GSN Alert: June 19th – National Martini Day


The Martini is well deserving of its own day, as it is the most widely recognized cocktail in the world.  At its most basic, it is a combination of gin and dry vermouth.  On the auspicious occasion, GSN is proud to share a few of our favorite Martini recipes from the last 150 years.

1 1/2 oz gin
3/4 oz dry vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain
Add olive

1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz Benedictine
1 dash orange bitters
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain

Dry Martini
2 oz gin
1/4 oz dry vermouth
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain
Add olive or lemon twist

2 oz gin
1/2 oz dry vermouth
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain
Add onion

Hoffman House
1 3/4 oz gin
3/4 oz dry vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain
Add olive

2 oz gin
1/4 oz dry vermouth
1/4 oz sweet vermouth
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain
Add olive (or lemon twist)

1 3/4 oz gin
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/4 oz Red Dubonnet
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain
Add orange peel

GSN Review: Still Austin Cask Strength Bourbon

Still Austin Whiskey Co., a homegrown distillery situated in the heart of South Austin, recently launched its first limited-release Cask Strength Bourbon, in on- and off-premise establishments throughout Texas and at the Still Austin Distillery Tasting Room. Unlike the company’s Distillery Reserve Series which typically yields up to 600 total bottles and is only available at the Tasting Room, the Cask Strength Bourbon is a limited-release, meaning a larger quantity will be available in the marketplace as well. This year, the team will make 1,100 cases available now and an additional 1,100 cases available in September.

Made from 100% Texas grains, the new expression contains the same mash bill as the company’s flagship straight bourbon whiskey – 70% Non-GMO white corn, 25% Elbon rye and 5% wildfire malted barley – but without utilizing the slow water reduction process, resulting in a higher proof.

The team asked Master Blender Nancy Fraley to search through their barrels of Straight Bourbon and select the most complex and full-flavored ones—those begging to be blended and released at “barrel proof,” meaning the whiskey was bottled at the same proof at which it was aged.

The artwork on the label, created by internationally acclaimed artist and native Texan Marc Burckhardt, is a slightly modified version of the Straight Bourbon artwork, a series which portrays “archetypical” Austinites. Each provides a sense of the people who have influenced and inspired the team, while paying homage to the Texas terroir. While the Cask Strength bottle also features The Musician, the black night sky is meant to be representative of the stronger, “darker” whiskey.

GSN’s Remarks: We love the flagship version of this stellar whiskey which garnered one of our highest ratings last year. This new higher proof iteration just dials up the nose, flavors and finish to 11. There’s everything to love about this spirit, and bottled at a cask strength of 118 proof, you can play around with dilution to find the balance that you favor. Mark our words, Still Austin will be a leader in American whiskies in a few years if they continue crafting spirits like these. GSN Rating: A++

For more information go to: Still Austin

Ole Smoky Flavored Whiskies

Ole Smoky Distillery now has five of their flavored whiskey offerings available in mini 50ML bottles, Salty Caramel Whiskey, Mango Habanero Whiskey, Peanut Butter Whiskey, Peach Whiskey and Salty Watermelon Whiskey. Handcrafted in small batches, Ole Smoky’s whiskey line launched nationally in the fall of 2017 and has expanded to 17 inventive flavors.

Ole Smoky is the first federally licensed distillery in the history of East Tennessee. Founded in 2010, Ole Smoky’s roots are traced to the Smoky Mountains’ earliest settlers, families who produced moonshine. Today, Ole Smoky retails in all 50 states and over 20 countries around the world and offers more than 25 creative moonshine flavors and 17 inventive whiskey flavors.

Ole Smoky Salty Caramel Whiskey: The salted caramel flavor here is a bit overwhelming. We found that it needed more whiskey for balance. GSN Rating: B

Ole Smoky Mango Habanero Whiskey: If you like it hot, this is the one for you. We expected a soft warming heat, but this one is quite spicy. One sip and our mouths were burning for several minutes. The mango flavor is nice though. GSN Rating: B-

Ole Smoky Peach Whiskey: One of our favorites. Peaches and whiskey marry well together. We like the sly sweetness, but the whiskey shines here. GSN Rating: A

Ole Smoky Salty Watermelon Whiskey: An odd one for sure. We’d never heard of salting fresh watermelon. This one doesn’t really work, as the two characters of watermelon and whiskey never mesh. GSN Rating: C

Ole Smoky Peanut Butter Whiskey: Another winner. Nicely nutty and balanced well with the whiskey, this one is perfect. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Ole Smoky

GSN Review: Larceny Barrel Proof B521 Bourbon

Larceny Barrel Proof is an ongoing offering released three times per year: January, May and September. Each release will have varying proofs and consist of barrels aged six to eight years. A naming convention for the release is shown on each bottle. The alpha character in the naming convention designates which batch of the year that bottle came from, the numeral that follows represents the month of the release, and finally the last two digits indicate the corresponding year of the release. For example, this latest release is B521, with “B” representing the second batch of this year, “5” representing May, and “21” representing the year 2021.

