How We’re Going to Save America, One Small Batch At A Time

We’ll be the first to admit that we were WAY behind the artisinal movement. Less than 12 months ago we were still using Tide detergent, Heinz Ketchup and Kleenex Kleenex. But then we moved to Williamsburg and all of that changed. Now I’m writing this on a hand crafted Apple laptop produced in small batches in a warehouse in East Williamsburg which might be Bushwick but like whatever because Bushwick is the new Williamsburg.

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This illustration from NY Mag shows a lot of Artisinal small batch stuff you didn’t know you needed. But now you absolutely need it. 

  For those of you reading that are unfamiliar with Williamsburg, its the epicenter of America’s revitalization and therefore the most important place on earth. It also has sick sick dive and cocktail bars that all seem to be serving $1 oysters. (Williamsburgians care a great deal about small batch ice cream but care very little about decimating the eastern seaboard’s oyster population). As the NYtimes has so many times and so eloquently pointed out, everything that’s happening in Williamsburg should be duplicated all around America to revitalize the economy. If there isn’t a coffee shop/cupcake shop/vintage boutique/craft beer hall in your city, you need to open this. The barrier to entry is so low dude, all you need is like 2 friends and a warehouse.

Say what you will future President Romney and future past President Obama, but manufacturing on a large scale is not the answer to cure America’s ills. (Manufacturing is this thing that usually takes place in “Factories” which is an out dated American term similar to “sock hop” and “hand written notes”. Ask your parents if you are confused).

The way America is going to retain its position as the #1 global superpower is with baby batches. Not baby steps. Small baby sized batches of stuff. Everyone in American needs to start battening down the hatches and get their artisinal production on. Reclaim some wood, sew some duvet covers, reduce some liquid into sauce and for the love of Christ, open an etsy account.

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Since we like to lead by example, we are starting a brand new Sussman Brothers branded venture with the Clinton County Correctional Facility, one of NY state’s finest and its largest Maximum Security prison. Located in upstate New York nestled amongst the beauty that is the American countryside, the inmates of Clinton County are turning out the best small batches of Pruno we’ve ever drank. For those of you out there who don’t read Lucky Peach, Pruno is toilet wine and it’s about to go underground mainstream which is the best type of way to go mainstream. It’ll be the LCD Soundsystem of adult beverages. So after much back and forth with the warden, we are happy to announce our new company which is going to revitalize America one small batch at a time. It is called…drum roll please:

Clinton County Correctional Distillery 

Our first batch is a 2012 vintage with hints of bruised apples, bulk in bulk oranges, Sprite, wonderbread, Splenda and ketchup. At 14% it’s similar in alcohol content to a great summer rose. Perfect for sipping on your patio or fire escape it also pairs brilliantly with fish or poultry. They are retailing for $60 each and come in really cool reclaimed Gatorade bottles that are perfect for decorating your apartment after you drink the pruno. Each label is hand drawn and numbered by the inmates.

Our Facility: 

ImageWe are certified by the state of New York and our production facility is tossed every day for anything that could dilute the purity of our product. You could probably drink the product directly out of the distilling bowl it’s so clean in there!

We have to admit our production schedule is a bit shaky since our master craftsman has a bad temper and is currently in solitary confinement, but we expect to have another batch delivered by August 2nd. We are accepting online orders and inquiries now!

For more information and ordering please visit: www.ClintonCorrectionalDistillery.com 

They Draw and Cook. We chose and listed.


We were asked by the super cool creators of They Draw and Cook to curate a selection of recipes from the site’s vast database. We chose 5 meaty dishes that all sound incredible. Check out our curated list and hundreds more recipes beautifully illustrated by artists from around the world at www.theydrawandcook.com and buy the cookbook. The holidays are ah comin’ so pick up a copy and support these wonderful artists!

“Cranberry Souced Mix” DJ Max Blixx and DJ Sloppy Suss

In our family, Thanksgiving is about hanging out in the kitchen getting your cook/snack on while family slowly filters into the house. Considering we have in years past had a pre meal and post meal weigh-off, we are 1/24th Native American and it’s a kosher thanksgiving, we are far from conventional when it comes to the day of the giving of the thanks.

If you’re reading this blog, you are probs going out the night before Thanksgiving or as I like to call it “El Shitshow Grandio De La Meircoles.” {I am terrible at Spanish for purely xenophobic reasons not because I didn’t pay attention in HS}.  I cranberry relish those 5 min “what are you up to these days?” conversations with friends you haven’t seen in ages. I love $3 mixed drinks. I love getting dropped off at the bar by my dad in my 20s.

