GSN Alert: Cocktail & Spirits Book Preview – Spring 2021

Is it that time again? Yes, it is! Now that the weather is warming up, it’s time to think about some new books to read while enjoying your favorite cocktail, wine, beer or spirit. GSN presents our quarterly round up of recommended titles debuting this season.

Schumann’s Whisk(e)y Lexicon by Stefan Gabányi Rizzoli (March 23, 2021) This critically acclaimed guide to whiskeys of all types is back in print with its comprehensive coverage of every conceivable whiskey in precise, detailed, easy to understand yet delightful to read descriptions. While specially designed for quick and easy reference, the book is tastefully produced and handsome in its own right–the perfect gentleman’s gift. Featuring over a thousand entries, this handbook discusses the world’s leading and lesser-known whiskeys, making it an ideal source for the aficionado and the budding novice alike. Every traditional type of whiskey is included: Scotch single malt, blends, vatted malts, single grains, and Irish, as well as those from the new world (bourbon, rye, and Canadian). The book also takes a serious look at trendy new whiskeys emerging from Japan and continental Europe and explores how unique flavors are created through variations of ingredients, distilling techniques, and aging. Organized alphabetically in the style of a dictionary, the volume is rounded out with additional advice on serving, collecting, and storage. Every manner and nuance of whiskey is discussed between the book’s elegant covers.

Hawai’i Beer: A History of Brewing in Paradise by Paul R. Kan The History Press (April 5, 2021) Home of luaus and surfing, the islands of Hawai’i have been riding a wave of beer making in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The last state in the Union has not been last in creating amazing beers full of the Aloha Spirit. Like the people who settled all over Polynesia, Hawai’i’s beer brewers have been dreamers, adventurers and pioneers. From Captain James Cook’s emergency beer that nearly inspired a mutiny in 1778 to today’s explosion of celebrated craft breweries, the unique geography and culture make the islands a true beer lover’s paradise. Join brewer Paul Kan on an adventure through the history of beer making in a tropical wonderland.

The Little Book of Tequila: Slammed to perfection Orange Hippo! (April 6, 2021) Following hot on the heels of whisky, vodka and gin, tequila has become the latest spirit to be revolutionized, gentrified, and beautified in the last ten years. Every day a new small-batch, craft, artisan, tequila brand opens its doors to a loyal and thirsty following of blue agave lovers desperate to get their hands on this nectar of the Aztec gods. The days of slammin’ and shootin’ shots with a lick of salt and a suck of lemon have passed, and replaced by a definitive twenty-first century glow-up, swapping shot glasses for champagne flutes. Indeed, there is a lot more to tequila than meets the eye, and The Little Book of Tequila has researched itself into sweet oblivion to give its readers more than an eyeful of this mysterious and delicious spirit.

The Infused Cocktail Handbook: The Essential Guide to Homemade Blends and Infusions by Kurt Maitland & Adam Sachs Cider Mill Press (April 6, 2021) Pump up the flavors of spirits and mixers with The Infused Cocktail Handbook, the essential guide to homemade blends and infusions. The illustrated recipes explain which ingredients go best when infusing vodka, gin, tequila, whiskey, rum, and sherry and cover a range of globetrotting flavor profiles, from Earl Gray tea to lemongrass, cardamom, and walnuts, as well as gummy bears and bacon. With The Infused Cocktail Handbook not only will you know how to make your very own signature cocktails, you’ll save money doing it.

Mezcal and Tequila Cocktails: Mixed Drinks for the Golden Age of Agave by Robert Simonson Ten Speed Press (April 6, 2021) From riffs on classics such as the Mezcal Mule and Oaxaca Old-Fashioned to new favorites such as Naked and Famous or Smoke and Ice, discover how to use mezcal and tequila to create cocktails in nearly every classic cocktail formula—from flip to sour to highball—that highlight the smoky, edgy flavors of these unique and popular spirits. Robert Simonson, author of The Old-Fashioned and The Martini Cocktail, covers a broad range of flavors with doable, delicious recipes that are easy to assemble, most only requiring three or four ingredients. This comprehensive, straightforward guide is perfect for tequila and mezcal enthusiasts looking for creative ways to enjoy agave spirits more often and in more varied ways—or for anyone who just likes to drink the stuff.

Cannabis Drinks: Secrets to Crafting CBD and THC Beverages at Home by Jamie Evans Fair Winds Press (April 13, 2021) Maybe you’re curious about CBD or perhaps you’ve tried a store-bought sparkling cannabis drink already. Either way, you’re here because you’re ready to learn the ins and outs of making deliciously infused drinkables. This guide, written by Jamie Evans (author of The Ultimate Guide to CBD), will serve as the go-to resource for anyone interested in incorporating phytocannabinoids into a variety of recipes. Inside, you’ll start your journey with infused mixology. You’ll learn the most essential how-tos and infusion methods, including decarboxylation and heating techniques for those who want to do it all. Different from other books in this category, this book offers something to both beginners and experts–and crucially, to both those who only want to use CBD and those who want to infuse with THC–presenting many approaches to enhancing drinks. From adding CBD oils and tinctures to a variety of recipes to crafting more complex cannabis libations behind the bar, you can choose the path that’s right for you.

The Curious Bartender: Cocktails At Home: More than 75 recipes for classic and iconic drinks by Tristan Stephenson Ryland Peters & Small (April 13, 2021) Preparing a first-class cocktail relies upon an understanding of its ingredients and the delicate alchemy of how they work together. Here, Tristan Stephenson—drinks industry consultant, bar owner, restaurateur and author of best-selling drinks books—offers his expert advice on the fundamentals of home mixology and shares his perfected recipes for classic cocktails. Enjoy a Manhattan, Negroni, and Martini, discover lesser known vintage gems including the Martinez and Aviation as well as modern favorites the Espresso Martini and Mojito.

