GSN Book Review: Curious Cocktails From Wonderland

This niche book brings readers back to basics with an introduction to tools and techniques, liquors and liqueurs, and most importantly it introduces readers to the passion of creating curious cocktails. The literary whimsy behind Nick Perry and Paul Rosser’s Curious Cocktails From Wonderland and their tremendous tipples thoughtfully “lent themselves to the fantastical, the unusual, and the strange.” Climbing down the rabbit hole of libations I found myself at a drink aptly named “Off With Her Head”. Perry and Rosser follow the “twisted interpretation of time” by beginning the recipe section with a drinkable grand finale. With an edible flower and a frothy egg white foam, this drink is sure to impress the Queen of Hearts herself. Equally impressive, each recipe includes a quote from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and a short description of its literary foundation.

Following the authors through the cocktail glass, I was impressed with the selection of batch recipes that followed. Emphasizing that the book is meant for hosting events such as unbirthday parties, it does a good job of catering to its audience. Perry and Rosser smartly added directions for creating their signature syrups, bitters and garnishes for those readers who want a challenge. Staying true to Carroll’s work, they include a delectable “Buttered Toast-infused Rum” referencing Alice’s first tincture: “It had, in fact, a sort of mixed flavor of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast.”

Overall, it was quite the adventure reading this book. We here at Good Spirits News love the fact that Perry and Rosser encourage their readers to play with their drinkable creations. They emphasize that their recipes are not written in stone, and in fact are capable of changing as quickly and magically as the world of Wonderland itself. I would like to end where the book began by encouraging our readers that “when presented with the opportunity, always remember: Drink me!”

Review by Autumn Ellen Rose for Good Spirits News

GSN Review: Shaker & Spoon Cocktail Club Subscription Boxes

Shaker & Spoon was founded in October 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. Unlike other cocktail subscription boxes, Shaker & Spoon sends its original recipes and cocktail ingredients while allowing subscribers to buy the liquor themselves, according to their budget and preferred brands. Shaker & Spoon currently produces house-made specialty syrups—and will soon be expanding into other branded lines of ingredients—while aiming to source the best of everything else. Each month, subscribers receive a box with three new, unique recipes developed by various bartenders along with everything they need to make a total of twelve drinks, besides the alcohol. Shaker & Spoon also provides supplemental content on its website for those who want a deeper dive, including how-to videos, a glossary of bar terms, and a blog featuring tips and tricks, food pairings, bartender interviews, and more.

GSN received the Austin Without Limits Box. Here’s what the company has to say about this kit.

“The public television music program Austin City Limits (the only TV show to ever be awarded the National Medal of Arts) helped the city of Austin earn the title of “Live Music Capital of the World” and then spawned an annual festival that happens each October—a very busy time for Austin and its bartenders. We hope that this month’s box will give you a taste of Austin’s drinking culture and make you feel like part of the action. All three of this month’s bartenders work and play in Austin and have infused these drinks with their love for their town and everything that makes it unique. We’re inviting you to choose between two spirits for this box: bourbon or aged tequila, both popular in Texas. While these two are often placed in very different spirit categories, they carry a similar oaky sweetness that makes it possible to swap them in (properly formulated) recipes. So pick your poison and have at it (or try both!) with the Austin Without Limits Box.”

GSN’s thoughts: We really liked the idea of trying regional cocktails, especially ones that feature the most popular spirits from the area,  Even though bourbon and aged tequila seem to be entirely different animals, they are similar in that they both have a sweet oakiness in their character.

The three cocktails featured in this box (Huarache Nights by Chris Bostick/The Beat Goes On by Jessica Sanders/Ma Sour by Caer Ferguson) vary in style, complexity and difficulty. You’ll be making collins, highball and a coupe drinks, so make sure you have the proper glassware.  I especially liked the inclusion of bespoke syrups, which saves a whole lot of time at home. Bitters and garnishes are also included in small portions if you don’t happen to have the proper ones on hand. All of the ingredients are tied together with recipe cards that give clear instructions, even for the drink calling for a fat-washed spirit (it’s easier and tastier than it sounds).

Overall, if you are a fan of 21st century cocktails, “of-the-month” clubs, or even travel, then you will be pleased by the Shaker & Spoon cocktail subscription boxes.

GSN Rating: A

GSN Presents: The 2017 Advent Gift Guide – Day 24

With only one day to go until Christmas, there’s not enough time to order gifts.  So, we to suggest some items that we’ve rated highly this year that you can find in your local liquor store (hopefully).  For our last day of the GSN 2017 Advent Gift Guide, we’re focusing on the 18 spirited products that received a GSN Rating of A+ or higher (97-100) during 2017.

