check! But clearly we had two “fan favorites”:  Camper English reading a hilarious poem (written about a certain speakeasy from a Yelper’s point of view), called “Who Do I Have To F-ck To Get A Drink Around Here?” and Virginia Miller‘s personal essay, written just for the event, about growing up in a dry household – and still developing a love for alcohol. For both of these, you just had to be there.


It was great to see so many people turn out to support their favorite writers.


And the drinks!  Cantina created for us two truly fabulous cocktails (That’s the 1796 Nightcap on the left, in the coupe glass, made with Santa Teresa 1796 Rum, and the Marmalade Cooler on the right, made with Karlsson’s Gold Vodka). The recipes are published below – please do give these a try at home.



Created by Shaher Misif, Cantina, for Drink.Think

Stirred, boozy, and sophisticated.

1.5 oz. Santa Teresa 1796 Rum

.75 oz. Cocchi Americano

1 barspoon Averna Amaro

2 dashes rosewater

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir 40 times, and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with orange twist.


Created by Duggan McDonnell, Cantina, for Drink.Think

Light and refreshing, served tall with a straw.

1 small barspoon marmalade

1.5 ounce Karlsson’s Gold Vodka

1 ounce fresh lime juice

.5 ounce Pineapple Gomme syrup

1 ounce ginger beer

Angostura bitters

In a shaker, combine marmalade, vodka, lime juice and syrup. Shake with ice, and strain into a highball glass over fresh ice. Top with ginger beer and douse with bitters. Garnish with an orange slice.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

You’re invited to the SF launch of Drink.Think 2/5 at Cantina!

Drink.Think is going national! Come out to hear drink and food writers read from their work about beverages, enjoy complimentary samples of Karlsson’s Gold vodka and Santa Teresa 1796 rum, and otherwise celebrate our favorite literary muse – booze!

Date & Time:  Tuesday, February 5, 2013.  The bar will be open starting at 6pm – the reading starts at 7pm.

Location:  Cantina, 580 Sutter St at Mason St, San Francisco, CA

Admission: FREE admission and pours of Karlsson’s/Santa Teresa. Drink specials and other beverages will be available for purchase.

Featured Readers:  Curated by wine and spirits writer Kara Newman, participants include:

  • Camper English, cocktail/spirits writer for San Francisco Chronicle, Details.com andFine Cooking
  • Courtney Humiston, columnist, 7×7 Magazine and founding editor, TableToGrave.com
  • Duggan McDonnell, writer, bartender and boozy entrepreneur
  • Gayle Keck, food and travel writer
  • Virginia Miller, food and drink correspondent, San Francisco Bay Guardian and blogger, ThePerfectSpotSF.com
  • Jill Robinson, travel writer, San Francisco ChronicleAmerican Way and more
  • Michael Shapiro, freelance travel writer, National Geographic Traveler and Islands magazine
  • Stevie Stacionis, wine writer and Director of Communication at Corkbuzz Wine Studio
  • Liza B. Zimmerman, editor-at-large Cheers and contributing editor to Wine Business Monthly
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Meet the sponsor: Karlsson’s Gold vodka

karlssons-gold-bottle3As you may already know, Drink.Think is a FREE event. That’s right, no cover charge, no 2-drink minimum (though we’d love it if you’d order drinks from the bar at Cantina!) But to help defray some of the expenses associated with the event, I usually take on a carefully-selected sponsor or two for the event.

And I’d like to introduce you to one of those kind sponsors today:  Karlsson’s Gold vodka.

The “farm to bar” story behind Karlsson’s begins in a small part of Sweden known as Cape Bjäre. Here, in 2001 local potato farmers were in jeopardy of losing their family farms to the golf clubs and resorts that were taking over the picturesque region.  Peter Ekelund, a Swedish entrepreneur who owns a farm in the area, suggested they create a co-operative to help clean, sort and process their unique Virgin New Potato crop, also known as “Farmer’s Gold.”  Later, Ekelund took this initiative a step further when he enlisted a Master Blender to turn those potatoes into vodka, using a traditional approach designed to maximize the spirit’s character and natural flavor.

Come out to Drink.Think on Tuesday, February 5. We’ll be pouring samples courtesy of Karlsson’s Gold Vodka!

Posted in Meet the Sponsor | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Featured writer: Stevie Stacionis

StevieStevie Stacionis is a wine writer with a passion for fresh ingredients and inspiring stories.

Stevie spent seven years learning the joy of food and wine service in the front of the house at various restaurants in Minneapolis and Los Angeles before moving to New York City to work in print and online publishing and wine retail. Today, she’s at home in San Francisco, where plenty of fresh citrus, avocados and hoodies rule.

In addition to wine copywriting and recipe editing, Stevie has contributed to various Modern Luxury publications including Angeleno and Manhattan magazines as well as the San Francisco Chronicle, FoodNetwork.com and Wine Enthusiast. She regularly blogs about Weird Wine Grapes over on Serious Drinks.

Stevie is studying for her Advanced diploma through the Court of Master Sommeliers, and she’s one proud parent of a little show called A Drink with Friends.

Come hear to Cantina on Tuesday, Feb 5, to hear Stevie read from her work.

Posted in Featured Writers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Meet the sponsor: Santa Teresa rum

Santa Teresa Rum 1796As you may already know, Drink.Think is a FREE event. That’s right, no cover charge, no 2-drink minimum (though we’d love it if you’d order drinks from the bar at Cantina!) But to help defray some of the expenses associated with the event, I usually take on a carefully-selected sponsor or two for the event.

And I’d like to introduce you to one of those kind sponsors today:  Santa Teresa rum.

Santa Teresa is Venezuela’s oldest producer of award-winning blended and aged rums and its rum-making heritage extends for more than 200 years.  Independently owned and operated by the fifth generation of the Vollmer family, the company is committed to producing best-of-class rums in a way that sustains the social fabric of its local communities.  Hacienda Santa Teresa, the estate where the company’s rums are produced, is located in the Aragua Valley, Venezuela’s most revered area for cultivating sugarcane.  Master Distiller Néstor Ortega takes a very traditional approach to his craft and believes there are no shortcuts to creating quality rums.

Come out to Drink.Think on Tuesday, February 5. We’ll be pouring samples courtesy of Santa Teresa rum!

Posted in Meet the Sponsor | Tagged , | Leave a comment