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downloadTexas-based JEM Beverage Company is extending its Western Son Vodka brand with a new Prickly Pear flavor. Western Son’s latest offering joins existing Blueberry, Grapefruit and Peach flavors and will be available throughout Texas. JEM Beverage’s portfolio—which also includes the Brazos Gin, Red River whiskey, South House moonshine and Stingray spiced rum brands—is currently available across Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Nevada and Massachusetts.

download (1)Bacardi is introducing a new Tangerine flavor under its flagship rum brand.  Commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Bacardi brand’s flavor line, the new Tangerine offering also marks the debut of new packaging for Bacardi’s six core flavored rums—Limon, Pineapple, Coconut, Mango, Dragon Berry and Tangerine. The launch of the new flavor and packaging will be backed by a multi-million dollar media plan, the company says. Bacardi Tangerine is rolling out on- and off-premise, retailing at around $13 a 750ml. bottle.

download (2)Kansas-based contract spirits producer MGP is set to release Metze’s Select, a limited edition Indiana straight Bourbon whiskey. Produced at MGP’s Lawrenceburg, Indiana distillery by master distiller Greg Metze, Metze’s Select features a blend of three straight Bourbon whiskies, including a 2006 Bourbon made with 21% rye, a 2006 Bourbon with 36% rye and a 2008 Bourbon featuring 21% rye. The 46.5%-abv whiskey is limited to 6,000 750-ml. bottles, each priced at around $74.99. Metze’s Select will roll out at retail this September, sold and marketed by San Francisco’s Anchor Distilling Co.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

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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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indexRoyal Dutch Distillers, the Miami-based division of the Netherlands’ DeKuyper Royal Distillers, is introducing a new spirits brand, Rutte, in the U.S. market. A collection of spirits produced at Holland’s Rutte distillery, the line includes a Dry Gin, Dry Celery Gin, Old Simon Genever and Vodka. The Rutte range will be distributed in 40 U.S. markets, retailing around $38 a bottle.

indexBacardi Ltd. has unveiled Bonnie Rose, a new Tennessee white corn whiskey brand. Produced using an 80% white corn mash and copper pot stills, the Bonnie Rose lineup makes its debut with a pair of 35%-abv fruit flavored entries, Orange Peel and Spiced Apple. Both retail at around $19 a bottle. The range, which is being backed by a digital content series throughout the summer and fall, will initially launch across Nashville, Tennessee, with a nationwide expansion to follow shortly after. Along with Bonnie Rose, Bacardi’s American whiskey portfolio includes the Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon range.

indexBrown-Forman has unveiled Barrel Proof, the latest entry in its Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Collection. Aged in charred white American oak, each barrel of Jack Daniel’s Barrel Proof is exposed to a range of temperature variations, resulting in a whiskey that hovers between 125-140 proof. The new Single Barrel offering will be available nationwide starting in August, retailing at around $65 a 750-ml. The newcomer marks the second iteration in Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel lineup, following the launch of Single Barrel Select, a 94-proof single barrel Tennessee whiskey.

indexBacardi Ltd.’s Martini vermouth brand is adding a higher-priced tier to its range in the U.S. market. Martini’s new Riserva Speciale vermouths, including a Rubino (Ruby) and Ambrato (Amber), will roll out this fall, targeting the on-premise cocktail segment as well as selected retail accounts. Both new entries are 18% abv—slightly higher than the core brand’s 16%—and will be positioned at roughly $15 a 750-ml., or about a 50% premium to Martini’s core range, which includes Rosso, Extra Dry and Bianco offerings. Martini’s Riserva Speciale vermouths are differentiated by their use of 100% Italian wines—Langhe DOC Nebbiolo for the Rubino and Moscato d’Asti DOCG for the Ambrato—and a mix of botanicals that has been married in Piemontese “Tino” vats for two months.

imagesCocktail shot brand Liqs is expanding availability into the New York and New Jersey markets. Including Tequila Cinnamon Orange, Vodka Lychee Grapefruit, Vodka Kamikaze, Vodka Cucumber Lime and newly released Vodka Lemon Drop flavors, Liqs initially launched in Miami in 2013 and has since added Massachusetts, Texas, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Canada to its footprint. The brand, created by entrepreneurs Harley Bauer and Michael Glickman, retails at around $8 a single-flavor three-pack of shots.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

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Daiquiri by Dave Stolte

Daiquiri by Dave Stolte

Ah, the Daiquiri!  One of the simplest, yet most delicious cocktails for summer imbibing.  Daiquiri is a Taino word for a beach and oddly enough, an iron mine near Santiago, Cuba.  (I think of beaches, not mines when I’m drinking one).  The drink itself on the other hand was created roughly around the turn of the century (20th, not 21st) at a bar named Venus in Santiago.  As with most cocktails, no one knows for sure who came up with the drink, but it most likely was an American named Jennings Cox.  It quickly made the move from Cuba to the U.S. and became a standard drink within a decade, first in Washington DC and then New York.

Surprisingly, it was not a shaken cocktail at first, but rather a long drink prepared similarly to a julep.  A tall glass was filled with cracked ice, sugar was added along with a hefty dose of lime juice.  White rum topped it off, and then it was all stirred until the glass became frosted.

Other drinks which are similar to the Daiquiri are the Navy Grog, the Bacardi Cocktail, The Floridita, and the Papa Doble, named after Ernest Hemingway who created his own frozen drink several decades ahead of the blender daiquiri craze of the 1970’s.

Here’s are a few versions for you to try today:

Daiquiri
2 ounces light rum
3/4 ounce lime juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup
Garnish: Slice of lime.
Gently shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Bacardi Cocktail
1 1/2 ounces light rum (must use Bacardi)
3/4 ounce lime juice
2 dashes grenadine
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Floridita
1 1/2 ounces light rum
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/8 ounce white crème de cacao
1/8 ounce grenadine
Garnish: Lime twist
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Papa Doble
3 ounces Bacardi or Havana Club light rum
Juice of 2 limes
Juice of 1/2 grapefruit
6 drops of maraschino liqueur (Luxardo is my favorite)

Fill a blender one-quarter full of ice, preferably shaved or cracked. Add the rum, lime juice, grapefruit juice and maraschino. Blend on high until the mixture turns cloudy and light-colored. ( See Hemingway’s book, Islands in the Stream, page 281.) Serve immediately in large, conical goblets.

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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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