GSN’s Remarks: Similar to A121, this is a very baking spice forward bourbon with loads of caramel, nutmeg, cocoa and cinnamon. There is also a nutty vanilla note that is tempered by a slight bitterness akin to dried tobacco leaf or tea leaves. As always, this needs some dilution to fully appreciate. All in all, another winner from the folks at Larceny. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Heaven Hill Distillery

GSN Brews News: June 15th 2021 Edition

San Diego, California-based Cutwater Spirits, part of the Anheuser-Busch portfolio, is launching a new canned cocktail in partnership with PGA golfer Harold Varner III. The new RTD is Cutwater Transfusion, made with Cutwater Vodka, ginger beer, and grape juice. Long associated with the 19th hole, Cutwater’s twist on the Transfusion is at 7% abv and will be available nationwide by the end of the month. 

Heineken USA has expanded the Dos Equis portfolio with Ranch Water hard seltzer, a new drink inspired by its namesake cocktail, popular in West Texas. The 4.5% abv RTD is lime-flavored and comes in at 90 calories per 12-ounce serving. It’s available in 6-packs of 12-ounce cans and individual 24-ounce cans in Texas and will expand to Arizona, Minnesota, Colorado, California, Nevada, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts in September.

Hershey, Pennsylvania-based Tröegs Independent Brewing has released this year’s edition of Nimble Giant, the brewery’s limited release double IPA. The 9% abv ale is brewed with Mosaic, Simcoe and Azacca hops, and the brewery says that it’s a tropical and citrusy beer balanced with Pilsner and Vienna malt. Nimble Giant is now available in 4-packs of 16-ounce cans across Tröegs’ distribution footprint.

Queens, New York’s SingleCut Beersmiths has launched Notes, a new limited-edition IPA that pays tribute to the brewers’ love of music. The 7% abv ale is brewed with hops from the Pacific Northwest and New Zealand, and comes in cans featuring basic guitar chords. In addition, the brewery has launched an augmented reality experience that will allow fans to virtually “play” their cans. Four packs—featuring G, D, C, and E minor chords—are now available in select retailers across New York and New Jersey for around $18. Special edition canisters of Notes are also available at SingleCut’s taprooms for $24.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: June 15th 2021 Edition

Armagnac house Château de Laubade has collaborated with Kentucky’s Bardstown Bourbon Company to create the Traveling Barrel, a limited-release eau de vie de vin d’Armagnac finished in a Bourbon barrel. The 48.4% abv spirit is made from two barrels of 8-year-old Armagnac (one distilled from Ugni Blanc and one from Baco) that spent eight months finishing in a Gascony oak barrel used to mature a Bardstown Bourbon whiskey. Only 698 bottles of Château de Laubade the Traveling Barrel will be available in select retailers in New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, California, and Washington state.

Seattle-based Westland Distillery has unveiled Westland American Single Malt Whiskey, its new flagship label, which will replace the previous core trio of Westland American Oak, Sherry Wood and Peated. Those expressions will be discontinued, though they will remain on retail shelves until supplies are depleted. Westland American Single Malt ($60 a 750-ml.) was distilled from six different types of barley and matured in five different cask types for 40 months on Washington’s Olympic peninsula. Going forward, Westland’s range will include the new flagship label and the annual releases from its Outpost Collection, comprised of Garryana ($150), Colere ($150), and Solum, whose first release is slated for 2023.

Campari America has added a new high-end rum to the Appleton Estate family. The new expression, Appleton Estate 15-year-old Black River Casks, is rolling out now and will be available nationally. The 43% abv rum was created by master blender Joy Spence, who is currently celebrating her 40th anniversary with Appleton, and takes its name from the Jamaican river used to proof Appleton’s rums. The 15-year-old rum retails for around $65 a 750-ml. In addition, Spence and Appleton have also relaunched the brand’s 21-year-old rum ($150) with a new bottle and flavor profile to retailers across the U.S.

The distilleries of Bardstown, Kentucky, including Heaven Hill, the James B. Beam Distilling Co., Bardstown Bourbon Company, Preservation, and Log Still have come together to celebrate their shared history, with each distillery contributing whiskey to a new limited-edition line of Bourbon whiskies. Beginning in September, the new whiskies—all sharing the same bottle design and housed in a gold-embossed navy blue box—will roll out to the distilleries’ on-site tasting rooms. The release dates will be spaced to allow collectors to make trips to each distillery and complete the set.

Diageo has added a new 8-year-old Bourbon whiskey to the George Dickel family. The 45% abv whiskey was created by Cascade Hollow distiller and general manager Nicole Austin, who selected barrels of whiskey that showed more traditional Bourbon notes, distinct from Dickel’s Tennessee whiskey offerings. George Dickel 8-Year-Old Bourbon is now rolling out in select markets across the U.S. for a suggested price of $33 a 750-ml.

Intrepid Spirits’ Mad March Hare Poitin has received a new bottle design. Inspired by Celtic art and mythology, the new design links Mad March Hare with the long history of poitin, which has been made in Ireland since the sixth century. Retailing at $30 a 750-ml., Mad March Hare is at 40% abv, with the new look hitting the market now.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Alert: June 14th – National Bourbon Day

imagesBourbon is the quintessential American spirit, and today is a today to celebrate it!  GSN is proud to share some classic bourbon cocktails from some of the great cocktail guides of the past 150 years.