Zero Proof: 90 Non-Alcoholic Recipes for Mindful Drinking by Elva Ramirez Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 13, 2021) More than 100 years after Prohibition was enacted, bartenders are actually excited about people not drinking again. From Dry January and alcohol-free bars opening around the country to people interested in abstaining from drinking for better health, the no-proof movement is one of today’s fastest-growing lifestyle choices, as consumers become more mindful and re-examine their relationship to alcohol. The no-proof drinker could be anyone, and even traditional bars have taken note with no-alcohol offerings. What do the world’s most talented bartenders concoct when they can’t use booze? This book answers that question with 90 lush and sophisticated recipes that take the craft to new heights. Veteran reporter Elva Ramirez interviewed the biggest names in cocktails and collected recipes for vibrant no-proof drinks from the world’s top bars in Paris, London, and New York. This is the start of a new era in no-proof drinking. Find recipes from renowned bars all over the world, including Death & Co in Denver and NYC, Employees Only, The Aviary NYC, Broken Shaker in LA, Everleaf Drinks in London, Little Red Door in Paris, and many more.

The Distilleries of Vancouver Island: A Guided Tour of West Coast Craft and Artisan Spirits by Marianne Scott Touchwood Editions (April 20, 2021) In the past five years the number of craft and artisan distilleries on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands has more than doubled. A change in the provincial liquor laws in 2013 made small-batch distilling a viable business and with this alternative to high-volume, mass-market liquor comes a focus on local ingredients and distinctive flavors. From relative veterans like Merridale and Sheringham, to the newest stills on the block, you’ll meet a group of entrepreneurs unbound by traditional liquor-making rules who are creating vodkas, gins, whiskeys, and liqueurs with their own unique characteristics, using a wide range of grains, fruit, botanicals, peat smoke, seaweed, and spices. Craft-spirits enthusiast Marianne Scott introduces readers to the methods distillers use to develop their spirits, how they learned their craft, the products they make, and the recognition they’ve garnered. With an introduction on the history of spirit making and the process of distilling, a glossary of common distilling terms, cocktail recipes inspired by each distillery’s products, and a map to help you organize your ideal tasting tour, Vancouver Island’s Spirits has everything you need to jump into the region’s burgeoning craft-spirits scene.

Gilded Age Cocktails: History, Lore, and Recipes from America’s Golden Age by Cecelia Tichi NYU Press (May 4, 2021) The Gilded Age, as it came to be known, was the Golden Age of Cocktails, giving birth to the classic Manhattan and martini that can be ordered at any bar to this day. Scores of whiskey drinks, cooled with ice chips or cubes that chimed against the glass, proved doubly pleasing when mixed, shaken, or stirred with special flavorings, juices, and fruits. The dazzling new drinks flourished coast to coast at sporting events, luncheons, and balls, on ocean liners and yachts, in barrooms, summer resorts, hotels, railroad train club cars, and private homes. From New York to San Francisco, celebrity bartenders rose to fame, inventing drinks for exclusive universities and exotic locales. Bartenders poured their liquid secrets for dancing girls and such industry tycoons as the newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst and the railroad king “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt. Cecelia Tichi offers a tour of the cocktail hours of the Gilded Age, in which industry, innovation, and progress all take a break to enjoy the signature beverage of the age. Gilded Age Cocktails reveals the fascinating history behind each drink as well as bartenders’ formerly secret recipes. Though the Gilded Age cocktail went “underground” during the Prohibition era, it launched the first of many generations whose palates thrilled to a panoply of artistically mixed drinks.

Booze Cruise: A Tour of the World’s Essential Mixed Drinks by André Darlington Running Press Adult (May 4, 2021) Go on a tour of the world’s top cocktail destinations, featuring insider info and food-and-drink recipes that will add thrilling new flavors and global flair to your everyday life. World traveler and drinks writer André Darlington will be your tour guide through more than forty of the globe’s most vibrant cocktail locales. Each city stop is packed with insider intel on the current scene, local history, easy food-and-drink recipes, and tasting notes. This sloshy voyage includes: Amsterdam, Dublin, London, Madrid, Stockholm, Cape Town, Tangier, Delhi, Singapore, Beirut, Tokyo, Bogotá, Havana, New Orleans, São Paulo, Toronto, Sydney, and many more!

Gazoz: The Art of Making Magical, Seasonal Sparkling Drinks by Benny Briga & Adeena Sussman Artisan (May 11, 2021) Starting with plain sparkling soda, a gazoz layers in fresh fruits and flowers, aromatic herbs and spices, ferments, syrups, and other artisanal ingredients, all to create a beautiful marriage of flavor and fizz. In Gazoz, discover recipes for stone fruit gazoz, citrus gazoz, even “milkshake” gazoz using nut butters. The possibilities are endless, the results amazing. It’s the best nonalcoholic drink you’ve ever tasted, and by far the most fun to make.

Big Whiskey: The Revised Second Edition: An Updated 2nd Edition to Kentucky Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey, the Rebirth of Rye, and the Distilleries of America’s Premier Spirits Region by Carlo DeVito Cider Mill Press; Updated edition (May 11, 2021) This updated edition of the definitive guide to the American Whiskey Trail is comprehensive collection of the whiskey, bourbon, and rye made by the best distillers in Kentucky and Tennessee. Full color images throughout showcase each and every bottle and label, behind-the-scenes images, and the beauty of the Whiskey Trail. Interviews with renowned distillers provide incredible insight into how whiskey is made. Locals and tourists alike will discover new distillers and expressions that are sure to satisfy any and all tastes. Big Whiskey is the perfect gift for the whiskey lover in your life.

