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NegroniWeek2015_Horiz_LIGHT

Personally, the Negroni is one of the go-to cocktails at the GSN offices.  Complex, incredibly easy to craft, and one that forces you to take time to contemplate life as you sip it.  The original recipe is a 1-1-1 mix of gin-Campari-sweet vermouth with an orange peel twist.  But, if you are looking for something a little different, see below for some new ideas.

White Negroni
1 pt G’Vine gin
1 pt Vermouth
1 pt Suz Bitters
In a mixing glass, combine gin, bitters and vermouth. Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Tegroni
1 oz Partida Blanco or Reposado tequila
1 oz Campari
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
Stir with ice and serve over fresh ice in a rocks glass with an orange slice or strain up into a chilled cocktail glass with an orange twist.

The Normandie Cocktail
1 oz Apple Brandy (Boulard Grand Solage Calvados)
1 oz Campari
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Carpano Antica)
1 dropper Bittercube Jamaican #2 bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice until cold; strain into a rocks glass with a large ice-cube. Express with lemon, include or discard peel.

Lucano Negroni by Damian Coren
1.5 oz gin
1 oz Amaro Lucano
0.5 oz Martini Gran Lusso
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Stir all ingredients and serve on the rocks. Garnish with an orange slice and lemon zest.

Diplomatico Negroni
1 oz Diplomatico Blanco Rum
1 oz Campari
1 oz Carpano Antica White
Sweet Vermouth
Orange Zest
In an Old Fashioned glass, combine one large cube of ice, rum, Campari and vermouth. Grate orange zest over the top of the cocktail and serve.


As well, in honor of Negroni Week, Merchants of Beverage, has put together three outstanding collections –

—  to celebrate one of the world’s greatest classic cocktails while also raising money for charity during Negroni Week. These curated cocktails were made in partnership with IMBIBE’s & Campari’s Negroni Week (June 1st – June 7th, 2015) where 5% of the profits from the Merchants of Beverage Negroni Kit Collections will go to the No Kid Hungry Campaign.  Click the links above to find out more.


Lastly the United States Bartenders Guild (USBG) is hosting the inaugural Negroni Week “Team Negroni” Bicycle Ride benefitting the Helen David Relief Fund in partnership with Campari. They are looking to raise funds to assist women in the bar industry who are fighting breast cancer. On Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015, a group of bartenders and Negroni aficionados will be riding from the Campari America offices in Levi Plaza, San Francisco for a 43 mile bike ride to Tiburon and back. Click the link to donate your support!

For more information go to: NegroniWeek.com

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mint_julepYou would think that National Mint Julep Day would be held at the same time as the Kentucky Derby, but it is not so.  But, any day is a good day for this iconic American creation.  It turns out that the Mint Julep is most likely the oldest cocktail served in the United States, going back to the original 13 colonies.

Author and cocktail historian David Wondrich recently published his findings in his revised and expanded version of Imbibe! Updated and Revised Edition: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar.  Here’s a pertinent excerpt from a recent interview Dave had with Robert Simonson.

RS: There’s new material on drinks in the new book, particularly the history of the Julep, which you say is a much older drink than previously thought.

DW: It’s a much earlier drink. In 1770, in Virginia, there are two solid references to the julep being a recreational drink. That’s a big deal, I think. I had looked at the part on the julep in the original edition and I was shocked and disappointed. I wrote almost nothing about it. I wanted to kick myself, because that’s the most important drink.

RS: You call it the “first true American drink.”
DW: It’s a foundational drink. It’s how we started to be different. The mint julep is also the only drink that I’ve championed that hasn’t been revived yet.

RS: Really? People make nice mint juleps at many places.
DW: Some. Not so much. Nobody really specializes in them. People will make them if you ask.

RS: And it was a brandy drink originally?
DW: In the 1700s, it was a rum drink. The Revolutionary War years and a little after, a whiskey drink. Once the country got rich again and started making money again, it was a brandy drink, up until the Civil War.

RS: Can we say it was originally a Virginia drink?
DW: That seems to be the case. But I think it was [bartender Orsamus] Willard at the City Hotel in New York who popularized the iced version.

And here is Wondrich’s favorite (and authentic) version for you to try at home:

The Prescription Julep
1.5 ounces VSOP cognac or other good brandy
0.5 ounce rye whiskey
2 tsp sugar (to taste), dissolved in 1/2 ounce water
2 sprigs fresh mint, plus more for garnish

Place the sugar and water in a tall glass or julep cup and muddle until sugar is dissolved. Add mint leaves to the sugar syrup and gently press to release the flavorful oil (don’t get too aggressive: smashing up the mint releases bitterness in the leaves). Add the spirits and stir to combine. Fill glass with crushed ice and stir with bar spoon until the glass begins to frost, adding more crushed ice if needed. Garnish with a fresh sprig of mint; serve with a straw.

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indexA few years ago, the Lillet company declared a “National Aperitif Day” in honor of their latest product, Lillet Rose.  It’s not a bad time of year to do so.  Spring feels like a natural time for lighter and less inebriating beverages.

The word aperitif is French and literally means “to open.” The idea is that a short drink will prepare the imbiber for a lovely meal.  The original version was created in Turin, Italy by Antonio Carpano in 1786.  The next iteration came 60 years later when Joseph Dubonnet added quinine to a herbally infused wine and created, you guessed it, Dubonnet.

Lillet dates back to 1872, when it was known as Kina Lillet.  Notable fictional characters James Bond and Hannibal Lecter both enjoyed Kina.  Today, the original formula has been reformulated into Lillet Blanc.  As I mentioned there is also Lillet Rose and a third version Lillet Rouge which debuted in 1990.

Some classic cocktails calling for Lillet are the Vesper, the Corpse Reviver #2 (a personal favorite) and the 20th Century (a cocktail well deserving of a revival) in the 21st century.

