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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Back to the BASIC

With the Mad Men finale still fresh in our minds, and legions of its disciples now adrift in search of new vintage inspiration, the strategy behind the timely launch of AMC’s microcomputer retrospective Halt and Catch Fire second season could not be more clear. And while season one may not have been the breakout hit that AMC and Halt’s producers were hoping for, we’re gonna be the first to tell you that, just like the program’s protagonist, this digital drama may take a little while to catch on, but it’s gonna be a big deal.

One of the reasons for this is its absolute relevance. Early 80s style may not exude the sheer visual appeal of mid-century design, but the show’s subject matter is infinitely more apropos. Even if you didn’t own a Commodore 64 or wear a brown polyester suit from Sears or JC Penney, Halt and Catch Fire is a look into the prehistory of personal computing that anyone alive can surely relate to.

What’s makes the show exciting in a way that Mad Men could never be, even beyond the considerably more complex characters and nostalgia inducing retro setting, is Halt and Catch Fire’s portrayal of creation for its own merit. Unlike their modern counterparts on the comedic corollary Silicon Valley, the pioneering entrepreneurs of HCF are much more focused on actually creating something than they are about term sheets and cap tables. Even conflicted shark in a suit Joe MacMillan, the near epitome of 80s self-indulgence, is consumed by the need to manifest the imaginary. Its a refreshing departure from the now ubiquitous startup story concerned only with some abstract valuation rather than any legitimate corporeal value.

So while Halt and Catch Fire certainly doesn’t compare in terms of its potential impact on men’s fashion and day drinking, it is quite clear that AMC intends this series to be Mad Men’s replacement and that it is an equally worthy, and perhaps superior, surrogate. And if you doubt the 80s ability to inspire some phenomenal style cues, we recommend you dig some of your dad’s (or grandfather’s) vintage Playboys out of the closet, pour yourself a Singapore Sling, and watch a little Cocktail before the Season 2 premiere tonight on AMC.

miles-donovan channels his inner computer punk in this exclusive piece of art

1 oz Aviation Gin
1 oz Banks 5 Island Rum
0.5 oz Amontillado Sherry
0.5 oz Kirshwasser Cherry Eau De Vie
cold pressed pineapple juice
fresh lime juice
cherry-lemongrass shrub

Friday, May 22, 2015

#DrinkBetter: Summer Sunday from Crescendo

It might not be summer yet, but man it feels like it. So cue up Track 3 on the Dazed & Confused soundtrack and pour yourself some liquid sunshine this Memorial Day weekend.

This refreshing cocktail recipe features organic Lemoncello liqueur from our friends at Crescendo Organic Spirits.


1 oz local craft gin
1 oz Limoncello
0.5 oz Fresh lemon juice
Raspberries & blueberries, muddled
Splash of simple syrup

Shake & Dump
Add ice
Fill with club soda

Garnish with a thin lime peel

Friday, May 15, 2015

#DrinkBetter: Valencia Rum Daiquiri from Crescendo

There are few drinks that conjure up thoughts of the beach more readily than the daiquiri. And while for many the name calls to mind the syrupy blends splashed across the pages of chain restaurant menus, the authentic daiquiri recipe is a mixology staple and one of six basic drinks listed in David A. Embury's classic The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.

Here is a slight twist on that classic recipe featuring organic liqueur from our friends at Crescendo Organic Spirits.


1 oz local craft white Rum
0.5 oz Arancello
0.5 oz Fresh orange juice
0.5 oz Fresh lime juice
0.5 oz Simple syrup

