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indexBrown-Forman’s Old Forester Bourbon has launched Old Forester Mint Julep, a new ready-to-drink cocktail intended to be served over crushed ice. Rolling out at retail across roughly 35 U.S. markets this month, Old Forester Mint Julep (60 proof) is packaged in a commemorative Kentucky Derby-inspired bottle and priced at around $25 a 1-liter.

indexBilled as gluten-free, SX Liquors barrel-aged products are produced in Jalisco, Mexico and packaged in hand-blown and painted bottles. The range includes SX Negro Vodka, Blanco Vodka, ChaChaCha Tequila, Cafedoble Tequila, Mojito Rum and Samba Rum. SX Liquors retail for $29.99 a 750-ml. and $39.99 a 1-liter bottle.  The brand’s line of liquors is launching nationwide.

indexConnecticut-based Barrell Craft Spirits, LLC has added to its line of small-batch craft whiskies with Barrell Bourbon Batch 004. The company’s fourth Bourbon offering (116.7 proof) is both distilled and aged for more than six years in Kentucky. With a mash bill of corn, rye and malted barley, Batch 004 features flavors of spices and peach butter for a finish of saddle leather and tobacco, the company says. It follows the successful launches of Bourbon Batches 001, 002 and 003—with the company saying it sold out of all 500 cases made available for each—as well as January’s release of Barrell Whiskey Batch 001 ($55). Batch 004 retails for about $79.99 a 750-ml., with about 1,000 cases available.

indexHeaven Hill Distilleries’ Burnett’s vodka has added two new flavors to its lineup. Available nationwide starting next month, Burnett’s Cherry Limeade and Apple Berry will bring the brand’s flavored portfolio to a total of 36 entries. Both offerings will be available in 50-ml., 750-ml., 1-liter and 1.75-liter formats, priced at around $10.99 a 750-ml.

indexBeam Suntory’s Pinnacle vodka has extended its flavor range with the launch of Pinnacle Cucumber. Featuring notes of cucumber and vanilla, the new 70-proof offering is priced at $12.99 and brings Pinnacle’s lineup to a total of 48 flavored vodkas.

indexDaily’s Cocktails is launching a new line of fruit-flavor carbonated drinks this spring under the name Spiked Sodas. The 5%-abv offerings will be available in 12-ounce slim cans in four flavors: Cherry Cola, Raspberry Ginger Ale, Lemon Lime and Blood Orange. Spiked Sodas are geared toward women as a slightly sweet, low-alcohol beverage with no malt aftertaste, the company says. They are currently available in select markets throughout the Southeast, with additional distribution expected in Texas, California and Michigan this spring. The suggested retail price is $1.99 a 12-ounce can.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

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0403-whiskey-battle-970Whisk(e)y is such a ubiquitous spirit that it is hard to imagine cocktail culture without it.  Think of all the iconic drinks from the Old-Fashioned to the Manhattan to the Sazerac to the Penicillin.  And there are nearly as many countries known for their own particular take on the “water of life”.  Scotland, Ireland, Canada, America, Japan are just the major epicenters of distillation.  Then, you’ve got a variety of styles.  Single malt, single grain, blended, unaged, aged in a plethora of different wood barrels.  It is truly amazing.

So, on this day, toast with a glass of your favorite either neat, straight up, on the rocks, or mixed into a cocktail.  Without whiskey, our lives would be lacking a little joy.

Cheers!

The Editorial Staff

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jamesbeardawardfb.0.0.0.0The James Beard Foundation has announced the finalists for the 2015 James Beard Awards at the James Beard House in New York City (the semifinalists were announced last month). The Book, Broadcast and Journalism Award winners will be announced on April 24. The winners in the chefs and restaurant categories will be announced on Monday, May 4 at the Lyric Opera House in Chicago.

