Car Talk

February 17, 2015

Over at the Weekly Standard, I’ve got a column concerning auto illiteracy. How many of us have studied arcane subjects that, while admirable in a life-of-the-mind sort of way, have little use when you’re, say, stuck on the side of the road with smoke billowing from beneath your car hood? Along with those AP courses, we should have been required to take shop class—carpentry and the basics of electrical work, plumbing, and auto repair. And who knows, you may even find it enriching.


Meanwhile, at WFB…

January 29, 2015

Aside from promoting Vodka, I’ve started writing occasional columns at the Washington Free Beacon. These include reviews of John Jobling’s U2: The Definitive Biography, Frances Larson’s Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found, Russell James’s “gripping” Angels, and essays celebrating the return of foie gras to California and National Meat Month. Do check them out as well as the rest of the Beacon—frequently provocative, never boring.


Over at, Alex Beggs reports on the latest commercial tie-in to the James Bond series: In the upcoming Spectre, Bond will be drinking specifically Belvedere vodka in his shaken—not stirred—martinis. I spoke with Ms. Beggs last week and was thrilled to see my quotations throughout her column as well as a generous hyperlink to my book, Vodka: How a Colorless, Odorless, Flavorless Spirit Conquered America.


You would think it an unlikely pairing, but on December 4 at 7 p.m., I will be discussing Vodka: How a Colorless, Odorless, Flavorless Spirit Conquered America (Lyons Press) at the Phillips Collection. Thanks to the kindness of Phillips director Dorothy Kosinski, I will be discussing “Vodka and the Dreams of Reality” as part of the museum’s Phillips After 5 program. Yes, that is how versatile vodka can be! If you’re in the area, please come on by, but be sure to register.


In the op-ed section of the October 20 Wall Street Journal, I’ve provided my brief take on the class action lawsuits alleging Tito’s Handmade Vodka is not handmade. On the one hand, during my reporting for the book, I ran across more than a few distillers who rolled their eyes at Tito’s use of the term “handmade” on the more than 1.2 million cases of vodka Tito’s sells each year. On the other hand, how would the plaintiffs define a handmade vodka? What aspects do they imagine involve hands—distillation takes place inside a still. In the current litigious environment, Tito’s may be better off reaching a settlement—two class action suits are the last thing Tito Beveridge needs. (Then again, Tito is a fighter. He’s gone round for round against the government—and survived.)


‘Vodka’ in the Windy City!

September 19, 2014

The next stop for Vodka: How a Colorless, Odorless, Flavorless Spirit Conquered America is Chicago on September 30 for the Independent Spirits Expo. Tickets are on sale, and the event will be held at the Hilton Chicago on Michigan Avenue. Thanks to a local bookseller fittingly known as the Book Cellar (a bar and a […]

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‘Vodka’ in the Garden State

September 9, 2014

Thanks again to everyone who came to the Barnes & Noble book-signing event last Saturday in Brick, New Jersey (including Mayor John Ducey). The turnout was great—special props to friends and family who came from as far as Boston and Staten Island! On December 4 I will be speaking about Vodka: How a Colorless, Odorless, […]

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The ‘Vodka’ Circuit

September 5, 2014

Last month I was honored to be hosted by Americans for Tax Reform, where vodka was served generously in the form of cocktails like the Phil Mickelson (really the John Daly—vodka plus iced tea and lemonade—but since Daly has struggled with alcohol, no laughing matter, ATR went with Phil, who appropriately enough has complained about […]

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‘Vodka’ on the Air (continued)

August 25, 2014

Last week I had the pleasure of going on The Derek Hunter Show on WBAL and Washington’s Drive at Five with Larry O’Connor on WMAL. Both hosts were gracious in promoting the book and on WMAL (beginning at the 30-minute mark) we took questions: One man said a shot of vodka is perfect before he […]

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Russian Vodka? What’s That?

August 18, 2014

If you’ve read my book, Vodka: How a Colorless, Odorless, Flavorless Spirit Conquered America (Lyons Press), you’ll know this country has Americanized the Russian spirit much as we Americanized certain Mexican and Italian foods. Smirnoff, after all, is manufactured in the United States. American Harvest comes from Idaho. The ever-popular Tito’s is from Texas. So […]

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