Clyde May was an Alabama farmer, war hero, moonshiner by trade, but a craftsman by heart who set out to make the best whiskey Alabama ever tasted. Using copper stills, Alabama spring water and the finest local grains, Clyde perfected his own unique finish – Alabama Style – by aging small batches in charred oak barrels, adding oven-dried apples to produce a hint of green apple that set Clyde May’s Whiskey apart.

Paying homage to Clyde May himself and his dedication to his craft, this non-chill filtered straight bourbon is a 5-year-old spirit. Using simple and traditional ingredients, the bourbon mash is patiently aged in heavily “alligator” charred new American oak barrels.

Clyde May’s was named the Official State Spirit of Alabama in 2004.

Clyde May’s Straight Bourbon Whiskey (92 proof)
Visual: Darkening orange-brass.
Nose: Wood char, sweet corn, pie spice, and even a touch of fresh pineapple.
Taste: Initially sweet and tangy, it quickly evolves into a more complex spirit with a keen balance of wood and corn.  Quite flavorful and barrel forward, the lasting effect is of a self-assured and confident bourbon that has a brash yet fun-loving character.  There’s even a bit of rye spice here which adds to the appeal.
Finish: Medium long with the woody notes taking the train home.
Overall: A very endearing bourbon, especially on a cold autumnal day.  Just the thing to lift your spirits and part the clouds.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: May’s Whiskey


After a successful introduction in Berlin, Our/Vodka opened micro distilleries in eleven cities across the US, Europe and Australia with local partners. Our/Detroit will open during the summer and 10 other cities will follow including New York, Amsterdam, London and Melbourne.

“Our/Vodka does not have much in common with other spirit brands. In every city, we partner with local entrepreneurs who love their city – and together, we open boutique distilleries with a grassroots approach, that represents the local community,” says Åsa Caap, founder of Our/Vodka and former Innovations Director at Pernod Ricard. The distillery in New York will double as a tasting room, shop and event space, while the Detroit distillery will partner with local organizations for events and communal forums.

Our/Vodka is made with the same recipe, but every distillery will use ingredients sourced as local as possible. Each city not only lends its name, but also a specific local character to the vodka. The local partners will market the vodka in their own fashion.“This is about building a unique business in each city. Our/Berlin is run by fashion people, Our/Detroit by three entrepreneurs and Our/New York by skate and bike aficionados. Of course they will end up differently, and that’s the beauty of it,” says Kalle Söderquist, Creative Director for Our/Vodka.

Our/Vodka comes in a small bottle with a crown cap. Its motto: “Keep it simple. It’s vodka.”

GSN has received two of these vodkas so far.  We will review the others as they become available to us.

Our Detroit (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Clean, crisp and bright with a nice balance of minerality and refined distillate.
Taste: Medium body and mouthfeel with a slight edge of sweetness.  You can taste the base note of corn, which is grown in Windsor, Canada. Upbeat, warm and appealing.
Finish: Short and poignant.  No off notes or lingering flavors.  Just a clean refreshing pop.
Overall: Beautifully distilled and rendered.  A vodka that has a lot of friendliness.
GSN Rating: A-

Our Los Angeles (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Dry, crisp and ethereal.  More minerality than the Our Detroit.  It smells like a European vodka.
Taste: Organic wheat base with vine fruit and some berry characteristics.  A hint of vanilla adds to a dessert-like quality.
Finish: Medium long with a bit of the vanilla character hanging on for a few minutes. You’re left with a “round” mouthfeel.
Overall: Very nice and chewy.  This makes for a fine sipping vodka on its own, but will also stand up in a cocktail with more aggressive components.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Our Vodka


The makers of Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur, the original spicy chile liqueur, recently announced the launch of Ancho Reyes Verde, a limited edition offering that provides bartenders and mixologists an additional unique option for their creativity. Remarkably, while both products are made using the poblano chile, some slight shifts in the production process yield distinctly different flavor experiences.