Cocktail Dive Bar: Real Drinks, Fake History, and Questionable Advice from New Orleans’s Twelve Mile Limit by T. Cole Newton Running Press Adult (May 11, 2021) In this irreverent and engaging guide T. Cole Newton, the owner and proprietor of the beloved Louisiana bar Twelve Mile Limit, brings classic and original cocktail recipes to life with a combination of colorful invented histories and real stories, alongside advice drawn from his experience as a young bar owner in the Crescent City. Lively tongue-in-cheek mini-essays on a range of topics (including such illuminating takes as why the unflappable Maury Povich is the ideal role model for the service industry and how bar owners can work to be community allies) break up this alphabetical compendium of cocktail recipes. Make the book your own by taking recipe notes or coloring in the playful, graphic drawings by Bazil Zerinsky and Laura Sanders. A detailed index of ingredients, infusion recipes, and more makes this an ideal companion for any at-home mixologist or industry professional.

The Negroni: A Love Affair with a Classic Cocktail by Matt Hranek Artisan (May 11, 2021) A century ago the cocktail achieved perfection when, according to legend, Count Camillo Negroni asked his bartender in Florence to stiffen an Americano by replacing the soda water with gin. The world never looked back. With its cosmically simple 1:1:1 ratio, its balance of bitter and sweet, its pleasant kick, its aura of sophistication, the Negroni has bewitched cocktail lovers ever since. Perhaps none more so than Matt Hranek, who intones this love song to his favorite drink and offers a curated collection of recipes, both the classic and dozens of variations, deviations, and delicious reinterpretations.

Cider Revolution: Your DIY Guide to Cider & Pet-Nat by Karl Sjöström & Mikael Nypelius Pavilion (May 18, 2021) Fascinated by the growing trend in natural wines, Karl and Mikael began to produce their own cider using 100% hand-picked fruit from the farms and villages outside Malmo, Sweden. Their aim is to make modern, natural drinks using only the naturally occurring yeast of the fruit, without any additives or preservatives. In Cider Revolution, authors Karl and Mikael seek to pass on their passion for cider and inspire others to taste, appreciate, and try their hand at making their own batch from home. As well as passing on the understanding of the cider-making processes, there are recipes for pears, cherries, plums, rhubarb, and berries, and notes on tasting cider, so that it can be appreciated in much the same way as any fine wine.

Tokyo Cocktails: An Elegant Collection of Over 100 Recipes Inspired by the Eastern Capital (City Cocktails) by Nicholas Coldicott Cider Mill Press (May 18, 2021) With over 13.5 million residents squeezed in to 845 square miles, Tokyo stands as one of the world’s most beguiling cities. On the surface it appears to be nothing but towering buildings and glaring lights. But once you get to know the city, its 23 wards reveal hidden alleyways, along many of which you can find singular drinking establishments. Tokyo Cocktails takes you inside the city’s best bars and introduces you to bartenders and mixologists conjuring up drinks that reflect the city’s essence, namely how thousands of years of tradition fuse with myriad contemporary influences. Featuring over 100 recipes that honor and reinvent classics and make the best of local ingredients, this book is the ideal cocktail enthusiast’s guide to drinking like a local, whether you’re making a trip to Tokyo or staying at home and simply wishing you were there.

The Encyclopedia of Cocktails: Over 1,000 Cocktails for Every Occasion Cider Mill Press (May 25, 2021) From 3-ingredient drinks to mad-scientist mixology, The Encyclopedia of Cocktails is any bartender’s go-to resource. Clean, uncluttered design and extensive index make finding drinks easy, whether you’re searching by spirit or style. Ever wondered about the origins of a Martini or Old Fashioned? This book delves into the history of over 100 classic cocktails. There are also recipes for hundreds of homemade ingredients; from syrups to blends, infusions, tinctures, foams, and more, you’ll be crafting bespoke ingredients in no time. The Encyclopedia of Cocktails is the perfect gift for anyone who likes to mix drinks – it’s the only cocktail book they’ll ever need!

The New Kindred Spirits: More Than 2,000 All-New Whiskey, Brandy, Agave Spirits, Gin, Vodka, Rum, Amari, Bitters, and Liqueur Reviews from F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal by F. Paul Pacult Matt Holt Books (May 25, 2021) In 2008, F. Paul Pacult published the second edition of his groundbreaking book of reviews, Kindred Spirits. In the dozen years since, interest in distilled spirits has exploded, and craft distilleries have popped up around the country and the world. Now, in The New Kindred Spirits, Pacult provides a new and comprehensive compilation of more than 2,400 detailed evaluations of whiskeys, brandies, vodkas, tequilas, rums, gins, and liqueurs—an indispensable reference for any spirits enthusiast or professional. New in this edition, The New Kindred Spirits will also cover the craft distiller explosion—wherein thousands of small, independent distillers burst onto the scene—through hundreds of reviews of craft spirits.

Whiskey in the Lone Star State by Nico Martini Cider Mill Press (May 25, 2021) Texas history runs deep, and the history of whiskey in the state is no exception. But the Texas whiskey scene, which emphasizes local corn and barrels made from trees grown in the state, has grown exponentially in the last 10 years, as this collection of over 100 varied distillers makes clear. Locals and tourists alike will discover new expressions that are sure to satisfy tastes as varied as Texas is large. Texas Whiskey, through distillery profiles, interviews with experts, and original photography, tells the story of how whiskey from the Lone Star State is unlike whiskey being made anywhere else on the planet.

Pantry Cocktails: Inventive Sips from Everyday Staples (and a Few Nibbles Too) by Katherine Cobbs Tiller Press (May 25, 2021) We all want to be the type of host who can put together a tasty meal or a delicious appetizer for unexpected company by creatively using the odds and ends from our pantry or fridge. That same improvisational approach can be applied to home bartending with impressive (and tasty!) results. Knowing how to enlist the everyday basics cluttering up your kitchen, like condiments, jams, pickles, and sauces, means you can craft inventive, flavorful cocktails on the fly, satisfying cravings and fulfilling your guest’s requests. You will learn which key bottled spirits to keep in your liquor cabinet, which fridge and cupboard staples you can repurpose, and how to use seasonal herbs from your patio or garden to create outstanding cocktails that are sure to satisfy and impress.

