GSN Review: Queen City Hemp CBD Seltzers

Cannabidiol, or more commonly known as “CBD”, is derived from the hemp plant. CBD is commonly used to treat anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and inflammation to name a few. While CBD is a component of marijuana, a cousin to the hemp plant, it does not cause a “high” when ingested on its own. While the substance has become increasingly popular, the long-term effects of CBD have not been fully researched or fully regulated. 

Queen City Hemp boasts that “all of our CBD Seltzers are sugar, caffeine, sodium free, gluten free and non-gmo. As always, we only use all natural flavors!” The company embraces organic practices in growing and extracting the hemp, however “due to federal restrictions [they] are not able to have an organic certified label”.  

With four flavors to choose from, there is a variety of unique and refreshing options: Lemon and Lavender, Passion Fruit, Guava, and Blood Orange. Each 12oz can has 5mg of CBD, and in addition to their CBD Seltzer, Queen City Hemp sells CBD tinctures and topical products.

Lemon & Lavender
Nose: Subtly aromatic with more of a lemon presence and a hint of sweet floral from the lavender. The scent is strangely stronger than the flavor.
Taste: The lemon is the front runner for sure, sadly the lavender barely comes through at all. The carbonation does not compete with the flavors. 
CBD: Natural CBD has an earthy bitter quality, so it’s a nice pairing with the floral aspect of the lavender. 
GSN Rating: B+

Passion Fruit
Nose: An overwhelming sweetness reminiscent to my childhood days wearing Lip Smackers and eating Skittles. 
Taste: This seltzer has a bit more carbonation, which is perhaps why the taste is a tad muddled. The subtly fruity sweetness is a nice surprise.
CBD: This combination of flavors counteracts the normally woody taste making this flavor interesting and enjoyable.
GSN Rating: B

Guava
Nose: A familiar smell of tropical fruit that is perfectly balanced.
Taste: The initial taste is that of rich fruit, the after taste quickly transitions to the more noticeable CBD components.
CBD: The transition from sweet fruit to earthy bitterness is quick and surprisingly jarring. 
GSN Rating: B-

Blood Orange
Nose: A comforting smell of fresh orange peel and pith.
Taste: The sweet orange comes through, it is almost more reminiscent of a valencia orange rather than a blood orange. 
CBD: This has the perfect balance of citrus and woody flavors, very well done.
GSN Rating: B

Review by: Autumn Ellen Rose for Good Spirits News

GSN Review: Trincheri Vermouth

Trinchero Family Estates, the world’s second largest family-owned winery, has launched Trincheri Vermouth, a line of dry and sweet vermouths. Based on the original Trinchero family recipe from the 1890s, they pay homage to the family history in Italy, New York City and Napa Valley.

When founder Mario Trinchero first moved to New York from Italy in the early 1900s, he got his start as a bartender at the Waldorf Astoria and Barbizon Plaza hotels. The Trinchero family ultimately moved in 1948 from New York to Napa Valley, where Mario and his son Bob created Trincheri Vermouth to honor the classic cocktails Mario mixed at the prestigious aforementioned hotels.

Grapes sourced from Trinchero-owned vineyards including Barbera from Amador County and Chardonnay from Napa Valley make up the expressions in Trincheri Rosso while Trincheri Dry is sourced from Bullfrog Vineyard French Colombard in Central Valley, which is also owned by Trinchero Family Estates. Trincheri Rosso and Dry are both infused with Roman Artemisia and Cinchona Bark bitter herbs as well as other fruits, botanicals and spices that have been cold macerated for over a month.

