Here are some GSN recommended books to be on the lookout for in the next few months.
Here are some GSN recommended books to be on the lookout for in the next few months.
Posted in Bar Tools | Tagged a Salute in Stories and Drinks to "Professor" Jerry Thomas, Abigail R. Gehring, Adam Ford, and Edible Flowers, and Elixirs, Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails: Restorative Vintage Cocktails, Classic Cocktails, Cocktails & Dreams: The Ultimate Indian Cocktail Book, david wondrich, Distilled: From absinthe & brandy to vodka & whisky, explained & enjoyed, gary regan, Gitanjali Chaturvedi, Herbs, Home-grown and Foraged Fruits, Imbibe! Updated and Revised Edition: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, Joel Harrison, Julie Reiner, Kaitlyn Goalen, Lottie Muir, Mocktails, Neil Ridley, Paul Clarke, Paul Tanguay, Philip M. Dobard, Pioneer of the American Bar, Salvatore Calabrese, Shaker & Glass, Tad Carducci, Tea Cocktails: A Mixologist's Guide to Legendary Tea-Infused Cocktails, The Cocktail Chronicles: Navigating the Cocktail Renaissance with Jigger, The Craft Cocktail Party: Delicious Drinks for Every Occasion, The Negroni: Drinking to La Dolce Vita, The Tippling Bros. A Lime and a Shaker: Discovering Mexican-Inspired Cocktails, the world's finest artisan spirits unearthed, Vermouth: The Revival of the Spirit that Created America's Cocktail Culture, Warren Bobrow, with Recipes & Lore, Yangdup Lama | Leave a Comment »
Simon Ford is one of the busiest guys I’ve ever met. He recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for charity. He has also in a previous life been Pernod-Ricard’s ambassador for Plymouth and Beefeater gins. So, it only makes sense that he decided to his own liquor company. What else could he possibly have to conquer?
Working with Master Distiller Charles Maxwell, Ford’s Gin at London at Thames Distillers, Fords Gin is a blend of nine botanicals steeped for fifteen hours before distillation in twin custom 500 liter stills named Tom Thumb and Thumbelina. The ingredients represent a virtual trip around the world with Italian juniper, Romanian coriander, Spanish lemon peel, bitter orange peel from Haiti and Morocco, grapefruit peel from Turkey, Angelica from Poland, Indonesian cassia, Jasmine from China and orris root from Italy and Morocco. The base spirit is distilled from English wheat while the water comes from Mendocino County in California.
Wow! I need a drink just thinking about all of that traveling!
Ford’s Gin (90 proof)
Visual: Crystal clear.
Nose: Hearty dose of juniper up front with a backbone of citrus and lighter herbs providing color. Very fresh and clean.
Taste: Lightly sweet, but with a transparency that allows the drier characteristics of the botanicals to shone through. Very much in the London Dry style with an excellent distillate holding everything together.
Finish: Dry, crisp and immensely satisfying.
Overall: What stands out for me in this gin is that no one aspect overwhelms or dominates. If anything, there is more of a floral character than citrus, but that’s debatable. Despite being a new gin, this can go head to head with old standbys like Beefeater and Tanqueray. Will work in anything from a G&T to a classic martini and everything in between. Do not hesitate to pick up a bottle!
GSN Rating: A
For more information go to: Ford’s Gin
Ireland is known for two distinct spirits (and no, one of them isn’t Irish Cream). What we’re talking about are poitin and whiskey. Never heard of poitin (pronounced pot-cheen)? You can read more about it here. But more significantly, what are the differences between poitin and whiskey?
Homedistiller.org sums it up quite succinctly by saying, “Early poitin was raw single (barley) malt whiskey. Peat was the heat source. Later to cut costs (possibly in line with Scottish practice) malted barley and other grains (wheat, oats, rye) were used. The use of treacle (molasses) is mentioned, as is raw (brown) sugar, (one source says sugar was used after 1880). Currently barley and sugar, or even sugarbeet pulp is mentioned. I would imagine if potatoes were not suitable for eating, that they would be used too.” As well, most poitin was illegally distilled at high-proof and unaged (barrels are expensive!). So, in a nutshell, this is Irish moonshine made from whatever was handy and cheap.
