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For spirit aficionados, fans, lovers or really thirsty people who enjoy a well-made drink, here’s some good news: Craft Spirits Celebration is back!

Taking place September 14th in New York City, the 5th annual Craft Spirits Celebration is bringing together distillers and the people who love their spirits, for a day of sampling some mighty fine, quality-crafted hooch.

And it’s not just spirits for the sake of spirits. We’re experimenting with all the magnificent ways food and drink mingle. You’ll be encouraged to pair a savory bite with a liquor that’s perfectly suited for it.

GSN readers get a special discount on tickets by ordering them through Eventbrite here.

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756Scotch is a whisky that has a wide variety of styles and flavors, which I unfortunately don’t have the time to get into here.  But, this is what you need to know.  There are five regions in Scotland which produce whiskies: Campbeltown, Highland, Islay, Lowland and Speyside; and there are five styles of Scotch: blended grain, blended malt, blended Scotch, single grain and single malt.

GSN has reviewed several Scotches over the years including: Aberlour, AuchentoshanBenRiach, BowmoreCutty SarkGlendronachGlenrothes, Glen Garioch, LaphroaigMonkey Shoulder, Pig’s Nose and Sheep Dip.

If you’re looking to try a Scotch cocktail, GSN recommends the classic, Blood and Sand.

Sláinte!

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tequila-bottlesTequila has gotten itself a bad reputation over the years, being associated with hangovers, wild shot parties, and a myriad of fruity blenderized “margaritas”.  But, tequila is actually a fine spirit with a long heritage of high quality distillation.  Some might even say that it is the epitome of the craft as it takes 12 years for the Blue Weber agave plant to mature, and many small distilleries do much of the work by hand.  The best (and in my opinion) only tequilas worth drinking are made from 100% Blue Weber agave.  If you don’t see this on the bottle’s label, give it a pass.  Otherwise, you just may end up with a hangover.

Good Spirits News has reviewed many tequilas over the years.  Here are some for you to consider today, along with a few tequila related liqueurs.

1800 Milenio

1921 Tequila Cream

ArteNOM Seleccion

Avion

Casa Noble

Casamigos

CRUZ

Don Julio

Dulce Vida

Kah

Mariposa Agave Nectar

Milagro Unico

Olmeca Altos

Piedra Azul

Suerte

Tanteo

Tapatio

Tequila Ocho

Tres Agaves

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Everyone loves a pop-up food and beverage event! For the sixth year in a row, Philanthropic Foodies will be hosting one of Central New York’s premier culinary showcases.  Over a dozen of the area’s best chefs will be serving samples of some of their amazing appetizers, main courses and desserts. But, that’s not all, you can refresh your palate with a variety of beverages featuring everything from local spirits, wine, beer and coffee.  

Here are some photos from last year’s event which took place at the Sky Armory in downtown Syracuse.

 

Here is the list of who is participating this year:
1911 Spirits
Anthony Donofrio, Modern Malt
Brandon Gore, Modern Malt Bakeshop
Chance Bear, Lincklaen House
Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars
Danny Vault, The York
DeAnna Germano, Chef4Rent
Dick Benedetto, Smoke Incorporated BBQ
Empire Brewing
Eva Zaczynski, Eva’s European Sweets
Gannon’s Ice Cream
Jason Jessmore, Aster Pantry & Parlor
Life of Reilley Distilling and Wine Co.
Luke Szabo, Scratch Farmhouse Catering
Mark Bullis, Bull and Bear Roadhouse
Matt Riddett, Empire Brewing Company
Middle Ages Brewing
Peaks Coffee Company
Pizzaiolo John Vigliotti, Peppino’s Restaurant and Catering
Sam Mondello, Vince’s Gourmet Imports
Sarah Hassler, The Stoop Kitchen
Vine & Barrel

This year’s event takes place on Sunday, July 30 from 4:30 to 8 p.m., at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, 1 Conservation Place. Advance sale tickets are $100 per person, or $125 at the door. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

In between sipping, sampling and socializing, attendees can also bid on silent auction offerings, many of them food-focused. For auction information go here.

