Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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.

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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.


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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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indexDiageo’s Cîroc vodka has extended its flavored range with the launch of Cîroc Pineapple. Rolling out this month, Cîroc Pineapple will be available in 50-ml., 200-ml., 375-ml., 750-ml., 1-liter and 1.75-liter formats, priced at $34.99 a 750-ml. Additionally, the 35%-abv offering will  be supported by a nationwide “Tropical Luxury” campaign, featuring print, digital and experiential activities. Cîroc Pineapple is the fifth addition to Cîroc’s flavored lineup, joining the brand’s existing Amaretto, Peach, Red Berry and Coconut expressions.

indexSazerac Co.’s Buffalo Trace Distillery will release the 2014 edition of its Antique Collection limited release whiskeys later this month featuring five varieties. George T. Stagg is a 138.1-proof unfiltered Bourbon distilled in 1998; William Larue Weller, distilled in 2002, is the strongest Weller release at 140.2 proof; Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye is an unfiltered straight rye whiskey distilled in 2008 at 129.2 proof; Eagle Rare 17 Year Old is a Bourbon featuring oak, leather, cinnamon and tobacco flavors and Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old has flavors of all-spice, molasses and mint, the company says. The Antique Collection was first introduced in 2000 and is available in limited quantities for a suggested retail price of $80 each.

indexPernod Ricard is releasing a second permanent expression within The Glenlivet Nàdurra Scotch whisky range, First Fill Selection. The latest offering, priced at $80, was aged in new American white oak casks and bottled at a cask-strength 48% abv. First Fill Selection will roll out globally this month. The Glenlivet Nàdurra collection, which also includes an Oloroso variant launched in travel retail earlier this year, now features new packaging that includes a batch number, cask-like stamps and a translation of Nàdurra, the Gaelic word for “natural.”

indexBrown-Forman has unveiled the 2014 edition of its Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. The limited release—marked annually to commemorate the birthday of Old Forester and Brown-Forman founder George Garvin Brown—is a 97-proof, vintage-dated small-batch Bourbon. Rolling out this month, the 2014 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon will be in national distribution, retailing at $59.99 a bottle.

indexHeaven Hill Distilleries is releasing the 2014 edition of its Parker’s Heritage Collection whiskey, supporting ALS research, to select markets beginning in mid-September. The eighth installment of Parker’s Heritage Collection, Original Batch, is the first non-Bourbon in the series. It features 13-year-old straight wheat whiskey bottled at cask strength (63.7% abv) and non-chill filtered. With the launch, Heaven Hill is continuing its campaign supporting ALS research by contributing $5 from every 750-ml. bottle sold at $89.99 to the cause, with last year’s edition raising over $300,000.

indexLucas Bols USA has launched Bols Pumpkin Spice liqueur in the U.S. Featuring a blend of fall spices, including nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, Bols Pumpkin Spice is a seasonal entry targeted toward cocktail and after-dinner occasions. The 21%-abv offering is currently available on- and off-premise nationwide, priced at $11.99 a 750-ml. Bols Pumpkin Spice joins Bols’ existing lineup of more than 30 flavored liqueurs.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily


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indexEdrington Americas, known for its Scotch whisky portfolio, has entered the vodka segment with the launch of Snow Leopard, a super-premium brand. Made and bottled in Poland, Snow Leopard is produced from spelt grain and distilled six times. Retailing at $34.99 a 750-ml. bottle, it’s currently available in top markets including New York, Miami, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Edrington acquired Snow Leopard in late 2012 and, in addition to the U.S., the brand is present in London and pockets of Europe. Its profits support efforts to save the endangered snow leopard in Mongolia and Tibet.

indexBacardi is launching its super-premium Facundo Rum Collection into the California market. The lineup, which currently features four limited edition aged sipping rums, will be available at select on- and off-premise accounts throughout Los Angeles and San Francisco this fall. The move marks the collection’s first market expansion, following its November 2013 debut in New York and Miami. Ranging in price from $45-$250, Bacardi’s Facundo Rum Collection includes Neo, a blended white rum aged for up to eight years; Eximo, a blended rum aged for more than 10 years; Exquisito, which is made with 7- to 23-year-old rums and finished in Sherry casks; and Paraiso, which is aged for up to 23 years and finished in Cognac casks.

indexBeam Suntory’s Jim Beam Bourbon has added three new labels to its upscale Signature Craft range. Rolling out nationwide, Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask marks the collection’s third expression, as well as its second limited-edition offering. Quarter Cask, which is priced at $39.99 a 750-ml., is aged for a minimum of five years and finished with a variety of quarter cask Bourbons, then aged for at least another four years in smaller barrels. Concurrently, Jim Beam has launched its Signature Craft Harvest Bourbon Collection, a new series featuring six Bourbons made with different grains. Jim Beam has debuted Harvest Bourbon’s first two entries—Signature Craft Soft Red Wheat Bourbon and Signature Craft Brown Rice Bourbon, both of which retail for $49.99—with the series’ additional four expressions set to rollout throughout 2015.

