GSN Alert: Flaviar announces Distillery Tour program for members

Flaviar, a spirits club designed to help people try more new things more often, has teamed up with over 25 distilleries to kick start the program.

Flaviar members will be able to access an array of special perks and privileges, from complimentary distillery tours and tastings, free distillery swag to meet and greets with master distillers, exclusive access to special drams, and industry discounts on distillery shop produce.

Each distillery chosen to be part of the program has a story to tell and some delicious drams to share including small batch whiskey, Cognac, rum, vodka, gin and liqueurs. From award-winning, family operations; to grain to glass, hyper local distilleries; organic and even kosher operations, all the distilleries involved have one thing in common ‘quality’ at the heart.

Jugoslav Petkovic, co-founder of Flaviar, comments: “There is literally nothing better for understanding a spirit than to visit the place where it is made and to speak to the people pouring their heart and soul into the glass.

“We’ve hand picked some of our favorite producers that will extend special industry privileges to our members and give them more access and opportunity to explore their palates and have a great time.

“There has been a huge increase in visitors to distilleries, in Kentucky alone there have been 1.4m visitors in 2018, which has a huge impact on the local economy. The Flaviar Distillery Tour program is a win-win for everyone, our members get access to a great experience and independent brands are able to reach a highly engaged, spirits enthusiast audience that drive distillery door sales.”

For details of the full line up and how to take advantage of any offers, please visit:

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.


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 Alert: August 25th – National Whiskey Sour Day

In celebration of National Whiskey Sour Day on August 25th, GSN is pleased to share some recipes featuring one of our favorite bourbons. Cheers!

Gentleman’s Sour
2 oz Gentleman Jack
¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
¾ oz Simple Syrup
1 Egg White
1 Activated Charcoal Pouch*

Method: Dry shake all ingredients. Add ice. Shake well. Fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Apply bitters with stencil.

*Charcoal pouch – empty 1 activated charcoal pouch into coffee filter. Twist into a pouch and use a rubber band to keep closed – can be reused.

Spa Day Sour
1 ½ oz. Gentleman Jack
1 oz. sour mix
½ oz. Giffard Pamplemousse
2 oz. ginger beer
2 slices muddled cucumber

Method: Shake all but ginger beer with ice. Add ginger beer. Strain over ice into a Collins glass.

Optional: Garnish with slice of cucumber.

Eat A Peach
1 ½ oz. Gentleman Jack
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. Monin Peach Syrup
2 oz. lemon/lime soda

Method: Shake all but soda with ice. Add soda. Strain over ice into a Collins glass.

Optional: Garnish with lemon wedge.

Sour No. 7 (Vegan)
1 ½ oz Gentleman Jack
¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
¾ oz Simple Syrup (1:1)
¾ oz Organic Soy Milk
½ oz Liquid Corn*

Method: Dry shake all with a steel shaker ball. Remove ball, add ice and shake more. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Apply bitter with mister or dropper.

*Liquid Corn – Hand blend a can of organic sweet corn (including liquid). Strain all solids and transfer to squeeze bottle.

Modern Sour
1 ½ oz Gentleman Jack
½ oz Mandarine Napoleon
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
¾ oz simple syrup
2 oz ginger beer

Method: Shake all, but ginger beer with ice. Add ginger beer. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.

#GentlemanJackSour #FriendofJack

GSN Alert: Bourbon & Beyond Returns For Third Year in Louisville, KY

The World’s Largest Bourbon Festival, Bourbon & Beyond, will make its anticipated return to Louisville, KY on Friday, September 20Saturday, September 21, and Sunday, September 22, expanding to three days full of incredible music, unique culinary events, and unmatched experiences from the region’s best distilleries at the new Highland Festival Grounds At KY Expo Center. In addition to an unforgettable lineup of bourbon and chefs, music performers include a unique mix of rock, roots, bluegrass and folk acts headlined by Foo FightersRobert Plant And The Sensational Space Shifters (returning after originally being scheduled to appear in 2018), the Zac Brown BandJohn FogertyDaryl Hall & John Oates, and ZZ Top (celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2019). Additional acts include Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night SweatsTrey Anastasio BandLeon BridgesThe Flaming LipsAlison KraussEdward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeroes+LIVE+Grace PotterLittle Steven & The Disciples Of Soul, and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, among many others. In total, more than 45 artists will play on three stages, including the side-by-side Oak and Barrel main stages and a bluegrass stage that will be curated by the genre’s leading authority, The Bluegrass Situation.

Held during Bourbon Heritage MonthBourbon & Beyond also celebrates the craftsmanship behind award-winning spirits, master distillers and world-class chefs. Bourbon author, Amazon Prime host (Bourbon Up) and expert Fred Minnick has curated one-of-a-kind tastings and seminars celebrating Louisville’s world-renowned distilleries, while culinary curators Edward Lee(The Mind of A Chef) and Anthony Lamas (Seviche) will team up to arrange special food experiences that will be announced soon.

“If you could capture America in a bottle, it would be a bottle of bourbon. It’s a uniquely American creation, like jazz and baseball, and its beating heart is in Louisville,” says Bourbon & Beyond producer Danny Wimmer. “This connection to the past has transformed Louisville into a city of the future. One of the most vibrant and diverse food scenes in the country has grown around bourbon’s resurgence, and we tried to mirror that spirit with the great music lineup that we put together. I can’t wait for people to visit this city in September and experience something that goes far beyond their preconception of what Louisville is.”

Bourbon & Beyond exclusive VIP packages, General Admission tickets, camping and hotel packages, as well as special event tickets, go on sale Friday, March 15 at 12:00 PM EDT. Visit for more details.

Produced by premier independent festival producer Danny Wimmer Presents, the third annual Bourbon & Beyond will be held at a new festival location, the Highland Festival Grounds At KY Expo Center. All of DWP‘s Louisville festivals will take place at the new venue, including the first-ever Hometown Rising Country Music & Bourbon Festival (Sept. 14-15) and Louder Than Life (Sept. 27-29). Fans interested in attending all three weekends can purchase a special Trifesta Pass, which allows General Admission weekend access for the discounted rate of only $229.00 plus fees. Visit for more information.

The current music lineup for Bourbon & Beyond is as follows (subject to change):

  • Friday, September 20:

    Foo FightersJohn FogertyNathaniel Rateliff & The Night SweatsThe Flaming Lips+LIVE+Joan Jett & The BlackheartsLukas Nelson & Promise Of The RealGreensky BluegrassBlackberry Smoke, [artist TBA], Preservation Hall Jazz BandPearlMipsoAmythyst Kiah

  • Saturday, September 21:

    Robert Plant And The Sensational Space ShiftersDaryl Hall & John OatesTrey Anastasio BandAlison KraussGrace PotterSqueezeJenny LewisDel McCoury BandSamantha FishThe White BuffaloMaggie RosePatrick DroneyThe Travelin’ McCourysCedric BurnsideBen Sollee

  • Sunday, September 22:

    Zac Brown BandZZ TopLeon BridgesEdward Sharpe And The Magnetic ZerosKurt Vile And The ViolatorsMargo PriceLittle Steven And The Disciples Of SoulEdie Brickell & New BohemiansWhite ReaperWhiskey MyersSouthern AvenueCaroline JonesDustbowl RevivalThe Lil SmokiesFront Country

The initial list of participating chefs at Bourbon & Beyond includes:

  • Edward Lee (The Mind of A Chef, 610 Magnolia, MilkWood, Whiskey Dry)
  • Anthony Lamas (Chef/Owner at Seviche)
  • Graham Elliot (Family Food FightTop Chef)
  • The Voltaggio Brothers (Michael — Ink, Top Chef & Bryan — VOLT)
  • Tiffani Thiessen (Dinner At Tiffani’s)
  • Jamie Bissonnette (Coppa, Toro, Little Donkey)
  • Amanda Freitag (The Chef Next Door: A Pro Chef’s Recipes for Fun, Fearless Home CookingChopped)
  • Brooke Williamson (Top ChefKnife FightHouse of Food)
  • Jose Salazar (Salazar, Mita’s, Goose and Elder)
  • Ouita Michel (Holly Hill Inn)
  • Adam Sobel (Cal Mare)
  • Jonathan Searle (Lockbox)
  • Matt Abdoo (Pig Beach)
  • Rusty Hamlin (Papi’s Taqueria, Zac Brown’s Social Club, Atkins Park Restaurant)
  • Sara Bradley (Freight House)
  • Kelsey Barnard Clark (KBC)
  • Justin Sutherland (Iron Chef America, Handsome Hog, Pearl and the Thief)

The festival’s centerpiece, Kroger’s Big Bourbon Bar presented by Louisville Courier Journal, will feature more than two dozen hand-selected bourbons from top distilleries, and a unique opportunity to enjoy bourbons and exclusive one-time specialty cocktails from 1792Angel’s EnvyBarrell BourbonBloody Butcher’s CreedBuffalo TraceCoopers’ CraftElijah CraigFour RosesKentucky PeerlessMichter’sOld ForesterStoneHammerWild Turkey and more to be announced.

As part of this innovative partnership and Kroger‘s commitment to Zero Hunger | Zero Waste, 25 cents will be donated directly to Dare to Care Food Bank ( from every ticket sold. Dare to Care Food Bank works to ensure that no one in our community lacks enough food to live an active, healthy lifestyle, and Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste initiative is their bold plan to end hunger in our communities and eliminate waste in their company by 2025.

Fred Minnick’s Mini Bar presented by the Bourbon Women Association will showcase craft selections from Wilderness TrailMB Roland and Bluegrass Distillery. Acclaimed Louisville whiskey bar The Silver Dollar will operate The Hunter’s Club, where attendees can find vintage bourbons dating as far back as the 1930s, as well as contemporary collectibles.

