Archive for the ‘Bar Tools’ Category

New York State has a rich and long history with spirits & cocktails. The very first bartender’s guide was written by Jerry Thomas who was born in Sackett’s Harbor, NY and worked in New York City during the 1800’s. Today, New York is home to the second highest number of distilleries in the nation.

Local writer and author Don Cazentre recently released his second book, this one detailing the stories behind the Empire State’s affinity for libations. I took the opportunity to ask Don some questions about his research and experiences while writing the book.

GSN: You’re originally from New Orleans, Louisiana which itself has a deep and rich drinking heritage. Did any of your experiences there directly influence your interest in writing about cocktails and spirits in Upstate New York?

DC: I certainly grew up in a cocktail town. And there always seemed to be a bottle of Peychaud’s bitters around in everybody’s home when I was a kid (though I believe some people used it in cooking). Plus, my great-grandfather ran bars in and around the French Quarter (pre-Prohibition). But none of that really influenced this. I started writing about beer in 1995, in a column for the Post-Standard and then as a free-lancer for Ale Street News. I eventually expanded my writing into wine and spirits, and now work full-time as beer, wine and spirits writer for NYup.com. This book came about when the publisher (The History Press), sent me a query asking if I thought there was enough material on spirits and cocktail in Upstate NY to support a book. It only took me a weekend of research to conclude the answer was ‘yes’.

Pictured on the left is Catherine Hustler (aka Kathryn Serianni) of the Lewiston Council on the Arts.

GSN: What is the most interesting story that you uncovered while working on this book?

DC: There were plenty. From a true historical perspective, I think the story  of rum distilling in the Albany area was the most interesting — partly because it was surprising to me. I had heard of New England (Medford) Rum, but had no idea Albany was such a major player in the 1700’s. But I really love the (almost) entirely fictional account of the tavern keeper in Lewiston — Katherine Hustler. Though much of the story is complete bunk, I love the way they keep it alive, from historic markers to live re-enactments — in this small corner of Upstate NY.

GSN: Despite prohibition, alcohol was always available for someone who wanted it. Did you uncover any stories of speakeasies or bootleggers in the area?

Rum Runners salvaging whiskey from a boat stuck on a sandbar, one mile east of Leamington, Ontario on Lake Erie.

DC: Yes, I have several tales of bold “rum runners” crossing the river (and ice) in the Thousand Islands region (accompanied by hails of gunfire). It’s also pretty obvious from some of the stories in places like Syracuse, Albany and Buffalo that speakeasies were “hiding in plain sight.”

GSN: You devote a chapter to the history of rum making in Upstate New York. Today, relatively few distilleries in the area are producing rum. Why do you think this is?

DC: Many of the distilleries have ‘farm,’ licenses, so they’re required to use New York ingredients. I don’t know of many sugar plantations in New York! On the other hand, a distillery like Albany Distilling Co. is makings rum under a standard license. I think for now, using local ingredients, whether required by law or not, is going to be a driving force for distillers.

Cocktail menu from Good Luck

GSN: Let’s talk a bit about bar culture. Do you see a shift in the use of local spirits on menus?  How are local bartenders using these products to bring in cocktail enthusiasts who want something or than the usual “fruit-tini”?

DC: I think the “buy local” idea has filtered to many bars, especially the high-end ones. The current thinking seems to be embodied in this quote in the book from Chuck Cerankosky, owner of Rochester’s Good Luck and Cure and founder of the Rochester Cocktail Revival: “At first we used them (local products) to be polite. Now, we use them because they’re good.”

GSN: The resurgence of distilling in Upstate New York has grown exponentially in the last ten years. What in your opinion are the benefits of this relatively young craft in an industry dominated by major players like Diageo, Pernod-Ricard, Suntory-Beam and William Grant & Sons?

