756Scotch is a whisky that has a wide variety of styles and flavors, which I unfortunately don’t have the time to get into here.  But, this is what you need to know.  There are five regions in Scotland which produce whiskies: Campbeltown, Highland, Islay, Lowland and Speyside; and there are five styles of Scotch: blended grain, blended malt, blended Scotch, single grain and single malt.

GSN has reviewed several Scotches over the years including: Aberlour, AuchentoshanBenRiach, BowmoreCutty SarkGlendronachGlenrothes, Glen Garioch, LaphroaigMonkey Shoulder, Pig’s Nose and Sheep Dip.

If you’re looking to try a Scotch cocktail, GSN recommends the classic, Blood and Sand.



IMG_7694Basically a brandy old-fashioned, this is an effectively beautiful cocktail.  When I say “old-fashioned”, I mean one without the garbage; the muddled fruit.  I’ve done away with the smashed cherries and orange wheel, the pointless soda water.  The real key here are the bitters.  They bring everything together, and lift this simple cocktail towards the sublime.  All that being said, make sure you use at least a VS, or preferably an XO cognac in this.  You are showcasing the brandy, not merely using it to add some alcoholic pizzazz.

Brandy Cocktail
2oz brandy
1 tsp simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Garnish: lemon twist

Stir ingredients with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.  Add lemon twist.

indexTrinidad’s House of Angostura is commemorating its 190th anniversary with the launch of a new signature amaro in the U.S. Unveiled at last week’s Tales of the Cocktail event in New Orleans, Amaro di Angostura marks Angostura’s first foray into the amaro category. The 35%-abv liqueur is made with a base of Angostura’s flagship aromatic bitters, as well as additional spices and neutral alcohol. Imported in the U.S. by International Beverage Co., Amaro di Angostura will be available nationwide this fall, priced at $24.99 a 750-ml.

indexLiqs Cocktail Shots is expanding its distribution footprint to Texas and Massachusetts after its debut in southern Florida last November. The brand has also recently expanded statewide in Florida with Southern Wine & Spirits and secured its first major chain account with Winn-Dixie. Beginning August 1, Glazer’s will distribute the ready-to-drink shot beverage in Texas and United Liquors will bring it to Massachusetts. The Liqs line includes four flavors—Tequila Cinnamon Orange, Vodka Cucumber Lime, Vodka Lychee Grapefruit and Vodka Kamikaze—and is sold in three-packs of 50-ml. plastic shot glasses with a suggested retail price of $7.99. The company is planning on releasing two new flavors later this year.

indexFattoria di Limone has launched a premium U.S.-made limoncello in the New York, Connecticut and New Jersey markets. Fattoria di Limone Limoncello Original Liqueur is made in small batches from ingredients mostly sourced from New York state and follows a classic Italian recipe. KyMar Distillers in Charlotteville, New York produces the brand in 375-ml. and 750-ml. bottles. Fattoria di Limone (“lemon farm” in Italian) is led by entrepreneurs Dawn Jacksland and Erik Christman. The company plans to expand the product line this year and next with products featuring Meyer lemons as well as a salted caramel cream-based offering.

indexBeam Suntory’s Laphroaig single malt Scotch has unveiled Laphroaig Select, a new entry composed of whiskies with a variety of maturation styles and wood profiles. Featuring a selection of different Laphroaig styles—including Quarter Cask, PX Cask, Triple Wood and Ten-Year-Old—the 80-proof entry is matured in new American oak casks, resulting in a blend of “peat, oak and sweetness.” Laphroaig Select is currently available in select markets, priced at $55 a 750-ml. The new addition joins Laphroaig 10-Year-Old, 10-Year-Old Cask Strength, Quarter Cask, 18-Year-Old, 25-Year-Old, QA Cask, Triple Wood and Cairdeas 2014 Amontillado Edition in the brand’s existing portfolio.