Something and Tonic: A History of the World’s Most Iconic Mixer by Nick Kokonas Bark to Bottle Publishing LLC (May 28, 2021) The expanse of western civilization was hindered by a mosquito bite. For centuries, malaria devastated the European explorers who defined the contours of our modern world map-and the indigenous people who resisted them. The cure? Quinine contained in the bark of the South American cinchona tree, whose medicinal properties were discovered around the turn of the 17th century. Over 400 years later, quinine defines the essence of tonic, the most iconic mixer in the world. Something & Tonic follows the fascinating history of tonic from the jungles of the Andes mountains to the happy hour highball. Award-winning bartender Nick Kokonas takes you on a journey around the globe, revealing how tonic emerged from medical necessity to recreational tipple. Included are 60 original cocktail recipes that reveal tonic’s potential beyond the highball, plus tips, tricks, and insight into modern bar culture and cocktail making.

American History Through a Whiskey Glass: How Distilled Spirits, Domestic Cuisine, and Popular Music Helped Shape a Nation by Harris Cooper Ph.D. Skyhorse (June 1, 2021) American History Through a Whiskey Glass presents a unique perspective on American history. It describes how bourbon and rye whiskey played a role in the most important events in American history, including the voyage of the Mayflower, George Washington’s failed and successful political campaigns, the Civil War, pioneers moving west, Prohibition (of course), plus many more into the twenty-first century. It does so with descriptions of historical events but also with amusing anecdotes and humorous quotes from the historical figures themselves. The book gives readers an integrated and entertaining perspective on popular culture in America at different times, revealing how Americans have politicked, drank their native spirits, ate, and sang. But it does more; readers will not only learn about America’s history, they can experience it through numerous illustrations, whiskey tasting, food, and music. It provides an opportunity for readers to be involved in a truly immersive approach to life-long learning . . . and it’s fun.

The Japanese Art of the Cocktail by Masahiro Urushido & Michael Anstendig Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (June 1, 2021) Katana Kitten, one of the world’s most prominent and acclaimed Japanese cocktail bars, was opened in 2018 by highly-respected and award-winning mixologist Masahiro Urushido. Just one year later, the bar won 2019 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award for Best New American Cocktail Bar. Before Katana Kitten, Urushido honed his craft over several years behind the bar of award-winning eatery Saxon+Parole. In The Japanese Art of the Cocktail, Urushido shares his immense knowledge of Japanese cocktails with eighty recipes that best exemplify Japan’s contribution to the cocktail scene, both from his own bar and from Japanese mixologists worldwide. Urushido delves into what exactly constitutes the Japanese approach to cocktails, and demystifies the techniques that have been handed down over generations, all captured in stunning photography.

The Cocktail Seminars by Brian D. Hoefling Abbeville Press (June 8, 2021) As a senior at Yale, Brian Hoefling realized that his classmates were about to enter the real world with an imperfect knowledge of how to prepare and enjoy cocktails. To remedy this dangerous deficiency, he devised and taught The Cocktail Seminars. In his subsequent career as a cocktail teacher and writer, Hoefling has developed and refined The Cocktail Seminars into the present book. Each of the five seminars herein (from beginner to advanced) covers thirty different drinks, which are arranged so as to progressively introduce the ingredients and techniques of mixology, as well as its eventful history. In each seminar, an exercise and examination challenges readers to apply what they’ve learned to the creation of new and variant drinks. Hoefling’s seminars are founded on the principle that all cocktails consist of a base spirit modified in certain fundamental ways, such as sweetening, souring, bittering, aromatizing, aerating, lengthening, and thickening. Each cocktail is illustrated by a color-coded wheel that shows how the base spirit is modified by the other ingredients.

GSN Review: Dahlia Cristolino Tequila

Founders of Mezcal El Silencio, Fausto Zapata and Vicente Cisneros, announce their venture into the tequila category with the launch of Dahlia Cristalino. The expression represents the brand’s first new offering since the 2013 debut of their mezcal and is a celebration of the National Flower of Mexico it honors, in both spirit and substance. 

Hailing from Jalisco’s Tequila Valley, Dahlia’s journey begins with estate grown 100% mature Blue Weber Agaves. Macerated agaves are cooked to optimize extraction while ensuring that no waste is left behind. The cooked agaves are then fermented using a proprietary yeast and distilled. The resulting tequila is aged in White American Oak barrels for six months. The finishing step is purification through activated charcoal filtration technology, reducing impurities and giving Dahlia its signature, clean flavor. The bottle design, standing tall and emblazoned with a crown of agave spears, is reminiscent of a vintage perfume decanter – an invitation to the delicate bouquet that blossoms from within.

“We are delighted to introduce Tequila Dahlia to the world and to our growing portfolio of beloved agave spirits,” says Tequila Dahlia Co-Founder, Fausto Zapata. “We like to think of Dahlia’s arrival as the bright, playfully seductive balance to our darker, more mischievous mezcal, while, of course, maintaining a steadfast commitment to craft that consumers have come to expect from Silencio.”

GSN’s Remarks: A very dessert-like and whipped creamy kind of tequila. Quite drinkable, but with the agave flavor transformed into something quite different than we were expecting. The typical oak cask character is quite reticent, but the spirit itself is warm and outgoing. This is a perfect tequila for a Margarita, as the sweetness totally balances the tart lime. A very nice entry level tequila for the beginner. For the connoisseur, the terroir is lacking. GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Tequila Dahlia

GSN Review: One With Life Organic Tequila

One may think that boxing and tequila make strange bedfellows, but former boxing promoter and founder of One With Life Organic Tequila (OWL) Lisa Elovich begs to differ as she embarks on a new partnership with four world champions. 

