GSN Review: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B519

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof 12 Year bourbons are bottled without any dilution or chill filtering. The batch numbers provide specific information about the release: The first letter indicates which of that year’s releases the bottle was a part of starting with “A”, while the second digit is a number that determines the month of the year the bottle was released. The third and fourth digits indicate the year.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B519 (122.2 proof)
Visual: Dark brown.
Nose: Vanilla, caramel and barrel along with some tree fruit essences.
Taste: There’s a curious tartness here which is not out of place, but creates a more mouth-watering entrance. Plenty of spice here as well.
Finish: Long and spicy.
Overall: A lower proof release than its predecessors have been and this plays to its strengths.  Another excellent entry in the Barrel Proof portfolio.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Elijah Craig

GSN Review: The Glenrothes Soleo Collection

The Glenrothes recently unveiled a new range of whiskies. The Soleo Collection signals a departure from Vintages and Reserves to age statements and features five entirely new whiskies: 10 Years Old, 12 Years Old, Whisky Maker’s Cut, 18 Years Old and 25 Years Old. (note: the 25-year-old was not available as of press time)

The creation of a single-malt whisky goes through many stages. From the selection of the raw materials to the time taken to mature the spirit in oak casks, each step plays its part. Inspired by the most defining part of the journey, sherry seasoning, this collection follows the grape as it makes its way to becoming sherry and then onward to the seasoning of The Glenrothes’ oak casks.

The traditional soleo process has inspired and given its name to this collection, as it brings together time, nature and tradition. While the product range will change over the coming months, with these new expressions replacing the previous Vintage and Reserve portfolio, sherry-seasoned oak casks will continue to define The Glenrothes. Close to 90 percent of the casks currently maturing at the distillery have previously held sherry, with 70 percent of these being first-fill sherry casks.

Gordon Motion, master whisky maker, says, “The Glenrothes is a true craft single-malt. Taking things back to a vital yet simple natural process, this new collection allows us to tell a vital part of the story that hasn’t before been highlighted in this way. We believe in sharing the inspiring detail in how and why we create the whiskies we do. The Soleo Collection does exactly that; making these fantastic new whiskies is testament to our commitment to craftsmanship and quality.”

The Glenrothes 10 Year Old (80 proof)
Visual: Medium gold.
Nose: Slight peat and smoke with a floral overtone.
Taste: Mild honey, biscuit, along with a touch of peat. There is a touch of grape and apricot as well.
Finish: Medium long and easy.
Overall: A bit rough, but pleasant enough.
GSN Rating: A-

The Glenrothes 12 Year Old (80 proof)
Visual: Medium-dark gold.
Nose: Biscuit, along with caramel and slight oakiness.
Taste: Somewhat reminiscent of apple butter on toast with a slight tanginess. Very little smoke, and less sweetness than the 10 year old.
Finish: Medium long.
Overall: More character and with a touch more complexity.
GSN Rating: A-

The Glenrothes Whisky Maker’s Cut (97.6 proof)
Visual: Medium dark gold.
Nose: Heavy vanilla, caramel, toasted nuts and toast.
Taste: Laden with caramel and honey, this is a sweeter and more baking spice patinaed whiskey. The barrel is more apparent here as well, although leaning more toward the oak and char than the sherry.
Finish: Long and delicious.
Overall: The best of the bunch.
GSN Rating: A

The Glenrothes 18 Year Old (86 proof)
Visual: Medium dark gold.
Nose: More floral notes and  a stronger honeyed presence come through. The oak here is also more pronounced.
Taste: Again a fruitiness which is intriguing, but the extra years in the barrel have made this a drier experience similar to a fruit brandy.
Finish: Long, with some grass-like notes at the fade out.
Overall: Very nice and elegant.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: The Glenrothes

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 Suggests: Cinco de Mayo Cocktails

cinco-de-mayo-cocktailsWe were blown away this year with cocktail suggestions sent to us by brand representatives, bartenders and mixologists.  Here are just a few that caught our eye at the GSN offices.  Salud!

Amante Picante Margarita
By LA’s Juan Martinez (Toca Madera)
2 oz. DeLeón Platinum Tequila
.75 oz. agave
1 oz. lime juice
Serrano pepper
Muddle two pieces of Serrano pepper and clap 5 pieces of cilantro in a tin. Rim a highball with Tajin/Ghost pepper salt, shake all ingredients together and strain into a the highball glass. Garnish with a Serrano pepper and sprig of cilantro.

Bandera de Puebla
Created by Rob Krueger, Extra Fancy, Brooklyn
1 oz. Patron Reposado
1 oz. Patron Citronge Lime
.5 oz. Coconut Cream
.75 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
.75 oz. Pomegranate Juice
Mint Sprig for Garnish
Combine the Patron Reposado, Citronge Lime, Coconut & Lime Juice in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Gently pour the Pomegranate Juice so it settles to the bottom half of the drink creating two equal layers of white and red. Garnish with a sprig of mint to represent the three colors of the Mexican flag.

