GSN Review: Wyoming Whiskey National Parks No. 2

Wyoming Whiskey recently announced the release of its limited edition National Parks No. 2 straight bourbon whiskey in tandem with the brand’s continuing partnership with Yellowstone Forever, the official nonprofit partner of Yellowstone National Park. The collaboration was born in celebration of Yellowstone National Park’s 150th anniversary. The Wyoming Whiskey National Parks No. 2 bottle is the second collectible Limited Edition release in an annual National Park series which debuted in 2021. It is now available in Yellowstone National Park and throughout Wyoming. It is also available in select U.S. markets and online from ReserveBar, Flaviar and Caskers.

The inaugural release of Wyoming Whiskey’s National Parks series contributed over $120,000 to the National Park Foundation in 2021. Wyoming Whiskey continues on a steadfast mission to support our nation’s sacred outdoor spaces with this year’s initiative and has committed to donating $150,000 to Yellowstone Forever in the park’s historic 150th year.

March 1, 2022, marked the 150th anniversary of the opening of Yellowstone National Park— the world’s first national park. Yellowstone Forever supports Yellowstone National Park through three main initiatives: Wildlife Forever, Trails Forever, and Here Forever. Wildlife Forever focuses on conservation efforts encompassing all of the species that call the Park home. Trails Forever supports ongoing trail maintenance as well as new initiatives. Here Forever supports the Park on climate and environmental related projects to increase efficiency within the Park and reduce the overall environmental impact. 

For every bottle sold of Wyoming Whiskey National Parks No. 2, Wyoming Whiskey will donate $5 up to a maximum donation of $150,000 based on distributor depletions to support Yellowstone Forever in preserving Yellowstone National Park for the next generation of wonderers, wanderers, and explorers.

The limited edition release is a straight bourbon whiskey made from 68-percent corn, 20-percent wheat, and 12-percent malted barley. Wyoming Whiskey National Parks No. 2 whiskey is bottled at 105 proof. All grains are grown In Wyoming and are non-GMO. The water used to produce Wyoming Whiskey is also sourced from a local limestone aquifer that has not seen the light of day in over 6,000 years.

Later this fall, Wyoming Whiskey will be launching a limited release Single Barrel to continue the celebration. This whiskey will be released in a limited edition run of 180 bottles. 

GSN’s Remarks: This is a delicious whiskey that not only excels in flavor, but in body and mouthfeel. The limestone water comes through loud and clear, adding a depth and roundness, while at the same time a touch of graininess that is quite appealing. The distillate itself is classic, with loads of warm, malt, baking spice, toffee, oak, praline and light pepper. The finish is lighty sweet, but has a tea-like tannic edge, leaving the palate dry and ready for another sip. If you can, grab a bottle of this exceptional release before its gone. GSN Rating: A++

For more information go to: Wyoming Whiskey

#wyomingwhiskey

GSN Review: Mijenta Tequila Blanco

Mijenta, an artisanal small batch tequila from the highlands of Jalisco, is crafted with a commitment to environmental sustainability and support for the local community. Mijenta is inspired by “Mi Gente” meaning “My People” and refers to a collective mindset, a way of being and a community of like-minded people who come together to celebrate life.

The spirit’s unique journey begins with its community of craftsmen and jimadores who have practiced the art and love of harvesting agave over generations. Mijenta is crafted using the highest quality ingredients, including fully mature certified Blue Weber Agave from Mexico’s maguey plants, which are grown in deep red clay soil and are only harvested at their ripest.

Mexico-based Maestra Tequilera, Ana Maria Romero, designed and oversaw the entire creation process, from harvest to bottle. One of the most trusted, respected and awarded tequila authorities in Mexico, Maestra Tequilera Romero brings over 25 years of experience in the tequila industry.

GSN’s Remarks: Quite vegtal on the nose and on the palate. Fresh agave flavor in the forefront, with lighter notes of butterscotch, wood and dark caramel. There are hints of mint, green pepper, black pepper, and toasted marshmallow that appear towards the end of the finish, which is quite long. We like this one neat as a shot or for a leisurely sip. There is a lot of terroir and subtle flavor here that would get buried in a typical Margarita or other citrus based cocktail. We highly recommend! GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Mijenta Tequila

#mijentatequila

GSN Alert: Nikka Perfect Serve Is Back In 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“One moment, one encounter.” The Japanese Ichi-go Ichi-e philosophy is the guiding principle behind the Nikka Perfect Serve bartending competition. Every encounter is unique and can never be repeated, and so we must give our very best at all times. 

The Nikka Perfect Serve encourages bartenders to place the guest at the heart of the bar experience. Bartenders must be attentive and aware of their guest’s presence, state of mind, and palate in order to offer the most suitable service and cocktail at that specific moment. The process is as important as the cocktail itself.

As in previous years, the contest will continue to focus on omakase: “I leave it to you.” Judges playing the roles of indecisive customers will act as different characters and ask the bartender to improvise a bespoke Nikka cocktail. Experienced bartenders will have a large repertoire of cocktail recipes in mind at all times, and will be able to choose, twist and adapt them to serve the most appropriate Nikka Whisky cocktail for each situation played out by the judges.

After the prolonged period of isolation and restrictions, there will be moments when you are shaken by new discoveries and new encounters.

