4 Days of Gifts: Stocking Stuffers

by Rebecca Rhoades
( December 18th, 2014 )

There are only a few days left until Christmas, but if you haven’t yet gotten gifts for everyone on your list, there’s no need to panic. For the next four days, Wanderlush Diary will be offering a selection of gift ideas that are ideal for the home bartender, the professional mixologist, and the perfect party hostess. There will even be some great gifts for the non-drinker. So grab that credit card and get ready to make someone you love very happy.

First up: stocking stuffers that will add fun and flavor to any holiday gathering.


Caviarcube and Caviar Powder

Petrossian Caviarby Petrossian
Olives and rim salt are so last year. Spice up your cocktails with two new products from Petrossian, the world’s largest supplier of Caviar. First up, the Carviarcube. These delicate cubes of fresh caviar come in glass jars containing about 16-18 pieces, packed in oil for freshness. Use them on a cocktail pick to decorate your favorite martini or add them to your favorite hors d’oeuvre. The one-of-a-kind caviar powder is a dried caviar that comes in a special mill. Sprinkle full beads on top of your favorite drink, grind the pearls and use them to rim a glass, or use to season eggs, potatoes, seafood, and more.
$45/Caviarcube, $88/Caviar powder

GlassDharma Glass Straws

GlassDharma glass strawsSay “no thanks” to plastic straws with GlassDharma glass straws, the more sustainable choice for stylish sipping. Produced in Fort Bragg, California, GlassDharma straws are made of borosilicate glass, the safest and strongest commercially available glass, so they’re dishwasher- and microwave-safe. Sold individually or in sets, GlassDharma straws are available in three styles—Simple Elegance, Beautiful Bend, and Decorative Dots—and in various lengths and widths.

Incognito Flexible Flask

Flexible Flaskby Vapur
Plastic bottles can be wasteful, while metal flasks are bulky. Vapor’s “anti-bottle” Incognito Flexible Flask transports your adult beverages in an environmentally friendly, space-saving manner. With a capacity of 10 ounces, you can now make your own cocktails wherever you go. Proudly manufactured in the U.S., the Incognito flask is freezable, dishwasher-safe, and reusable. A 25-ounce flexible wine carrier is also available.

Personalized Bottle Koozies

Bottle insulatorsby Riverstone Gallery
Surprise your friends and loved ones with personalized bottle insulators featuring your own photos, business logos, children’s portraits, drawings, or just about any design you can imagine. Perfect for wedding receptions, corporate events, or promo products, these non-slip covers fit 12-ounce bottles. Custom wine-bottle sleeves, water-bottle koozies, and can koozies are also available.
$6/each, $33/6, or $125/25

Conversation Starting Napkins

Conversation napkinsby The Hostess
These ice-breaking napkins are the perfect gift for the home-entertainer in your crowd. Packaged in sets of 25, each napkin is individually stamped with a conversation-starting question, such as “Who is the most interesting person you’ve ever met?” and “When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?” Your guests will never be at a loss for words when serve drinks with these napkins. And for each set sold, The Hostess will donate 10 percent of the proceeds to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.

Party Cup Koolers

Party Cup KoolersNothing’s worse than drinking warm beer or other beverages from plastic cups. Now you can keep those drinks insulated with the first beverage holders designed to fit tapered cups, including SOLO cups, stadium cups, and even pint glasses. Made from neoprene, Party Cup Koolers ensure that drinks stay at an optimum temperature for as long as possible. And just in time for the holidays and championship sport season, Wanderlush readers will receive 20 percent off their order using the promo code “wander.”


Wine Condoms

Wine CondomsPrevent “unplanned wine spillage” with these black rubber stoppers. Unlike traditional stoppers, the wine condom slips snuggly over any bottle, creating a seal so water-tight that open bottles can be stored on their sides. And because they’re packaged like traditional condoms, they fit easily into a pocket or wallet for “emergency” leftovers.
$10/box of 10


Maraschino Cherries

Luxardo Maraschino Cherriesby Luxardo
The same cherries used to produce Luxardo’s renowned Maraschino Liqueur are available on their own. They’re the perfect garnish in cocktails, or dip them in chocolate for an intense sweet treat. This bar cart must-have, available in liquor and gourmet stores nationwide, comes in both tins and glass jars in a variety of sizes, making them the ideal stocking stuffer for the home mixologist or chef.
Less than $20


Chocolate Chip Whiskey Bombs

Whiskey Bomb Cookiesby Yellow Rose Distilling
Don’t leave Santa just any old cookie this year. Leave him a Bomb. A Chocolate Chip Whiskey Bomb, that is. A joint creation by Yellow Rose, the first legal whiskey distillery in Houston, Texas, and Kingwood, Texas, cookie shop, Stacey’s Sweets, the taste-tempting treats take the signature goodness of Stacey’s homemade, melt-in-your-mouth cookies and add a little naughtiness with Yellow Rose’s award-winning Blended Whiskey.
$6.50/6; $13/dozen
yellowrosedistilling.com; staceyssweets.net

Veni, Vidi, Bibi!


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Mummers: A Philadelphia New Year’s Tradition

by Rebecca Rhoades
( December 17th, 2014 )

Philadelphia Mummer's Parade

For many Americans, New Year’s morning means one thing: the Tournament of Roses parade. Hundreds of thousands of people flock to Pasadena, California, to line the parade route, while millions more tune in to watch the spectacle on their TVs. But in Philadelphia, another New Year’s Day parade holds sway, one filled with sequins and plumes instead of petals: the MUMMERS PARADE. This annual celebration, one of the longest-running traditions in the country, is a true Philadelphia institution, one full of costumes, ragtime music, and flamboyant pageantry as only the City of Brotherly Love can provide.

Mummers parade costumes

So what is a Mummer? Mummers are men and women of all ages who belong to one of the more than 40 social clubs that function mainly to stage colorful performances on New Year’s Day. While Mummery dates back to ancient Rome, locally, Swedish settlers to Philadelphia dressed up to honor Christmas and entertained their neighbors in exchange for ale and cake. The tradition eventually moved to New Year’s Day and evolved into a series of neighborhood parades. Over the years, immigrants from Ireland and Italy moved into the area, bringing with them their own form of Mummery. In 1901, the first recognized and judged Mummers Parade was organized by the City of Philadelphia. The term “Mummer” is German and means “to costume or masquerade.”

Born to be Wild

There are five divisions of Mummers.

Comics: These are the clowns who like to parody current events through political satire. They typically wear colorful costumes with multilevel umbrellas and strut up the street to “Oh, Dem Golden Slippers,” which has become the theme for the parade.

Red Umbrellas

Wench Brigades: No, this division isn’t just women—it’s men in dresses. An offshoot of the Comic Division, the Wench Brigades combine live bands with traditional Mummery and can be as large as 100 members. Each Wench Brigade portrays a centralized theme.


Fancies: The Fancy divisions are often considered the beauty highlight of the parade. They’re known for their elaborate capes and framed suits that have to be pushed or pulled by another person.

Alice in Wonderland

String Bands: The musical highlight of the parade. Bands usually perform period-style music, reminiscent of ragtime, and no brass is allowed. The combination of reed, string, and percussion instruments has defined the Mummers’ sound for more than 100 years.

String Band

Fancy Brigades: The Fancy Brigades emerged in 1978. They’re known for their elaborate props, precision drilling, and Broadway-style choreography. The Fancy Brigades also perform competitively in the Convention Center each New Year’s Day.

Fancy Brigade Tigers

2015 marks the 115th annual Mummers Parade, and with this milestone comes some changes, including a new route that heads south on Broad Street instead of north.

The parade begins at 10 a.m. at City Hall, with judging taking place at 15th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard. Then, more than 10,000 men, women, and children will twirl, sashay, and strut down Broad Street to Washington Avenue, where parade-goers can view all of the action on Jumbo-trons. Finally, after the party winds down on Broad Street, it heads back to the South Philly neighborhoods, especially along 2nd Street (affectionately known as Two Street), where many of the Mummers clubhouses are located.

And this year (or, technically, next year), the Fancy Brigades will strut along the entire parade route before heading to the Philadelphia Convention Center for their spell-binding theatrical performance competitions. There are two ticketed competitions, one at noon and the finale at 5 p.m.

For more information on the Mummers Parade, including how to get tickets for the Fancy Brigade competitions, and general information on where to stay and what to do while in town, visit visitphilly.com and PhillyMummers.com.

Mummers Captain

Looking for a place to keep warm during the parade? Most of the bars and restaurants along Broad Street will be open before, during, and after the parade. And at the end of the day, 2nd Street comes alive as the festivities take to the street and its bars with impromptu performances, drinking, and…well…more drinking until the early morning hours. It’s like Mardi Gras meets South Philly. Here are just a few ideas of where to go for the ultimate Mummers experience.

KIMMEL CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS: Located directly along the parade route at Broad and Spruce Streets, the Kimmel Center will open its doors from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for parade viewers to warm up and grab a bite to eat. Its Peco Café will feature a tasty menu of Philly fare including cheesesteaks, hot dogs, soft pretzels, and an assortment of Philly-brewed beer.
300 South Broad Street, kimmelcenter.org

PERCH PUB: With floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Broad Street at Locust, Perch Pub is the perfect spot for parade-viewing. And with 14 craft beers on tap, a bottle list of 104 selections, and a bar full of bourbons, whiskeys, and Scotches (included house-infusions), the festivities don’t stop at the door.
1345 Locust Street, perchpub.com

DIRTY FRANKS: This South Philly institution opens its doors at 10 a.m. for its annual Mummers Parade Celebration, or as its website calls it, an “all-day hurdle event, which involves leaping over walls of parade-goers, Mummers, Fancies, and clowns in various states of revelry and disrepair.”
347 South 13th Street, dirtyfranksbar.com

SUGARHOUSE CASINO: The parade’s sponsor offers revelers both an escape from and easy access to the action. It all starts at 10 a.m. with the Mummers Brunch, featuring live music and Bloody Mary Shrimp Shooters. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., parade-goers can park for free in the casino’s parking lot and take its free Mummers party bus to and from the parade.
1001 North Delaware Avenue, sugarhousecasino.com


Born to be Wild

Fancy Brigade Batman



Veni, Vidi, Bibi!



 All photos by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia.


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A Wanderlush Chat With Zane Lamprey, host of TV’s Chug

by Rebecca Rhoades
( December 15th, 2014 )

About five years ago, following a trip to Lithuania, I was at home relaxing on the couch and flipping through the TV channels when an image of a guy standing in the Town Hall Square of Lithuania’s capital city, Vilnius, flashed on my screen. Just who was this crazy man who went on to arm-wrestle a local strongman and down beers with the colorful owner of a popular drinking hole in the city’s Uzupis neighborhood? Of course, I had to watch! Turns out I had come across a travel show called Three Sheets, and unlike the wildly popular No Reservations and Bizarre Foods, this show dealt not with food but with its popular liquid complement: alcohol. The boozy subject matter, made even more interesting by its fun-loving, funny, and downright entertaining host Zane Lamprey, had me instantly hooked.

Zane Lamprey

Three Sheets ran for four seasons, after which from 2010 to 2012, Lamprey hosted Drinking Made Easy, which focused on U.S. and Canadian drinking destinations. Now he’s back as the host of a new drink-travel show, Chug, which premiered on the National Geographic Channel on November 24.

According to Chug’s press kit, the show “takes viewers on a bar crawl around the world. Motivated by his thirst to try local customs, food, and alcohol, Lamprey travels by train to an array of exotic and boozy locations and along the way interacts with the local culture and befriends new drinking buddies.” So far, Lamprey and Chug have visited Kuala Lumpur, Syndey, and Fiji, three amazing destinations.

What’s even more amazing is the fact that Chug was funded through a Kickstarter campaign. Wanderlush Diary recently had the chance to interview Lamprey about this unique form of fan financing, Chug, and traveling the world in search of the perfect potable, as well as his newest Kickstarter project. Keep reading.

Chug poster

Wanderlush Diary: After success with Three Sheets and Drinking Made Easy, what made you decide to develop Chug?
Zane Lamprey
: What else what I going to do? I have no other marketable skills! I filled out an application at Blockbuster, but they haven’t returned my calls. Actually, I think the number is disconnected.

