GSN Alert: October 27th – National American Beer Day

National American Beer Day raises a glass to the rich American beermaking history and those who savor the continued traditions. Pour your favorite pint with millions who enjoy the storied brews across the nation.

Brewing beer in America begins long before Europeans arrived since Native Americans brewed beer from a variety of ingredients. They used corn, birch sap, and water to ferment their beverage. Then when the first colonists arrived in Virginia, they began combining their brewing traditions with the supplies at hand – that included corn, too. Since then, brewing and brewers became a principal occupation in the colonies. Interestingly, the first white child born in Manhattan grew up to be the first brewer born in America.

Today, the brewery established by David G. Yuengling is the oldest producing brewery in the United States. He established the Eagle Brewery in 1829. Amazingly, the brewery still remains in the family to this day.

Unlike most other breweries of the time, the Eagle Brewery survived Prohibition. In fact, very few survived. Those that did survive tried various legal and illegal tactics. In the Eagle Brewery’s case, they reduced their alcohol content to within the legal limit. They also branched out. Ice cream anyone? Yes, the Yuengling’s started a dairy. Others turned their beermaking supplies into other products. When prohibition lifted, they returned to full-fledged beermaking. 

Despite these efforts, nearly every brewer existing before prohibition dissolved. Out of just over 1,300 brewers, only about 100 remained after prohibition. Today, we recognize the names of many of those surviving breweries. 

The skill of a brewer requires years of practice in the trade. It’s revered even. In Milwaukee, their professional baseball team is named after the brewer. In St. Louis and Denver, the stadiums are named after prominent brewers.

More than 2,100 breweries are manufacturing beer in the United States. They range in size from industry giants to brewpubs and microbreweries. 

American Beer Facts
  • The U.S. produced 196 million barrels of beer in 2009.
  • Americans consume roughly 20 US gallons of beer per capita annually.
  • In 2008, the United States ranked sixteenth in the world in per capita consumption. However, total consumption was second only to China.
  • After Congress repealed prohibition, the industry consolidated into a small number of large-scale breweries.
  • The majority of the new breweries in the U.S. are small breweries and brewpubs. As members of the Brewers Association, they are termed “craft breweries” to differentiate them from the larger and older breweries.
  • Larger breweries most commonly produce the American lager.
  • However, smaller breweries (many founded in the 1980s) produce a range of styles.
  • Beer styles originating in the United States include:
    • American pale ale
    • Pennsylvania porter
    • American IPA
    • steam beer
    • amber ale
    • cream ale
    • Cascadian dark ale.

Courtesy of National Day Calendar

GSN Alert: October 21st – National Mezcal Day

Whether it be a connoisseur taking gentle sips or a tailgater doing shot after shot, most everyone is familiar with tequila. But some might not be as familiar with mezcal. While tequila is only made from the blue agave plant, mezcal is made from more than 30 varieties of agave. While tequila is distilled in copper pots, mezcal is distilled in clay pots after being cooked in a pit lined with lava rocks, wood and charcoal. Tequila often gives off a sweet taste, while mezcal offers a more smoky, savory flavor. Thirsty yet? In honor of mezcal, celebrate the spirit on National Mezcal Day on Oct. 21.

 

GSN Alert: October 20th – World Calvados Day

Avallen Calvados has partnered with UK-based Difford’s Guide and premium drinks distributor Mangrove UK to launch World Calvados Day. Taking place on Tuesday 20 October, the inaugural celebration of the French apple brandy will see the UK trade celebrate with special offers and specially created cocktails being served in bars around this date.

Registered as an AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) in 1942, calvados is one of three world-renowed French brandies alongside cognac and armagnac. It must be produced using a choice of 300 apple varieties exclusively grown in the biodiverse orchards of Normandy. The apples are naturally fermented to make cider, then distilled and aged for a legal minimum of two years in French oak.

Avallen Calvados founders Stephanie Jordan and Tim Etherington-Judge entered the world of calvados in 2019 determined to revitalise the category. Since launching, their ‘planet-positive’ caldavos has been recognised with numerous accolades. They have also made it their mission to help bee populations, donating to the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust with each bottle sold and planting wildflowers.

Stephanie said: “Calvados is an important historical category and one which is gaining renewed interest, so it’s right it should have its own day. And what better time of year to celebrate French apple brandy than the busy harvest time, when the process of making delicious calvados kicks off with thanks to the bees for pollinating all the lovely blossoms in spring.

“Made using apples (and a few pears), water and time, this spirit celebrates biodiversity, regenerative agriculture and tastes amazing which is why at Avallen we want to champion the category and put care at the core of what we do.”

