GSN Alert: July 2nd – National Anisette Day

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Anise

Really?  National Anisette Day?  Ok…

Anise (an herb) actually has a fairly storied history with liquor as it is used as a flavoring agent in absinthe, aguardiente, arak, Jagermiester, ouzo, pastis, raki, and most likely Chartreuse.  Be that as it may, anisette as a solo liquor is fairly obscure in 21st century mixology.  The GSN offices only have one old dusty bottle that is pulled out for obscure cocktails that no has imbibed in decades.  Thus, I have relatively little to say on the subject other than to recommend a few brands that you can probably find at your local liquor store.

Try looking for Anís del Mono, Marie Brizard, Pernod, or if all else fails, Sambuca.  These are best served watered down with a bit of ice-cold water until the liqueur becomes cloudy, known as louching.  A glass of this can be quite refreshing as an after dinner beverage.

GSN Alert: June 30th – National Mai Tai Day

Legend about the origins of the Mai Tai has it that Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, the founding father of America’s South Pacific-styled tiki restaurants, bars and nightclubs claimed to have created it in 1933 at his then-new bar named Don the Beachcomber (later a famous restaurant) in Hollywood.

However his rival, Victor Bergeron, also known as ‘Trader Vic’, claimed to have invented it in 1944 at his Oakland California restaurant. He used Jamaican rum, fresh lime, orange curacao, a dash of rock candy sugar, and French orgeat syrup, then garnished it with lime and mint. It’s said he tested his newly concocted drink on two Tahitian friends and upon tasting it, one of his guests exclaimed in Tahitian “Mai Tai-Roa Aé!” meaning ‘out of this world, it’s the best!’ and so the cocktail was named. Trader Vic is said to have charged 44 cents for a Mai Tai, in honour of the year it was invented.

To back up his claim, he had the friends for whom he invented the drink, sign affidavits swearing it to be true. Cocktail historians and theoreticians have battled ever since as to whose claim is more authentic.

GSN Alert: The Bat and Tequila Connection

Without bats, there is no tequila. Tequila is exclusively produced from the blue agave, and the lesser long-nosed bat is the plant’s primary pollinator. Bats feed on the nectar of agave flowers and hop from flower to flower carrying with them the pollen to fertilize other plants. However, industrial practices used for the production of tequila this past century have led to the loss of the genetic diversity of the agaves and to the loss of an important food source for the lesser long-nosed bat, first listed as a threatened species in Mexico in 1994.

To help with this bat’s conservation, the IUCN and ecologist Rodrigo Medellin work with liquor brands to make them “bat-friendly.” Currently, seven brands of tequila and three brands of mezcal have this label. To qualify, all they need to do is to allow at least 5% of their agave plants to flower, let the bats come and pollinate, and use the resulting seeds to replant their fields. These requirements are checked every year.

GSN Alert: Introducing T‑Mobile 5Gin and 5Ginger Beer

It’s 5G o’clock somewhere. T-Mobile and Sprint came together with the perfect blend of capacity, coverage and relentless Un-carrier spirit to build the country’s largest, fastest and most reliable 5G network. Now, T-Mobile’s Extended Range 5G covers 300 million people months ahead of schedule — nearly everyone in the country — and Ultra Capacity 5G covers 150 million! To celebrate, T-Mobile has bottled the Un-carrier spirit as an actual spirit: Ultra Capacity 5Gin. And because #5GforAll, there’s even a non-alcoholic Extended Range 5Ginger Beer. Starting today, June 24 at 12 pm PT, visit t-mobile5gin.com to order your very own bottle of 5Gin or six pack of 5Ginger Beer. Limited quantities are available, and just like T-Mobile’s 5G network, they’re gonna go fast. Salut!

“Last year, when we said we’d cover 300 million people with 5G by the end of 2021, people thought we were crazy. Now, we’ve blown by that goal SIX MONTHS ahead of schedule, and we won’t stop building the nation’s largest, fastest and most reliable 5G network,” said Mike Sievert CEO of T-Mobile. “Now, we’re gonna celebrate in a way ONLY T-Mobile would — by bottling the Un-carrier spirit. Yes, you heard that right. And as we begin to get back to all the things we have missed, it’s time for a celebratory toast with 5Gin and 5Ginger Beer. You know the GIF from The Great Gatsby? That’s me right now. Cheers!”

GSN Alert: June 19th – National Martini Day

Mad-Men-Restaurants

The Martini is well deserving of its own day, as it is the most widely recognized cocktail in the world.  At its most basic, it is a combination of gin and dry vermouth.  On the auspicious occasion, GSN is proud to share a few of our favorite Martini recipes from the last 150 years.

Astoria
1 1/2 oz gin
3/4 oz dry vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain
Add olive

Caprice
1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz Benedictine
1 dash orange bitters
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain

Dry Martini
2 oz gin
1/4 oz dry vermouth
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain
Add olive or lemon twist

Gibson
2 oz gin
1/2 oz dry vermouth
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain
Add onion

Hoffman House
1 3/4 oz gin
3/4 oz dry vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain
Add olive

Martini
2 oz gin
1/4 oz dry vermouth
1/4 oz sweet vermouth
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain
Add olive (or lemon twist)

Savoy
1 3/4 oz gin
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/4 oz Red Dubonnet
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain
Add orange peel

GSN Alert: June 14th – National Bourbon Day

imagesBourbon is the quintessential American spirit, and today is a today to celebrate it!  GSN is proud to share some classic bourbon cocktails from some of the great cocktail guides of the past 150 years.

Bourbon Crusta
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
1/2 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
1/2 ounce lemon juice
2 dashes orange bitters
Garnish: Orange peel.
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Bourbon Milk Punch
1 1/2 ounces bourbon whiskey
4 ounces milk
2 teaspoons simple syrup
2 dashes vanilla extract
Garnish: grated nutmeg
Shake vigorously with ice, strain into a brandy snifter or wine glass.

Commodore
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
3/4 ounce white crème de cacao
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1 dash grenadine
Shake with ice. Strain into champagne flute.

Eastern Sour
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
1 1/2 ounces orange juice
1 ounce lime juice
1/4 ounce orgeat
1/4 ounce simple syrup
Garnish: Shell of the lime used for the fresh juice.
Shake with ice. Strain into an ice filled tumbler.

Lion’s Tail
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
1/2 ounce pimento dram
1/2 ounce lime juice
1 teaspoon simple syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Mint Julep
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
4 whole sprigs mint
2 teaspoons sugar
Garnish: Mint sprigs dusted with powdered sugar.
Muddle in a cocktail shaker until the sugar is dissolved and the mint is blended in. Add ice, and then shake well. Strain into a glass filled with shaved ice.

Seelbach
1 ounce bourbon whiskey
1/2 ounce Cointreau
7 dashes Angostura Bitters
7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
5 ounces champagne
Garnish: Lemon twist.
Build in a champagne flute.

Suffering Bastard
1 ounce lime juice
4 ounces ginger ale
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 ounce bourbon whiskey
1 ounce gin
Garnish: mint sprig, orange wheel, and cherry.
Build in a rocks glass.

Ward 8
1 1/2 ounces bourbon whiskey
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce orange juice
1 teaspoon grenadine
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Whiskey Sour
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
1 ounce simple syrup
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1 teaspoon egg white (optional)
Shake with ice. Strain into a sour glass, or an ice filled Old Fashioned glass.

GSN Alert: June 10th – World Gin Day

world-gin-day-20141-lst136433In honor of World Gin Day, here is a list of the gins that Good Spirits News has reviewed over the years.  Hopefully you will pick up a bottle and make yourself a favorite gin cocktail.

 

 

GSN Alert: June 4th – National Cognac Day

704px-Map_of_Cognac_Regions3.svgIn honor of National Cognac Day (odd, I know, since Cognac is a French spirit), Good Spirits News is proud to present a selection of some of the best classic cocktails featuring this iconic spirit.

Editor’s note: French grape brandies made in the Cognac region are the only brandies that can be labeled as Cognac.blah

Alexander
1 1/2 ounce brandy
1 ounce cream
1 ounce crème de cacao
Garnish: Sprinkle of nutmeg
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Between The Sheets
1 ounce brandy
1 ounce light rum
1 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce lemon juice
Garnish: Lemon twist.
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

East India House
2 ounce brandy
1 teaspoon pineapple syrup
1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur
1 teaspoon orange curaçao
3 dash Angostura Bitters
Garnish: Lime twist
Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass.

Fog Cutter
2 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce orgeat
2 ounce light rum
1 ounce brandy
1/2 ounce gin
1/2 ounce sweet sherry
Shake everything, except the sherry, with ice. Pour into a tall ice filled tiki mug or chimney glass. Float the sherry over the top.

Sidecar
2 ounce brandy
1 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce lemon juice
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Stinger
1 ounce brandy
1/4 ounce white crème de menthe
Garnish: Fresh sprigs of mint, and serve with a glass of water.
Stir with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Vieux Carre
3/4 ounce rye whiskey
3/4 ounce brandy
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
1/8 ounce Benedictine
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Garnish: Lemon twist.
Build over ice, in an Old Fashioned glass.