Bourbon Crusta
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
1/2 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
1/2 ounce lemon juice
2 dashes orange bitters
Garnish: Orange peel.
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Bourbon Milk Punch
1 1/2 ounces bourbon whiskey
4 ounces milk
2 teaspoons simple syrup
2 dashes vanilla extract
Garnish: grated nutmeg
Shake vigorously with ice, strain into a brandy snifter or wine glass.

2 ounces bourbon whiskey
3/4 ounce white crème de cacao
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1 dash grenadine
Shake with ice. Strain into champagne flute.

Eastern Sour
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
1 1/2 ounces orange juice
1 ounce lime juice
1/4 ounce orgeat
1/4 ounce simple syrup
Garnish: Shell of the lime used for the fresh juice.
Shake with ice. Strain into an ice filled tumbler.

Lion’s Tail
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
1/2 ounce pimento dram
1/2 ounce lime juice
1 teaspoon simple syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Mint Julep
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
4 whole sprigs mint
2 teaspoons sugar
Garnish: Mint sprigs dusted with powdered sugar.
Muddle in a cocktail shaker until the sugar is dissolved and the mint is blended in. Add ice, and then shake well. Strain into a glass filled with shaved ice.

1 ounce bourbon whiskey
1/2 ounce Cointreau
7 dashes Angostura Bitters
7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
5 ounces champagne
Garnish: Lemon twist.
Build in a champagne flute.

Suffering Bastard
1 ounce lime juice
4 ounces ginger ale
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 ounce bourbon whiskey
1 ounce gin
Garnish: mint sprig, orange wheel, and cherry.
Build in a rocks glass.

Ward 8
1 1/2 ounces bourbon whiskey
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce orange juice
1 teaspoon grenadine
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Whiskey Sour
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
1 ounce simple syrup
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1 teaspoon egg white (optional)
Shake with ice. Strain into a sour glass, or an ice filled Old Fashioned glass.

GSN Review: Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch

Evan Williams Bourbon, recently announced a major redesign of Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch. Named after the year Evan Williams first opened his distillery on the banks of the Ohio River, the Bourbon’s new package celebrates Kentucky Bourbon’s first licensed endeavor. Returning to the original 90 proof, the small batch Bourbon is the second highest proof in the Evan Williams Bourbon family.

Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch is in a new proprietary glass bottle with the Evan Williams signature blown in across the top. ‘1783’ is prominently displayed in gold foil accent across the top label, as well as ‘small batch’ to signify the Bourbon inside is a mingling of 300 barrels or less. The bottle is crowned by an upgraded capsule finish featuring the same Evan Williams signature repeated in the background. Crafted with Heaven Hill Distillery’s traditional Bourbon mashbill of 78% corn, 12% malted barley, and 10% rye, Evan Williams 1783 also retains an extra-aged quality as it is a marriage of barrels aged six to eight years.

Evan Williams, who also served as an early Trustee of the City of Louisville, served as wharfmaster, and built the first county clerk’s office and city jail, set up his early distillery in 1783. As the first licensed commercial distiller in Kentucky, Evan Williams laid the initial groundwork of entrepreneurial success for the Kentucky Bourbon industry. The award-winning Evan Williams Bourbon Experience invites hundreds of thousands of visitors to Downtown Louisville each year to walk through the same hand-crafted process Evan Williams began in 1783.

GSN’s Remarks: What we’ve always loved about Evan Williams has only become better. The sweet corn character, the slight pop of rye on the tongue, and the smoothness of the malt are showcased through the higher proof. Folks, this has been one of our “go to” bourbons on our speed rail for years. You really can’t do better at this price point. We applaud Heaven Hill for recognizing that this spirit deserves to be dialed up to 11. Great stuff. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Heaven Hill Distillery

GSN Review: Detroit City Distillery’s Summer Rum

Detroit City Distillery (DCD), an independent craft distiller of small-batch artisanal spirits, has brought back its limited-edition spirit, Summer Rum, made in collaboration with some of Detroit’s best bartenders. As the name suggests, Summer Rum is only available for the summer and will be available until Labor Day weekend at the Distillery, local bars and liquor stores.

Summer Rum is a blend of rums from Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana and the U.S. Virgin Islands and is distilled from sugar cane. Local bartenders from Standby, The Skip, Grey Ghost, Second Best, Kiesling, Takoi and the Monarch Club helped blend this rum, making it a spirit that is uniquely-Detroit.

“Everyone in the bar industry is anticipating the return of The Roaring Twenties and expecting a summer for the ages. When we made Summer Rum in collaboration with some of our favorite bartenders, we called it ‘Detroit’s industry love letter to rum.’ This year, that message has new meaning, because we all survived one hell of a year. We hope this rum is the celebratory drink of many and customers will support our hospitality workers like never before.”, shares Detroit City Distillery Co-Owner Michael Forsynth.