Since 2012, Philanthropic Foodies has raised more than $200,000 for local nonprofits. This year’s proceeds are earmarked for the Friends of Dorothy House, a hospice house for people with AIDS, and GiGi’s Playhouse, a support center for people with Down syndrome and their families.

(Photos by Good Spirits News @2016)

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hemingdaq

Hemingway with his namesake Daiquiri

The Daiquiri is one of those golden age cocktails that gets a bad rap these days.  Especially in New Orleans where they are vibrant day-glo colors and flavored with artificial syrups.  Yet, a true Daiquiri is a thing of beauty.  Refreshing, elegant and transformatively balanced.

Daiquiri as a word hails from Cuba and is a place name, rather than a beverage.  The drink was created around the time of the Spanish-American war and quickly made its way from Cuba to Washington, DC to New York City.  Originally a stirred drink built in a Collins glass, it evolved into a shaken drink served in a Champagne flute.

Below are three versions of the Daiquiri worth trying today in honor of the holiday.  Each has its own character and flavor.  All are lovely on a hot summer’s day.

Daiquiri
1.5 oz White rum
0.5 oz Simple syrup
1 oz Fresh Lime juice
Pour all ingredients into shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain in chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with half a lime slice.

Floridita
2 ounces White rum
0.75 ounce Fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Sugar or simple syrup (or less, to taste)
1 teaspoon Maraschino liqueur
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker (if using granulated sugar, stir to dissolve it in the lime juice before adding the other ingredients) and fill with ice. Shake well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a thin slice of lime.

Hemingway
2 oz Light rum
0.75 oz Fresh lime juice
0.5 oz Fresh pink grapefruit juice
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Maraschino liqueur
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

 

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J.Labanda-2It feels as if Grand Marnier has been around for at least a few centuries.  But, this quintessential spirit only dates back to 1880.  The recipe was created by Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle who worked at a fruit liqueur distillery owned by his wife’s grandfather.  He sourced Citrus Bagaradia oranges grown in the West Indies, which are still used in the production today.  The Cognac base is made from the Ugni Blanc grape grown in the Cognac region of France.  Sugar syrup is added, and then everything is aged in oak casks and filtered before bottling.

Here are a few classic cocktails for you to try that call for Grand Marnier:

Leap Year
2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
1 dash lemon juice
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Satan’s Whiskers
3/4 ounce gin
3/4 ounce dry vermouth
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce orange juice
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
1 dash orange bitters
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

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other-caribe-pina-coladaPiña Colada translates to “strained pineapple”, but of course there’s more to it than that.  In fact, the cream of coconut is key to achieving the perfect balance of tropical flavors.  Coco López which was invented in 1948 in Puerto Rico by Don Ramon Lopez Irizarry.  The canned coconut product soon found its way around the country’s bars and by 1954 it was used at the Caribe Hilton Hotel’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan.  One of the hotel’s bartenders, Ramón ‘Monchito’ Marrero Pérez (pictured at left), it generally the person credited with inventing the classic silver-age cocktail. Twenty-four years later, the Puerto Rican government recognized the Piña Colada as the national drink.

Here’s the original recipe as specified by Ramón Pérez.

“Pour 3 ounces of coconut cream, 6 ounces of pineapple juice and 112 ounces of white rum into a blender or shaker with crushed ice, and blend or shake very well until smooth. Pour into chilled glass, garnish with pineapple wedge and/or a maraschino cherry.”

The Caribe Hilton Hotel still serves the original, but also offers a molecular mixology version which contains coconut oil infused white rum, clarified pineapple juice, house made pineapple syrup and coconut water, served with a coconut ice pop.

Now I’m thirsty.  ¡Salud!

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