Trincheri Dry Vermouth (17.5% abv)
It has a lovely and fruity floral nose. Quite appealing and natural. The taste is subdued and more akin to a dry white wine than a bitter and musky vermouth. This works well in a classic Martini, as well as an aperitif. I’ve found many dry vermouths to be too heavy handed with the herbs. This is not the case here.
GSN Rating: A-

Trincheri Sweet Vermouth (17.5% abv)
The wormwood stands out on the nose with a more subtle base of wine. The flavor is dry and still retains the wormwood patina. Natural and still wine-like, there is no overt sweetness or added flavoring. Everything is balanced and fresh with an elegant taste that highlights the wine. This is a nice sweet vermouth to drink on its own with a slice of orange wheel on the rocks.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Trincheri Vermouth

GSN Review: Fee Brothers Toasted Almond Bitters

Fee Brothers, located in Rochester, NY, is a fourth-generation family-owned business that began as a small saloon/delicatessen back in 1863. Today, the product list includes almost 100 drink and cocktail mix products, shipped to distributors and establishments across six continents.

Their latest release is a Toasted Almond Bitters. Perfect for tropical tiki-styled drinks, these will also add a boost of flavor to Amaretto and coffee flavored cocktails.

Our thoughts: These bitters have a lovely almond nose and a definite bitter edge to them that is in no way sweet. They will need some experimentation however, due to the lack of alcohol. I found that one or two dashes were not enough to break through a typical tiki cocktail, but rather a 1/4 tsp seemed to be just right. All in all, a handy item that is fun to experiment with behind the bar. GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Fee Brothers

GSN Alert: Cocktail & Spirits Book Preview – Summer 2019 (July-September)

 

Just a few summer books to be on the lookout for in the next three months.  Make yourself a drink and read a book. Pretend you’re on vacation.

Botany at the Bar: The Art and Science of Making Bitters by Selena Ahmed, Ashley Duval, et al. Roost Books (July 2, 2019) Not only are bitters the backbone to every great cocktail, these plant-packed elixirs have long been used to support health and well-being, add flavor, and stimulate the senses. Take a trip around the world with ingredients like saffron, grapefruit, hibiscus, and lemongrass and then bring them home to your kitchen. Be your own alchemist and mixologist, with recipes for creating bitters, syrups, shrubs, and cocktails. With these unique flavor combinations of spices, roots, fruits, and flowers, your drinks will never be the same.

How the Gringos Stole Tequila: The Modern Age of Mexico’s Most Traditional Spirit by Chantal Martineau Trinity University Press (July 9, 2019) Once little more than party fuel, tequila has graduated to the status of fine sipping spirit. How the Gringos Stole Tequila traces the spirit’s evolution in America from frat-house firewater to luxury good. But there’s more to the story than tequila as upmarket drinking trend. Chantal Martineau spent several years immersing herself in the world of tequila–traveling to visit distillers and agave farmers in Mexico, meeting and tasting with leading experts and mixologists around the United States, and interviewing academics on either side of the border who have studied the spirit. The result is a book that offers readers a glimpse into the social history and ongoing impact of this one-of-a-kind drink. It addresses issues surrounding the sustainability of the limited resource that is agave, the preservation of traditional production methods, and the agave advocacy movement that has grown up alongside the spirit’s swelling popularity. In addition to discussing the culture and politics of Mexico’s most popular export, the book takes readers on a colorful tour of the country’s Tequila Trail, as well as introducing them to the mother of tequila: mezcal.

Flask: 41 Portable Cocktails to Drink Anywhere by Sarah Baird Chronicle Books (July 23, 2019) A compilation of portable drinks, Flask comprises 41 classic and contemporary cocktail recipes that can be transported anywhere. From imbibing in the great outdoors to ringing in the New Year, the book offers recipes for all of life’s greatest moments. Bold, vivid infographics detail drink recipes for 6- and 17-ounce flasks, perfect for sipping solo or sharing with friends. Accessible and fun, the book includes a brief history of flasks, common dos and don’ts, and an interactive quiz, all within a sleek, handsome package featuring a die-cut window and bright silver foil endpapers.

All Day Cocktails: Low (And No) Alcohol Magic by Shaun Byrne & Nick Tesar Hardie Grant (August 20, 2019) Celebrating seasonal ingredients, and with a focus on sustainability, All Day Cocktails showcases nearly fifty varieties of citrus, berries, tropical fruits, stone fruits, pome fruits, vegetables, herbs and nuts. Each variety features a versatile prep recipe that can extend into your cocktails and beyond, meaning All Day Cocktails is much more than your average cocktail book. All Day Cocktails brings you ninety cocktail recipes + fifty prep recipes, including: bitters, caramels, cordials, coulis, granitas, honeys, jams, jellies, juices, kefirs, liqueurs, sherbets, shrubs, syrups, tisanes and vinegars.

Cocktails with a Twist: 21 Classic Recipes. 141 Great Cocktails by Kara Newman Chronicle Books (August 27, 2019) For anyone looking to expand their palate and discover a new favorite go-to drink, this inventive cocktail book is just the thing. Each chapter is based on a classic (like the Manhattan), but inside the unique gatefolds, readers will discover numerous riffs (like swapping Irish whiskey for rye to make a Blackthorn, or substituting amaro for vermouth to make a Black Manhattan). More than 100 variations on 21 modern classic cocktail recipes are accompanied by helpful tips on keeping a well-stocked bar, garnishing drinks, and throwing a party. With bold coloring and a foil cover, Cocktails with a Twist is a handsome addition to any home bar. And with 21 gatefolds, with classic recipes and intriguing variants, this is a cocktail book unlike any other.

Gin Galore: A Journey to the Source of Scotland’s Gin by Sean Murphy & Alison Soye Black & White Publishing (September 1, 2019) With a stellar cast of 50 unique gins, this book explores the boutique tipples reinvigorating the landscapes of Scottish gin. Gin can be relatively simply produced, which enables craft gin distilleries across Scotland to create a refreshing range of boutique products, many of which are making some seriously big waves around the world. Did you know, for example, that a Scottish gin has recently been crowned the “World’s Strongest Gin”—taking the title from a Swedish distillery? There’s no better time to be a gin fan, to get to know Scottish gin and the intriguing stories behind it. This guide will make the perfect companion for gin lovers around the world, as well as gin-loving tourist visitors to Scotland.

The Good Reverend’s Guide to Infused Spirits: Alchemical Cocktails, Healing Elixirs, and Cleansing Solutions for the Home and Bar by Steven Grasse, Sonia Kurtz & Michael Alan Skyhorse (September 3, 2019) A bottle of rectified alcohol, like The Good Reverend’s Universal Spirit from Tamworth Distilling, is a bottle of possibilities. In these pages, you’ll discover over 100 recipes for infusions, tinctures, cocktails, cordials, elixirs, punches, and even household cleaners. This handbook will teach you to replicate famous liqueurs and classic cocktails, and help you prepare perfect garnishes and celebratory toasts. With step-by-step instructions and photos, you’ll learn processes culinary, scientific, and alchemical to improve everything from your parties to your health. You’ll learn the processes of osmosis and dissolution that create the perfect infusions. You’ll be given the secrets to prep for guests lists of 1 or 100.

Cheers to Michigan: A Celebration of Cocktail Culture and Craft Distillers by Tammy Coxen & Lester Graham UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN REGIONAL (September 3, 2019) Cheers to Michigan is a toast to cocktail culture in the Mitten and the state’s flourishing craft cocktail and distillery movements. Based on Cheers!, Lester Graham and Tammy Coxen’s popular cocktail segment on Michigan Radio (NPR), this book gathers forty-five of the authors’ favorite cocktail recipes celebrating the Great Lakes State—its history, its people, its culture, even its weather! Throughout, the authors mix in dashes of Michigan’s fascinating drinking history, entertaining profiles of award-winning cocktail bars, distilleries, and individual spirits from the region, as well as helpful tidbits for preparing top-shelf cocktails on your own. Learn how to mix a Bullshot, the Detroit-born cocktail containing Campbell’s Beef Broth—Marilyn Monroe famously called the drink “a horrible thing to do to vodka.” Or try out the authors’ Whiskey Sour recipe honoring the true story of Valentine Goesaert, a Dearborn woman who challenged the constitutionality of a Michigan law prohibiting female bartenders and in 1948 took her case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Whether you’re a fan of whiskey, gin, or vodka—of the latest cocktail trends or all-time classic drinks—there’s something in this book for all tastes. What’s constant is that each drink showcases a uniquely Michigan twist, making this book perfect for anyone who loves the state, its history and culture, or simply the delicious, delightful, and distinctive cocktails it has inspired.