DC: There are almost 100 distilleries in New York, and, as far as  I know, just one, Tuthilltown in Gardiner, has been acquired by a “major” player (Wm Grant). So I think what’s cool now is that distilleries are where craft beer has been for the last decade — small, local, trying new things and aiming to build a loyal audience.  It came too late to make my book, but I’m intrigued by the new effort to make Empire Rye a signature New York spirit. (See GSN’s review of Finger Lakes Distilling’s Empire Rye here)

GSN: If you were to nominate one iconic libation that should be the official cocktail of Upstate New York, which one would you choose and why?

DC: I’ll give you two — one historical and one modern.

Historical: The Mamie Taylor is one that has a strong provenance to Upstate NY: It’s pretty clear it was invented at Ontario Beach near Rochester in 1900 at the request of then Broadway diva, Mamie Taylor. It was hugely popular in its day. It’s also interesting in cocktail history: It’s a sort of precursor to the modern rage over Moscow Mules — a highball with ginger beer. In that sense, it could be one of the most influential cocktails ever.

Mamie Taylor
From Ted Haigh in Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails

2 ounces scotch
¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
Spicy ginger ale or ginger beer (Haigh recommends Blenheim’s no. 3 ginger ale)

Pour the scotch and lime juice into an ice-filled 8-ounce highball glass and fill with ginger ale. Stir and garnish with a lime wedge.

Modern: I had head bartender Jeremy Hammill at the Scotch ‘n Sirloin in DeWitt concoct a few “Erie Canal-themed cocktails” using ingredients sourced from along the old canal path. Here’s one:

Scotch ‘n Sirloin’s bar

Low Bridge
From Jeremy Hammill of the Scotch ’n Sirloin, DeWitt

1 ounce Albany Distilling Death Wish coffee vodka (Albany)
1 ounce Black Button 4 Grain Bourbon (Rochester)
1 ounce cinnamon/clove infused simple syrup (see note below)
1 dropper of Mad Fellows Mulled Spice bitters (Syracuse)
½ ounce heavy cream Freshly grated cinnamon

Chill a martini glass or coupe. Fill a shaker glass with ice and then add all ingredients except the cinnamon. Shake well and strain into martini glass or coupe. Sprinkle on cinnamon for garnish.

Note: To make the simple syrup, boil 2 cups water with 1 broken up cinnamon stick and 4 whole cloves to extract the flavor. When it smells right, add 2 cups sugar and boil to dissolve. Let cool and strain into a clean bottle. Will hold for a month in the refrigerator. (It can be reduced, but always use equal parts water and sugar.)

GSN: To what do you attribute the lasting influence the cocktail still has today even after prohibition and two world wars?

DC: That’s  a good question. Writing the book certainly reaffirmed for me the notion that cocktails have always had their cycles — classic, over-the-top, fruity and sweet, back to classic, etc. I think their popularity now is a bit of the DIY mentality — if you buy a beer or wine you’re stuck with what you bought. But with cocktails, you can mix and match and put your own creative spin on what you’re drinking.

GSN: Last question: You discuss several of the theories about the origin of the word “cocktail”. Most of them seem to indicate an origin within New York State. What do you think the true story is?

DC: I really think the cocktail is simply the drink (the name) that survived from the whole era of juleps and shrubs, punches and toddies, slings and sangarees, cobblers and nogs. I don’t know if it originated in New York, but it certainly seems to be the place where the word first took hold. That may be because of economic and social factors — access to education, media outlets etc. (But in loyalty to my hometown, I still also like the story of Antoine Peychaud and the “coquetier,” even if it is mostly bunk).

Don Cazentre writes about the beer, wine and spirits industry for Syracuse.com and NYup.com

Interview by Blair Frodelius, Good Spirits News


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Pongbot is a challenging new twist on everyone’s favorite drinking game, Beer Pong. Pongbot is a robotic cup holder that creates a moving target. Instead of tossing a ping-pong ball at a group of stationary cups, Pongbot spins, darts, and randomly changes direction. This makes beer pong more a lot more challenging!

Pongbot re-defines the game with moving cups, and LED under-lighting adds a high-tech look. Players can shoot at a single cup or add a five-cup caddie. Pongbot features edge-sensing technology to keep the bot from falling over the edge of the table. There are two modes for play – in Auto-mode, the Pongbot will move and spin randomly in any direction at any time, so that the shooter never knows where it is going. In Manual mode, your opponent controls the motion with a tank-style handheld remote control. So it’s you against the machine or against your friend.

