GSN Review: Yebiga Rakija Serbian Plum Brandy 

If you haven’t heard of rakija before – it’s reminiscent of how mezcal was an obscure spirit in the US and then took off in bars across the country within a short time. Rakija is a spirit that is generally unknown in the US, yet popular in the Balkans. It may just be the next big thing because it’s so unique, as well as delicious and true to its roots & tradition, made from hyper-local ingredients from its native country of Serbia.

Yebiga partnered with acclaimed mixologist Naren Young to curate signature cocktails that feature Yebiga’s two rakijas – PRVA and BELA. Download Naren Young’s Cocktails here. While Yebiga is traditionally served neat, the brand is on a mission to help the US consumer understand the spirit and discover how special it really is. These signature Yebiga cocktails feature the rakija beautifully, showcasing what the product is all about and how it can be approachably mixed by any at-home imbiber. Not only that, but Rakija does have a different taste profile than many spirits out there, and mixing it in cocktails adds a unique signature to any drink.

Note: GSN was sent a bottle of BELA for review.

GSN’s Remarks: A true fruit brandy in that there is nothing but the distilled expression in the bottle. The plum flavor carries through with a light stonefruit sweetness. Slightly musky, somewhat dark and with a semi-creamy mouthfeel, this is a spirit begging to be utilized in a cocktail. Although, we did enjoy it neat as an after dinner aperitif. Well crafted, smooth and full of terroir, we recommend adding Yebiga to your back bar. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Yebiga

#yebiga #rakija

GSN Review: Drake’s Organic Spirits & Spiked Ice

Drake’s is the only spirit brand to hold certifications from five of most recognized authorities, being USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, OU Kosher, vegan per Vegan.org, and gluten-free per Gluten-Free Organization. Drake’s products include Vodka, Rum, Spiced Rum, SpikedIce™ Pops, and a RTD cocktail line: BOXTAILS™. As Drake’s catchphrase says, “Better for you, better for the planet.”

The Vodka, Rum, Spiced Rum are 100% plant-based (e.g., clarified using coconut fibers rather than carbon which often contains bone char) and distilled from organic non-GMO cane sugar. Cane, vs. grain, has a negative carbon footprint vs. a very high carbon footprint. They also use no herbicides and pesticides.

Drake’s Organic SpikedIce Pops Variety Pack comes in three flavors – Mango Vodka Punch, Black Cherry Limeade, and Watermelon-Tini and are made with Drake’s all-organic vodka and white rum. The handheld ice pops feature 12% ABV and only 100 calories each.

Using USDA Organic fruit juice and Drake’s spirits, Drake’s Organic Boxtails are THE ONLY organic boxed cocktails on the market. The collapsible bladder inside the box keeps the Boxtails fresh and shelf-stable for up to 2 years, and the box is made of recycled cardboard. The boxes are 100% compostable, while the inner bladder and spigot are fully recyclable. They come in a variety of flavors including Minted Mojito, Watermelon-Tini, Blackcherry Limeade, Perfect Margarita, and Mango Punch.

Note: We were not sent the Boxtails for review.

  • The vodka is simply what it needs to be. It has an interesting flavor profile, with more vanilla than expected. But there is also a minerality and terroir that adds more character. GSN Rating: B
  • The white rum has a somewhat grassy profile, with again more body and apparent minerality. We especially like this one for Daiquiris. GSN Rating: B+
  • The spiced rum is our favorite, with a nice blend of woodiness, warm vanilla, cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg. Drier than many spiced rums, this works in its favor when used in tiki drinks, cutting through the juice and adding balance. Try it in a Painkiller or a Pina Colada. GSN Rating: A-
  • The Spiked Ice pops are boozier than any others on the market, making them the equivalent of 2/3 of a glass of wine. The flavors are heavily fruity, but refreshing, especially on a hot summer day. What’s nice is that you can throw the whole box in the freezer and it only takes up as much room as two ice cube trays. Plus, they’re safer to have around the pool or patio, as there’s no possible breakage. GSN Rating: B

For more information go to: Drake’s Organic

#drakesorganic #spikedice #boxtails

GSN Spirited News: May 3rd 2022 Edition

San Antonio-based Maverick Spirits is introducing Samuel Maverick Agave Blanco, a Texas-made take on Tequila. It is distilled from 100% Blue Agave nectar using a hybrid still (pot and column) and bottled in-house. Maverick Spirit’s Agave Blanco is available in 750-ml. bottles for a suggested retail price of $40 online and at the distillery in San Antonio. It is distributed by Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) in Texas.