  • The chiles used to create Verde are harvested earlier in the maturation process, while still green, and then fire roasted; those in Original are late harvested and sun-dried, turning them to ancho chiles
  • While Original uses the hand-scissoring maceration process, Verde is mashed
  • Finally, Original uses only mesh press filtration while Verde uses both mesh and paper

The Ancho Reyes story began in 1927 with a post-revolutionary recipe from the town of Puebla de Zaragoza. During this time, Mexico was experiencing a different kind of Roaring 20’s—a chaotic, post-revolutionary time that celebrated the emergence of a new, personal independencía. Artists, intellectuals, and bohemians formed a provocative avant-garde movement that spread from cantinas to cabarets. At the center of these gatherings were unique menjurjes – or homemade concoctions – created from a blend of native ingredients and local spirits. One of these elixirs was created by the Reyes family, using Puebla’s signature crop: the beloved ancho chile.

Spirits industry visionaries Daniel Schneeweiss and Moises Guindi brought this historic recipe into the modern-day and now evolve that recipe further with Ancho Reyes Verde.

Ancho Reyes Verde (80 proof)
Visual: Mild gold.
Nose: Spicy, rich Poblano pepper with just a hint of sweet honeysuckle.
Taste: Initially thick and viscous in mouthfeel, the sweetness of the liqueur seems slightly warming, but it quickly grows to a roaring heat that never overwhelms.  This is the brighter, more verdant and vegetal of the two Ancho Reyes chili liqueurs.  Well balanced and exceptionally memorable.
Finish: Both the sweetness and heat go on for several minutes.  A very intense, clean and expressive finish.
Overall: This is one of a kind and brilliant for use behind the bar.  It works in everything from a shot followed by a cerveza chaser, to a quarter ounce used in a Margarita, or a heftier dose in a Bloody Mary.  The heat works well to wake up the palate and at the same time increase the appetite.  Use this in conjunction with small plates of tapas.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Ancho Reyes


logo-2016The World’s 50 Best Bar awards took place earlier today in London, UK. Congratulations to all of the winners! I guess I know where the GSN staff will be going on vacation in the next twelve months.

  1. The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog, New York
  2. American Bar At The Savoy, London
  3. Dandelyan, London
  4. Connaught Bar At The Connaught, London
  5. Attaboy, New York
  6. The Gibson, London
  7. Employees Only, New York
  8. Nomad Bar At The Nomad Hotel, New York
  9. The Clumsies, Athens
  10. Happiness Forgets, London
  11. Manhattan At The Regent, Singapore
  12. The Baxter Inn, Sydney
  13. Licoreria Limantour, Mexico City
  14. 28 Hong Kong Street, Singapore
  15. Speak Low, Shanghai
  16. The Broken Shaker, Miami
  17. Candelaria, Paris
  18. Tales & Spirits, Amsterdam
  19. Nightjar, London
  20. Maison Premiere, New York
  21. Operation Dagger, Singapore
  22. Black Pearl, Melbourne
  23. High Five, Tokyo
  24. Little Red Door, Paris
  25. Linje Tio, Stockholm
  26. Central Station, Beirut
  27. Lobster Bar And Grill At Shangri-La Hotel, Hong Kong
  28. Mace, New York
  29. Smuggler’s Cove, San Francisco
  30. Bar Termini, London
  31. La Factoria, Old San Juan
  32. Oriole, London
  33. The Jerry Thomas Project, Rome
  34. Dante, New York
  35. Trick Dog, San Francisco
  36. ABV, San Francisco
  37. The Walker Inn, Los Angeles
  38. Nottingham Forest, Milan
  39. Aviary, Chicago
  40. Baba Au Rum, Athens
  41. Quinary, Hong Kong
  42. Himkok, Oslo
  43. Lost & Found, Nicosia
  44. Ruby, Copenhagen
  45. PDT, New York
  46. Bulletin Place, Sydney
  47. Bramble, Edinburgh
  48. Callooh Callay, London
  49. Florería Atlántico, Buenos Aires
  50. Buck & Breck, Berlin


Ernest Hemingway drinking and writing at the same time. Now that’s talent!

It’s hard to believe that autumn is here already.  Time to curl up with a good book, a great drink and a thirst for knowledge. Here are some GSN recommended books to be on the lookout for this fall.