GSN’s Remarks: A quite flavorful rum with notes of vanilla, grassiness, cane juice, papaya, caramel and allspice. The body has some build to it, making it great for white rum forward cocktails, but also on its own as a lovely sipper. We are impressed with the skill of the blending and the high quality of the distillations. There is not one wrong note played in this symphony of rum. Do yourself a favor and buy a case. It won’t last long over the 2021 post-Covid “Roaring Twenties” summer to come. GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Detroit City Distillery

GSN Review: Barceló Imperial & Barceló Imperial Onyx Rums

Founded by Julian Barceló in 1930 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Ron Barceló is uniquely different from other Dominican rums because it’s made from 100% estate-grown fermented juice of sugarcane as opposed to molasses. Its entire portfolio is aged in ex-bourbon barrels, with the exception of Imperial Premium Blend 30 Aniversario (less than 600 annually-made bottles for the U.S). To date, Barceló is the Dominican Republic’s # 1 exported dark rum in the world, according to the IWSR data base, and first to reach carbon neutral footprint since 2016.

GSN was sent Barceló Imperial & Barceló Imperial Onyx Rum for review.

Imperial is aged for 7 years in ex-bourbon barrels of American oak that have a #3 or #4 char. GSN’s Remarks: Exceptionally smooth with a dry entry which offsets the inherent sweetness. As the journey progresses, more notes of bitter cacao, nutmeg, mild cinnamon and dark bread make an appearance. The finish is fairly long with a gentle fade. A great rum for an Old Fashioned, Planter’s Punch or a Hurricane. GSN Rating: A

Imperial Onyx is a rich blend of premium rums aged for 10 years in ex-bourbon casks with a “heavy char” grade. The spirit is then filtered through onyx stones. GSN’s Remarks: This one ramps up the sweetness, while at the same time staying tempered by the char. Elements of brown sugar, baking spices, and even a touch of bourbon itself are apparent. A real fine spirit that we recommend sipping neat or over a large rock. A real bargain to boot at around $45 a bottle. GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Ron Barcelo USA

GSN Review: Crystal Head Vodka Pride Bottle

Crystal Head Vodka, known for its signature skull bottle, recently announced that its limited-edition Pride bottle in celebration of diversity and equality is back by popular demand with the addition of availability in the 1.75 L size. Crystal Head Vodka’s Pride bottle uses a one-of-a-kind proprietary decoration process unique to the brand. A true collector’s item, 2021 is the last year to purchase this Pride bottle design.

A proud ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, Crystal Head Vodka is committed to using its platform as a tool to educate and support, not only from Pride bottle profits, but through continuous, year-round global efforts with partners including Stonewall Sports program, The Test Positive Awareness Network, Kaleidoscope Trust, and Lurie Children’s Hospital Transgender Youth Program, to name a few. 

The Pride bottle houses Crystal Head Original Vodka, which is crafted from locally sourced Canadian corn. It is distilled four times into a neutral grain spirit and blended with pristine water from Newfoundland, Canada. The vodka is filtered seven times, three of which are through layers of Herkimer diamonds. 

GSN’s Remarks: Honestly, the bottle is jaw dropping. Everyone who has seen it in our offices has wanted one for themselves. If the regular clear skull version is cool, the rainbow bottle is mega cool. This makes a stunning statement of support for LGBTQIA+ community, as well as a centerpiece for your bar. But, what of the liquid inside? Crystal Head is a clean, slightly sweet vodka that has a modest amount of minerality and body. Some slight notes of corn, mint, and oddly enough, lemon zest. The profile is balanced, mellow and easy-going. A fine vodka for everything from shots to cocktails. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Crystal Head Vodka

GSN Alert: Cocktail & Spirits Book Preview – Summer 2021

Summer is almost here, so time for some light reading while enjoying a refreshing beverage. GSN presents our quarterly round-up of new beverage books.

The Negroni: A Love Affair with a Classic Cocktail by Matt Hranek Artisan (June 1, 2021) A century ago, the cocktail achieved perfection when, according to legend, Count Camillo Negroni asked his bartender in Florence to stiffen an Americano by replacing the soda water with gin. The world never looked back. With its cosmically simple 1:1:1 ratio, its balance of bitter and sweet, its pleasant kick, its aura of sophistication, the Negroni has bewitched cocktail lovers ever since. Perhaps none more so than Matt Hranek, who intones this love song to his favorite drink and offers a curated collection of recipes, both the classic and dozens of variations, deviations, and delicious reinterpretations.

The Japanese Art of the Cocktail by Masahiro Urushido & Michael Anstendig Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (June 1, 2021) Katana Kitten, one of the world’s most prominent and acclaimed Japanese cocktail bars, was opened in 2018 by highly-respected and award-winning mixologist Masahiro Urushido. Just one year later, the bar won 2019 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award for Best New American Cocktail Bar. Before Katana Kitten, Urushido honed his craft over several years behind the bar of award-winning eatery Saxon+Parole. In The Japanese Art of the Cocktail, Urushido shares his immense knowledge of Japanese cocktails with eighty recipes that best exemplify Japan’s contribution to the cocktail scene, both from his own bar and from Japanese mixologists worldwide. Urushido delves into what exactly constitutes the Japanese approach to cocktails, and demystifies the techniques that have been handed down over generations, all captured in stunning photography.