Spritz Fever!: Sixty Champagne and Sparkling Wine Cocktails by Elouise Anders & Sarah Hankinson Smith Street Books (September 3, 2019) The 60 spritz recipes in Spritz Fever! are in the cocktail style of the decade. Seeing as most spritzes are low(ish) in ABV (well, certainly lower than wine, anyway), they’re the ideal companion for any day-drinking event. Plus, as most Instagram feeds can attest, spritzes aren’t just a drink…they’re a lifestyle. These bubbly wonders speak to a careless Italian summer spent reclining by the beach in fine and flowing linen. What can be so easy to forget is that spritzes are so much more than just Aperol and bubbles. In this book, you’ll learn about the classic European liqueurs, like Cynar, Campari, Luxardo Bitter, Meletti, and more. Moreover, you’ll discover the nuances between prosecco, cava, and champagne can create different textures as the bubbles in each effervesce uniquely. Plus, read up on how citrus garnishes must be matched appropriately to each drink’s flavor profile and, of course, color. Above all, the perfect ratio of liqueur-to-bubbles changes for each recipe. Spritz Fever! explains all of this, alongside its dreamy illustrations.

The Martini Cocktail: A Meditation on the World’s Greatest Drink, with Recipes by Robert Simonson Ten Speed Press (September 17, 2019) The first book in decades to celebrate and explore the history of the most iconic of classic cocktails, the martini, with 50 recipes. A classic martini includes gin, vermouth, sometimes bitters, a lemon twist or olive, and lots of opinions–it’s these opinions that New York Times cocktail writer Robert Simonson uncovers in his exploration of the long and tangled history of the classic martini and its subtle variations. The book features examples of age-old recipes, such as the first martini recipe published in 1888, modern versions created by some of the world’s best bartenders, and martinis sought out by enthusiasts around the world, from Dukes Bar at the Dukes Hotel London to Musso and Frank Grill in Los Angeles. In The Martini Cocktail, you’ll discover everything you need to know about what components make a great martini, as well as a collection of 50 recipes to create your own drinks (and form your own opinions) at home.

Gather Around Cocktails: Drinks to Celebrate Usual and Unusual Holidays by Aaron Goldfarb Dovetail (September 24, 2019) Gather Around Cocktails is a collection of 45 recipes that take you through a year of holidays and other unexpected occasions to celebrate with friends and family. Included are refreshing twists on classics like Christmas nogs, mulled wines, and New Year’s Eve and Day tipples, as well as cocktails for delightful new festivities: easy apres ski drinks, a batched Superbowl spritz, and a romantic Valentine’s Day cocktail for two. Complete with tips on creative ways to serve your guests–from a self-serve Bloody Mary bar to a champagne tower–making drinks for two or 100 has never been easier.

 

GSN Review: Som Cordials

Som is a new non-alcoholic cane vinegar cordial, handmade in small batches in Portland, Oregon with organic cane vinegar, fresh fruit, produce, and locally sourced Oregon berries. There are six distinct expressions: Ginger, Cranberry, Oregon Berry, Pineapple Szechuan Pepper, Tangerine Sea Salt, and Thai Basil.