Mijenta Tequila has launched a new añejo expression, the first from the luxury-priced brand. The Tequila matured for 18 months in a combination of four different barrel types—American white oak, French oak, French acacia casks, and cherry barrels—before bottling at 40% abv. Mijenta Gran Añejo, created by author and Tequila Maestra Ana Maria Romero, is available in limited quantities, with only 2,160 bottles available for a suggested price of $199 a 750-ml.

Seattle, Washington’s Westland Distillery, part of the Rémy Cointreau portfolio, has announced Colere Edition 2 American Single Malt Whiskey, the latest addition to the distillery’s Outpost Range of whiskies. The 50% abv whiskey is distilled from Talisman barley and matures in used oak casks, a decision the distillery made to highlight the grain over barrel influence. For the second edition of Colere, Westland has released 3,000 bottles to select retailers for a suggested price of $150 a 700-ml. bottle.

Cardenxe is a new sotol brand launching this week. Sotol is a Mexican spirit native to the Chihuahua region distilled from the dasylirion plant, a member of the asparagaceae family. Cardenxe, whose name references both a historical music genre from the region and a cactus that often grows along with the sotol plant, is launching with two varieties: Sotol De La Sierra (40% abv, $90 a 750-ml) and Sotol De Desierto (45% abv, $60). It is available online and at select retail locations in New York City.

Brown-Forman has announced two new permanent extensions in the Jack Daniel’s family of whiskies, kicking off the company’s series of bonded releases. Jack Daniel’s Bonded is a higher abv version of the company’s flagship Tennessee whiskey bottled in accordance with the Bottled in Bond act. The second whiskey, Triple Mash, is a blend of bonded Tennessee whiskey, rye, and American malt whiskey. Both whiskies are at 50% abv with the Bonded Tennessee whiskey retailing for $30 a bottle and the Triple Mash going for $33. Both are packaged in 700-ml. bottles.

Georgetown, Kentucky’s Blue Run Spirits has launched Reflection I, the company’s second whiskey release this year. The whiskey was distilled by Jim Rutledge at Castle & Key in 2018, and just 200 barrels were blended for the new release, which is bottled at 47.5% abv. Reflection I is now available in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas through RNDC; Georgia via Savannah; South Carolina and Tennessee through Advintage; Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Delaware from Prestige-Ledroit; California, Colorado, Illinois, and Florida via Breakthru; and New Jersey from Fedway Associates for a suggested price of $90 a 750-ml.

Luxco has launched Alias Straight Rye Whiskey. Distilled at Luxco’s Ross & Squibb Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, Alias is bottled at 45% abv and is available starting this month. Alias Straight Rye Whiskey features a mashbill that is 51% rye, 45% corn, and 4% barley malt. The brand’s name pays tribute to American early female distilling pioneers, many of whom used their initials to hide their gender in order to own and operate distilleries.

Scottish gin Caorunn has launched its Highland Strength gin in the U.S. The 54% abv gin is made using a blend of Scottish botanicals—rowan berry, bog myrtle, heather, dandelion, and Coul Blush apple—and traditional gin aromatics, and is produced in a Copper Berry Chamber, an essential oil extractor originally designed for making perfume. Caorunn Highland Strength is now available across the U.S. for a suggested price of $40 a bottle.

