GSN Alert: June 10th – World Gin Day

world-gin-day-20141-lst136433In honor of World Gin Day, here is a list of the gins that Good Spirits News has reviewed over the years.  Hopefully you will pick up a bottle and make yourself a favorite gin cocktail.




GSN Review: Kona Brewing Gold Cliff IPA

We are finally into warmer weather here at the GSN headquarters, and what better way to celebrate than with a beer that reminds you of tropical paradises, gorgeous sunsets, and sandy beaches. Kona Brewing Company has decided to generously let us sample their most recent addition to their line of Hawaii inspired beers, the Gold Cliff IPA. As the beer pours you get a very strong aroma of heavy hop followed by a bit of malty sweetness, finished with a blast of pineapple. It has a nice rich color to it, and a medium body. The flavor itself would be fairly standard fare were it not for the pineapple. The hops are fairly dank, but not overpowering as there is a definite balance of caramel malt to keep the hops from being too intense. The pineapple is clearly what makes this beer worth trying. The citra and mosaic hops give it a slightly fruity character which is only enhanced by the juiciness of the pineapple. That isn’t to say this is a fruit beer by any means. The bitterness is the most forward aspect, and the pineapple simply gives it a pleasant finish that leaves your taste buds wanting more. This beer may be a bit strong for the hot summertime quaff at an ABV of 7.2%, but it would be easy to see how this might be welcome on a hot beach as you sit/sip in the shade. While our minds weren’t blown by the flavor, we here at GSN enjoyed it thoroughly. Kona takes a classic American IPA style and gives a unique twist leaving you with thoughts of warm beaches and the summer ahead.

Review by Kieran Jerome Matthew

GSN Review: Rogue Brewing Kulture Clash

It’s a good sign that this bottle has a smiling sloth. While I’m not a sloth, this beer definitely makes the imbiber spread a grin. Rogue is known by many beer enthusiasts as a company that puts out interesting brews time and time again, and this beer is no exception. There is certainly no shortage of imperial versions of ales, but the imperial blonde is something rarely seen compared to the imperial IPA or stout. This is unfortunate since Rogue does such a good job with it. The color is a nice warm gold, and although the beer isn’t very carbonated, the flavor is not lost. This is due in part to the unique addition of kombucha tea, courtesy of Townshend’s Brew Dr. Kombucha. The kombucha element is a surprising one as kombucha can be quite the acquired taste. Pairing it with the flavorful blonde ale seems like the right choice. The kombucha gives the ale a pleasant slight fruity aroma reminiscent of mango and citrus which carries full well into the flavor of the beer itself. The closest thing one could compare it to is a funky fruit beer, as the tea infusion brings a new level of flavor, and the fermentation of the kombucha adds a slight acidity. The imperial nature of the beer gives it an ABV of 6.9% which isn’t massive, but when you are drinking a bomber this can pack a bit of a punch. However, the ABV shouldn’t matter as this is a beer that would do well to be shared by friends. We here at GSN found ourselves almost universally enjoying the flavor, and although it isn’t as carbonated as one might expect, it left us all smiling like a happy sloth.

Review by Kieran Jerome Matthew

GSN Alert: Bols’ “Red Light Negroni” Debuts During Negroni Week: June 4-10, 2018

Lucas Bols USA announces that it will be a supporting sponsor of Imbibe Magazine’s Negroni Week 2018 through its Bols Genever brand, featuring the Red Light Negroni. The sixth-annual event will be held June 4-10 and raises funds for charitable causes around the world.

Over the course of Negroni Week, bars nationwide will serve the Red Light Negroni – Bols Genever, Campari, and sweet vermouth presented in a custom light bulb decanter. The drink is a cheeky homage to the Red-light District in Amsterdam, the birthplace over 350 years ago, of Bols Genever.

“A Drink for Your Cause”

Bols Genever has also created “A Drink for Your Cause,” a charitable fund of up to $15,000 that will benefit the charities chosen by participating bars across the country. Here’s how it works:

  • Bars register at and select an official Negroni Week charity.
  • During Negroni Week, every time a guest posts a photo to Instagram of their Red Light Negroni with the hashtag #RedLightNegroni and the account’s handle, Bols Genever will donate $1 to the account’s chosen charity.