51phkdc7uxl-_ac_us160_Bourbon: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of an American Whiskey by Fred Minnick (Voyageur Press) – Bourbon is not just alcohol — this amber-colored drink is deeply ingrained in American culture and tangled in American history. From the early days of raw corn liquor to the myriad distilleries that have proliferated around the country today, bourbon has come to symbolize America. In Bourbon: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of an American Whiskey, award-winning whiskey author Fred Minnick traces bourbon’s entire history, from the 1700s with Irish, Scottish, and French settlers setting up stills and making distilled spirits in the New World through today’s booming resurgence. He also lays out in expert detail the critical role this spirit has played throughout the cultural and even political history of the nation — from Congress passing whiskey-protection laws to consumers standing in long lines just for a glimpse of a rare bottle of Pappy Van Winkle — complemented by more than 100 illustrations and photos. And most importantly, Minnick explores the mystery of who most likely created the sweet corn liquor we now know as bourbon. He studies the men who’ve been championed as its inventors over time — from Daniel Boone’s cousin to Baptist minister Elijah Craig — and, based on new research and never-before-seen documentation, answers the question of who deserves the credit.

51keylluful-_ac_us160_Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas by Brad Thomas Parsons (Ten Speed Press) – The European tradition of making bittersweet liqueurs–called amari in Italian–has been around for centuries. But it is only recently that these herbaceous digestifs have moved from the dusty back bar to center stage in the United States, and become a key ingredient on cocktail lists in the country’s best bars and restaurants. Lucky for us, today there is a dizzying range of amaro available—from familiar favorites like Averna and Fernet-Branca, to the growing category of regional, American-made amaro. Amaro is the first book to demystify this ever-expanding, bittersweet world, and a must-have for any home cocktail enthusiast or industry professional. Starting with a rip-roaring tour of bars, cafés, and distilleries in Italy, amaro’s spiritual home, Brad Thomas Parsons—author of the James Beard and IACP Award–winner Bitters—will open your eyes to the rich history and vibrant culture of amaro today. With more than 100 recipes for amaro-centric cocktails, DIY amaro, and even amaro-spiked desserts, you’ll be living (and drinking) la dolce vita.

51imjwjtbfl-_ac_us160_Whisky Japan: The Essential Guide to the World’s Most Exotic Whisky by Dominic Roskrow (Kodansha USA) – Japanese whisky is finally getting the international recognition it deserves. Originally created to emulate the malts of Scotland, Japanese whiskies now hold a distinct and unique place among other world-class spirits. Yet, despite having a history going back nearly a century, and winning many prestigious awards in recent years (including Whisky Magazine’s World Whiskies Awards in 2016, 2013, 2011, and 2010, and The Whisky Bible’s World Whisky of the Year in 2013), Japanese whiskies have remained enigmatic and exotic. UntiI now. In WHISKY JAPAN, the most comprehensive book on Japanese whisky ever available in English, renowned expert Dominic Roskrow reveals what makes Japanese whisky so special and sought-after by whisky connoisseurs everywhere. He introduces the companies that make Japanese whisky, and offers detailed portraits of these distilleries, explaining their complex production processes, traditions, and the new innovations that have allowed them to take on and surpass the competition. The reader is carried along on a journey to the very heart of Japanese whisky making, with extensive tasting notes for all the leading expressions, a special selection of rare Japanese treasures, profile interviews with key personalities, and over 500 beautiful photographs and illustrations. Here are the whisky makers, blenders, independent bottlers, retailers, collectors, bloggers, and bartenders. There is a lively guide to the best bars around the world in which to taste Japanese whisky, a section on whisky cocktails and food pairings, and useful travel tips on how to get to the distilleries, where to stay, what to eat, and what else there is to do in the area.

51u4ke37fzl-_ac_us160_The Complete Cocktail Manual: 285 Tips, Tricks, and Recipes by Lou Bustamante (Weldon Owen) – Learn everything you need to know to craft the perfect cocktail—or two, or three…but who’s counting? Spirits writer and expert Lou Bustamante, in partnership with the United States Bartenders’ Guild, collects the best cocktail recipes, techniques, and histories in this must-have volume that has a place in every home bar. From worldwide classics to creative new combinations and packed with expert tips from bartenders across the globe, The Complete Cocktail Manual will help you stock your bar, impress your friends, and throw one hell of a party.