2015 James Beard Foundation Book Awards

Beverage

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails, with More than 500 Recipes
Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan (Ten Speed Press)

Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail
Dave Arnold (W. W. Norton & Company)

Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World’s Best-Kept Secret, with Cocktails and Recipes
Talia Baiocchi (Ten Speed Press)

Wine, Spirits, and Other Beverages

“In New Orleans, Terrific Cocktails Never Went out of Fashion”
M. Carrie Allan

“Into the Vines”
Gabrielle Hamilton
AFAR
The Washington Post

“OMFG it’s the PSL!”
Allecia Vermillion
Seattle Met

Outstanding Bar Program

An establishment that displays and encourages excellence in cocktail, spirits, and/or beer service.

Arnaud’s French 75 Bar, New Orleans

Bar Agricole, San Francisco

Maison Premiere, Brooklyn, NY

Trick Dog, San Francisco

The Violet Hour, Chicago

Outstanding Wine Program

A restaurant that displays and encourages excellence in wine service through a well-presented wine list, a knowledgeable staff, and efforts to educate customers about wine. Candidates must have been in operation for at least 5 years.

A16, San Francisco

Bern’s Steak House, Tampa, FL

FIG, Charleston, SC

McCrady’s, Charleston, SC

Spago, Beverly Hills, CA

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional

A winemaker, brewer, or spirits professional who has had a significant impact on the wine, beer and spirits industry nationwide. Candidates must have been in the profession for at least 5 years.

Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE

Ron Cooper, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, Ranchos de Taos, NM

Ted Lemon, Littorai Wines, Sebastopol, CA

Rajat Parr, Mina Group, San Francisco

Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY

2015 James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America Inductees

Allan Benton
Pork Producer and Purveyor
Madisonville, TN

Dale DeGroff
Mixologist
NYC

Wylie Dufresne
Chef and Restaurateur
NYC

Nathalie Dupree
Cookbook Author and Television Personality
Charleston

Maricel Presilla
Chef, Restaurateur, and Cookbook Author
Hoboken, NJ

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indexDiageo has partnered with Emmy-winning celebrity chef and editor Sandra Lee for the launch of a new line of premixed Margarita cocktails. Sandra Lee Cocktail Time Margaritas are available in Key Lime and Strawberry and made with real Key limes and strawberries, pure cane sugar, blue agave silver Tequila, Triple Sec liqueur and natural flavors. The RTD is gluten-free and has fewer than 150 calories per 4-ounce serving, the company says. The release comes ahead of Cinco de Mayo and summer entertaining. It’s being supported by Lee’s consumer magazine as well as social activations on Pinterest, YouTube and Facebook, in-store promotions, point-of-sale material, and a cause-marketing campaign, Cocktail Time for a Cause. Sandra Lee Cocktail Time Margaritas (13% abv) are available nationwide, retailing at $15.99 a 750-ml.

indexSazerac Co.’s Buffalo Trace Distillery has unveiled the latest entry in its Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. collection, a 100-proof Bourbon aged in cured oak barrels. While most oak barrel staves are placed outside for six months before being made into barrels, Buffalo Trace’s Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Cured Oak Bourbon is aged using barrel staves left outside to dry for 13 months. The small-batch, bottled-in-bond offering is available in limited quantities starting this month, priced at around $69.99 a 750-ml.

indexBeam Suntory’s Hornitos Tequila brand has extended its lineup with the launch of Hornitos Spiced Honey. A blend of natural honey, vanilla and spice flavors and 100% agave Tequila, Hornitos Spiced Honey is currently available in 750-ml. and 1-liter formats, priced at around $19.99 a 750-ml.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

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indexBrown-Forman’s Southern Comfort liqueur brand has officially launched its new Caramel Comfort offshoot. Featuring notes of caramel, vanilla and spice, the new 27.5%-abv entry is priced at $16.99 a 750-ml., and joins SoCo’s existing Special Reserve, 100 Proof, Bold Black Cherry and Lime extensions.