GSN Alert: May 30th – National Mint Julep Day

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.

Flagstaff Blues and Brews Festival brings Northern Arizona a taste and teaser event, Downtown Blues this June

Flagstaff Blues and Brews, the largest blues festival in Arizona, recently decided to pull off a smaller event at a local downtown venue, the historic Orpheum Theater.

Downtown Blues, presented generously by locally owned and operated Stackhouse Wealth Strategies, will be held June 12th from 3 pm to 10 pm. 18 and over only. Tickets will be limited to 250, as to adhere to social distancing guidelines, and cost $42 each. Owner and producer of the Flagstaff Blues and Brews Festival, Jennifer Grogan, expects this show to sell out quickly and encourages blues fans to purchase tickets soon.

“I am excited to bring the blues back to Flagstaff. Even though this isn’t our big annual festival, I’m just happy to celebrate the blues and hopefully returning to normal soon. I picked the historic Orpheum Theater as our location because of their abundance of caution regarding COVID 19 and their unrelenting support for the music community.”, says Jennifer. 

The lineup will include five bands total. The event headliner and two-time Flagstaff Blues and Brews Festival alumni is Harlis Sweetwater (performed in 2015 and 2017). Event attendees will also enjoy The Chuck Hall Band, The Tommy Dukes Band, Hans Olson and the Arizona Hired Guns. These other bands have also played the main Blues and Brews festival in years past, except the incredibly talented Hans Olson.

So consider this special event a taste and a teaser to keep local and regional blues fans on the edge of their seats as music lovers across the country patiently await a full recovery of the events and festival experiences Northern Arizona has to offer. Visit www.flagstaffblues.com for more information and to purchase tickets.

GSN Alert: May 16, 2020 – World Whiskey Day

WWD_Master_Logo

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

GSN Alert: May 15th – National Aperitif Day

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.

GSN Alert: May 13th – World Cocktail Day

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

GSN Alert: May 5th – Cinco de Mayo

Cinco_de_Mayo,_1901_posterMany people assume that Cinco de Mayo is the Mexican equivalent of the United States’ Independence Day.  Not so.  That originally happened on September 16, 1810.  Instead, Cinco de Mayo took place on May 5th in 1862 and is a day of remembrance for a key battle that took place in Puebla, Mexico.  For both Mexico and the U.S., it was a day that is significant for two reasons.  1) It was the first time that the French had been defeated in any battle in over 50 years, and by an army half its size, and 2) it was the last time a European country tried to invade North America.

Regardless of your nationality, any holiday is always a good time to have a drink or two.  So, in that spirit, GSN is happy to share a few non-Margarita recipes with you to mark the day in style.

Conquistador
Created by Milagro Brand Ambassador Jaime Salas
1 ½ parts Milagro Reposado
½ part Ancho Reyes
½ part Crème de Cacao
½ part Manzanilla Sherry
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Chill coupe glass with ice and water and set aside. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until well chilled and diluted. Discard chilling ice from the coupe. Strain ingredients into chilled coupe. Using a vegetable peeler, remove a long piece of orange peel. Express the oil over the cocktail, rub the peel around the rim of the glass, and place atop the cocktail.


Berentzen Apple Guava Rita
1.5 ounces of Berentzen Apple
1 ounce tequila
3 ounces guava nectar
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
Garnish with lime wedge.  Salt or sugar rim to taste.

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously.  Pour into margarita glass.  Garnish with lime wedge.


Thunder & Spice
Created by Thor Messer (The Rumpus Room, Milwaukee)
1 1/4 oz St. George California Agricole Rum
1 oz Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
2/3 oz simple syrup
2/3 oz fresh lime juice
1 dash Bittercube Orange Bitters

Shake all ingredients well then double strain into a chilled coupe glass.


Destornillador
Created by Blair Frodelius (Good Spirits News)
1.5 oz. Hangar One Chipotle Vodka
1.5 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
0.25 oz. Chartreuse Yellow
2 dashes Fee’s Aztec Chocolate Bitters

Add ingredients to mixing glass and shake with ice.  Strain into chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with dried red chipotle pepper lengthwise on bamboo spear and laid across top of the glass.


Shangra-lita
Created by Blair Frodelius (Good Spirits News)
1.5 oz Pama Liqueur
1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
0.75 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tsp simple syrup
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
0.5 oz Club soda

Mix all ingredients except club soda in ice filled shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and top off with club soda.  Stir gently and serve.