As a cane vinegar cordial, Som has created a unique category within the beverage industry. A cordial is a concentrated fruit liqueur or syrup designed to be diluted with soda water. By using organic cane vinegar as its base, Som preserves the flavor integrity of its fresh whole ingredients so their natural vibrancy comes to life.

Som’s signature serve, Som & Soda – one part Som to four parts soda water – is ideal for any occasion requiring a sophisticated non-alcoholic beverage option. Som can also be combined in spirit-based drinks to create fresh cocktails.

James Beard Award winning chef Andy Ricker of Portland, Oregon’s Pok Pok created Som to enhance his highly acclaimed bar program, believing bold and complex flavors should be experienced through both food and drink. The original Pok Pok Som was released in the Pacific Northwest market seven years ago. With new packaging, elevated new expressions and a new identity, Som now celebrates the intersection of discerning craft cocktail enthusiasts and alcohol free beverages.

 “More and more, people are looking for diversity in drink options that are complex, experiential and deliver a wide array of flavors – without alcohol. They don’t want to compromise taste, atmosphere or experience, whether they are choosing to drink alcohol or not,” says Ricker. “Som offers patrons the option of having a zero proof drink with an experience equal to the one they’d get if they were ordering a well made cocktail: a high quality brand, balanced sophisticated flavor, and thoughtful craft from the bartender.”

Note: GSN was sent the following two samples for review.

Som Thai Basil – Light vinegar nose infused with fresh basil leaf. The flavor is sweet and sour with an herbal quality that does indeed have a Thai note. Somewhat fruity in character, yet very much an herbal forward mixer. Evocative unique and unusual = a great new bar tool for your arsenal. Try this with white spirits, especially gin, rum and of course, vodka.
GSN Rating: A

Som Oregon Berry – Light vinegar nose with a fresh and deep berry essence. Considering that there are four berries in the mix (strawberry, blueberry, raspberry and marionberry) the blend is quite well done, with none of them being too prominent on the tongue. The vinegar adds a tartness that works in tandem with the cane sugar. Refreshing and quite tasty with sparkling water and ice, it really doesn’t need any spirit. But, if you are looking for a kick, try using white rum, gin or vodka.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Som Cordial

GSN Alert: Cocktail & Spirits Book Preview – Spring 2019 (April-June)

It’s time once again for our spring round-up of new cocktail, spirits and bartending books. Lots of new publications to wet your whistle. Cheers!

The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Cocktails: A Spirited Journey Through Suburbia’s Hidden Tiki Temples by Tom Morgan, Kelly Reilly, Tiki Tony & Sven A. Kirsten Korero Press (April 1, 2019) Come and explore suburbia’s hidden tiki temples with Kelly and Tom. Sample over 150 of their original tropical cocktails! These drinks chronicle their time spent bartending at home tiki bars during the rise of the craft cocktail revolution, among them Kirby’s Rumpus Room, which hosted weekly parties for many years. Included are riffs on tropical classics and original concoctions crowd-tested at home bars across the U.S. You’ll also find recipes for home-made syrups, including ancho chilli, lemongrass, sesame, hibiscus, and more. Sven Kirsten—the authority behind The Book of Tiki—provides the Foreword. The book features full-page cocktail photos and glamour shots of some of the coolest home tiki bars around. Additionally, you’ll find lavish illustrations by Tiki Tony, chapter heading illustrations by Jake Geiger—a tiki aficionado and game designer for such hits as Guitar Hero and Call of Duty—and select featured art by Doug Horne, who is a true lowbrow Leonardo familiar to the tiki scene. This guide is proof that you don’t have to go very far to sample the best tropical drinks in town. Belly up to your basement Bali Hai or backyard Bora-Bora and mix yourself a tropical vacation!

