GSN Alert: January 17th – National Hot Buttered Rum Day

cocktail_spirit_hot_buttered_rumIn honor of National Hot Buttered Rum Day, Good Spirits News is happy to share a selection of videos by the Small Screen Network.  Filmed in the Seattle area, these videos feature our friends Robert “Drinkboy” Hess, Kathy Casey and Kacy Fitch from the Zig Zag Cafe making their versions of this iconic winter cocktail.  Cheers!~

GSN Review: Collabor&tion Bourbon Whiskies

Collabor&tion is the culmination of nearly two years of work between the Bardstown Bourbon Co. & Copper & Kings American Brandy Co. Two deluxe expressions of 10-year-old straight Bourbon whiskey finished for 18 months: one in C&K American Brandy barrels and the other in Muscat Mistelle barrels.

Steve Nally, Bourbon Hall of Fame Master Distiller for BBCo, and Brandon O’Daniel, Head Distiller for C&K, hand-selected the bourbon for the project, blended it, and chose the barrels for the finishing process. The bourbon used to produce Collabor&tion was distilled in Indiana in 2006 by Lawrenceburg Distillers and is made from a mash bill of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley.

“Exceptional bourbon will always carry beautiful dark fruit notes (figs, raisins, dates) as well as apple and pear to complement the classic honey, spice and butterscotch. Aging in brandy barrels not only accentuates these notes – it layers more on top of that foundation to create an incredibly rich, smooth and complex whiskey” says Nally.

O’Daniel adds, “A Mistelle barrel is a unique vessel. Mistelle is unfermented grape juice (in this case Muscat) fortified with un-aged brandy (Muscat eau-de-vie) and then aged in bourbon barrels for 18 months. The empty barrels are deeply and highly caramelized with the grape sugars and fruit essences. The whiskey exiting these barrels is pure joy.”

Collabor&tion Brandy Barrel Finish (113 proof)
Visual: Dark copper.
Nose: Rich, wood forward nose with a sheen of high notes. Soft caramel, light grapeiness, lush dried date and fig. Very enticing, open and evocative.
Taste: The brandy essence comes forward, but quickly turns into a shower of fig and light clover honey. Dessert-like, but not overly sweet, just a compact bomb of flavor. Really smooth and balanced despite the firepower behind the high-proof.
Finish: Long with a lot of the dried fruit keeping pace with the fade.
Overall: An exceptional spirit that hits all the marks. Well done and highly recommended.
GSN Rating: A+

Collabor&tion Mistelle Barrel Finish (94 proof)
Visual: Dark copper.
Nose: Even more vine fruit on the nose, with a sharp edge of oak wood. This would be the sister of the Brandy finished whiskey. Lighter, more ethereal and vivacious. The wood and fruit nose work in tandem to deliver a solid unifying scent.
Taste: Quite sweet and grape forward, but entirely unlike a sherry cask aged spirit. The fruit character plays the leading role, but also allows the bourbon itself to shine.
Finish: Long and with a lot of the sweetness playing out over the minutes.
Overall: A truly fine “dessert” whiskey that will pair well with crème brûlée or pipe tobacco. A brilliant match of spirit and cask. Highly recommended!
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Bardstown Bourbon

GSN Review: Barrel Char in a Jar Kit

For those DIY spirits enthusiasts out there, there is an appeal to making your own flavor profiles. But, buying barrels, even small ones is expensive and they don’t last forever.  Barrel Char in a Jar allows you to experiment with five different woods with a small and easily stored kit that contains everything you need right out of the box (minus the spirit itself).

US laws prohibit home production of strong alcoholic spirits (beer and wine are not considered strong) as this would involve distilling; which is illegal without a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF). Many of the so-called “make your own” kits actually just contain a bottle of artificial flavoring which the user must add to some kind of store bought vodka or grain neutral spirit. Real aging gets its flavor, color and aroma from the wood and char of the barrel.

With this kit, you are getting all the high-end types of wood used in the most expensive spirits. The user of this kit will be able to take a spirit of their choice, (like unaged whiskey, white rum or blanco tequila) and age it in a way that is similar to the way large-scale manufacturers do. You will get the dark color and complex flavors that real barrel aging will produce.

