GSN Review: Philips GoZero Hydration Bottle

Philips recently launched an innovative new self-cleaning water bottle that uses the power of UV-C LED light to both clean water and sanitize the bottle itself. The Philips GoZero Smart Bottle is the second entry under the new Philips GoZero label launched just this past October in North America.

The GoZero Smart bottle features UV-C LED technology integrated into the cap of the bottle and activated at the touch of a button. Within minutes, the LED light eliminates up to 99.999% bacteria and 99.9% viruses from water, allowing users to enjoy fresh, clean water from virtually any source.

Additionally, the bottle’s UV-C LED light can also disinfect the bottle itself after use – whether you’re drinking water, coffee, tea, juice, soda, or other beverages – cleaning the hardest-to-reach corners of the interior to eliminate foul odors, prevent bacterial build-up, and refresh the bottle for a refill.

The GoZero Smart Bottle is designed to be intuitively easy to use. The bottle’s high-tech cap features an LED light ring that indicates when the bottle is clean and ready to use. This indicator ring also displays the bottle’s battery life. When it’s time to charge, simply attach the included magnetic USB cable to the cap and use it for up to 30-days before having to plug it back in. Constructed of a double-walled, insulated food-grade stainless steel, the bottle is dishwasher safe and can keep liquids hot for 12 hours and cold for up to 24 hours.

The self-cleaning GoZero Smart Bottle is  available on Amazon in two different sizes – 12 oz. and 20 oz. – and four designer colors – black, grey, yellow, and blue.

GSN’s Remarks: One thing I’ve learned over the years is to keep hydrated. This is especially important if you are a working bartender. Sometimes, it’s all you can do to find a chance to take a sip of water when you are in the weeds.

What we like about this new water bottle is that it is metal, has a rubber carrying handle, holds hot or cold liquids, has a smooth drinking rim, and best of all, it self sanitizes and purifies itself on a regular basis. We can actually taste the difference in the water afterwards. It seems purer, fresher and near to spring water. Really, this is everything we could ask for in a water bottle whether we’re behind the stick, at home, or in the great outdoors. We recommend the 20 oz. bottle as a better value.

GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Philips

GSN Review: Pickle Juice Chaser

Over 20 years ago, the Philadelphia Eagles beat all odds when they defeated the Dallas Cowboys in 109-degree heat — the hottest game ever played. The Eagles were a losing team and the game was expected to be a blowout, but the Eagles ended up beating the Cowboys 41-14. The Eagles’ secret weapon? They fought off muscle cramps with pickle brine. Inspired by this game, The Pickle Juice Company was launched the following year, spearheading a movement that, little did they know, would be at the forefront of a booming pickle trend years later.

The Pickle Juice Company is the maker of the first sports beverage on the market that disrupts the neurological signals that cause muscle cramps. The company’s current formulation took cues from key findings from Dr. Kevin C. Miller, a then doctoral student at Brigham Young University, whose interest was piqued by that famous Eagles vs. Cowboys game. Through his study, Dr. Miller found that pickle brine relieved cramps in just 85 seconds, 45 percent faster than drinking nothing and 37 percent faster than water alone.

Despite the familiar flavor profile, The Pickle Juice Company’s products differ greatly from jarred pickle brine. Comprised of vitamins, minerals and 10x the electrolytes of most sports drinks, the purpose-built beverage contains a proprietary grain of vinegar that is proven to combat muscle cramps at the neurological source. It is widely believed that muscle cramps result from an electrolyte imbalance, and that the best cure is to consume more sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc. for relief. While electrolyte imbalance can play a role in triggering muscle cramps, the phenomenon is neurological, not physical. The Pickle Juice Company’s 100% natural formula engages the same neurological receptors in the brain that causes cramps, prevents those neurons from firing and combats muscle cramps. This scientific and multi-factor approach prevents muscle cramps in as fast as 60 seconds, quicker than anything else currently available.

The Pickle Juice Company’s entire product line includes the 8oz. and 16.oz bottles of 100% Natural Pickle Juice Sport, 2.5oz. shots and 1 liter boxes of its 100% Natural Extra Strength Pickle Juice formula, and 1 liter bottles of Pickle Juice Chaser.

GSN’s Thoughts: Of course The Pickleback is the reason we were sent a bottle of Pickle Juice for review. So, how does it fare compared to half sour pickle brine? There is less salinity and a softer dill flavor, which makes it more palatable as a shot. We tried it as recommended, shooting Irish whiskey, followed by Pickle Juice, and ending with a PBR. It does work, and the flavors still somehow make a natural and tasty progression. And hey, if you’ve had a hard day of physical labor, this might be what the doctor ordered to relieve those aching muscles. GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Pickle Power

GSN Review: Precision Botanical CBD Gummies & Tincture

Colorado-based Precision Botanical entered the market in 2019 as the only “Science First” CBD brand created by a team of U.S.-based neuroscientists, chemists and toxicologists. Precision Botanical products come from its own Oregon hemp farm and uses a commercial-level proprietary extraction of hemp oil that’s in the patent process. All products are third-party audited and certified for potency and purity.

Approximately 45% of the top 10 CBD brands’ products contain THC and third-party testing reveals that the top selling products are on average tested for fewer than 20 contaminants. In comparison, Precision Botanical tests all of its source material as well as finished products for more than 400 contaminants. This ensures Precision Botanical products are 99% pure, with accurate concentrations in each product and all are made with pharmaceutical-level precision. All of its products carry Clean Label Project Purity and THC-Free Certification.

Precision Botanical CBD products include its Soothe line. These topicals provide mess-free application and each one easily fits into a daily regimen. They contain functional, natural ingredients and were created for athletes by athletes. Other product lines offered by Precision Botanical include its Calm, Renew, Alert and Sleep lines of creams, tinctures, capsules, gummies and energy shots.

GSN was sent a sample of the CBD gummies, and a bottle of the Calm tincture.

GSN’s Thoughts: As with most CBD products, the experiences vary from person to person. We were one of the first to try CBD oil when it became available years ago, and so we will review the flavors of these products as opposed to their efficacy. The Calm tincture has a mostly neutral flavor, which is a huge bonus for those who have issues with the typical bitterness found in the majority of CBD oils. The base is safflower oil and that is the major takeaway here. The tincture can easily be added to a cocktail for an extra bit of relaxation without altering the overall character of the drink. The CBD gummies have a slightly tart lemon flavor which is quite good and you could easily consume the small bag in one sitting, but we don’t recommend it. These gummies can also be used as a cocktail garnish skewered on a cocktail pick and enjoyed at the end of the drink. Overall, both of these products are recommended for use in mixology for those looking to try something new. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Precision Botanical

GSN Recommends: Custom Bar DIY – Designing the Perfect Home Bar

If you enjoy the occasional adult beverage, you’ve probably visited a few bars in your lifetime. Thanks to the “new normal” that focuses on staying safe at home, it’s a perfect time to consider designing your very own custom bar that you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home.

