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Archive for the ‘Bar Tools’ Category

“For Those Times When Your Mouth Wants to Rage, but Your Liver needs to Chill”.  Well, we all have those times, I guess.  I was intrigued by the idea of a pre-bottled non-alcoholic cocktail. Curious Elixirs are crafted in the Hudson River Valley, and combine organic juices, spices, herbs, roots, barks, and botanicals.  So, think of them as lightly carbonated, bittered juices.

Although they list three different flavors on their website, the only one currently available is Curious No. 1, an orange and herbal elixir. Curious No. 2 was a smoky and spicy mix that sold out quickly and will return later this year. Curious No. 3 is currently in development.

Because Curious is a handcrafted fresh beverage, make sure to keep them refrigerated and use them within 30 days.  Curious No. 1 is designed to have an orange wedge garnish.

We tried the sample we were sent in a few different ways.  Drinking it straight without dilution was way too intense.  This is designed to be served with ice.  So, we next filled a rocks glass with a large single cube and poured Curious No. 1 over the ice, stirred for a bit and garnished with the suggested orange wedge.  This was much better, but still lacked a balance.  So, lastly we filled a shaker with several cubes, poured in the elixir and shook briefly.  We then strained this into a coupe and added an orange wheel.  This we found gave a great presentation, along with the desired amount of dilution.

As for the flavor, it was spot on.  A great citrus base with a pronounced dark aromatic bitter quality.  Everything tasted natural, fresh and quite like a cocktail.  You could add a shot of just about any spirit to this and it would work just as well.  But, that of course, would defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it?

GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Curious Elixirs

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In 2016, Stölzle Lausitz GmbH (a German glass manufacturer that makes, among other items, the Glencairn whisky glasses) and Romeo Hristov from Chisholm Trail Crafts started the development and testing of new glasses for tequila and mezcal inspired by the drinking jars [jarritos] for pulque and mezcal. The Riedel tequila glass (in its two versions, Ouverture and Vinum), the Waterford tequila glass (very similar to the Ouverture) and the Glencairn glass (apparently the preferred glass in USA for agave spirits tastings) among others, are all reasonably functional glasses. Why more glasses then?  Here’s what Romeo Hristov has to say:

“Stolzle and I were trying to bring a glass(es) that capture not only the flavor but also the historical roots of the drink ware for agave spirits. In much the same way as the agave spirits are unique for Mexico there is the “jarrito” [drinking jar], a unique drinking vessel for alcoholic beverages from agave (both fermented and distilled) which have been used for said beverages for over two thousand years. However, it’s not just the tradition behind it, but also its strikingly modern shape which quite closely resemble a stemless tulip snifter (especially in some of the Pre-Columbian pieces that come without handle) that called our attention. In brief, these glasses are a reinvention of this traditional drinking vessel with a modern design and functionality, and the general shape was intended to bring some of the unique feeling of rustic elegance of Mexico.”

We at the GSN offices have been trying these out for a week now and have to say that they are quite elegant, and serve their purpose well.  These are hand-blown glasses with heavy bases that rest well in the hand.  The shorter version has a slightly thicker rim which feels sturdy and somewhat more masculine, whereas the taller glass has a thinner, more feminine lip. The bowls are both deep and manage to catch and keep the olfactory sensation at a premium.  Having used the Glencairn and Riedel glasses for the past several years, these new agave spirit focused glasses offer a new and more focused experience to the tequila and mezcal aficionado.  Not only that, but they make a fine statement on the bar.  Salud!

GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Chisholm Trail Crafts

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It’s looking to be a long winter, so why not curl up with a good book?  GSN presents the latest round-up of new titles coming out in the next three months.  Learn some new tricks, brush up on your knowledge, and try a new cocktail or two!

The Pocket Guide to Whisky by Blair Bowman (Birlinn Pocket Guides) The ever-expanding world of whisky can be a daunting one, with a deluge of new brands, distilleries and literature on the subject making it all but impossible for the amateur whisky drinker to find their feet in the industry. Following on from the bestselling Pocket Guide to Wine, Blair Bowman provides a compact and accessible, easy-to-use guide to help budding whisky enthusiasts on their way. Uniquely, The Pocket Guide to Whisky explores every kind of whisky, from the well known Scottish giants of Glenlivet, to the exotic Japanese Hibiki, and includes the ever-growing and hotly debated blended whiskies too! This little volume will tell you everything you need to know, from what to look for in whisky and what to avoid, to getting the best value for money to the perfect accompaniments to your dram and the ideal whisky for every occasion. From novice to expert, this guide enables whisky lovers to find out more about the brands they already like and to make informed choices as they explore further.

