Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Magazine Review: Imbibe

From the website:

Imbibe is the magazine of liquid culture. It is a completely new way of looking at drinks—as a distinct culinary category, deserving in-depth exploration of history, ingredients, preparation, artistry and consumption. From wine, spirits and beer to coffee, tea and everything in between, Imbibe celebrates the world in a glass. In each issue, you’ll find compelling travelogues, engaging profiles, signature recipes and useful reviews—everything you need to know about the fascinating people, places, flavors and cultures of all things potable. Imbibe is your indispensable guide to all that’s fit to drink.
I picked up the inaugural issue of Imbibe on a whim one day, and liked it enough that I've continued to buy each new issue. I'm even considering a subscription. It's a magazine that my husband and I can both appreciate. I take the wine and non-alcoholic drink articles, he takes the coffee geek and beer articles, and we split the cocktails down the middle. Imbibe offers a lot for us both to enjoy.

The design is clean and modern and easy to read. There are ads, but not pages and pages of them, and they're focused to the subject matter. Each issue features lots of different cocktail recipes, and every time I pick one up to read I find myself contemplating a cocktail party. maybe featuring some home-infused spirits (but not weenie-cello, thanks). While the focus is definitely on the alcoholic side of things, recent issues have included reviews of sparkling ciders, ginger ale, and a recipe for Thai Iced Tea.

Some of my favorite articles are about the people behind the drinks. Even though I'm not a coffee drinker myself, I loved the great profile of Tom Owen, home-coffee-roasting guru and founder of Sweet Maria's, which is the web's premiere source for green beans and coffee roasting supplies. I also enjoyed learning about the world of "Auction Coffees" and the difference this is making in the lives of coffee growers in some of the poorest areas of the world.

And I always enjoy reading people's travel adventures, and each issue so far has included a drinks-oriented travelogue from an exotic locale - Thailand in the July/Aug issue, and Jamaica in Sept/Oct. Closer to home was an article identifying the go-to bars for cocktail fans in several big cities throughout the US.

It's not perfect, of course. I haven't been very impressed with any of the wine articles I've read, finding them to be kind of shallow. While I'm no expert, wine is the area of drink culture that I know the most about, so it's possible that people with deeper knowledge than I have in coffee or cocktails or whatever might be similarly disappointed.

But with a cover price of just $4.95, there's not a lot to lose by checking it out.


Eric said...

Their coffee coverage is the same way, not deep (other than the interviews), but very broad.

TasteTV, the Indie Food Channel said...

You can see a TasteTV ( interview with the Editor in Chief of Imbibe magazine here: