index Amazingly enough, Partida has only been in business for nine years.  I first heard of them through F. Paul Pacult’s Spirits Journal around the same time, when he awarded all three of their tequilas a rare 5-star rating.  Partida was started by an unlikely pair from California, investor J. Gary Shansby, and Mexican-American Sofia Partida June 2005.

The tequilas are crafted from 10-year-old Blue Weber agave pinas which are baked in stainless steel ovens, then distilled twice.  The blanco is bottled almost immediately, while the Reposado and Anejo is aged in ex-Jack Daniel’s French-Canadian oak  barrels for six and eighteen months respectively.

Blanco (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Fresh and fruity agave with a hint of spearmint, cinnamon and crushed peppercorn.  Bright, crisp and mouth-watering.
Taste: Light and almost ethereal, with a true sense of spirit here.  There isn’t an aggressive character here, but rather a sweet, young and slightly immature friendliness.  Very easy to drink and marvelous in a Margarita.
Finish: Medium long, with more saline notes coming out to peek around the corner.  A lasting impression of wistful youth is here.
Overall: Well played.  Easily one of the most drinkable young tequilas I’ve ever savored.
GSN Rating: A

Reposado (80 proof)
Visual: Pale gold.
Nose: Spicy, with clove, anise, sandalwood and more subtle notes of vanilla and burnt caramel.
Taste: Viscous and caramel laden with a hefty dose of tannins.  Fools the palate into thinking this is an anejo.  Interestingly, there is a curious orange citrus note that comes through after a minute or two.  The bottom tones are impressively deep and spicy, but the high notes are the ones that carry the overall profile.
Finish: Medium long with a lot more vanilla and spice than expected.
Overall: A fine sipping tequila that will work well in a tequila old-fashioned, or with ginger beer and a slice of orange.
GSN Rating: A-

Anejo (80 proof)
Visual: Light gold.
Nose: Sweet, honeyed spice with toasted walnut, dried orange peel, macadamia and prune.
Taste: unbelievably smooth and effortless on the palate.  Like sipping agave water.  But, with the addition of an entire cornucopia of baking spices.  It’s as if this is a Mexican kitchen in the glass.
Finish: Medium long with lingering sweet barley sugar notes and rich dessert body.
Overall: Absolutely beautiful.  An amazing tequila that will enhance a traditional Mexican meal.  If I had to choose a tequila to celebrate the spirit of Mexican distillation, this would be it.
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Partida Tequila

d4dc02a7-c715-4bbb-86d3-d9b4a0b4f241I always feel a sense of loss when I pour the last few drops of spirit out of a bottle.  Because at that point all I can do is either recycle the container or keep it on a shelf as a memento.  Reclamation Etchworks does both and makes a pretty cool product at the same time.

With a retro pre-prohibition look that is classy and at the same time practical, RE uses lasers to engrave upcycled bottles for your favorite spirits.  They have two different styles available.  The heavier, thicker bottles are gathered as the Constance Decanter collection.  While the Variance Set, uses a variety of bottle shapes and etched labels designs.  Between both sets, there are a total of ten different spirits represented.

As an added bonus, the will etch the bottle with your name and/or the name of your bar.  These make for an ultra bespoke statement on your back bar or bar cart.  A great idea that also makes for a great gift for the upcoming holidays!

For more information, visit Reclamation Etchworks

indexNew York-based Davos Brands, importer and marketer of Ty Ku sake and Zyr vodka, has added a third super-premium brand to its portfolio, The Real McCoy Rum. Davos, which launched in July with Svedka vodka founder Guillaume Cuvelier serving as vice chairman, intends to develop The Real McCoy on a national basis. Produced at the Foursquare distillery in Barbados, The Real McCoy includes 3-year ($20 a 750-ml.), 5-year ($29) and 12-year ($45) aged rums. The brand was founded by filmmaker Bailey Pryor, whose work on a documentary about Prohibition-era rum runner Bill McCoy led him to try to recreate the bootlegger’s original offering.