indexM.S. Walker and MacDuff International have released Grand Macnish Six Cask Edition blended malt Scotch whisky in the U.S. market. The blend is a combination of six selected single malts representing each of Scotland’s whisky-producing regions—Highland, Speyside, Islay, Campbeltown, Lowland and Islands—for a taste of “Scotland in bottle,” the company says. Macnish Six Cask Edition retails at $36.99 a 750-ml. Grand Macnish has been in continuous production since being founded in 1863 by Glasgow merchant Robert McNish.

indexHillsboro, Oregon’s Big Bottom Distilling has added to its whiskey line with the launch of Big Bottom Barlow Trail, Port Cask Finish ($37.95 a bottle). The latest release, which continues the distillery’s practice of finishing whiskey in Port casks, is a proprietary blend of three whiskies with a straight Bourbon base. It is finished in American oak Tawny Port casks for a sweet berry and citrus nose and ripe berry and spice palate. Big Bottom products are available in Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Illinois, Georgia and South Carolina.

imagesDiageo is set to reintroduce the I.W. Harper Bourbon brand, which it stopped selling in the U.S. in the 1990s. I.W. Harper will relaunch this month in 4- and 15-year-old variants, which are a blend of whiskies from the New Bernheim Distillery in Louisville and other sources, the Associated Press reports. The 15-year-old variant, which will have more limited distribution than its younger counterpart, is 86 proof and has a mashbill that includes 86% corn and 6% rye. The new I.W. Harper 15-year-old will retail at around $75 a bottle, about twice as much as the more widely available 4-year-old, which contains 73% corn and is 82 proof.

indexSanta Cruz, California’s Venus Spirits has released its second gin entry, Venus Spirits Gin Blend No. 02. Made with a botanical blend featuring notes of orange, bay, cinnamon, vanilla, sage and fennel, Gin Blend No. 02 ($38 a bottle) is rested in American oak casks, giving the gin a golden hue. Gin Blend No. 02 joins Venus Spirits’ Gin Blend No. 01, as well as the distiller’s El Ladrón Blanco Blue Agave Spirit and Wayward Whiskey Single Malt labels.

indexPatrón Spirits has unveiled its first-ever limited edition offering, Patrón Extra Añejo 7 Años. The company’s oldest offering to date, the 100% Weber Blue agave Tequila was aged seven years in 30 French oak barrels at the Hacienda Patrón distillery in Jalisco, Mexico. It was originally meant to age one year, but the company says that as more barrels were added to the aging room, it was forgotten for seven years. Its location in the aging room allowed it to maintain its agave character. Patrón Extra Añejo 7 Años (80 proof) is bottled in a replica of the first hand-blown glass Patrón bottles and finished with a glass stopper. It retails at $299 a 750-ml., with fewer than 700 cases available nationwide.

imagesM.S. Walker has introduced West Cork Distillers’ Glory Irish Poitin into the U.S. market. Translating to “little pot,” Poitin is an Irish white spirit dating to the sixth century. Made from barley, beet sugar and spring water, West Cork Distillers’ version is produced in a classic copper pot still and is recommended to be served in cocktails, neat or on the rocks. Glory Irish Poitin will retail in the U.S. at around $25 a 750-ml. bottle.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

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JustOneShift-Bill-Inserts-orange-red-page-001gaz regan, the bartender previously known as Gary Regan, announces the third annual Just One Shift, which raises funds to fight the water crisis via Wine To Water, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Doc Hendley, an ex-bartender and CNN Hero.

Currently, 800 million people lack access to clean water, and 2.5 billion people lack access to sanitation. Water-related disease kills a child every 21 seconds. Wine To Water is a movement dedicated to providing clean water and sanitation to those in need around the world.

World Water Day is on Sunday, March 22nd, so the 2015 program will kick off on Monday, March 16th and run through that day. During this week, bartenders and servers worldwide are asked to donate all or part of their tips from just one shift.

New this year, the top two donors will have the opportunity to attend an all-expenses-paid Wine to Water service trip to the Dominican Republic on dates of their choosing. These individuals will gain a unique cultural experience while providing clean water to those who need it.

