Since opening in 2009, Eastern Oregon’s Stein Distillery line of handcrafted products has steadily increased, along with its consumer base. In 2011, Stein Distillery released its much-anticipated 2-year American Oak-aged Straight Rye and Straight Bourbon Whiskeys. Stein Distillery grows the grain used in their products on their farm and is a family run, handcrafted, turn-key operation.

They currently produce vodka, moonshine, whiskies, rum and cordials.  Their rye releases come in 2-year and 5-year aged versions.

If you’d like to order a bottle or two, you can do so from CraftedLife.com

Stein 2-Year Old Straight Rye Whiskey (80 proof)
Visual: Dusky orange-brown.
Nose: Intense oak, almost fresh-cut in nature.  Rye grain spice with massive high notes.  You can almost smell the mash in the distillery with this deep nose.
Taste: Smooth entry with a lot of tannins and a minty finish.  The rye itself kicks in after half a minute with a fresh bread-like taste. There aren’t a lot of subtleties here, but more of a raw homegrown flavor.
Overall: The flavor might improve with another year in the barrel.  It seems slightly unfinished.  I’d love to try their five-year old and see where this leads.  As it is, it is a good sipping whiskey, but needs some smoothing out for use in cocktails.
GSN Rating: B

For more information go to: Stein Distillery

craftedlifeFounded in 2015, Crafted Life, based in Bend, Oregon recently announced the launch of an online sales program of America’s finest craft spirits for in-home delivery. Crafted Life contracted with Park Street – a national spirits distributor and Passion Spirits – an online spirits sales and shipping provider to create a network that allows consumers to purchase some of America’s hard-to-find craft spirits and have them delivered directly to their homes.

Normally, spirits are distributed via a complex, three-tier system comprised of distilleries, distributors and liquor stores. This system is a throwback to prohibition, and makes it very costly for craft distilleries to build distribution. This means that many of America’s small batch craft spirits are only available in the states where they are distilled. Crafted Life is changing this by offering craft distilleries access to national distribution and online sales.

“Demand for craft spirits has exploded over the last five years”, said John Stafford, co-founder of Crafted Life. “We saw an opportunity to bring the best craft spirits direct to the consumer – something that no other company in the spirits industry is doing”, said Stafford.

“Many of the distilleries we’re working with offer award-winning spirits”, said Matthew Bowler, co-founder of Crafted Life. “Working with Park Street and Passion Spirits we are able to connect artisan distillers with consumers around the country – at a fraction of what it would normally cost a distillery”, said Bowler. “And with free shipping for the purchase of three bottles we’re looking to level the playing field for the artisan distiller.”

The GSN offices were offered the opportunity to try this service out and we received a bottle of Stein Straight Rye Whiskey from Joseph, Oregon. Look for the review of the spirit tomorrow.  The delivery went off without a hitch and we were intrigued by the wide variety of spirits available.  Everything from whiskies, vodkas, gins, rums and modifiers such as absinthe, liqueurs and vermouths.

 For more information go to: Crafted Life

90e26c824b4c80607cda649a611ec81aKerrygold, which specializes in Irish Dairy Products, now offers Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur, a blend of Irish cream, real chocolate and oak-aged Irish whiskey. Named World’s Best Cream Liqueur at the 2016 World Drink Awards, is now available in 36 states across the nation.


Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur (34 proof)
Visual: Dark beige.
Nose: More chocolate on the nose than whiskey, but it is there, just faint.  It’s reminiscent of being in a chocolatier shoppe.
Taste: Medium thickness on the palate with a chocolate forward rush, immediately followed by the tang of Irish whiskey.
Finish: Short and sweet with more of the chocolate lingering than the whiskey.
Overall: A fine variation on the standard Irish Cream liqueurs. A bit sweeter, but more complex as well.
GSN Rating: B

For more information go to: Kerrygold Irish Cream

image002Magnum Highland Cream Liqueur is crafted with Speyside whisky that has been aged three years in American Oak casks and blended with cream from free-range cows from farmer-owned dairy farms in Holland.  In addition, Magnum is packaged in a 100% recyclable and re-usable stainless steel canister reminiscent of a milk can.

Magnum Highland Cream Liqueur (34 proof)
Visual: Tan.
Nose: Medium blended Scotch nose, with obvious light cream.  Dessert-like and approachable.
Taste: Thick mouthfeel with a decent bite of whisky, a lot of cream which tastes fresh and real.
Finish: Short, with just a touch of sweetness which lingers.
Overall: A less sweet and more whisky forward cream liqueur than many.  I think that Scotch works to the benefit of the liqueur. Good for a change of pace.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Magnum Cream Liqueur

c9b29f44-8d0e-4d67-8a95-1eb17483c764What is Cane Camp?

