Here are some GSN recommended books to be on the lookout for in the next few months.

indexWild Cocktails from the Midnight Apothecary: 100 Recipes Using Home-grown and Foraged Fruits, Herbs, and Edible Flowers by Lottie Muir  (April 5, 2015) Lottie Muir is the creator of the Midnight Apothecary pop-up cocktail bar, set in a roof garden in the heart of London, where she also grows many of the ingredients for her mixes. On Saturday nights she sheds her gardening gloves and dons her apron to become the Cocktail Gardener mixologist. Moving from flowerbed to bar, she rustles up seasonal plant-powered cocktails, made with the harvest from her garden and from foraging trips nearby. Starting with The Cocktail Cabinet, Lottie explains both gardening and cocktail-making basics. She tells you what botanicals you will need year-round, including edible flowers, and gives tips on getting the best from your growing space, as well as advice on foraging if you want to venture further than your back garden.
indexTea Cocktails: A Mixologist’s Guide to Legendary Tea-Infused Cocktails by Abigail R. Gehring (April 7, 2015) In classy bars and cocktail lounges across America, tea is making a big splash. Absolut has launched a line of tea-infused vodka, companies such as Owl’s Brew are springing up with teas crafted specifically as cocktail mixers, and foodie magazines such as Saveur and Food & Wine are featuring hot chai toddies and gin-spiked iced teas. Here organic tea company Teatulia partners with Gehring to provide a stunning collection of hot and cold tea cocktail recipes sure to impress any mixologist or tea lover. Learn how to balance the unique flavors of herbal and black teas with just the right spirits to create drinks.
indexDistilled: From absinthe & brandy to vodka & whisky, the world’s finest artisan spirits unearthed, explained & enjoyed by Neil Ridley & Joel Harrison (April 7, 2015) Harrison & Ridley are at the forefront of providing expertise and innovation in the spirits world. From whisky to gin, cognac to exotic drinks, the duo has a wealth of knowledge to share with audiences across the globe. They write about whisky on their award-winning website Caskstrength.net and regularly pen articles and whisky features for a number of different publications such as Whisky Magazine, Imbibe and the Evening Standard, as well as becoming judges for the World Whisky Awards and the prestigious I.W.S.C. awards. Joel and Neil approach the drinks world with an irreverent, independently-minded spirit and, in the last two years, the duo have hosted over 250 whisky and other spirits tastings around the world from Japan to Lithuania.
indexImbibe! 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 by David Wondrich (April 7, 2015) The first edition, published in 2007, won a James Beard Award. Now updated with newly discovered recipes and historical information, this new edition includes the origins of the first American drink, the Mint Julep (which Wondrich places before the American Revolution), and those of the Cocktail itself. It also provides more detail about 19th century spirits, many new and colorful anecdotes and details about Thomas’s life, and a number of particularly notable, delicious, and influential cocktails not covered in the original edition, rounding out the picture of pre-Prohibition tippling.
indexClassic Cocktails (revised) by Salvatore Calabrese (April 21, 2015) Salvatore “The Maestro” Calabrese is one of the world’s foremost cocktail experts—and drinks lovers will salut this expanded version of his classic guide. The New York Times called the original edition “a must-have,” and now it contains even more: new chapters and loads of new images; up-to-the-minute information on the most exciting cocktail trends, tastes, and techniques; and newly uncovered historical tidbits (like the true origin of the Bloody Mary). Fifty new recipes include long-buried favorites like the turn-of-the-century New Orleans classic Absinthe Suissesse, a barrel-aged Blood and Sand, and the Prohibition-era The Angel’s Tit. This elegant volume also includes DIYs for essential cocktail ingredients like Velvet Falernum, recipes for flavored syrups and homemade shrubs, and advice on throwing the very best at-home cocktail parties ever.
indexThe Tippling Bros. A Lime and a Shaker: Discovering Mexican-Inspired Cocktails by Tad Carducci & Paul Tanguay (April 21, 2015) In The Tippling Bros. A Lime and a Shaker, Tad Carducci and Paul Tanguay, who collectively have 55 years of professional experience in the beverage industry, step in to provide their expertise on Mexican cocktails. Their 72 exciting recipes go past the classic margarita and include traditional, craft, and spicy drinks such as the Blood-Orange-Cinnamon Margarita, San Fresa Frizz, and Smokey Pablo. The authors also cover the history of tequila, explain the difference between different tequilas, and offer bonus recipes for aguas frescas, syrups, salts, and some of their favorite Mexican dishes. With vibrant photographs throughout, this is the must-have book on the subject, perfect for home cooks, bartenders, and those who just want to know more about tequila and mezcal.
indexBitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails: Restorative Vintage Cocktails, Mocktails, and Elixirs by Warren Bobrow & Philip M. Dobard (May 1, 2015) The Cocktail Whisperer, Warren Bobrow, has been using bitters and shrubs in his quest for added zest in many of his craft cocktails, adding depth and mystery to a generic mixed drink. Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails will send your taste buds back in time with 75 traditional and newly-created recipes for medicinally-themed drinks. Learn the fascinating history of apothecary bitters, healing herbs, flowers, fruits, vegetables, and vinegars that are making a comeback in cocktail and non-alcoholic recipes. If you love vintage cocktails, you’ll surely enjoy this guide to mixing delicious elixirs.
indexThe Negroni: Drinking to La Dolce Vita, with Recipes & Lore by Gary Regan (May 5, 2015) The Negroni is one of the simplest and most elegant drink formulas around: combine one part gin, one part sweet vermouth, and one part Campari, then stir and serve over ice. This bitter, sweet, and smooth drink has inspired countless variations as well as legions of diehard aficionados. In The Negroni, Gary Regan–barman extraordinaire and author of the iconic book The Joy of Mixology–delves into the drink’s fun, fascinating history (its origin story is still debated, with battling Italian noblemen laying claim) and provides techniques for modern updates (barrel aging and carbonation among them). Sixty delightfully varied and uniformly tasty recipes round out this spirited collection, which is a must-have for any true cocktail enthusiast.
indexThe Craft Cocktail Party: Delicious Drinks for Every Occasion by Julie Reiner & Kaitlyn Goalen (May 5, 2015) Julie Reiner, the co-owner of The Clover Club in Brooklyn and The Flatiron Lounge in Manhattan, has written a book that provides inspiration for the rest of us, not only the cocktail geeks. She wants to balance the needs of the everyday drinker with those of the passionate mixologist. Recipes are organized around seasonality and occasion, with different events and themes appropriate to the specific time of the year. Each section will include a mixture of holiday-inspired drinks, classic cocktails, and innovative new drinks, all along with fun cocktail lore. Tricks, tips, and techniques–such as batching and infusions, tools of the trade, notes on spirit types, and easy substitutions to utilize what you already have on hand–will round out the amazing amount of information in Reiner’s book.
indexCocktails & Dreams: The Ultimate Indian Cocktail Book by Yangdup Lama & Gitanjali Chaturvedi (May 15, 2015) Cocktails and Dreams is put together by people who represent the modern, young India a bartender and a well-travelled development professional in some senses an unlikely cocktail. It comes at a time when India now exposed to the outside world does not consider drinking as a social taboo but enjoys a fine cocktail or two. With a significant change in urban lifestyles, the fifty original recipes help people to look beyond the traditional whisky on the rocks and rum and Coke.
indexVermouth: The Revival of the Spirit that Created America’s Cocktail Culture by Adam Ford (June 1, 2015) Previously fallen from grace, vermouth is once again the next big thing in spirits. Over the years, vermouth has fallen from grace, but the truth is, without vermouth, your martini is merely an iced vodka or gin. Now, once again, vermouth is being touted as the hottest trend in spirits. It is showing up in copious amounts on the best cocktail menus in the best cocktail lounges around the country. Vermouth has a rich history, deeply intertwined with that of America, and this book offers the first-ever detailed look into the background of this aromatized, fortified wine, as well as vermouth’s rise, fall, and comeback in America.
indexThe Cocktail Chronicles: Navigating the Cocktail Renaissance with Jigger, Shaker & Glass by Paul Clarke (June 15, 2015) From Paul Clarke, the 2014 Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer and founder of the groundbreaking spirits blog, The Cocktail Chronicles, comes an approachable guide to the cocktail renaissance thus far and—as the name implies—a chronicle of the cocktails that have come along the way. The Cocktail Chronicles is not a lab manual for taking the cocktail experience to a molecular level; nor is it an historical monograph tracing the details of our forebears as they developed and mixed the drinks we enjoy today. Instead, The Cocktail Chronicles is a collection of approachable, and easily replicable drinks that all share the same thing: a common deliciousness and a role — both big and small — in the ongoing and thriving cocktail renaissance. This collection of expertly curated recipes represent a photo album of sorts—snapshots of people encountered over the years, with some close friends and family members depicted alongside a few dimly remembered strangers.