indexPatrón Spirits Co. is extending its Patrón Citrónge orange liqueur line with the release of Citrónge Lime. The ultra-premium liqueur (35%-abv) is available nationally in 750-ml. and 1-liter cork-finished bottles and is meant to tap into the Margarita occasion. Citrónge Lime is created using Persian limes from the Mexican states of Veracruz, Michoacán and Colima. The original Citrónge was first introduced in 1992 and was up 1% last year in the U.S. market to 134,000 nine-liter cases. Patrón’s other liqueur offering XO Café was down 6% to 150,000 cases.

indexBeam Suntory this fall is releasing a limited edition Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Bourbon at its distillery in Loretto, Kentucky and at select on-premise locations across its home state of Kentucky. The uncut, unfiltered offering, which is barreled at about 108-114 proof, will be available for $39.99 a 375 ml.

indexCampari America is bringing back its Bourbon/rye hybrid Wild Turkey Forgiven due to popular demand. Originally released last year as a “happy accident” limited edition that resulted from an unintentional mixing of rye and Bourbon whiskies, Forgiven exceeded expectations in its debut, and is now returning in the same blend of 78% 6-year-old Bourbon and 22% 4-year-old rye whiskey, bottled at 91 proof and retailing at $50 a bottle.

indexBrown-Forman’s Southern Comfort liqueur brand has launched Gingerbread Spice, a new seasonal entry. Featuring a blend of gingerbread, vanilla and cinnamon notes, Southern Comfort Gingerbread Spice is intended to be served warm, either neat or in cocktails. The 15%-abv entry will be available nationwide through the holiday season, priced at $11.99 a 750-ml.

indexBeam Suntory has debuted a new flavor extension to its Pinnacle vodka brand, CranApple. A blend of cranberries and green apples, the new entry is 70-proof, geared toward fall cocktails and retails at $12.99 a 750-ml. bottle in line with the core brand.

indexHennessy Cognac has unveiled plans to release its luxury Edition Particuliere label in the U.S. next month. Rolling out stateside on October 15, Edition Particuliere is made with a blend featuring hand-selected eaux-de-vie from more than 100 years ago. The limited edition offering is poured into a Baccarat crystal bottle, then packaged in a hand-made leather gift box. Just 29 bottles of Hennessy Edition Particuliere will be available worldwide, with 11 bottles reserved for the U.S. market, priced at $27,000 each.

indexCampari America’s Espolòn Tequila has extended its super-premium range with the U.S. launch of Espolòn Bourbon Barrel-Finished Añejo. A 100%-agave Tequila aged in white oak, Espolòn Añejo is finished for two to three months in charred American Bourbon barrels. The 40%-abv entry marks the third expression in Espolòn’s U.S. lineup, joining the brand’s Blanco and Reposado entries (both $25.99 a 750-ml). Espolòn Bourbon Barrel-Finished Añejo will be available nationwide, priced at $34.99 a bottle.

indexAnchor Distilling Company is releasing a second edition of The Glenrothes 1992 Vintage Single Malt Whiskey to the U.S. market this October. The latest edition is bottled at 44.3% abv and was aged 10 years longer than the first release of the liquid from 2004, resting in a mixture of refilled Sherry butts and American Bourbon casks. The 1992 vintage will be available through Anchor Distilling at $249.99 a bottle.

indexLouisville-based Michter’s Distillery has debuted a new limited-edition American whiskey, US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon. The new offering, which retails at $48 a 750-ml., first undergoes normal barrel-aging to full maturation before being finished in barrels that have been toasted for a precise length of time—but not charred like typical Bourbon barrels. Like Michter’s original US*1 Bourbon, the limited Toasted Barrel Finish expression is 91.4 proof.

indexFlorida-based craft distiller Cape Spirits Inc. is introducing a new line of spirits under the label Wicked Dolphin’s RumShine. Made with Florida sugar cane, RumShine comes in three flavors—Apple Pie (70 proof), Strawberry (100 proof) and Blueberry (100 proof)—and is available now for about $19.99 through RNDC in its home state, with a national rollout planned for January 2015. Cape Spirits also makes Wicked Dolphin rum, which it extended earlier this year with a spiced offering ($25.99).