    1. C3 Carciofo Artichoke Liqueur
    2. Cannon Beach Distillery Il Keyote Agave Spirit
    3. Frey Ranch Barrel Finished Gin No. 1
    4. Glenmorangie Bacalta
    5. Highland Park Fire Edition Single Malt Scotch Whisky
    6. High Wheeler 21 Year Old Single Grain
    7. Kanon Organic Vodka
    8. Kavalan Amontillado Single Cask Whisky
    9. Kavalan Manzanilla Single Cask Whisky
    10. Little Book “The Easy” Whiskey
    11. Marble Distilling Co. Gingercello Reserve
    12. Old Potrero Hotaling’s 11 Year Old Whiskey
    13. Parker’s Heritage Collection 11-Year-Old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
    14. Purus Organic Vodka
    15. Stranahan’s Sherry Cask Single Malt Whiskey
    16. Union Horse Reunion Barrel Strength Rye Whiskey
    17. Virginia Distillery Co. Port Finished Virginia Highland Malt
    18. Whistlepig Farmstock Rye Whiskey

GSN Presents: The 2017 Advent Gift Guide – Day 23

With only two days to go until Christmas Eve, there’s not enough time to order gifts.  So, until then, we’re going to suggest some items that we’ve rated highly this year that you can find in your local liquor store (hopefully).  For Day 23, we’re focusing on the 30 spirited products that received a GSN Rating of A (93) during 2017.

  1. Amarula Cream Liqueur
  2. Corbin Cash Sweet Potato Liqueur
  3. Deadhead Dark Chocolate Rum
  4. Don Ciccio & Figli Nocino Walnut Liqueur
  5. Don Ciccio & Figli Amaro delle Sirene
  6. Dunedin DoubleCask 16 Year Old
  7. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch No. A117
  8. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch No. B517
  9. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch No. C917
  10. El Tesoro 80th Anniversary Limited Edition
  11. Frisco Brandy
  12. Galliano L’Aperitivo
  13. Haikara Yuzu Sake
  14. Highland Park Valkyrie
  15. Hirsch Small Batch 8 Year Old High Rye Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  16. Jura 10-Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  17. Kavalan Pedro Ximénez Single Cask Whisky
  18. Laphroaig Cairdeas Quarter Cask 2017 Edition
  19. Lucid Absinthe
  20. The Macallan Edition No. 1
  21. The Macallan Edition No. 2
  22. Tap 357 Maple Rye Whisky
  23. Marble Distilling Co. Vodka
  24. Marble Distilling Co. Gingercello
  25. McKenzie Single Barrel Rye Whiskey
  26. Montanya Exclusiva Rum
  27. Redemption Wheated Bourbon
  28. South Island 25 Year Old Single Malt
  29. Union Horse Rolling Standard Four Grain Whiskey
  30. Westland Distillery’s 2017 Peat Week Commemorative Bottling

GSN Presents: The 2017 Advent Gift Guide – Day 22

With only three days to go until Christmas Eve, there’s not enough time to order gifts.  So, until then, we’re going to suggest some items that we’ve rated highly this year that you can find in your local liquor store (hopefully).  For Day 22, we’re focusing on the 20 spirited products that received a GSN Rating of A- (90) during 2017.

  1. Allaire Vodka
  2. Auchentoshan – The Bartender’s Malt
  3. Bache Gabrielsen Tre Kors Cognac
  4. Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye
  5. CALI California Sipping Whiskey
  6. Cannon Beach Distillery Dorymen’s Rum
  7. Cruzan Aged Dark Rum
  8. D. George Benham’s Gin Sonoma Dry Gin
  9. Don Ciccio & Figli Amaro Tonico Ferro-Kina
  10. Don Ciccio & Figli Finocchietto Fennel Liqueur
  11. Don Q 2007 Signature Release Single Barrel
  12. Highland Park Magnus Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  13. Koskenkorva Vodka
  14. Montelobos Mezcal
  15. Oamaruvian 16 Year Old Cask Strength DoubleCask
  16. Paul John Bold Whisky
  17. Savannah Spirits Amber Rum
  18. TINCUP 10 American Whiskey
  19. Van Gogh Vodka
  20. Virginia Distillery Co. Cider Barrel Matured Virginia Highland Malt

GSN Presents: The 2017 Advent Gift Guide – Day 21

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

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

To order, go to: iSi Store

GSN Presents: The 2017 Advent Gift Guide – Day 20

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

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

To order go to: Andrew Iannazzi