This year, we ask you to apply your creativity in a form of a signature Nikka cocktail which will provide a guest with an eye-opening experience to find something new or inspiring. Please choose your preferable Nikka expression from the designated line-up and imagine the exciting communication with the guest in front of you.

Who can participate:

Professional bartenders of any nationality currently employed in the country where the contest is held.

Are not eligible:

-Employees of Nikka Whisky or Nikka Whisky’s distributors.

-All those who have already participated in the Nikka Whisky Japan trip in the past.

Save The Date!

Please note that the winners of the regional contests will represent their country in the Global Finals on November 28th & 29th in Genova, Italy. You must be available from November 26th (arrival) to the 30th (departure). 

The winners of the regional contests will represent their country in Italy on November 28th and 29th.

THE PRIZE

The winner and runner-up of the global finals will be invited on a trip to Japan to experience the Japanese bar scene and visit Nikka’s distilleries: Yoichi and Miyagikyo!

REGISTER HERE

GSN Alert: Cocktail & Spirits Book Preview – Summer 2022

Time for our quarterly round up of the best new books about all things alcoholic (and then some!). Be on the lookout for these upcoming titles over the next three months! Happy summer everyone!

Dicktales or Thankyous and Sluggings by Dick Bradsell (Author), Anistatia R Miller (Editor), Jared M Brown (Editor) Jared Brown (June 30, 2022) THIS IS THE LONG-AWAITED BOOK written by Mr. Dick Bradsell. AKA Soho Cocktail Legend, Father of the London Cocktail revival, The Bartenders’ Bartender, Cocktail King, Creative Genius, are some of the titles attributed to him-though he would have introduced himself as Dick or perhaps Rosie Smudge or Cassandra the Wizard or Dungeon Master or…. This is not a cocktail book or a bar manual. Dick believed that others were better at writing those than him. Although incomplete and missing his final signature of approval, this book of thoughts, soundbites and (many) cocktails is part of his legacy. Compiled and carefully reconstructed from his own writings, his words (and his opinions) from his incalculable notebooks, personal letters, and scraps of paper span almost four decades are reproduced in the raw so all the feeling and emotion of his thoughts are left in their finest unedited, unpolished form. Photos from private collections and his own artwork are sprinkled throughout as playful as they appeared in his notebooks. A tribute to his family and many friends who shaped his tread in life and supported him for better and for worse, in mind, spirit, and body. Ultimately, it is a celebration of the life and work of a proud British bartender, named Richard Arthur Bradsell.

Kokuteeru by Yonekichi Maeda (Author), Kagumi Otani (Translator), Eiji Arakawa (Introduction) Jared Brown (June 30, 2022) Finding and translating Kokuteeru (1924) was a year long journey that helps to answer the question “who wrote the first Japanese cocktail book?” Whilst this honour goes to Tokuzo Akiyama’s book Cocktails: How To Mix Drinks, Yonekichi Maeda’s Kokuteeru is considered to be the more systematic and practical text which was published a month later. Western style spirits and bartending made their way into Japanese culture as early as 1872. And by the early 1900s Japanese bartenders ran their own Western style establishments. Kokuteeru gives us a fascinating glimpse as to how 1920s Japanese bartenders began to define themselves and their profession. The entirety of the net profits-100%- from the publication of this English translation of Kokuteeru will fund the Yonekichi Maeda Scholarship: an internship program that will send Australian bartenders to Japan to learn about Japanese bartending. This scholarship will allow the next generation of Australian bartenders to learn the art of Japanese cocktail bartending and will promote a return of the ‘journeyman bartender’ to the education scheme of the bartending profession.

Vodka Made Me Do It: 60 Vibrant and Versatile Cocktails by Colleen Graham (Author), Ruby Taylor (Illustrator) Andrews McMeel Publishing (July 12, 2022) As one of the most versatile liquors on the market, vodka presents endless opportunities for crowd-pleasing punches, fruity shots, and refreshing cocktails. This seventh addition to the stunning Made Me Do It series, Vodka Made Me Do It is jam-packed with 60 innovative cocktail recipes and brimming with infusions, syrups, and gorgeous illustrations from beloved cocktail illustrator Ruby Taylor. Recipes include classics like the Espresso Martini and Moscow Mule, as well as unique creations like a Jalapeño Vodkarita and a Kiwi Martini. Whether you prefer sipping White Russians in a bowling alley, instructing shaken but not stirred, or rocking Carrie Bradshaw’s stilettos and an iconic Cosmo, vodka is, and will forever be, the quintessential party starter.

Distilled: A Natural History of Spirits by Rob DeSalle (Author), Ian Tattersall (Author), Patricia J. Wynne (Illustrator) Yale University Press (July 12, 2022) In this follow-up book to A Natural History of Wine and A Natural History of Beer, authors Rob DeSalle and Ian Tattersall yet again use alcoholic beverages as a lens through which to gain a greater appreciation of natural history. This volume considers highly alcoholic spirits in the context of evolution, ecology, history, primatology, molecular biology, physiology, neurobiology, chemistry, and even astrophysics. With the help of illustrator Patricia Wynne, DeSalle and Tattersall address historical and cultural aspects and ingredients, the distillation process, and spirits and their effects. They also call on an international group of colleagues to contribute chapters on brandy, vodka, tequila, whiskies, gin, rum, eaux-de-vie, schnapps, baiju, grappa, ouzo, and cachaça. Covering beverages from across the globe and including descriptions of the experience of tasting each drink, this book offers an accessible and comprehensive exploration of the scientific dimensions of spirits.

