Pittsburgh Craft Beers / Flickr

Bar food: it's salty, it's starchy, and you can usually pick it up with your hands. Beyond that, we make up our own rules. Whether it's by breaking the rules at the speakeasies of yesteryear, or enjoying a sandwich called a fluffernutter that's like a late-night pre-teen cabinet raid. A visit to Tom's Town Distilling Co., a spring-cheese tasting with a certified cheese expert and a critics roundtable on the best bar food in town.


Jen Chen/KCUR

From coffee to cocktails, Kansas City’s drink options exploded in 2015.

“I just think this year had been really incredible in terms of the number of distilleries, wineries, breweries and roasteries that have popped up on the scene,” Food Critic Jenny Vergara told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard on Friday.

“2015 feels like the Year of the Drink,” Vergara added.

With a Twist

Dec 11, 2015
Jen Chen/KCUR

According to KCUR's Food Critics, 2015 will go down as the Year of the Drink.

Andy Rieger talks about bringing back his family's distillery, a local bartender makes us a seasonal holiday drink, we visit the Imperial Brewery building, and our Food Critics search out the best drinks of 2015 in and around KC.


Beth Lipoff / KCUR

It's a well-known saying that America is a melting pot, and with each wave of immigrants, more tradition, foods and other things made their way into the mix.

On this edition of Up to Date, we talk about how different wines, ciders and ales made their way to our shores and which ones you might like to put on your Thanksgiving table.


  • Doug Frost, master sommelier and master of wine

The wines and ciders we tasted on the air are:

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

Back in the 19th century, Missouri winemakers were experiencing success while today's domestic wine behemoths, like California, were struggling. After prohibition however, the state was slow to recover. 

As the wine landscape changes and Missouri begins to again come into its own, we compare how the Show-Me State compares to the rest of the world. 

Master Sommelier and Master of Wine Doug Frost brought some selections to taste. Each of these is available locally, though you may have to search :

A food historian discusses why we prefer bold, dry wines like Cabernet and Chardonnay — and how Missouri grapes saved the French wine industry.

A Kansas House committee has approved legislation that would let convenience stores sell full-strength beer and allow grocery stores to sell beer, wine and liquor. The proposed changes, which would take effect in 2018.

Republican Rep. Scott Schwab says this change will be convenient for Kansas consumers. He says in his family, his wife doesn’t want to go to a liquor store while out shopping.

Grape orchards on the Les Bourgeois Vineyards
Courtesy photo / Les Bourgeois Vineyards

The holidays are a great time to buy local, especially when it comes to picking out a great bottle of wine.

In the past 20 years, Missouri’s wine industry has grown in size and sophistication, with more than 100 wineries throughout the state.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, master sommelier Doug Frost, of Kansas City, Mo., will talk about one of his favorite subjects — local and regional wines.

Here are some of his top 10 picks out of Kansas and Missouri in the past year:

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Wine merchant Ryan Sciara says “slurping” is the proper way to taste a wine.

Suck in some air to help move it to the different taste receptors in the mouth.

“You get acidity on the front, tannins in the back, and sweetness in the middle,” Sciara says.

And then he spits, so that he can function through the rest of the day.

Sciara, who opened Underdog Wine Co. in Crestwood Shops in Kansas City, Mo., earlier this year, developed a taste for wine as a small child, sitting in his grandmother’s kitchen.

Context Travel / Flickr-CC

How much would you pay for a charity wine tasting? $50? What about $50,000? Depending on the event, it can be a pricey prospect.

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

Thanksgiving means turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie… and all the carbs you could want. Although we’ve all got our tried and true favorites, you won’t ruffle too many feathers if you try a couple of new dishes this year.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

As Midwest vineyards move in next door to longstanding fields of corn or soybeans, they don’t always make good neighbors. Occasionally, herbicides like 2,4-D drift beyond their target, and for nearby vineyards the results can be devastating.

2,4-D is a common herbicide used by farmers because it kills weeds but doesn’t kill their corn. Landscapers and golf courses use it on lawns and fairways. Highway crews often spray 2,4-D on road ditches.

Talking Tannins: Summer Wine

Jul 19, 2013
Gavin Wray/Flickr-CC

Summertime in Kansas City can be sweltering, but a good glass of chilled wine can be just the thing to cool off. 

Bill Anderson / KCUR

If you're looking for a good wine this holiday season, you needn't look far.  You'll find a bunch of great wineries bottling their goods in the Kansas City Region.

Evan Swigart

If you've never heard of a Maiden’s Blush or a Parkeroo, you're not alone, but a new book catalogues these and other forgotten cocktails from past generations.

A British winemaker has finally been given official approval to release a limited-edition wine made in collaboration with Malbec grape growers in Argentina, on one condition: It can't sell the wine, or label it a Malbec. Actually, it can't even call it wine at all.

The Chapel Down winery's only option for getting rid of its wine is to give it away as a sample, calling it a "fruit-derived alcoholic beverage from produce sourced outside the EU."