This is how the night is gonna play out for you: you are gonna take too many shots, have a lot of awkward conversations and probably get thrown out for trying to smoke weed in the bathroom of the bar. Which is why when you stroll in to your parents house at 1pm on Thursday and your mom is all like “Where have you been I called you 14 times” and you’re all like “Momz I feel like Martha Francois Garbage…please lower the volume of your voice bring me some sunglasses and a MeMoSa” you’re gonna need a super sick music playlist to guide you to the promised land while that booze kicks in. Which is why DJ Max Blixx and DJ Sloppy Suss are here to save the goddamn day per the yush.

Below we’ve crafted a dirty nasty play list with sing along classics. It will help you traverse the rocky terrain of being superbly hungover while still helping out in the kitchen. Blast it at volume 11 to drown out the pestering barrage of questions concerning the previous evening’s shenanigans.

1) Leo Sayer: You Make Me Feel Like Dancing

Yeah, that’s a white male.

2) Robin S : Show Me Love

You’re warmed up. Let’s sweat out some of last night’s booze.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lwaxy3KCfgQ

3) Talking Heads : Cities

Slow it down some. Class up the playlist. You’re cool uncle peeks his head into the kitchen and nods with approval, continues to read The New Yorker and drink whiskey until dinner.

4) Queen: Pressure

The first “sing along” track of the CranBerry Souce mix. If everyone isn’t belting out “why can’t we give ourselves one more chance” they should be banished from the kitchen. It’s only gonna get weirder from here.

5) Yaz : Situation

You got all karaoke on that last track. There was some eye closing. It was dramatic. Now it’s time to get those feet moving. This song was invented for white people dance moves.

6) Midnight Star: No Parking on The Dance Floor

You can stop dancing to watch this music video because it’s amazing but this would be the perfect time to whip those mashed potatoes. Don’t even think of NOT dancing though. There’s no parking on the kitchen dance floor.

7) Sheila E : Glamarous Life

Let’s pause for some liquid refreshments before starting this track. We don’t want you to get dehydrated.

8 ) Annie Lennox : Walking on Broken Glass

Someone is going to sing the chorus of this into a wooden spoon. In their head they sound like Annie Lennox even though that’s impossible. But hey, it’s thanksgiving. Let’s get fuckin loose in this bitch.

9) Toto: Africa

This is probably the riskiest song we have on our playlist. We know some people will hate it and skip it, but based on the title, that would make you a racist. Ball’s in your court. You better start getting ready to harmonize “I blessed the rains down in Africa” for the next 4:33

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiARoBPnJpQ

10) Matthew Wilder : Break My Stride

Originally we weren’t going to include this, but just look at this amazing video. Would a guy who looks like THAT with THAT voice ever be famous these days? It’s like Mork got a record deal and then wore some leather pants. And the green leotard backup dancers? Amazing. And the band has 3 guys on keyboard. Excessive? No. It’s called the 80s.

11) The Outfield: Your Love

This is the closest we’ll ever get to putting a Journey, Boston or Aha song on a playlist. It’s an obvious sing a long song but thats the point. You and your friends and family in your kitchen getting drunk singing like idiots at the top of your lungs. You realize how lucky you are? In any Asian Latin or Arab country they ban ALL American music. Music is 100% forbidden outside of the US, Sweden, Australia and Ibiza. The rest of the world is like that town in Footloose.

12) Naked Eyes: Always Something to Remind Me

British people make the best music exhibit A.

13) David Bowie: Let’s Dance

Exhibit B. If God met David Bowie he’d be like “Hey, Bowie, remember that one time when you were Ziggy Stardust.” And Bowie would be like “yea” and god would be like “that was awesome.”

14) The Clash: Train in Vain

Exhibit C. If you asked a panel of judges which was more incredible: 1) a person fighting a 1/2 tiger 1/2 shark to the death in order to save a drowning cancer patient  OR  2) A photograph of Mick Jones under the covers, alone in a bed sleeping

The photo would unanimously win.