We set this up in the GSN break room recently and had to scramble to locate a ping-pong ball (not included), five Solo cups (not included) and six AA batteries (not included).  A bit disappointing that these weren’t already in the box.

A few games of water pong ensued (after all we have to keep clear heads when reviewing). The Pongbot itself works fairly well when using the auto-mode, as there was no discernible pattern to the movement.  The manual mode worked less well, as the sensors would sometimes be on the wrong side of the machine and it would stop moving altogether.

There were two other negatives. It is fairly noisy with a constant whining motor noise that unless people are loudly cheering or you have music blasting, becomes grating after ten minutes.  The other problem is that the unit fell off of the table at one point, we think due to the fact that our break room table has beveled edges.  It will probably work fine on a straight edge table (which ironically means no drinking).

Overall, it was fun for about a quarter of an hour, but the original beer pong is cheaper, easier and less frustrating overall.

GSN Rating: C-

For more information go to: Buy Pongbot

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Time for our autumnal round-up of some great new publications for the drinking enthusiast! This time around we have a selection of volumes focusing on everything from retro and platinum age cocktails to home brewing, from mixers to bitters, along with several books focused on drinking culture in specific locales.  Cheers!

Bay Area Cocktails: A History of Culture, Community and Craft (American Palate) by Shanna Farrell,  Jon Santer, Vaughan Glidden & Nando Alvarez-Perez (The History Press) An American invention, the cocktail fluctuated in popularity following Prohibition and had firmly taken root in the culinary landscape by the 1990s. The Bay Area played a significant role in reviving it–as much as New York and London. From the distillers who pioneered craft spirits and Alice Waters’ revolutionary take on simple, fresh food at Chez Panisse to the bartenders who cared enough to grow a dedicated cocktail community, this is the story of how the Bay Area shaped the art of elevated drinking in America. Through oral history interviews and recipes, author Shanna Farrell chronicles the narrative history of the modern cocktail renaissance.

New York Cocktails by Amanda Schuster (Cider Mill Press) With bars, lounges and pubs dotting almost every block in the city, the Big Apple has an unmatched and incomparable cocktail culture—and now you can travel straight to the epicenter of this trendsetting city with more than 100 creative, as well as classic, cocktail recipes. Take a virtual tour of iconic NYC establishments through breathtaking, full-color photography, scene-setting bar descriptions, and mixologist insights—and a plethora of party planning pointers, shopping tips, and must-visit hotspot suggestions make this the perfect guide to the cosmopolitan art of New York City cocktail crafting. With thirst-inducing, full-color photography throughout, and cocktails inspired by New York City movers and shakers, writers, and mixologists, New York Cocktails features unique libations shared by the best bartenders in the City That Never Sleeps, as well as signature new twists on the classics.

Road Soda: Recipes and techniques for making great cocktails, anywhere by Kara Newman (Dovetail) It’s often difficult for a cocktail enthusiast to find a decent drink on the road, especially when faced with the limited selection offered by hotel mini bars, airplane drinks carts and the great outdoors. Road Soda is the ultimate guide for on-the-go cocktail making, with tips and recipes from cocktail expert Kara Newman. Readers will learn how to become mini-bar mixologists; how to build portable cocktails in flasks, beverage cans and liquor bottles; how to make drinks for camping and tailgating, and more. Throughout the book, notable bartenders and drinks experts will offer tips for finding (and creating) the best drinking experiences no matter where readers’ travels take them.

Fever Tree: The Art of Mixing: Recipes from the world’s leading bars by Fever Tree (Mitchell Beazley) The first cocktail title to put the mixers center-stage. Rather than starting with the spirits, this book focuses on key mixers – including tonic, lemonade, ginger ale, ginger beer and cola – and provide 100 classic and contemporary cocktail recipes that make the most of the botanical partnerships. The book also explores the origins of key ingredients, including quinine, lemons and elderflower, revealing the role quinine has played in geo-politics, for example, and the impact different herbs have on taste. In the way that we increasingly want to know the source and production methods of the food we eat, so this guide allows you to understand more fully what we drink – and use that knowledge to create the most delicious cocktails.

Around the World in 80 Cocktails by Chad Parkhill & Alice Oehr (Hardie Grant) Around the World in 80 Cocktails celebrates the globetrotting history of the cocktail through eighty different iconic drinks – each of which has its own story to tell. Bartender and writer Chad Parkhill takes you on a whirlwind tour of the places that have shaped the history of the cocktail from its birth to the present day, with recipes so you can follow along at home. You’ll learn about the surprising military history behind the bubbly, vivacious Venetian Spritz; how the G&T moved from India to England (and why the best in the world are now made in Spain); and how France’s Burgundy region turned tragedy into triumph with the Kir. Accompanied by gorgeous vintage-style illustrations that evoke antique travel posters, these stories and recipes are an ode to the joys of travel, history, and drinking.

Canadian Whisky, Second Edition: The New Portable Expert by Davin de Kergommeau (Appetite by Random House) This fully updated and revised edition of the award-winning Canadian Whisky invites you on a journey across Canada and back through time to discover the story of this unique spirit. Independent whisky expert Davin de Kergommeaux weaves a compelling narrative, beginning with the substance of Canadian whisky—grains, water, and wood—and details the process of how it’s made and how to taste it. He traces the fascinating history of the country’s major distilleries and key visionaries, and introduces the present-day players—big and small—who are shaping the industry through both tradition and innovation. Newly designed, and now including a map of Canada’s whisky distilleries, over 100 up-to-date tasting notes, and a handy tasting checklist, Canadian Whisky reflects the latest research on flavour development and the science of taste. At once authoritative and captivating, this is a must-have resource for beginners, enthusiasts, and aficionados alike.

Dr. Adam Elmegirab’s Book of Bitters: The bitter and twisted history of one of the cocktail world’s most fascinating ingredients by Adam Elmegirab (Dog n Bone) Bitters, those little bottles you will find in any bar worth its salt, are the unsung heroes of the cocktail world. Where would the Manhattan be without orange bitters? Cocktail historian and founder of his eponymous bitters company, Dr Adam Elmegirab presents the results of almost a decade of research into bitters, guiding you from the early days of snake-oil salesmen through to the birth of the cocktail, Prohibition, and the renaissance of bitters as an essential part of the contemporary bar scene. Adam outlines each of the key botanicals that go into different bitters and explains the science of flavor, describing how each characteristic can be deployed for maximum impact, and summarizes the key techniques for making great cocktails. Most importantly, Adam provides 50 cocktail recipes created by him and some of the world’s leading bartenders. These exceptional drinks showcase the different characteristic of bitters and how they can refine a cocktail in unique ways.

Meehan’s Bartender Manual by Jim Meehan (Ten Speed Press) Meehan’s Bartender Manual is acclaimed mixologist Jim Meehan’s magnum opus—and the first book to explain the ins and outs of the modern bar industry. This groundbreaking work chronicles Meehan’s storied career in the bar business through practical, enlightening chapters that mix history with professional insight. Meehan’s deep dive covers the essential topics, including the history of cocktails and bartending, service, hospitality, menu development, bar design, spirits production, drink mixing technique, and the tools you’ll need to create a well-stocked bar—all brought to life in over 150 black- and-white illustrations by artist Gianmarco Magnani. The book also includes recipes for 100 cocktail classics–including Meehan originals–plus insights as to why he makes them the way he does, offering unprecedented access to a top bartender’s creative process. Organized by spirit base, the recipes contain detailed annotations and are accompanied by fine art photographer Doron Gild’s breathtaking, full-color photos. Thoughtful contributions from more than 50 colleagues around the world who’ve greatly contributed to global cocktail culture further contextualize Meehan’s philosophy. Timeless black-and-white portraits of these industry experts round out this comprehensive tome. This densely informative, yet approachable manual is presented in an iconic package–featuring a textured cover with debossed type, rounded corners, and nearly 500 pages–making it an instant classic to be enjoyed now, and for years to come. Whether you’re a professional looking to take your career to the next level or an enthusiastic amateur interested in better understanding concepts like mise en place and the mechanics of drink making, Meehan’s Bartender Manual is the definitive modern guide.

Spirits and Cocktails of Upstate New York: A History by Donald Cazentre (The History Press) From the Hudson Valley to the Niagara River, Upstate New York has a long and grand history of spirits and cocktails. Early colonists distilled rum, and pioneering settlers made whiskey. In the 1800s, a fanciful story of a tavern keeper and a “cock’s tail” took root along the Niagara River, and the earliest definition of the “cocktail” appeared in a Hudson Valley paper. The area is home to its share of spirited times and liquid legends, and the recent surge in modern distilleries and cocktail bars only bolsters that tradition. Author Don Cazentre serves up these tales of Upstate New York along with more than fifty historic and modern cocktail recipes.

Straight Up: Where to drink & what to drink on every continent by Joel Harrison & Neil Ridley (Mitchell Beazley) How great would it be to have access to the world’s experts to help you choose the coolest and most interesting bars, wherever you find yourself in the world? Well, now you do. Straight Up is a carefully curated collection of insider tips that will allow you to discover the best drinking spots around the globe. From a 10-seat basement bar in Tokyo, to a glitzy rooftop palace in Toronto and a converted Ottoman bathhouse in Budapest, this book contains everything you need to drink in style, brought to you by the locals in the know. Spirits experts Joel Harrison and Neil Ridley have gathered a team of expert contributors among the world’s bartending community to nose out the most interesting and characterful experiences. Throughout the book you’ll also find features on signature cocktails, cocktail recipes, the low-down on star bartenders, and the inside track on what to drink where.

The Way of Whisky: A Journey Around Japanese Whisky by Dave Broom (Mitchell Beazley) Since 2002 (the year it appeared on export markets) Japanese whisky has been consistently winning major international spirits awards. As export production increases and export markets – the USA and France in particular – open up to embrace the quality of these fine malt whiskies, all eyes are on Japan. Award-winning author and internationally recognized whisky expert Dave Broom has visited Japan 25 times in the past 12 years, studying and learning about its whiskies. In this major new book he shares his personal journey around Japan’s whisky distilleries and the unique whisky culture of the country. Each chapter details the history of the distillery in question, its production and current whiskies (with tasting notes). Dave considers along the way why Japanese whisky is different, questions of tradition vs innovation, and how whisky links with many aspects of Japanese culture. Breathtaking photography from Kohei Take leads the reader deeper into the philosophy behind the drink, making this a must-have edition for any whisky lover, whisky drinker, whisky collector or Japanophile.

Project Extreme Brewing: An Enthusiast’s Guide to Extreme Brewing at Home by Sam Calagione, Todd Alstrom & Jason Alstrom (Quarry Books) Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, and Jason and Todd Alström, of Beer Advocate, offer an authoritative primer on extreme brewing. Project Extreme Brewing is the new required reading for any serious home brewer. Inside you’ll find the recipes for the most exciting and exotic beers around today. Recipes from breweries around the country are at your fingertips. You’ll see how brewing operations like Allagash, Lost Abbey, Shmaltz, and Beau’s All Natural make their glittering beverages. Following along is easy, even if you’re new to the home brewing scene, because all recipes come with step-by-step instructions and insider tips. Expand the definition of what great beer is. Show off to your friends and family members that you are the best source of home-brew, by learning to brew at home with the experts!

The Mezcal Experience: A Field Guide to the World’s Best Mezcals and Agave Spirits by Tom Bullock (Jacqui Small) The definitive guide to Mexico’s best kept secret; Mezcal. Unlike its infamous offspring tequila, until recently you would have had to take a trip to Mexico to try this intriguing spirit. But with ‘Mezcalerias’ popping up everywhere from New York City to London, Tokyo and beyond, and mezcal increasingly seen on the menus of the most discerning and hippest bars, the agave plant-based alcohol is the cool new drink taking the world by storm. Embark on a regional tour of Mexico and discover local mezcal gems in this illustrated guide to the best ‘mezcalerias’ (mezcal bars) in the world, then work your way through more than 30 cocktail recipes from the world’s best mezcal bartenders. From backyard heroes to big names, this is a comprehensive guide with over 100 varieties of mezcal, complete with a tasting wheel to help explain the subtleties of this intriguing drink and make you a connoisseur in no time.


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Artisanal cocktails have been on the rise for years, but this year marks a notable uptick in the popularity of craft non-alcoholic beverages. A recent Wall Street Journal article by Aleksandra Crapanzano states: “Bartenders and mixologists across the country are upping their soft game, creating mocktails with the same degree of attention and creativity once reserved only for the hard stuff.”

To meet the demands of the ever-more discerning drinker, bartenders are searching for unique mixers to help elevate their concoctions. Repurposed Pod fits the bill. Repurposed Pod is a cold-pressed, non-GMO 100% virgin cacao juice that is sustainable, ethically sourced, supports farmers and adheres to agricultural practices that are beneficial to the environment.

The innovative beverage uses the white pulp from cacao pod that is often thrown away during chocolate production. The unique harvesting process is as follows: the cacao pods are carefully removed from the tree and sliced open by hand with a machete, then farmers scoop out the beans and the white pulp and separate the pulp from the beans. The beans are sent on their way to become chocolate and the fruity pulp is pressed into fresh juice for Repurposed Pod.

Not just for use in the bar, Repurposed Pod can be added as a boost to smoothies, juices and soda water, reduced as a syrup for desserts and much more.

I was expecting something akin to coconut water. Instead, this is lightly sweet, yet overtly tart and reminded me of Yuzu in character. One of our reviewers compared it to a non-alcoholic Commodore cocktail.  There is definitely a subtle chocolate character, but the citrus flavor is in the forefront. I can see many uses for this in cocktails and mocktails.  As an adjunct to tiki style drinks, a replacement for lemon or lime juice, or simply a mixer in a vodka, rum or tequila cocktail.

This truly is an innovation, and I hope it succeeds.  Give it a try and let us know what you think.

GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Repurposed Pod

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Andy Heidel immediately creates a welcoming atmosphere in his book with the line “Making drinks should be fun. Drinking them? Even more fun”. Guide to the Cocktail Galaxy is a whirlwind of recipes, anecdotes, hints, and much much more. Heidel invites seasoned professionals, social drinkers, and amateurs to try their hand at mixing one of over 100 geek-themed concoctions. From fan favorites such as Game of Thrones and Star Wars to the underground followings of Farscape or Lost in Space, Heidel includes a unique cocktail creation or variation on a classic for you. You are  welcomed on the first page just as kindly as if you were to visit the famous Doctor Who Bar in Brooklyn, NY [The Way Station].

Heidel seamlessly weaves humor throughout with personal stories about his first “cocktail” to the mobile bar he created in high school. We here at Good Spirits News enjoyed reading about each cocktail and it’s creation, and we enjoyed tasting some of these cocktails even more! The book is equal parts mixology and hilarity with a heavy dash of geek thrown in.  However, the garnish on top of everything are the clever comments included with each recipe. If you explore Heidel’s world of spirits and liquors, he will “entertain and educate you along the way”. As the Doctor would say, “Geronimo!”

Review by Autumn Ellen Rose

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While superfoods have been around for ages, the demand for easy, tasty ways to embrace their powers has never been greater. Moreover, sophisticated consumers are interested in ingredients they can pronounce, served as close to farm-to-table as possible. But not everyone has time to grow and prepare a healthy diet from scratch. And for beverage enthusiasts looking to follow the latest trend of using vegetables in custom beverages whether they be cocktails or mocktails, Beetology is an easy option.