Doctors and Distillers: The Remarkable Medicinal History of Beer, Wine, Spirits, and Cocktails by Camper English Penguin Books (July 19, 2022) Alcohol and Medicine have an inextricably intertwined history, with innovations in each altering the path of the other. The story stretches back to ancient times, when beer and wine were used to provide nutrition and hydration, and were employed as solvents for healing botanicals. Over time, alchemists distilled elixirs designed to cure all diseases, monastic apothecaries developed mystical botanical liqueurs, traveling physicians concocted dubious intoxicating nostrums, and the drinks we’re familiar with today began to take form. In turn, scientists studied fermentation and formed the germ theory of disease, and developed an understanding of elemental gases and anesthetics. Modern cocktails like the Old-Fashioned, Gimlet, and Gin and Tonic were born as delicious remedies for diseases and discomforts. In Doctors and Distillers, cocktails and spirits expert Camper English reveals how and why the contents of our medicine and liquor cabinets were, until surprisingly recently, one and the same.

The Botany of Beer: An Illustrated Guide to More Than 500 Plants Used in Brewing (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History) by Giuseppe Caruso (Author), Kosmos SRL (Translator), Marika Josephson (Foreword) Columbia University Press (July 26, 2022) From mass-produced lagers to craft-brewery IPAs, from beers made in Trappist monasteries according to traditional techniques to those created by innovative local brewers seeking to capture regional terroir, the world of beer boasts endless varieties. The diversity of beer does not only reflect the differences among the people and cultures who brew this beverage. It also testifies to the vast range of plants that help give different styles of beer their distinguishing flavor profiles. This book is a comprehensive and beautifully illustrated compendium of the characteristics and properties of the plants used in making beer around the world. The botanical expert Giuseppe Caruso presents scientifically rigorous descriptions, accompanied by his own hand-drawn ink images, of more than 500 species. For each one, he gives the scientific classification, common names, and information about morphology, geographical distribution and habitat, and cultivation range. Caruso provides detailed information about each plant’s applications in beer making, including which of its parts are employed, as well as its chemical composition, its potential toxicity, and examples of beers and styles in which it is typically used. The book also considers historical uses, aiding brewers who seek to rediscover ancient and early modern concoctions. This book will appeal to a wide audience, from beer aficionados to botany enthusiasts, providing valuable information for homebrewers and professional beer makers alike. It reveals how botanical knowledge can open new possibilities for today’s and tomorrow’s brewers.

Seattle Cocktails: An Elegant Collection of Over 100 Recipes Inspired by the Emerald City by Neil Ratliff Cider Mill Press (August 9, 2022) Discover the unique Seattle vibe with delicious recipes from some of the city’s top mixologists and bartenders. Explore the best places to drink in the city with chapters divided by neighborhood and remake your favorite local beverages at home. Enjoy recipes from Emerald city bars that take full advantage of local flair and flavor, with stunning photographs that capture the heart of this colorful port city. Find tips and techniques of the trade in interviews with prominent bartenders. From dive bars to craft cocktail bars, Seattle has it all, and you can bring it home with you. Whether you save these recipes for a rainy day or enjoy them in the sunshine, these cocktails will make you feel like you’re at the top of the Space Needle.

Drink Like a Local New York: A Field Guide to New York’s Best Bars by Amanda Schuster (Author), David Wondrich (Foreword) Cider Mill Press (August 9, 2022) Whether you live in New York or are visiting, drinks expert Amanda Schuster’s ode to the bars that mean the most to her is sure to delight. Uncorking history, personalities, interior design quirks, and signature cocktails, Drink Like a Local: New York features 75 bars that help pump the heartbeat of the city. From the infamous to the unknown, Schuster’s tour through the five boroughs captures the details and qualities that keep locals returning to these establishments, and makes the case for why you should become a local too.

Celebrating Kansas Breweries: People, Places & Stories (American Palate) by Michael J. Travis The History Press (August 15, 2022) Breweries in the state of Kansas are opening at a fast pace, in communities from Council Grove to Olathe. As the industry grows, the opportunities for craft beer fans to enjoy the communities and beer abound. Check out Ryan Triggs and Nick Feightner at Tall Trellis Brew Co. where you can enjoy a pint while sitting next to hop bines. Visit Fields & Ivy Brewery, the only brewery in the state with an active grain silo. Author Michael Travis traveled for a year and visited every brewery, capturing the heartbeat and story behind the owners and head brewers who make the magic happen.

Cocktails, A Still Life: 60 Spirited Paintings & Recipes by Christine Sismondo and James Waller with Todd M. Casey (Illustrator) Running Press Adult (August 16, 2022) Fine art meets mixology in this sophisticated cocktail book that pairs drink recipes and beverage history with stunning still-life oil paintings, perfect for taking the “art” of drinking to the next level. As they say, “We drink first with our eyes.” If you believe there is an art to drinking well, then pairing cocktail recipes with still-life oil paintings is a natural next step. Still-life artist Todd M. Casey, journalist Christine Sismondo, and author James Waller are the all-star team behind Cocktails, A Still Life. Bringing together 60 of Casey’s contemporary hand-painted images paired with dozens of delicious cocktail recipes, the three-author team offers a satisfying deep-dive into each drink complete with a great classic cocktail recipe and a painted representation. Each drink tells a story, making this a truly unique cocktail-making guide attracting the eye, mind, and palate, and focused squarely on the art.