Whiskies Galore: A Tour of Scotland’s Island Distilleries by Ian Buxton (Birlinn Ltd) Island whiskies have long held a fascination and a powerful emotional draw on whisky drinkers the world over. Their special combination of heritage, mystique, and remote location captures the imagination; their highly distinctive flavours are often imitated but seldom bettered. There have been few books on island whisky and none written in recent years. But Whiskies Galore is not your average whisky book. It is not merely a catalogue of distilleries, but a story of discovery and adventure. Join Ian Buxton on a personal journey across Scotland’s islands, where he learns to shoot with high explosives, ends up hurling his dinner into the sea, and comes face to face with a basking shark. Combining an expert’s knowledge of whisky with a travel writer’s fondness for anecdote, and with a keen description of place, he provides a special treat for all who love the islands’ magical drams.

The Connoisseur’s Guide to Worldwide Spirits: Selecting and Savoring Whiskey, Vodka, Scotch, Rum, Tequila . . . and Everything Else (An Expert’s Guide … and Savoring Every Spirit in the World) by Richard Carleton Hacker (Skyhorse Publishing) Everyone thinks that they know how to drink, but do you really know the difference between a scotch and a whiskey? How about a gin or vodka martini? Do you know whether Johnny Walker is a single malt or a scotch? Well now is the time to finally learn the definitive answers to these questions, and so many more that you’ve always had about your favorite drinks. In The Connoisseur’s Guide to Worldwide Drinking, world-class connoisseur and celebrated critic Richard Carleton Hacker provides you with all the information that you’ll ever need to properly enjoy and imbibe very type of spirit, and to start drinking alcohol the right way. Complete more than a 100 full color photographs, The Connoisseur’s Guide to Worldwide Drinking is a perfect buy for every alcohol consumer, whether novice or aficionado. With The Connoisseur’s Guide to Worldwide Drinking you’ll be the most knowledgeable drinker in every bar that you walk into and at every cocktail party that you attend.

What a Swell Party It Was!: Rediscovering Food & Drink from the Golden Age of the American Nightclub by Michael Turback (Skyhorse Publishing) Opening this book is like swinging open the doors to another time and place, when big city life was a unique mixture of innocence and sophistication, romance and formality. It spotlights twenty-five legendary clubs that thrived in the 1930s and ’40s, just as Jazz exploded into mainstream popularity and alcohol was no longer illegal to serve. Through these pages and recipes, enter past the proverbial velvet rope into establishments forever-immortalized, such as Chez Paree in Chicago, Café Trocadero in Hollywood, The Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles, The Blue Room in New Orleans, and New York City’s Cotton Club. In addition to including entrée, appetizer, dessert, and cocktail recipes from their original menus, each featured venue will be introduced with vivid anecdotes and history, narrated in a breezy style and illustrated with reproductions of vintage photos.

Sunny’s Nights: Lost and Found at a Bar on the Edge of the World by Tim Sultan (Random House Trade Paperbacks) The first time he saw Sunny’s Bar, in 1995, Tim Sultan was lost, thirsty for a drink, and intrigued by the single bar sign among the forlorn warehouses lining the Brooklyn waterfront. Inside, he found a dimly lit room crammed with maritime artifacts, a dozen well-seasoned drinkers, and, strangely, a projector playing a classic Martha Graham dance performance. Sultan knew he had stumbled upon someplace special. What he didn’t know was that he had just found his new home. Soon enough, Sultan has quit his office job to bar tend full-time for Sunny Balzano, the bar’s owner. A wild-haired Tony Bennett lookalike with a fondness for quoting Shakespeare and Samuel Beckett, Sunny is truly one of a kind. Born next to the saloon that has been in his family for one hundred years, Sunny has over the years partied with Andy Warhol, spent time in India at the feet of a guru, and painted abstract expressionist originals. But his masterpiece is the bar itself, a place where a sublime mix of artists, mobsters, honky-tonk musicians, neighborhood drunks, nuns, longshoremen, and assorted eccentrics rub elbows. Set against the backdrop of a rapidly transforming city, Sunny’s Nights is a loving and singular portrait of the dream experience we’re all searching for every time we walk into a bar, and an enchanting memoir of an unlikely and abiding friendship.

Julep: Southern Cocktails Refashioned by Alba Huerta & Marah Stets (Lorena Jones Books) Craft cocktail maven Alba Huerta succinctly tells the story of drinking in the South through themes such as “Trading with the Enemy,” “the Rural South,” “the Drinking Society,” “the Saltwater South,” and others that anchor the menu at her destination bar, Julep. With historical overviews, 15 bar snack recipes, and 65 bespoke cocktail recipes, ranging from the iconic Mint Julep (and variations such as Rye Julep and Sparkling Julep) to modern inventions like the Snakebit Sprout, Liquid Currency, and Hot July, Huerta recounts the tales and traditions that define drinking culture in the American South today. Approximately 80 evocative cocktail and location photographs convey the romance and style that distinguish Julep and serve to inspire beverage enthusiasts to relive Southern history via the bar cart.

