blackberry-native-yeastWalland, Tennessee-based Blackberry Farm Brewery has introduced a new Native Yeast series with two inaugural offerings, Blackberry Rye and Tennessee Cream Ale. Blackberry Rye is a 6.3% abv beer brewed with heritage barley and rye malts. It undergoes a secondary fermentation with blackberries followed by additional aging in Tennessee whiskey barrels. Tennessee Cream Ale is also 6.3% abv and is brewed with flaked corn and heirloom grits. Both new brews are fermented with a wild strain of native yeast harvested from honeysuckle blossoms found on Blackberry Farm’s 9,200 acre estate.

9ef226fb577f44334370b618bbdef1c3_largePortland, Maine’s Peak Organic Brewing Company is releasing two new versions of its flagship Peak IPA: Evergreen IPA and Crush IPA. Evergreen IPA is blended with organic juniper berries and organic spruce, while Crush IPA features added organic blood orange peel. Evergreen and Crush (both 7.1% abv) are available in limited quantities on draft and in mixed six-packs that feature both IPA varieties.


big-storm-hurricane-season-series1Clearwater, Florida-based Big Storm Brewing Company is launching a Belgian-style Hurricane Series. The new beers mirror the Atlantic hurricane season, with each offering increasing in abv as the season progresses. The brews include Belgian Single Category 1 (6% abv), Belgian Dubbel Category 2 (6.6% abv), Belgian Tripel Category 3 (9.2% abv) and Belgian Quadrupel Category 4 (10.6% abv). Category 5, a Belgian Quintupel, will be released later this summer. Big Storm’s portfolio also includes Arcus IPA, Wavemaker Amber Ale and Helicity Pilsner, among others.

12930952_1569753189983756_625608082_nBloomington, Illinois-based Destihl Brewery has launched its Synchopathic dry-hopped sour ale in cans. Originally released under the brewer’s Wild Sour Series as a draft-only entry, Synchopathic will now be available in four-packs of 12-ounce cans. The Wild Sour Series—which also includes the Here Gose Nothin’, Counter ClockWeisse, Flanders Red and Lynnbrook Raspberry Sour Ale.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily


We here at GSN don’t normally frequent what are known as “breastaurants”, but recently we were invited to check out our local Tilted Kilt.  The restaurant itself is quite spacious for a sports bar, and even on a quiet night we were pleasantly surprised by the attentiveness of staff.  Our waitress wrote her name on our coasters, which I thought was a brilliant idea.

Our server

Our server

We decided to start off with a few cocktails, of which there are a decent selection.  We chose two old school styled drinks, the Old Fashioned and the Whiskey Sour.  The Old Fashioned could have benefitted from some sweetener, but the sour was very good.  Both were served on the rocks however, which made them quite diluted after a few minutes.

Next we ordered a pair of appetizers, the Scotch Eggs and the Pub Pretzels.  The eggs were some of the best I’ve had and the horseradish dipping sauce was a perfect complement.  The pretzels came out piping hot, soft and with two sauces (neither cheese based).  The pretzels were decent, but did not benefit from the dips.

Irish Old-Fashioned & Maker's Whiskey Sour

Irish Old-Fashioned & Maker’s Whiskey Sour

For our main courses, we opted for the Wicked Boston Burger &  the One Shot Johnny Shepherd’s Pie.  The burger was made with Sam Adams beer and was perfectly cooked.  No complaints there.  The shepherd’s pie was very good, but needed more potatoes to complement the meat and veg.  A nice touch was the heart-shaped piece of garlic toast.


Wicked Boston Burger

Lastly, we opted for a few closing beverages instead of a dessert, I requested a Guinness draught, while my dining companion ordered a Belfast Boom (half a glass of Guinness with a depth charge of whiskey and Bailey’s).  It tasted much better than it looked.  The Bailey’s curdled almost instantly and created a brown cheese-like visual and mouthfeel.  Not a great idea, that one.  The pint of Guinness was fresh though, and the manager told us that they clean the lines weekly.

We were about to leave, when they announced that it was trivia night.  Never one to pass up a chance to play trivia, we stayed and ordered a double of

The bar

The Syracuse bar

Bailey’s to cleanse the palate.  Turns out we came in first place and won a gift card!  Being generous types, we passed the card on to a friend of ours who recommended the Tilted Kilt to us in the first place.  All in all, it was a great evening, and we left feeling happy, full and relaxed.