The basic Barrel Char kit consists of a quart size jar with two sample bottles for comparing your original spirit and finished product as well as several kinds of wood for aging. These include:

  • American White Oak (barrel char)
  • Cherry (light toast)
  • French Oak (medium plus toast)
  • Sugar Maple (medium toast)
  • Yellow Birch (medium toast)

Yellow Birch provides some burnt caramel and vanilla bean notes to spirits, while Sugar Maple adds a maple candy note to things without adding too much sweetness. Unlike some commercial products which just add maple syrup to their spirits (which you can do as well if desired), this wood adds some maple flavor without too much sweetness. With the exception of the Oak , all of the wood is harvested using hand tools in the USA and toasted in a commercial kitchen.

In addition to the 5 types of wood, with the kit you get filter papers, an instruction booklet, and activated charcoal. The activated charcoal is pre-washed so there will be a minimum of black dust. There are enough consumables in the kit to flavor approximately 2-3 conventional (750ml) bottles of liquor per wood if you don’t count the barrel char oak. If you use every flavor, you should get 8-12 bottles of flavored liquor before the consumables run out.

Overall, a fun way to try experimenting and make something new for you home bar.

GSN Rating: A

To order go to: Gnarly Apple on Etsy

GSN Alert: January 11th – National Hot Toddy Day

Today is National Hot Toddy Day!  A perfect day for it, since it’s only 15 degrees in Central New York at the moment.  The GSN desk was sent a few recipes to share with our readers.  Enjoy!

image001DRAMBUIE® Rusty Apple Toddy
In a coffee mug, add:
3 parts heated Apple Cider
1 part DRAMBUIE® Scotch Liqueur
Juice from one-quarter Lemon wedge

image002Stir briefly. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Hot Tully
1 oz Tullamore Dew
1/2 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
3 oz hot water

First warm a mug with hot water, then discard and combine ingredients above.  Stir before serving.
Options: Add fresh ginger for a bit of a bite, or infuse the simple syrup with fun flavors such as cinnamon and orange, or apple and ginger.

image003Milagro Hot Toddy
1.5 parts Milagro Anejo Tequila
1 part Agave Nectar
4 Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 Whole Anise Star
4 parts Boiling Water
1 Lemon Wheel
Optional: Whipped cream

GSN What’s Brewing: Biscayne Bay Brewing Buenas Noches Barrel Aged Stout

Biscayne Bay Brewing Company, recently announced that limited edition, Buenas Noches Barrel Aged Stout, is available at Total Wine. This Brandy Barrel Aged Imperial Stout was rested for nearly three months in grape brandy barrels and sits at a warming 10.1% abv. Buenas Noches, or “Good Night,” is a phrase used when ending your evening. This beer is the perfect night-cap.

“We are very excited to be rolling out seasonal releases with Total Wine,” says Jose Mallea, President of Biscayne Bay Brewing Company.  “They are a wonderful partner and have been a big supporter of our beers. We look forward to partnering for future special releases.”

The brewery will continue to work with Total Wine in the future to make their beers available to craft beer enthusiasts to enjoy. Buenas Noches will only be available for a limited time.

Tasting notes: Smokey aroma, with a slight hint of funk. Rich, strong chocolate character balanced by an aftertaste of sherry. Sherry flavor grows stronger as the beer warms. It adds a complexity that works wonders. Has almost a holiday spice feel to it. Notes of cherry as well. Wood flavor sneaks through. Quite smooth despite a strong ABV, but balanced by the richness of the flavor that lends itself to a long sipping session. Body is lighter and effervescent than a typical stout.  It can be a little intense, but if sipped, it goes down easy.

GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Biscayne Bay Brewing

Review by Kieran Jerome Matthew

GSN Review: Chicken Cock Double Barrel 10 Year Old Bourbon

Originally established in 1856, in Paris, Kentucky, (ten years before Jack Daniels), Chicken Cock rose to fame as the house whiskey at the Cotton Club, one of the most legendary speakeasies, during Prohibition. Known as “The Famous Old Brand” and “The Whiskey in a Tin Can,” Chicken Cock was smuggled in sealed tin cans and ceremoniously opened tableside. After prohibition ended, the brand enjoyed a resurgent couple of decades before a distillery fire put it out of business for more than 40 years.

