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International Whisk(e)y Day was first announced in 2008. The name is used with the parenthesis to indicate support of Scottish, Canadian, and Japanese whiskies (no e) as well as Irish and American whiskeys (with an e). The day publicly supports Parkinson’s Disease research in addition to enjoying Whiskey.

Participants are encouraged to raise one up on the day and drink whiskey for the love of the drink as well as to celebrate legendary writer Michael Jackson‘s life. Others participate via social media using the #whiskyday2017 hashtag. Various bars may have specials on 27 March to celebrate the day.

Taken from the International Whisk(e)y day’s website, “International Whisk(e)y Day is a non-profit celebration of whiskey which receives no funding and is run entirely by the passion of whiskey fans from around the world. So if you love whisk(e)y and want to help spread the word, then go ahead and tell someone about it.”

For more information go to: International Whisk(e)y Day

Founded in 1883, the Amodeo family’s Don Cicco & Figli distillery enjoyed nearly a century of liqueur production on the Amalfi Coast. It was started in 1883 by Vincenzo Amodeo in his small house in Atrani, and enjoyed over 45 years of success before shuttered during World War II. In 1951 Francesco “Don Ciccio” Amodeo built a new distillery further up the coast in the town of Furore, which thrived until November 23, 1980 when a massive earthquake hit the region, destroying the distillery and the surrounding lemon trees.

Today, the Amodeo family tradition lives on in Washington, D.C., where founder and distiller Franceso Amodeo produces his family’s liqueurs in small batches using traditional methods. Currently Don Cicco & Figli offers 13 products including amari, aperitivi and cordials. “Our liqueurs offer a refreshing glimpse of the past with a nod to the future which we’re excited to share,” says Francesco Amodeo, President & Master Distiller of Don Ciccio & Figli.

Early this year, the company launched C3 Carciofo artichoke liqueur. This new liqueur is available just in time for the spring months when Artichoke festivals mark the advent of spring in Italy, celebrating warmer weather and seasonal bounty.

C3 is based on a traditional Italian recipe from 1911, a nod to the original Don Cicco & Figli distillery, which produced liqueurs on Italy’s picturesque Amalfi Coast for nearly a century. Today, this recipe is being resurrected stateside by fourth generation family owner Francesco Amodeo who opened the Washington, D.C. distillery in 2012.

C3 is a bitter aperitivo based on an infusion of three types of California-grown artichokes, cardoons, grapefruit, and 18 selected botanicals. It is also barrel-aged for 12 months. While the amaro category has grown significantly in recent years, there is presently just one other artichoke-based liqueur available in the U.S., making this an exciting addition to an intriguing category. The medium-to-high bitterness level was designed with cocktail aficionados and fans of bitter aperitivi like the Negroni and Americano in mind.

 

C3 Carciofo Artichoke Liqueur (46 proof)
Visual: Intensely dark brown.
Nose: Funky root and dried baking spice nose. Even the scent is like an olfactory aperitif.
Taste: Deep and earthy with a lot of similarity to bark and root flavored beverages. But, the difference ends there, as within a few seconds the familiar semi-bitter and vegetal artichoke character kicks in.
Finish: Long, with a pleasantly herbal palate cleanse.
Overall: If you like Cynar, you will love C3.  This takes everything and kicks it up several notches.  Try this in a 1-1-1 ratio Negroni with Old Tom gin, Aperol and a splash of Cointreau.  Killer.
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Don Cicco & Figli

Banned for 100 years, March 5th, 2017 marked the 10th Anniversary of the repeal of the Absinthe ban in the US.  Chemist and Master Distiller Ted Breaux was a leading force in disproving the myths which had plagued the storied spirit and helped convince the FDA to remove the ban and allow Absinthe back into the US on March 5, 2007.

Lucid was developed in France by Breaux and distilled in the historical Combier Distillery in Saumur, in France’s Loire Valley. It is created using original antique copper absinthe stills, many of which were designed by Gustav Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame) in the 1800’s.

Watch the 10th anniversary celebration which took place at the Hotel Monteleone’s Carousel Bar in New Orleans on 03.05.17 here.