15) We’ll close this saucy soucy mix with Anything by Prince ever recorded but for lack of space we’ll go with: Let’s Go Crazy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdEE5Ph4p3A

 

We get drunk at 3pm all in the name of gift giving research

Even if you are looking for The Whiskey Shop, you may still walk past it. Tucked right next to the Whiskey Brooklyn Bar the place is basically a closet. There is enough counter space to accommodate 2-3 people and behind the counter on floor to ceiling shelving is booze. No cheese, no fancy chocolates. Only booze. The usual suspects are present (it is of course a store not a museum) but there was a ton of stuff we’d never heard of. We were at the store on an actual mission – Max was looking for a gift for the chef of Fatty Cue since we were heading in for dinner that evening. (Max is a classy dude so he’s never empty handed when rolling into a place for dinner where he knows the kitchen.)

What is exceptionally enjoyable about working in a kitchen is that sometimes, when everyone else is sitting behind a desk running sales figures dreading that next meeting, zoning out on Facebook dreading that next meeting or in a food coma from lunch dreading that next meeting, Max and I have the day off and we are heading into a store that sells whiskey to sit around and drink for a while.

 We saddled up to the bar and just started talking about Whiskey. It was a historical, scientific and economics rich discussion that covered proofing, distribution channels, southern vs. northern operations, why Oregon makes crap whiskey and a myriad of other whiskey based info. We learned more in the first 5 minutes than we’d known about whiskey in our entire life prior to entering the shop.

With the extremely knowledgable shopkeep Jonathan Wingo on the ready and Bon Iver on vinyl serenading us, things were sufficiently classy enough to begin some daytime whiskey consumption.

 First off was the Willett. I’m a sucker for a bottle that hand writes the Barrel number. I don’t care if its a new trend or perhaps every small distillery does this, but the personalization it lends each bottle is enough to make me shy away from the mass producers (ed. Note – we will never in our life turn down any kind of whiskey – let’s just make that perfectly clear).  The Willet had no end finish and was spicy up front. While we enjoyed the small taste we had, we agreed that the spice up front was a bit much. We ust didn’t see it as our gift choice or breaking into our own regular sipping rotation.

Next up we tried a new make. This was shipped to the shop keep from a distillery that makes product  Whiskey Shop already carries. This bottle, filled with clear liquid had yet to touch a barrel. Closer to White Lightning than to the final amber colored product, we sipped it and really enjoyed the shit out of it. Our man behind the counter placed a small cup in middle of us so we could dump any remainders from our taste glasses. This seemed responsible considering it was 3:30pm on a Wednesday and we were essentially drinking moonshine.

Next up we tried a single malt Balcones labeled at 53.5%. We learned that distilleries batches are tested and they can face heavy fines for mislabeling (and misleading) about the alcohol content. The proofing of the booze is a process that is mastered over time by distillers. It takes patience, skill and a lot of trial and error to get your product the way you want it time and time again.

Our fourth (fifth? We were getting a bit drunk) taste was Corner Creek Bourbon that had no age statement (so 2-6 years the shop keep told us) that was smooth with no end spice. It was a relaxed drink that worked excellent straight up. It would mix well if desired. We both enjoyed it and it instantly became our potential purchase.

But before any decision would be made, more drinking had to occur.

We circled back to Balcones and tried the Baby Blue, which is a young roasted blue corn whiskey. Balcones uses old wood for its barrel – its toasted with little char over a long period of time. This process of toasting the barrel wood, imparts flavor to the liquid and greatly affects the outcome of the product.  The taste was crisp and the blue corn flavor actually came through which removed any gimmicky stigma one might think upon first picking up the bottle. If we were stocking our apartment with an epic bar outside of the realm of essentials for cocktails, Baby Blue would be tops on our list.  This is a whiskey for someone who keeps a 7-10 bottle rotation at his or her place.

 For our final pour, our fine whiskey tour guide unveiled the Balcone Brimstone. It was everything he said it would be. Max said it best, “this is like drinking a campfire.” This corn whiskey  (53%) was a bottle of smoky smoky goodness. Also made with blue corn, its not for an everyday drink. But if you were on the trail of an outlaw across the plains and needed some warming through a rainstorm (or if you were just reading Dwell on your couch in Park Slope in winter) a finger of this would warm up your insides faster than a Filson blanket every could.

Stop by The Whiskey Shop and let Jonathan Wingo impart some of his Whiskey wisdom. You’ll leave with the right bottle whether it’s for a gift or for yourself. (We left happy and boozed up with a bottle of Corner Creek Bourbon). Let us know in the comments anything you’ve been drinking these days you think we should try. We’re always on the lookout for new bottles.