20995758-9748-4f24-981a-4792ba692bc1Following the largest nomination pool in the history of the show and a rigorous judging process by some of the most respected minds in the cocktail industry, Tales of the Cocktail® is proud to announce the Top Four Finalists for each category of the 9th Annual Spirited Awards®. All award finalists are invited to attend the Spirited Awards® ceremony on Saturday, July 18 at the Sheraton New Orleans where the winners will be announced live and will receive the Riedel crystal trophies.

GSN congratulates all of the finalists and wishes each the best of luck during the awards ceremony!  Cheers!

2015 Spirited Awards® Top 4 Finalists

American Categories

Best American Bar Team
ABV (San Francisco)
Dead Rabbit (New York)
Employees Only (New York)
Williams & Graham (Denver)
American Bartender of the Year
Chris Hannah (New Orleans)
Bobby Heugel (Houston)
Ivy Mix (New York)
Jeffrey Morgenthaler (Portland)
Best American Brand Ambassador
Brooke Arthur (House Spirits)
Colin Asare-Appiah (Bacardi)
Jamie Gordon (Absolut Elyx)
Chris Patino (Pernod-Ricard)
Best American Cocktail Bar
Prizefighter (Emeryville)
Smuggler’s Cove (San Francisco)
Trick Dog (San Francisco)
Williams & Graham (Denver)
Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar
Employees Only (New York)
Flatiron Lounge (New York)
Harvard & Stone (Los Angeles)
Honeycut (Los Angeles)
Best American Hotel Bar
Sable Kitchen and Bar (Chicago)
Spare Room (Los Angeles)
The Broken Shaker (Miami Beach)
The Hawthorne (Boston)
Best American Restaurant Bar
Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks (Boston)
Gramercy Tavern (New York)
Nopa (San Francisco)
The Rieger Hotel Grill and Exchange (Kansas City)
Best New American Cocktail Bar
ABV (San Francisco)
Julep (Houston)
Latitude 29 (New Orleans)
The NoMad Bar (New York)

International Categories

Best International Bar Team
28 Hong Kong Street (Singapore)
American Bar at the Savoy Hotel (London)
Black Pearl (Melbourne)
Le Lion Bar de Paris (Hamburg)

International Bartender of the Year
Marian Beke (London)
Ryan Chetiyawardana (London)
Zdenek Kastanek (Singapore)
Hidetsugu Ueno (Tokyo)

Best International Brand Ambassador
Ian Burrell (Global Rum)
Dean Callan (Monkey Shoulder)
George Nemec (Becherovka)
Claire Smith-Warner (Belvedere Vodka)

Best International Cocktail Bar
Artesian (London)
Candelaria (Paris)
Happiness Forgets (London)
White Lyan (London)

Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar
Callooh Callay (London)
Eau de Vie (Melbourne)
The Black Pearl/The Attic (Melbourne)
Trailer Happiness (London)

Best International Hotel Bar
American Bar, The Savoy (London)
Beaufort Bar, The Savoy (London)
The Punch Room, The Edition Hotel (London)
Zetter Townhouse (London)

Best International Restaurant Bar
Blind Pig at Social Eating House (London)
Hawksmoor Spitalfields (London)
Tippling Club (Singapore)
Zuma (Dubai)

Best New International Cocktail Bar
Bar Termini (London)
Dandelyan (London)
Le Syndicat Cocktail Club (Paris)
The Clumsies (Athens)

Writing Categories

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication
Difford’s Guide
The Cocktail Lovers
Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer
Dave Broom
Camper English
Jeffrey Morgenthaler
Robert Simonson
Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book
Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails by David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald, and Alex Day
Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail by Dave Arnold
The Bar Book by Jeff Morgenthaler
The Old-Fashioned by Robert Simonson
Best New Spirits Book
Sherry by Talia Baiocchi
The Curious Bartender: An Odyssey of Malt Bourbon & Rye Whiskies by Tristan Stephenson
Thinking Drinkers: The Enlightened Imbiber’s Guide to Alcohol by Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham
Whisky: The Manual by Dave Broom