Setting up a bar in your home can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. With a few simple steps, you can easily design a custom-built bar so you can mix, sip, and mingle to your heart’s content. From the build to making sure you have the most important drink essentials, read on for some tips that will inspire you to design a new custom home bar, DIY-style.

Start with the space you have

Before you start working on your home bar design, you’ll need to designate a space for it in your home. Whether your house is large or small, it’s easy to start setting up a home bar that’s both fun and functional. Make sure that your bar space is comfortable and that there’s ample room for storage, mixing drinks, and serving. Determine what your bar budget is in advance. This will make it much easier for you to decide where the bar will be as well as its total size.

Larger homes with an extra spare bedroom, a room over the garage, or a basement offers you endless possibilities. However, if you happen to live in an apartment or condo, you can still enjoy a home bar in a corner of your living room or a section of the eat-in kitchen. Do a quick walkthrough of your home to get a few ideas for the location of the bar. Once you start the process of designing and building your bar, you’ll have a blast coming up with fun ideas and designs — no matter how large or small it is.

Designing and building your bar

There really are no rules in terms of creativity and style when it comes to building a DIY bar. While there are certainly a few must-haves, you’re free to design and build a custom bar any way you see fit. If you’re in doubt or need a bit of help with the build, don’t hesitate to call in a DIY-ing friend or family member, or hire an expert.

No matter how you do it, this project will give you a real sense of pride every time you concoct your signature cocktail. You can purchase a pre-built bar cabinet at your local or online furniture store, but for those who want to truly DIY, here are a few important details you’ll need to consider.

Bar dimensions

Bar height. Your bar should be 42 inches high with an overhang of at least 8 inches.

Bar width. The average bar top is between 16 and 20 inches wide, but you can always make yours wider if you have the room or narrower if you don’t.

Barstool height. Standard barstools are typically 30-inches tall, but it’s best to look for stools after you build the bar to ensure a proper fit.

Materials

Wood. Use high quality lumber and plywood for the frame and top of your bar. Connect the frame using standard wood screws.

Bar top. Here’s where you can get super creative. You have endless choices for the finished top of your bar, including wood, stone, tile, and stainless steel. You can also:

  • Build a shallow frame, fill it with anything imaginable — pennies, poker chips, poppies — and encase it in clear resin.
  • Pour a concrete top. You can embed it with broken glass, dye or etch it, or polish it to a high shine — or all of the above.
  • Construct a top from reclaimed barn wood, an old bowling alley floor, or a vintage Formica countertop.

Bar molding. Depending on the construction and style, molding can make a bar look finished and attractive. Your best bet is pre-cut molding, which you can stain or paint.

Bar front. Like the bar top, the front of the bar can be just about anything — try galvanized steel for a modern, industrial look; tin ceiling tiles for a vintage vibe; fabric for a warm, cozy feel; or DIY-stained glass made with plexiglass panels and stained-glass paints and lit from behind.

Tools

Before you start building, make sure you have all the tools and fasteners you’ll need. That list may include the following:

  • Miter saw, table saw, circular saw, and/or jigsaw.
  • Drill and wood or metal screws.
  • Nail gun and nails.
  • Hammer and finishing nails.
  • Level, tape measure, pencil, and T-square or carpenter square.
  • Hand sander and sanding paper.
  • Adhesive and caulk gun.

Don’t forget the must-have safety gear!

  • Gloves for hauling wood and heavy things.
  • Protective eyewear for using power tools.
  • Ear plugs for using loud saws.
  • A first-aid kit, just in case.

Bar essentials

Now that your custom home bar is complete, it’s time to stock it with the essentials to make it functional.

Bar furniture. Purchase some padded bar stools for you and your guests — the ones with a back are the most comfortable. Stools with a footrest are even better. Swivel bar stools make it easy for people to rotate and enjoy great conversations. If you need extra storage, a separate bar cabinet is another great addition to your bar area. And if your bar area is large, populate it with loungey furniture.

The right lighting. You don’t want your bar area lit by overhead fluorescent lights, no sir. Give your bar area a moodier vibe with lamps, pendant lights, or even color-changing LED string lights.

Music. Set the right mood, and keep the party going with music. Whether you prefer an old-school record player or want to pair your phone to your wireless speaker, get it all set up before your first shindig. 

Glassware. Stock your bar with a variety of glassware, such as beer steins and pint glasses for your favorite brews, low-ball and highball glasses for spirits, and shot glasses for shooters. If you can trust yourself and your guests with stemmed drinkware, hang your wine and champagne glasses upside down from the bar if you can. If you doubt, they’d still be upright by the end of the night, opt for stemless, egg-shaped glasses for the wine and bubbly.

Mixology Tools. To properly make cocktails, you’ll need a few essential mixing tools. Stock your bar with a mixing glass, shaker, jigger, and a Hawthorne strainer. A hand juicer is great for cocktails that include fresh citrus, while a nice vegetable peeler is great for garnishes. Don’t forget the bottle opener and wine bottle opener. Throw in an ice bucket if you want to avoid trips from the bar to the fridge and back.

Spirits: Keep things fresh and exciting by stocking your bar with a variety of spirits, including a good bottle of rum, vodka, tequila, brandy, Scotch, gin, and bourbon and your favorite mixers. If you’re on a budget, start with a couple of your favorite liquors, and grow your bar from the basics as time goes on.

Storage

Make sure that your home bar has the proper storage to hold and protect your tools, bottles, and drinkware. Store your spirits in a cool, dark place out of direct sunlight. Too much light can affect the flavor of your drinks and cause them to taste watered down.

Store your mixing tools in a drawer behind the bar or in a big pitcher or vase on top of the bar. Store your glassware on shelves behind or under the bar, and keep your beverage napkins, stirrers, and straws in a caddy on top of the bar.

Take your home bar to another level with an under-bar fridge, ice maker, wine cooler, sink, or beer tap setup.

Entertainment in your new bar space

Mingling and sipping drinks is always fun, but adding a few classic forms of entertainment will make your bar more exciting, a place where everyone can gather, celebrate, and enjoy. Here are tips for entertainment you can include at your bar so that it’s always a great time, whether you’re reveling in a corner of the living room or have the entire basement for your play space.

  • Classic games like dominos, chess, checkers, and playing cards are always welcome at a bar.
  • Board games make for great bonding times and loads of fun with friends.
  • A karaoke machine makes you the star of the show. Make it even more fun with some colorful flashing lights, a disco ball, and a wireless sound system.
  • Add a dartboard, foosball table, or pool table to your bar area for hours of fun.
  • A jukebox is a fun and unique addition to any bar area.
  • A flat-screen TV behind the bar is icing on the cake if you’re a big sports fan or enjoy watching movies while sipping a cocktail at the bar.

