Washington, D.C.—Bloody battles, lionhearted leaders, valiant victories, and lamentable losses—the history of the Civil War has been told time and again. Yet, one monumental component of the Civil War has gone untold… until now.

Delving deep into rare Civil War memoirs and letters, “alco-historian” and author Mark Will-Weber brings the untold stories of the “whiskey war” to life by showing alcohol’s potency on and off the battlefield in his new book, Muskets & Applejack: Spirits, Soldiers, and the Civil War (September 5, 2017; Regnery History; $27.99). From who drank what to how major turning points of the war happened “under the influence,” Muskets & Applejack sheds a unique, unconventional light on one of America’s most historic moments—and the imbibing that took place by both the Confederacy and the Union.

Interspersed with authentic recipes from the Civil War era, Will-Weber reveals the never-before-told and shocking role that alcohol played in one of America’s darkest, most divisive periods—and how it helped heal emotional and physical wounds, form bonds, and cause conflict.

In today’s tense political and social climate, Muskets & Applejack provides a fun take on how alcohol united America during another discordant period—the Civil War.

Muskets & Applejack recounts the entertaining and sobering stories of Civil War drinking, including:

  • Officers too intoxicated with lager and whiskey to direct their troops
  • Enterprising soldiers finagling remarkable ways to acquire liquor
  • Raiders getting bogged down sampling stores of applejack
  • What famous Civil War leaders like Lincoln, Grant, Davis, and Lee drank—or didn’t
  • Of course, the burning question—which side drank more?

Mark Will-Weber is a seasoned journalist and magazine editor. Known as the “alco-historian,” Will-Weber is also the author of several books, including Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: The Complete History of Presidential Drinking, Drinking with the Democrats: The Party Animals’ History of Liberal Libations, and Drinking with the Republicans: The Politically Incorrect History of Conservative Concoctions. He lives with his wife, Sally, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.


Heaven Hill Distillery recently announced the 2017 limited edition release of Parker’s Heritage Collection – an 11-year-old, Single Barrel Bourbon bottled at 122 proof (61% abv) and non-chill filtered. The 2017 edition showcases what Master Distiller Parker Beam felt was one of his greatest achievements throughout his more than 50 years of distilling experience – the introduction of Heaven Hill’s single barrel Bourbons. Aged in Parker’s favorite rickhouse location, Deatsville, the sixth-generation Master Distiller would have described these bottles as “just good Bourbon.”

The annual release of Parker’s signature line is one of the most highly anticipated bottlings for whiskey and Bourbon lovers worldwide, as the collection produces an innovative, coveted product each year and now serves as a remembrance of the collection’s namesake. Parker’s Heritage Collection was originally conceived to showcase the extraordinary quality and broad range of Heaven Hill’s American Whiskey holdings, as Heaven Hill boasts the world’s second largest inventory of aging American Whiskey.

The late Heaven Hill Distillery Master Distiller Emeritus Parker Beam, for whom the acclaimed series is named, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also called ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2010. The past four editions from 2013-2016, including the “Promise of Hope” Bourbon, the “Original Batch” Straight Wheat Whiskey, the Kentucky Straight Malt Whiskey, and the 24-Year-Old Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon respectively, have raised over half a million dollars toward ALS research and patient care through contributions made by Heaven Hill for each bottle purchased. Heaven Hill will continue with this cause-related campaign, and will contribute $10 from each bottle sold of this year’s release to the ALS Association. With every past edition of Parker’s Heritage Collection quickly selling out, the company expects to continue to generate significant dollars for this effort in Parker’s memory.

Parker’s Heritage Collection 11-Year-Old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (122 proof)
Visual: Dark copper.
Nose: Intensely laden with high, shining notes of sweet corn and charred oak stave. A real olfactory powerhouse in the glass. Everything seems tightly bundled together in a “sum is greater than the parts” thesis.
Taste: Sweet, yet fiery, but in a hearty and tangible way. A firm melding of grain bill, depth of char, length of resting in the barrel and final proof at bottling. There is a lovely sherry patina that adds an elegance to the affair.
Finish: Medium long, with cheery sweet and savory notes strolling hand-in-hand.
Overall: A bourbon that deserves to be on your shelf for special occasions. Buy a bottle (or two) before they are gone!
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Heaven Hill

Amarula, the best-selling South African cream liqueur, recently announced the start of their new awareness and fundraising campaign in the U.S. to save the African Elephant. In partnership with the conservation group, WildlifeDIRECT, they launched a campaign titled “Don’t Let Them Disappear.” The global campaign aims to raise awareness of the ongoing struggle to protect the world’s declining African elephant population. The cornerstone of the campaign is a fundraising initiative whereby $1 from every bottle of Amarula sold in the U.S. between September 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017, will go directly to WildlifeDIRECT’s global conservation efforts.