The initial list of participating bourbon brands at Bourbon & Beyond includes 1792Angel’s EnvyBardstown BourbonBarrell BourbonBlanton’sBloody Butcher’s CreedBluegrass DistilleryBoone County DistillingBuffalo TraceCoopers’ CraftElijah CraigEvan WilliamsFour RosesJim BeamKentucky PeerlessKnob CreekLarcenyMaker’s MarkMB RolandMichter’sOld ForesterWild TurkeyWilderness TrailW.L. Weller and Woodford Reserve.

Whiskey sponsors also include Jack Daniel’sHigh West DistilleryUncle Nearest and Southern Comfort.

Additional bourbon, food, beverage and other experiences available onsite include:

  • Mash Stage bourbon and food demos
  • Jack Daniel’s No. 7 Sports Bar, where guests can enjoy NFL and college football games
  • Tiki Barrel Bar presented by Jim Beam
  • Maker’s Wanted Bar presented by Maker’s Mark
  • Knob Creek Bar
  • Boone County Distilling Back Porch
  • The Char House presented by Brown-Forman
  • Jailhouse BBQ Presented by Larceny Bourbon
  • Buffalo Club presented by Buffalo Trace
  • Mardi Gras Bar presented by Southern Comfort
  • High West Whiskey Train
  • The Speakeasy
  • Angry Orchard Tree Bar
  • Lagunitas Craft Beer Bar
  • Take Me Home
  • The Music Experience

In addition, attendees can enjoy a variety of local and regional food and beverage offerings provided by DWP‘s affiliate concessionaire, Southern Hospitality Concessions LLC. Festival attendees will be able to experience a taste of Louisville with selections from the following local and regional restaurants: Boss Hog BBQCouvillionDoc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw BarEhrler’s Ice CreamEli’s BBQHeine Brothers CoffeeHull And HighwaterJoella’s Hot ChickenMerle’s Whiskey KitchenSarinoSeviche, and more.

Look for more food experience details to be announced soon.

Ticket prices for Bourbon & Beyond will be as follows:

  • 3-Day Weekend General Admission: starting at $169.50 + fees
  • 3-Day Mint Experience VIP: starting at $579.50 + fees
  • 3-Day Beyond VIP: $1,599.50 + fees
  • Single Day General Admission: starting at $89.50 + fees
  • Single Day VIP: starting at $249.50 + fees

Mint Experience VIP tickets include access to The Mint Garden—an exclusive hang area with dedicated bars, comfortable furniture, and live audio/video streams of the Barrel and Oak Stages, plus front-of-stage viewing of the Barrel and Oak Stages—as well as a dedicated merchandise stand, premium, dedicated food offerings, air-conditioned, flushable restrooms, dedicated entrance lanes into the festival and a commemorative laminate and wristband.

Beyond VIP tickets include access to all Mint Experience VIP amenities PLUS a shaded viewing deck, air-conditioned lounge/tent with live audio/video streams of the Barrel and Oak Stages, all-inclusive premium drinks at 2 private bars within the hang area, complimentary hors d’oeuvres during set lunch and dinner hours, dedicated air-conditioned, flushable bathrooms, massage station, complimentary lockers with cell-phone chargers, complimentary Wi-Fi access, Beyond VIP Concierge staff and a commemorative Beyond VIP laminate and wristband.

Bourbon & Beyond sponsors include Kentucky Department of Tourism, Louisville Tourism, Kroger, Lagunitas, Red Bull, Zyn, Fxck Cancer, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Angry Orchard, Bourbon Women Association, Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA), Glencairn Crystal, and Eagle Nest Outfitters.

The Highland Festival Grounds At KY Expo Center are located at 937 Phillips Lane in Louisville, Kentucky. Festival doors open at 11:00 AM daily.

Bourbon & Beyond is produced by Los Angeles-based Danny Wimmer Presents, one of the largest independent producers of destination music festivals in America. DWP events include Aftershock Festival, Bourbon & Beyond, Chicago Open Air, Epicenter Festival, Hometown Rising, Louder Than Life, Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival, and Welcome To Rockville.

For more information on Bourbon & Beyond please visit:

GSN Wrap-Up: 2019 Philanthropic Foodies Pop-Up Syracuse, NY

The 2019 edition of Philanthropic Foodies was again held at the AAA Four Diamond Award Syracuse Marriott (formerly the Hotel Syracuse). A fundraiser for the Central New York community, the selection of local foods and beverages prepared and crafted by local chefs gave the attendees a chance to try something new. There were a lot of farm-to-table items this year, along with some innovative craft cocktails and beers, ciders and New York State wines.

Live music provided by local artist Ashley Cox-Sullivan and her husband Shawn Sullivan was the background for guests as they visited food and beverage stations. There were also plenty of items on display for the silent auction fundraiser for the Friends of Dorothy House and Joseph’s House for Women. The two organizations support those affected by AIDS and women who need support during unplanned pregnancies. This year, over $50,000 was raised.

Photos of some of the highlights are below. (Photography by Alheydis K.)