Tropical Cocktails Made Simple by Prairie Rose Rockridge Press (August 16, 2022) Enjoy your favorite tropical cocktails without leaving home. Evoke sandy white beaches, deep blue water, and a sense of freedom with homemade tropical cocktails. With a mix of classic cocktails, modern twists, and some exciting originals, this cocktail book is filled with recipes for boozy libations that keep the vacation vibes going year-round! Get the stories behind your favorite drinks with an introduction to the history and evolution of tropical cocktails. Learn about the varieties and brands of rum, and how to choose the perfect one. Make extravagant cocktails in a range of styles using accessible ingredients. Bring home the flavors of paradise with this cocktail recipe book of exotic tropical drinks.

Drink Like a Local Miami: The Insider’s Guide to South Beach and the Magic City by Gabriel Urrutia Cider Mill Press (August 30, 2022) Featuring 50 bar profiles highlighting bartenders, memorabilia, and slice-of-life history about the Miami bar scene, you’ll find yourself right at home with Drink Like a Local Miami. While anyone can find a high-profile bar in Miami, it takes an expert to discover the hidden drinking gems in the city. Featuring 50 bar profiles highlighting bartenders, memorabilia, and slice-of-life history about the Miami bar scene, you’ll find yourself right at home with Drink Like a Local Miami. With recipes from timeless locations and profiles on some of the best bartenders you’ve never heard of, you’ll never find yourself at a loss for your next drink with this book at your side. Beautifully illustrated pages showcase the heart of each location. You’ll feel like you’re really there long before you order your first drink. This is the definitive gift for Miami natives and lovers alike.

World Cocktail Adventures: 40 Destination-Inspired Drinks by Loni Carr and Brett Gramse Hardie Grant (September 6, 2022) World Cocktail Adventures is a virtual cocktail tour in book form by creative duo Loni Carr and Brett Gramse of The Whiskey Ginger. With a total of 40 unique cocktail recipes featured, each recipe includes easy-to-access ingredients and a variety of spirits. What’s the travel twist, you ask? Well, each recipe is inspired by a different destination around the world. You’ll get a taste of the place’s history and tourist attractions with a vintage-style travel poster to match. Then you’ll get the real goods with a fun cocktail recipe, tips on glassware and bartending, and an illustration of the final cocktail. This is a book for cocktail lovers and travel dreamers. You could be enjoying a Desert Road tequila cocktail and imagine yourself in Amarillo, Texas, or sipping on a Fire and Ice whiskey cocktail inspired by Reykjavik, Iceland. We’re asking you to come on an adventure … a cocktail world adventure! World Cocktail Adventures mixes travelling and drinking, muddles fantasy with non-fiction, and retells tales never told. Just remember, this book is meant to be used. It’s not your mum’s white couch. Write in it. Spill a drink on it. Pass it around. Love was poured into the making of it, and you can honor the creators by truly enjoying it.

The Cocktail Cabinet: The art, science and pleasure of mixing the perfect drink by Zoe Burgess Mitchell Beazley (September 6, 2022) With a vast scope of information on all things cocktail, drinks researcher and developer Zoe Burgess introduces a comprehensive and detailed guide to creating professional cocktails. Throughout seven chapters she breaks each cocktail down into their five basic tastes and considers the flavor profiles of the key spirits included, analysing why certain pairings work so you can fully understand the building blocks of this delectable art. The Cocktail Cabinet is a reliable and accessible companion to cocktail-making, no matter your knowledge, skill or budget. It identifies the basic equipment to invest in, provides practical tips on set up, explores techniques used and advises on the most versatile, readily available ingredients to purchase for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails – so no one misses out. With accompanying illustrations, the structure, method, flavor profile and finished results can be visualized with ease. Understanding these elements will set you up for creating, developing and executing your dream cocktail, ensuring cocktail-making at home is an effortless and enjoyable experience.

The Tea Cyclopedia: All You Ever Wanted to Know about the World’s Favorite Drink by Dr. Keith Souter Skyhorse (September 6, 2022) Tea drinking has become a way of life. To put it frankly, it is a love, an addiction, and some would even go as far as to say a philosophy. Dr. Keith Souter examines the perpetual impact that this adored beverage has bestowed upon the world for centuries, from its mystical origins in the East to its inevitable influence on the West. The Tea Cyclopedia is an indispensable reference for anyone interested in all things tea. Commencing each chapter with insightful quotes, it not only captures the historical beginnings of this beloved drink, but also explores tea’s involvement in politics, health, the economy, and even fortune-telling. This unprecedented beverage has united people in times of adversity; it has also divided nations, causing volatile revolutions, such as the Sri Lankan Civil War and the Boston Tea Party. But today you will most likely find that various cultures have developed their own unique style of enjoying tea, and the ritual of tea drinking itself is not only intriguing, but also highly rewarding. In this meticulously detailed guide, readers will rediscover tea, its cultivation, and all of its richness and intricacy as a worldwide beverage. The Tea Cyclopedia is an enthralling tribute to the illustrious, invigorating, and elusive leaf that has vehemently continued to inspire people for more than two thousand years.