Lucid Absinthe (124 proof)
Visual: Pale yellow-green.
Nose: Deep and rich anise nose with lighter and more floral herbs rounding out the top notes.  It all smells amazingly fresh and verdant.  Hints or green pepper, wet grass, buttery toffee, shoe polish, and black licorice tea all blend together to create a heady experience.
Taste: Intense and powerful anise tamed by a rounded sweetness, this fades after a few moments leaving a dry and almost tannic bitterness.  With a generous splash of water to produce the desired louching effect, everything tames down to a soft and warming dessert-like wash.
Finish: Quite long with a back and forth battle for domination between the sweet and the bitter.  You won’t forget this one for several minutes.
Overall: We at the GSN offices were the first to buy a bottle of the original Lucid back in 2007 when the label was a bit more playful.  Now as then, we were impressed by the depth of character and perfect balance of botanicals.  This was and continues to be one of the industry standards for absinthe. Cheers, Ted!  We’ll toast you again in another ten years!
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Drink Lucid

keep-calm-and-wait-for-march-24thOf course every day is Cocktail Day, but now there’s an official holiday!  

The history of the cocktail starts over 425 years ago in 1586. At that time, people drank an incredible amount of alcohol every day, much more than we do now. They drank beer or other beverages for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Children drank it, pregnant women drank it, monks and priests drank it. It touched every part of life.

And this was especially true on board ships. Ships of the time would be at sea for months sometimes without seeing land or taking on new supplies. So rum, beer, wine and other beverages were really important to keep sailors healthy.  Why not water?  The reason was that water was typically unclean from lack of sanitation, but using it to create alcohol of some kind killed the germs that made people sick.

In 1586 the English privateer Sir Francis Drake was pillaging the Spanish settlements in the Caribbean. The English called him a hero, but to the Spanish he was nothing more than a pirate.

On one fateful trip to sack Havana, Drake found his men suffering from malnutrition and scurvy, so he sent a shore party to land in the southernmost tip of Florida called Matecumbe to find local natives who could show them nearby medicinals that would make his men better.

And that’s just what the locals did.

They mixed the bark from a tree called chuchuhuasi with distilled sugar cane juice, known as aguardiente, raw sugar cane juice, lime and mint. (click here for the recipe)

Do these ingredients sound familiar?

This is the precursor to the Mojito, which was supposedly invented in Havana. As it turns out, it was simply modified in Havana not invented. They just dropped the tree bark from the drink and used rum instead of aquardiente.

The concoction worked, by the way. Drake’s men got better, and they went about their business, attacking Fort Augustine not long after.

So here we have the first recorded mixed drink—what we’d consider a cocktail (strong, weak, sour, sweet and bitters).

Information courtesy of Bucketlistbars.com

884604598-bar-juice-lineup-1-480x264

The farm to table movement resulted from consumer desire to eat fresh and local produce. Now a Connecticut based Craft Juicery is bring the concept to cocktails with the country’s first cold-pressed, fresh juice bar mixers — RIPE Bar Juice.

Created by Michel Boissy who grew tired of “day-glo” Margarita mixers, RIPE Bar Juices are redefining consumer expectations of what cocktail mixers can be. The process is simple – start with the best fruits and vegetables, use the absolute minimum in processing, and offer a juice that surpasses all others in freshness, taste, and nutrition.

“Until now, mixers have been limited to juices from concentrate, loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives and who knows what else,” said Michel Boissy, Founder, FreshBev.  “Shelf stable may be fine for soup, but we believe in sticking to our principles. So when you want to serve cocktails that are truly fresh—again and again—they have to be made with RIPE Bar Juice.”

At the RIPE Craft Juicery in New Haven, Connecticut, every step in the making of fresh juices is managed to ensure the time from grower to refrigerator is mere days as opposed to weeks. All juice extraction is done under one roof and never above 45°. Within minutes of being extracted, the raw juices are bottled and submitted to high-pressure technology — making them safe and preserving nearly 100% of the color, flavor, aroma, and nutrition.

“You only get out what you put in — so we start with nothing less than the best,” said Boissy.  “We source non–GMO fruits and vegetables straight from farms we know. Our produce is picked at the peak of ripeness, and then we lock in that freshness. So when you pick up a bottle of RIP Bar Juice, you know it was made in the past few weeks, not months.”

RIPE Bar Juices are available nationally through Whole Foods and select regional grocery chains in 750 ml bottles (SRP: $9.99).  For a list of store availability by state, click here. Bar Juices may also be ordered online and are shipped via 2-day express in custom refrigerated coolers to preserve the freshness.