Overall Categories

Best Bar Mentor
Bridget Albert (Chicago)
Francesco Lafranconi (Las Vegas)
Jim Meehan (Portland)
Angus Winchester (London)
Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient
Amaro di Angostura
J. Rieger & Co. Kansas City Whiskey
Mister Katz’s Rock and Rye
Suze Bitters
World’s Best Cocktail Menu
Artesian (London)
Beaufort Bar at the Savoy (London)
Dead Rabbit (New York)
Trick Dog (San Francisco)
World’s Best Spirits Selection
Canon (Seattle)
Multnomah Whiskey Library (Portland)
The Baxter Inn (Sydney)
Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant (San Francisco)

caravedoBack in 2012, GSN reviewed the original Pisco Portón here.  With the category exploding in the U.S. (as it should), the company has introduced a pisco puro.  What is a “pisco puro”?  Basically it means it is crafted from a single grape varietal.  There are only eight allowed in peruvian pisco: Quebranta, Mollar, Uvina, Negra Criolla, Italia, Muscatel, Torontel and Albilla.  La Caravedo uses the Quebranta grape, which is the dominant and original grape used in pisco, and the one most often found in a pisco sour.

Located in Ica, Peru, Hacienda La Caravedo is the oldest distillery in the Americas going back to 1684.  As with all Peruvian piscos, they use small batch copper pot stills and do not age the spirit or add water to bring it down to proof.  You are tasting nothing but the pure heart of the distillate.

La Caravedo (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Apple, pear, grape seed, wet grass.
Taste: Floral and semi-fruity with a medium dry mouthfeel.  Some peppery notes kick in after a moment, but these are tempered by a nutty and oatmeal-like chewiness.  Very fresh and evocative.
Finish: Medium long with more of the grape character shining through towards the end.
Overall: A very nice pisco and one that works just as well as a chilled sipper as it does in a cocktail.  Pisco Portón has done it again!
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: La Caravedo

indexWilliam Grant & Sons’ Hudson Whiskey brand is upscaling to a new 750-ml. bottle size. Previously available only in 375-ml. format, Hudson Whiskey’s Baby Bourbon and Manhattan Rye whiskies will both debut in 750-ml. bottles this summer, priced at around $50 each. The move coincides with the 10th anniversary of the brand, which William Grant acquired from producer Tuthilltown Spirits in 2010. In addition to its Baby Bourbon and Manhattan Rye, the Hudson Whiskey range includes Four Grain Bourbon, Single Malt and New York Corn expressions, all of which are at 46% abv.

indexWashington, D.C.-based One Eight Distilling is introducing a new offering this month, Ivy City Gin. Retailing around $37 a bottle, the American dry gin is made from locally-sourced grains, including 63% rye, 26% corn and 11% malted rye, the company says. One Eight’s Ivy City Gin will be available at the distillery and both on- and off-premise around Washington, D.C. The company is donating $1 from every bottle sold to Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C. One Eight Distilling also produces Rock Creek Whiskey and District Made Vodka.

indexBrown-Forman has launched Herradura Ultra, a new super-premium Tequila entry. Rolling out this month, Ultra features a base of Herradura’s Añejo Tequila blended with Extra Añejo that has been aged for up to 49 months in American white oak barrels, with the liquid then filtered to remove color. Ultra will initially be available on-premise in key markets, including California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Texas. Herradura Ultra joins Blanco, Silver, Reposado, Añejo and Selección Suprema Extra Añejo expressions in Herradura’s portfolio.

indexDiageo’s Tanqueray gin has unveiled a new juniper-forward limited edition, Tanqueray Bloomsbury. The new expression is based on Charles Waugh Tanqueray’s recipe from about 1880 and features prominent notes of Tuscan juniper and botanicals such as coriander, angelica, winter savoury and cassia bark, the company says. It follows recent upscale launches from the brand, including 2014 limited edition Tanqueray Old Tom and citrus-infused Tanqueray Malacca in 2013. About 100,000 bottles of Tanqueray Bloomsbury will be available beginning next month, retailing at $32.99 a 750-ml.

indexProximo Spirits’ 1800 Tequila has released a limited edition Essential Artist series with packaging featuring work by artist Keith Haring. The initiative will see six of Haring’s original designs featured on a limited run of 1800 bottles. The special edition 1800 packaging is rolling out currently to select markets, retailing at $30 a bottle.

indexLos Angeles-based 21st Century Spirits has partnered with Sony Pictures Television to release a limited edition Blue Ice vodka range inspired by the TV show “Breaking Bad.” Rolling out at retail nationwide, the “Heisenberg” Blue Ice vodka lineup (around $27 a 750-ml.) includes three bottle designs, each featuring a different “Breaking Bad” quote. Produced in Rigby, Idaho, Blue Ice’s line also includes its core vodka ($23.95), as well as offshoots Blue Ice Organic Wheat ($26.95) and Blue Ice G ($17.99).