From Garden to Glass: 80 Botanical Beverages Made from the Finest Fruits, Cordials, and Infusions by David Hurst Universe (April 2, 2019) For the legions of readers who enjoyed The Drunken Botanist: The Plants that Create the World’s Best Drinks, here is a new health and nutrition conscious take on making infusions, cordials, and cocktails mixers with garden fresh herbs, fruits, and spices. The Drinking Garden is a unique collection of over 70 delicious botanically inspired recipes based on what is available fresh from the garden or farm stand. These “garden to glass” recipes are for non-alcoholic infusions and cordials based on fresh fruits, garden herbs, and spices which can be consumed as restorative tonics in their own right or can be used as the basis for mouthwatering cocktails – cocktails filled with garden fresh nutrients and antioxidants, making them far healthier than ordinary bar drinks. Organized according to main ingredient, the recipes are created with an eye toward both health and taste. All recipes include fresh from the garden botanicals such as elderberries, strawberries, tomato, mints, and other herbs. Thus, an ordinary Bloody Mary is transformed into a healthy power drink by using freshly crushed garden tomatoes, chilies, and other spices. Many recipes also use “superfood” ingredients, from açai berry and avocado to papaya and pomegranate. Each creation is expertly crafted and inspired by some of the most exciting trends in bartending and mixology. The book also explains how to make professional-quality mixed drinks in your home, listing essential bar kit, fancy glassware, party planning, and finishing touches that can transform an ordinary drink into an exceptional cocktail.

Alcohol-Free Cocktails: The Redemption Bar by Catherine Salway & Andrea Waters Kyle Books (April 2, 2019) Alcohol-free drinks have never been more glamorous thanks to this stunning new book by Catherine Salway and Andrea Waters, the brains behind Redemption, one of London’s healthiest bar restaurant brands. Redemption Bar will introduce you to a refreshing new take on alcohol-free drinks and innovative, healthy bar snacks. Learn how to make delicious, guilt-free cocktails and tasty canapés that will dazzle your guests and delight your taste buds. Packed with nutritious recipes, Redemption Bar has something for everyone, with a variety of vegan, low-sugar and gluten-free recipes available. Quirky, alcohol-free cocktail recipes include: Lychee and Yuzu Martinis, Pineapple Margaritas, and Strawberry & Mango Daiquiris. The book also offers a range of delicious canapés for light snacks and entertaining, from Slow-roasted Activated Almonds to Miso Glazed Baby Aubergine Skewers.

Gin Austen: 50 Cocktails to Celebrate the Novels of Jane Austen by Colleen Mullaney Sterling Epicure (April 2, 2019) In six enduring novels, Jane Austen captured the fancies and foibles of Regency England, and every delightful page of this book celebrates the picnics, luncheons, dinner parties, and glamorous balls of Austen’s world. At these social engagements, gossip reigned, love flourished, and drinks flowed. Discover an exotic world of cobblers, crustas, flips, punches, shrubs, slings, sours, and toddies, with recipes that evoke the past but suit today’s tastes. Raise your glass to Sense and Sensibility with a Brandon Old-Fashioned, Elinorange Blossom, Hot Barton Rum, or Just a Dashwood. Toast Pride and Prejudice with a Cousin Collins, Fizzy Miss Lizzie, Gin & Bennet, or Salt & Pemberley. Brimming with enlightening quotes from the novels and Austen’s letters, beautiful photographs, and period design, this intoxicating volume is a must-have for any devoted Janeite.

Bar Chef: Handcrafted Cocktails by Christiaan Rollich, Carolynn Carreño, Suzanne Goin & Caroline Styne W. W. Norton & Company (April 9, 2019) Celebrated Los Angeles bartender Christiaan Röllich approaches a drink the way a master chef approaches a dish: he draws on high-quality seasonal ingredients to create cocktails for every occasion. In Bar Chef, Röllich shares 100 original recipes for drinks that are as beautiful as they are delicious, including the Quixote (gin and grapefruit); a Kentucky Sour (bourbon and homemade cola syrup); Eggnog for the holidays; and Röllich’s signature drink, the Green Goddess (green tea vodka and cucumber with arugula, jalapeno, and absinthe), which has become a part of the language of LA. Featuring easy-to-follow recipes for syrups, tinctures, liqueurs, and bitters with herbs, spices, and seasonal fruit, Röllich guides you through his creative process, demystifying the craft of cocktail making. With stunning color photography and the suave storytelling of your favorite bartender, Bar Chef will become a go-to bar book for home cooks and cocktail enthusiasts, inspiring and pleasing readers with every drink.

The Tequila Dictionary by Eric Zandona Mitchell Beazley (April 9, 2019) An A-Z compendium of everything you need to know about tequila and agave spirits, from history, ingredients and the latest craft tequila techniques to tasting notes and the many regional variations and specialities. A tequila revolution is taking place, with more and more people learning to appreciate the rich culture, craft and flavor to be found in this unique spirit. The Tequila Dictionary is the drinker’s guide to this wonderful world. With hundreds of entries on tequila and agave spirits covering everything from history, culture and ingredients to distilling techniques, cocktails and the many varieties of the drink, spirits expert Eric Zandona explores the truth behind this truly captivating drink.

Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World by Derek Brown & Robert Yule Rizzoli (April 16, 2019) A cocktail– the fascinating alchemy of simple alcohols into complex potables– is an invention as unlikely as it is delicious, and an American innovation whose history marches in step with that of the Republic. In Spirits Sugar Water Bitters, nationally recognized bartender and spirits expert Derek Brown tells the story of the cocktail’s birth, rise, fall, and eventual resurrection, tracing the contours of the American story itself. In this spirited timeline, Brown shows how events such as the Whiskey Rebellion, Prohibition, and the entry of Hawaii into the United States shaped the nation’s drinking habits. Brown also tells the stories of the great men and women who made their mark on cocktail culture, including America’s Distiller-In-Chief George Washington and modern-day King Cocktail Dale DeGroff, as well as lesser-known mixology heroes like Martha Niblo, the nineteenth-century New York proprietress famous for her Sherry Cobblers, and Frederic Tudor, whose ice-shipping business gave early drinks like the Cobbler and the Mint Julep the chill they needed. Featuring classic and original recipes inspired by each period, this book serves up the perfect mix of geography, history, culture, and taste.

From Barley to Blarney: A Whiskey Lover’s Guide to Ireland by Sean Muldoon, Jack McGarry & Tim Herlihy Andrews McMeel Publishing (April 16, 2019) An Irish whiskey guru, two bartender behemoths, and an adept writer combine forces to create this comprehensive guide to Irish whiskey. The book begins with an in-depth introduction to whiskey and its history in Ireland, including what makes each style of Irish whiskey unique. What follows is a detailed tour, including photographs, around the four Irish provinces, and of the 22 different distilleries and the unique Irish whiskeys each produces, as well as a discussion of the booming present and promising future for Irish whiskey producers. Each province also highlights the best of Ireland’s 50 iconic bars and pubs, linking past to present and providing the ultimate whiskey tourist itinerary. The fun really begins when the masterminds behind 2015’s “World’s Best Bar,” Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog, share 12 original mixed-drink recipes tailor-made for Irish spirits.

Make Something Bloody Marvellous: The Gentle Art of Mixing Gin by Dan & Faye Thwaites LID Publishing (April 23, 2019) The UK’s “gin renaissance” has been underway for several years as tastes and drinking habits have changed. Once dubbed “Mother’s ruin,” gin sales topped £1 billion for the first time in 2015 as younger drinkers flocked to a new generation of artisanal distilleries. With so many brands now on the market, a little guidance is surely required. Make Something Bloody Marvellous is bursting with more than 50 unique gin cocktail recipes and photographs for every occasion. Learn the skills of the bespoke bartender and stir up some truly exquisite concoctions using Jam Jar Gin and authentic home-grown ingredients. Beautifully finished to a high standard, it’s nothing short of top-shelf.

