John Distilleries Ltd. (JDL), one of the world’s leading specialists in the creation and production of Indian distilled beverages, recently announced the launch of its ‘Bold’ expression.

A peated single-malt whisky, Bold joins the Paul John U.S. portfolio that also includes Brilliance, Edited, Select Cask Classic and Select Cask Peated.

“Paul John Whiskies have had a sparkling run in the United States thus far, and we’re excited to introduce our American audience to yet another award-winning whisky,” said Paul P. John, chairman of Paul John Indian Single Malt Whisky. “It is indeed an honor to be recognized on such a global level and I hope to continue creating great whiskies that win the world over.”

Paul John Single Malt Whisky is an award-winning spirit distilled in the tropics of Goa, India. Crafted from six-row barley grains that are grown in the foothills of the Himalayas, this single malt is aged for a minimum of five years.

Paul John Bold Whisky (92 proof)
Visual: Light yellow.
Nose: Bold lives up to its name, quite smokey and traditional in approach. No surprises here.
Taste: Medium sweet with nice rounded caramel and vanilla notes. There’s also a stone fruit character that adds to the picture. The smoke here is more subtle than on the nose.
Finish: Medium long with lingering creosote and warming woodiness.
Overall: A really nice whisky that easily keeps pace with European world-class versions. Of the few Indian whiskies I’ve had, Paul John is simply the best.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Paul John Whisky

In 1982, Hubert Germain-Robin and Ansley Coale brought an antique hand-operated still taken from an abandoned cognac distillery over to the US. Before then, there had been no craft distilleries since prohibition, 1919. They built the distillery themselves.

Hubert relied on ancestral craft distillation methods, but he also innovated by using hyper-modern vinification techniques and by distilling wines made from premium Northern California varietal grapes. Germain-Robin brandy, released in 1987, was the first modern craft-method distilled spirit to reach a national audience.

In 2012, they decided to make a great U.S. brandy available at an accessible price. They worked on Millard Fillmore U.S. brandy for more than three years. In January, 2016, they put the blend together, gave it time to marry, and bottled their first batch, 400 cases, in May, 2016.

Why Millard Fillmore? Here’s what Craft Distillers has to say about their unusual name choice. “Well, Millard is kind of like U.S. brandy. You maybe know he was the 13th president of the USA (1850-53), but you don’t know much about him, and a lot of folks don’t think very highly of him. That’s U.S. brandy, right? You don’t drink it, you don’t know much about it, and not many people think highly of it. We don’t know what we can do for Millard, but we know what we can do for U.S. brandy”.

Millard Fillmore United States Brandy (80.6 proof)
Visual: Yellow gold.
Nose: Lightly fruity and brisk. After a few moments, a wash of oak barrel colors the grape nose. Warming and autumnal in aspect.
Taste: Mellow and smooth with an almost caramel flavor.
Finish: Medium long with a brown bread finish.
Overall: The vine fruit is more reticent than I expected, but there is still a good deal of character. For an American brandy, this is a huge step up for the category. An easy go-to sipper that won’t break the bank and a notch above most U.S. VS & VSOP brandies for use in cocktails.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Craft Distillers


lots-of-rumIn honor of National rum day, here are a few of the original rum based cocktails that I’ve created over the years!


Blair Frodelius – editor

Captain Grey
4 oz piping hot organic Earl Grey tea
1.5 oz Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
0.25 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp organic honey

Pre-warm a cognac glass with warm to hot water.  Steep Earl Grey tea for 3-5 minutes in a mug with water just off the boil.  Empty cognac glass, then add tea, rum, lemon juice and honey.  Gently stir and garnish with a lemon wheel.

Cook’s Redemption
2.5 oz El Dorado Special Reserve 15-year-old rum
0.5 oz Bacardi vanilla rum
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz fresh orange juice
0.5 oz cinnamon syrup
1 dash of Fee’s black walnut bitters
1 dash of Fee’s barrel-aged aromatic bitters

Add all ingredients to a goblet filled with crushed ice.  Stir and add more ice to top off and serve with a straw.  Optional: garnish with grated nutmeg.

2 oz. Appleton Special Jamaica Rum
1 oz. Barenjager Honey liqueur
0.5oz Lustau Dry Amontillado Los Arcos Sherry
0.5 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 dash Dale Degroff’s Pimento Aromatic Bitters

Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake well and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

Flying Monkey
1.5oz Deadhead rum
0.75oz Dekuyper creme de banana liqueur
0.25oz Hiram Walker Original Cinn liqueur
0.25oz Don Q Limon rum
0.25oz Fee brothers vanilla syrup
scant tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Fill tiki mug with crushed ice and add all ingredients.  Swizzle and then garnish with baby banana, edible flower and straw.