Simon Difford said: “One of the key base spirits, calvados appears in hundreds of cocktail recipes but until Avallen has not had a brand that champions its mixability. Indeed, most consumers would be hard-prressed to name a brand of calvados or a calvados cocktail. Hence, we’re delighted to be working with Stephanie and Tim to promote delicious calvados cocktails.”

Avallen is distributed in the UK by Mangrove UK. The company’s managing director, Nick Gillet, added: “It’s been impressive to see the determination with which the team at Avallen has worked to promote this category, which was previously looking a bit tired and jaded. They have sparked new interest in calvados and are leading the way in our industry in adopting and championing sustainable practices.”

20 October 2020 – Bethany Whymark

GSN Alert: October 19th – International Gin & Tonic Day

b42086b2206396354f7173a543355bc0“85% of all known worlds in the Galaxy, be they primitive or highly advanced, have invented a drink called jynnan tonnyx, or gee-N’N-T’N-ix, or jinond-o-nicks, or any one of a thousand or more variations on the same phonetic theme. The drinks themselves are not the same, and vary between the Sivolvian “chinanto/mnigs” which is ordinary water served at slightly above room temperature, and the Gagrakackan “tzjin-anthony-ks” which kills cows at a hundred paces; and in fact the one common factor between all of them, beyond the fact that the names sound the same, is that they were all invented and named before the worlds concerned made contact with any other worlds.” – Douglas Adams

Be that as it may, we here on planet Earth will be celebrating International Gin & Tonic Day this weekend.  Cheers!

Gin and Tonic
2 oz. London dry gin
Tonic water (from a fresh bottle)
1-2 ample wedges of lime
Plenty of cold ice cubes
Highball glass

Preparation
1) Chill the glass. You may want to fill it with ice, then empty it and refill, as some bartenders do with a martini glass.
2) Fill the glass with whole ice cubes. If you wish, take a wedge of lime and moisten the rim the glass with it.
3) Pour the gin over the ice, which should be cold enough that it crackles when the liquor hits it.
4) Fill glass almost to the top with tonic.
5) Squeeze one wedge of lime into the glass. Drop the squeezed lime into the drink as a garnish if you like; it’s not necessary, but can add a bit of extra flavor. (If you do, notes Dale DeGroff, make sure the peel has been washed.) Serve.

GSN Alert: October 16th – National Liqueur Day

liqueurs2There are more liqueurs out there than you may realize.  A few of them are crucial for classic cocktails (triple sec), many are liquid desserts (Irish creams), and a few are totally unique (coca leaf liqueur).  What exactly is a liqueur, you ask?  Basically take a distilled spirit, add some sugar, and voila.  But that’s only part of the picture.  Often, liqueurs are flavored with fruit, citrus rind, berries, herbs, spices, and particularly in the case of Chartreuse the liqueur takes on the color of the ingredients.

Here are some of the many liqueurs that GSN has reviewed over the past several years.  Everything from ancho chili liqueur to bacon liqueur.  As an added bonus, I’ve included a video by the inestimable Robert “DrinkBoy” Hess which will show you how you can use as many liqueurs as possible in a single classic cocktail .

1921 Tequila Cream Liqueur

300 Joules Cream Liqueurs

Agwa Coca Herbal Liqueur

Ancho Reyes Chili Liqueur

Bärenjäger Honey & Bourbon

Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur

Berentzen Liqueurs

Berentzen Bushel & Barrel

The Bitter Truth Liqueurs

The Bitter Truth Pimento Dram

Bols Foam

Caffe Borghetti

Charbay Nostalgie Black Walnut Liqueur

Cointreau

Cointreau Noir

Crave Liqueurs

Crave Chocolate Truffle Liqueur

Domaine de Canton

Galliano L’Autentico

Galliano Ristretto

Godiva Dark Chocolate Liqueur

Heering Coffee Liqueur

Hiram Walker Caramel Apple Liqueur

Hiram Walker Triple Sec

House Spirits Coffee Liqueur

Jaan Liqueur

Kahlua Coffee Cream

The King’s Ginger

Kringle Cream

Licor 43

Love Potion #9

Lovoka Caramel Liqueur

Mama Walker’s Liqueurs

Mandarine Napoleon

Mandarine XO Grande Reserve

Marie Brizard Chocolat Royal

Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur

Original Canton Delicate Ginger Liqueur

Patron XO Cafe Dark

Pierre Ferrand Ancienne Methode Dry Curaçao

Punzoné Lemoncino

Pür Likör Liqueurs

Root

Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur

Sorel Hibiscus Liqueur

St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Liqueur

Xanté

GSN Alert: October 4th – National Vodka Day

vodka_glass_gl_16dec10_istock_bIn honor of National Vodka Day, Good Spirits News is proud to share some of our many reviews from over the years, plus a few original flavored vodka cocktails created by Blair Frodelius.  Cheers!