Louisville, Kentucky-based Buzzard’s Roost is relaunching its inaugural whiskey under a new name. Char 1 Rye, formerly known as Very Small Batch Rye, is a three-year-old Indiana rye whiskey. “We are the first whiskey brand to only use Char 1 barrels for the second barrel maturation, and we do it because of what it brings to the whiskey in terms of flavor and color,” noted co-founder and master blender Jason Brauner. Retailing at $49 a 750-ml., the 52.5% abv whiskey has a mashbill of 95% rye and 5% malted barley. It’s currently distributed to Kentucky, Massachusetts, Ohio, New Mexico, and Arkansas, with further expansion planned.

Calirosa Tequila has launched its first limited edition extra añejo. The tequila, like all of Calirosa’s offerings, matured in California red wine barrels; in this case, the extra añejo aged for five years before bottling at 40% abv. The spirit is made at the Amatitán, Jalisco, Mexico-based facility owned by the Real family and led by master distiller Luis Trejo Rodriguez. Calirosa Cinco Años Extra Añejo carries a suggested price of $299 a 750-ml. and will be available through Total Wine’s Concierge membership program as well as at select liquor stores across the U.S.

The Brand House’s Omage brandy is now available in cities across the U.S. The brandy—available in VS, VSOP, and XO expressions—is made using California grapes and is inspired by the production and aging methods found in Cognac. The expressions are aged for two, four, and six years, respectively, and carry suggested retail prices of $26, $36, and $90. Currently available in cities like New York, Boston, Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Los Angeles, among others, the brand is planning for further expansion this year.

Information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Teremana Anejo Tequila

Teremana tequila recently announced the launch of Teremana Añejo, which is available in limited quantities. Founded by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson together with co-owners and business partners Ken Austin, Jenna Fagnan, Dany Garcia and the Lopez family from Jalisco, Mexico; Teremana Añejo joins Teremana’s blanco and reposado tequilas.

Teremana Añejo is made using only fully mature blue weber agave from the Jalisco Highlands, slow roasted in small traditional brick ovens, and distilled in handmade copper pot stills. Following this process, Teremana Añejo is placed into American Whiskey barrels to age. Each bottle of Teremana Añejo is dipped by hand in black wax before being hand packaged at the brand’s distillery, Destileria Teremana De Agave, in the small highland town of Jesus Maria in Jalisco. The exclusive distillery was built together with the Lopez family, who are experts in the tradition of agave growing and tequila making.

For Founder Dwayne Johnson, Teremana Añejo marks a milestone in his tequila journey, which was over ten years in the making. “It is with enormous pride that we reveal Teremana Añejo, a spirit that we’ve been waiting patiently for since well before we announced the launch of Teremana last year.  Teremana Añejo is made the right way – with respect and mana. My master distilling team and I finally feel that our añejo is aged to perfection and is ready to be bottled up and delivered. I’m so excited for you all to finally taste it and continue to enjoy the Tequila of The People!”

GSN’s Remarks: A dark character, that is full of self assurance and vigor. We really enjoyed the effect that the ex-whiskey cask aging had on this spirit. Lending a sweetness, and familiar chewiness, this tequila has a lot going on. First a lot of wood, creating a tight and dry entry, then switching to a patina of sweet, yet oaky intensity. There are some notes of butterscotch, caramel and vanilla, but mostly a plethora of wood stave, lending a spicy and toasty sensation on the palate. Definitely designed for sipping, we recommend serving over single large rock of ice. GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Teremana

#TeremanaAnejoTequila


Off the heels from Guac on The Rock’s groundbreaking success last year, it’s back again for year two. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Teremana Tequila are encouraging people across the country to once again support their local restaurants and bars and will personally reimburse people for their guac orders up to the value of $1M. I’d love for you to consider writing about it.
Guac on The Rock will be live from May 1st – May 8th, coinciding with Dwayne’s birthday (May 2nd) and Cinco de Mayo (May 5th). Here’s how it works:
  • WHO: Consumers 21 and over in states where allowed
  • WHAT: Purchase a Teremana cocktail with an order of guac and be reimbursed up to $10—whether you dine in or take out. All you need to do is upload an itemized receipt by heading directly to guacontherock.com or by scanning the unique QR code in the restaurant 
  • WHEN: May 1st – May 8th

GSN Review: Jose Cuervo Tradicional Cristalino

First released in Mexico, Jose Cuervo Tradicional Cristalino is now available nationwide in the U.S. Combining more than 225 years of  tequila expertise and craftsmanship with modern innovation, Cuervo’s entry into the Cristalino category is poised to bring this emerging tequila expression to the masses.

The rapidly growing Cristalino category offers tequilas that carry the complexity of an aged spirit, but with a smoothness and clarity that many tequila fans enjoy. Cristalino tequilas are currently the fastest growing tequila segment in the U.S., growing at four times the rate of the tequila category.

“Cristalinos are exciting because they offer an incredibly smooth, yet complex tasting experience that’s unlike any other tequila expression,” said Alex Coronado, Head of Production and Master Distiller for Jose Cuervo. “When creating a Cristalino for Jose Cuervo, we wanted to make sure the liquid stayed true to the original Cuervo family recipe, while offering an expression that’s on the cutting edge of what’s exciting in the tequila category. That’s why we created a Cristalino made with a unique blend of three tequila expressions: Tradicional Reposado, Tradicional Añejo, and Reserva de la Familia Extra Añejo. The result is a tequila that offers incredible smoothness, all while maintaining a rich, layered taste due to the complex aging process.”

Jose Cuervo Tradicional Cristalino starts in the agave fields, where 100% Blue Weber agave plants are grown at the base of the Volcán de Tequila before being sent to La Rojeña, Latin America’s oldest active distillery. The piñas are then cooked in brick ovens, before being distilled in copper stills, following the original Cuervo family recipe from 1795. The aging process then results in a blend of three expressions: Reposado, which is matured in American oak barrels, Añejo, also matured in American oak, and Reserva de la Familia Extra Añejo, aged in French oak and American oak barrels. Reposado is the dominant expression in the blend, giving the liquid a light and balanced herbal essence, with primary notes of cooked agave. After maturation, the tequila blend then goes through a signature refinement process to selectively remove the amber color. Jose Cuervo Tradicional Cristalino maintains the aroma and taste of an aged tequila, but with a crystal clear appearance.

GSN’s Remarks: Very smooth and elegant entry with a vanilla forward overtone. The agave flavor is clean, fresh and warm. What is most intriguing about this spirit is the blend of differing woods and agings. There is a fair amount of dry tannin in the overall character, but it is well balanced by the agave, almost giving it a sweet corn similarity. We definitely recommend this as a sipper, but it will also work as a stellar highlight in an anejo cocktail. A welcome addition to the Cuervo portfolio! GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Cuervo

#CuervoTradicionalCristalino

GSN Spirited News: May 3rd 2022 Edition

Boston-based Latitude Beverage is extending Tequila Zarpado with a new Reposado expression. Rested in ex-Kentucky Bourbon barrels for three to four months, the new offering retails at $27 a 750-ml. and joins the existing Tequila Zarpado Blanco ($23) in the range. The new Reposado is debuting on store shelves across 14 states, as well as online. The Latitude Beverage portfolio also includes 90+ Cellars and Wheel Horse Whiskey.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee-based Ole Smoky Distillery is expanding distribution of two of its moonshine flavors. Both newer additions to the lineup, the two receiving national visibility are White Chocolate Strawberry Cream and Banana Pudding Cream. They’re available now across the U.S. in 50-ml. Mini Moonshine jars as well as original 750-ml. sizing. 

Proximo Spirits-owned Stranahan’s whiskey has unveiled an Añejo Cask expression as the latest release in its limited-edition series of distillery exclusives. Retailing at $70, Stranahan’s Añejo Cask is an American single malt made from a marriage of six to nine-year-old whiskey initially aged in virgin American oak barrels, with up to two and a half years spent in casks that previously held Reserva de Familia Extra Añejo Tequila. The 45% abv offering is available exclusively at Stranahan’s distillery in Denver, Colorado.