The devil is in the details

Dress up your bar with some accessories, like an oversized mirror, a fun painted mural, or a beautiful tile backsplash. Hang a few framed movie posters, sports memorabilia, or rock ‘n’ roll poster art to make your bar unique to you. Put a large chalkboard on the wall where your friends and family can have fun doodling and getting creative as they sip and mingle. When it comes to the small (but mighty) details, the sky’s the limit, so remember to have fun and make sure that your custom home bar is a place where people will have hours of fun together — and always remember the good times they had.

Whether it’s a huge custom bar in your sprawling basement or a charming small corner of your den, creating a bar at home is an extremely rewarding experience. Look online for inspiration, and plan your bar out thoroughly before you begin building. With a little creativity, you can add some unique finishing touches that will make your home bar burst with personality. Throw in some entertainment, and you’ll be content to spend time at the bar without ever having to leave the house.

Originally Posted in Porch.com

GSN Review: Root Crafted Organic Cocktail Mixers

ROOT Crafted, an award-winning, woman-owned organic cocktail mixer company, creates several products that can be paired with any spirit as well as beer, wine and sparkling wine. Each bottle makes eight to sixteen cocktails. As the company says, “ROOT makes refined effortless, you simply mix 2 parts ROOT to 1 part spirit of your choice and have a fabulous cocktail!”

GSN was sent a bottle of The Lemongrass which includes the following ingredients: Filtered Water, Elderflower Syrup (Organic Cane Sugar, Elderflower Extract), Organic Lemon Juice, Organic Lemongrass, and Organic Lemongrass Extract.

ROOT Crafted is currently available in over 65 retail locations in seven states including CT, DE, FL, NJ, NY, MD, and PA. ROOT Crafted can also be purchased on Amazon and RootCrafted.com and shipped nationally.

GSN’s Thoughts: This is one tasty mixer. You can taste the quality of the ingredients, and the elderflower makes a lasting impression of subtle loveliness. Most mixers are overly sweet, to the point where that’s all you can taste. With ROOT’s The Lemongrass, the flavors are lasting and not in the least muddied by the cane sugar. We also appreciated the substantial size of the bottle (16 oz) which will make 8-16 drinks. We enjoyed this with sparkling water, lager, bourbon, vodka, tequila and rum. ROOT have somehow captured summer in a glass. I’ll toast to that! GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Root Crafted

GSN Review: Jukes Cordialities

Dry January, a month-long break from alcohol, has been a popular challenge amongst adults for years. For Dry January 2021, Jukes Cordialities — newly launched in the U.S. market — presents a collection of drinks in the 0.0% alcohol category to give people a palatable alternative to alcoholic beverages. Jukes are drinks that directly respond to those who are wellness oriented or are limiting alcohol consumption. These are completely new drink constructs, that operate both as refreshing drinks after working out or the like, as well as replacing wines for serving before and while dining, as they pair well across all cuisines. 

Jukes are all natural, apple cider vinegar based, vegan and gluten-free, as well as low in calories and sugar. Both Jukes 1 (the “white”) and Jukes 6 (the “red”), presented in elegant one-ounce glass bottles, are designed to be mixed with still or sparkling water and even tonic water, giving the consumer a broad choice to suit their personal palate. Jukes 1 (16 calories per serving) is centered around a citrus and herb theme, crafted to be uplifting, clean and bright; while Jukes 6 is a fruitier, deeper and spicier style with a more mellow, earthy flavor (17 calories per serving). Both are handmade in Battersea, London, using organic and natural ingredients, including blackberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, strawberries and plums for Jukes 6 (the “red”), and peach, cucumber, plum, apple and pineapple for Jukes 1 (the “white”), together with a number of other herbs, flowers and spices. 

GSN’s Thoughts: These are very much in the shrubb family of beverages, otherwise known as fruit vinegars. Jukes 1 is definitely more akin to a sweet white style wine, let’s say a Sauternes or perhaps a Riesling. Jukes 6 is still sweet, but has a fuller flavor of dark berries and fruits. It’s closest in style to a table red or even a Port. Both are well made, and we particularly like the fact that they can be diluted to your own chosen strength. We recommend these for anyone who is looking to cut back on their alcohol consumption, as well as those who are interested in a healthier and lower calorie alternative to fruit juices and sodas. We also found that mixing sparkling (as opposed to still) water improved the overall experience.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Jukes Cordialities

GSN Alert: Cocktail & Spirits Book Preview – Winter 2021

GSN presents our quarterly seasonal roundup of recommend spiritous books. If you’re beginning Dry January, you will find some ideas here, as well as some that call for fresh springtime ingredients from the garden, along with some foodstuffs from iconic Brooklyn bars (that hopefully will still be in business after the pandemic ends). Enjoy!

The Low-Proof Happy Hour: Real Cocktails Without the Hangover by Jules Aron Countryman Press (January 5, 2021) If your cocktail hour usually includes a martini or a manhattan, you may equate lower alcohol options with a dreaded light beer. But it doesn’t need to be that way! In this revolutionary new book, Jules Aron reveals the secret behind low-proof libations that satisfy all your senses without knocking you off your feet. By building your drinks with a delicious array of lower-proof alcohols, such as amari, sherry, herbal liqueurs, and shochu, you’ll balance out the high-proof components like gin and tequila. These tricks can also apply to traditionally lighter drinks, too. Aron embraces garden-to-glass trends with spice-infused vodka, sweet-and-sour shrubs, and other, more health-conscious drinks.

Zero Proof Drinks and More: 100 Recipes for Mocktails and Low-Alcohol Cocktails by Maureen Petrosky Robert Rose (January 15, 2021) Zero Proof Drinks and More offers delicious and mindful drinks for every guest and every occasion. Maureen Petrosky, an Entertaining and Lifestyle Expert who appears regularly on NBC’s Today Show and hosts multiple video series on Today.com, shares over 100 no-alcohol and low-alcohol recipes for cocktails, spritzers, ciders, coffees, shandys and radlers, and a whole lot more. 52 percent of Americans who drink alcohol report that they are actively trying to cut back. The choice for no- and low-alcohol drinking is as individual as the drinks themselves: health concerns; calorie reduction; religion; cultural trends; pregnancy… Zero Proof Drinks and More has the perfect flavor for every palate along with easy tips and tricks for creating the perfect on trend drink. Mindful drinking is no longer relegated to Dry January — this is now a year-round trend.

Distilling Whiskey: Your DIY Guide to Producing, Aging and Tasting Whisky & Bourbon by Wade Westbay Green (January 30, 2021) This comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know about distilling, from mashing your rye to fermentation and stills to aging ‘the water of life’. Become a craftsman and impress your friends’ taste buds. The book covers every step from picking ingredients to tasting and even mixing your self-made whiskey. Crafting your own Whiskey will save you tons of money, allow you to experiment with the best flavors, and get you gallons of gold. Learn how to make the perfect whiskey from Wade Westbay, an experienced distiller based in Minnesota. With this book, he brings over 12 years of distilling experience right to your hands. Get to know the insider secrets of crafting whiskey with just one click. This book covers every step along the way of both the process and after in detail. Understand what is happening in the still, the barrel, and how a perfect whiskey triggers your taste buds. Get inspired, creative, and make your own. Step into the art of distilling that will teach you a respected and sought-after skill set.