The team of boxers joining the brand include Teofimo Lopez, the current unified Lightweight World Champion and the youngest four-belt champion in the history of boxing; Hall of Fame Heavyweight Champion Larry Holmes; Lightweight Hall of Famer Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini; and “The Real Million Dollar Baby,” Maureen Shea Carranza, a WBC & IFBA Featherweight Champion.

By bringing on the cadre of champions, Elovich hopes to amplify her message of courage, fortitude, compassion and exuberance; something all of them exemplify in spades.  After leaving her position as a Manhattan assistant district attorney, Elovich discovered the joys of a centered, holistic life leading her to embark on a journey to motivate others; first as a life coach and now through OWL, an organic, sustainably-farmed tequila. Together the team of fighters will bring a message of “spirit” to One With Life. 

One with Life Organic Tequila is hand crafted from sustainably grown and farmed Blue Agave in Jalisco, Mexico. Each agave plant is harvested for OWL at the height of ripeness, and then roasted in a clay oven adhering to traditional tequila production practices.  The roasted and shredded blue agave is naturally fermented and double distilled in stainless steel tanks. There are absolutely no additives, sweeteners or glycerin used in making OWL Organic Tequila. 

GSN’s Remarks: We like the clean, fresh fruitiness of the blanco. There’s a light marshmallowy sweetness which gives a round and even mouthfeel. This is an easy tequila to enjoy with all of the possible rough edges smoothed out and a friendly and bright flavor. We also received a sample of the extra anjeo which adds some oak and darker notes of toffee and caramel. Again, very smooth and excellent as a sipper. We recommend the blanco for a Margarita, and the extra anjeo for a tequila Old-Fashioned. GSN Ratings: Blanco A-, Anjeo A-

For more information go to: One With Life Tequila

GSN Spirited News: April 6th 2021 Edition

Four Roses is expanding distribution of its Small Batch Select Bourbon into 13 new markets, including Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. The 52% abv offering, a blend of six Bourbons all aged a minimum of six years, retails at $60 a 750-ml. and debuted in 2019.

Casa Don Ramón Tequila has introduced three new expressions to the U.S. They include a Platinium Plata, as well as Reposado and Añejo Cristalinos. The brand’s Reposado Cristalino matured for four months in a combination of American and French oak before filtering, while Don Ramón Añejo Cristalino was aged in the same combination for one year. All three spirits are bottled at 40% abv and distilled from 100% blue agave. The range retails from $42-$46 and is part of Dialce’s family of Tequilas, which also includes Tequila Don Alvaro, Tequila Buen Amigo, and Tequila Valerosa.

Denver-based Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, part of the Proximo Spirits portfolio, has announced Bushmills Cask, the latest barrel. The 47% abv whiskey is matured first in American oak before finishing in casks that previously held Bushmills Irish whiskey. The whiskey is the first release in the brand’s Distiller’s Exclusive Series and retails for $70 a 750-ml.

Santo Spirits, the agave spirits-focused brand from musician Sammy Hagar and chef Guy Fieri, has released a new Reposado Tequila expression. Santo Reposado is made by distiller Juan Eduardo Nuñez and is matured for five months in charred American oak barrels before bottling at 40% abv. Santo’s Reposado Tequila is now available across the U.S. for a suggested price of $40 a 750-ml. It joins the brand’s Blanco Tequila and Mezquila, an agave spirit distilled from a blend of Blue and Espadín agaves.

Beam Suntory is targeting the low-calorie spirits market with Pinnacle Light & Ripe, a new collection of flavored vodkas with 75 calories per 1.5-ounce serving. The brand extension has debuted with two flavors—Apricot Honeysuckle and Guava Lime—each at 30% abv. Both flavors of Pinnacle Light & Ripe are now available across the U.S. for around $11 a 750-ml.

Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits has added Horse Soldier Bourbon to its portfolio across the distributor’s national footprint. The veteran founded brand will be part of SGWS’ new Fine Wine and Artisanal Spirits program. This will expand the whiskey brand’s existing partnership with Foley Family Wines, which recently aligned with SGWS nationally. The Horse Soldier portfolio consists of the brand’s flagship Bourbon (43.5% abv), a small batch release (47.5% abv), and a barrel strength variant.

Beam Suntory-owned Laphroaig has announced a new limited edition 10-year-old single malt Scotch whisky finished in Oloroso Sherry casks. The whisky is bottled at cask strength—48% abv—after spending 12-18 months finishing in Sherry casks. Laphroaig 10-Year-Old Sherry Oak Finish is rolling out now across the U.S. where it will retail for a suggested price of $90 a 750-ml. For this release, only 4,450 cases will be available globally.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: April 6th 2021 Edition

Arkansas’ Smithworks, part of the Pernod Ricard portfolio, has launched a new hard seltzer lemonade in partnership with country singer and The Voice host Blake Shelton. The 5% abv malt-based seltzers come in four flavors—Classic Lemon, Ripe Strawberry, Southern Peach Tea, and Crisp Lime—and are available in 12-can variety packs, 6-packs of Classic Lemon, and 23-ounce tallboys of Classic Lemon and Ripe Strawberry. Currently, Smithworks Hard Seltzer Lemonade is available in 17 states with additional distribution coming this year.

Canteen Spirits is introducing Cantina Tequila sodas. Cantina debuts with three flavors—Ranch Water, Grapefruit Paloma, and Watermelon Margarita—and each 12-ounce can has 99 calories. Currently in select states, the 5.6% abv cocktails are rolling out nationally in May retailing at $10 a four-pack. 

Chico, California’s Sierra Nevada has announced Summer Break Hazy IPA. The new 4.6% abv beer will replace Summerfest Czech-style Pilsner, the company’s previous summer seasonal, and will be available on draft and in 6-, 12-, and 24-packs of 12-ounce cans. Summer Break is rolling out now across the U.S. and will be available from mid-April through July.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Alert: April 7th -National Beer Day

National Beer Day is celebrated in the United States every year on April 7, marking the day that the Cullen–Harrison Act was enacted after having been signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on March 22, 1933. This led to the Eighteenth Amendment being repealed on December 5, 1933, with ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. April 6, the day prior to National Beer Day, is known as New Beer’s Eve.

