l_12233-1Hibiki Japanese Harmony encapsulates the harmony that exists between Japanese nature and its people. Packaged in a glass decanter bottle cut in 24 facets, which represent the 24 hours in a day and the 24 seasons of the traditional Japanese lunar calendar, Hibiki Japanese Harmony is a blend of select whiskies from the House of Suntory Whisky. It is a blend of at least 10 malt and grain whiskies, aged in five different types of casks, from Suntory’s Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita distilleries.

Hibiki Japanese Harmony is heralded as the foundation of the Hibiki range, leveraging the same key malt and grain whiskies from the original Hibiki blend, Hibiki 17 Years and Hibiki 21 Years. American White Oak malt whiskies create a base. The Mizunara (Japanese oak) and sherry cask malt whiskies are the dressing. The smoky malt whiskies enact as subtle accents to create depth and further complexity. Grain whiskies from Suntory’s Chita distillery act as the “dashi,” or broth, to complete the personality of the malt whiskies and enhance their overall harmony.

Hibiki Japanese Harmony (86 proof)
Visual: Mild, bright gold.
Nose: Slight haze of wood smoke, warmed maple plank, newly polished saddle leather, whole grain bread dough, tinge of buttercream.
Taste: Complex and intertwined with darker aspects of aged whiskies.  A canvas of different wood flavors along with the sprightliness of the younger grain whiskies, along with a hint of sherry make this a whisky that unfolds itself over several minutes with each taste.
Finish: Medium short with a definite bent toward fresh cooked caramel.
Overall: Much like Japanese cuisine, the appeal of this whisky lies in its subtleties and nuances.  In other words, savor each sip as you might meditate on a haiku.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Whisky Suntory

unspecifiedHigh West Distillery, Utah’s first legal distillery since 1870, releases a limited edition 14-Year Light Whiskey. “At High West, we believe education leads to appreciation so we wanted to shed some light on this rarely discussed type of whiskey,” says High West founder David Perkins. “This is a spirit that’s not likely to be available again for a long time.”

Light whiskey denotes a grain spirit that’s been distilled at a higher proof than a straight whiskey — between 80-95% alcohol by volume (ABV) versus less than 80% ABV respectively. It’s typically used as a component in about 95% of the world’s blended whiskeys. In the U.K., what they call grain whiskey is essentially the same thing as light whiskey.

“This whiskey was distilled at a higher proof on the still, which reduces the heaviness of the flavors, and reveals more floral and fruit subtleties,” said High West master distiller Brendan Coyle. “It was aged in used barrels, as opposed to first-use charred barrels, which lends more elegant complexities with a spirit-forward character.”

High West discovered 100 barrels of light whiskey at MGP made from corn that was distilled between 1999 and 2001, aged in second-fill barrels. That wood aging imparted a traditionally light spirit with anything but typical results.

Beginning March 19, 2016 this special bottling is available exclusively to visitors at the High West Distillery at Blue Sky Ranch, followed by a roll out at the High West Saloon & Distillery in historic Old Town Park City on April 16, 2016.

High West 14 Year Light Whiskey (92 proof)
Visual: Medium gold.
Nose: Unusual grape-like nose with a vanilla overlay.  Quite fruity and mouth-watering.  Additional notes of spicecake add panache.  Entrancing.
Taste: Marshmallow, vanilla caramel creme and mild cinnamon out of the gate.  As the flavors settle during a second taste, softer more subtle malty toast and mild rye flavors come through.  This is interesting, as there is no rye used in the grain bill.
Finish: Long and sweet like a lover’s kiss.  And like a lover’s kiss, you’ll want to keep coming back for more.
Overall: Another fantastic whiskey from High West.  Currently one of my top favorite American distilleries.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: High West


This is a serviceable tropical cocktail that oddly enough calls for vodka.  To be honest, you would do just as well to use an ounce and a quarter of light rum, as the pineapple juice all but overwhelms any subtleties of the spirits.

You’ll notice that I did not garnish this drink.  That’s what happens when I forget to buy pineapple wedges.  I did decide to use cobbled ice instead of cubes.  It looks better and keeps things well chilled.

