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Oct 9, 2009 04:17 PM

Demise of Gourmet Magazine

We had someone write into our site horribly depressed about a "Gourmet Magazine" folding after enjoying subscriptions for something like 15yrs.

The reason I bring it up is that she was a big fan of the "cocktail of the month" section and religiously tried them. Sounds like they had really freaky cocktails--the kind that used crushed peppercorn.

I realize that with the greatest information resource in the history of mankind at my fingertips, I could probably Google this magazine and find out everything I need about it. But I wanted to get a gauge on how popular this magazine was among spirits enthusiasts. Is there anyone else out there deeply disturbed by the death of Gourmet? Are you missing monthly cocktail recipes?

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  1. In my experienc Gourmet was never a fount of information about cocktails. I will miss the cocktail reporting in the weekend wall street journal many times more than the scant info related in Gourmet. While I loved Gourmet for there recipes and food /travel articles I think the web is a much better source for cocktail info. After discovering Jeffrey Morgenthaler or amountainof you truly realize that there is tons of good drink info out there

    3 Replies
    1. re: quazi

      Good point. (Believe it or not, I found the WSJ pretty darn good at this stuff, too but I wasn't brave enough to be the first person to say that.) I had a feeling that there might have been some sentinmentality going on there...

      1. re: proof66

        My husband has found some darned good cocktails from the WSJ. I usually just want a dry vodka martini with olives as a starter, but he's surprised me by finding new things that I really like, and always from the WSJ. I'm surprised.

        1. re: LulusMom

          This is not a comprehensive analysis of Gourmet's cocktail acumen through the years, but I want to add that in the 80s, they had a mojito recipe (though it was with lemon and not lime), and I remember a nice "spring fever" one (a white rum gimlet with tonic water and lime slices, I think).

    2. Glad to hear someone liked the cocktail of the month, but I don't think any peppercorns were ever harmed in the making of the Drinks section. I generally tried to keep it simple but interesting. I'm a big fan of Eric Felten's work in the Wall St. Journal, so I'm glad to see the positive comments. There's obviously no point in trying to show that Gourmet took cocktails seriously (it's not like millions of people will see the light and subscribe--there's nothing to subscribe to). But I do feel compelled to point out that in the first year I was Drinks Editor (2003) we published a piece by Gary Regan called "Beyond Shaken or Stirred: A Theory of Mixology." in subsequent years we did many other cocktail-related stories, including a big piece on ice (10/05), a piece on Scott Beattie (10/05) and his culinary approach to cocktails, and have had spirits and/or cocktails in just about every section since Aug. 2008. I'm not saying it was perfect or that you couldn't get more or better elsewhere (that's for others to decide), but we certainly did take cocktails and their ingredients seriously. For the moment the Gourmet website is still up (, and for anyone who's curious most of what I've done in recent years can be seen here:

      I guess I'm someone else who's fairly disturbed by the closing--it was where I went every day for the last 11 1/2 years.


      2 Replies
      1. re: jimmyr

        Gourmet was a good, solid, classic magazine - I'm sad to see it go.

        My sorrow has more to do with the food writing than the cocktails, but that's not because cocktails got short shrift. Cocktails were just part of an overall emphasis on quality and good ingredients that was more or less (I'm sure someone who wanted to could point out exceptions, but in general I think my point stands) the standard they upheld.

        I know the economy sucks and all but I'm a little shocked to see Gourmet fold while so many bad magazines stand.

        1. re: jimmyr

          I am so sorry, Jimmy! I loved Gourmet, too, and I am really going to miss the magazine. One of my fondest foodie moments was about 10 years ago, when I loaned a stack of old Gourmet magazines to a chef preparing a meal for the governor of VA. We spent the afternoon looking thru years of old magazines for 'standards with a twist'. It was so much fun! I will miss the travel pieces, and the vintage stories re-run occasionally. Good luck to you and your co-workers.