Gin O’clock: A Year of Ginspiration by Craft Gin Club HarperCollins (February 2, 2021) Whether you are a gin aficionado or simply gin-curious, this book from the experts at Craft Gin Club contains everything you’ll ever need to know about the juniper spirit. With recipes for refreshing ice-cold punches through to warming winter serves, marinated main courses to delicious desserts, Gin O’Clock proves it’s always a good time for gin, no matter the season. Packed with tips including: Hosting the perfect gin-tasting, Growing your own garnishes, Making simple syrups, and Creating your own gin truffles.

The Wildcrafted Cocktail: Make Your Own Foraged Syrups, Bitters, Infusions, and Garnishes; Includes Recipes for 45 One-of-a-Kind Mixed Drinks by Ellen Zachos Storey Publishing, LLC (February 16, 2021) Meet the natural lovechild of the popular local-foods movement and craft cocktail scene. It’s here to show you just how easy it is to make delicious, one-of-a-kind mixed drinks with common flowers, berries, roots, and leaves that you can find along roadsides or in your backyard. Foraging expert Ellen Zachos gets the party started with recipes for more than 50 garnishes, syrups, infusions, juices, and bitters, including Quick Pickled Daylily Buds, Rose Hip Syrup, and Chanterelle-infused Rum. You’ll then incorporate your handcrafted components into 45 surprising and delightful cocktails, such as Stinger in the Rye, Don’t Sass Me, and Tree-tini.

Cocktails, Mocktails, and Garnishes from the Garden: Recipes for Beautiful Beverages with a Botanical Twist (Unique Craft Cocktails) by Katie Stryjewski Yellow Pear Press (February 16, 2021) Step inside a bartender’s apothecary, forage for garnishes, and craft some of the most popular cocktails, mocktails, and beverages. This beautifully photographed compendium of craft cocktails includes examples of garnishes and interesting ingredients to give any drink a botanical twist. Creating your very own herb bar and garnish garden for craft cocktails. A cocktail recipe book from the wild; Cocktails, Mocktails and Garnishes from the Garden features examples of garnishes and general know-how. With a reference guide of herbal and floral flavors that complement different spirits, and details about what to plant and how to grow your very own herb bar, readers craft cocktail recipes alongside nature.

American Cider: A Modern Guide to a Historic Beverage by Dan Pucci & Craig Cavallo Ballantine Books (March 2, 2021) Cider today runs the gamut from sweet to dry, smooth to funky, made from apples and sometimes joined by other fruits—and even hopped like beer. In American Cider, aficionados Dan Pucci and Craig Cavallo give a new wave of consumers the tools to taste, talk about, and choose their ciders, along with stories of the many local heroes saving apple culture and producing new varieties. Like wine made from well-known grapes, ciders differ based on the apples they’re made from and where and how those apples were grown. Combining the tasting tools of wine and beer, the authors illuminate the possibilities of this light, flavorful, naturally gluten-free beverage. And cider is more than just its taste—it’s also historical, as the nation’s first popular alcoholic beverage, made from apples brought across the Atlantic from England. Pucci and Cavallo use a region-by-region approach to illustrate how cider and the apples that make it came to be, from the well-known tale of Johnny Appleseed—which isn’t quite what we thought—to the more surprising effects of industrial development and government policies that benefited white men. American Cider is a guide to enjoying cider, but even more so, it is a guide to being part of a community of consumers, farmers, and fermenters making the nation’s oldest beverage its newest must-try drink.

Brooklyn Bar Bites: Great Dishes and Cocktails from New York’s Food Mecca by Barbara Scott-Goodman & Jennifer May Rizzoli Universe Promotional Books (March 9, 2021) Brooklyn continues to be a food mecca known for its innovative restaurants and bars, drawing tourists and locals alike. Although several cookbooks have featured Brooklyn eateries, none have focused exclusively on the innovative bar scene. Food writer Barbara Scott-Goodman discovers amazing spots in her hometown of Brooklyn and presents their unique recipes for serving creative cocktails and artisanal beers, accompanied by small dishes. In this informative cookbook, well-known food writer Scott-Goodman celebrates Brooklyn’s happening bar culture–from the mixologists who craft classic and original cocktails, to the talented chefs who create delicious dishes made with fresh-from-the-market ingredients to accompany the drinks. Featured are over 110 recipes for cocktails, delectable snacks, sandwiches, and small plates. Their range of flavors is vast and extremely appealing for today’s urbane palate.

Negroni: More than 30 classic and modern recipes for Italy’s iconic cocktail by David T Smith & Keli Rivers Ryland Peters & Small (March 9, 2021) The Negroni has been a favorite with discerning cocktail drinkers for over a century but has perhaps never been as popular as it is today. What started off as a simple, equal-parts, three-ingredient cocktail (campari, gin, vermouth) has become a global sensation. Included here are recipes for classic Negronis from straight-up over ice to a sparkling aperitivo spritz. This basic formula is then played with in endless ways with Negronis designed for different seasons; bright and citrusy summer versions; cozier, spiced winter drinks; and celebratory cocktails for special occasions. These exciting variations make use of both dry, sweet, and aged vermouths, along with ports and sherries, and some truly experimental non-gin negronis (made using bourbon, rum or even mezcal) really open up the playing field.

Schumann’s Whisk(e)y Lexicon by Stefan Gabányi Rizzoli (March 16, 2021) A completely updated new edition of the classic guide to the whiskeys of the world by the whiskey expert from Charles Schumann’s famed Schumann’s bar in Munich. Featuring over a thousand entries, this handbook discusses the world’s leading and lesser-known whiskeys, making it an ideal source for the aficionado and the budding novice alike. Every traditional type of whiskey is included: Scotch single malt, blends, vatted malts, single grains, and Irish, as well as those from the new world (bourbon, rye, and Canadian). The book also takes a serious look at trendy new whiskeys emerging from Japan and continental Europe and explores how unique flavors are created through variations of ingredients, distilling techniques, and aging. Organized alphabetically in the style of a dictionary, the volume is rounded out with additional advice on serving, collecting, and storage. Every manner and nuance of whiskey is discussed between the book’s elegant covers.

Cocktails of the Movies: An Illustrated Guide to Cinematic Mixology New Expanded Edition by Will Francis & Stacey Marsh Prestel; Illustrated edition (March 16, 2021) Now available in a new expanded and updated edition, Cocktails of the Movies serves up the 72 greatest cocktails to have featured on film. Take a journey through Hollywood’s lifelong love affair with cocktails, celebrating the greatest characters and their iconic drinks through original illustrations and easy-to-follow recipes. From Marilyn’s Manhattan in Some Like It Hot to The Dude’s White Russian in The Big Lebowski, there’s something for everyone. Each cocktail is accompanied by the recipe, method, a history of the drink and a synopsis of its scene in the movie alongside full-color original artwork.

The Infused Cocktail Handbook: The Essential Guide to Homemade Blends and Infusions by Kurt Maitland Cider Mill Press (March 16, 2021) Pump up the flavors of spirits and mixers with The Infused Cocktail Handbook, the essential guide to homemade blends and infusions. The illustrated recipes explain which ingredients go best when infusing vodka, gin, tequila, whiskey, rum, and sherry and cover a range of globetrotting flavor profiles, from Earl Gray tea to lemongrass, cardamom, and walnuts, as well as gummy bears and bacon. With The Infused Cocktail Handbook not only will you know how to make your very own signature cocktails, you’ll save money doing it.

Tokyo Cocktails: An Elegant Collection of Over 100 Recipes Inspired by the Eastern Capital by Nicholas Coldicott Cider Mill Press (March 30, 2021) With over 13.5 million residents squeezed in to 845 square miles, Tokyo stands as one of the world’s most beguiling cities. On the surface it appears to be nothing but towering buildings and glaring lights. But once you get to know the city, its 23 wards reveal hidden alleyways, along many of which you can find singular drinking establishments. Tokyo Cocktails takes you inside the city’s best bars and introduces you to bartenders and mixologists conjuring up drinks that reflect the city’s essence, namely how thousands of years of tradition fuse with myriad contemporary influences. Featuring over 100 recipes that honor and reinvent classics and make the best of local ingredients, this book is the ideal cocktail enthusiast’s guide to drinking like a local, whether you’re making a trip to Tokyo or staying at home and simply wishing you were there.

The Artisanal Kitchen: Summer Cocktails: Refreshing Margaritas, Mimosas, and Daiquiris―and the World’s Best Gin and Tonic by Nick Mautone Artisan (March 30, 2021) Summer Cocktails is the newest addition to the Artisanal Kitchen series, adapted from Raising the Bar (Artisan, 2004) by master mixologist Nick Mautone. This is a handy guide to summer beverages, with information on everything from how to mix the perfect cocktails, prep drinks ahead of time, and choose the proper drinkware to how to use sorbet ice cubes for a burst of flavor and how to turn cocktails into punches for a larger crowd. It’s packed with easy‑to‑follow recipes for warm-weather favorites, including the mimosa and Tom Collins, as well as classics with a twist (think Pineapple Slings), icy drinks (Frozen Mango Smash), nonalcoholic options (Faux Margaritas), and so much more. Both home and professional mixologists can rely on the book for fail-proof cocktails recipes and will return to Summer Cocktails year after year for seasonal favorites.

 

GSN Review: Koita Plant-based Milks

Koita Foods recently announced the roll out of its premium, Italian, plant-based milk line to grocery retailers across the U.S. Koita’s plant-based, creamy, shelf-stable milks are grown, produced and packed in Italy. The milks are made with ingredients grown in the Italian Alps, which boasts one of the purest soils in the world. 

Koita plant-based milks are available in six mouthwatering flavors: Organic Almond, Oat, Soy, Soy for Coffee, Rice and Organic Coconut. The main ingredients are ethically sourced in Italy, with the exception of the coconuts, which come from Thailand. All flavors are non-dairy, vegan, non-GMO and free of nasty additives. Koita’s milks are produced in Italian factories that follow strict cleanliness guidelines.

Nearly all of the products are shelf stable for 12 months at room temperature  – the Organic Coconut for 10 months – because they are steam-treated using an innovative process that retains taste and extends shelf-life. Koita is sustainable, with TetraPak packaging that is recyclable and shipments that arrive by sea to ensure a lower carbon footprint.

The full line of Koita plant-based milks is now available online at amazon.com, with the Organic Almond and Soy flavors each currently ranked as the #1 new release in those categories. Koita Foods has launched distribution in the Northeast this fall.

“Koita’s U.S. launch is really a dream come true for me. After successfully growing my company abroad, I am beyond excited to bring our plant-based milks back home to the U.S.,” said Koita Foods’ Founder Mustafa Koita, who was born in New Jersey and grew up in Chicago. “I bet you’re thinking … why the U.S.? There are loads of competitors and plant-based milks are everywhere. You aren’t wrong and that’s what I thought, too – at first. But it turns out people truly love the taste of our Italian-grown milks.”

GSN’s Thoughts: These are great for use in several holiday cocktails including spiked hot chocolate, homemade egg nog, milk punch, Coquitos or even White Russians. The fact that they are so shelf stable, makes them a real winner at home. All of the flavors are excellent and have a mouthfeel similar to cow’s milk. We’ve been using them this month for a variety of beverages. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Koita

GSN Book Review: Tiki Triangle

From the classic Mai Tai to the infamous Zombie, in this book you will find over 100 recipes including classic tiki cocktails, modern mixology techniques, and easy to prepare Asian and Polynesian foods. You will also discover details on how to recreate these classic drinks, complete with syrups, mixes, secret ingredients and techniques. Also featuring many cocktail recipes from the leading mixologists working in the top cocktail bars are featured, including The Polynesian, Mai-Kai, Mother of Pearl, and Raine’s Law Room. This book is a celebration that spans over a century. From the old school tiki warriors of the past, to the new tiki enthusiasts carrying the torch into the future.

GSN’s Thoughts: Why another tiki book? Because this one puts recipes and history into a chronological perspective. Author Cristaldi shares some personal history with the culture before giving a brief and informative lesson on rum itself, along with some cocktails pre-1933, which is considered to be the birth year of the genre. Later chapters include food pairings, bar essentials for garnishing and serving, recipes for housemade syrups, and resources for decorating your home bar and even yourself. Of particular note is a checklist of extant tiki bars (as of publication, pre-pandemic) around the globe to entice you. All of this interspersed with full color photographs and clever illustrations by Paul W Zdepski.

The meat of the book are the cocktail recipes, and there are 101 to set you on your tiki voyage. I’d suggest starting at the beginning and working your way through the book. You’ll gain a greater appreciation for the evolution of the drinks themselves and get a short history lesson along the way. Of particular note are the post-millenium libations and a handful of non-alcoholic ones for when you’ve had a few too many.

As seen in the photo above, the book also comes with a pair of bespoke Zombie glasses. But you’d better hurry. As of today, there are only a handful of these beauties left.

GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Tiki Triangle

GSN Review: Shaker 33 Update

We previously reviewed the Shaker 33 when it was a Kickstarter five years ago. We thought we should revisit it and see how it stands up in 2020.

The shaker itself seems sturdier and the seal fits exceptionally well. We had no issues with getting the cap or strainer to twist and lock and visa-versa. The strainer seems to have a better design as well with a variety of differing hole sizes that make pouring quite easy.