Caribbean Cruise
1oz vodka
0.25oz light rum
0.25oz coconut rum
1 splash grenadine
4oz pineapple juice
Garnish: pineapple wedge, maraschino cherry

Shake first four ingredients with ice and pour into ice-filled Collins glass. Fill with pineapple juice. Garnish with pineapple and cherry.

Alacran-Reposado-Tequila-High-Res-690x805Alacran Tequila has augmented its lineup with a new Reposado entry. Made with 100% Weber Blue agave, Alacran Reposado is aged for four months in ex-Bourbon oak barrels and packaged in a hand-labeled and numbered bottle. The new extension marks the fourth offering in Alacran’s stable, joining Tequila Blanco, Mezcal Joven and Cristal Añejo. Launched in the U.S. in 2011, Alacran’s key markets include New York, Miami and Texas.

ExtraKinky_Lineup_Pink-Gold-Blue_highresPrestige Beverage Group is extending its Kinky brand of RTD cocktails with two new flavors and a higher-alcohol Extra Kinky range. Kinky Cocktails, packaged in 12-ounce-bottle six-packs and carrying an abv of 5%, currently include Pink, Blue and Gold expressions. New to the line this spring are Red—a mix of watermelon and strawberry—and a limited edition Summer variant mingling coconut, lime and pineapple. Also joining the brand is 8%-abv Extra Kinky, which includes three flavors and is offered in 16- and 23.5-ounce cans. Kinky Cocktails are expanding their territory this year to include metro New York and Florida.

mobile-sangria-1Florida’s Miami Cocktail Co. has added two new ready-to-drink craft cocktails to its Small Batch Organics series. Miami Cocktail’s Tropical Sangria is made with premium red wine and infused with pineapple, mango, orange and lime juices, while the brand’s Blood Orange Mimosa blends blood oranges, tangerines and grapefruit with sparkling wine. Both 9%-abv expressions are crafted with all-natural ingredients and tout 100 calories per serving. The Small Batch Organics range is currently available online and at Whole Foods Market stores throughout Florida, retailing at $14.99 a 750-ml.

Rebel-YellSt. Louis-based spirits marketer Luxco has extended its Rebel Yell Bourbon brand with the launch of two new flavors—Ginger Whiskey and Root Beer Whiskey. The newest 70-proof offerings (both about $17-$20) will be available nationwide beginning this month and join Honey, Cherry, Bourbon, Small Batch Reserve, Small Batch Rye and American Whiskey expressions in the brand’s portfolio.

19835_cd3a5b9a03858bb795b6ba883a86f3dfDiageo has partnered with Hollywood director Brett Ratner for the launch of a new whiskey brand, The Hilhaven Lodge. The new whiskey is a blend three different whiskey styles that span three decades—Bourbon from the 2000s, Tennessee whiskey from the 1990s and rye whiskey from the 1980s. The packaging is inspired by the famed Hilhaven Lodge located in Beverly Hills and features a wood cork cap. The Hilhaven Lodge (40% abv) is hand-bottled at Louisville’s Stitzel-Weller distillery and will initially be available in limited quantities on- and off-premise in California and Florida for a suggested retail price of $50 a bottle.

356917Pernod Ricard’s Olmeca Tequila has extended its 100%-agave Altos range with a new Añejo expression. Aged for 18 months in oak barrels, Olmeca Altos Añejo ($34.99 a 750-ml.) is initially rolling out on-premise in select markets, including California, Colorado, Illinois, Florida, New York and Texas. Añejo marks the third entry in Olmeca Altos’ lineup, joining the brand’s existing Plata and Reposado offerings.