indexSan Francisco’s Anchor Distilling has released Anchor Old Tom Gin, its third small-batch gin entry. Made with juniper berries, star anise, licorice root and stevia, the new 45%-abv offering is bottled unfiltered, and billed as a sweeter style than a London dry gin. Anchor Old Tom Gin, which is priced at $29.95 a 750-ml., joins Junipero gin, a London dry gin, and Genevieve, a Genever-style gin, in Anchor Distilling’s existing portfolio. Additionally, Anchor Distilling handles Berry Bros. & Rudd’s No. 3 London dry gin in the U.S.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

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indexMissouri’s St. Louis Distillery has extended its Cardinal Sin vodka brand with the launch of Cardinal Sin Starka. A traditional Eastern European spirit, starka is an aged vodka style native to Poland, Russia and Lithuania. Cardinal Sin Starka is made with two-row malted barley and corn and matured in new Missouri white oak barrels for six months. According to St. Louis Distillery, the new entry, which will be available in early September, marks the first starka available at retail in the U.S. St. Louis Distillery’s flagship Cardinal Sin vodka, launched in 2012, is currently available across Missouri, Illinois and Georgia.

indexMaui’s Hawaii Sea Spirits will add a new rum to its portfolio next month, Deep Island Hawaiian Rum “Wave”, produced at its organic farm and distillery in Kula. The ultra-premium clear organic rum will be available for distribution throughout Hawaii beginning in October, with full release in U.S. mainland markets planned for next year. Made from organic sugar cane and ocean mineral water, Deep Island is sweet with hints of florals and molasses, the company says. Sea Spirits’ core offering is organic Ocean vodka ($32). Last year the company announced plans to expand its craft spirits portfolio with rums, a line of American whiskies and Hawaii-inspired liqueurs.

imagesHeaven Hill Distilleries has introduced Elijah Craig 23-Year-Old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon, a new limited edition offering. Rolling out into select markets nationwide this month, the 45%-abv entry, which features a prominent 23-year age statement on its label, is priced at $199.99 a 750-ml. Elijah Craig 23-Year-Old’s launch comes on the heels of 2012 release Elijah Craig 20-Year-Old, which has since sold out, and last year’s debut of Elijah Craig 21-Year-Old. In addition to the brand’s limited edition extra-aged offerings, the Elijah Craig stable includes the Elijah Craig 12-Year-Old and Elijah Craig Barrel Proof labels.

indexLouisville-based Copper & Kings American Brandy Co. has launched its flagship brandy range into four new markets. The craft brewer’s Copper & Kings Immature Brandy ($29.99 a 750-ml.) and Copper & Kings Craft Distilled Brandy ($34.99) will both be available across select Tennessee markets, via a new partnership with Lipman Brothers; Illinois, via Heritage Wine Cellars; Indiana, via Glazers; and Minnesota, via Johnson Brothers. Previously, Copper & King Brandy had only been available in its home market of Kentucky via River City Distributing. Established in April, Copper & Kings American Brandy Co. specializes in non-chill filtered, copper pot-distilled American brandy aged in Bourbon barrels.

indexPremixed shot brand Liqs is moving into new markets after a successful test run in its home state of Florida. The Miami-based Liqs Cocktail Shots, which retail in three-packs of 50-ml. plastic shot glasses for $7.99, entered Texas (via Glazer’s) and Massachusetts (via United Liquors) this month. In Florida, Liqs is distributed by Southern Wine & Spirits. Additionally, Liqs has aligned with its first major chain account, Winn-Dixie. The RTD label currently includes four flavors—Tequila Cinnamon Orange, Vodka Cucumber Lime, Vodka Lychee Grapefruit and Vodka Kamikaze—with two new offerings slated to launch later this year.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily


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whiskey_sourOne of the venerable cocktails from Jerry Thomas’ How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon Vivant’s Companion (1862) that seems to have been largely ignored in the cocktail renaissance.  Here’s the original recipe.

Whiskey Sour
(Use small bar-glass.)
Take 1 large tea-spoonful of powdered white sugar,
dissolved in a little Seltzer or Apollinaris water.
The juice of half a small lemon.
1 wine-glass of Bourbon or rye whiskey.

Fill the glass full of shaved ice, shake up and strain into a claret glass. Ornament with berries.

It does seem a bit intimidating when written this way.  Instead try either of these versions.  The first more simple, yet authentic take courtesy of David Wondrich; and the second a 21st century creation via Jeffrey Morgenthaler.

Whiskey Sour
2 ounces bourbon
2/3 ounce lemon juice
1 teaspoon superfine sugar

Shake the bourbon, juice, and sugar well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass (unless you happen to have a Sour glass). Resist, if you can, the impulse to decorate lavishly with fruit, although a maraschino cherry will raise no eyebrows.

Whiskey Sour with Marmalade
2 oz. 100-proof bourbon
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup
1 tsp. orange marmalade
1 egg white
3 drops Angostura bitters

Combine bourbon, juice, syrup, marmalade, and egg white in a shaker filled with ice; shake. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Add bitters, and using a toothpick, swirl into whites.

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