WD: Why did you raise funds through Kickstarter?
I pitched Chug as a TV show around Hollywood, and [all of the networks] passed. All of them! So, at the suggestion of my mother, I launched the Kickstarter campaign. She convinced me that if it could work for Veronica Mars (a cancelled television show that was made into a movie), it could work for me. She was right. We didn’t have an easy campaign like Veronica Mars had, hitting its goal in the first day. We hit our goal on one of the last days. Just when others would have lost hope, we (the fans, my crew, and me) prevailed.

Zane Lamprey Rome Trains

WD: How did it feel when the National Geographic Channel picked up the series?
Lamprey: Fantastic! I love National Geographic. We had a choice of several networks when the series was ready to sell. NatGeo convinced us that they were the most excited about airing it.

Zane Lamprey and monkey

WD: What makes Chug different from your other series?
Lamprey: It’s the natural evolution from my other TV endeavors. So, it’s the same, but (hopefully) better! I’m not the wide-eyed neophyte that I was back then. As a rum company owner [Note: Lamprey is also the owner of Zane Lamprey’s Monkey Rum], author, and host of many shows about drinking, I’m a veritable expert. But, that doesn’t make it any less fun for the viewer.

WD: How did you become an expert?
: Prior to Three Sheets, all I knew about alcohol was what it did to me. I knew nothing of what went into making it. But, as with anything that I love doing, I embrace it and learn as much as I can about it.

Zane Lamprey in Rome

WD: Now that you’ve imbibed around the world, it is true that travelers can get a better feel for a destination by sampling the local libations?
: Having a drink, or drinks in moderation, is an amazing way to learn about local cultures and customs as you’re traveling. Alcohol is a social lubricant that warms people’s hearts and gets them to open up and be more quick to welcome in strangers. I’ve made so many great friends while shooting the show. To me, that’s what it’s all about.

Zane Lamprey Sydney winery

WD: Have you had any drinks or drink experiences that really amazed you?
: I’m constantly amazed… although I’m consistently amazed when people put dead things in alcohol—with the intention of drinking it—like snakes, geckos, bugs, and an armadillo. Yeah, I know. Gross!

WD: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in learning more about local beverages while traveling?
: Walk into a watering hole and start talking. It’ll all happen from there. It just needs a small spark to get it started. People are so eager to talk about their country/city/region. You just need to give them a gentle nudge, and they’ll tell you anything you want. And that gentle nudge, by the way, is a drink. Spend a few bucks to by someone a drink, and you’ll have made a friend for life!

Zane Lamprey Sydney beach

WD: In addition to Chug, you’re also promoting The Drinking Jacking, which you’re crowdfunding through Kickstarter. Tell me about that.
: A few years ago, I wanted to see if I could make a bottle-opener zipper to add to the hoodies I was selling. Then I figured that it wouldn’t be too much more effort to add a neoprene-lined beer koozie pocket. Then I added drinking mitts. Then a hidden flask pocket.  I then realized that it was no longer any ordinary hoodie—although I never wanted it to look like anything but a nice hoodie—so I needed to name it. It was no longer a hoodie for drinking. It became The Drinking Jacket.
Then a few months ago, I was wearing it while taking a tour of the Kickstarter headquarters in Brooklyn. The people there were admiring it and asked where they could buy one. I told them I didn’t have any more. So they asked if I would Kickstart it so they could get jackets for themselves. The rest is history.
For the version I have on Kickstarter, I made a bunch of enhancements, like deeper pockets, bigger sizes, and a sunglass holder. I’ve lost so many sunglasses when day drinking turned into night drinking, and outside drinking turned into inside drinking!

The Drinking Jacket

WD: So far, the campaign, which ends on December 22, been a great success. Are you surprised at the reaction of your fans?
: I’m never surprised with the generosity of the fans. I am incredibly pleased and touched, but not surprised. They’ve been there for me, and the shows, from day one. I am very lucky.

WD: Any last thoughts?
: You never asked the cliché “What’s your favorite drink question”! Well done! But, I actually have an answer for that. I’d love everyone to try my rum: Monkey Rum. It’s my favorite drink!

Zane Lamprey in Sydney

Are you thirsty for more? Well, if you haven’t yet seen Chug, there’s still time. Three more episodes remain. On December 15, Lamprey visits Vienna. On December 22, he takes on Rome, and on December 29, he drinks his way through Budapest. Don’t miss it!

Chug airs Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. EST on the National Geographic Channel.


Veni, Vidi, Bibi!



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