indexBrooklyn-based Greenhook Ginsmiths is releasing a new Old Tom gin into select markets this fall. Rolling out across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut this month, with entry into Washington, D.C. and Boston to follow in November, the new offering is inspired by the historic Old Tom gin style popular during the 18th and 19th centuries. Greenhook Ginsmiths’ Old Tom is made with a base of pot-distilled grain, as well as juniper and other spices, and is aged for 12 months in ex-Bourbon casks and finished in Oloroso Sherry barrels. Roughly 1,800 (six-bottle) cases of the 50%-abv offering will initially be available, priced at $29 a 375-ml. and $44.99 a 750-ml. Old Tom is the third gin expression in the Greenhook Ginsmiths portfolio, joining its Beach Plum gin liqueur, English Sloe gin and core American dry expression, the latter of which has grown between 60%-70% this year, to around 7,500 (six-bottle) cases, according to Greenhook Ginsmiths founder Steven DeAngelo.

DoubleDayVodkaUpstate New York’s Cooperstown Distillery has launched a new Classic American Whiskey, retailing at $45.99 and bottled in a baseball-shaped decanter, linking it with Cooperstown’s heritage as site of the baseball Hall of Fame. Distributed throughout the northern tier of New York state, the Classic American Whiskey will be presented in a wooden gift box through the holidays. Cooperstown Distillery’s other labels include Beanball Bourbon, Abner Doubleday’s Double Play Vodka, Glimmerglass vodka, Fenimore Gin, Pinchhitter Rum and Sam Smith’s Boatyard Rum.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily.

IMG_7841Creator Ryan Maybee from Kansas City’s Manifesto has this to say about his inspiration: “It’s clearly a simple riff on a Negroni. Bright, strong, bittersweet. I’m a proud citizen of Kansas City, MO, and I’m fascinated by the history here. The name is in reference to a jazz duo in KC during the 1920’s and 30s. The drink has been on our menu here since 2009, and is still one of our best selling cocktails.”

I can see why.  This fruitier Negroni goes down easy.  I only wish I could listen to the brothers jamming away while I sip this libation.

The Brothers Perryman
1.5oz Plymouth gin
0.75oz Campari
0.75oz elderflower liqueur
Garnish: Orange twist, flamed

Stir well with ice and strain into ice-filled old-fashioned glass.  Flame orange twist and add.

A_Midnight_Modern_ConversationBack in my college days, I thought that punch equalled a 1.5l bottle of Silver Bacardi mixed together with a few cans of tropical flavored Hawaiian Punch.  After a few different occasions where this was the beverage of choice, I had enough to last me a lifetime and moved on to other less cloying things like IPA.  In fact, I hadn’t had any punch for a few decades until I read David Wondrich’s phenomenal book Imbibe! back in 2007.  I decided to make a batch of Philadelphia Fish House Punch for my first effort, and there’s been no turning back for me.  Granted, there is a bit of extra work involved than just emptying bottles into a large bowl (oleo-saccharum, anyone?), but it pays off in spades.  Not only is a real punch incredibly tasty, but you realize why punches are gaining popularity again.  These days, many of the best bars offer punch bowls on the menu, and some are even served with antique cups.

Here’s the recipe for PFHP (luckily, it doesn’t actually call for any fish).

Philadelphia Fish House Punch
(Servings: 18 – 20)
1 cup sugar
4 lemons, peeled and peels reserved
4 cups black tea (or water)
1 cup lemon juice
4 cups rum, Jamaican
2 cups cognac
1/2 cup peach brandy
Garnish: lemon wheels and freshly grated nutmeg

In a large bowl, add sugar and lemon peels, and rub together to release the citrus oils into the sugar. (This is called oleo-saccharum).
Allow oleo-saccharum to infuse for at least 30 minutes.
Dissolve sugar with warm water or tea.
Add rum, cognac, lemon juice and peach brandy and stir to mix.
Add a block of ice to chill, and continue to add smaller pieces of ice for desired dilution.
Garnish with lemon wheels and freshly grated nutmeg.
Ladle into individual glasses.