National Beer Day was first created in 2009 by Justin Smith of Richmond, Virginia. After much prodding from his friend, Mike Connolly, Smith started a Facebook page that was noticed by Colorado Beer Examiner, Eli Shayotovich. Smith’s promotion of the new holiday via various social media outlets was rewarded when the beer drinking app, “Untappd”, created a badge for National Beer Day that rewarded participants that checked a beer into the app on April 7. National Beer Day has since been trending every year on April 7 using the hashtag #NationalBeerDay.

GSN Review: Hopworks High Lift Cherry Sour

Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB), the first B Corp brewery in the Pacific Northwest, is kicking off the season with the release of High Lift Cherry Sour, a limited-run kettle sour brewed with a blend of tart and dark sweet cherries sourced from Oregon Fruit Products. 

“We’ve been wanting to brew a sour that highlights the best of Oregon’s cherry harvest,” said Matt Speckenbach, Head Brewer at Hopworks. “We’re extremely proud of High Lift and how the brewers crafted a very well-rounded sour that’s perfect for the transition into spring!” 

High Lift Cherry Sour is available on tap and in 16 oz 4-packs ($9.99) at both the Powell Mothership, 2944 SE Powell Blvd., and HUB Vancouver, 17707 SE Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver, Washington. 

Founded in Portland, Oregon, in 2008 by Christian and Brandie Ettinger, Hopworks Urban Brewery creates world-class beer and food with sustainable business practices that protect the environment and support our community. Family-owned and operated, Hopworks sources thoughtfully, operates efficiently and minimizes waste in an effort to protect the planet. The company’s 20-barrel brewery produces 10,000 barrels of beer a year for Hopworks’ brewpubs and distribution throughout Cascadia.

GSN’s Remarks: The cherry flavor just about blasts out of the can with this one. The sour ale pairs beautifully with the semi-tart fruit and creates a mouthwatering refresher. We love the way it looks in the glass as well, with a dark reddish-brown tint and a foamy head. This is a brew that would be welcome year round, but if you can grab a few four-packs now, you can count yourself lucky. GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Hopworks Beer

 

GSN Review: Middle West Spirits’ OYO Vodkas and Vim & Petal Gin

Columbus, Ohio distillery, Middle West Spirits distillery is led by a 4th-generation distiller.  The distillery produces a line of artisan vodka, gins and American whiskeys produced in partnership with farms across the mid-west. Sold under the OYO (OH-WHY-OH), Middle West and Vim and Petal brands, each of Middle West’s spirits celebrate unique flavors that are distinctive to Ohio. Middle West Spirits also operates onsite full-service bar and restaurant called the Service Bar, featuring modern American cuisine by Chef Avishar Barua. 

Middle West Spirits’ flagship spirit, OYO Vodka, is unfiltered and made from local soft red wheat. Other OYO Vodka expressions include OYO Stone Fruit, OYO Honey Vanilla Bean, and OYO Barrel-Finished Honey Vanilla Bean.

Middle West Spirits’ Vim & Petal Gin is an American dry gin that is a union of 18 botanicals with their soft red wheat distillate.

GSN’s Remarks:

OYO Vodka is unusual in that is is unfiltered, and this carries through both in the mouthfeel and flavor of the spirit. Somewhat round and creamy, there is a pleasant sweetness from the wheat that lingers, with a long finish. This is one of the most flavorful vodkas we’ve ever tasted. At the tail end of the experience, there is a slight chalky finish. A very mixable vodka for any cocktail. GSN Rating: B

OYO Honey Vanilla Bean carries the sweetness even further with a vanilla forward character. The honey is more subdued and adds some high notes. We especially liked the natural vanilla flavor which is often hard to pull off in vodkas. Overall, this makes a great spirit to mix with cola, as a float or in a “tini” style cocktail. GSN Rating: A-

OYO Barrel Aged Honey Vanilla Bean Vodka (that’s a mouthful) adds some darker and drier wood elements, toning down the sweetness and bringing a wider charisma. Of the two, this one is more introspective and designed for sipping on it’s own. It’s almost a blend of a young whiskey and a flavored vodka at this point. Nothing too wild, but unusual and tasty. We approve. GSN Rating: A

OYO Stone Fruit Vodka is by far the sweetest of the bunch. We’ve been going back and forth on the flavor profile here, and the closest approximation is of figs or perhaps prunes. The mouthfeel is almost viscous and the sweetness tends to overwhelm the actual vodka. However, this is a great spirit for use in baking, or cooking with a pork dish. Try this instead of brandy in a stew. Unusual and right on the edge of being of liqueuer. GSN Rating: B+

Vim & Petal, the sole gin entry in the Middle West portfolio uses the same unfiltered vodka as it’s base, and the same sweetness carries through. Although not entirely unpleasant, it is a bit of a shock when you are expecting a dry and crisp, juniper forward spirit. This sweetness is at odds with the botanicals and doesn’t really allow them to shine. The pine and citrus notes are very mild and only really make themselves known after a minute of two. We’d like to see what Middle West could do with a triple distilled and filtered base spirit. GSN Rating: B-

For more information go to: Middle West Spirits

GSN Spirited News: March 30th 2021 Edition

Kentucky’s Bardstown Bourbon Co. has announced its second collaboration with California wine brand The Prisoner, set to hit shelves on April 1. The whiskey—the latest in Bardstown’s Collaboration Series—is a 10-year-old Tennessee bourbon, bottled at 50%, and finished for 18 months in barrels used to mature The Prisoner’s flagship red blend. Bardstown Bourbon Company & The Prisoner Wine Company Collaboration will retail for around $124 a 750-ml. and will be available in limited quantities in Bardstown’s distribution footprint.