The Glenrothes, part of the Edrington portfolio, has launched a limited edition 36 Year Old Single Cask Scotch whisky. Only 168 bottles are available for $3,600 each. After buying a bottle, purchasers will receive an NFT featuring custom artwork—also featured on the bottle packaging—created by The New Yorker illustrator Maddie Dai. The NFT will also provide access to real world experiences around the globe, including the potential to travel to the distillery in Rothes, Scotland, which is not traditionally open to visitors. 

Information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Alert: Cointreau And Uber Eats Toast To Summer With Margarita Mobiles And The Margarita Market

Cointreau, the essential ingredient in The Original Margarita which has stood the test of over 70 years, is teaming up with  Uber Eats to kick-off summertime with the ultimate Cinco de Mayo celebrations, bringing the magic of Uber Eats on-demand delivery and unmatched quality and taste of Cointreau directly to consumers in key markets nationwide.

Beginning today, consumers can head to the Margarita Market, an in-app destination exclusively on Uber Eats in select cities where they can order everything they need to mix up The Original Margarita. The Margarita Market includes Cointreau, tequila, and an exclusive Margarita Cocktail Kit with essentials from glasses and salt rim to everything in between. The Market will be open exclusively on Uber Eats in Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. and the kit retails for $45, while supplies last.

On Thursday, May 5, those in New York and Los Angeles are invited to visit the Uber Eats x Cointreau Margarita Mobiles, where they can taste The Original Margarita and pick-up The Margarita Cocktail Kit, available for pre-order on The Margarita Market storefront on Uber Eats. RSVP to visit the Uber Eats x Cointreau Margarita Mobiles via the links below:

“The Original Margarita has stood the test of time for generations and has become synonymous with both the summer season and celebrations,” said Ian McLernon, President and CEO at Rémy Cointreau Americas. “Cointreau’s partnership with Uber Eats signals another way for consumers to shake up and enjoy a Margarita of their own as summer approaches, whether they’re hosting from home or stopping by The Margarita Mobile. We’re thrilled to be working with a leader in on-demand delivery to help bring everything you need to mix up a Margarita, right when you need it.”

“Introducing alcohol delivery last year marked yet another way for our consumers to get anything with Uber Eats,” said Georgie Jeffreys, Head of Uber Eats Marketing in the U.S. & Canada. “And as we continue to expand, we’re focused on bringing new and exclusive offerings both in-app and IRL. Our partnership with Cointreau to launch The Margarita Market and Margarita Mobiles offers folks a one-of-a-kind experience to shake up and taste a refreshing, premium cocktail just in time to kick off summer.”

For more information on The Margarita Mobiles and to order The Margarita Cocktail Kit for yourself, head to The Margarita Market storefront on Uber Eats.

GSN Review: Uncle Val’s Zested Gin

3 Badge Mixology founder August Sebastiani created Botanical Gin in 2012 to honor his uncle, Zio Valerio. A retired physician, Mr. Valerio is also an avid cook and gardener and uses the plants he grows in his garden to prepare food with. Using the same plants and herbs his uncle would have, August created a gin. Uncle Val’s Zested Gin is the latest in the portfolio. Ingredients include juniper, bergamot orange, coriander and barley malt.

GSN’s Remarks: Quite a bit of orange on the nose, whereas the juniper plays a submissive role. Clean, bright and crisp. The flavor is remarkably orange with a hefty sweetness. Very little of the other botanicals come through, but the barley malt adds a smooth and creamy base. After several seconds, a pith-like bitterness creeps in, balancing out the sweet forwardness. For a gin, this is definitely a new world style that is perfectly designed for fruity gin cocktails, as opposed to a traditional dry Martini. GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Uncle Val’s Gin

#UncleValsZestedGin

GSN Review: The Kentucky Owl The Wiseman Straight Rye

Kentucky Owl has announced the second release in The Wiseman series, a new straight rye whiskey available in April across the U.S. The new whiskey joins The Wiseman Bourbon released by Kentucky Owl in September 2021.

The Wiseman Straight Rye is a 95% rye mash bill selected by Kentucky Owl Master Blender John Rhea and bottled at 100.8 proof. This is the third Kentucky Owl release under Rhea, who previously served as Four Roses Distillery’s chief operating officer, where his responsibilities included quality control, maturation, evaluation and product blending. He was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2016 and served as chair of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association board of directors.

Originally founded by C.M. Dedman in 1879, the Kentucky Owl Bardstown distillery went dark during the Prohibition era and remained dormant until a descendant revived the brand in 2014. Since then, the company’s small batch releases have sold out quickly and received rave reviews.

GSN’s Remarks: This is one tasty rye. We’ve enjoyed their Kentucky Straight Bourbon, but the rye ramps up the flavor and the proof. Full of chewy and brisk rye notes, there is also a softness that tempers the fire down to a slow rumble. A lot going on in the mid-palate, with zesty spice and a caramel, toast and oak medley that has a very approachable personality. We like this one especially in mixed drinks like the Manhattan, Whiskey Ginger and Vieux Carre. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Kentucky Owl Bourbon

#TheWiseman #KentuckyStraightRyeWhiskey

GSN Spirited News: April 26th 2022 Edition

Cazadores Tequila, part of the Bacardi portfolio, has announced a new flavor, Ranch Water, joining its ready-to-drink line of 100%-agave canned cocktails. Made with a blend of Cazadores Blanco, sparkling mineral water, and a hint of fresh lime juice, the new addition is at 5.9% abv and will be launching in May in select markets including Texas, California, Illinois, Arizona, and Washington, retailing at $15 a four-pack of 12-ounce slim cans.

Stoli Group has released a limited edition bottling of its namesake vodka with proceeds going to World Central Kitchen (WCK) to benefit Ukraine. The limited-time-offering features the colors of Ukraine’s flag in geometric patterns with “#LiberateUkraine” beneath a dove carrying an olive branch. The release will be available globally and Stoli’s goal is to raise $1 million by August 24, Ukraine’s independence day. The proceeds will provide food to Ukrainian refugees through José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen. Currently, WCK serves 300,000 meals a day in the region.

Diageo has announced Fable & Folly Finest Quality Whiskey Aged 14 Years, the latest release from the Orphan Barrel Whiskey brand. The new bottling is a blend of previous Orphan Barrel releases including the last remaining whiskies used for Forged Oak, Barterhouse, and a number of the Rhetoric whiskies, with other whiskies from Diageo’s stable added. Fable & Folly is bottled at 45% abv and is available across the U.S. in limited quantities for a suggested price of $150 a 750-ml.

M.S. Walker Brands has announced the nationwide expansion of the Grand Mayan Tequila line with the introduction of two new super-premium additions, Grand Mayan Extra Aged and Grand Mayan 5 Year Ultra Aged Limited Edition. Both are 100%-agave Tequilas distilled twice in copper pot stills. Grand Mayan Extra Aged ($120) is rested in ex-Bourbon and ex-Cognac barrels for up to 5 years. Grand Mayan 5 Year Ultra Aged Limited Edition ($250) is rested in ex-Bourbon and ex-Cognac casks for a minimum of 5 years and comes in a handcrafted gift box.

Portland, Oregon’s Freeland Spirits has launched a new rye whiskey, the first limited-edition spirit from Freeland to see distribution beyond the distillery’s tasting room. The 5-year-old sourced rye is bottled at 56% abv and finished in Magdalena Guatemalan rum barrels for two years. The rye carries a suggested retail price of $75 and will be available at Freeland’s two tasting rooms and to order online to be shipped to 37 states via Tipxy.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s Charles Jacquin et Cie., Inc has released Union Forge, a new rye-based vodka. The grains for the 40% vodka are sourced from farms in McKean County, PA. Union Forge is the first major release from Jacquin’s since CEO and third generation family member John Cooper took the helm. Union Forge is now available in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Florida, and Michigan for a suggested price of $20 a 750-ml.