Cocktail Botanica: 60+ Drinks Inspired by Nature by Elouise Anders Smith Street Books (September 6, 2022) Cocktail Botanica is a celebration of all things floral, herbaceous, fruity, and boozy. Featuring cocktails, punches, and botanical-infused spirits, this book uses herbs, fruits, flowers, and all things botanical that you can buy, forage, or grow. Full of botanical twists on classics, like a peachy old-fashioned, rose martini, or thyme salty dog, this book will delight your guests and put your garden to good use when you’re entertaining. With beautiful botanical illustrations by Annabelle Lambie and easy-to-follow recipes, this book is a must-have for anyone who wants drinks that bloom on the palate.

American Whiskey (Second Edition): Over 300 Whiskeys and 110 Distillers Tell the Story of the Nation’s Spirit by Richard Thomas (Author), Robin Robinson (Foreword) Cider Mill Press; 2nd edition (September 13, 2022) Internationally recognized whiskey expert Richard Thomas brings you this expanded and updated edition of American Whiskey. This book not only delivers a thorough history of this national spirit, but provides a snapshot of the industry today. With an emphasis on new expressions of whiskey and rising stars in the game, this expanded edition brings more exposure to the whiskey world than ever. Thomas highlights the major players and whiskey hubs across the U.S., from industry giants to smaller craft distilleries that bring quality to your glass. Chapters are dedicated by region, covering the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, and the West. With a special focus on the recent emergence of the third whiskey state, Texas, this is an opportunity to dive deeper into the industry today.

The Art & Craft of Coffee Cocktails: Over 75 recipes for mixing coffee and liquor by Jason Clark Ryland Peters & Small (September 13, 2022) Enjoy two of life’s greatest pleasures – coffee and alcohol – with this comprehensive guide to mixing perfect coffee cocktails. World-class mixologist Jason Clark will inspire, excite and educate you by taking you behind the bar for a masterclass in creating coffee-based cocktails. First take a journey into the history and craft of coffee, the world’s most popular beverage, from crop to cup. Next follow his expert mixing tips aimed at everyone from keen beginners to bartenders working in the world’s best bars. More than 75 recipes follow, covering all styles of cocktails from stirred and shaken through to blended and blazed. Learn how to perfect simple classics such as Espresso Martini and Irish coffee or try your hand at technical modern marvels Cinnamon Toast Crunch White Russian and Whiskey Pour Over. With The Art and Craft of Coffee Cocktails in hand your daily grind will never be the same!

Cider Planet: Exploring the Producers, Practices, and Unique Traditions of Craft Cider and Perry from Around the World by Claude Jolicoeur Chelsea Green Publishing (September 23, 2022) From internationally-acclaimed author and fermented beverage expert Claude Jolicoeur comes a globe-trotting, full-color cultural history and guide celebrating the methods, terroir, and traditions of world-class cider. In Cider Planet, Claude Jolicoeur―a longtime, passionate cider maker and author of the international bestseller New Cider Maker’s Handbook―takes readers with him to the world’s greatest cider regions, providing an expertly guided tour laced with his deep understanding and appreciation for how this “Prince of Beverages” is made. Cider, long perceived as a European country drink, is now truly a worldwide culinary delight. Jolicoeur talks about new and emergent regions that have contributed to this growing appreciation, and how they are building upon the old traditions while creating their own new ones. He explores, for example, the most revered areas for making perry, a delightful but little-known drink that, like cider, is starting to gain fans young and old. And he even transports readers to Kazakhstan in central Asia, famous as the “birthplace of the domestic apple.”

The World of Natural Wine: What It Is, Who Makes It, and Why It Matters by Aaron Ayscough Artisan (September 27, 2022) Natural wine has nothing to hide. Made from grapes alone—organically farmed, then harvested, fermented, aged, and bottled without additives—it’s wine that seeks to express, in every sip, its traditional and crucial link to nature. The World of Natural Wine is the book wine lovers need to navigate this movement—because it’s about so much more than labels and vintages. Meet the obsessive, often outspoken, winemakers; learn about the regions of France where natural wine culture first appeared and continues to flourish today; and explore natural wine in Spain, Italy, Georgia, and beyond. And just as important: find out what must be “unlearned” to discover the eye-opening pleasures of drinking naturally.

All Belgian Whiskies by Patrick Ludwich and Karel Puype Stichting Kunstboak (September 29, 2022) Belgium has all the assets to become a true whisky country. The knowledge required to make whisky is readily available, thanks in part to our centuries-old culture of beer and jenever. A number of Belgian jenever distilleries and breweries have been experimenting with whisky for quite some time, but the concept of ‘Belgian whisky’ only really took off in the recent past. Every year new initiatives arise and time after time the announced releases are sold out in no time. Belgian whisky is appreciated, has become a sought-after collector’s item and regularly wins gold and silver at international competitions. For the first time, an overview of Belgian whiskies and whisky houses is published in book form. An indispensable reference work for collectors and whisky lovers alike. Text in English, Dutch and French.