A similar trip will run from August 22-29, 2015, open exclusively to bartenders and servers who participated in Just One Shift 2015. Full information is here.

In a past year, $41,872.67 was raised, which provided clean water to 40,000 people for an entire year. Just One Shift bartenders and servers donated an average of $244.87 each to achieve that figure. Texas Roadhouse was a particularly proud supporter and in 2014 raised more than $19,000 in two weeks at their North Carolina restaurants. “We encourage every restaurant in the country to participate,” urges Kirsten Sands, Regional Marketing Director for Texas Roadhouse. “Our guests and staffs were more than supportive of this initiative, and our North Carolina locations have raised the bar and committed to raise $30,000 more in 2015 starting in the month of March.”

To sign up, please visit Just One Shift; the site maintains a list of participating bars and restaurants sorted by state, as well as a calendar of shifts. At the end of the given shift, the bartender or server makes his or her donation via the honor system, online.

gaz, who has a network of more than 20,000 social media followers, says, “Bartenders and servers have been changing the world via the Just One Shift/Wine to Water campaign for the past few years; they have helped save the lives of thousands of people they’ll never meet. I know for sure that these bartenders and servers will continue to change the world, and hopefully they will encourage their friends in the industry to join them.”

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indexMoët Hennessy is marking the 250th anniversary of its flagship Hennessy Cognac brand with a special limited blend. Hitting U.S. retail shelves in April, Hennessy 250 Collector blend is priced at $600 a 1-liter bottle and packaged in a decanter and collectible gift box. The 250 Collector edition is a blend of eaux-de-vie ranging from about 15 to 40 years in age.

indexBardstown Barrel Selection, Inc. has extended its Redemption Rye brand with the release of a limited-edition 10-year-old ($180). The 55%-abv, barrel-proof offering follows Redemption’s six- and seven-year-old barrel-proof releases and was distilled at MGP’s distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Redemption 10-year-old Barrel Proof was created from six barrels, yielding fewer than 1,000 750-ml. bottles for distribution. With a mash bill of 95% rye, it features notes of maple, vanilla and caramel, the company says.

imagesPernod Ricard USA has officially launched the first spring seasonal for Kahlua, a Salted Caramel flavor. Characterized by a salty-sweet profile, the newcomer is said to be formulated to marry well with iced coffee, as well as other cocktail concoctions. Kahlua Salted Caramel is 40-proof and retails at $18 a 750-ml.

images375 Park Avenue Spirits, formerly Van Gogh Imports, is launching a traditional Italian Zabajone cream liqueur called Vov in the U.S., in partnership with Molinari, which is known for the Molinari Sambuca brand. Vov was created by Gian Battista Pezziol in 1845 as a way to use leftover egg yolks from his nougat-making by mixing them with Marsala wine, alcohol and sugar for an energy drink. The name is short for “vovi,” the Venetian word for eggs. Vov is currently available in Chicago, New York and San Francisco for about $28 a 1-liter.

indexBowling Green, Kentucky-based Western Spirits Beverage Company has added two new flavors to its Bird Dog Whiskey brand, Apple and Chocolate. Each are bottled at 80 proof and retail nationwide for $19.99 a 750-ml. The latest offerings join Hot Cinnamon, Peach, Maple, Original and Blackberry from Bird Dog Whiskey. Bird Dog is available in 1.75-liter, 750-ml., 375-ml., 200-ml., 100-ml. and 50-ml. bottles.

indexLucas Bols USA has launched a new Maraschino Cherry flavor under its Bols liqueur brand. The offering, which is 24% abv and retails at $18 a 750-ml., augments Bols liqueurs’ existing 30-flavor range. Bols Maraschino Cherry is now rolling out across both the on- and off-premise segments throughout the country. Lucas Bols’ other brands include Bols genever, Damrak gin and Galliano liqueur.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

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