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cocktailsThe word ‘cocktail’ is thrown around with as much abandon as a flamboyantly flaring mixologist with a Boston shaker – but what does it mean; and, indeed, what are its origins? According to the The London Telegraph, the first instance of its use was in a satirical newspaper article about a party; although whether ‘cocktail’ referred to an alcoholic drink is contested. Vermont publication The Farmer’s Cabinet stakes another claim for the debut use of ‘cocktail’, suggesting in its pages on 28th April 1803 that ‘to drink a cocktail is excellent for the head.’

The Online Etymology Dictionary attributes the origin of ‘cocktail’ to a mispronunciation of the French word for egg cup, ‘coquetier’ (pronounced in English as ‘cocktay’); backed, perhaps, but the fact that Antoine Amédée Peychaud (he of the eponymous bitters brand) served brandy mixed with bitters in eggcups at his late eighteenth-century New Orleans apothecary

A second theory holds that the name is derived from the term ‘cock tailings’; referring to the debatably delicious practice of tavern owners combining the dregs (‘tailings’) of barrels together into a single elixir to be sold at knock-down prices, drawn from the spigot of a barrel – its ‘cock’.

On 13th May 1806, newspaper Balance and Columbian Repository defined a cocktail as, ‘a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind – sugar, water, and bitters.’ This date is now recognised as World Cocktail Day, an occasion on which drinkers commemorate the first recognised publication of the word’s definition.

All information courtesy of Good Things Magazine

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World Whisky Day invites everyone to try a dram and celebrate the water of life. Events are taking place all over the globe. If you can’t find an event happening near you why not host your own World Whisky day event? All you need is a bottle of whisky to share with your friends. World Whisky day celebrates all types of whisky/whiskey and encourages everyone to enjoy whisky responsibly.

World Whisky Day is all about making whisky fun and enjoyable. It’s not about being exclusive or prescriptive. You can drink it however you enjoy it (ice, water, mixer – whatever works for you). We want to be all inclusive and that means any kind of whisky/whiskey from anywhere in the world.

For more info go to: World Whisky Day

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image_ANCNO2400_1International Beverage USA’s AnCnoc single malt Scotch has released a 24-year-old expression nationwide in the U.S. The latest offering ($180) is non-chill filtered and aged in ex-Sherry and ex-Bourbon barrels. AnCnoc is produced at Scotland’s Knockdhu Distillery in Speyside. The 24-year-old joins a portfolio that includes 12-, 16-, 18-, 22- and 35-year-olds, as well as vintages like AnCnoc 2000 and AnCnoc 1975.

olesmoky_big_orange-flatGatlinburg, Tennessee-based Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine is introducing Big Orange Moonshine nationally for a limited time beginning June 1. Until now, the 70-proof offering packaged in 750-ml. mason jars has been available exclusively at the distillery. Big Orange Moonshine is slightly tangy and can be served with a light beer as a “moonshine shandy,” the company says. Ole Smoky has a lineup of 12 flavors of moonshine, including White Lightnin’, Moonshine Cherries, Sweet Tea Moonshine and Apple Pie Moonshine, among others.

indexPernod Ricard is launching a new blended Scotch brand, Barrelhound, intended to “bridge the Bourbon and Scotch worlds.” Pernod says the new offering, which includes Speyside malts and is matured in Bourbon barrels, has a sweeter, more accessible taste profile than typical Scotch whiskies, and is geared toward cocktail and on-the-rocks consumption. Retailing at $30 a bottle, Barrelhound is debuting initially in the New York and Washington, D.C. markets.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

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indexButte, Montana-based Reilly’s Whiskey is adding two new markets to its distribution footprint. Starting next month, the distiller’s portfolio—which includes the shooter-geared Reilly’s Ginger Rock & Rye (66 proof) and blended whiskey Reilly’s Mother’s Milk (both $24.99 a 750-ml.)—will be available in Oklahoma via Republic National Distributing Co. (RNDC) and in Arkansas via Moon Distributing. Launched in October, the Reilly’s Whiskey range was previously only available in Texas.

indexDiageo has officially relaunched its I.W. Harper Bourbon brand in the U.S. The relaunch, news of which began trickling out last month, will see the nationwide debut of two new I.W. Harper whiskies this spring: I.W. Harper Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (82 proof, $35 a 750-ml.) and Limited Edition I.W. Harper 15-year-old (86 proof, $75 a 750-ml.). The 15-year-old limited edition Bourbon was distilled at Kentucky’s Bernheim Distillery, while the core non-age-stated version is a blend of Bernheim and other whiskies. Both were bottled at Diageo’s facility in Tullahoma, Tennessee. I.W. Harper has been absent from the U.S. for nearly two decades, although Diageo has continued to market the brand in overseas markets like Japan.

indexTy Ku Sake is rolling out its latest flavored expression—Ty Ku Cucumber—in the U.S. this June. Brewed with Akebono rice, spring water, yeast and handmade koji, Ty Ku Cucumber ($14.99 a 750-ml.) is billed as a premium Junmai sake infused with natural cucumber, intended to be served chilled or mixed in cocktails. According to Ty Ku vice chairman Guillaume Cuvelier, the gluten-free, 12%-abv offering is positioned to appeal to the “health and wellness community.”

indexStevensville, Maryland-based Blackwater Distilling has extended its craft spirits lineup with the launch of Picaroon Maryland rum. Made with raw sugar cane syrup, the Picaroon Maryland range includes white and gold expressions, both of which are unaged. Picaroon Maryland’s white and gold rums—priced at $28.99 and $32.99, respectively—join Blackwater’s existing Sloop Betty Handcrafted vodka and Sloop Betty Honey vodka offerings.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

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