The unit is solid, sturdy and built for nearly a lifetime of use. We like that it is lightweight, sizable (so you can batch up to four cocktails), and frosted. This allows for a bit of show when shaking, but also has a classier look than a clear shaker would. Overall, we still recommend this shaker, which will work equally well for a beginner or a professional.

GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Shaker 33

GSN Alert: Cocktail & Spirits Book Preview – Summer 2020 (July-September)

Hey, we’ve all got extra time to read during quarantine. Why not pick up some new cocktail, spirit, beer, sake or libatious books to pass the time? Here are some books coming out this summer that are sure to wet your whistle.

The Pikes Cocktail Book: Rock ‘n’ roll cocktails from one of the world’s most iconic hotels by Dawn Hindle Ryland (Peters & Small) June 30, 2020 Recreate the most popular drinks to have been shaken, stirred, and swallowed at one of the world’s most unique venues. George Michael, Freddie Mercury, Grace Jones, Fatboy Slim, Irvine Welsh, Idris Elba, Daniel Radcliffe, Boy George, Kate Moss Kylie, LCD SoundSystem, and countless other celebrities and royalty have all sipped the cocktails served at the legendary Pikes Ibiza while sitting around its iconic pool and dancing in the in-house nightclub that used to be Freddie Mercury’s suite. Now, for the first time ever, The Pikes Cocktail Book tells the story of this incredible place, with drinks recipes inspired by mischief and misbehavior at this epicenter of Balearic excess. The 65 drinks recipes are divided into chapters such as Poolside Sunset, After Midnight, and The Morning After where you can sample Captain of the Night, Sunny’s Gay G&T, Golden Bird, and many more.

The Curious Bartender’s Guide to Malt, Bourbon & Rye Whiskies by Tristan Stephenson (Ryland Peters & Small) July 28, 2020 A captivating introduction to the world of fine whiskies, brought to you by bestselling author, restaurateur, bar-owner, and world-class drinks connoisseur Tristan Stephenson.Tristan explores the origins of whiskey, from the extraordinary Chinese distillation pioneers well over 2,000 years ago to the discovery of the medicinal “aqua vitae” (water of life), through to the emergence of what we know as whiskey. Explore the magic of malting, the development of flavor, and the astonishing barrel-ageing process as you learn about how whiskey is made. After that, you might choose to make the most of Tristan’s bar skills with some inspirational house-blends and whiskey-based cocktails. This fascinating, entertaining, and comprehensive book is sure to appeal to aficionados and novices alike.

The Curious Bartender’s Guide to Rum by Tristan Stephenson (Ryland Peters & Small) August 25, 2020 Discover why rum is fast becoming the hottest spirit in the world right now with this essential companion from bestselling author and master mixologist Tristan Stephenson. The Curious Bartender’s Guide to Rum explores rum’s remarkable history from its humble origins to its status as life-blood of the Royal Navy and its love affair with Cuba. Discover its darker past, with tales of devils, pirates, and its reputation as the revolutionary spirit. Now this fabled drink is in the midst of another revolution, transforming from uninspiring grog to premium product. Barrel-aged dark varieties are leading the charge and poised to attract existing Bourbon fans while the cocktail Renaissance that began in the early 2000s has recently expanded to include tiki and non-tiki rum cocktails. Is this entertaining primer you’ll learn how rum is made, from the science of sugar cane and molasses to distillation and unique ageing techniques. Next, Tristan’s unrivaled mixology skills will help you master jazzed-up versions of the Mai Tai and Mojito, perfect a Planter’s Punch, and keep you on trend with Brazil’s famous Caipirinha and Batida cocktails, made with rum’s sister spirit, cachaça. Let the rum revolution begin!

Beautiful Booze: Stylish Cocktails to Make at Home by Natalie Migliarini and James Stevenson (Countryman Press) August 25, 2020 Shaken, stirred, clarified, layered, floral, and more, these gorgeous cocktails taste as good as they look
Cocktail alchemy―the sweet, sour, bitter, booze―is magic in the hands of self-taught mixologist Natalie Migliarini. Sure, her story is the classic “girl-quits-job-to-pursue-passion-(cocktails)-starts-website-(Beautiful Booze)-leads-to-book-(yes, this one).” But these beautiful drinks are the result of a real immersion in the craft of building cocktails. Based on a solid foundation of research and feel for cocktail trends, Beautiful Booze is an instant classic. Readers can prepare these drinks at home, using available ingredients and simple tools. Great cocktails elevate every occasion from ordinary to amazing. Here you’ll find recipes for mainstays like the Bloody Mary Bar Cart, as well as old-made-new cocktails like a Créme de la Colada, Limoncello Daiquiri, and Lavender Fizz. Vibrant photographs make reading this book almost as much fun as mixing its drinks.

Distilled in Vermont: A History & Guide with Cocktail Recipes by Chris Maggiolo and Jeremy Elliott (The History Press) September 7, 2020 Vermont is known as a center of contemporary craft food and beverage production, and the distilled spirits industry is no exception. From a handful of ambitious entrepreneurs a decade ago, the state now boasts more than fifteen distilleries and growing. But getting a product from concept to glass involves more than just trial and error. The ingredients, production processes and marketing techniques are as varied as the distilleries themselves. From SILO Distillery in Windsor to Stonecutter Spirits in Middlebury, each producer reveals its stories as it recounts the trials and tribulations of distilling in the Green Mountain State. Join author and distiller Chris Maggiolo as he reveals the unique and complex journey of taking a product idea to market in a state known for its innovation.

WitchCraft Cocktails: 70 Seasonal Drinks Infused with Magic & Ritual by Julia Halina Hadas (Adams Media) September 8, 2020 A stunning collection of 70 witchcraft-inspired drink recipes with inspiration for creating your very own spirited cocktails to benefit your practice. For centuries, witches have been using spirits of all forms during rituals and celebrations. Now, today’s modern witch can learn how to make the perfect powerful witchcraft cocktail. All you need is a delicious and easy recipe, a bottle of your favorite booze, and a desire to get witchy. In WitchCraft Cocktails, you will find 70 recipes for alcohol-based beverages that are sure to help you in your craft. Designed for healing, spells, offerings, and just plain fun, there’s nothing these boozy drinks can’t do! Need a love potion to help woo your lover? Maybe a tincture to heal a cold? Or perhaps you’re looking for the perfect witch-themed signature cocktail to serve at your next gathering. Regardless of what you’re looking for, this book has you covered and includes tips on how to use your witch’s brew to further your practice—and have fun!

The United States of Cocktails: Recipes, Tales, and Traditions from All 50 States (and the District of Columbia) by Brian Bartels and Brad Thomas Parsons (Abrams Image) September 8, 2020 An exploration of the beloved cocktails, spirits, and bars that define each state in America The United States of Cocktails is a celebration of the cocktail history of every state in America. After traveling around this great nation and sampling many of the drinks on offer, cocktail authority Brian Bartels serves up a book that is equal parts recipe collection, travelogue, historical miscellany, bartender’s manual, and guide to bar culture today—with bar and drink recommendations that are sure to come in handy whether or not you are crossing state lines. Delving into the colorful stories behind the creation of drinks we love, this book includes more than 100 recipes alongside spirited analysis of each state’s unique contributions to cocktail culture. Filled with colorful illustrations, The United States of Cocktails is an opinionated and distinctively designed love letter to the spirits, bars, and people who have created and consumed the iconic drinks that inspire us and satisfy our thirst.