GSN Review: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B522

Heaven Hill adds to the 2022 Elijah Craig Barrel Proof series with batch B522. The “B” stands for the second batch in an yearly A, B, C line. The “5” lists the month, May, while 22 denotes year. In other words, the second release of 2022, bottled in May. B522 is non-chill filtered and uncut and bottled at 121 proof.

GSN’s Remarks: The nose presents caramel creme, nutmeg, clove, sugared pecans and cinnamon. There is also a hefty dose of oak cask to tie everything together. Upon tasting, more of those elements speak out, along with cocoa, roasted coffee bean, young leather and mild ginger. Again, the oak encircles the disparate elements and binds them together. The finish is long, with fading notes of caramel hard candies, chocolate covered cherries and a touch of black licorice. Overall, a very sweet, candy-like release, with plenty of traditional bourbon character to please virtually any fan of the craft. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Elijah Craig

#ElijahCraigBarrelProof

GSN Review: Ferrand Renegade Barrel N°3

Maison Ferrand’s Alexandre Gabriel recently introduced Ferrand Renegade Barrel N°3, the third release to debut from the Renegade Barrel Collection of cognacs aged with unconventional methods, in honor of the master blender “renegades” that came before him.

With Renegade Barrel N°3 Jamaican Rum Barrel Eau-De-Vie De Vin, Ferrand is the first cognac brand to release an expression double-aged in ex-rum casks.

For owner and Master Blender Alexandre Gabriel, “Cognac has a rich heritage, full of old and forgotten techniques that we love to explore and revive.” For his latest foray into the creative potential of double maturation, Alexandre selected one of his Ferrand 100% Grande Champagne Premier Cru de Cognac Vintage 2011 casks and aged it further in barrels that had previously contained Plantation Rum from the storied Long Pond Distillery in Jamaica. These barrels, used to age a Long Pond HJC distilled in 1996, are so scarce that the resulting spirit is just as rare. The result is no longer a cognac according to today’s strict AOC definitions, but an ingenious eau-de-vie.

“This Renegade Barrel N°3 is a tribute to the old master blenders who, until 40 years ago, would go to the harbor in Bordeaux to collect rum barrels as they arrived from the Caribbean. I know an old cognac maker who actually remembers ageing some of his cognacs that way. I couldn’t help but try it. We were so excited to see how beautifully it developed in the casks,” says Alexandre.

GSN’s Remarks: Both the flavor of brandy and rum come through in this latest expression. The grape spirit holds court while the rum adds a warm, nutty and round mid-range note. The blend is lovely, and almost like a cocktail in itself. With a splash of simple syrup, some cocoa bitters and dilution, this would make for a great after dinner drink. Alexandre knows what he is doing and with yet another winner, he is sure to rack up another slew of awards from various spirits competitions with this one. Santé! GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Ferrand Cognac

#RenegadeBarrelNo3 #ferrandcognac

GSN Review: Starward Octave Barrels Whisky

Starward Australian Whisky recently introduced Starward Octave Barrels, a new Australian single malt whisky that celebrates whisky craftsmanship and Australian winemaking. Extending Starward’s progressive red wine barrel maturation practices, the Octave Barrels takes some of the world’s oldest Shiraz plantings from Australia’s oldest family-owned winery (Yalumba) and uses these barrels to create a Single Estate Australian Whisky. Starward has had a special friendship with Yalumba that stretches back to its beginnings with Starward’s first batch of whisky aged almost exclusively in Yalumba wine barrels. Yalumba is the only winery in the southern hemisphere to handcraft barrels in their own onsite cooperage. From oak selection to char, the Yalumba coopers have perfected the aroma, character and complexity each barrel brings to their wines.

This is the first release in the US from Starward Projects, a program that encourages Starward’s distillers to experiment with different whiskies and barrels to create flavor forward and unique expressions. As there is no mold for Australian whisky, Starward has the freedom to make it their own way, learning from the Old World while embracing the flavor possibilities of the New World.

Starward Octave Barrels is matured in 100L octave-sized barrels that previously held Yalumba The Octavius, an iconic Shiraz wine and the world’s only red wine aged in these specialty sized barrels. Once The Octavius is bottled, freshly emptied barrels are sent to Starward’s Melbourne distillery and filled with Starward’s new make spirit that will become their signature single malt whisky. The smaller volume of these robust little vessels, handcrafted from American oak, creates more wood to whisky interaction compared to standard sized wine barrels, allowing this single malt whisky to soak up more of the celebrated characteristics of The Octavius Shiraz as it reaches full maturation.

Starward Octave Barrel presents at 48% ABV and is now available in limited quantities at select retailers nationwide and online in a 700mL bottle

GSN’s Remarks: Lightly sweet with malt and grape essence, this is nonetheless tempered by the oak cask which infuses the endeavor with a dry character. The nose is delicate and fruity, while the entry has a robust and punch-like flavor. We particularly enjoy the Shiraz patina as it has an old school approach and is less sweet than if they had used a sherry cask. The flavor stays agreeable throughout the entire journey, and everything leads to a soft fade after several minutes. Really a joy to experience! GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Starward

#StarwardOctaveBarrels

GSN Review: Helix Onyx One-Hitter

Designed and executed as only Vessel can, Helix breaks from the pack to deliver performance and style in a never-before-seen form. The patent pending double helix design provides the perfect combination of filtering and cooling for an experience, unlike any other.

