Tomeka Lynch Purcell and her husband, Herbert Purcell, entrepreneurs in Charlotte, N.C., decided that the cocktail scene lacked a bourbon appealing to women and to a Black audience. So they set out to fill the gap. Their new straight bourbon is called PurCellos1789, the number referring to the founding date of Mrs. Purcell’s hometown, Winston-Salem, N.C. But it travels through several states in the production process: distilled in Indiana, aged 30 months in new charred oak barrels and bottled in Colorado Springs, Colo. “I created this brand for women like me,” Mrs. Purcell said. “I wanted a grown-up, sexy and smooth taste.” The spirit is satiny, with a pretty, somewhat floral aroma, flavors of black tea and spice, and a mellow finish. It’s elegant to sip on the rocks or mixed in sours, juleps and more.
PurCellos1789 Bourbon, $65 for 750 milliliters, purcellos1789.com.
Add Some Elegance to the Weeknight Table
There are holiday occasions coming up when paper napkins just won’t cut it. For cloth napkins, a hemstitched edge provides a classy finish. The hemstitch collection from Solino Home, a company that specializes in table linens, features 20-inch squares in several textures that have one and a half inch hemstitched borders. The classic is the lightest (four for $39.99), then there’s medium weight (four for $47.99) and the more rustic heavyweight (four for $42.99); all available in an array of colors. Like most things linen, ironing is required, though you could get by with the medium weight folded straight out of the dryer. Cocktail napkins, place mats, runners and tablecloths are also sold, all worth considering as wedding gifts.
Hemstitch table linens, solinohome.com.
A Survey of American Food History From the Smithsonian
“Smithsonian American Table” condenses the history of food in America, from prehistory to the very present, in about 300 colorful pages and a few dozen recipes. Not an easy feat, but a challenge that has been met reasonably well by Lisa Kingsley, a food writer, and the Smithsonian Institution. The book’s five sections explore history, fads, innovators and tastemakers, with subjects that often overlap. Indigenous tribal areas and food cultures, local state specialties like Vermont creemee and South Carolina’s shrimp and grits, and thumbnails of Black and immigrant foods and cooks are covered, as are highlights like beer, cheese and food trucks. Biographies of innovators and tastemakers embrace Irving Naxon, who invented the Crock-Pot, but fast food, breakfast cereals and Clarence Birdseye are mentioned only in passing; Marcella Hazan, the influential Italian cooking expert, trendsetting Caesar Cardini of salad fame and Instagram, not at all.
“Smithsonian American Table: The Foods, People and Innovations That Feed Us” by Lisa Kingsley, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution (Harvest, $40).
Chocolate Bars With a Persian Point of View
The new chocolate bars from Louisa Shafia’s Nashville company, Feast by Louisa, are slabs of chocolate embedded with dried fruit, spices, nuts and even rice, like French mendiants, but contributing uncommon flavors and nice chew. The seasonings are inspired by Ms. Shafia’s Iranian background. The dark chocolate bars are topped and seasoned with crispy rice and saffron salt; pomegranate and walnut; and cardamom, fruit and nut. White chocolate is strewn with saffron and pistachios.
Feast by Louisa Chocolates $12 each, $86 for eight, feastbylouisa.com.
The Comfort of Moroccan Harira, Just Heat and Serve
What took so long? After more than 10 years producing North African, mostly Moroccan pantry staples, the Mina brand has now added harira, a bean soup that’s as common in Morocco as borscht in Eastern Europe. It’s often the dish of choice to break fasts at Ramadan and even at Yom Kippur for Jews; restaurants serve it to the needy. The shelf-stable, well-seasoned chickpea-and-lentil harira is ready to heat and serves one or two. It joins Mina’s heartier stews to ladle over rice, grains or couscous: cumin-scented Loubia white bean, gingery Hummus chick pea, and rich Addis lentil. The stews can be puréed in a blender and thinned a bit for bowls of soup.
Mina Moroccan Bean Stews and Soup, $25 for six packages, mina.co.
Popcorn Ice Cream and More at Brix House in Brooklyn
As a pastry chef at Maialino, Locanda Verde and American Cut, it’s appropriate that Tara Glick named her dog, a Frenchton, Brix, a unit of measurement for sugar. The name is now applied to Brix Haus, her new ice cream shop in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn. Ms. Glick said her approach is based on a combination of the denser texture of Italian gelato and the richer, higher butterfat content of American ice cream, each called on depending on the flavor. Blackberry sherbet suggests gelato at its best, while golden popcorn ice cream, a signature, could be scooped at a state fair. The flavors rotate regularly. Scoops in the white-tiled shop start at $3, pints are $12. Pickup and delivery is available for pints or sundaes serving three to six people, $50 to $120.
Brix Haus, 406 Rogers Avenue (Sterling Street), Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn, N.Y., brixhaus.com.
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