Kaddū Raj
2 tablespoons of organic pumpkin puree
1.5 oz Malibu rum
0.75 oz Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
2 dashes of The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters

Stir briskly with cracked ice for ten seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a light dusting of mild yellow curry powder.

Peri Banu
2 oz Appleton gold rum
1 oz Absolut vanilla vodka
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz fresh orange juice
0.5 oz Hiram Walker Original Cinn schnapps
0.5 oz simple syrup
2 dashes of Fee’s old-fashioned bitters

Add all ingredients to a goblet filled with crushed ice.  Stir and add more ice to top off and serve with a straw.  Optional: garnish with an edible flower.

1.5 oz Barenjager
1.5 oz Cruzan Black Strap Rum
1 oz Absolut Peppar
1 tsp St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram

Add all ingredients to mixing glass with ice and stir until well chilled.  Strain into a cocktail glass rimmed with a mix of grated nutmeg and superfine sugar.

1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
0.5 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
0.75 oz Goya passionfruit cocktail
1 oz Orangina
0.75 oz Fee Brothers rock candy syrup
0.25 oz Campari
2 oz Montanya platino rum
1.25 oz Montanya oro rum
0.75 oz Cruzan black strap rum
2 dashes Fee Brothers whiskey-barrel aged aromatic bitters

Add all to mixing glass with ice.  Shake powerfully, pray to your favorite tiki god, and pour into a barrel-shaped mug.  Garnish with sparkling long, thin black candle (made to look like a fuse).

Punch the Monkey
1 750ml bottle gosling’s dark rum
8 oz Chartreuse Green
4 oz Benedictine
8 oz pineapple juice
8 oz lime juice
7 oz orgeat
35 dashes Angostura bitters

Add all to punchbowl with block of ice. Ladle individual servings in half of a Milton Bradley “Barrel of Monkeys” container over crushed ice.

Destilería Serrallés Inc., the producers of Don Q, Puerto Rico’s number-one rum, is proud to announce the release of Don Q Piña, the latest expression in Don Q’s family of naturally flavored rums, including Coco, Limón, Mojito and Pasión.

This new spirit is crafted with aged rums ranging one to one-and-a-half years in American white oak barrels and infused with 100% natural pineapple juice.  No artificial flavors or colors are added. Roberto Serrallés, 6th generation rum maker, Jaiker Soto, Master Blender, and Silvia Santiago, SVP of production at Destilería Serrallés, teamed up for the crafting of this spirit that captures the fresh and bright flavors of this native island fruit with Don Q’s aged rum.

“Don Q Piña is another example of how our team at Destilería Serrallés continues to innovate and expand our brand’s portfolio, while preserving the exceptional character that has been the hallmark of Don Q, Puerto Rico’s number-one rum” stated Roberto Serralles.

Destilería Serrallés is one of America’s oldest family-owned businesses with a rum making tradition that spans 6 generations and over 152 years.  Destilería Serrallés is based in Ponce, Puerto Rico where it produces its flagship product, the award-winning Don Q rum, the #1 selling rum on the island.  Destileria Serralles has been commended for its environmentally friendly production initiatives.

You can read about GSN’s visit to the distillery here.

Don Q Piña (60 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Sweet rum and fresh pineapple.
Taste: Fruity with pineapple and light aged rum. This is exactly what it needs to be, and it is done well. Nothing artificial or cloying, just pineapple and blanco rum.
Finish: Medium long with a pleasant tropical fruit flavor (oddly enough I’m reminded of Juicy Fruit gum).
Overall: A well done flavored rum that should be a hit with cocktail lovers. We tried it with coconut water and ice and it definitely hit the spot.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Don Q

A.H. Hirsch was an investment banker who invested in the “Schaefferstown Distillery” in Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania in an effort to keep it operational, though it would ultimately shut down several decades later in 1989. The distillery is a historic landmark for American whiskey that was in operation for more than two centuries, and Hirsch’s contribution would ultimately result in what many consider to be the finest expression of bourbon ever made, the legendary A.H. Hirsch Reserve 16 Year Old.

Hirsch Small Batch Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey is distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. This release consists of a blend of bourbons ranging from seven to nine years old. Two mash bills are married together, one with 21% Northern Europe rye and the other with 35% Northern Europe rye, resulting in a relatively high rye content of approximately 26%. The corn is sourced from Indiana and Ohio.

The spirit is barreled at 120 proof, which is amongst the lowest in the industry. The oak is a #4 char around the base and a #2 char at the head of the barrel.