Gazoz: The Art of Making Magical, Seasonal Sparkling Drinks by Benny Briga & Adeena Sussma Artisan (June 1, 2021) Starting with plain sparkling soda, a gazoz layers in fresh fruits and flowers, aromatic herbs and spices, ferments, syrups, and other artisanal ingredients, all to create a beautiful marriage of flavor and fizz. In Gazoz, discover recipes for stone fruit gazoz, citrus gazoz, even “milkshake” gazoz using nut butters. The possibilities are endless, the results amazing. It’s the best nonalcoholic drink you’ve ever tasted, and by far the most fun to make.

Keto Cocktails: Keto Diet Cocktails by Mitchell C. Fogel Independently published (June 3, 2021) Find out how you can enjoy all your favorite alcoholic beverages while living the keto lifestyle. Keto Cocktails is a keto diet cookbook featuring easy-to-make, low-carb versions of classic and innovative cocktail recipes―plus a selection of tasty happy hour bites―that you can enjoy while sticking to your diet. From learning how many carbs are in every kind of alcohol to hangover hacks, discover all there is to know about drinking while maintaining ketosis with this keto diet cookbook. Learn the terminology, the flair, and even the proper glasses to use so you can create your favorite invigorating low-carb libations, like Sidecars, Moscow Mules, and Frosé Slushies.

The Distilleries of Vancouver Island: A Guided Tour of West Coast Craft and Artisan Spirits by Marianne Scott Touchwood Editions (June 22, 2021) In the past five years the number of craft and artisan distilleries on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands has more than doubled. A change in the provincial liquor laws in 2013 made small-batch distilling a viable business and with this alternative to high-volume, mass-market liquor comes a focus on local ingredients and distinctive flavors. From relative veterans like Merridale and Sheringham, to the newest stills on the block, you’ll meet a group of entrepreneurs unbound by traditional liquor-making rules who are creating vodkas, gins, whiskeys, and liqueurs with their own unique characteristics, using a wide range of grains, fruit, botanicals, peat smoke, seaweed, and spices. Craft-spirits enthusiast Marianne Scott introduces readers to the methods distillers use to develop their spirits, how they learned their craft, the products they make, and the recognition they’ve garnered. With an introduction on the history of spirit making and the process of distilling, a glossary of common distilling terms, cocktail recipes inspired by each distillery’s products, and a map to help you organize your ideal tasting tour, Vancouver Island’s Spirits has everything you need to jump into the region’s burgeoning craft-spirits scene.

The Cocktail Seminars by Brian D. Hoefling Abbeville Press (June 22, 2021) As a senior at Yale, Brian Hoefling realized that his classmates were about to enter the real world with an imperfect knowledge of how to prepare and enjoy cocktails. To remedy this dangerous deficiency, he devised and taught The Cocktail Seminars. In his subsequent career as a cocktail teacher and writer, Hoefling has developed and refined The Cocktail Seminars into the present book. Each of the five seminars herein (from beginner to advanced) covers thirty different drinks, which are arranged so as to progressively introduce the ingredients and techniques of mixology, as well as its eventful history. In each seminar, an exercise and examination challenges readers to apply what they’ve learned to the creation of new and variant drinks. Hoefling’s seminars are founded on the principle that all cocktails consist of a base spirit modified in certain fundamental ways, such as sweetening, souring, bittering, aromatizing, aerating, lengthening, and thickening. Each cocktail is illustrated by a color-coded wheel that shows how the base spirit is modified by the other ingredients. Those who are less serious about their cocktail education may also consult The Cocktail Seminars for drink recipes as needed, or display this handsome volume, bound in faux leather, on their bar cart―but they are only robbing themselves of a brighter future through the gift of education. The Cocktail Seminars will make an excellent gift for all but teetotalers.

The Hard Seltzer Cocktail Book: 55 Unofficial Recipes for White Claw® Slushies, Truly® Mixers, and More Spiked-Seltzer Drinks by Casie Vogel Ulysses Press (June 22, 2021) Live your best seltzer life with the original cocktail book designed to make your favorite bubbly boozy beverage all that much boozier, from sparkling Cosmos and daiquiris to a twist on the ever-popular Aperol spritz. Make every season hard seltzer season! The wildly popular sparkling beverage is a tasty, low-cal treat on its own…but sometimes you have to take it up a notch (or several).  The Hard Seltzer Cocktail Book offers everything you need to add a little snap, sparkle, and pop to your favorite cocktails. Whether you’re team White Claw, a Truly follower, or a Bud Light Seltzer fan, there’s something for everyone with these easy-to-make recipes. These 55 recipes are designed to get the party started, whether it’s a Friday night pregame or it’s just been a tough day (girl, you do you). Instead of that next round of always-regrettable tequila shots, pick up this book and let’s get bubbly.

