Archive for the ‘News’ Category

violet hour house rulesThe Violet Hour, Chicago’s acclaimed lounge owned by One Off Hospitality Group, has launched its own line of bottled cocktail bases under the brand name Violet Hour +. The first is called Batch No. 1 and comprises scorched demerara sugar, Tahitian vanilla, wormwood-bittered cane sugar and gentian herbs (from the Himalayas). It’s priced at $13.70 a 250-ml. bottle and is available at Violet Hour’s bar and sister restaurants, with retail distribution expected to follow shortly. Two more cocktail bases are planned: a house tonic made of lemongrass, quinine and lime and an aqua de flor made of hibiscus flower, vanilla bean and fresh ginger.

downloadBlauvelt, New York-based Duggan’s Distillers is bringing Scotland’s NB Gin to the U.S. market. Produced at the DB Distillery in North Berwick, the small-batch gin is made from British grain spirits and a blend of eight botanicals—juniper, coriander seed, angelica root, grains of paradise, lemon peel, cassia bark, cardamom and orris root—in a London dry style. NB Gin initially will debut in the New York on-premise market, retailing at $50-$56 a bottle.

download (1)Compass Box is set to debut a new upscale blended Scotch offering, This Is Not A Luxury Whisky, in the U.S. market in November. Bottled at natural cask strength of 53.1% abv, This Is Not A Luxury Whisky is launching in a limited rollout of just under 5,000 bottles, which depict its brand name scrawled in large letters. The new product includes 19-year-old whisky from Glen Ord, two separate parcels of 40-year-old grain from Girvan and Strathclyde and some 30-year-old malt whisky from Caol Ila.

download (2)Pernod Ricard is adding to The Glenlivet’s Nàdurra portfolio with a new cask-strength offering finished in peated casks. Launching in the U.S. this month, The Glenlivet Nàdurra Peated Whisky Cask Finish is bottled at 61.5% abv and retails at $89. The new whisky, which joins Oloroso and First Fill Selection variants in the Nàdurra line, is billed as having a subtle, smoky taste profile due to finishing in American oak casks that previously held heavily peated Scotch whisky.

download (3)William Grant & Sons is extending its larger Glenfiddich label with a 14-year-old expression. Launching today, Glenfiddich’s 14-Year-Old Bourbon Barrel Reserve is aged in American oak ex-Bourbon casks and retails at $50 a 750-ml. The newcomer, which dovetails with a trend toward Bourbon-influenced Scotch whisky innovations, will be a core member of the Glenfiddich range.

download (4)Copper & Kings American Brandy Co. is launching a new offering, Butchertown American Brandy. Named for the Louisville neighborhood in which Copper & Kings is based, Butchertown is a copper pot-distilled brandy, matured in 75% Kentucky Bourbon barrels and 25% new American oak. It’s bottled at 124 proof and retails at $60 a 750-ml.

download (5)Boston-based Bully Boy Distillers is launching its first-ever limited edition bottled cocktail offering, The Old Fashioned. With Bully Boy’s American Straight Whiskey as its base, the recipe includes muddled raw sugar and Angostura bitters, and is suggested to be complemented with muddled orange and a Maraschino cherry for serving. The Bully Boy Old Fashioned (34.5% abv) will be available during the cold months at a suggested retail price of $34.99 in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

download (6)Brown-Forman has officially launched Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Century, honoring the legendary entertainer’s 100th birthday. Only 100 barrels of the 100-proof whiskey are being released, packaged in individually numbered 1-liter bottles that come enclosed in a luxury gift box along with a selection of previously unreleased Frank Sinatra tracks. The set retails at around $500. This is the second Sinatra commemorative offering from Jack Daniel’s, which introduced a 90-proof Sinatra Select whiskey in 2013.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

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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!


Aylesbury Duck

Bak’s Bison Grass


Bootlegger 21




Crystal Head

Deep Eddy

Double Cross

Exclusiv & here


Karlsson’s Gold

Ketel One


Michael Godard

Orange V





Russian Diamond

Smooth Ambler


Spring 44

Tuthilltown Indigenous



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.