The brand’s newest release is a 10-Year-Old Double Barrel Bourbon. Master Distiller and 40+ year veteran Gregg Snyder selected twelve barrels of 10-year-old bourbon, marrying two barrels at a time. Through countless samplings, he determined the “perfect proof” at 104-proof, with a slight amount of pure water to open up the flavors, and non-chill filtered to retain the rich amber colors and exquisite taste profile. Featuring a Pre-prohibition Era Style Bottle with sipping glass cap and a Mash Bill of 70% corn, 21% rye and 9% malted barley, only 1,980 bottles of this coveted expression have been produced.

“From the day I discovered Chicken Cock Whiskey, my goal was to eventually return the brand to its ancestral home,” said Matti Anttila, CEO of Grain & Barrel Spirits. ”The historic brand is now officially 100% back home in Kentucky, a mere 80 miles from Paris, where its story began 162 years ago. The legend of Chicken Cock never died. In fact, we believe that the brand’s best years are still ahead of it.”

Chicken Cock Double Barrel 10 Year Old (104 proof)
Visual: Dark orange.
Nose: Rich, intoxicating aroma of deep bourbon whiskey. A buttery, sweet corn nose that has a dash of peppery spice. Inviting and confident.
Taste: Remarkably smooth even tasted at 52% ABV. There is a softness that cuts the heat, wraps it in a flavor bomb and recasts it on the palate as a fulsome and welcoming experience.  Warm, friendly and eminently accessible.
Finish: Long with a sweet flavor tinted with just a hint of cinnamon.
Overall: Highly recommended as a “go to” whiskey, you had best buy a few bottles when you can. Hopefully, there will be more of this released in the future.
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Chicken Cock Whiskey

GSN Review: Heaven’s Door Straight Tennessee Bourbon

Heaven’s Door Spirits, created in partnership with Nobel Laureate and cultural icon Bob Dylan, recently launched its 10 Year Tennessee Straight Bourbon. The Heaven’s Door Limited-Release Bourbon is a testament to the company’s mission of creating an ever-evolving catalog of small batch whiskeys featuring uncommon blends, special barrel finishes and rare stocks. To compliment the craftsmanship that went into the making of this bourbon, the bottle itself is a work of art. The 10 Year Tennessee Straight Bourbon comes in a beautifully composed case, with the delightful surprise of a reprinted lyric sheet featuring the hand-typed words to Dylan’s beloved songs “Maggie’s Farm” and “Subterranean Homesick Blues.”

“We are passionate about challenging whiskey convention through unique barrel finishing, wood experimentation, and blending,” says Ryan Perry, Head of Whiskey Development at Heaven’s Door. “At 100 proof and with a low rye mash bill, this whiskey is perfectly balanced and rich in character. After spending ten long, hot summers in a Tennessee rick house, this bourbon was so perfect that we felt any tinkering would have been a disservice.”

The 10 Year Tennessee Straight Bourbon joins the multiple award-winning trilogy of Heaven’s Door expressions debuted this past April: the Double Barrel Whiskey, the Tennessee Straight Bourbon, and the Straight Rye Whiskey finished in French Oak “Cigar” Barrels from the Vosges forest region of France.

Heaven’s Door Straight Tennessee Bourbon (90 proof)
Visual: Medium-dark gold.
Nose: Strong nose of old wood and tanned leather. Some dark apricot, vanilla bean and brown bread.
Taste: Remarkably smooth and balanced, it quickly opens up into a rather broad vista of whiskey flavors. The low-end rumbles with sweet corn and malt, whilst the mid-range playfully expresses soft baking spices, and the top notes have a slight fruit edge. It all works as a cohesive whole.
Finish: Long, with a sweet tinge like a lover’s goodnight kiss.
Overall: Another winner from Bob. He keeps knocking, and Heaven’s Door keeps answering.
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Heaven’s Door