Alchemia

Aylesbury Duck

Bak’s Bison Grass

Bengerminz

Bootlegger 21

Boru

Cariel

Chopin

Crystal Head

Deep Eddy

Double Cross

Exclusiv & here

Golia

Karlsson’s Gold

Ketel One

Leaf

Michael Godard

Orange V

Oval

Purity

Rehorst

Reyka

Russian Diamond

Smooth Ambler

Sobieski

Spring 44

Tuthilltown Indigenous

Vesica

Wódka

Orient Express
2 oz citron vodka
1 0z grand marnier
0.5 oz canton ginger liqueur
0.5 oz lime juice
2 dashes Fee’s orange bitters
Shake and strain into cocktail glass.  Spear a piece of pickled ginger on bamboo skewer and lay across top of glass.

Admiral Perry
2 oz absolut pear vodka
1 oz original cinn schnapps
1 oz dry vermouth
0.25 teaspoon white creme de cacao
Add all ingredients to mixing glass and stir with ice until chilled.  Strain into cocktail glass.  Garnish with a thin slice of pear.

GSN Alert: October 1st – World Sake Day

October 1st is World Sake Day and heralds the beginning of the sake making season in Japan.  A wonderfully varied beverage with many styles, sake is a perfect way to toast the beginning of the autumnal season.

Sake is not an easy beverage to make, and there are many, many styles.  What you should know is that the highest classification is Junmai which is pure and unadulterated, similar to what you want in a 100% blue agave tequila.  You don’t get additional flavorings, colorings or alcohol added into the mix, which indicates a less than stellar product.  Low end sakes are the ones served hot to cover up their inadequacies.  Junmai Ginjo is made from rice that has been polished to such a high degree that it loses 45% of it’s outer covering, leaving only the heart of the rice.  This is then fermented not only using yeast, but also a proprietary domesticated fungus called Koji (Aspergillus oryzae).  Sounds weird, but this combination is so efficient at turning rice sugars into alcohol, that you end up with an initial alcohol level of 14-20%.  So, kudos for fungus!

GSN Alert: September 28th – National Drink Beer Day

Like most things, we look to the ancient Egyptians for answers. Historians point to beer as a ceremonial drink over 5,000 years ago because papyrus scrolls have been discovered documenting early beer recipes. But the Mesopotamians may have actually been the first to develop beer over 10,000 years ago, before recorded history.

Beer made its way to Europe and gained popularity during the Middle Ages. (Why drink polluted, possibly contaminated water, when you can drink a safer alternative, beer?) Eventually, German monks became master brewers, coming up with some of the fermentation techniques that brought the world closer to the beer we know and love today.

Did you know in European cities like Prague — ordering beer in a restaurant is cheaper than ordering water?

Europeans who arrived in the New World actually complained when they were out of beer and had to brew more. (Apparently, the love of beer was so strong, that upon arrival, brewing beer was one of the first things on the Pilgrims’ to-do list!)

Today, there are light beers with great flavor and less calories as well as dark beers like Guinness, served up warm in authentic English, Scottish and Irish pubs alike. There are ales and lagers which are distinguished by the type of yeast used in the fermentation process.

Is craft beer on your radar? Millennials especially are showing much more refined palates and a broad knowledge of all kinds of beer. You’ll find a wide spectrum of craft brews, foreign and domestic, to fit every taste.

If you’re really looking for something different, try hard cider. It has a great “kick” to it! Plus, Foodie Alert: Don’t miss the perfect opportunity to pair a great beer with a delicious dish. And if you’re the adventurous sort, DIY with a home brew kit.

So on National Drink Beer Day, drink responsibly and in moderation, but enjoy. Just this once, pass up the white wine or your evening Cabernet. Get a frothy, ice-cold glass of beer with a good “head” on it and remember that beer is no longer just your parents’ brew!

Courtesy National Today

GSN Alert: September 20th – National Rum Punch Day

A_Midnight_Modern_ConversationBack in my college days, I thought that punch equalled a 1.5l bottle of Silver Bacardi mixed together with a few cans of tropical flavored Hawaiian Punch.  After a few different occasions where this was the beverage of choice, I had enough to last me a lifetime and moved on to other less cloying things like IPA.  In fact, I hadn’t had any punch for a few decades until I read David Wondrich’s phenomenal book Imbibe! back in 2007.  I decided to make a batch of Philadelphia Fish House Punch for my first effort, and there’s been no turning back for me.  Granted, there is a bit of extra work involved than just emptying bottles into a large bowl (oleo-saccharum, anyone?), but it pays off in spades.  Not only is a real punch incredibly tasty, but you realize why punches are gaining popularity again.  These days, many of the best bars offer punch bowls on the menu, and some are even served with antique cups.

Here’s the recipe for PFHP (luckily, it doesn’t actually call for any fish).

Philadelphia Fish House Punch
(Servings: 18 – 20)
1 cup sugar
4 lemons, peeled and peels reserved
4 cups black tea (or water)
1 cup lemon juice
4 cups rum, Jamaican
2 cups cognac
1/2 cup peach brandy
Garnish: lemon wheels and freshly grated nutmeg

In a large bowl, add sugar and lemon peels, and rub together to release the citrus oils into the sugar. (This is called oleo-saccharum).
Allow oleo-saccharum to infuse for at least 30 minutes.
Dissolve sugar with warm water or tea.
Add rum, cognac, lemon juice and peach brandy and stir to mix.
Add a block of ice to chill, and continue to add smaller pieces of ice for desired dilution.
Garnish with lemon wheels and freshly grated nutmeg.
Ladle into individual glasses.

Another quite popular punch is Planter’s Punch, the recipe for which was first published as a poem in the New York Times on August 8, 1908.

Planter’s Punch
This recipe I give to thee,
Dear brother in the heat.
Take two of sour (lime let it be)
To one and a half of sweet,
Of Old Jamaica pour three strong,
And add four parts of weak.
Then mix and drink. I do no wrong —
I know whereof I speak.

Pretty easy to figure out what the measurements are, if you’re handy with a jigger.

Cheers!

GSN Alert: September 15th – National Crème de Menthe Day

Qtimthumb.phpuick!  How many classic crème de menthe based cocktails can you name? Go!

That’s what I thought.  Highlight the area to the right to see if you got them all -> Grasshopper, Stinger

Crème de menthe is one of those liqueurs that once you try, you will never forget.  For obvious reasons it is used in a fair amount of obscure Irish cocktails, but personally I avoid those.

Crème de menthe is not a cream based liqueur, but rather a category of spirits known as crèmes, which are more syrupy and sugar laden than standard liquors.  It is made from Corsican mint or peppermint and is either colorless (white) or vibrantly green.  Most products today use food coloring to achieve the effect.  The flavors are exactly the same however.

If you want to try making your own at home, here’s a recipe courtesy of Marcia Simmons, co-author of DIY Cocktails which I have previously reviewed here.

DIY Creme de Menthe
1 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves (divided)
1 1/2 cups vodka
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water

  • Measure out 1 cup of mint leaves and tear them in quarters Place mint leaves in a sealable glass jar and pour vodka on top. Shake and let steep for 12 hours.
  • After steeping is complete, strain mint leaves from infused vodka. Return infused vodka to the jar.
  • Bring the water and sugar to a boil, and let simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, then add syrup to mint-infused vodka.
  • Take the additional 1/2 cup of mint leaves, tear them, and add them to the jar. Shake and let steep for 10 hours.
  • Strain twice to remove all mint leaves, keep in resealable bottle. Keeps for two months.

GSN Alert: September 7th – National Beer Lover’s Day

Beer and the process of brewing beer may predate known history.  As varied as the methods, grains, and flavors, beer continues to change and evolve over time.
Virginia colonists brewed beer. William Penn included a place for brewing beer within the colony of Pennsylvania which can still be visited at Pennsbury Manor today. The first President of the United States recorded a recipe for brewing beer in his notes. Samuel Adams holds a place in both beer and tea history in this country.  There were a few beer lovers and patriots among the nation’s founders.
The United States also derives its rich brewing history from beer-loving German immigrants during the mid-1800s. Some of those immigrants families’ names are as familiar today as they were a hundred years ago.
While some names have faded into the past, smaller batch brewers continue to experiment with old and new recipes.  The crafting of beer carries rich traditions, often requiring years of training and experience in the trade. Depending on the brewery, the path to brewmaster may take years to develop the skill and expertise necessary to produce a quality beer every time.  One certain requirement is a love of beer and the craft. Toast to this iconic beverage on September 7th with a pint of your favorite!

GSN Event Alert: Flagstaff Oktoberfest Celebrates 12 Years

After having to cancel in 2020, The Flagstaff Oktoberfest, will celebrate 12 years on Saturday October 2nd in Wheeler Park, in Downtown Flagstaff.