The Artisanal Kitchen: Classic Cocktails: The Very Best Martinis, Margaritas, Manhattans, and More by Nick Mautone Artisan (June 22, 2021) Learn to master the proportions of a classic Martini or effortlessly put the finishing touches on a Moscow Mule with this essential guide to making classic cocktails. With the guidance of master mixologist Nick Mautone, anyone can learn to create these classic cocktails at home. With recipes taken from Raising the Bar (Artisan, 2004), this jam-packed cocktail handbook will teach readers liquor fundamentals, basic mixing techniques, how to prep certain drinks ahead of time, and what drinkware to use for each cocktail. Within the pages are brunch staples like the Mimosa and Bloody Mary, but also cult favorites, including the Cosmopolitan and Margarita, and spirit-forward cocktails that never go out of style, like the Old Fashioned and Sazerac. With all these favorite recipes at their fingertips, home bartenders can rely on Classic Cocktails for foolproof, easy-to-make cocktails anytime.

American History Through a Whiskey Glass: How Distilled Spirits, Domestic Cuisine, and Popular Music Helped Shape a Nation by Harris Cooper Ph.D. Skyhorse (June 29, 2021) American History Through a Whiskey Glass presents a unique perspective on American history. It describes how bourbon and rye whiskey played a role in the most important events in American history, including the voyage of the Mayflower, George Washington’s failed and successful political campaigns, the Civil War, pioneers moving west, Prohibition (of course), plus many more into the twenty-first century. It does so with descriptions of historical events but also with amusing anecdotes and humorous quotes from the historical figures themselves. The book gives readers an integrated and entertaining perspective on popular culture in America at different times, revealing how Americans have politicked, drank their native spirits, ate, and sang. But it does more; readers will not only learn about America’s history, they can experience it through numerous illustrations, whiskey tasting, food, and music. It provides an opportunity for readers to be involved in a truly immersive approach to life-long learning . . . and it’s fun.

The Encyclopedia of Cocktails: Over 1,000 Cocktails for Every Occasion by The Coastal Kitchen Cider Mill Press (July 6, 2021) From 3-ingredient drinks to mad-scientist mixology, The Encyclopedia of Cocktails is any bartender’s go-to resource. Clean, uncluttered design and extensive index make finding drinks easy, whether you’re searching by spirit or style. Ever wondered about the origins of a Martini or Old Fashioned? This book delves into the history of over 100 classic cocktails. There are also recipes for hundreds of homemade ingredients; from syrups to blends, infusions, tinctures, foams, and more, you’ll be crafting bespoke ingredients in no time. The Encyclopedia of Cocktails is the perfect gift for anyone who likes to mix drinks – it’s the only cocktail book they’ll ever need!

Texas Whiskey: A Rich History of Distilling Whiskey in the Lone Star State by Nico Martini & John Whalen Cider Mill Press (July 6, 2021) Texas history runs deep, and the history of whiskey in the state is no exception. But the Texas whiskey scene, which emphasizes local corn and barrels made from trees grown in the state, has grown exponentially in the last 10 years, as this collection of over 100 varied distillers makes clear. Locals and tourists alike will discover new expressions that are sure to satisfy tastes as varied as Texas is large. Texas Whiskey, through distillery profiles, interviews with experts, and original photography, tells the story of how whiskey from the Lone Star State is unlike whiskey being made anywhere else on the planet.

Tarot & Tequila: A Tarot Guide with Cocktails by David A Ross Tiller Press (July 13, 2021) Tarot & Tequila is a positive and spiritually uplifting guide that includes both basic and humorous tequila-inspired meanings of all 78 tarot cards that both beginners and experienced tarot card readers will relate to. Featuring 40 cocktail recipes—one for each Major Arcana card plus bonus Minor Arcana drinks, too—based on the attributes of the cards themselves, as well as a mystical pairing that explains why professional tarot card reader David Ross chose to pair each card to their respective drink, this magical mixology book can be used as both a guide and a recipe book.

Cider Revolution: Your DIY Guide to Cider & Pet-Nat by Karl Sjöström & Mikael Nypelius Pavilion (July 13, 2021) Fascinated by the growing trend in natural wines, Karl and Mikael began to produce their own cider using 100% hand-picked fruit from the farms and villages outside Malmo, Sweden. Their aim is to make modern, natural drinks using only the naturally occurring yeast of the fruit, without any additives or preservatives. In Cider Revolution, authors Karl and Mikael seek to pass on their passion for cider and inspire others to taste, appreciate, and try their hand at making their own batch from home. As well as passing on the understanding of the cider-making processes, there are recipes for pears, cherries, plums, rhubarb, and berries, and notes on tasting cider, so that it can be appreciated in much the same way as any fine wine.

Big Whiskey (The Revised Second Edition): Featuring Kentucky Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey, the Rebirth of Rye, and the Distilleries of America by Carlo DeVito & John Whalen Jr. Cider Mill Press; Updated edition (July 20, 2021) This updated edition of the definitive guide to the American Whiskey Trail is comprehensive collection of the whiskey, bourbon, and rye made by the best distillers in Kentucky and Tennessee. Full color images throughout showcase each and every bottle and label, behind-the-scenes images, and the beauty of the Whiskey Trail. Interviews with renowned distillers provide incredible insight into how whiskey is made. Locals and tourists alike will discover new distillers and expressions that are sure to satisfy any and all tastes. Big Whiskey is the perfect gift for the whiskey lover in your life.