Helix Onyx is precision-crafted in pure, non-toxic brass with a double helix design increases surface area and length by 2.5x, cooling airflow. The exterior dimensions are 90mm L x 13mm D, and the weight is an ultralight 1.9 oz. Intended to use with dry herb/flower, the more Helix is used, a residue builds creating a sticky filter for a debris-free experience.

GSN’s Remarks: This is one slick looking unit. We also like the cool touch of metal, plus the simplicty and aesthetic that make this piece a modern artistic statement. Small enough to fit in your pocket, this is a great tool to grab and go. Cleaning is simple and the unique design helps cool the smoke. We continue to be impressed with Vessel’s products, and this one is no exception. GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Vessel Brand

#helixonyx #vessel

GSN Review: IZO Bacanora Silver Agave Spirit

Bacanora is a regional mezcal from the northwestern state of Sonora, protected by Denomination of Origin status since the year 2000. Only eight years prior, Bacanora production had finally been made legal. Bacanora is made from a regional varietal of the Agave Angustifolia Haw, also know as Agave Pacifica, Agave Yaquiana, or Agave Bacanora. Production methods can be extremely rustic, though in the current period, most Bacanora is made in a traditional mezcal method. Produced in Sonora, Mexico, IZO’s Bacanora is double distilled in copper and stainless steel.

GSN’s Remarks: Lovely light creosote nose of rustic woodfire. The entry is somewhat sweet, with a soft vegetal note. This is quickly followed by smoke, campfire and a musky patina which opens and then closes slowly like an umbrella. At the tail end of the burnt presentation, the mezcal comes into play with a slightly fruity, tropical essence. If you enjoy Islay whiskies, or Mezcals, you will want to buy this latest release from IZO. Exceptionally evocative and beautifully crafted, IZO’s Bacanora Silver hits all the marks. GSN Rating: A++

For more information go to: IZO Spirits

#izobacanora

GSN Review: Revanche Cognac

Revanche is a proprietary blend of three different Cognac expressions which is unique in the category. Revanche launched in the US and Europe in late 2019 and has been working to extend its distribution from the East Coast into the western markets.

“We are thrilled to expand into additional East Coast markets and widen our reach into several Midwest and West Coast markets,” said Gigi Olah, CEO and Partner of Revanche Cognac. “We continue to grow our brand within the US and are excited to see how our product performs in these new areas.”

The United States is the leading export market for Cognac, the sector continues to grow with an increase of +11.1% or 115 million bottles of cognac shipped in 2021, according to The Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC).

Revanche will be available in all 35 markets by the end of this summer. 

GSN’s Remarks: Normally, with a Cognac, there are certain levels of quality ranging from VS, VSOP and XO. With Revanche, these are all blended together, which makes for a unique flavor experience. A light, yet rich Cognac with plenty of caramel, vanilla, and grape notes. This is an easy drinking and smooth spirit, that has the rough edges smoothed out. Fine to sip on its own, we also recommend this for the classics such as a Sidecar, Between the Sheets, Vieux Carre or in a Milk Punch. Very nice. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Revanche Cognac

#RevancheCognac

GSN Review: Mutiny Island Vodka

Mutiny Island Vodka, the world’s first and only vodka distilled from breadfruit and the brainchild of award-winning Chef Todd Manley, is distilled and bottled at the newly-opened Sion Farm Distillery on the Caribbean island of St. Croix. Manley, originally from Virginia where he was chef/owner of multiple restaurants, owns four popular restaurants on St. Croix. He has called the Virgin Islands home since 2010. 

Breadfruit, touted by many as an untapped superfood, is a versatile tropical fruit known and loved throughout the Caribbean and Pacific islands. “Breadfruit, with its rich history and legacy, provided us with a type of vodka we knew would be true to the island,” said Manley. “With the creation of Mutiny Island Vodka and the opening of Sion Farm Distillery, we are committed to supporting the growth of St. Croix, and all of the USVI, by way of employment, agriculture, environmental initiatives and the vibrant tourist trade of the islands. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Mutiny Island Vodka will be donated to the Trees That Feed Foundation to support their efforts to alleviate hunger in tropical countries.”

“Trees That Feed Foundation has been promoting the planting and use of breadfruit and its post-harvest products across the world,” said Mary McLaughlin, TTFF chair and founder. “We’re delighted that Todd and his team at Mutiny Island Vodka have had the vision to create a breadfruit vodka that consumers will enjoy and that will provide economic benefit to the farmers whose ingredients are used. We welcome their support of our efforts to build self-sustaining communities and entrepreneurs based on agroforestry”

The Mutiny Island Vodka name was inspired by the famous tale of the mutiny on the Royal Navy vessel HMS Bounty in 1789, known to most as “The Mutiny on The Bounty.”

GSN’s Remarks: A lightly sweet and tropical character with some body upon entry. Easy going and fresh, this vodka is great in tropical libations, but also maes for a fun and lively sipper. As if that weren’t enough, we applaud the initiatives supported by Mutiny Island Vodka to help St. Croix, the Virgin Islans and the environment through this lovely spirit. Our current favorite vodka of the month. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Mutiny Vodka

#MutinyIslandVodka

GSN Review: KLYR Rum

The story of KLYR started with founder Amish Patel who came up with the idea of producing a unique silver rum in the U.S. that drinks like vodka or tequila. The KLYR team then partnered Holy Water Distillery Master Distiller Lexi Close to help develop the recipe and produce KLYR Rum. Lexi and her team at Holy Water Distillery were able to fine-tune the perfect ratio of sugar, water and yeast utilizing a proprietary distillation and filtration process.