The first Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery opened in the Las Vegas Rio Hotel and Casino in 2003. The concept was a “contemporary, Celtic theme sports bar, staffed with beautiful servers.” As of August 2015, Tilted Kilt has 107 locations.

For more information go to: Tilted Kilt

logoFounded in 2012, the goal of Philanthropic Foodies is simple – to eat, drink, and give back! Philanthropic Foodies combines a culinary showcase of talented local chefs and products from local purveyors, as well as a silent and live auction, to create a unique fundraising event that benefits multiple nonprofits within the Central New York community.

Philanthropic Foodies was born from the desire of local food enthusiasts to channel something we love to do (eat and drink) into a vehicle to give back to our community. In the past four years, Philanthropic Foodies has donated over $160,000 to six deserving and local organizations: Friends of Dorothy House, The Samaritan Center, On Point for College, Signature Music, CancerConnects and The First Tee Syracuse.

In celebration of our 5th anniversary, we will be honoring all six past charities! This year’s event will once again showcase the talents of local chefs and products from local purveyors. The goal is simple….Eat, Drink and Give Back!

“It has the appeal of a pop-up dinner, serious chefs and it’s for a good cause…
Philanthropic Foodies seems to be the real deal.” –Syracuse Guru

A minimum donation of $100 per person is requested.

Your ticket includes:

  • Incredible tastings from the area’s premier culinary talents
  • Beverage pairings at each station to enjoy a carefully selected beer, wine, or spirit
  • Direct access to local food and beverage experts
  • Extensive silent & live auctions
  • Entertainment by  top local musicians

*More than 90 percent of your ticket price goes directly back to our nonprofit organizations.

Get your tickets today!

Philanthropic Foodies is a Donor-Advised Fund established at the Central New York Community Foundation. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of nearly 700 funds. Gifts made are tax-deductible and will be formally acknowledged and receipted by the Community Foundation. https://www.cnycf.org/philfoodies#.Vx91QUbmU-o


89e6fabfa0dede96f74d048569e2d6f6Looking for some summer reading while you sip on a G&T, Margarita or Mai Tai?  

Here are some upcoming books to keep an eye out for.  Cheers!

51KQX8+7x5LDrinking with the Democrats: The Party Animal’s History of Liberal Libations by Mark Will-Weber (Regnery History) – This election year, celebrate the Democratic Party by drinking like a Democrat! Organized by president, this fun gift book is full of cocktail recipes, bar tips, and hysterical drinking anecdotes from all Democratic White House administrations. Which Southern man drank Snakebites? How did Jackie-O like her daiquiris? Drinking with the Democrats is the bar guide with a twist that all political buffs will enjoy!

51byvzMbAeLDrinking with the Republicans: The Politically Incorrect History of Conservative Concoctions by Mark Will-Weber (Regnery History) – This election year, celebrate the Republican Party by drinking like a Republican! Organized by president, this fun gift book is full of cocktail recipes, bar tips, and hysterical drinking anecdotes from all Republican White House administrations. Which president liked to mix whiskey, vodka, and orange juice? Who had a trick for hiding the labels of cheap wine? Drinking with the Republicans is the bar guide with a twist that all political buffs will enjoy!

41AZX1-uV+LShots of Knowledge: The Science of Whiskey by Rob Arnold & Eric Simanek (Texas Christian University Press) – Shots of Knowledge is a guidebook for whiskey lovers. Organized into approximately sixty illustrated essays, the book samples selected topics in whiskey production through the lenses of science and engineering. While the essays are subdivided into three sections—From Sunshine to Sugar, From Wee Beasties to White Dogs, and From Barrel to Brain—the reader is free to sip them in any order. The story commences with water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight; travels through the manufacturing process; and ends with the molecules that entertain the palate. Whether the topic is photosynthesis, bubble caps, oak speciation, or a mechanistic enzymology, the essays seek to reveal the simple beauty too often hidden in science and engineering. At approximately one page in length, each essay and accompanying artwork can be digested slowly at the rate estimated at three essays per bourbon or Scotch.

41gZ6X8AllLAquavit: Nordic Spirit by Heel Verlag (Heel Verlag Gmbh) – This stylishly-produced book describes the history of the famous Aquavit spirit and the way it is produced, also throwing a glance at the bar scene in Denmark, Norway and Germany. It contains about 30 recipes for drinks and cocktails based on Aquavit, all of them newly created by international bartenders, further 20 recipes from Danish and Norwegian top chefs using Aquavit as an ingredient for their stunning dishes. Finally the volume provides a comprehensive glossary and information on more than 70 different sorts of the famous spirit.

41XCZgsKAhLCocktail Infographics: A Visual Guide to Creating 200 of the World’s Best Cocktails by Jordan Spence (Carlton Books) – This is mixology made simple! Prepare a first-class cocktail with these fun, at-a-glance infographic recipes. Each one visually displays the precise measurements and ingredients in the correct type of glass, with easy-to-see proportions. More than 200 recipes feature old favorites and modern inventions plus garnishes, from the Manhattan and Negroni to the Green Tea Martini, from coolers and coladas to slings, sours, and screws. An informative introduction gives details on equipment, bar stocking, and basic techniques.

51UDA7dyqGLCocktails by Klaus St. Rainer (DK) – Learn the art of mixing perfect drinks with Cocktails, the third “Best Cocktail Book in the World.” Klaus St. Rainer, an award-winning expert voted “Bartender of the Year” in 2013, shares 70 cocktail recipes for all the key classics as well as his own signature creations. Whether you want to make a simple drink with just a few ingredients, prepare large quantities for a cocktail party, or even create a mocktail, this authoritative guide will have you mixing the perfect aperitif. The book’s classy design and evocative photography will inspire you to find what tickles your taste buds, from the classic Dry Martini and Old Fashioned to the unusual Red Beet Gimlet and Caramellow Royale. Professional tips and techniques are revealed—should it be shaken or stirred?—and clear instructions make it easy. Cocktails teaches you the science of mixology so you can make the ultimate cocktail every time.

81FNF02-tCLShake. Stir. Sip.: More than 50 Effortless Cocktails Made in Equal Parts by Kara Newman & John Lee (Chronicle Books) – Some of the best cocktails are the easiest to make, and author Kara Newman figured out the secret—using equal parts of the main ingredients and adding a dash of bitters or a splash of seltzer to gild the lily. Take the Cucumber Gimlet: Combine one part each vodka, lime juice, and lemonade; 2 cucumber slices; then garnish with a basil leaf! And beverages like this are a breeze to size up for parties—just double, triple, or quadruple the proportions. This book contains 40 simple recipes, from two-ingredient sips like the Bamboo Cocktail to timeless classics like the ever-popular Negroni, proving that great, artisanal cocktails don’t have to come from a bar.

51JVgEmKZQLA Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How a Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World by Robert Simonson (Ten Speed Press) – A narrative history of the craft cocktail renaissance, written by a New York Times cocktail writer and one of the foremost experts on the subject. A Proper Drink is the first-ever book to tell the full, unflinching story of the contemporary craft cocktail revival. Award-winning writer Robert Simonson interviewed more than 200 key players from around the world, and the result is a rollicking (if slightly tipsy) story of the characters–bars, bartenders, patrons, and visionaries–who in the last 25 years have changed the course of modern drink-making. The book also features a curated list of about 40 cocktails–25 modern classics, plus an additional 15 to 20 rediscovered classics and classic contenders–to emerge from the movement.

61ArUxQkBpLColonial Spirits: A Toast to Our Drunken History by Steven Grasse (Abrams Image) – In Colonial Spirits, Steven Grasse presents a historical manifesto on drinking, including 50 colonial era– inspired cocktail recipes. The book features a rousing timeline of colonial imbibing and a cultural overview of a dizzying number of drinks: beer, rum and punch; temperance drinks; liqueurs and cordials; medicinal beverages; cider; wine, whiskey, and bourbon—all peppered with liquored-up adages from our founding fathers. There is also expert guidance on DIY methods for home brewing. Imbibe your way through each chapter, with recipes like the Philadelphia Fish House Punch (a crowd pleaser!) and Snakebites (drink alone!). Hot beer cocktails and rattle skulls have never been so completely irresistible.

2016-06-07-15-16-sacredbond_fill_80Heaven Hill Brands recently introduced Christian Brothers Sacred Bond Brandy, the first grape bottled-in-bond Brandy. Aged in Heaven Hill white oak Bourbon barrels, the California Brandy is small batch distilled in copper pot stills.

At four years old and 100 proof, Sacred Bond was the highest scoring American Brandy at F. Paul Pacult’s 2016 Ultimate Spirits Challenge as a Chairman’s Trophy winner in the Brandy category, earning a 93 score and the “Great Value” accolade. The Brandy was also awarded a gold medal by the 2016 World Spirits Competition.

The bottle label pictures the original monastery in California where Cellar Master Brother Timothy carefully crafted the first Christian Brothers Brandy. In 1882, the Brothers planted their first vineyards, making altar wine for sacramental use. The Brothers expanded production as word spread of the wine’s excellent quality, eventually selling table wine to profit the Order’s schools.

“As is tradition, Heaven Hill is keeping this storied brand alive by introducing an expression that honors the original sacred bond once formed by the Christian Brothers with the California soil,” said Brand Manager MaryCrae Guild.

Christian Brothers Sacred Bond Brandy (100 proof)
Visual: Darkening copper.
Nose: Rich, evocative grape-based brandy.  More than a hint of ex-bourbon barrel stave char adds an extra depth of character.
Taste: Intensely lush and full of character that seems much older than its four years of aging.  The higher proof brings out a great deal of the terroir of the grape as well.
Finish: Medium long with a caramel candy like sweetness that slowly fades and disappears much like an ice wine.
Overall: A terrific American brandy and one that rivals many French versions.  Considering the bargain price ($25.99), you might do well to enliven your next Sidecar instead of reaching for that XO bottle.  But, make no mistake, this is a killer sipping brandy as well.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Christian Brothers Brandy


Handcrafted in small batches, Tanqueray No. Ten is the first gin distilled using fresh citrus fruits and botanicals, which give it a unique taste. The exact proportions used are a closely guarded secret; only four people in the world know the Tanqueray recipes, which are kept under three locks in a black ledger known as ‘The Bible’.

Tanqueray No. TEN has won numerous awards since its launch in 2000. In 2003 it had unprecedented wins as ‘Best White Spirit’ three times in a row at the San Francisco World Spirits competition leading to the creation of ‘Hall of Fame’, the only gin to receive this accolade.

Tanqueray No. Ten (94.6 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Transparent, ethereal and delicately mouth-watering. It’s as if the essences of each botanical have been lightly sprayed onto the base spirit.
Taste: Lovely blend of citrus and juniper carefully balanced with more subtle additions to the profile.  One of the few gins that can be enjoyed warm, right out of the bottle.  Summer in a glass.
Finish: Sweet, with hints of lemongrass and fresh spruce.
Overall: One of the world’s greatest gins, hands down.  Bring a case or two if you find yourself stranded on a desert island.  Seriously, this is THE gin.
GSN Rating: A++

For more information go to: Tanqueray


543fdafc2adfa_-_tnc-boodles-ginBoodles was named after Boodle’s gentlemen’s club in St. James’s, London, founded in 1762 and originally run by Edward Boodle. It was reputed to be the favorite gin of the club’s most famous member, Winston Churchill, though the same has been claimed for Plymouth Gin.  But, old Winnie was a notorious boozehound and probably took whatever he could get his hands on during the war years.

Boodles was created in 1845, becoming one of the gins to shape the flavor of the modern London Dry style of gin. It was originally produced by Cock Russell & Company, and was first bottled in the United States by Seagram’s. It is produced at the Greenall’s Distillery in Warrington, England, in a Carter-Head still.

Boodles contains a blend of nine botanicals: juniper, coriander seed, angelica root, angelica seed, cassia bark, caraway seed, nutmeg, rosemary and sage. It is the only London Dry gin to contain nutmeg, rosemary and sage and no citrus ingredients.

Boodles British Gin (90.4 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Sprightly juniper-forward with a hint of spanked mint and fresh ground black pepper.  Crisp.
Taste: Instantly noticable lack of citrus, instead replaced with a savory edge that is soft and warming.  The whole expression is of soft roundness and mellow comfort.
Finish: Fairly long with the rosemary and sage leaving a curious gamey flavor.
Overall: In spite of its obvious differences to a traditional citrus inclusive London Dry, this works very well in every gin based cocktail that calls for the juniper to act in the leading role.  In drinks such as the Negroni, the more herbal direction works well with sweet vermouth.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Boodles Gin

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