86-000_FG_FORDS-GIN-TYPE-WITH-STRAPLINE-AND-STAMPSimon Ford is one of the busiest guys I’ve ever met.  He recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for charity.  He has also in a previous life been Pernod-Ricard’s ambassador for Plymouth and Beefeater gins.  So, it only makes sense that he decided to his own liquor company.  What else could he possibly have to conquer?

Working with Master Distiller Charles Maxwell, Ford’s Gin at London at Thames Distillers, Fords Gin is a blend of nine botanicals steeped for fifteen hours before distillation in twin custom 500 liter stills named Tom Thumb and Thumbelina.  The ingredients represent a virtual trip around the world with Italian juniper, Romanian coriander, Spanish lemon peel, bitter orange peel from Haiti and Morocco, grapefruit peel from Turkey, Angelica from Poland, Indonesian cassia, Jasmine from China and orris root from Italy and Morocco.  The base spirit is distilled from English wheat while the water comes from Mendocino County in California.

Wow!  I need a drink just thinking about all of that traveling!

Ford’s Gin (90 proof)
Visual: Crystal clear.
Nose: Hearty dose of juniper up front with a backbone of citrus and lighter herbs providing color.  Very fresh and clean.
Taste: Lightly sweet, but with a transparency that allows the drier characteristics of the botanicals to shone through.  Very much in the London Dry style with an excellent distillate holding everything together.
Finish: Dry, crisp and immensely satisfying.
Overall: What stands out for me in this gin is that no one aspect overwhelms or dominates.  If anything, there is more of a floral character than citrus, but that’s debatable.  Despite being a new gin, this can go head to head with old standbys like Beefeater and Tanqueray.  Will work in anything from a G&T to a classic martini and everything in between.  Do not hesitate to pick up a bottle!
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Ford’s Gin

Glendalough-Double-Barrel-Whiskey-320x320Ireland is known for two distinct spirits (and no, one of them isn’t Irish Cream).  What we’re talking about are poitin and whiskey.  Never heard of poitin (pronounced pot-cheen)?  You can read more about it here.  But more significantly, what are the differences between poitin and whiskey?

Homedistiller.org sums it up quite succinctly by saying, “Early poitin was raw single (barley) malt whiskey. Peat was the heat source. Later to cut costs (possibly in line with Scottish practice) malted barley and other grains (wheat, oats, rye) were used. The use of treacle (molasses) is mentioned, as is raw (brown) sugar, (one source says sugar was used after 1880). Currently barley and sugar, or even sugarbeet pulp is mentioned. I would imagine if potatoes were not suitable for eating, that they would be used too.”  As well, most poitin was illegally distilled at high-proof and unaged (barrels are expensive!).  So, in a nutshell, this is Irish moonshine made from whatever was handy and cheap.

As for Irish Whiskey, you know from previous articles that GSN has written that it is a very strictly regulated industry which has four standards:

  • It must be distilled and aged on the island of Ireland
  • It must be distilled yeast-fermented mash of cereal grains
  • It must be aged for at least three years in wooden barrels of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres
  • If the whiskey is a blend of two or more such distillates, the product must be called a “blended” Irish whiskey

Glendalough’s whiskey is crafted from a mash bill of Irish malted barley and corn. It rests three and a half years in American oak first-fill Bourbon barrels before being finished for an additional six months in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks.

Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey (84 proof)
Visual: Mild pale gold.
Nose: Elegant, malty and warming.  The sherry comes through in a winsome way.
Taste: Initially sweet with sherry and malty with a flavor profile reminiscent of freshly cooked sugar corn.  This quickly gives way to a bit of heat and spiciness.  Lastly, the woodiness of the oak adds a touch of down-to-earth rustic friendliness.
Finish: Medium long with the lasting memory being one of spice and wood.
Overall: Similar in many ways to a traditional Irish whiskey, yet different enough to be distinguishable from the pack.  A very nice and well-defined spirit.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Glendalough

detail-151A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Destilería Serrallés in Puerto Rico.  You can read all about it here.  One of my more memorable moments on that trip was when I had the chance to taste high-proof rum right out of the barrel.  Strong, yet flavorful and slightly sweet.  It only made sense that they would eventually come up with a one-hundred-fifty-one proof version.

First off, why is 151 the magic number?  According to Ed Hamilton from ministryofrum.com, 75.5% alcohol is about the distillation proof of old pot stills.  Double the percentage to arrive at the proof.  So, what is proof? The word goes back to 16th-century England, when it was used for taxation purposes.  A small pellet of gunpowder was soaked with the liquor in question. If it was possible to ignite the wet gunpowder, the alcohol content of the liquor was considered above proof and taxed at a higher rate.  If however, the powder failed to ignite it was taxed at a lower rate.  So, generally, 151 rum would have been one of the most expensive spirits five centuries ago.  Today, however, things are more affordable.

Another important point to note is that U.S. regulations prevent rums over 155 proof from entering the country.  So, by keeping their spirits at the euphonious designation of one-five-one, manufacturers are able to sell more product.  Don Q 151 is only the second overproof rum to be offered by a Puerto Rican distillery.