Luxury Tequila player Clase Azul is introducing a new offering, Mezcal Guerrero, nationwide on April 1. The newcomer is made from 100% Agave Papalote, also known as Agave Cupreata, which is specific to Mexico’s Guerrero region and can take up to 15 years to mature. Recommended to be sipped neat, Clase Azul’s Mezcal Guerrero is packaged in a tall green decanter stylized with a number of elements evocative of Guerrero culture. The 42% abv mezcal will retail at $249 a 750-ml.

Highland Park, part of the Edrington portfolio, has unveiled a new ultra-luxury single malt. The new Highland Park 50-year-old was selected from nine refill casks originally laid down in 1968, married together in 2008, then re-racked into a handful of first-fill Sherry seasoned oak casks. Then, after a further 12 years of maturation, one of these limited casks was selected and married with a small quantity of the whisky from the last 50-year-old released by the Orkney-based distillery. Bottled at 43.8% abv and retailing at $30,000 a bottle, Highland Park 50-year-old is an extremely limited release of 274 bottles each signed by master whisky maker Gordon Motion.

Oakland, California’s Absinthia Bottled Spirits has launched Absinthia Verte, the brand’s second release following Absinthia Blanche. The absinthe is made from California grapes and distilled with wormwood, star anise, fennel seed, and coriander seed, plus Roman wormwood, anise hyssop, and lemon balm to give the Verte its green color. The spirit is bottled at 55% abv and retails for $45 a 375-ml. Absinthia Verte (and its sibling, Blanche) are available on the brand’s website and in key markets across the U.S.

Sombra mezcal, part of the Davos Brands portfolio recently acquired by Diageo, is launching Reposé, billed as a first-of-its-kind reposado made with Sombra’s Espadin mezcal, aged in Bordeaux wine barrels. Sourced from Château Léoville Poyferré, a second growth wine estate in Saint-Julien, the barrels are filled with Sombra’s Espadin mezcal and aged for up to six months. Château Léoville Poyferré is owned by the family of Davos founder Guillaume Cuvelier. Sombra Reposé is launching nationally, retailing at $50 a bottle.

Beam Suntory has released the first bottling of Booker’s Bourbon for 2021: Donohoe’s Batch. This iteration of the barrel-proof Bourbon is bottled after 6 years and comes in at 63.65% abv. Donohoe’s Batch is named for Mike Donohoe, a friend of Booker Noe and longtime top executive at Jim Beam. Booker’s Bourbon Donohoe’s Batch is now available in limited quantities across the U.S. for a suggested price of $90 a 750-ml.

Dallas, Texas-based Oak & Eden has re-released Bourbon & Brew, the company’s popular collaboration with West Oak Coffee. The 45% abv Bourbon is finished in bottle with a 5-inch piece of French oak that is soaked in West Oak cold brew coffee sourced from Colombia. Bourbon & Brew is now available on Oak & Eden’s website for $60 a 750-ml. and in retailers in most of the company’s 22-state distribution footprint.

Pernod Ricard has announced new watermelon flavors for both Absolut vodka and Malibu rum. Absolut Watermelon comes in at 38% abv and will be available nationwide beginning on April 12. Malibu Watermelon is now available across the U.S. and comes at 21% abv; 750-ml. bottles retail for around $20 and 1.75-liter bottles go for a suggested price of $26.

Louisville, Kentucky’s Barrell Craft Spirits has launched a new brand, Stellum, with a pair of barrel strength whiskies. Initially, the brand is hitting shelves with a Bourbon and a rye; each is a blend of straight whiskies sourced from Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Stellum Bourbon comes in at 57.49% abv and the brand’s rye is at 58.12% abv. Both retail for a suggested price of $55 a 750-ml. and are available in select locations across 45 states. In addition to Stellum’s blended releases, the company will also offer single barrel bottlings under the brand name.

Bozal mezcal, part of the 3 Badge Beverage portfolio, is introducing Guías de Calabaza, a vegetarian Sacrificio-style mezcal from Río de Ejutla in Oaxaca. A single maguey expression made from 100% Agave Angustifolia (Espadín), Bozal Guías de Calabaza retails at $99 and carries an abv of 47%. Sacrificio mezcals are made in small batches for personal consumption as well as for fiestas with locals and neighbors. Their distillation often involves meat proteins like pork, chicken, or lamb. 3 Badge says Guías de Calabaza follows traditional sacrificio methods while eschewing the protein addition.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: March 30th 2021 Edition

Beam Suntory is targeting the Tequila-based RTD market with Hornitos Tequila Seltzer. The 5% abv cocktails are rolling out now in select markets and come in two flavors, lime and mango. The RTDs are made with Hornitos Plata Tequila and other natural ingredients and do not contain artificial sweeteners. Four-packs of Hornitos Tequila Seltzer will retail for around $12 and will reach national distribution by this summer.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Middle West Spirits’ Whiskies

Middle West Spirits believe local ingredients are the only ingredients. Set in the heart of Ohio, Middle West Spirits is an urban micro-distillery that draws inspiration from its surroundings. They are mindful of the immense resources they have nearby, and make every effort to use them. And they’re students of time-tested distilling traditions – proud to use the first copper still of its kind in North America, from a company that’s been making the gold standard for nearly 200 years. They also recognize the vibrant community around them, and do their part to support local emerging artists who share a strong commitment to their craft.

Middle West Spirits’ whiskey lineup includes: Lucky Find Wheat Whiskey, Soul of Scarlet Bourbon, Michelone Reserve Bourbon, Straight Wheat Whiskey, Straight Rye Dark Pumpernickel Whiskey, White Rye Whiskey, Oloroso Wheat Whiskey, Sherry Finished Bourbon, and Bourbon Cream.

GSN was sent samples of the whiskies in italics for review.