Hirsch Small Batch 8 Year Old High Rye Straight Bourbon Whiskey (92 proof)
Visual: Dark orange-gold.
Nose: Heavy rye nose with a knockout wallop of oak char. Incredibly evocative and powerful in olfactory presentation.
Taste: Lovely rye spice prickles the tongue whilst a soft orange fruit glaze tempers things down to a slow rumble. From first sip this seems all about the grain bill, yet the oak char adds a deeper level to the affair by encasing it all in a smokey envelope.
Finish: Long and smooth with the rye never quite letting go of its hold on the palate. A whiskey that has a siren call on your taste buds.
Overall: This is a great high rye whiskey that should be on your backbar. Stellar as a sipper, it also will make a knockout bourbon cocktail.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Anchor Distilling

For more than 200 hundred years, the humble town of Kilbeggan produced a whiskey beloved the world over. As Ireland’s oldest licensed distillery since 1757, Kilbeggan has always been more than just a stone building with a water wheel to power it and its copper pot stills. It has been the townspeople’s heart and soul, their pride and joy.

In 2017, the town of Kilbeggan celebrates the announcement of another beloved whiskey: Kilbeggan® Single Grain Irish Whiskey. Released in the U.S. this summer, the newest addition to the Kilbeggan Distilling Company offers a whiskey for enthusiasts and bartenders alike.

When Prohibition in the U.S. and other factors contributed to the shuttering of Kilbeggan Distillery’s doors, the residents banded together to save the whiskey that defined their town. They pooled funds to pay for the distillery license and put in years of hard work, late nights and weekends to restore it until eventually the distillery came back to life and its stills were once again filled. Every bottle of Kilbeggan, an original Irish whiskey built on the strong bond between the town that birthed it and the distillery producing it, is proof that their spirit has never left. It is the townspeople’s dedication to honoring the whiskey-making traditions of the past while creating a better future that inspired the creation of Kilbeggan Single Grain. It can be said that this is a single grain made by a proud many.

“The passion and dedication that the citizens of Kilbeggan put into keeping this distillery alive is truly inspirational,” says John Cashman, Beam Suntory Global Brand Ambassador, Irish Whiskey. “Kilbeggan Single Grain is born out of this resilience and we are proud to offer a whiskey to be enjoyed by all – whether that’s as a traditional neat dram or in a modern craft cocktail. The folks at Kilbeggan Distilling Co. are happy to share it with you any way you like.”

The notion that “single grain” describes a whiskey made with just one grain is a common misperception. Rather, the term refers to whiskey made in a single location using malted barley and at least one other grain. Kilbeggan Single Grain is made of 94% corn plus 6% malted barley.

Distilled at 86 proof, Kilbeggan Single Grain ages in ex-bourbon barrels, and is finished in a marriage of ex-bourbon and various fortified wine barrels. It possesses Irish whiskey’s trademark versatility and smoothness, making it the ideal for modern or classic cocktails, like a Whiskey Sour, but with enough depth of flavor to be sipped neat.

“Kilbeggan enjoyed a tremendous heyday back in the 1800s when Irish whiskey was thriving and distilleries abounded, before the devastation to the industry that came with Prohibition and other challenges,” says Cashman. “A few years ago, I’m happy to say, the world rediscovered the beauty of Irish whiskey. And Kilbeggan once again is rising to the top and setting the standard through innovations like Kilbeggan Single Grain. We can’t wait to see a bottle on every bar, just like in the good old days.”

Kilbeggan Single Grain Irish Whiskey (86 proof)
Visual: Bright golden yellow.
Nose: Clean, warm and malty with a lot of tight, high notes of toasted grain.
Taste: Remarkably smooth and mellowed. Any trace of rough edges are beautifully softened with the kiss of fortified wine cask aging. No heavy citrus or vanilla here, just a highly drinkable easy-going Irish.
Finish: Medium short. No one flavor dominates, the only lasting impression is of faint vanilla.
Overall: A welcome addition to the ever-growing Irish whiskey category.  A well-suited whiskey for any occasion.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Beam Suntory

For spirit aficionados, fans, lovers or really thirsty people who enjoy a well-made drink, here’s some good news: Craft Spirits Celebration is back!

Taking place September 14th in New York City, the 5th annual Craft Spirits Celebration is bringing together distillers and the people who love their spirits, for a day of sampling some mighty fine, quality-crafted hooch.

And it’s not just spirits for the sake of spirits. We’re experimenting with all the magnificent ways food and drink mingle. You’ll be encouraged to pair a savory bite with a liquor that’s perfectly suited for it.

GSN readers get a special discount on tickets by ordering them through Eventbrite here.

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