Information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Amaro Montenegro

Once used for medicinal properties, Amaro Montenegro is recognized amongst devoted imbibers as the champion of neat pours in the digestif category due to its harmonious balance of sweet and bitter-tasting notes. Poured straight from the bottle, this herbal liqueur needs no accompaniment and can be enjoyed at room temperature, creating an effortless and seamless drinking experience. More commonly known as a modifier for classic cocktails amongst world-class bartenders, Amaro Montenegro on its own is actually the go-to drink for Italians after a hearty meal. There’s a reason this digestif’s recipe has remained unchanged for 136 years and that is because of its beautifully balanced bitter-sweet flavor and complex taste appealing to all types of drinkers.

GSN’s Remarks: A classic amaro for a reason. This has everything you’re looking for. Medium bitterness, light sweetness, medium-heavy body, and medium herbality. We like this as a nightcap at the end of the day. But also try it in some classic cocktails in place of sweet vermouth. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Amaro Montenegro

#AmaroMontenegro

GSN Spirited News: April 19th 2022 Edition

Flying Tumbler Irish whiskey, has launched in the U.S. The launch kicks off in Massachusetts, with the brand reaching New York later this year. While Flying Tumbler has three expressions in its home market, the U.S. will first receive the Bird, a 43% abv whiskey blended from malt and grain whiskies matured in ex-Bourbon and ex-Oloroso Sherry casks. Flying Tumbler the Bird carries a suggested price of $43 a 750-ml. and is imported to the U.S. by MHW and distributed in Massachusetts by M.S. Walker.

Tequila Ocho has announced the first edition of Puntas, a new 50.5% abv Plata Tequila. The release is limited—only 600 cases will be available in the U.S.—and serves as a distiller’s cut release made from spirits distilled at the tail end of the heads and beginning of the hearts distillation runs. Fresh off the still, the Tequila comes in above 60% abv before being proofed down to its bottling abv. Tequila Ocho Puntas will be available in 12 markets across the U.S. for a suggested price of $60 a 750-ml.

Diageo is relaunching the super-premium Astral Tequila brand, which it gained as part of its 2020 acquisition of Davos Brands. Made from 100% Blue Weber agave, Astral, which means “of the stars,” retails at $35 a 750-ml. and is available nationally. To back the relaunch, the brand is introducing The House of Astral. Located just outside Joshua Tree National Park, one of the best-known dark sky locations in the country, The House of Astral is curated in partnership with astrologer Aliza Kelly, to “create activities guided by the cosmos,” according to the company. Astral is also giving back to its community, with its leftover agave fibers upcycled into adobe bricks to be used to construct buildings in local communities in Mexico.

Moët Hennessy-owned Ardbeg has partnered with BlockBar to create the first NFT release for the Islay single malt Scotch. Ardbeg Fon Fhòid is a 45.5% abv single malt that matured in ex-Bourbon barrels that were buried in a peat bog near the Ardbeg distillery for two years and 10 months before bottling. Only 456 NFTs, each corresponding to a bottle of Fon Fhòid, will be available for purchase on BlockBar beginning at 10am on April 19. Each NFT carries a price of 1 ETH or, roughly, $3,400. Last year, Ardbeg was at 49,000 cases in the U.S., up 15%, according to Impact Databank.

Portland, Maine-based Hardshore Distilling Co. is debuting its gins across 19 states. The portfolio includes Hardshore Original Gin ($38 a 750-ml.) and Hardshore North Oak Barrel Rested Gin ($45). A mix of five botanicals—rosemary, mint, orris root, coriander, and juniper—Hardshore is billed as a green herb-forward gin. Its Oak Barrel extension spends between three and six months in new 30-gallon American oak casks. Hardshore plans to continue adding more markets to its footprint moving forward.

The Macallan has launched Distil Your World New York, a new single malt expression created in collaboration with Michelin-starred chefs the Roca brothers, owners of El Celler de Can Roca. The Macallan Distil Your World New York (49.5% abv) is packaged in a white presentation box featuring an engraved aerial map of New York. The limited-edition release of 1,000 bottles will be available starting this month for an SRP of $4,200 for the 70-cl. bottle and $4,500 for the 75-cl. version at select The Macallan Boutiques around the world as well as select retailers.