Belgian Abbey Beers by Jef Van den Steen (Lannoo Publishers) Belgian beer expert Jef Van den Steen looks at the history and production of all thirty Belgian abbey beers. What are the remarkable stories about this authentic, labor-intensive product? In which way are Trappist beers different from the others? In Belgian Abbey Beers, Jef Van den Steen unravels the different stages in the production process of the beers and talks very passionately about the origin and development of the various breweries within the walls or under the license of the abbey. Each brewery is presented with practical information, different types of beer, and tips for tourists. Photographer Andrew Verschetze magnificently captures the beers from the barrel to the glass.

 

 

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Every home bar should have one of these!  So, for Day 21 of the Annual GSN Advent Gift Guide, we present the iSi SodaMaker Classic.

Enjoy the fresh and healthy fizz of sparkling water, carbonated juice drinks, wine spritzers, and handcrafted cocktails. The stainless steel mesh design has been recreated for today’s consumers with steady stream technology, a drip-less pouring spout, and a high performance bottle. Now there is an easy, convenient, and eco-friendly way to make and store carbonated water without electricity and counter-top clutter. The Classic SodaMaker is made in Austria, uses 1 recyclable iSi Soda (CO2) charger, is BPA free, and has a 2-year warranty.

To order, go to: iSi Store

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It’s Day 20 of the GSN Advent Gift Guide for 2017!  Some of our favorite Tiki mugs are today’s suggested gift item.  These are mold blown custom glass tiki mug handcrafted by Andrew Iannazzi in Cambridge, MA, USA. Each holds 13 fl. oz. and come in 5 different colors: Crystal, Lava Red, Blue Lagoon, Jungle Fog and Eclipse.

Andrew Iannazzi is interested in iconic design language and imagery. He draws from historical Italian and Scandinavian design as well as American popular imagery. Glassblowing is the perfect medium for the investigation of these issues. Iannazzi uses his objects to explore functionality, form, and iconic representations. Iannazzi uses off-hand blowing and traditional mold-blowing techniques. Iannazzi began glassblowing at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. He has since worked in numerous professional glassblowing facilities throughout the United States.

To order go to: Andrew Iannazzi

 

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Ebeneezer Scrooge had his spirits lifted in A Christmas Carol. Lift your spirits this year with a collection of organic bitters!

The Embitterment Bitters Organic Collection by Modern Bar Cart is a premium line of craft cocktail bitters made from the best ingredients on earth. No sweeteners, no artificial colors or preservatives, just certified USDA organic herbs, spices, and citrus to transform your drink and stimulate your palate.

Made in the creole style to pay homage to all the wonderful cocktails from the city of New Orleans (Sazeracs, anyone?), Embitterment Aromatic Bitters are a fusion of dark eastern spices like star anise and cinnamon and carefully balanced citrus notes of orange peel and ginger. Use these in any cocktail that calls for “Angostura,” “Peychaud’s,” or “Aromatic” bitters.

Our bestselling flavor, Embitterment Orange Bitters are bursting with essential oils extracted straight from the peels of organic oranges. Alongside a few carefully chosen organic spice notes and our signature gentian bittering agent, these zesty bitters will take your next Martini or Manhattan to the next level.

Embitterment Lavender Bitters are a gin lover’s best friend! Made with lavender, chamomile, and tarragon to emphasize the grassy, floral essence of springtime, these bitters pair well with lemon, clear spirits, and (of course) a little sweetness.

Made with premium organic cacao shells, Embitterment Chocolate Bitters are the perfect gift for the chocoholic in your life. Instantly transform any cocktail into its chocolate doppelgänger with just a few dashes!

To order go to: Barnraiser

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For Day 18 of the GSN Advent Gift Guide, we present some stunning cocktail trays featuring iconic skylines from a dozen cities around the globe!

Design company Teroforma collaborated with London-based designer Yoni Alter to create a collection of cocktail trays that bring his celebrated City Shapes artwork off the gallery wall and into the hands of stylish globe-trotters who call the world home.

Alter’s minimalist sensibility combines with a sophisticated color palette and a unique graphical perspective which proposes a new interpretation of the cityscapes that surround us. The reverse is natural wood grain.

Handcrafted from Swedish birchwood and laminated with a food-safe varnish, these durable trays are as functional as they are beautiful.

Dishwasher safe, the trays come in two sizes which nestle together for easy storage: the large tray is 17” x 13” (43x33cm) and the small tray is 13” x 8¼” (33x21cm).

  • Gently crowned rim makes picking up and holding these trays one fluid motion.
  • Made from FSC-certified laminated birchwood in Sweden – no melamine.
  • Dishwasher safe but best cared for by hand.

To order go to: Teroforma

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