Jameson Irish CoffeeAlthough we’re celebrating National Irish Coffee Day today, the actual date of its arrival on our shores was on 11/10/52.  It was imported from Ireland to San Francisco via Stanton Delaplane who first had a taste of it at Shannon Airport.  The creator was Chef Joe Sheridan.

Here is Sheridan’s original recipe.  “Cream as rich as an Irish brogue; coffee as strong as a friendly hand; sugar sweet as the tongue of a rogue; and whiskey smooth as the wit of the land.”

In case that is too vague, here are some recommendations for you.  Use a heavy whipping cream, all the better if it comes from grass-fed cows.  The coffee should be French Press pot using a Full-City or Vienna roast.  I prefer to use Demerara sugar cubes, and the whiskey should be Jameson’s or Powers.

Dale DeGroff also has this to say: “Never use canned cream in an Irish Coffee. Whip your own cream without sugar by placing a stainless steel bowl or pitcher in the fridge until it is very cold . Start with very cold heavy cream and whisk or whip to just under stiff so the cream has no bubbles and will still pour slowly. Always sweeten the coffee using brown sugar or brown sugar syrup. Finally don’t drown the drink in coffee, about 4 ounces is all you need. Try to find the classic stemmed Irish Coffee glasses, because of their size they will force you to use the right amount of coffee. Those are the tricks we use in the business to make drinks bartender proof.”

Irish Coffee
1 1/2 oz. Jamesons Irish Whiskey
1 oz. Brown Sugar Syrup
Lightly Whipped Unsweetened Cream

Combine Whiskey, coffee and syrup in an Irish coffee glass. Ladle one inch of cream on top.

download (2)Domaine Select Wine & Spirits (DSWS) has added France’s Suze Bitters to its national import portfolio. Suze Bitters’ offerings include Aromatic Bitters, Red Aromatic Bitters and Orange Bitters (all 40% abv and $30 a 200-ml.). Concurrently, DSWS’s DSMerchants distribution unit will begin handling products from New Mexico’s KGB Spirits, including Brim Stone Absinthe ($70 a 750-ml.) and three whiskies: Governor’s Reserve 4 Year, John David Albert 5 Year Single Barrel and Turley Mill Rye Whiskey Cask Strength ($45-$85). Also joining DSMerchants is Bowen’s American Whiskey ($50) from California, J.P. Trodden Small Batch Bourbon ($70) from Washington and Rebellious Rye Whiskey ($45) from California’s Twisted Manzanita Brewery and Distillery.

download (3)Heaven Hill Brands is introducing Christian Brothers Apple, a new flavored extension to the brandy label. Building off of the success of Christian Brothers Honey and Peach, Christian Brothers Apple is 35% abv and retails around $11 a 750-ml.

download (4)William Grant & Sons has unveiled Tullamore D.E.W. Trilogy, the oldest expression to date in the Irish whiskey franchise. The new permanent addition to the brand’s lineup is a 15-year-old blend of three whiskies distilled three times and matured in three cask types—Bourbon barrels, Oloroso Sherry butts and rum casks. Tullamore D.E.W. Trilogy will be available in the U.S. next month at a suggested retail price of $79.99 a 750-ml.

download (5)Moët Hennessy’s Glenmorangie single malt has introduced a new Scotch whisky under its annual Private Edition collection. The new offering, Glenmorangie Milsean, is a no-age-statement whisky that was first matured in ex-Bourbon casks before spending a number of years of extra aging in heavily toasted Portuguese wine casks. The 46% abv entry is launching worldwide. 1,500 cases have been imported to the U.S., where Milsean will retail at $99 a bottle.

download (6)Lucas Bols USA is adding a new flavor, Parfait Amour, to its Bols liqueur line. Retailing at around $18 a 750-ml., Parfait Amour is a dark purple liqueur “with an aromatic floral taste that comes from rose and violet petals, enhanced by vanilla, orange peel and almonds,” says Lucas Bols, which suggests adding half an ounce of Parfait Amour to a glass of Champagne.

imagesWinemaker Rajat Parr and Ascendant Spirits master distiller Stephen Gertman have collaborated on a new gin brand, Calyx. The inaugural edition of Calyx (47.5% abv), which retails at $50 a 750-ml., has launched in a run of 3,500 six-pack cases. A new “vintage” will follow in October with production boosted to 5,000 six-pack cases. Produced from a mix of organic botanicals including angelica, coriander, elderflower, ginger, honeysuckle and locally-sourced grapefruit peel and mint, Calyx will be released in a new vintage each year.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

downloadLexington, Virginia’s Devils Backbone Brewing Company has unveiled Danzig Baltic Porter as the first entry in its 2016 Trail Blazer series. Previously available only at Devils Backbone’s Basecamp Brewpub, the 8%-abv offering is billed as a blend between an English-style porter and Germanic lager, made with Northern Brewer and Tettnang hops and Pilsner, Vienna, Munich, Brown, Chocolate Wheat, Caramel and Cara-fa malts. Danzig Baltic Porter will be available in bottles and draft across the brewer’s full distribution footprint—which includes Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia—for the first time starting this month.

download (1)Hood River, Oregon’s Full Sail Brewing Company is bringing back limited-release brew Slipknot IPA as part of its Brewmaster Reserve series. The latest version of Slipknot is made from Cascade, Mosaic and Citra hops and 2-Row Northwest Pale and Caramel malts. The 7.0% abv beer is available for a limited time in 22-ounce bottles and on draft. Full Sail’s Brewmaster Series features limited release, experimental and barrel-aged beers.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