358089Proximo Spirits will launch a new American whiskey offering from DeLeon Tequila founder Brent Hocking on May 1. The new product, on which Hocking has collaborated with rapper Drake, is called Virginia Black Decadent American Whiskey, and will retail around $35 a bottle.

download (1)Chicago-based Rhine Hall Distillery, known for its fruit brandies, is introducing a fortified apple cider called La Normande, a French pommeau-style cordial due to launch on May 1. The cider, aged for nine months in Bourbon barrels from Heaven Hill, is bottled at 18% abv and priced at $33 per 750-ml. bottle. The company, owned by the father and daughter team of Charlie and Jenny Solberg, distributes only in Illinois, Indiana and Utah. Its lineup includes peach, plum, cherry, pear and mango brandies as well as grappa.

smirnoff-ice-electric-mandarin-10-HRDiageo’s Smirnoff Ice has extended its RTD lineup with a new range of non-carbonated malt beverages. Currently rolling out nationwide, Smirnoff Ice’s new Electric Flavors series features two expressions, including Electric Mandarin and Electric Berry. Both 5%-abv offerings are made with natural flavors and sweeteners, as well as coconut water, and are available in four-packs of 16-ounce re-sealable plastic bottles ($8.99).

set_shot_100cl_SCIL US Wine & Spirits, the U.S. subsidiary of Cognac producer Camus Wine & Spirits, has partnered with Denmark’s Danzka Vodka for the U.S. release of its namesake offering. The Scandinavian-style vodka is made with 100% whole-wheat grain through six-column distillation and triple filtered. The lineup—which includes Danzka, Danzka Apple, Citrus and Cranraz (all 40% abv) will launch in 750-ml. and 1-liter bottles in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida and Illinois this year, with a wider rollout planned for 2017.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

downloadDowningtown, Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing Co. has released Cage Radler, a new lemon-infused lager. Made with Tettnang Mittelfrueh hops and Pilsner malts, the 3%-abv brew is made with natural ingredients and features notes of lemonade and citrus. Cage Radler will be sold across Victory’s 37-state footprint, available in six-packs of 12-ounce cans ($9.99) and on draft. Additionally, Cage Radler will be one of two new entries included in this year’s iteration of Victory’s Summer Selections variety 12-Screen-Shot-2016-04-05-at-1.06.50-PMpack.

San Clemente, California-based Left Coast Brewing Company is rolling out its limited edition spring seasonal, Red Tide. The newest American Belgian-style red ale joins the company’s year-round beers Trestle IPA and Del Mar St. Lager. Red Tide (7.1% abv) is brewed with Simcoe, Zythos and Amarillo hops. It’s available in 22-ounce bottles and kegs through June. Left Coast says it produces 11,000 barrels of beer and is available in 17 states.

Devils-Backbone-Adventure-PackLexington, Virginia’s Devils Backbone Brewing Company is rolling out its newest Adventure Pack Sampler. The mixed 12-pack will be available through June and features the Belgian-inspired farmhouse ale Five Apostles Saison (6.9% abv), as well as Pear Lager (4.8% abv), Golden Stag (5.5% abv) and Black Rock Milk Stout (5.4% abv). The offerings were previously available only at the company’s Basecamp Brewpub. The Adventure Pack Sampler will be available throughout Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina and West Virginia. Earlier this month, Anheuser-Busch InBev agreed to purchase Devils Backbone for an undisclosed sum in a deal expected to close in the second quarter.

Stone-6th-AnniversaryEscondido, California’s Stone Brewing Company is bringing back its 6th Anniversary Porter, first introduced in 2002, as part of the 20th Anniversary Encore Series. The 8%-abv imperial smoked porter, which was conditioned with American and French oak chips, is brewed with Tomahawk hops. It’s available across Stone’s distribution footprint in limited 22-ounce bottles and on draft. In addition to its California brewery, Stone is also building a facility in Europe and production brewery in Richmond, Virginia.