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

BACARDI--_Gran-Reserva_Maestro_de_RonBacardi is a venerable rum brand going back to 1862.  The Bacardi family moved to the Bahamas in 1960, and continued to make their rum in distilleries built in Puerto Rico, Mexico and India after prohibition.  Interesting that at the same time U.S./Cuba relations have finally thawed after 56 years, Bacardi has released a super premium rum in the U.S. called Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron.  Previously only available in duty-free airports, the rum is a blend of three-year old rums hand-picked by the Master Distillers (maestros de ron).

Bacardi Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Fresh, clean rainwater with sprightly top notes of barleycorn, spearmint, and milled rice.
Taste: Smooth and velvety vanilla bean and peppercorn.  Elegant and self-assured.
Finish: Medium long with more lingering mineral notes than expected.  Dry, peppery and with a hint of lactose.
Overall: Really quite a fine rum and one that will suit any white rum cocktail.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Bacardi

imagesBourbon is the quintessential American spirit, and today is a today to celebrate it!  GSN is proud to share some classic bourbon cocktails from some of the great cocktail guides of the past 150 years.

Bourbon Crusta
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
1/2 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
1/2 ounce lemon juice
2 dashes orange bitters
Garnish: Orange peel.
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Bourbon Milk Punch
1 1/2 ounces bourbon whiskey
4 ounces milk
2 teaspoons simple syrup
2 dashes vanilla extract
Garnish: grated nutmeg
Shake vigorously with ice, strain into a brandy snifter or wine glass.

2 ounces bourbon whiskey
3/4 ounce white crème de cacao
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1 dash grenadine
Shake with ice. Strain into champagne flute.

Eastern Sour
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
1 1/2 ounces orange juice
1 ounce lime juice
1/4 ounce orgeat
1/4 ounce simple syrup
Garnish: Shell of the lime used for the fresh juice.
Shake with ice. Strain into an ice filled tumbler.

Lion’s Tail
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
1/2 ounce pimento dram
1/2 ounce lime juice
1 teaspoon simple syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Mint Julep
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
4 whole sprigs mint
2 teaspoons sugar
Garnish: Mint sprigs dusted with powdered sugar.
Muddle in a cocktail shaker until the sugar is dissolved and the mint is blended in. Add ice, and then shake well. Strain into a glass filled with shaved ice.

1 ounce bourbon whiskey
1/2 ounce Cointreau
7 dashes Angostura Bitters
7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
5 ounces champagne
Garnish: Lemon twist.
Build in a champagne flute.

Suffering Bastard
1 ounce lime juice
4 ounces ginger ale
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 ounce bourbon whiskey
1 ounce gin
Garnish: mint sprig, orange wheel, and cherry.
Build in a rocks glass.

Ward 8
1 1/2 ounces bourbon whiskey
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce orange juice
1 teaspoon grenadine
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Whiskey Sour
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
1 ounce simple syrup
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1 teaspoon egg white (optional)
Shake with ice. Strain into a sour glass, or an ice filled Old Fashioned glass.

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.



LaQuintinyeVermouth is making a huge comeback, which is a welcome change from the ultra-dry Martini type thinking which relegated this tasty beverage to the back of the bar.  Recently, a triad of styles: extra dry, blanc and rouge were crafted by the fine people at Ciroc vodka and G’Vine gin.  They knew what they were looking for when blending the flavor profile.  Unusually, they decided to use Pineau des Charentes, a blend of grape juice and grape brandy.  The vermouth is also unfiltered and has no added caramel coloring.  What you see is what you get.

The name of the vermouth comes from a French gardener.  Jean-Baptiste de la Quintinie (pronounced Quin-Tea-Knee) worked in Louis XIV’s famed Gardens of Versailles.  He was responsible for providing the best fruits, vegetables and herbs for the Sun King while he was staying at the palace.

Blanc (16% ABV)  Pale gold with a heavy floral character.  Citrus, lavender and light spice flavor with an edgy bite.
GSN Rating: A

Rouge (16.5% ABV)  Deep amber with cherry, raspberry and cranberry overtones.  More of these come out in the flavor profile, but with the additional of a curious menthol quality.  Unlike any other vermouth you’ve had, guaranteed.
GSN Rating: A+

Extra Dry (17% ABV)  Pleasant gold color with poultry baking spices on the nose.  The flavor is a blend of lemon zest, rosemary and sage with the typical bitterly dry wormwood adding a touch more intensity than many would enjoy in a Martini.
GSN Rating:  B+

For more information go to: La Quintinye

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