GSN’s Remarks: The Straight Wheat is quiet smooth and light, yet with a decent amount of char. We like the clean approach that has elements of caramel, toffee, and mild baking spice. A fine spirit for a Manhattan or the like. The Michelone Reserve has a lot more character and is darker, richer and seems to have sherry cask notes. We like this one for sipping or in a basic Old-Fashioned. The Rye/Pumpernickel is quite spicy and the bready notes have a clarion call on the palate. The flavor goes on and on with an incredibly long and luscious finish. A killer whiskey that everyone should sample at least once in their lives. Lastly, the Bourbon Cream is as it should be, a dessert in a glass. The cream flavor is natural and the bourbon leaves just a tiny bit of heat. Served on the rocks or in a mug of coffee, this is a great way to close the day. GSN Ratings: Straight Wheat B+, Michelone Reserve A-, Straight Rye Dark Pumpernickel A++, Bourbon Cream B+

For more information go to: Middle West Spirits

GSN Recommends: Half Time Beverage

Craft beer and cider lovers who have been lamenting their lack of access to the country’s finest microbreweries can now have their favorite beverages delivered direct to their doors – even in the midst of a pandemic! Half Time Beverage is making that seemingly impossible wish a reality with a ready-to-ship assortment of its unrivaled selection of craft beers and ciders. 

The company also carries a lineup that includes gluten-free beer, mead, mini kegs, non-alcoholic beer, beer & cider gift baskets, gift packs, monthly clubs/subscriptions, hard seltzer, and malt. And for those who can’t decide, Half Time Beverage offers variety boxes that include IPAs, stouts, sours, Jooses and lagers as well as special holiday-themed boxes. Half Time Beverage delivers all these options direct to doorsteps across the United States. What’s more, all gift baskets, gift packs, and monthly clubs ship free. 

On top of the huge selection of craft beer, Half Time Beverage has become the go-to partner for event organizers in craft beer and has single handedly kept beer festivals alive during the pandemic. Virtual beer festival partners have included The Smithsonian Museum, Untappd, Hop Culture, Beer Advocate and others. 

Half Time Beverage also actively supports charitable causes including hospital support and Covid-19 relief and has given thousands of dollars in giveaways specifically for first-responders and front line workers. 

To learn more about how to have thousands of IPAs, lagers, porters, stouts, hefeweizens, pilsners, sours, cider and more delivered anywhere in the United States, visit Half Time Beverage online.

GSN Review: Bimini Gins

Round Turn Distilling, makers of Bimini Gin, have announced their newest expression, Bimini Coconut. Using the same base distillate known for its unique flavor profile of soft juniper, hops, and grapefruit, natural coconut flavor is added through a fat-washing process, possibly making it the first gin in the world flavored this way. 

“Bartenders have been fat-washing gin with coconut for years, but it’s a labor-intensive process,” says Round Turn Distilling co-founder, Kristina Hansen. “We decided we could make their jobs a little easier by doing the work for them and, at the same time, introduce this delicious flavor combination to the home bar.”

Bimini uses a neutral base spirit made from non-GMO American corn distilled four times. The water in Bimini Coconut comes from the Saco River, which flows from the White Mountains of New Hampshire right past Round Turn Distilling and into the Atlantic Ocean. Unlike many flavored gins, Bimini Coconut does not contain flavor extracts.

In their process of fat washing, Hansen and Case heat organic, Fair Trade Certified, extra virgin coconut oil to a liquid state before adding it to their unfiltered gin distillate for an extended maceration. The mixture is then chilled until the coconut oil becomes solid and can be strained out. The resulting coconut flavor is natural, dry, and well balanced with the gin botanicals.

Founded in 2015 by Hansen and her husband, Darren Case, Round Turn Distilling is located on the coast of Maine in the former mill town of Biddeford, just south of Portland. Case and Hansen, who also serve as the distillers, have transformed a 150-year-old textile mill into a state-of-the-art distillery. They currently have four expressions in their portfolio: Bimini Gin, Bimini Overproof Gin, Bimini Barrel Reserve No. 1 and Bimini Coconut.

GSN’s Remarks: The flagship Bimini Gin has a soft and somewhat reticent juniper presentation, with a mild botanical backbone. It’s definitely easy-going and quite mixable. The Overproof brings out more of the juniper and at 111 proof, packs a punch. But, we prefer this one for the extra attention it gives to the botanical bouquet. Try this one in punches or juice forward cocktails to temper the fire. The novel Bimini Coconut is quite good. You wouldn’t think of the two flavors working together, but they do indeed. The coconut flavor is subtle, but adds a nutty, tropical character and the fat washing adds a smoothness to the gin that is unique. We recommend giving this a try with tonic and lime. Lastly, the Barrel Reserve No. 1 is akin to an Old Tom style gin, but with a difference. The spirit is finished in a triad of ex-bourbon, brandy and rum casks to create something that has both slight sweetness and smokiness. Really well done, and our favorite of the quartet.

GSN Ratings: Bimini Gin B+, Overproof Gin A-, Coconut Gin A-, Barrel Reserve A+

For more information go to: Bimini Gin

GSN Alert: March 27th – International Whisk(e)y Day

0403-whiskey-battle-970Whisk(e)y is such a ubiquitous spirit that it is hard to imagine cocktail culture without it.  Think of all the iconic drinks from the Old-Fashioned to the Manhattan to the Sazerac to the Penicillin.  And there are nearly as many countries known for their own particular take on the “water of life”.  Scotland, Ireland, Canada, America, Japan are just the major epicenters of distillation.  Then, you’ve got a variety of styles.  Single malt, single grain, blended, unaged, aged in a plethora of different wood barrels.  It is truly amazing.

So, on this day, toast with a glass of your favorite either neat, straight up, on the rocks, or mixed into a cocktail.  Without whiskey, our lives would be lacking a little joy.

Cheers!

The Editorial Staff