Another quite popular punch is Planter’s Punch, the recipe for which was first published as a poem in the New York Times on August 8, 1908.

Planter’s Punch
This recipe I give to thee,
Dear brother in the heat.
Take two of sour (lime let it be)
To one and a half of sweet,
Of Old Jamaica pour three strong,
And add four parts of weak.
Then mix and drink. I do no wrong —
I know whereof I speak.

Pretty easy to figure out what the measurements are, if you’re handy with a jigger.


IMG_7832Looking at the list of ingredients that make up this cocktail, you’ll either have to bite the bullet and spend well over $100 on spirits which aren’t always easy to find, or happen to work at a well-stocked bar yourself.  Luckily, I happen to be the head bartender at the Good Spirits Tiki Bar here in Syracuse.  My dilemma was choosing which styles of genever, allspice liqueur and mezcal to use.  I opted for Bols genever, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram and Ilegal mezcal.  The two syrups are from Hale Pele owner B.G. Reynolds‘ line of mixers.

Here’s some thoughts on the drink from its creator Hal Wolin, and also from the man who inspired the drink, Frank Cisneros.

“The Brooklyn Wanderer was named to reference Frank Cisneros who at the time was the NY Bols Genever Ambassador and I’d often see him wandering(or floating) back and forth between different parts of Brooklyn such as Williamsburg and Carroll Gardens and also parts of NYC within the same day. I remember him being a fan of Tiki so the Brooklyn Wanderer was my homage to his time with Bols Genever and his appreciation of Tiki cocktails. “Hal Wolin

Hal did two great things there. First for some reason Bols Genever really works well with pineapple. I don’t know the science behind it I just know my mouth likes it. Another great example of that phenomenon is Thomas Waugh’s Holland Tunnel. The other great thing Hal did is appropriate Tiki stylings to maximum effect. If Don the Beachcomber were around to witness the resurgence of Bols Genever he would be doing nearly the same exact thing.Frank Cisneros

My thoughts: very cinnamon forward on the nose and on the palate, but the genever shines here.  This is an interesting drink that should be served over crushed ice (I followed the recipe in the guide, but I disagree) and swizzled.  Despite the plethora of ingredients, everything is well-balanced and it’s not a drink that is alcohol heavy.  I like it.  Cheers, Hal & Frank!

Brooklyn Wanderer
2oz genever
0.5oz allspice liqueur
0.5oz mezcal
0.5oz pineapple juice
0.5oz orgeat syrup
0.5oz lime juice
0.5oz cinnamon syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Garnish: Fresh mint leaf

Shake without ice. Strain into ice-filled pilsner glass.  Swizzle with barspoon.  Garnish with mint.

Qtimthumb.phpuick!  How many classic crème de menthe based cocktails can you name? Go!

That’s what I thought.  Highlight the area to the right to see if you got them all -> Grasshopper, Stinger

Crème de menthe is one of those liqueurs that once you try, you will never forget.  For obvious reasons it is used in a fair amount of obscure Irish cocktails, but personally I avoid those.

Crème de menthe is not a cream based liqueur, but rather a category of spirits known as crèmes, which are more syrupy and sugar laden than standard liquors.  It is made from Corsican mint or peppermint and is either colorless (white) or vibrantly green.  Most products today use food coloring to achieve the effect.  The flavors are exactly the same however.

If you want to try making your own at home, here’s a recipe courtesy of Marcia Simmons, co-author of DIY Cocktails which I have previously reviewed here.

DIY Creme de Menthe
1 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves (divided)
1 1/2 cups vodka
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water

  • Measure out 1 cup of mint leaves and tear them in quarters Place mint leaves in a sealable glass jar and pour vodka on top. Shake and let steep for 12 hours.
  • After steeping is complete, strain mint leaves from infused vodka. Return infused vodka to the jar.
  • Bring the water and sugar to a boil, and let simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, then add syrup to mint-infused vodka.
  • Take the additional 1/2 cup of mint leaves, tear them, and add them to the jar. Shake and let steep for 10 hours.
  • Strain twice to remove all mint leaves, keep in resealable bottle. Keeps for two months.
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