Shake & Dump
Add ice
Garnish with a thin lime peel

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Spirited Women of Craft

Spring is always a time for fresh starts and contemplating new horizons, a time when we shake free from the cold hand of winter and revel in a world of growing possibility. It is a season characterized by potential, that glimmer of what well might be that isn’t always grasped or seen by everybody. And the perfect time, we felt, to celebrate the spirited women of craft.
Not that women producing spirits is anything new; in many cultures it was women who traditionally fulfilled this important communal need. Neither is it remarkable today to find women driving trends in spirits preparation, consumption, or just about anything in the world, for that matter. The only thing that is remarkable, really, is that no one finds it remarkable.
The world is changing. We are entering a time unencumbered by preconceived notions. And what is exciting is that it is not only external prejudices, those that give rise to such things as discrimination and gender roles, that are being abolished, but the internal, self-imposed constraints as well. A girl today doesn’t necessarily see herself as a future housewife, secretary, or supermodel. She’s just a girl, and anything is possible.
The same goes for craft spirits. Molds are being broken right and left. Decades of stagnation are being negated in a flurry of new tastes and flavors. There are people making whiskey that doesn’t go down smooth, on purpose. And they are able to do that because their product has personal significance for someone, and because a free and willing market exists with which to share it.
We should never fear change. We should always embrace it; because, in all probability, the inevitability of its course is set already. To resist is to only penalize one’s self, and to miss, not only the potential opportunity, but the catharsis of the moment.
So with this issue of MicroShiner, we raise our glasses and toast the women of craft. Not for being remarkable, but for being fearless.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Spanish Spirit of Wonder

If you're going to be a MicroShiner, its important to be worldly, and to always maintain the questioning wonder of youth. Which is why we we're so stoked to share this new collaboration from Cervezas La Virgen and SANTAMANIA Urban Distillery in Madrid, España.

While not the first beer spirit we have encountered (check out the Summer 14 issue for our Whistling Andy Hopschnop pairing), we can't help but be enamored with the origin story of CERVODKA, a project born from the entrepreneurial spirit of Cesar, Ana and Jaime (partners at La Virgen) and Javier, Ramon and Victor (their distilling neighbors from SANTAMANIA) and their mantra of wonder -"What would happen if we distilled beer; could we get beer’s vodka?"

The result: an innovative vodka made from beer launched in a limited edition of 740 bottles.

Billed as "a distillate with its own personality, with a graduation of 40º and creamy sense in the mouth, a very subtle touch of cereal and white chocolate which highlights the notes of hop and the citrus hints", this unique spirit is a testament to the questing and inspired nature found in today's craft producer.

Both companies are committed to minimizing their environmental impact and have reflected this value in the process of creating CERVODKA, (as they like to call it). And like their peers on this side of the Pond, they maintain a passion for the craft of production, paying attention to every detail, including an exclusive bottle that illustrates the history of this fruitful encounter between the companies, using recognizable icons of both brands: Vera – the copper still, soul of the SANTAMANIA urban distillery – and the Tap Room, true heart of the La Virgen brewery.

To learn more about this exciting collaboration from two groundbreaking members of Spain's craft movement, visit them at and

Friday, May 8, 2015

#DrinkingMusic: Laurel Canyon Daze on The Selvedge Yard

If you're not following The Selvedge Yard, you are really missing out.
Excerpted from Laurel Canyon Daze
jackson browne guitar laurel canyon
“That was the first moment (1969) I’d ever seen James Taylor. The phone rang one day and it was [British record producer/manager] Peter Asher. And he said ‘Henry, I have this musician here, James Taylor, and we need a publicity picture’. So I went to the Peter’s house, and he opened the door and there was James, sitting just like that. He was playing a song called Oh Suzanah, fingerpicking. It sounded like a music box – as a musician, it blew my mind. I went over and just fell to my knees a little in front of him. And as I listened I started taking pictures. Later that day we went out to my friend Cyrus Faryar’s, who had this place called The Farm, a little commune with little sheds and barns there. And so we went out there to finish the day, taking photos, and one of those became the album cover for Sweet Baby James.” Photo by ©Henry Diltz

#DrinkBetter: Cubra Libra from Crescendo

Of all the dream vacations out there, a trip to Cuba has to be at the top of the list. With its gates only recently opened to American travelers and plans for direct ferry service already in the works, the chance to catch a glimpse of Castro-era austerity behind the wheel of some well-preserved Detroit steel will be fleeting.

With that in mind, this week we aim to #drinkbetter with this recipe for the classic Cubra Libra featuring organic liqueur from our friends at Crescendo Organic Spirits


1 oz Spiced Rum (we recommend Kōloa Rum Company for this one)
1 oz Crescendo Organic Limoncello

Shake & Dump
Add Ice
Fill with Coca-Cola

Garnish with a half of a lemon moon

Crescendo Organic Spirits is a veteran owned company based in Eugene whose spirits are distributed throughout Oregon. Their products are free from GMO's and artificial ingredients and are priced below that of many non-organic options.