Cactus Bite
1 part DRAMBUIE®
2 parts Milagro Reposado Tequila
Juice of ½ Lemon
½ tsp. Sugar
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Add all to a mixing tin half-filled with ice. Shake until tin is frosted, strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice; Garnish with a Lemon or Lime Wedges, serve with a straw.

DaHouse Margarita
By Miami’s Eddie Fuentes (27 Restaurant & Bar, Broken Shaker)
2 oz. DeLeón Platinum Tequila
.75 oz. Homestead lime
.75 oz. pineapple sage infused agave syrup
Shake and serve over ice. Garnish with Half Moon Spicy salt rim, a spray of Mezcal, fresh pineapple, sage and a lime wheel.

Drambuie® Margarita
1 part DRAMBUIE®
1 scoop of cubed ice
1 part lime juice
1 lime wedge
1 orange twist
2 parts Reposado Tequila (we recommend Milagro)
Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into a chilled salt and black pepper-rimmed coupette. Garnish with a lime wedge and a twist of orange.

Herradura Vesuvio
2oz Herradura Silver
¾oz Red pepper juice
½oz Lime Juice
¼ oz Cholula hot sauce
¼ oz Agave nectar
Rim a coupe glass with cayenne pepper and salt mix Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake hard and pour into the chilled coupe glass.

The Highland Margarita
½ part Drambuie
2 parts Milagro
½ part triple sec
Juice of 1 Lime
Add all to a mixing tin half-filled with ice. Shake until tin is frosted, strain into a margarita glass over fresh ice; Garnish with a fresh Lime wedge, serve with a cocktail stirrer.

The Horseshoe Margarita
2 parts Tequila Herradura Silver
1 parts Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/2-3/4 part Agave Nectar (to taste)
Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake hard so that some of the ice melts, then strain over fresh ice.  Garnish with a lime wedge.

 Jimi Punch
(20 servings)
1 Bottle el Jimador Silver
1 bottle Korbel Champagne
6 oz Campari
6 oz Agave Syrup
1 liter Orange juice
¼ liter lemon juice
1 orange cut into slices
1 tray of Raspberries
Add all ingredient to a large punch bowl, add lots of ice stir, cover and leave to sit 20 mins before serving. Stir occasionally during service.

La Perla
1 ½ oz Partida Reposado Tequila
1 ½ oz Domecq Manzanilla Sherry
¾ oz Mathilde Pear Liqueur
Lemon twist
Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

Las Flores de Mayo
By New  York City’s Brian Matthys (The Gander, Corkbuzz)
2 oz. DeLeón Platinum Tequila
1 oz. Verjus
¼ oz. Velvet Falernum
2 dashes cacao bitters
Add all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir well over ice. Strain into a chilled couple and garnish with a thin lime wheel.

Partida Breakfast Margarita
Created by Jacques Bezuidenhout
1 3/4 oz Partida Blanco Tequila
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz Cointreau
2 tsp. orange marmalade
1/2 oz agave syrup (1 part Partida Agave Nectar, 1 part water)
Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange slice.

Partida Paloma
2 oz Partida Blanco Tequila
1 Pinch Salt
Half a Lime
Grapefruit Soda (such as Jarritos or Squirt)
Fill a highball glass with ice and add the tequila and salt. Squeeze the lime half into the glass and drop into the drink and top with grapefruit soda.

Spice of Life
Created by Damian Windsor, DC Berridge LLC group (Warwick, Firefly, Tiki No, Power House, Dark Room), LA
1 oz. Roca Patron Silver
1 oz. Patron Citronge Lime
1 oz. Frangelico
2 Strawberries
.5 oz. lime juice
2 Slices of jalapeno
Muddle strawberries to a paste, add liquid ingredients and cubed ice, shake and strain onto fresh ice in a double old-fashioned glass and garnish with a half strawberry and jalapeno slices.

Spicy Raspberry Margarita
1 ½ oz. el Jimador Reposado
½ oz. Chambord
1 oz. Sprite
2 oz. Sour mix
3 dashes of Tabasco
In a shaker filled with ice, add ingredients and shake to mix. Pour into margarita glass rimmed with spicy salt. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Tamarind Paloma
5 oz of el Jimador blanco
5 oz Bohemia
5 oz of fresh lemon juice
5 oz of tamarind syrup
2 Dashes of orange bitters.
Shake all ingredients except the Bohemia beer with ice and pour over ice.  Fill rest of glass with Bohemia beer.  Served in a Collins glass.

Tomar Bueno
Created by Damian Windsor, DC Berridge LLC group (Warwick, Firefly, Tiki No, Power House, Dark Room), LA
1 oz. Patron Roca Silver
.75 oz. Patron Citronge Lime
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. grapefruit juice
Top with Squirt
Add ice and liquid ingredients to a highball glass, garnish with a grapefruit peel twist, alternately take a big sip out of a can of Squirt soda and add the liquid ingredients directly to it.