41cf7728141719b1ff5ab0cf6d1ce999When Prohibition outlawed the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages on January 17, 1920, many enterprising residents of a small town in Iowa chose to become outlaws – producing a high-caliber and much sought-after whiskey known as Templeton Rye, or “the good stuff” to those in the know. Alphonse Kerkhoff (seen at left) was one of those Templeton outlaws. Over the course of its storied history, Templeton Rye became Al Capone’s whiskey of choice, quickly finding its way to the center of his bootlegging empire. Templeton Rye is based on the original Prohibition era Kerkhoff recipe. January 17 is not only the birthday of Templeton Rye, but it’s also the birthday of Al Capone as well as the original Bootlegger’s son Meryl Kerkhoff.  Please join our community of enthusiasts at the Bootlegger’s Society: www.bootleggerssociety.com

Here’s an original cocktail created by Blair Frodelius of Good Spirits News to celebrate National Bootlegger’s Day.

Kerkhoff’s Payoff 

1.5 oz Templeton rye
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
1 tsp green Chartreuse
1 small egg white

Shake vigorously with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into ice-filled Collins glass and top with soda water. Add lemon wheel garnish and a straw.

#TempletonRye #BootleggersDay #TheGoodStuff


“The yuzu is a citrus fruit and plant originating in East Asia. It is believed to be a hybrid of sour mandarin and Ichang papeda, a slow-growing species of the Citrus subgenus Papeda, which has characteristic lemon-scented foliage and flowers.

The fruit looks somewhat like a grapefruit (though usually much smaller) with an uneven skin, and can be either yellow or green depending on the degree of ripeness. Yuzu fruits, which are very aromatic, typically range between 5.5 and 7.5 cm in diameter, but can be as large as a grapefruit (up to 10 cm or larger). The yuzu’s flavour is tart, closely resembling that of the grapefruit, with overtones of mandarin orange.” – Wikipedia entry

Iichiko Yuzu is a blend of barley shochu and yuzu fruit juice.

Iichiko Yuzu (8% abv)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Slight hint of lemon-lime citrus.  Very mild and reticent.
Taste: A rounded and slightly tart lemon flavor.  Imagine a very subdued lemonade that has been watered down and slightly boozy.
Finish: Semi-long with the sweet citrus character leaving a lemon candy sensibility.
Overall: Quite refreshing and summery.  A Japanese limoncello in a manner of speaking.  This tastes much better chilled than at room temperature.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Iichiko


“Shochu is the national spirit of Japan, and while most Americans’ first free association of alcohol and Japan will be sake, shochu is more popular and has outsold sake in Japan for the past decade. Still, the two have a lot of similarities, and while shochu fans and producers like to remind everyone who will listen that shochu and sake are two very different things, the easiest way to describe the spirit is as a spirit that tastes sort of like sake. Sake is confusing enough, because it is almost always described as rice wine, but it is actually brewed, more like rice beer than rice wine (it also is not usually called sake in Japan, but rather nihonshu or seishu). It has far more alcohol than either wine or beer, usually around 30-35 proof, though still much less than hard liquor.

Shochu on the other hand is a distilled spirit, most akin to vodka in the sense that it is typically clear and can be made from different raw materials, unlike most spirits (bourbon from corn, rum from sugar cane, etc.), and is most often distilled from barley, rice, sweet potatoes, or buckwheat. More than half of all shochu is made from barley, the top choice. The production process is far more complex than vodka’s however, and there are myriad styles of shochu based on whether it is distilled once or multiple times, there is shochu fermented with mold, there are shochus aged in wood, and so on. Shochu is on the weak side for a distilled spirit as far as alcohol, at only about 60 proof, which also makes it easier to drink and much lower in calories (it contains zero sugar and has about a quarter of the calories per ounce of vodka).” Information from an article by Larry Olmstead published on Forbes.com, August 6, 2013.

Iichiko Kurobin (50 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Beer-like with a lot of high fruit notes.  Quite engaging and crisp.
Taste: Immensely smooth and well distilled.  Like a watered down vodka, but with more of a slight sour tang instead of minerality.
Finish: Clean, short and dry.  Only a hint of spice and bitterness linger briefly.
Overall: A very well done shochu.  I would recommend this to anyone who is curious about this spirit.  Try it chilled and at room temperature and see how the character changes.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Iichiko

imagesToday is National Hot Buttered Rum day!  And a perfect day for it too, since here in Upstate New York, it’s below freezing and snowing.

Here’s a recipe from Dale DeGroff which is both easy and a time-saver if you’re making a lot over the winter.

Hot Buttered Rum
2oz aged rum
0.75oz demerara simple syrup
1 tbsp spiced compound butter (see below)
Hot apple cider
Cinnamon stick
Glass: any mug or glass appropriate for hot drinks
Preheat glass or mug by filling with hot water.  Then drain the water and pour the syrup in the glass along with the compound butter and a little hot cider. Stir well to melt the butter. Add rum and more hot cider to fill, then give it a light stir with cinnamon stick.  Then smile.
Spiced Compound Butter
1 lb softened butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
Add all ingredients to bowl and mix well.  Store covered in refrigerator.
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