“Beets are the new pomegranate,” said Charles Herzog, Chief Beetologist and VP of New Business Development at Kayco, producer of Beetology beverages. “Chefs, foodies, health-conscious folks, and even athletes have been tapping into the versatile beet in creative new ways.” Even Martha Stewart is getting into the act, he added. “Her latest cookbook has a Chocolate Beet Cake! She says pureed beets made it extra moist and not overly sweet.”

That’s where Beetology’s new line of craft beverages comes in. These sweet, organic, cold-pressed juices are made from nothing but beets and a handful of other 100% natural, good-for-you ingredients like ginger, veggies, and fruit.

Every grab-and-go bottle of Beetology is 100% non-GMO, U.S.D.A. Certified Organic, and Certified Fair Trade. Each variety is non-soy, non-dairy, and certified kosher, with no preservatives, additives, artificial colors, or flavors. Find Beetology in the refrigerated section at health food, specialty, grocery, and kosher food markets.

Beetology comes in five blends. Here are GSN’s thoughts on each:

  • Beet + Lemon + Ginger – At first the sweet beet flavor seems to be all there is, but after a few seconds, a very slight ginger kick paired with some tart citrus comes out. But, it’s all very subtle and reticent. I’d like to see the spiciness ramped up some more here. Still, try this with some ginger beer and vodka for a bespoke beet-y Moscow Mule. GSN Rating: B
  • Beet + Veggie – Medium sweet with a slightly grainy texture. This would make an interesting alternative for a Bloody Mary base. GSN Rating: B+
  • Beet + Tropical Fruit – This is an odd one. Kind of like a beet flavored pina colada. It’s the coconut flavor stands out more than anything. I’m not sure where this might work other than an odd rum based cocktail. GSN Rating: B-
  • Beet + Berry – Definite berry flavor with a slight tartness. I like this one quite a bit and can see it working well with rums, vodkas and even some bourbons. GSN Rating: A-
  • Beet + Cherry – Fairly tart and bright with cherry flavor. This would make a surprisingly good non-traditional shandy when used with a lager, or used as a splash in a tiki style punch. GSN Rating: B

For more information go to Kayco

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Cocktail & Sons is the brainchild of Max Messier – an award-winning bartender and spirits consultant based currently in New Orleans, LA – along with his wife and co-founder Lauren Myerscough – a service industry veteran with focus on bar management and consulting services. Over the course of six years, Max produced a range of original and inventive syrups, cordials and tea concentrates for a variety of bars and restaurants in New York City, NY and New Orleans, LA.

With a successful track record of producing notable cocktail programs in high-profile bars and restaurants, Max decided to focus his culinary efforts towards revitalizing the forgotten relic of the concept called a “Home Bar” taught to him by his paternal grandparents during his halcyon days of youth behind their custom-built “wet” bar in their house. During his days “behind the stick” working in bars and restaurants, Max would always advise his bar patrons on how to build a proper Daiquiri or prepare a whiz-bang Old Fashioned in their home.

Max decided to pull out all of the recipes he had concocted over the years to produce a line of all-natural and handcrafted syrups designed for classic cocktails including Old Fashioned, Daiquiri, Mojito, Tom Collins, Margarita, Gimlet and new-fangled modern cocktails. In addition, the syrups could be used as base components for refreshing sodas. With the assistance of his wife and co-founder Lauren, the syrups were tweaked and jiggered and brought to life as excellent components for classic cocktails.

All of the syrups are produced with natural ingredients and real sugars – no additives, coloring agents or artificial additives – combined with original recipes plus each product was tested and approved by our bartender brethren across the United States of America.

Cocktail & Sons Watermelon & Thai Basil Syrup – This is a perfect summertime refresher. If your thing is sours, this adds an interesting twist with a fresh watermelon flavor. The color is pretty and with either a basil leaf or as suggested a mint leaf as a garnish, the presentation is elegant. We particularly enjoyed the watermelon flavor when balanced with the citrus. The Thai basil was minimal, but added just enough herbality to work in place of a bittering agent. Note: We made a few of the recommended gin based cocktails as indicated on the label. The first one came out a bit too sweet, so we added an extra quarter ounce of lemon juice and it seemed more balanced.

GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Cocktail & Sons

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