Proximo Spirits has released Jose Cuervo Tradicional Cristalino, a first for the 100% blue agave Tequila label. The 40% abv spirit is made from a blend of three Tequilas—Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado and Añejo, both aged in American oak barrels, and Reserva de la Familia Extra Añejo, aged in French and American oak—before filtering to create a clear, aged spirit. The bulk of the blend is Tradicional’s Reposado and the Tequila is now available across the U.S. for around $35 a 750-ml.

Casa del Sol Tequila has announced 11:11 Angel’s Reserve, a new luxury Tequila from the company co-founded by actress Eva Longoria. The 40% abv Tequila is made from a blend of Añejo and Extra-Añejo Tequilas aged in French oak and XO Cognac barrels. The new Tequila carries a suggested retail price of $199 and is currently available for pre-order through the brand’s website. A national rollout is set to follow in the next few weeks.

Sonoma-based 3 Badge Beverage is expanding its Mexican spirits portfolio with Quechol Sotol. Quechol is made in small batches from indigenous Dasylirion plants sourced from the Chihuahuan desert in Durango. Unlike the agave plant, Dasylirion is closer to an evergreen plant in the asparagus family. Quechol will initially include two expressions, Wheeleri Sotol ($60, 45.5% abv) and Texanum Sotol ($60, 46.3% abv).

Information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: St. George Bruto Americano

Ready for a bigger, better, bitterer bar? Say hello to Bruto Americano! Inspired by distiller Lance Winters’ formative experiences growing up in California in the 1970s, Bruto is a bitter aperitivo liqueur made from a variety of herbs, roots, and other botanicals. Though the exact number of ingredients and formulation are proprietary, the bitterness comes primarily from gentian root; the citrus notes mostly from California-grown Seville orange; and the woodsy notes from balsam fir and Cascara sagrada (bark from the California buckthorn).

Some ingredients are hot-steeped, others are cold-infused. The resulting mixture is filtered and then colored in the traditional manner with cochineal to achieve a natural ruby red hue.

Bruto and Soda is a brilliant session drink. Also recommended in a Negroni, Boulevardier, Americano, and in various Spritzes.

GSN’s Remarks: Softly bitter and mildly sweet, this is a very drinkable aperitivo. In some ways reminiscent of sweet vermouth married to a kraut liqueur, the flavor is expressive, highly herbal and well balanced. We’ve been enjoying a small glass before dinner, but also it is a great addition to your cocktail arsenal used in traditionally bracing cocktails such as the Negroni, Americano and Boulevardier. Another winner from St. George. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: St. George Spirits

#BrutoAmericano

 

GSN Review: St. George Pear Brandy

Pear brandy has been St. George’s flagship spirit since 1982, the year the distillery was founded. Today they make a wide array of spirits—all of them inspired by the philosophy of craft brandy production. They begin by sourcing the most flavorful and characteristic fruit they can find and then distill it at its prime. By using the whole fruit in its entirety, they maximize the most elemental and essential flavors and aromas. No sugar or anything artificial is added, so all you get is the honest essence of the raw material.

The brandy is distilled in a collection of copper pot stills—including their oldest still, a 250-liter custom made by the Arnold Holstein Company in 1982. Done right, a single still run is all it takes.

Europeans traditionally sip unaged fruit brandy as a digestif. But at 40% alcohol and with no residual sugar, their wildly aromatic pear and raspberry brandies are a bartender’s secret weapon—enhancing any cocktail that calls for vivid fruit flavor without additional sweetness.

GSN’s Remarks: A lovely freshly cut pear aroma greets the nose. Very fruit forward flavor with a round and somewhat creamy mouthfeel. The pear character comes through loud and clear. This is one of the best tree fruit brandies we’ve ever had the pleasure of reviewing. Obviously, they know what they are doing at St. George. We do like this as a digestif, but also it is amazing in a variety of brandy based cocktails. GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: St. George Spirits

#StGeorge #PearBrandy