Oskar-Blues-The-Wolf-and-the-LambColorado’s Oskar Blues Brewery has collaborated with New Orleans-based NOLA Brewing to launch The Wolf And The Lamb, a new limited release. A Double Pilsner-style lager, the 7%-abv brew is made with Pilsner malt and Czech Agnes and Styrian Wolf hops, and is packaged in cans featuring Jazz Fest-inspired artwork by New Orleans native J. Pierre. The Wolf And The Lamb is currently available for a limited time throughout Colorado and Louisiana.

image_thumbProvidence, Rhode Island’s Narragansett Beer is releasing Summertime Citra Ale, a new version of its traditional Summer Ale that debuted in 2011. This year’s summer offering is a blonde ale brewed with an increased amount of Citra hops and pale malt, which the company says impart more citrus and passion fruit notes. Summertime Citra Ale (4.2% abv) is available in six-packs of 16-ounce cans ($8.99-$9.99) and 12-packs of 12-ounce cans ($13.99-$15.99). The summer release will also be available in Narragansett’s latest Clam Shack Summer Variety 12-pack of 12-ounce cans ($13.99-$15.99), which also includes Del’s Shandy and Narragansett Lager. The company recently announced plans to return brewing operations to its home state for the first time since 1983.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

Amaretto_Bottles_4 Today is National Amaretto Day.  I’ll bet you had no idea.  Well, break out that dusty bottle from where it’s languishing in your closet and fix yourself an Amaretto Sour while I tell you a little background behind this unusual liqueur.

Amaretto Sour
2 oz Amaretto liqueur
1 oz Fresh squeezed lemon juice
½  fresh organic Egg white
2 dashes Aromatic Bitters

Dry shake (without ice) all ingredients. Add ice, shake again and strain into ice-filled glass.

Amaretto literally means “a little bitter”.  The original recipe contained bitter almond, but today’s liqueurs tend to be quite sweet.  We’ve all tasted a brand at least once.  Usually our first experience was sneaking a swig from our parents liquor cabinet.  Memorable and probably not our finest drinking moment.  “It has essence of tree nut, with elements of cane sugar”.

Yet, Amaretto has a long and distinguished heritage.  And it’s not necessarily almonds that you’re tasting.

Interestingly, the world’s best-selling brand DiSaronno contains no almonds, but rather uses a blend of seventeen herbs, fruits and most importantly apricot pits.  In fact, this recipe has been around since 1525, so who’s to say whether the product is supposed to be almond or apricot pit flavored?

Lastly, Portland bartender extraordinaire Jeffery Morganthaler claims to have perfected the world’s best Amaretto Sour.  You can check out his version here.

1Colorado’s Breckenridge Brewery has unveiled King’s Dish, the latest beer in its Small Batch series. Billed as a Burton ale-style brew, King’s Dish is made with English malts and will be available for a limited time in select markets, sold in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles and on draft. The 7.8%-abv entry joins previous launches 471 Small Batch IPA and 72 Imperial in Breckenridge’s Small Batch lineup, which showcases full-flavored beers with relatively high alcohol-by-volume.

saint_arnold_5oclock_pils_12oz_can-168x300Houston’s Saint Arnold Brewing Co. has added 5 O’Clock Pils to its year-round lineup. First created in 2013 as part of Saint Arnold’s limited edition Icon Series, 5 O’Clock is a Bohemian Pils-style lager brewed with Saaz hops, a varietal traditionally grown in the Czech Republic. The 5.2%-abv entry is currently available in 12-ounce cans and on draft throughout Texas, Louisiana and Florida. 5 O’Clock Pils marks Saint Arnold’s first year-round lager, joining Amber Ale, Ale Wagger Brown, Weedwacker and Fancy Lawnmower, among others, in the brewer’s core portfolio.

Bear-Republic-Pace-Car-RacerCalifornia’s Bear Republic Brewing Co. has added Pace Car Racer session IPA to its year-round lineup. Formerly a draft-only brew, Pace Car (4% abv) is now rolling out nationally in six packs of 12-ounce bottles as well as in kegs. Bear Republic, based in Sonoma County, is known for its core Racer 5 IPA, which has helped establish the company as the 44th-largest craft brewer nationwide, according to the Brewers Association.

image_thumb[1]Asheville, North Carolina-based Green Man Brewery is launching Sunseeker Pils this May. Made with 100% Pilsner malt and German hops, Sunseeker is billed as a light-bodied beer targeted toward the summer season. The brew—which marks Green Man’s first packaged lager—will be available in 12-ounce bottled six-packs throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

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