“Watching the classic Negroni grow in popularity over the last handful of years has been an absolute revelation,” said Gilles Bensabeur, Bols Genever USA Brand Manager. Imbibe has obviously been instrumental in that growth and we’re extremely proud to sponsor Negroni Week and, hopefully, introduce Bols Genever, the original spirit of Amsterdam, to an even broader audience. That we get to do so to the benefit of such worthy charitable organizations makes it all the more worthwhile.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Bols Genever on Negroni Week 2018 and are grateful for their commitment to donate up to $15,000 in support of Negroni Week’s mission to raise money for charitable causes,” says Karen Foley, publisher of Imbibe Magazine. “Their support is yet another testament to the generosity of the hospitality world.


  • 1 oz Bols Genever
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice and stir well. Strain into the lightbulb decanter, serve it next to a rocks glass filled with ice and garnished with an orange twist.

About Bols Genever

Bols Genever, the original spirit of Amsterdam, is made with the knowledge and craftsmanship of over four centuries of distilling by Lucas Bols, the world’s oldest distilled spirits brand from Amsterdam since 1575. Bols Genever is made according to the authentic 1820 recipe that is on display at the House of Bols in Amsterdam.

About Negroni Week

Negroni Week launched in 2013 as a celebration of one of the world’s great cocktails and an effort to raise money for charities around the world. From 2013 to 2017, Negroni Week grew from about 100 participating venues to over 7,700 venues around the world, and to date, they have collectively raised nearly $1.5 million for charitable causes.

For one week every June, bar and restaurants mix classic Negronis and Negroni variations for a great cause. To participate, each venue signs up at, chooses from our list of official charity partners, and makes an immediate donation to that charity. Then they can return during and after Negroni Week to make additional donations to their chosen charity. After Negroni Week is complete, we tally up how much was raised collectively by all of our participating bars, restaurants and partners.

GSN Alert: June 4th – National Cognac Day

704px-Map_of_Cognac_Regions3.svgIn honor of National Cognac Day (odd, I know, since Cognac is a French spirit), Good Spirits News is proud to present a selection of some of the best classic cocktails featuring this iconic spirit.

Editor’s note: French grape brandies made in the Cognac region are the only brandies that can be labeled as Cognac.blah

1 1/2 ounce brandy
1 ounce cream
1 ounce crème de cacao
Garnish: Sprinkle of nutmeg
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Between The Sheets
1 ounce brandy
1 ounce light rum
1 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce lemon juice
Garnish: Lemon twist.
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

East India House
2 ounce brandy
1 teaspoon pineapple syrup
1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur
1 teaspoon orange curaçao
3 dash Angostura Bitters
Garnish: Lime twist
Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass.

Fog Cutter
2 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce orgeat
2 ounce light rum
1 ounce brandy
1/2 ounce gin
1/2 ounce sweet sherry
Shake everything, except the sherry, with ice. Pour into a tall ice filled tiki mug or chimney glass. Float the sherry over the top.

2 ounce brandy
1 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce lemon juice
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

1 ounce brandy
1/4 ounce white crème de menthe
Garnish: Fresh sprigs of mint, and serve with a glass of water.
Stir with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Vieux Carre
3/4 ounce rye whiskey
3/4 ounce brandy
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
1/8 ounce Benedictine
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Garnish: Lemon twist.
Build over ice, in an Old Fashioned glass.

GSN Review: Amaro Montenegro

Amaro Montenegro was created in 1885 from a secret recipe of 40 botanicals. These are collected from around the globe, preserved at a controlled temperature and humidity, and crushed only moments before they enter the extraction phase. Three different methods are used to extract the essence of each botanical: boiling, maceration, and distillation to create Amaro Montenegro’s signature blend. This process is overseen by Master Herbalist, Dr. Matteo Bonoli, who oversees every batch just as the brand’s founder, Stanislao Cobianchi, did back in 1885.

The name pays homage to the second queen of Italy, Princess Helen of Montenegro and was served during her marriage to Italy’s King Victor Emmanuel III in 1896. Montenegro is produced in Bologna, Italy using the same process that was practiced more than 130 years ago.

Montenegro Amaro Italiano (23% abv)
Visual: Medium-light brown.
Nose: Very much in line with an amaro, full and dark with herbality. It awakens the senses and appetite.
Taste: Initially sweet with burnt caramel, this quickly fades into a dry bitterness that never overwhelms.  Akin to a more viscous sweet vermouth.
Finish: Long, with both the sweet and the bitter fading together.
Overall: Perfect for a an afternoon beverage on ice with an orange twist, this is also eminently mixable in cocktails. Really, a great amaro.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Amaro Montenegro

GSN Review: Hine Rare, Homage & Antique Cognac

The year is 1791. A young Englishman sets out from his native Dorset to learn the secrets of how cognac, his father’s favourite tipple, is produced. Thomas Hine is the sixth of twelve children and has just turned sixteen. His sense of timing is questionable though, given how inopportune a moment it is for an Englishman to find himself in France. Fleeing the French Revolution, he is imprisoned at the Château de Jarnac, where he remains sequestered for several months. His marriage to Françoise-Elisabeth, the daughter of his hosts, ensues. In 1817, Thomas Hine gives his name to this House, established on the banks of the Charente in 1763.

Since this dramatic arrival, six generations of the Hine family have succeeded one another at the head of Thomas Hine & Co. The tasting rooms at 16 Quai de l’Orangerie have seen it all, from the Great French Wine Blight to local conflicts, world wars, first bottlings, international incidents, economic booms and slumps, legendary river floods, connoisseur parties and exalted blends. Today, under the watchful eye of sixth-generation member Bernard Hine, a dedicated team of twenty people strive to preserve and act upon 254 years of spirited history.

Hine Rare VSOP is a blend of Grande and Petite Champagnes (60% is the former). This is what’s known as a Fine Champagne. The cognac is aged from between 6 and 12 years, with most being around 8 years old. It was first blended by the eponymous Thomas Hine.

Homage is a wonderful blend of Early Landed cognacs (a traditional method of maturing cognac – it is exported prior to maturation – thus the name – and is aged in cellars in the UK – Bristol to be precise) as well as very old c matured in the Hine’s Jarnac cellars. The blend was created on the 23rd October 2000 and selected on the 6th February 2008. It contains cognacs from 1984, 1986 and 1987.

A new addition to the Hine range, the classic Antique is now “Premier Cru”. Before it was a Fine Champagne (a blend of cognacs from both the Grande and Petite Champagne regions) now it is just produced using grapes from the Grande Champagne region – the top region for cognac. The new edition is a blend of over 40 different cognacs, aged for over a decade.

Hine Rare VSOP (80 proof)
Visual: Amber.
Nose: Sweet grape, oak, soft leather.
Taste: Rich, deep brandy flavor with a woody, semi-fruitcake flavor. Baking spices, currants, light vanilla bean, tannin at the very end.
Finish: Medium long, with more of the oak keeping on.
Overall: An elegant and smooth cognac that works as a sipper and in cocktails that call for a finer approach.
GSN Rating: A-



Hine Homage (80 proof)
Visual: Amber-Gold.
Nose: High notes of well-aged brandy. Slight grape and raisin notes.
Taste: Lots of sharp, almost piquant oak wood flavors punch through with the softer vanilla tones playing a distant second.
Finish: Long with a flavorful, dry and crisp finish.
Overall: An exceptional cognac which makes for a perfect after dinner dessert.
GSN Rating: A


Hine Antique XO (80 proof)
Visual: Darkening amber.
Nose: Seductively deep nose of dried cherry fruit, vanilla cream, and nut bread.
Taste: More broad in scope than the Rare and Homage, this has much more in the way of brown sugar, caramel and yet at the same time a spicy quality.
Finish: An elderly quality that seems very fruit forward. A slow sipper that will warm up to you after several tastes.
Overall: Quite smooth and in the mid-range of flavors. Very little in the way of high notes or brightness, this one is very laid back.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Hotaling & Co.