Barantined: Recipes, Tips, and Stories To Enjoy At Home by Mike Wolf Turner (July 20, 2021) Shake, stir, and sip your way through quarantine with more than 80 easy-to-make cocktail recipes, techniques for making cordials, and the best drinking tips from mavericks of the mixology scene. With insights gathered from more than 50 expert bartenders and sommeliers, Barantined provides engaging advice for staying entertained at home―from music playlists, to reading recommendations, to suggestions for drinks to pair with takeout. Compiled by Nashville writer and mixologist extraordinaire Mike Wolf, Barantined aims to catch a unique moment in time when the world spun out of control and came to a halt all at once. In March 2020, the restaurant and bar business shut down for months when a devastating tornado tore through Nashville and a pandemic rocked the world. Join bartenders from Nashville and beyond in Barantined as they share what they miss about being behind the bar and how their approach to their profession has changed, alongside their favorite DIY drinks and activities designed to bring the bar to you.

Art Boozel: Cocktails Inspired by Modern and Contemporary Artists by Jennifer Croll & Kelly Shami Chronicle Books (August 3, 2021) Raise a glass to the world’s most exciting modern and contemporary artists in this inspired cocktail book with over 50 tribute recipes. Go on a boozy tour of art history with this collection of recipes for over 50 expertly crafted cocktails, each one a unique creation inspired by its namesake artist. Unwind with a refreshing tequila-watermelon Frida Kahlo. Spark some inspiration while sipping on a Salvador Dalí. Or mix it up with a colorfully sweet Yayoi Kusama. From painters to sculptors, photographers, and more, each artist profiled has a cocktail recipe that draws deeply from their life and work. Both art lovers and cocktail enthusiasts alike will love pouring over this collection of engaging stories and unique recipes. Inventive and deliciously fun, ART BOOZEL will give you a new appreciation for each of these inspiring artists.

Chilling Cocktails: Classic Cocktails With A Horrifying Twist by Jason Ward Thunder Bay Press (August 3, 2021) This ghastly lineup of cocktails is inspired by the most famous creepy characters from horror novels and movies. Mix one of these wicked cocktails before diving into your next horror novel or film. These chilling concoctions inspired by classic works of literature and scary movies will put you in the mood to enjoy the darkest and stormiest of nights. Included are recipes for 50 thematic cocktails such as Redrum, Scrèam de Menthe, and Turn of the Screwdriver—along with a dozen equally creepy party snacks to add more shivers to your evening.

The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom by Alfred Barnard Origin (August 3, 2021) Around 1885, Alfred Barnard was secretary of Harper’s Weekly Gazette, a journal dedicated to the wine and spirit trade. In order to provide his readers with the history and descriptions of the whisky-making process, Barnard decided to visit all distilleries in Scotland, England and Ireland. Accompanied by friends, he visited over 150 distilleries. The names found in his reports still excite the dedicated whisky connoisseur today, as well as others whose fame has faded since the end of the 19th century. The appeal of Barnard’s book lies not only in the technical descriptions of each distillery’s processes, but also in the colorful descriptions of his journeys, brimming with historical color and detail. A superbly illustrated facsimile edition, with over 200 engravings, this book is a complete guide to the origins of Scotland’s national drink, as well as a lively picture of life and travel in the Victorian age.

Witch’s Brew: Magickal Cocktails to Raise the Spirits by Shawn Engel & Steven Nichols Sterling Epicure (August 17, 2021) For thousands of years, witches young and old have concocted mysterious potions to heal, to divine the future, to get in touch with the energies of the planet—and just to have fun. In this enchanting compendium of 40 drink recipes, mystical maven Shawn Engel shares her thoughts on what to imbibe for power, energy, and amusement. Written in tandem with the award-winning cocktail writer and developer Steven Nichols, this collection presents a broad range of drinks for every purpose. Whether it’s a trio of beverages celebrating the energies of the maiden, mother, and crone (with notes of pomegranate, fig, and smoke respectively), or an eminently sippable mint-based money magick brew for prosperity, this book is a party with a purpose. Not only are these drinks fun and shareable, they also contain ingredients with ancient magickal significance. For example, the “Keep it Hexy” is not only a delicious vodka-based cocktail perfect for kick-starting a memorable evening, it also contains black pepper to return a hex to sender, sage to cleanse an evil eye, and blackberries for protection. All recipes include energetic properties and plenty of information about magickal ingredients and why they’ve been used to address certain ills for millennia; some even come with invocations and rituals to amplify their power.

The Big Book of Amaro by Matteo Zed Countryman Press (August 24, 2021) An illustrated history, exploration, and celebration of the Italian liqueur everyone loves. This gorgeous guide teaches you everything you need to know about amaro, the delightfully complex and bittersweet Italian liqueur. Traditionally a digestif, it’s also a popular ingredient in modern cocktails. The first part of the book is dedicated to the drink’s creation and extraction processes, both traditional and contemporary. The second is a complete history of the beverage, from its origins in medieval alchemy to today’s popular renaissance. Further chapters explore the liqueur’s botanical profiles and natural properties, followed by a thorough buying guide with descriptions of bottles from Italy, Europe, and beyond. Finally, Zed showcases how best to use amaro behind the bar and in the kitchen, with recipes such as The Golden Mai Tai and Bitter Goat Cheese Risotto. A lovingly crafted tribute to a celebrated drink, The Big Book of Amaro is an eye-catching triumph that will delight anyone with a passion for amaro, mixology, food science, or all things Italian.

