GSN Alert: May 20, 2017 – World Whiskey Day

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World Whisky Day invites everyone to try a dram and celebrate the water of life. Events are taking place all over the globe. If you can’t find an event happening near you why not host your own World Whisky day event? All you need is a bottle of whisky to share with your friends. World Whisky day celebrates all types of whisky/whiskey and encourages everyone to enjoy whisky responsibly.

World Whisky Day is all about making whisky fun and enjoyable. It’s not about being exclusive or prescriptive. You can drink it however you enjoy it (ice, water, mixer – whatever works for you). We want to be all inclusive and that means any kind of whisky/whiskey from anywhere in the world.

For more info go to: World Whisky Day

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GSN Review: Cerasum Aperitivo

Washington D.C.-based distillery Don Ciccio & Figli continues to take its artisanal offerings national with the launch of Cerasum Aperitivo, a bitter-cherry liqueur.

The naturally tart spirit is available this Spring, in time for sipping in the sun with DC’s Cherry Trees in full bloom. Made with cherries from Michigan and local cherry blossoms, the Aperitivo brings US agriculture together in a way that resembles the past with a humble nod to the future.

Cerasum is based on a traditional Italian recipe from 1906, respecting the original product from the Don Ciccio & 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.

Cerasum is a bitter aperitivo based on an infusion of three types of cherries from Michigan, sakura blossoms from Virginia and 10 selected roots and herbs including Juniper, Chamomile, Hibiscus, and resting at 23% ABV.

While the aperitivo category has grown significantly in recent years, there are only a few other cherry-based liqueurs available in the U.S, making this an exciting addition to an intriguing category. The natural tartness of the cherries rolls into a root style bitterness that creates a recognizable sensation, providing an applicable new style of liqueur. The medium-to-high bitterness level was designed with cocktail aficionados and fans of bitter aperitivi like the Negroni and Americano in mind.

Cerasum Aperitivo (23% abv)
Visual: Rusty malbec.
Nose: Dried herb and dark cherry. Slightly medicinal, but fresh and grassy as well.
Taste: At first, it is cherry sweet, but after a few seconds, a bitter, woody herb sachet enters the picture to tone things down. Slightly viscous mouthfeel.
Finish: Long with the cherry flavor playing tag with the root/herb blend.
Overall: There aren’t enough cherry flavored liqueurs, let alone aperitvos to play with in the cocktail world. This makes a very welcome addition to the game. Try this in tiki drinks, and slings to cut back on the sweetness.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Don Ciccio e Figli

GSN Review: McKenzie Single Barrel Bourbon – Lucky Hare Collaboration

Finger Lakes Distilling, located in beautiful Central New York, recently announced a new whiskey that was made in collaboration with their friends from Lucky Hare Brewing. A few months ago, FLD lent them two barrels that held McKenzie Pure Pot Still Whiskey. They filled them with Russian Imperial Stout and let them rest for a bit. When it was finished, they had a new whiskey barrel-aged stout, cleverly named I Am The Liquor, and FLD had two new barrels to play with. They selected a special high-rye bourbon that would pair well with the stout and transferred it to the beer barrels. After monitoring the barrels for a few weeks, they bottled it for the latest McKenzie Single Barrel release. Supplies are very limited and only available at the distillery located in Burdett, NY.

McKenzie Single Barrel Bourbon (90 proof)
Visual: Dark copper.
Nose: Dark and mysterious depths of burnt sugar, slightly charred malt, and maple hardwood balanced with a softened rye spice nose. This is a bourbon to contemplate.
Taste: At first sip, the stout flavor comes through with an almost chewy, brown beard-like character, this is followed up with a slightly bitter molasses character, that intermingles with the spice kick of the rye. Holding everything together is a beautifully rounded bourbon base that smooths everything out.
Finish: Long with a curious sarsaparilla finish.
Overall: An unusual experiment that somehow is greater than the sum of its parts. The stout complements the bourbon, and visa versa. Seek this out if you can.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Finger Lakes Distilling

GSN Alert: May 15th – National Aperitif Day

indexA few years ago, the Lillet company declared a “National Aperitif Day” in honor of their latest product, Lillet Rose.  It’s not a bad time of year to do so.  Spring feels like a natural time for lighter and less inebriating beverages.

The word aperitif is French and literally means “to open.” The idea is that a short drink will prepare the imbiber for a lovely meal.  The original version was created in Turin, Italy by Antonio Carpano in 1786.  The next iteration came 60 years later when Joseph Dubonnet added quinine to a herbally infused wine and created, you guessed it, Dubonnet.