The Yuzu and Thai Chili Margarita
Created by Annelise McAuliffe, PAIR Magazine
1 ½ oz ounces Yuzu Juice
1 ½ oz Partida Reposado Tequila
½  Triple Sec or Cointreau
½ – 1 oz honey (adjust to your preference of sweet)
Thai chili pepper
*Thai chili salt
Fresh Thai basil
Rim the glass with yuzu juice and the chili salt. Shake all the ingredients, except fresh Thai basil, Thai pepper and the salt with ice in a cocktail shaker until the outside of the shaker is cold. Strain into a glass over rocks, or “up”.  Garnish with a Thai chili and fresh Thai basil if desired. Enjoy with the pepper in the drink for great spicy flavor. *Thai chili salt – this spicy salt is super easy to create at home, crush dried pepper and mix with salt!

What’s Brewing: Swill by 10 Barrel Brewing

When you hear the term “swill” what comes to mind? I imagine for most people, it’s watered down warm, flat, light brown liquid that tastes worse than the can it comes in. However, judge not lest ye be judged as someone famous once said. Going by name alone, I was immensely surprised to see that 10 Barrel Brewing took the entirely opposite approach and has given its market something tasty, refreshing, and a beverage I would easily drink again.

Swill is a radler which is essentially a beer cocktail consisting of a lighter beer mixed with fruit soda or juice. As would be expected of such a concoction Swill has some sweetness to it, but it’s largely balanced out by a tart quality. It’s a clear golden brew with little to no head, and the thin body makes it perfect for the hot summer days that are soon approaching. It has a dry quality to start followed by an almost Riesling-like tang, and finishes with a lemon-honey like sweetness. It has a nice tart base, but this sweetness is what holds it back for me, as the finish is almost all sugar.

Anyone who is used to the IPA and DIPA or even Belgian style brews might not find this beer to their liking, but if you’re looking for something different to cool you off on a hot day, this should do the trick. Swill, it certainly isn’t.

Final notes: Starts off nice and light, but finishes with far too much sweetness. A decent take on a radler, but I would have liked to see more fruit flavor to add complexity.

GSN rating: 3.5/5

For more information go to: 10 Barrel

Review by Kieran Jerome Matthew 

GSN Review: Black Button Loganberry Gin

Black Button Distilling, located in Rochester, New York is the state’s first grain-to-glass craft distillery to open since prohibition. Founded in 2012 by Jason Barrett, Black Button is a New York State licensed Farm Distillery and uses over 90% NYS all-natural ingredients to make all their spirits. Every batch is distilled from local grains sourced from Edgewood Farms, located just south of Conesus Lake in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region.

Black Button’s Loganberry Gin is made with traditional botanicals including Lemon Peel and Juniper, with the added sweet notes of Loganberries.

NOTE: The entire batch sold out in a matter of a few days. Make sure you sign up for their mailing list to be notified when the next batch is available.

Black Button Loganberry Gin (84 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Berry fruit nose, but strongly supported by juniper. Dry, crisp and not at all artificial or cloying.
Taste: Like Black Button’s Lilac Gin, this is a stand out in the gin category. The fruit never overpowers, but adds a layer of intrigue, slight sweetness and summery appeal.
Finish: The loganberry just goes on and on, well after you assume it would dissipate. It’s not overwhelming in the least, just fruity and appealing.
Overall: Having family in Western New York, I know the flavor of loganberry quite well. It’s a thing out there. This is a brilliant and altogether novel take on an American style gin, and it works incredibly well. If a gin can bring you back to your childhood, this is the one to do it.
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Black Button Distilling

GSN Review: Gin Mare

Gin Mare is a Spanish gin crafted with arbequina olives, basil from Italy, rosemary from Turkey, and thyme from Greece, as well as traditional juniper, orange peel, lemon peel, cardamon, and coriander seed. Due to the low yield of arbequina olives when juiced, up to 15 kilograms of olives are used per distillation. The citrus is a custom blend of Seville sweet oranges, Valencia bitter oranges and Lleida lemons. The fruit is macerated for a year in a neutral spirit of around 50% ABV.

Most of the other botanicals are macerated separately for around 36 hours and then individually distilled in a 250 litre Florentine still located in a former chapel. The distillation takes around 4.5 hours, yielding a heart cut of a little over 100 litres. Once the six different distillations have taken place, they are blended together with more neutral spirit and water to create Gin Mare. All the blending and bottling takes place in the main plant, directly next the chapel.

Gin Mare (85.4 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Juniper forward with the citrus playing a submissive role. It smells clean and fresh, and perhaps with a bit of briny salinity.
Taste: Here, the citrus moves forward and brightens up the whole flavor. The mediterranean portfolio of infusions adds a depth that plays well with the traditional style of a European gin. Overall, the effect is rounder, warmer and more friendly than a London Dry.
Finish: Long, with some peppery and more subtle olive flavors coming through on the finish.
Overall: A remarkably cohesive gin that hits all the marks and elevates any cocktail. We’ve even been sipping it neat for a quick pick me up.
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Gin Mare