Agave Margarita Very well done, with a fresh squeezed lime flavor that has just enough tang. Not cloyingly sweet either.  A perfect balance between the agave and citrus. Try this with a blanco or silver tequila to get the full benefit of flavor. GSN Says: Recommended.

San Marzano Bloody Mary Having tried dozens of Bloody Mary mixes over the years, this one stands out.  A great fresh tomato flavor, nothing like canned, coupled with a great spice blend and just the right amount of citrus.  The mouthfeel is chewy, not watery and the heat is mild, but noticeable. GSN Says: Recommended.

Agave Mojito It’s hard to pull off a mint flavor without making it taste like chewing gum.  This comes close to a fresh mojito, but struggles a bit with the mint which lasts much longer on the palate than a fresh Mojito would.  Still, if you’re craving one and there is no mint in sight, this will do once in a while. GSN Says: Good in a pinch.

Bajan Punch Interestingly, one of the ingredients is Angostura bitters.  Without it, this would be pretty much a typical fruity tropical flavored sour mix.  But, the bitters lifts this up higher and gives it a bit of pizzazz. You can use a white or gold rum in here and everyone will be pleased.  GSN Says: Good for beginning tiki enthusiasts.

Classic Cosmopolitan This is the weakest of the bunch, mainly because one of the key ingredients is missing: Cointreau.  RIPE replaces it with orange juice and it doesn’t serve it well.  It is more like a cranberry-lime mixer than a true Cosmopolitan. GSN Says: Not classy.

RIPE also offers two other flavors not sent for review: Classic Lemon Sour & Cocktail Cranberry.

For more information go to: Drink Ripe

art_nouveau_absinthe_poster_by_mybeautifulmonsters-d4ya3ntWho would have guessed that there would ever be a National Absinthe Day?  Since it was banned in the United States in 1912, and prohibition nailing the coffin shut in 1919, it is really a miracle that absinthe is back on the market.  2015 marks the ninth anniversary of this new holiday devoted to the Green Fairy.

In celebration of this event, here is the traditional way to enjoy a glass.  And no, you don’t light it on fire!

  • Pour a measure of absinthe in an absinthe glass
  • Place a sugar cube on a flat perforated spoon on top of the glass
  • Drip ice-cold water on the sugar cube to slowly dissolve it
  • Add three to six parts water to the glass
  • Take your time, sip. The slower, the better

If you’re looking for a cocktail that calls for absinthe, try this one from the classic Savoy Cocktail Book published in 1930.

Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail
Absinthe
.75 oz Plymouth Gin
.75 oz Cointreau
.75 oz Lillet Blanc
.75 oz Lemon juice
Rinse a chilled cocktail glass with absinthe and set aside. Add the remaining ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into the prepared glass.  Be revived!

 

elijah-craig-barrel-proof

Uncut, straight from the barrel without chill filtering, the nose, taste, and finish created by twelve years of aging are preserved in their simplest form with Elijah Craig barrel Proof. You can enjoy Elijah Craig much the same way our Master Distillers do when they sample straight from the barrel in our Kentucky rickhouses. Or, add water to reduce the proof to where you want it.

Each Barrel Proof release is a unique proof, because it is made from an authentic and unaltered batch of 200 barrels or less.

All releases have a unique identifying four-digit code, found on the label beginning in January 2017. The digits indicate the bottle’s release order and date, so you can easily track the Barrel Proof you’re enjoying.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof – Batch No. A117 (127 proof)
Visual: Tarnishing copper.
Nose: Quite wood forward.  More subtle notes of fresh saddle leather, drying straw, rough sawn oak wood, and a touch of smokey creosote on the very top. A very tight and intense presentation.
Taste: With a splash of water, the flavor is remarkably smooth and almost creamy. Certainly there is some heat and corn sweetness here, but it is a low rumble.  This bourbon has a lot of bass notes and a darkness that lends a sensibility of the genteel.
Finish: Medium long with a lovely caramel finish.
Overall: A killer bourbon that only gets better as a cube of ice integrates into the glass.  What starts out as a powerhouse of intensity, slowly becomes a soft, warm evening by the hearth in a glass.  Very well done.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Elijah Craig

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