Cane Camp is a cultural immersion program set against the vibrant backdrop of Puerto Rico. Over the course of the program, you can expect to learn the ins and outs of rum production and craft brewing, and experience the rich history of this beautiful island. While beverage production will take center stage at Cane Camp, expect a strong focus on conservation, climate and environmental issues. We will be visiting the diminishing Bio-Bay, exploring the intricacies of responsible rum production and experience a snapshot of the current state of the environment in Puerto Rico.

How do I apply?

Follow this link to complete the Cane Camp 2017 application: cane.camp/apply

Please keep in mind that there are only 50 spots available for this experience and applications close at 11:59 EST on February 23rd, so make sure you take the time to carefully consider and fill out each field of the application. We read these blind (that means we can’t see your name or bar) and base all of our decisions on the creativity and care you put into your responses.


image001Highland Park Fire Edition is limited edition single malt Scotch whisky that delves into the world of classic Norse mythology and celebrates the Viking roots of Highland Park’s Orkney islands home. According to Viking legends, Surtr was an evil Fire Giant who ruled the Fire Realm.  He would sit at the edge of the kingdom, defending the land by holding a burning sword, which shone brighter and hotter than the sun.  The culmination of these tales is an apocalyptic battle between the Gods and the Giants. Surtr led the sons of Muspell across the bridge of Bifröst, burning everything in sight at Asgard (realm of Gods; Thor, Loki, Freya and Odin) and destroying the world at Ragnarök, heralded as ‘The doom of the Gods.’ The world perished in a blazing and burnishing ball of flames and from the ashes, a new earth was recreated.

Matured exclusively in 100% refill Port wine casks, Fire Edition follows the release of Ice Edition which was awarded 99/100 and the Chairman’s Trophy in Paul Pacult’s Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2016. Fire Edition completes the two-part series inspired by the stories of the Ice and Fire Giants and their battles against the Gods to rule the world.

The bespoke crimson red colored glass was specially commissioned to represent the fierce and molten world of the Fire Giants from Viking mythology.  The bottle is encased in a distinctive black wooden cradle with accompanying black wooden stopper.  A booklet, also included with the bottle, recounts the story of the realm of the Fire Giants.

FIRE Edition, a special release of 28,000 bottles globally with 4,398 bottles in the US, is available from specialty spirits retailers in the US at a SRP of $300.

Highland Park Fire Edition (90.4 proof)
Visual: The bottle is tinted red, the whisky itself is a light gold.
Nose: As befitting a fire themed release, there is a fair bit of smokiness on the nose. Notes of cinnamon stick and fine airy toasted malt round out the overall effect.  Everything is surprisingly subdued.
Taste: Initially, quite fruity and delicate on the palate, within a few seconds a smoky, creosote bomb hits.  The port flavor barely manages to temper the bracing island character of this whisky.  With subsequent sips, the effect replays itself over and over.  From light and almost elegant to a darkening rumble of brimstone.  They definitely captured the fire aspect.
Finish: Medium long with a good amount of heat that stays on the back palate, but the smokiness wisps away evenly and surprisingly soon.  Which makes it all the more intriguing to reach for another sip.
Overall: Highland Park has indeed captured the idea of fire in the glass.  This is a single malt that does not disappoint.  Very well done and aside from the quality of the whisky, the bottling and cradle make for a great piece of art on your bar.
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Highland Park


This is a cocktail from Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s The Grog Log.  Originally a faux-tropical shot served at Dorrians Red Hand Bar in NYC, it was called a Jamaican Dust.

I asked Jeff how the drink grew larger and changed its name. “The Jamaican Dust was a rum-pineapple-coffee liqueur shot that I just morphed into a taller drink; if memory serves, all I did was cut down the pineapple juice and coffee liqueur a bit, subbed gold Jamaican rum for the unspecified “dark rum” indicated, and shook it instead of using a blender.”

I can see why Jeff used the template for the Castaway.  It works, is simple and honestly is one of those drinks that could easily have been served at just about any mid-century Tiki bar.

On a personal note, I opted to use Gosling’s Black Seal rum (from Bermuda) to add a richer character and cut into the sweetness of the pineapple a bit more.  I think it works.  Let me know what you think.

1.5oz dark rum
0.75oz coffee liqueur
3oz pineapple juice
Garnish: Maraschino cherry speared to pineapple wedge

Shake with ice and strain into hurricane or highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with cherry-pineapple spear.

%d bloggers like this: