Writer, editor & content strategist

Expertise in food, wine/spirits, lifestyle, health and wellness. If you find a discontinued link in the portfolio, email me to request the complete article at: jen.a.laskey[at]gmail[dot]com

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Roberto eating nebbiolo article
The Inquirer and Mirror

The Education of A Wine-Lover: My Winemaking Apprenticeship with Roberto Damonte of Malvira

Five years ago, I went to wine school. It wasn’t an oenology course; I wasn’t trying to become a winemaker. It was an educational program for “wine professionals,” though I didn’t have any intention of becoming a sommelier or opening up my own wine shop either. Really, I just wanted to know more about wine.

I already knew that I loved it. I’d lived in California and Italy, and spent a couple of summers in France and Germany, so I was no stranger to wine or wine culture. But wine and I were developing a deeper relationship and it was time to take things to the next level. Besides, I was having trouble keeping a cork in it, which is to say that I was no longer satisfied with a couple of reds in my wine rack and whites in my fridge, a glass or two here and there.

Wine was moving in. It was starting to make its way into my bookshelves, and before long, into my work. I finally decided that if that’s the way it was going to be, and wine wanted a permanent place in my writing repertoire, my home, and my storage facility, wine and I had to start getting serious....

Asimov bw article
The Inquirer and Mirror

Q and A With A Critic: Eric Asimov, New York Times Wine Critic

Eric Asimov, chief wine critic for the New York Times, will be on the island this week for the Nantucket Wine Festival, but also to talk about his new book, How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto. The book weaves together a narrative of pinnacle experiences that ignited Asimov’s passion for food and wine, and put him on the path to becoming one of the country’s most esteemed wine critics. His personal stories are paired with professional insights into today’s wine world. Asimov explains why this is such a golden age for exploring and enjoying wine, why it’s a good idea to look beyond tasting notes and points ratings, and how to overcome wine anxiety, trust your tastes, and boldly embrace your love for the stuff....

Im rosie schaap qa article
The Inquirer and Mirror

Drinking With Men: Q and A With Rosie Schaap

In her memoir, Drinking With Men, Rosie Schaap chronicles her life in bars and regales readers with stories about the community and camaraderie she has found (predominantly among men) in her favorite watering holes from New York to California, Vermont, Dublin, Montreal and back again.

Less about drinking and more about conversing and connecting, Schaap’s memoir pays homage to the best aspects of bar culture and celebrates the restorative qualities and life-affirming nature of the “neighborhood bar,” where you can sidle up and just be yourself in the company of others who appreciate a proper drink and a good place to enjoy it....

Im craig hanna toppers article
The Inquirer and Mirror

Topper's Wins Its 17th Straight Grand Award from Wine Spectator

If you've ever treated yourself to a meal at Topper's at the Wauwinet and nosed through the wine list, you know what a hefty tome it is. You could easily spend an hour or more poring through it, sizing up rare vintages from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, Mouton-Rothschild, and Chateau d'Yquem, and exploring an impressive array of unusual selections from winemaking regions as far-flung as Slovenia, Morocco and the Middle East. The revered list at Topper's maintains a steady allure, and it's not just devoted diners who think so....

Aperitivo article
The Inquirer and Mirror

Recreating the Italian Aperitivo Experience

I became an aperitivo devotee while living in Rome some years back. If you’re not familiar with the term, Italian aperitivo is like a less refined version of the French apéritif or a more refined version of the American “happy hour,” depending on how you look at it. It’s a great tradition that involves sipping and snacking during the ore d’oro, or “golden hours,” as the sun sets on your day....

Im david berry article
The Inquirer and Mirror

Sweet Life of a Beekeeper

Beekeeper David Berry, owner of the Nantucket Honey Bee Company, has been conspicuously absent from this year’s Sustainable Nantucket Farmers and Artisans Market. Nearly all of his fall honey sold out before the Farmers’ Market even started this year. “I think I literally have 11 jars of honey left,” says Berry, who is still waiting for the spring harvest....

Im citrus shrub article
The Inquirer and Mirror

Colonial "Shrubs"

Shrubs have been popping up on craft-cocktail menus across the country this past year. And no, they’re not related to bushes or privet; these are another kind of shrub—for drinking! Here on Nantucket, you can find the oddly-named elixir featured in the “Proofless” section of The Proprietors drink menu.

Shrubs are commonly referred to as “drinking vinegars.” They’re typically a concoction of sugar-macerated fruit mixed with vinegar. The fruit, sugar and vinegar intermingle to form a sweet and sour syrup that is then topped off with soda water or mixed into cocktails to give them a tangy zing....

Dscn1407 article
The Inquirer and Mirror

Culinary Trendspotting With Nantucket Caterers

If you’re into wining and dining and socializing, cocktail parties are one of the most festive activities you can take part in on Nantucket during the summer. Whether it’s a modest shindig or a full-blown fete, a standalone event or a prelude to a special occasion, such as a benefit or wedding, and whether you’re a guest or host (and ideally, it’ll be a little bit of both throughout the season), there’s something wonderful about gathering with friends, family and neighbors, and enjoying a celebratory spread of cocktails and canapés while catching up with one another and taking in all of the beauty and joyfulness of this special place in summertime. But these days, the bar has been raised to new levels...

Epernay glass article
The Inquirer and Mirror

Sommelier Takes Over Island Wine Shop: Epernay Gets New Makeover Under New Management

There are a number of different shops selling wine on this island, and they each have something a little different to offer. Besides the wines, some also sell spirits and beer; some sell cheese (or sandwiches or health food or vintage clothing); a few are open past 9PM. One even gets your corkage fee waived when you buy beverages there, and then dine at the BYO café next door. Épernay, the little wine and spirits shop on North Beach Street (near the White Elephant) is sommelier-owned and operated.

Im bourbon article
The Inquirer and Mirror

The Gift of Bourbon for Father's Day

You’ve done the ties, the tools, the cologne and aftershave kits, the grilling gear and the gift cards, but what about giving Dad a gift he can really savor this year? If your dad is anything like Seth Raynor, Executive Chef and co-owner with his wife, Angela, of the Boarding House, The Pearl and Corazon del Mar, a nice bourbon may be the ultimate Father’s Day gift....