Holy Water Distillery was opened by Victoria and Kevin Close in 2018. Quickly becoming a local craft favorite, their spirit brand Crostwater Distilled Spirits crafts various offerings such as gin, vodka, spiced rum, whiskey, bourbon, flavored whiskey and more. Their daughter, 24-year-old Master Distiller Lexi Close, now distills over 10 spirits including KLYR Rum.

GSN’s Remarks: First off, if you were in a liquor store, you would not know by the label if this was a vodka, rum, gin or tequila. It’s unclear (pun intended) what spirit this is. However, let’s see what it tastes like. This is a rich and flavorful white rum, with both body and character. Sweetly forward, with a semi-heavy minerality. The water used to bring it down to proof has some terroir, while the yeast also adds a decent dose of personality. We like this rum, it has a young and fresh approach. Perfect for Daiquiris or a Pina Colada, it will also add some depth to a simple rum & cola. GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: KLYR Rum

#klyrrum

GSN Alert: North America’s 50 Best Bars 2022

Attaboy in New York, USA, takes the No.1 spot at the first-ever North America’s 50 Best Bars awards 2022, sponsored by Perrier

The inaugural list of North America’s 50 Best Bars, sponsored by Perrier, was announced at a live awards ceremony on June 7, 2022 at Capitale in New York. The new annual ranking features bars from across the North American continent, including the USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. New York’s Attaboy is crowned No.1 as The Best Bar in North America, with Mexico City’s Handshake Speakeasy at No.2 now boasting the title of The Best Bar in Mexico, followed by Licorería Limantour, also in the Mexican capital, close behind at No.3.

Toronto’s Civil Liberties, at No.10, wins the title of The Best Bar in Canada, while Puerto Rico’s La Factoría, at No.12, earns The Best Bar in the Caribbean accolade. Overall, the USA leads the list with 29 bars, with Mexico fielding 11, Canada boasting eight and the Caribbean celebrating two top bars.

1-50 LIST

Position Bar City
1 Attaboy New York
2 Handshake Speakeasy Mexico City
3 Licorería Limantour Mexico City
4 Katana Kitten New York
5 Kumiko Chicago
6 Café La Trova Miami
7 Baltra Bar Mexico City
8 Dante New York
9 Thunderbolt Los Angeles
10 Civil Liberties Toronto
11 Zapote Bar Playa del Carmen
12 La Factoría San Juan
13 Kaito del Valle Mexico City
14 Sweet Liberty Miami
15 Café de Nadie Mexico City
16 Hanky Panky Mexico City
17 Double Chicken Please New York
18 Service Bar Washington, D.C.
19 Raised by Wolves San Diego
20 Sabina Sabe Oaxaca
21 El Gallo Altanero Guadalajara
22 Selva Oaxaca
23 Amor y Amargo New York
24 Jewel of the South New Orleans
25 The Keefer Bar Vancouver
26 Dear Irving New York
27 Overstory New York
28 Herbs & Rye Las Vegas
29 El Pequeño Bar Montreal
30 Employees Only New York
31 The Dead Rabbit New York
32 Broken Shaker Miami
33 Friends and Family Oakland
34 Death & Co (Los Angeles) Los Angeles
35 Mace New York
36 Death & Co (Denver) Denver
37 Arca Tulum
38 Mother Toronto
39 ABV San Francisco
40 El Floridita Havana
41 Bar Raval Toronto
42 Bar Leather Apron Honolulu
43 Clover Club New York
44 Bitter & Twisted Phoenix
45 Cloakroom Bar Montreal
46 Julep Houston
47 Bar Mordecai Toronto
48 Teardrop Lounge Portland
49 Bar Kismet Halifax
50 Genever Los Angeles

GSN Alert: Ultimate Spirits Challenge announces its 2022 results

Paul Pacult, judging director, and Tess Rose Lampert, assistant judging director Photo credit: Daniel Silbert

The Results Are In! Click here for all scores and awards

Ultimate Spirits Challenge (USC), since 2010 the world’s most prestigious global spirits competition, today releases the results of the 2022 Challenge. USC 2022 proved to be the thirteenth consecutive year of record submissions. Entries arrived from more than 50 spirit-producing nations.

The judging, held through May and early June, determined 57 Chairman’s Trophy winners, 274 Finalists, 446 Great Values, and 143 Tried & True Award winners. As always, USC was conducted at the custom-designed Ultimate Beverage Challenge (UBC) Evaluation Center, located in Hawthorne, NY.

Says UBC Co-Founder and Judging Director F. Paul Pacult, “Aside from being the largest USC ever, this year’s Challenge was likewise the most global, with an impressive array of quality distillates from places as far away from New York as China, Australia, Ecuador, India, and Chile. Virtually all categories saw healthy gains, most notably gin, Ready-to-Drink cocktails, mezcal, rum, tequila, rum, vodka, and all whiskey and brandy categories.

“Since producers tend to enter their top-shelf marques into USC, it’s clear that they look to us for the most accurate and unbiased data in the industry. We already look forward to USC 2023!”