But the fun doesn’t end with music, food and drinks. As always, we will have all our favorite contests during this event, such as the Hops on Birch Men’s and Women’s Beer Stein Holding Contest, The Frozen T-Shirt Contest, The Vienna Beef Weiner Man Race and Satchmo’s BBQ Brat Eating Contest!

Our featured musicians for year ten are the Thirsty Five, The Originals and The Mike Reeves Band, all excited to perform and celebrate this year’s Oktoberfest!

The Flagstaff Oktoberfest will be benefiting The Flagstaff Alpine Ski and Snowboard Team, specifically their scholarship programs for families who can’t afford the sport.  

We would like to thank our sponsors Hensley Distributors, Findlay Toyota Flagstaff, Satchmo’s BBQ, Russ Lyon Realty, Arizona Snowbowl, Grand Canyon Railway and Nackard Beverage Company for helping make this event possible.

Get your Lederhosen out and get ready for Flagstaff Oktoberfest, coming to Wheeler Park on Saturday,  October 2nd! This fun filled day will run from 11am-9pm.

Tickets are $5 online and $7 day of, kids 12 and under are free.

Currently masks are not required but encouraged, as CDC Guidelines and the City of Flagstaff rules change, we will adapt.

Visit www.flagstaffoktoberfest.com for more information and to purchase your tickets.

GSN Event Preview: Rochester Cocktail Revival 2021

The Rochester Cocktail Revival (RCR), now in its 8th year, marks the return of the only weeklong cocktail festival in New York State.

RCR kicks off today, August 30, 2021 and runs through September 5, 2021, featuring nearly 40  themed events at more than 20 different bars and restaurants throughout the city of Rochester. Some of the highlights include:

Through the Looking Glass: A Wonderland Garden Party: Taking place Tuesday, August 31 at the George Eastman Museum’s west gardens, this event will feature tea-inspired cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, live music, custom poetry, and lawn games.

Play Date: The 2021 RCR Gala: Taking place Friday, September 3 at the Strong National Museum of Play, this headline event will feature multiple bars, hors d’oeuvres, a special appearance from PUSH Physical Theatre, a live DJ and access to multiple Museum of Play exhibits (including gaming tokens for the arcade). VIP level includes early admission to enjoy a Living Roots wine-inspired cocktail in the Butterfly Garden.

From Margarita to Mescal Mule: The History of Agave Spirits in Cocktails: Taking place Saturday, September 4 at Good Luck, this event will feature New York Times writer and author Robert Simonson as he tracks the improbable upward journey of agave cocktails. Your ticket includes a seat at the seminar and a mezcal cocktail.

The Bar Room Battle Royale: Taking place Sunday, September 5 at Radio Social, the grand finale is where local bartenders will compete head-to-head to earn an ultimate mixologist victory.

Other events will include a carnival at Playhouse // Swillburger, a martini and oysters event at Velvet Belly, a fried chicken showdown, a tiki party, an 80s party, a 90s party, a Jimmy Buffett beach party, and even a seminar on New York’s marijuana laws. For a full list of events, click here.

Tickets for RCR events are available now online

A portion of all proceeds benefits Gilda’s Club Rochester and since 2014, RCR has raised more than $90,000 for their choice charity.

Vaccination and masking policies will be at the discretion of each hosting venue at the time of the event. Online map shows Rochester businesses that require vaccines, masks

Participating Rochester bars and restaurants include:

  • Bar Bantam
  • Bitter Honey
  • Branca Midtown
  • Cheshire
  • Cub Room
  • Cure
  • The Daily Refresher
  • Good Luck
  • Jackrabbit Club
  • Lento
  • Locals Only
  • Lucky’s
  • Nox
  • Owl House
  • Ox & Stone
  • The Playhouse // Swillburger
  • Radio Social
  • Redd
  • The Revelry
  • The Richmond
  • Roux
  • Rufus
  • Swan Dive
  • Velvet Belly
  • Vern’s

GSN Alert: August 28th – National Red Wine Day

It’s always a good time for red wine, especially on August 28, National Red Wine Day. Today, we throw out all those stuffy rules about how and when to drink this nectar from the gods.  Instead, we grab our coolest glass and savor the taste of our favorite red wine.

Red wines including merlot, pinot noir, Bordeaux, cabernet sauvignon and blends like shiraz, don’t always have to rest at a  temperature of between 65-70 degrees before you can enjoy a glass.  In fact, there are some experts who say it’s perfectly acceptable to refrigerate red wines and drink them cold, especially during exceptionally hot weather.

So, ignore the wine snobs, make your choice and commit to drinking responsibly. Then, hoist your glass in a toast to National Red Wine Day.

Courtesy of National Today