The Sazerac by Tim McNally (LSU Press) September 16, 2020 The Sazerac ranks among the most famous drinks of a city famous for its drinking, but where did the classic New Orleans cocktail originate? Drinks journalist Tim McNally dives into the history of the Sazerac in a lively chronicle that ranges from a family-owned Cognac company in France, to an ingredient created by a New Orleans pharmacist, to a spirit once banned on three continents, to the renowned Playboy Clubs of the 1970s, which helped revitalize the enjoyment of complex, elegant mixed drinks. Among the many significant developments in the life of the Sazerac was its designation in 2008 as the official cocktail of the city of New Orleans. When the Sazerac made its first appearance in the mid-1800s, the very concept of a cocktail (though not the word) was still new. Bartenders did not spend much time combining multiple ingredients for a single drink, and when they did, they felt no impulse to give it a name. But the Sazerac was unique. It combined a specific Cognac named Sazerac de Forge et Fils with Creole pharmacist Antoine Peychaud’s much-beloved brand of bitters, plus a sugar cube―all of which were stirred and strained into a drink glass coated with absinthe. The making of the drink provided the comfort and enjoyment of a social ritual, and the Sazerac became both a delicious beverage in its own right and a marker of the city’s unique alcohol culture. With a spirited blend of history, cocktail trivia, and recipes, The Sazerac uncovers the true story of one of New Orleans’s most long-lived and iconic beverages.

The New Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to Think Like a Master Mixologist, with 500 Recipes by Dale DeGroff (Clarkson Potter; Revised edition) September 22, 2020 The renowned cocktail bible, fully revised and updated by the legendary bartender who set off the cocktail craze–featuring over 100 brand-new recipes, all-new photography, and an up-to-date history of the cocktail. The Craft of the Cocktail was the first real cookbook for cocktails when it first published in 2002, and it has had a remarkable influence on bartending. With this new edition, the original gets a delicious update, bringing expertise from Dale DeGroff, the father of craft cocktails, to the modern bar for a new generation of cocktail enthusiasts. The beloved histories, culture, tips, and tricks are back but all are newly revised, and DeGroff’s favorite liquor recommendations are included so you know which gin or bourbon will mix just right.

The Pocket Guide to Whisky: Featuring the Whisky Tube Map (Birlinn Pocket Guides) by Blair Bowman and Nikki Welch (Birlinn) September 23, 2020 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 way. Blair Bowman provides a compact and accessible, easy-to-use guide to help budding whisky enthusiasts on their way. 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.

The United States of Craft Beer, Updated Edition: A Guide to the Best Craft Breweries Across America by Jess Lebow (Adams Media; Updated edition) August 25, 2020 Discover the best craft beer breweries in America as you travel state by state with this fun and updated craft beer roadmap. From California to Maine, there are tons of great craft breweries to explore! In The United States of Craft Beer, beer expert and home-brewer Jess Lebow invites you along this state-by-state exploration of America’s greatest breweries. From Jack’s Abby Brewing in Massachusetts to Maui Brewing Company in Hawaii, this guide takes you to fifty of the best breweries in the country and samples more than fifty-handcrafted beers. Learn everything you want to know about the people who make the nation’s best-tasting beers and the innovative brewing methods that help create the perfect batch. Now you can experience the ultimate bar crawl, as you sample and savor every delicious sip the United States has to offer!

The Shaken and the Stirred: The Year’s Work in Cocktail Culture by Stephen Schneider and Craig N. Owens (Indiana University Press) September 1, 2020 Over the past decade, the popularity of cocktails has returned with gusto. Amateur and professional mixologists alike have set about recovering not just the craft of the cocktail, but also its history, philosophy, and culture. The Shaken and the Stirred features essays written by distillers, bartenders and amateur mixologists, as well as scholars, all examining the so-called ‘Cocktail Revival’ and cocktail culture. Why has the cocktail returned with such force? Why has the cocktail always acted as a cultural indicator of class, race, sexuality and politics in both the real and the fictional world? Why has the cocktail revival produced a host of professional organizations, blogs, and conferences devoted to examining and reviving both the drinks and habits of these earlier cultures?

Raw Spirit: In Search of the Perfect Dram by Iain Banks (Century) September 1, 2020 In an absorbing voyage as interesting to non-drinkers as to true whisky connoisseurs, sci-fi and literary author Iain Banks explores the rich heritage of Scottish whisky, from the most famous distilleries to the most obscure operations. Whisky is more than a drink: it’s a culture that binds together people, places, and products far across Scotland’s rugged terrain. Switching from cars to ferries to bicycles, Banks criss-crosses his homeland, weaving an engrossing narrative full of fascinating traditions, peculiar people, and the downright bizarre places he encounters on his journey down Scotland’s great golden road.

 

The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Beer: A Complete Guide to the Best Beers from Around the World by Bill Yenne (Crestline Books) September 8, 2020 Take the beer tour of your dreams! Join author Bill Yenne on a whirlwind tour of the crafty world of beer. After a quick stop to learn about the anatomy of beer, including ingredients, styles, and even museums, The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Beer guides you through all the regions of the world and their famous brews. Inside, find maps, charts, illustrations, and photographs showcasing favorite brews of the areas. Featuring beer from regions like: Belgium, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Ireland, France, Netherlands, USA, Caribbean, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and even the Far East. A section at the back gives you an overview of beer glassware, so you’ll know which glass to use when sampling each regional brew. Grab a pint and delve into this sweeping tour of one of the world’s favorite beverages!

The Japanese Sake Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Great Sake – With Tasting Notes and Scores for 100 Top Brands by Brian Ashcraft, Takashi Eguchi and Richie Hawtin (Tuttle Publishing) September 15, 2020 The Japanese Sake Bible is the ultimate book about Japan’s national drink—from its history and culture to its ingredients and production methods, how to choose the best sake and recommended food pairings. Author Brian Ashcraft—the author of the popular guide Japanese Whisky—has put together lively commentaries based on dozens of interviews with master brewers and sake experts across Japan. His fascinating stories are accompanied by over 300 full-color photographs, maps and drawings. A unique feature of this book is that it includes reviews, tasting notes, scores and a buying guide for over 100 of the leading sake brands, written by respected Japanese sake expert Takashi Eguchi. These include all the sakes most commonly found outside Japan. Each sake has a photo of the label, tasting notes, a score and recommended food pairings. Information on the leading brewers is provided, and the sakes are grouped by flavor profile. Japanese sake is brewed worldwide today and is winning over many converts. A foreword by sake connoisseur and world-renowned DJ Richie Hawtin addresses the spread in global popularity and the shared mission of making this specialty beverage as accessible as possible. With the help of this book you’ll soon become an expert in selecting, serving and enjoying Japan’s favorite drink.