As for Irish Whiskey, you know from previous articles that GSN has written that it is a very strictly regulated industry which has four standards:
- It must be distilled and aged on the island of Ireland
- It must be distilled yeast-fermented mash of cereal grains
- It must be aged for at least three years in wooden barrels of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres
- If the whiskey is a blend of two or more such distillates, the product must be called a “blended” Irish whiskey
Glendalough’s whiskey is crafted from a mash bill of Irish malted barley and corn. It rests three and a half years in American oak first-fill Bourbon barrels before being finished for an additional six months in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks.
Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey (84 proof)
Visual: Mild pale gold.
Nose: Elegant, malty and warming. The sherry comes through in a winsome way.
Taste: Initially sweet with sherry and malty with a flavor profile reminiscent of freshly cooked sugar corn. This quickly gives way to a bit of heat and spiciness. Lastly, the woodiness of the oak adds a touch of down-to-earth rustic friendliness.
Finish: Medium long with the lasting memory being one of spice and wood.
Overall: Similar in many ways to a traditional Irish whiskey, yet different enough to be distinguishable from the pack. A very nice and well-defined spirit.
GSN Rating: B+
For more information go to: Glendalough
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Destilería Serrallés in Puerto Rico. You can read all about it here. One of my more memorable moments on that trip was when I had the chance to taste high-proof rum right out of the barrel. Strong, yet flavorful and slightly sweet. It only made sense that they would eventually come up with a one-hundred-fifty-one proof version.
First off, why is 151 the magic number? According to Ed Hamilton from ministryofrum.com, 75.5% alcohol is about the distillation proof of old pot stills. Double the percentage to arrive at the proof. So, what is proof? The word goes back to 16th-century England, when it was used for taxation purposes. A small pellet of gunpowder was soaked with the liquor in question. If it was possible to ignite the wet gunpowder, the alcohol content of the liquor was considered above proof and taxed at a higher rate. If however, the powder failed to ignite it was taxed at a lower rate. So, generally, 151 rum would have been one of the most expensive spirits five centuries ago. Today, however, things are more affordable.
Another important point to note is that U.S. regulations prevent rums over 155 proof from entering the country. So, by keeping their spirits at the euphonious designation of one-five-one, manufacturers are able to sell more product. Don Q 151 is only the second overproof rum to be offered by a Puerto Rican distillery.
Don Q 151 (151 proof)
Visual: Deep gold.
Nose: Hot and clean with a nice smoky touch.
Taste: Slightly funky with a curious whiff of smoke on the tongue. There is a lot of body here and mouthfeel that goes beyond a typical lighter style Puerto Rican rum.
Finish: Sweeter than expected with a fine burn that is mouth-watering. Dry and tight at the end.
Overall: This fits in with the Don Q line perfectly. A lot of attention to detail has been given to this rum. If you water this down 50/50, you will still be able to enjoy the flavor.
GSN Rating: A-
For more information go to: Don Q
Brown-Forman’s Old Forester Bourbon has launched Old Forester Mint Julep, a new ready-to-drink cocktail intended to be served over crushed ice. Rolling out at retail across roughly 35 U.S. markets this month, Old Forester Mint Julep (60 proof) is packaged in a commemorative Kentucky Derby-inspired bottle and priced at around $25 a 1-liter.
Billed as gluten-free, SX Liquors barrel-aged products are produced in Jalisco, Mexico and packaged in hand-blown and painted bottles. The range includes SX Negro Vodka, Blanco Vodka, ChaChaCha Tequila, Cafedoble Tequila, Mojito Rum and Samba Rum. SX Liquors retail for $29.99 a 750-ml. and $39.99 a 1-liter bottle. The brand’s line of liquors is launching nationwide.
Connecticut-based Barrell Craft Spirits, LLC has added to its line of small-batch craft whiskies with Barrell Bourbon Batch 004. The company’s fourth Bourbon offering (116.7 proof) is both distilled and aged for more than six years in Kentucky. With a mash bill of corn, rye and malted barley, Batch 004 features flavors of spices and peach butter for a finish of saddle leather and tobacco, the company says. It follows the successful launches of Bourbon Batches 001, 002 and 003—with the company saying it sold out of all 500 cases made available for each—as well as January’s release of Barrell Whiskey Batch 001 ($55). Batch 004 retails for about $79.99 a 750-ml., with about 1,000 cases available.
Heaven Hill Distilleries’ Burnett’s vodka has added two new flavors to its lineup. Available nationwide starting next month, Burnett’s Cherry Limeade and Apple Berry will bring the brand’s flavored portfolio to a total of 36 entries. Both offerings will be available in 50-ml., 750-ml., 1-liter and 1.75-liter formats, priced at around $10.99 a 750-ml.
Beam Suntory’s Pinnacle vodka has extended its flavor range with the launch of Pinnacle Cucumber. Featuring notes of cucumber and vanilla, the new 70-proof offering is priced at $12.99 and brings Pinnacle’s lineup to a total of 48 flavored vodkas.
Daily’s Cocktails is launching a new line of fruit-flavor carbonated drinks this spring under the name Spiked Sodas. The 5%-abv offerings will be available in 12-ounce slim cans in four flavors: Cherry Cola, Raspberry Ginger Ale, Lemon Lime and Blood Orange. Spiked Sodas are geared toward women as a slightly sweet, low-alcohol beverage with no malt aftertaste, the company says. They are currently available in select markets throughout the Southeast, with additional distribution expected in Texas, California and Michigan this spring. The suggested retail price is $1.99 a 12-ounce can.
All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily
Posted in News | Tagged Barrell Bourbon Batch 004, Blanco Vodka, Burnett’s Apple Berry, Burnett’s Cherry Limeade, Cafedoble Tequila, ChaChaCha Tequila, Mojito Rum, Old Forester Mint Julep, Pinnacle Cucumber, Samba Rum, Spiked Sodas, SX Negro Vodka | Leave a Comment »
I couldn’t discover much about the origins of this unusual cocktail except that it dates to around 2007. Basically a Margarita variation with red wine, it works surprisingly well. I’d almost hazard a guess that whoever came up with the recipe, did so by accident. But, be that as it may, it is a gorgeous color and the flavor is definitely more intriguing than your usual tequila daisy.
(I’ve never heard of a cactusberry, but I have heard of a dragonberry, which is why I chose this Oz book as a background. My mind works in strange ways sometimes. – ed.)
1.25oz blanco tequila
1.25oz red wine (Merlot or Shiraz is recommended)
0.5oz triple sec
0.5oz simple syrup
0.25oz lemon juice
0.25oz lime juice
1 splash lemon-lime soda
For glass: lime wedge, coarse salt
Rim chilled cocktail glass with lime and salt. Shake remiaing ingredients with ice and pour into glass.
Posted in Mr. Boston 75th Anniversary Official Bartenders Guide | Tagged Cactus Berry | Leave a Comment »
Whisk(e)y is such a ubiquitous spirit that it is hard to imagine cocktail culture without it. Think of all the iconic drinks from the Old-Fashioned to the Manhattan to the Sazerac to the Penicillin. And there are nearly as many countries known for their own particular take on the “water of life”. Scotland, Ireland, Canada, America, Japan are just the major epicenters of distillation. Then, you’ve got a variety of styles. Single malt, single grain, blended, unaged, aged in a plethora of different wood barrels. It is truly amazing.
So, on this day, toast with a glass of your favorite either neat, straight up, on the rocks, or mixed into a cocktail. Without whiskey, our lives would be lacking a little joy.
The Editorial Staff