Lillet dates back to 1872, when it was known as Kina Lillet.  Notable fictional characters James Bond and Hannibal Lecter both enjoyed Kina.  Today, the original formula has been reformulated into Lillet Blanc.  As I mentioned there is also Lillet Rose and a third version Lillet Rouge which debuted in 1990.

Some classic cocktails calling for Lillet are the Vesper, the Corpse Reviver #2 (a personal favorite) and the 20th Century (a cocktail well deserving of a revival) in the 21st century.

GSN Alert: May 13th – World Cocktail Day

cocktailsThe word ‘cocktail’ is thrown around with as much abandon as a flamboyantly flaring mixologist with a Boston shaker – but what does it mean; and, indeed, what are its origins? According to the The London Telegraph, the first instance of its use was in a satirical newspaper article about a party; although whether ‘cocktail’ referred to an alcoholic drink is contested. Vermont publication The Farmer’s Cabinet stakes another claim for the debut use of ‘cocktail’, suggesting in its pages on 28th April 1803 that ‘to drink a cocktail is excellent for the head.’
The Online Etymology Dictionary attributes the origin of ‘cocktail’ to a mispronunciation of the French word for egg cup, ‘coquetier’ (pronounced in English as ‘cocktay’); backed, perhaps, but the fact that Antoine Amédée Peychaud (he of the eponymous bitters brand) served brandy mixed with bitters in eggcups at his late eighteenth-century New Orleans apothecary.
A second theory holds that the name is derived from the term ‘cock tailings’; referring to the debatably delicious practice of tavern owners combining the dregs (‘tailings’) of barrels together into a single elixir to be sold at knock-down prices, drawn from the spigot of a barrel – its ‘cock’.

On 13th May 1806, newspaper Balance and Columbian Repository defined a cocktail as, ‘a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind – sugar, water, and bitters.’ This date is now recognised as World Cocktail Day, an occasion on which drinkers commemorate the first recognised publication of the word’s definition.

All information courtesy of Good Things Magazine

GSN Review: 1571 Fahrenheit Beer Caramelizer

Life is full of mysteries. One example of this is “What do you buy the beer geek who has everything?”. This particular question can be answered with the “Beer Caramelizer” by 1571F. Although this item clearly falls into the gimmicky territory of strange stocking stuffers and gag gifts, it does offer something unique. It can actually change the taste of your brew without a condensed liquid or flavor packet. The beer caramelizer itself is a sturdy two piece steel rod set that screws into a highly polished wooden handle. The heavy weight behind it is rather nice and you feel like you are holding something of a decent quality. Now the premise behind this fancy metal stick is you place it in a fireplace, campfire, or the like and heat the rod. With this now red-hot poker you can dip it into a beer of any style for a few seconds, and the intense heat will instantly caramelize the sugars leaving you with a unique tasting beer.

We here at GSN tried this with three different beers. A lager, a stout, and an ipa. For the most part the same thing can be said of all three. Each beer became smoother, and definitely had a slight sweetness added to it. However, the beers grew warm and somewhat flat after the procedure. This worked alright with the stout, but for a lager or an ipa, it didn’t seem to improve an already fine beer. It’s definitely interesting to try this new flavor and mouthfeel, but in general terms, it doesn’t do any favors to the brew.

Lastly, while this is indeed a unique product, there are a few things that should be made clearer on the packaging. Obviously, the nature of mixing red-hot steel bars, campfires, and alcohol is perhaps not the safest activity. This coupled with using the heated steel in a beer glass could potentially cause breakage. Cold glass and hot metal do not mix well. Here at GSN we used a ceramic beer stein to test this, and didn’t feel like risking any other glassware. This is clearly a gimmick, and while it’s fun to try once, it seems a little odd, dangerous, and best left for the beer geek, who has everything else.

GSN Rating: C

Review by Kieran Jerome Matthew

For more information go to: The 1571f

 

GSN Aperitif of the Day: May 6th – Inventor Puts a Cap on the Issue of Spoiled Beverages

William Painter was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006 for his patent on the Crown Cork bottle cap. To prevent beverages from being ruined he created a simplistic, economical and leakproof seal. Beyond the cap, Painter patented all the machinery that went along with the production of it while launching the Crown Cork and Seal Company in 1892. This bottle cap is currently universal for carbonated beverages in a glass bottle. Painter earned 85 patents in his lifetime.

On May 6, celebrate National Beverage Day by honoring William Painter, a great inventor whose problem-solving invention impacted the protection of our bottled beverages!