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downloadSpokane, Washington’s Dry Fly Distilling is introducing a “Hibernian” Irish-style whiskey, O’Danagher’s Single Barrel Whiskey. Made in collaboration with Washington state-based whiskey maker Tim Danaher, the new product’s grains are sourced locally from the 1,500-acre Danaher farms in eastern Washington. Fifteen barrels a year were made, with the first three barrels of five-year-old whiskey set to launch this fall at $64.95 a bottle.download (1)

Campari America has introduced Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye, the first single barrel rye whiskey released by Russell’s Reserve master distillers Jimmy and Eddie Russell. The new product is 104 proof, with a suggested retail price of $59.99 a 750-ml.

download (2)Delaware-based Dogfish Head is expanding with the launch of a new spirits line under the Dogfish Head Distilling Co. banner. Debuting in November, the portfolio will include Dogfish Head Analog Vodka (80 proof), Compelling Gin (88 proof) and Whole Leaf Gin (90 proof), with a rum and a whiskey expected to follow. The Dogfish Head Distilling Co. lineup will be available on- and off-premise throughout Delaware by Thanksgiving, with distribution to other mid-Atlantic markets planned for 2016.

download (3)Absolut is extending its portfolio with Oak, a new vodka that has been rested on American, Swedish and French oak and is intended to give Absolut a place in classic cocktails where brown spirits have traditionally held sway. Oak retails at $25 a 750-ml., compared to around $20 for the core brand. Distribution is currently in several test markets, with plans to expand into additional markets in the near future.

downloadSeattle’s Batch 206 Distillery is rolling out its new flagship Washington Bourbon whiskey, Old Log Cabin. The whiskey is between 19-26 months old and was created with 51% Washington corn and 49% Washington malted barley. The company says the brand’s history dates to 1840. Old Log Cabin Bourbon Whiskey will be available in Washington state, Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California and Texas.download (4)

Market Street Spirits, a division of Opici Wines, is launching Brinley Gold Shipwreck Coconut Rum Cream. The blend of distilled cane sugar, cream, coconut and spices (15% abv) retails at $25 a 750-ml. It joins Brinley Gold Shipwreck’s existing Coconut, Vanilla, Coffee, Mango and Spiced rums.download (1)

Veev Spirits is extending its VitaFrute Cocktails line with a Ginger Pear Mule offering. The 15%-abv cocktail retails at $12.99 a bottle and joins Coconut Colada, Margarita, Cosmopolitan and Lemonade in the VitaFrute line.download (5)

Pernod Ricard is officially launching a new core expression, The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve, in the U.S. Paying homage to brand founder George Smith, Founder’s Reserve was created by current master distiller Alan Winchester using both aged oak and American first-fill oak casks. The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve is debuting at select retailers across the U.S., priced at about $44.99.

download (6)Mezcal Viejo Indecente, produced in Oaxaca, is making its debut in the New York, California and Florida markets. Retailing at $60 a 750-ml. bottle Viejo Indecente is 47% abv and is billed as an agave-forward spirit that has a less smoky profile than typical mezcals.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily


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downloadProximo Spirits is rolling out two new limited-edition Jose Cuervo bottlings—one each of Jose Cuervo Especial and Reserva de la Familia—commemorating the brand’s role in The Rolling Stones’ 1972 North American tour. The special edition Rolling Stones Jose Cuervo Especial and Collectors Edition Reserva de la Familia bottles are priced at $16.99 and $149.99, respectively. The Especial commemorative bottling will debut nationwide this month, while the Reserva de la Familia will follow in November.

download (1)Irish craft player Hibernia Distillers is introducing Hyde Irish Whisky 1, its first release in the U.S. market, on October 1. The new offering, which will be imported by A. Hardy USA Ltd., is a limited-edition 10-year-old single malt Irish whiskey aged in American oak Bourbon barrels and finished in toasted Olosoro Sherry casks. Hyde Irish Whisky 1 (92 proof) will retail for $69.99. Hibernia plans to follow the launch with another new product—Hyde No. 2—that will be rolled out in the U.S. in November.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily


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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.