Don Q 151 (151 proof)
Visual: Deep gold.
Nose: Hot and clean with a nice smoky touch.
Taste: Slightly funky with a curious whiff of smoke on the tongue.  There is a lot of body here and mouthfeel that goes beyond a typical lighter style Puerto Rican rum.
Finish: Sweeter than expected with a fine burn that is mouth-watering.  Dry and tight at the end.
Overall: This fits in with the Don Q line perfectly.  A lot of attention to detail has been given to this rum.  If you water this down 50/50, you will still be able to enjoy the flavor.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Don Q

indexBrown-Forman’s Old Forester Bourbon has launched Old Forester Mint Julep, a new ready-to-drink cocktail intended to be served over crushed ice. Rolling out at retail across roughly 35 U.S. markets this month, Old Forester Mint Julep (60 proof) is packaged in a commemorative Kentucky Derby-inspired bottle and priced at around $25 a 1-liter.

indexBilled as gluten-free, SX Liquors barrel-aged products are produced in Jalisco, Mexico and packaged in hand-blown and painted bottles. The range includes SX Negro Vodka, Blanco Vodka, ChaChaCha Tequila, Cafedoble Tequila, Mojito Rum and Samba Rum. SX Liquors retail for $29.99 a 750-ml. and $39.99 a 1-liter bottle.  The brand’s line of liquors is launching nationwide.

indexConnecticut-based Barrell Craft Spirits, LLC has added to its line of small-batch craft whiskies with Barrell Bourbon Batch 004. The company’s fourth Bourbon offering (116.7 proof) is both distilled and aged for more than six years in Kentucky. With a mash bill of corn, rye and malted barley, Batch 004 features flavors of spices and peach butter for a finish of saddle leather and tobacco, the company says. It follows the successful launches of Bourbon Batches 001, 002 and 003—with the company saying it sold out of all 500 cases made available for each—as well as January’s release of Barrell Whiskey Batch 001 ($55). Batch 004 retails for about $79.99 a 750-ml., with about 1,000 cases available.

indexHeaven Hill Distilleries’ Burnett’s vodka has added two new flavors to its lineup. Available nationwide starting next month, Burnett’s Cherry Limeade and Apple Berry will bring the brand’s flavored portfolio to a total of 36 entries. Both offerings will be available in 50-ml., 750-ml., 1-liter and 1.75-liter formats, priced at around $10.99 a 750-ml.

indexBeam Suntory’s Pinnacle vodka has extended its flavor range with the launch of Pinnacle Cucumber. Featuring notes of cucumber and vanilla, the new 70-proof offering is priced at $12.99 and brings Pinnacle’s lineup to a total of 48 flavored vodkas.

indexDaily’s Cocktails is launching a new line of fruit-flavor carbonated drinks this spring under the name Spiked Sodas. The 5%-abv offerings will be available in 12-ounce slim cans in four flavors: Cherry Cola, Raspberry Ginger Ale, Lemon Lime and Blood Orange. Spiked Sodas are geared toward women as a slightly sweet, low-alcohol beverage with no malt aftertaste, the company says. They are currently available in select markets throughout the Southeast, with additional distribution expected in Texas, California and Michigan this spring. The suggested retail price is $1.99 a 12-ounce can.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

FullSizeRender-800I couldn’t discover much about the origins of this unusual cocktail except that it dates to around 2007.  Basically a Margarita variation with red wine, it works surprisingly well.  I’d almost hazard a guess that whoever came up with the recipe, did so by accident.  But, be that as it may, it is a gorgeous color and the flavor is definitely more intriguing than your usual tequila daisy.

(I’ve never heard of a cactusberry, but I have heard of a dragonberry, which is why I chose this Oz book as a background.  My mind works in strange ways sometimes. – ed.)

Cactus Berry
1.25oz blanco tequila
1.25oz red wine (Merlot or Shiraz is recommended)
0.5oz triple sec
0.5oz simple syrup
0.25oz lemon juice
0.25oz lime juice
1 splash lemon-lime soda
For glass: lime wedge, coarse salt

Rim chilled cocktail glass with lime and salt.  Shake remiaing ingredients with ice and pour into glass.

0403-whiskey-battle-970Whisk(e)y is such a ubiquitous spirit that it is hard to imagine cocktail culture without it.  Think of all the iconic drinks from the Old-Fashioned to the Manhattan to the Sazerac to the Penicillin.  And there are nearly as many countries known for their own particular take on the “water of life”.  Scotland, Ireland, Canada, America, Japan are just the major epicenters of distillation.  Then, you’ve got a variety of styles.  Single malt, single grain, blended, unaged, aged in a plethora of different wood barrels.  It is truly amazing.

So, on this day, toast with a glass of your favorite either neat, straight up, on the rocks, or mixed into a cocktail.  Without whiskey, our lives would be lacking a little joy.


The Editorial Staff

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