To kick off the “Don’t Let Them Disappear” campaign in the U.S., Amarula hosted a visually-arresting event in New York City on August 12th, World Elephant Day, wherein a life-sized ice sculpture of an African elephant was placed in the sweltering heat of New York City to illustrate the rapid loss of the African elephant population at the hands of poachers. The lifelike sculpture was carved by famed second generation ice sculptor, Shintaro Okamoto, and consisted of roughly 85 blocks of ice, weighing an estimated amount of 18,000 lbs.

The African elephant plays a crucial and symbolic role in the creation and spirit of Amarula. Once a year, elephants begin their journey to feast on the sun-ripened fruit of the Marula trees, which grow wild across the sub-equatorial plains of Africa. This signifies to local communities that the fruit is ready to be harvested and ultimately turned into Amarula.  The Marula fruit is picked in the wild, transported to facilities where it is de-stoned and the skins are removed and the fruit pulp fermented. After fermentation, the Marula ‘spirit’ is distilled and  matures in French oak barrels for at least two years. Finally, it is blended with shelf stable cream and bottled.

Amarula Cream Liqueur (17% abv)
Visual: Beige.
Nose: Soft tropical fruit, caramel, vanilla and cream.
Taste: Smooth and enveloping with a rich creamy texture. A slight spicy tang with a more forward cocoa-mango flavor.  Quite unique and engaging.
Finish: Long with a lot of the sweetness tempered by a boost of Marula spirit.
Overall: One of the best cream liqueurs on the market. So much more depth of character than Irish cream. One taste and it’s unlikely you’ll go back to your old standby.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Amarula

Auchentoshan breaks convention in the industry by marrying traditional craft with progressive thinking to produce a triple distilled scotch that reflects its Distilled Different ethos. This dedication to forward-thinking was the driving force behind the creation of the New Malt Order – a collective of highly skilled bartenders from around the world who collaborated to produce The Bartender’s Malt.

The New Malt Order team was responsible for every element of The Bartender’s Malt, from the careful selection of casked whisky to the packaging design and branding. The Bartenders’ Malt is derived from a collection of whiskies matured in a diversity of oak, including American and European, as well as a variety of Sherry casks.

“Each member of the New Malt Order has made an indelible mark on our Single Malt to create not just a new liquid but a new interpretation of our brand,” said Judith Giegerich, Senior International Brand Manager Malts for Beam Suntory. “We’re proud to champion the talents of dynamic bartenders from around the world who refuse to be constrained by tradition and look forward to sharing The Bartender’s Malt with the global bartending community.”

The New Malt Order was launched in 2016 to hero the best bartending talent from around the world. Twelve inaugural members were chosen from five countries to produce The Bartender’s Malt:

● Valerie Alvardo (United States)

● Kristina Magro (United States)

● Jonathan Shock (United States)

● Tommy Klus (United States)

● Jack Wareing (United Kingdom)

● Georgia Billings (United Kingdom)

● Jan Jehli (Germany)

● Lucia Schurmann (Germany)

● Michele Heinrich (Germany)

● Oliver Stern (Canada)

● Linus Morgan (Sweden)

● Charlotte Halsius (Sweden)

Auchentoshan The Bartender’s Malt Limited Edition #1 (94 proof)
Visual: Medium gold.
Nose: Light and airy malt nose with a hint of smoke. Young leather and milk caramel.
Taste: Quite rich and immediate, with a smooth entrance that leads to sharper and more defined tonalities. There’s a myriad of aspects here that lend a dry and intense woody forwardness.
Finish: Medium long with a soft warming aspect at the back of the palate. Hints of butter, vanilla bean and sandalwood lend a unique finish.
Overall: An excellent blended single malt that has more than enough character to please any whiskyphile.  What sets this apart from many single malts is the depth of character that allows it to breath fully in a cocktail. Kudos to the bartending team that brought this to life!
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Auchentoshan

whiskey_sourOne of the venerable cocktails from Jerry Thomas’ How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon Vivant’s Companion (1862) that seems to have been largely ignored in the cocktail renaissance.  Here’s the original recipe.

Whiskey Sour
(Use small bar-glass.)
Take 1 large tea-spoonful of powdered white sugar, dissolved in a little Seltzer or Apollinaris water.
The juice of half a small lemon.
1 wine-glass of Bourbon or rye whiskey.

Fill the glass full of shaved ice, shake up and strain into a claret glass. Ornament with berries.

It does seem a bit intimidating when written this way.  Instead try either of these versions.  The first more simple, yet authentic take courtesy of David Wondrich; and the second a 21st century creation via Jeffrey Morgenthaler.

Whiskey Sour
2 ounces bourbon
2/3 ounce lemon juice
1 teaspoon superfine sugar

Shake the bourbon, juice, and sugar well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass (unless you happen to have a Sour glass). Resist, if you can, the impulse to decorate lavishly with fruit, although a maraschino cherry will raise no eyebrows.