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downloadLebanon, Kentucky-based Limestone Branch Distillery has unveiled its new Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon, featuring a blend of 7-year-old rye, 7-year-old wheated and 12-year-old rye whiskies. Limited to 6,000 bottles, the new entry will officially debut later this month during the Kentucky Bourbon Festival and retail at around $105.

download (1)Diageo North America, which earlier this year released a single-grain Scotch called Haig Single Grain ($50), is readying the launch in October of a second all-grain brand called Port Dundas, named for one of the Diageo-owned distilleries. Port Dundas will be offered in both 12-year-old and 18-year-old expressions, bottled at 43% abv with no prices set yet.

download (2)In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Laphroaig single malt brand, Beam Suntory is introducing a Laphroaig 32-year-old to the U.S. later this month. Retailing at $1,200, it will join the Laphroaig 15-year-old ($80), which has been on shelves since July. Meanwhile, Beam announced that supplies of the Laphroaig 18-year-old ($110) have run dry and that the product is no longer being offered. No replacement is expected next year, the company said.

download (3)Beam Suntory will also introduce a new Bowmore single malt later this month. Called Bowmore Mizunara, it carries no age statement and is bottled at 53.9% abv, with a retail price of $1,000. Aged in the rare Japanese wood, the new Mizunara expression is limited to just 33 cases for the entire U.S., and there are no plans for more.

imagesPernod Ricard’s Jameson Irish whiskey is rolling out its new Caskmates extension nationwide in the U.S. The brainchild of Dave Quinn, master of whiskey science at Jameson Distillery, and Shane Long, head brewer at Irish microbrewery Franciscan Well, Caskmates was created after Jameson casks were sent to Franciscan Well to age the brewer’s Irish stout beer. The ex-Irish stout barrels were then sent back to Jameson Distillery, where Jameson Original was aged in the returned casks, creating Caskmates. The new expression, which began shipping in late August, is priced at $29.99 and will be available nationwide.

download (4)Louisville, Kentucky-based Copper & Kings American Brandy Company is releasing its first aged apple brandy expression this fall. The 100-proof blend of copper pot-distilled apple brandies was aged in ex-Bourbon barrels and Oloroso Sherry butts and Sherry casks, with the resulting liquid a minimum of four years old. Copper & Kings Craft Distilled American Apple Brandy will retail about $40 a 750-ml. bottle in the 20 markets within the company’s distribution footprint across the South, Midwest and Northeast.

download (5)Washington state’s Woodinville Whiskey Co. is introducing its flagship Straight Bourbon. The five-year-old Bourbon was made of ingredients solely sourced from Washington, and was aged in-state in full-size barrels. Retailing at around $55 a bottle, the new entry will be hitting retailers by the middle of this month.

download (6)The Teeling Whiskey Co. has debuted Teeling Single Malt—the third addition to its range of non-age statement Irish whiskies—nationwide. Retailing at $65, Teeling Single Malt is made with malt whiskey aged for up to 23 years, which has been matured in five different types of casks, including Sherry, Port, Madeira, White Burgundy and Cabernet Sauvignon. The 46%-abv entry joins existing Small Batch and Single Grain labels in Teeling’s premium Irish whiskey portfolio.

download (8)Bacardi USA is readying the release of single malt Scotches from distilleries that contribute to the company’s Dewar’s blended Scotch brand. The single malts are slated for a U.S. market rollout in October and November. The Aultmore will be introduced in 12-year-old ($50) and 18-year-old ($175) expressions, followed by the Deveron with the same age statements and prices. The final release will be the Royal Brackla, the first distillery in the 19th century to receive a royal warrant. It will be offered in a 12-year-old version at $60 and a 16-year-old at $200.

white-logoOn October 1, Mauertown, Virginia-based Filibuster Distillery will release Bourbon-rye blend The Boondoggler, aged in American oak and finished in a mix of wine barrels including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pedro Ximenez and Fino Sherry. Filibuster says the whiskey is expected to draw experimental drinkers with its eclectic mix of barrel types. Filibuster’s other offerings include Dual Cask Bourbon and Dual Cask Rye, both finished in red and white wine-seasoned French oak.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

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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.

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