Another Round: 200 Trivia Questions for Cocktail Nerds Game by Editors of PUNCH (Clarkson Potter) September 22, 2020 Shake up your next cocktail hour with these 200 multiple-choice trivia cards that cover drink-making pop culture, history and lore, recipes and techniques, and travel. What’s the one drink mentioned by name in The Great Gatsby? Which faux pas do bartenders consider bad luck when garnishing a drink with olives? Prove your cocktail expertise with this trivia game written by the editors of PUNCH, an award-winning online magazine covering wine, beer, spirits, and cocktails. An enclosed booklet offers instructions, tips for bartending, and 10 unique cocktail recipes. Whether you’re hosting a proper trivia night and playing competitively or setting the cards out as conversation starters, Another Round is the ultimate ice-breaker.

Spirited: Cocktails from around the World by Adrienne Stillman and Andy Sewell (Phaidon Press) September 30, 2020 A major global celebration of classic and cutting-edge cocktail recipes that define the way we drink, wherever we are.Spirited is the most important book of cocktails from around the world ― researched and collected for the home drink maker. It spotlights hundreds of cocktail recipes from the past 500 years and 60 countries, ranging from renowned iconic classics to lesser-known regional specialties to influential bespoke drinks ― each reflecting the era, location, or bar that inspired it. Contemporary design and a wealth of commissioned photographs create an authoritative, accessible global guide that perfectly distills the cocktail’s distinctive essence. The perfect book for celebrating!

GSN Review: Natural Blonde Bloody Mary Mix

John Aquino is a native Charlestonian and the creative founder of Natural Blonde Bloody Mary. After traveling around the country as a mixologist, he decided to return to Charleston to continue his bartending career. John has made quite a name for himself, winning 5-Bacardi Mojito Challenges and competing in the Cabana Cachaca world finals in Rio de Janeiro. He was one of the 14 mixologists asked to compete in the “Bloody Mary Throw Down” at the Official Bridge Run After Party of 2012, and it was there that he debuted the prototype of what was to become Natural Blonde Bloody Mary. He wanted to create something new, light, and refreshing; remembering a Yellow Tomato Gazpacho he once had at Hank’s Seafood, made by Executive Chef Frank McMahon, and using that as his inspiration, he created his unique mix.

After winning the Bloody Mary competition, and after many requests for his recipe, Aquino decided to create a marketable mix for retail sale in local stores. Since his mix uses fresh tomatoes (as opposed to canned or even paste, as the majority of retail mixes do), he had to experiment with multiple types of yellow tomatoes to find the right balance of acidity, water content, and flavor. After two years of testing, he finally reached his favorites when he came upon the Valencia Gold and Carolina Gold Tomatoes, which he sources locally. Wanting to add to the flavor, with the help of some chef friends, he created a green hot sauce as well as a sweet-hot pickle juice, and with a few more ingredients, a final mix was created.

GSN’s Thoughts: Everything tastes fresh, fresh, fresh, as if made minutes before. Initially tart with bright vinegar and tangy with juicy tomato, the mix goes through several stages of flavor. Nicely balanced, the jalapeno adds a friendly warmth to the blend. Lastly, some of the spices come through adding a lot of top notes and savory characteristics. As if all of that weren’t enough, we absolutely love the color of the tomato puree. This is a mix that joyfully pops out of the glass. Having tasted dozens of Bloody Mary mixes over the years, this one is our favorite. Highly recommended!
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Natural Blonde Bloody Mary

GSN Review: Royalty Spirits CBD Mixers

Chaunci King of Royalty Spirits, the first African American woman to own a spirits company in the Pacific Northwest, recently debuted three non-alcoholic one-of-a-kind cocktail mixers infused with CBD, for teas, iced coffees, mocktails and more with full mobile bartending services.

There are three flavors Exotic Berry, Sweet & Sour, and Vanilla & Ginger. Each is infused with 25mg of CBD.

In September 2020, the company will host the first ever Women In Business Expo with registered women vendors from across the county, introducing women-owned brands to new opportunities, enhancing consumer awareness and igniting a movement towards women-owned companies. The Women In Business Expo will not only celebrate the bounty of women creators, but also facilitate long-lasting business relationships.

GSN’s Thoughts: The vanilla-ginger has a slight sour tang, and a soft ginger heat. The vanilla comes through nicely and has a lasting smoothness. The sweet and sour has a citrus bite that is mouthwatering and reminds me of lemon-lime candies. Lastly, the exotic berry has a lot of fresh strawberry character. Tasty and summery. Each of these will work really well in a gin, vodka, blanco tequila or an interesting addition to a sparkling wine.
GSN Rating: B

For more information go to: Royalty Spirits

GSN Review: Bee K’onscious Artisanal Honey

When choosing a honey for your next Bee’s Knees, Penicillin or Pearl Diver cocktail, why settle for something typically overprocessed and lacking character? Instead, consider Denver-based startup Bee K’onscious Artisanal Honey. Each jar of single-origin honey is sourced from the finest beekeepers around the world, with a QR-coded label that allows customers to scan and trace the honey to the single beekeeper who produced it. The “hive to home” honey brand has partnered with TagOne, a provider of blockchain technology, to provide customers the ability to ensure the source of the jar is producing 100% pure, unfiltered, unpasteurized, non-blended honey.

“Many people enjoy high quality honey, not only as an alternative sweetener, but for its natural antibacterial qualities and disease-fighting antioxidants. What consumers don’t know is that many mass-produced supermarket honeys are cooked and, thereby, lose their nutritional value,” says Bee K’onscious owner Matt Kollmorgen. “Every jar of Bee K’onscious is raw, unadulterated and uncooked and retains all the good stuff your body needs to fight disease.”

Bee K’onscious currently offers four varietals: Brazilian Cipo Uva, Brazilian Marmeleiro Prateado, Montana Clover and a much sought-after California Sage. The selection of unique honeys will continue to expand as the Bee K’onscious team continues to search the globe for beekeepers that have integrated best practices. Bee K’onscious only partners with beekeepers that maintain ethical and sustainable beekeeping practices. The company is also committed to packaging their honey in glass jars and shipping to customers using only recyclable, corrugated packaging.

GSN was sent a jar of the sage honey for review.

GSN’s Thoughts: A lot of warm and smooth flavor. Not too sweet, but rather just right in terms of intensity. It has a nice light, golden color and pours easily from the jar. At the tail end of the tasting, there is a hint of the sage flavor which makes for a slight herbal tinge. We appreciated being able to scan the QR-code and find a map of where the honey comes from. It makes everything seem more personable. A very nice honey, and recommended! GSN Rating: A+

To order jars for your bar, go to: BKS Honey