The Martini: Perfection in a Glass by Matt Hranek Artisan (August 31, 2021) Sophisticated, evocative, and delicious, the martini will never go out of style. Appearing in countless movies—for example, any one of the Bond films—it’s one of the most popular and well-known cocktails of all time. Making a martini is simplicity personified, the classic recipe requiring just two ingredients (not counting the garnish): gin and vermouth. And now man-about-town Matt Hranek is here to tell us everything we need to know about the iconic cocktail. Like Hranek’s The Negroni, The Martini will give readers insight into the drink’s nineteenth-century-origins, as well as the tools for making 35 simple variations of the drink—a combination of recipes from the author, recipes from experts/bartenders around the world, and iconic versions that any martini fanatic needs to have on hand. Included are the author’s own version, always with gin (never vodka), served ice cold and dry with a twist of lemon (or, on very rare occasions, like when he is hungry, an olive); the Martinez (circa 1849), named for the city of Martinez about 25 miles northeast of San Francisco, where some say this all began; a lime martini, a nod to Hranek’s father, who loved a gin and tonic; and New York City legend Russ & Daughters Cafe’s own martinis, “The Lower East Side” and “The Smoked Martini.” There will be details on ingredients, methods (to shake or to stir?), garnish, equipment, glassware; where to get the best martini around the world, and more. Beautiful original and archival photography make this an irresistible gift for anyone who loves to enjoy a martini.

GSN Review: Hopworks Urban Brewery Cactus Attactus Sour & Ace of Hearts Imperial IIPA

Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB), the first B Corp brewery in the Pacific Northwest, has released the next beer in its fruited sour line, Cactus Attactus Prickly Pear Sour, alongside the latest Imperial IPA from its Ace Series, Ace of Hearts.

“This latest beer release is a super fun pair to try as sunnier days roll in,” said Matt Speckenbach, Head Brewer at Hopworks. “Cactus Attactus is a perfect summer drinker—and this year we added an extra hundred pounds of prickly pears to every batch to really let the fruit and its beautiful magenta color shine through.”

“Our newest imperial, Ace of Hearts, is particularly intriguing, blending two seemingly opposite ends of the IPA spectrum,” continued Speckenbach. “It drinks on the front end with a super fruity profile, but finishes on the back with classic, old-school IPA bitterness.”

Cactus Attactus Prickly Pear Sour 5.3% ABV. 3 IBU. GSN Says: A refreshing sessionable summer sour with a beautiful color in the glass. We appreciate the low ABV which is often missing from sour ales these days. Very drinkable. Very easy going. GSN Rating: A-

Ace of Hearts IIPA 8.9% ABV. 90 IBU. GSN says: A malt bomb that has just enough bitterness to let you know that its a double IPA. However, a little goes a long way. After half a can, our palate was fatigued. Overall, it’s an interesting experiment, but some of the prior releases in the playing card series were more likeable. GSN Rating: B

For more information go to: Hopworks Beer

GSN Review: Confidence Drink

Confidence is an organic, all-natural, sugar-free, zero-calorie beverage created to boost people’s moods and feelings of harmony and help wash away anxiety, fear and self-doubt – giving people an essential confidence boost.

Confidence is the brainchild of two Gen Z entrepreneurs who recognized the importance of mental confidence and how vital it is to live a full life. Witnessing their friends’ tendencies to overthink things and not be present in the moment, they realized this void in the market and launched a mission to create a product that gives people the mental freedom they need to thrive.

It all starts with functional ingredients and adaptogens – plant-based ingredients that work at the molecular level to lighten the effect of physical, mental and emotional stressors on the body. Confidence’s combination of the ingredients listed below, work together to help you feel like the best version of yourself with benefits that include lowered stress, increased mental sharpness, improved mood and a better functioning nervous system.

  • Rhodiola (Harmony): Reduces stress, kicks fatigue, and improves brain function
  • Gingseng (Focus): Benefits brain functions like memory, mood and focus
  • Gaba (Reduce Anxiety): Relieves stress and anxiety, balances mood
  • 5-HTP (Lower Fear): Helps the body produce serotonin, boosts mood, and promotes feelings of relaxation
  • Magnesium (Release Tension): Aids hundreds of reactions in the body, like generating energy and keeping the nervous system humming
  • B Vitamins (Mood Boost): Contributes to full-body well-being, maintains energy levels, and supports healthy brain and nerve function

GSN’s Remarks: You know the taste of kids vitamins? Well, this isn’t far off. Slightly chalky, sort of fruity, but with an odd supplement kind of taste. I’m not saying it’s unpleasant, but it definitely is not what we were expecting. As for the health benefits? Perhaps we noticed a bit of a mellow vibe, similar to CBD. It’s hard to say. It may be a case of where you need to drink a few cans over a period of days for the ingredients to build in your system. In any case, the drink can be a mixer for the Red Bull kind of crowd if you want a little liquor. We also suggest drinking this over ice, or at least chilled. GSN Rating: B

For more information go to: Confidence Drink