Colorado Cocktail Cookbook by Chad Chisholm Liferichpublishing (May 3, 2019) Ever wondered how to make your favorite Colorado cocktail at home? The Colorado Cocktail Cookbook includes recipes from favorites around the state to try yourself. Whether heading to your favorite restaurant or distillery, or trying your hand at these craft cocktails in your home bar, this collection from the Centennial State is sure to elevate your cocktail experience.

Hair of the Dog: 80 Hangover Cocktails and Cures by Salvatore Calabrese Sterling Epicure (June 4, 2019) You wake up, head spinning, stomach churning, wishing you were dead. You have a hangover—and celebrated bartender Salvatore Calabrese is here to help. He explains why we get hangovers and how to avoid them, temper them, and heal them the morning after. To do this, “Maestro” Calabrese shares his secret drink recipes to lessen the pounding in your head, from the Apothecary, Bartender’s Breakfast, and Corpse Reviver to the Spirit Lifter, Suffering Bastard, and Wake-Up Call. If you can’t stomach the thought of more booze, try a nonalcoholic remedy, including the Cleanser Cocktail, Dale DeGroff’s Macho Gazpacho, or a Virgin Mary. Packed with insightful quotes, expert advice, and a generous dose of humor, Hair of the Dog also provides a handy hangover scale to judge your level of suffering, a three-day detox program, and a collection of herbal remedies. With the Maestro’s help, you’ll be back on your feet in no time!

Shaken: Drinking with James Bond and Ian Fleming, the Official Cocktail Book by Ian Fleming & Fergus Fleming Harper Design (May 14, 2019) Readers can explore James Bond creator Ian Fleming’s writing on the pleasures of drinking and mix themselves fifty delicious cocktails from recipes inspired by his books and developed by award-winning London bar, Swift. Both Bond and Fleming were partial to a stiff drink. In both fiction and real life, cocktails were an important and well-chosen accompaniment to adventure and daring and often relaxing. Fleming made the Martini famous with Bond’s ritual of always ordering it “shaken, not stirred”. But in every James Bond book a wide selection of strong, sophisticated and carefully crafted drinks are essential details to the story. The recipes in Shaken are divided into five categories: Straight Up; On the Rocks; Tall; Fizzy; and Exotic. Sip on inventions such as Smersh, Moneypenny, That Old Devil M and Diamonds Are Forever, as well as classic Bond cocktails such as the Vesper—and, of course, the Dry Martini. Each recipe is illustrated by a stunning full-color photo of the drink and wonderful extracts from Fleming’s writing—taken from the passage where the drink was featured or a place, character, or plot that inspired it. Shaken features a foreword written by the novelist’s nephew, Fergus Fleming, as well as plenty of his writing on whisky, gin, rum, and other spirits.

Lonely Planet’s Global Distillery Tour by Lonely Planet Food (May 21, 2019) Explore the exciting world of spirits with Lonely Planet. Featuring the best distilleries and bars in over 30 countries, we’ll tell you where to go and what to taste – from gin, bourbon and whisky to vodka, cachaca, tequila and more. Includes unmissable regional drinks from South Africa, Canada, the USA, Mexico, Japan, Indonesia, France, Italy, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Within each of the 33 countries in Lonely Planet’s Global Distillery Tour, we’ve organised the distilleries alphabetically by region. Each distillery has a suggested must-try drink or tasting experience and also recommended local sights so you can explore the local area in between tasting sessions. We’ve also included bars that are best-in-class for their selection of one particular drink, such as arak in Lebanon or tuak in Malaysia. At the back of the book, you’ll find a section dedicated to cocktails: our take on the best mixology magic in the world, and the bars that serve them. Contributions come from specialist spirit reviewers, writers and bloggers.

GSN Review: Barrel Char in a Jar Kit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GSN Rating: A

To order go to: Gnarly Apple on Etsy