Whiskey Sour with Marmalade
2 oz. 100-proof bourbon
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup
1 tsp. orange marmalade
1 egg white
3 drops Angostura bitters

Combine bourbon, juice, syrup, marmalade, and egg white in a shaker filled with ice; shake. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Add bitters, and using a toothpick, swirl into whites.

While superfoods have been around for ages, the demand for easy, tasty ways to embrace their powers has never been greater. Moreover, sophisticated consumers are interested in ingredients they can pronounce, served as close to farm-to-table as possible. But not everyone has time to grow and prepare a healthy diet from scratch. And for beverage enthusiasts looking to follow the latest trend of using vegetables in custom beverages whether they be cocktails or mocktails, Beetology is an easy option.

“Beets are the new pomegranate,” said Charles Herzog, Chief Beetologist and VP of New Business Development at Kayco, producer of Beetology beverages. “Chefs, foodies, health-conscious folks, and even athletes have been tapping into the versatile beet in creative new ways.” Even Martha Stewart is getting into the act, he added. “Her latest cookbook has a Chocolate Beet Cake! She says pureed beets made it extra moist and not overly sweet.”

That’s where Beetology’s new line of craft beverages comes in. These sweet, organic, cold-pressed juices are made from nothing but beets and a handful of other 100% natural, good-for-you ingredients like ginger, veggies, and fruit.

Every grab-and-go bottle of Beetology is 100% non-GMO, U.S.D.A. Certified Organic, and Certified Fair Trade. Each variety is non-soy, non-dairy, and certified kosher, with no preservatives, additives, artificial colors, or flavors. Find Beetology in the refrigerated section at health food, specialty, grocery, and kosher food markets.

Beetology comes in five blends. Here are GSN’s thoughts on each:

  • Beet + Lemon + Ginger – At first the sweet beet flavor seems to be all there is, but after a few seconds, a very slight ginger kick paired with some tart citrus comes out. But, it’s all very subtle and reticent. I’d like to see the spiciness ramped up some more here. Still, try this with some ginger beer and vodka for a bespoke beet-y Moscow Mule. GSN Rating: B
  • Beet + Veggie – Medium sweet with a slightly grainy texture. This would make an interesting alternative for a Bloody Mary base. GSN Rating: B+
  • Beet + Tropical Fruit – This is an odd one. Kind of like a beet flavored pina colada. It’s the coconut flavor stands out more than anything. I’m not sure where this might work other than an odd rum based cocktail. GSN Rating: B-
  • Beet + Berry – Definite berry flavor with a slight tartness. I like this one quite a bit and can see it working well with rums, vodkas and even some bourbons. GSN Rating: A-
  • Beet + Cherry – Fairly tart and bright with cherry flavor. This would make a surprisingly good non-traditional shandy when used with a lager, or used as a splash in a tiki style punch. GSN Rating: B

For more information go to Kayco

In January 2016, Painted Stave Distilling partnered with Fordham Brewing Company in Dover, DE on what would be become the third release in Painted Stave’s “Beers To Whiskey!” series. Painted Stave picked up over 3,000 bottles of Fordham’s Sunseeker Wheat Beer from the brewery and with the help of a dozen volunteers managed to pour all the beer into a holding tank in about 45 minutes. The unfiltered wheat ale was then distilled into 10 gallons of 124 proof whiskey in Painted Stave’s copper pot-still. The whiskey aged for 18 months in a Bourbon barrel before being harvested and bottled at 84 proof / 42%ABV.

This very limited whiskey (only 130 bottles made) will be released to coincide with the Total Solar Eclipse on Monday,
August 21st. Painted Stave and Fordham Brewing will be launching the whiskey at the Delaware AeroSpace Education
Foundation’s (DASEF) Environmental Outpost in Smyrna during their eclipse watching party starting at 1pm. The party
is open to the public and family friendly. DASEF will have their observatory open as well as telescopes and eclipse
watching glasses available to enjoy the celestial event. There will be food trucks and activities for sky watchers of all
ages. Whiskey, Painted Stave cocktails and Fordham and Dominion beer will be available for eclipse watchers over 21.

DASEF Eclipse Party, Monday August 21st, 1pm- 4pm, @ 585 Big Oak Road, Smyrna, DE 19977

Look for additional releases in the “Beers To Whiskey!” series to appear occasionally in the years to come.

SunSeeker Wheat Whiskey (84 proof)
Visual: Deep sunny yellow-gold.
Nose: An almost effervescent nose. Hints of hop bud, and a light and tantalizing wheat bread body.
Taste: Sweet and almost cake-like with a nice spicy aftertaste. Peach fruit, vanilla and a faint touch of raspberry make for an interesting flavor profile.
Finish: Medium long with a definite fruitiness leading the exit.
Overall: Unusual to say the least and a very well crafted experiment. I really enjoyed this and it is a testimony to the ongoing creativity of Painted Stave.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Painted Stave

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