indexAnchor Distilling is launching five new Scotch whiskies from BenRiach Whisky Co.’s Glenglassaugh Distillery in the U.S. market. They include whiskies from both before Glenglassaugh was mothballed in 1986 and from since its reopening in 2008. Glenglassaugh’s new lineup includes Revival ($65), a 46%-abv offering billed as the first single malt from the reborn distillery; Evolution ($80), an exclusive series from single-variety oak casks (the first of which is 50% abv and was matured in George Dickel Tennessee whisky barrels); Torfa ($75), a peated Highland malt at 50% abv; Glenglassaugh 30-year-old ($500), a 44.8%-abv whisky matured in refill Oloroso Sherry butts; and Glenglassaugh 40-year-old ($3,000), which was bottled at 42.5% abv and was matured in a mix of ex-Bourbon barrels, European oak hogsheads, Pedro Ximenez Sherry puncheons and Oloroso Sherry butts. Each of the newcomers is non-chill filtered and retains its natural color.

indexBrown-Forman’s El Jimador has made its foray into the flavored Tequila segment with the launch of two new expressions. Rolling out this week, El Jimador Mango Mango and Mexican Lime will be available at chain liquor and grocery stores throughout California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. Both are priced at $19.99 a 750-ml. Mango Mango and Mexican Lime join El Jimador’s existing Blanco, Reposado and Añejo offerings.


indexBarrio Spirits has launched a new super-premium rum, Copacabana 1940, in the New York market. Inspired by 1940s New York—the era that gave rise to the iconic Copacabana nightclub—the new entry is a seven-year-old Añejo that retails at $34.99. Made in Herrera, Panama’s Las Cabras distillery, Copacabana 1940 is aged in white oak and bottled at 80 proof. Celebrity chef Alex Garcia and restaurateur Spencer Rothschild are the partners behind Barrio Spirits.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

Jaan bottle.a0a20d7beceb7d8b886a10ebdf8194852213My daughter had the opportunity to live in Gujarat, India for a year and that Christmas she sent home a box of interesting foodstuffs.  One of them was called paan.  We had no idea what it was or what it was made from, but it was memorable.  Only much later did I learn that it is a akin to a breath freshening stimulant.  Various spices (and there can be many different kinds) are wrapped inside of a betel leaf.  Betel itself contains Arecoline, which is similar in effect to nicotine.  So, in a sense paan is a sort of chewing tobacco that can be flavored sweet or savory.  Many times, it is also flavored with tobacco to increase the effect.

Jaan however, is a paan flavored liqueur made in Canada and sweetened with maple syrup.  Instead of tobacco, they use a blend of spices and most notably, the Areca nut which again is often used in paan.  One thing is for sure, Jaan is absolutely unique amongst any distilled product on the market.

Jaan Liqueur (50 proof)
Visual: Caramel brown.
Nose: Exotic cooking spices, dried orange peel, and a funky deep note of floral perfume.
Taste: Flowery with a definite rose petal and orange essence.  There is a light mouth feel that is more akin to a spiced rum than a liqueur.
Finish: A lot of sweet caramel tones go on for some time, but the more unusual characteristics percolate through leaving an impression of cinnamon chewing gum.
Overall: Very different.  Sweet, but not overly so.  Very drinkable and refreshing and somewhat feminine in character.  An interesting libation to use in cocktails.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Drink Jaan

Salespager_Tanqueray_Old_TomTanqueray continues its series of limited edition gins with an Old Tom style.  If you’ve never heard of it, here’s a brief introduction to Old Tom.

Created in England during the 1700’s, Old Tom is a sweeter style of gin bridging the gap between Dutch Genever and London Dry.  Supposedly this was originally to disguise a poor distillation.  In fact, many bottom shelf spirits still add sugar and caramel flavoring to hide a low quality product.  Which is why the Old Tom style faded away as distillers realized that customers wanted better spirits.

As to why it is called Old Tom, it apparently has to do with pub signs that had the image of a black cat on them.  Interesting, since the black cat is thought to be a harbinger of bad luck.  Old Tom is also called for in the 1891 classic cocktail guide The Flowing Bowl: When and What to Drink.  What is the drink?  The Tom Collins, of course!

See my previous reviews of Tanqueray, Tanqueray 10, Tanqueray Rangpur and Tanqueray Malacca.

Tanqueray Old Tom Gin (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Immediate juniper nose with fresh cracked pepper, citrus peel and cucumber. There’s also a slight flowery scent reminiscent of a florist shoppe.
Taste: Quite sweet, but tempered by a hefty dose of bright and bracing juniper.  Definitely leaning towards a simple syrup kind of sweetness.
Finish: Long notes of barley sugar overshadow any herbal or spice notes.  Interestingly, you can still detect the overall flavor profile of Tanqueray.
Overall: Less malty than a Genever, but certainly way more sugary than a London dry style.  I’d suggest using this in cocktails that call for very little in the way of liqueurs or juice based modifiers.  It’s tasty, but the sweetness almost seems overwhelming.  I think a bit of barrel aging would add just the right touch of tannins to balance it out a bit.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Tanqueray

tequila-bottlesTequila has gotten itself a bad reputation over the years, being associated with hangovers, wild shot parties, and a myriad of fruity blenderized “margaritas”.  But, tequila is actually a fine spirit with a long heritage of high quality distillation.  Some might even say that it is the epitome of the craft as it takes 12 years for the Blue Weber agave plant to mature, and many small distilleries do much of the work by hand.  The best (and in my opinion) only tequilas worth drinking are made from 100% Blue Weber agave.  If you don’t see this on the bottle’s label, give it a pass.  Otherwise, you just may end up with a hangover.

Good Spirits News has reviewed many tequilas over the years.  Here are some for you to consider today, along with a few tequila related liqueurs.

1800 Milenio

1921 Tequila Cream

ArteNOM Seleccion


Casa Noble



Don Julio

Dulce Vida


Mariposa Agave Nectar

Milagro Unico

Olmeca Altos

Piedra Azul




Tequila Ocho

Tres Agaves

TOC-2014WEB-SpiritedAwardsBanner3Good Spirits News congratulates all of the winners of this year’s Tales of the Cocktail® Spirited Award!  Cheers, everyone!

American Categories
American Bartender of the Year
Sean Kenyon (Denver)

Best American Bar Team
Trick Dog (San Francisco)

Best American Brand Ambassador
Neyah White (Suntory Japanese Whiskies)

Best American Cocktail Bar
The Dead Rabbit (New York)

Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar
Polite Provisions (San Diego)

Best American Hotel Bar
Clyde Common (Portland)

Best American Restaurant Bar
The NoMad (New York)

Best New American Cocktail Bar
Three Dots and A Dash (Chicago)

International Categories
International Bartender of the Year
Simone Caporale (London)

Best International Bar Team
Artesian at the Langham (London)

Best International Brand Ambassador
Giuseppe Gallo (Martini)

Best International Cocktail Bar
28 Hong Kong Street (Singapore)

Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar
Schumann’s (Munich)

Best International Hotel Bar
Artesian at the Langham (London)

Best International Restaurant Bar
The Bon Vivant (Edinburgh)

Best New International Cocktail Bar
White Lyan (London)

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication
Imbibe Magazine (United States)

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer
Paul Clarke (United States)

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book
Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean by Jeff Berry (United States)

Overall Categories
Best Bar Mentor
Dushan Zaric (United States)

Best New Product
Del Maguey Ibérico Mezcal (Mexico)

World’s Best Cocktail Menu
The Aviary (Chicago)

World’s Best Drinks Selection
The Dead Rabbit (New York)

Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award
Julio Bermejo of Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant (San Francisco)

World’s Best Bar
Artesian at the Langham (London)

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