41qt1gqqc2l-_ac_us160_Regarding Cocktails by Sasha Petraske & Georgette Moger-Petraske (Phaidon Press) – Regarding Cocktails is the only book from the late Sasha Petraske, the legendary bartender who changed cocktail culture with his speakeasy-style bar Milk & Honey. Here are 85 cocktail recipes from his repertoire—the beloved classics and modern variations—with stories from the bartenders he personally trained. Ingredients, measurements, and preparations are beautifully illustrated so that readers can make professional cocktails at home. Sasha’s advice for keeping the home bar, as well as his musings, are collected here to inspire a new generation of bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts.

41unu560xvl-_ac_us160_The Canon Cocktail Book: Recipes from the Award-Winning Bar by Jamie Boudreau & James O. Fraioli (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) – Home to the Western Hemisphere’s largest spirit collection, Seattle bar Canon: Whiskey and Bitters Emporium has achieved unprecedented, worldwide acclaim. Named Best Bar in America by Esquire, Canon received Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards for World’s Best Drinks Selection (2013) and World’s Best Spirits Selection (2015), and Drinks International included it on their prestigious World’s 50 Best Bars list. In his debut, legendary bartender and Canon founder Jamie Boudreau offers 100 cocktail recipes ranging from riffs on the classics, like the Cobbler’s Dream and Corpse Reviver, to their lineup of original house drinks, such as the Truffled Old Fashioned and the Banksy Sour. In addition to tips, recipes, and formulas for top-notch cocktails, syrups, and infusions, Boudreau breaks down the fundamentals and challenges of opening and running a bar—from business plans to menu creation. The Canon Cocktail Book is poised to be an essential drinks manual for both the at-home cocktail enthusiast and bar industry professional.

imagesTequila Cocktails by Brian Van Flandern (Assouline) – Tequila Cocktails is the fourth in Brian Van Flandern’s series of award-winning books, centering on Casamigos Tequila by George Clooney, Rande Gerber, and Mike Meldman. This volume shines a spotlight on the title beverage: the smoothest, best-tasting tequila from their master distiller in Jalisco, Mexico, with a taste so good that adding salt or lime would be gilding the lily. The Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo varieties are truly the quintessence of Mexico’s favorite beverage. This volume includes sixty delectable recipes.

511dorr5kxl-_ac_us160_Grog: A Bottled History of Australia’s First 30 Years by Tom Gilling (Hachette Australia) – The marines on the First Fleet refused to sail without it. Convicts risked their necks to get hold of it. Rum built a hospital and sparked a revolution, made fortunes and ruined lives. In a society with few luxuries, liquor was power. It played a crucial role, not just in the lives of individuals like James Squire – the London chicken thief who became Australia’s first brewer – but in the transformation of a starving penal outpost into a prosperous trading port. Drawing on a wealth of contemporary sources, Grog offers an intoxicating look at the first decades of European settlement and explores the origins of Australia’s fraught love affair with the hard stuff.

vodka_glass_gl_16dec10_istock_bIn honor of National Vodka Day, Good Spirits News is proud to share some of our many reviews from over the years, plus a few original flavored vodka cocktails created by Blair Frodelius.  Cheers!


Aylesbury Duck

Bak’s Bison Grass


Bootlegger 21




Crystal Head

Deep Eddy

Double Cross

Exclusiv & here


Karlsson’s Gold

Ketel One


Michael Godard

Orange V





Russian Diamond

Smooth Ambler


Spring 44

Tuthilltown Indigenous



Orient Express
2 oz citron vodka
1 0z grand marnier
0.5 oz canton ginger liqueur
0.5 oz lime juice
2 dashes Fee’s orange bitters
Shake and strain into cocktail glass.  Spear a piece of pickled ginger on bamboo skewer and lay across top of glass.

Admiral Perry
2 oz absolut pear vodka
1 oz original cinn schnapps
1 oz dry vermouth
0.25 teaspoon white creme de cacao
Add all ingredients to mixing glass and stir with ice until chilled.  Strain into cocktail glass.  Garnish with a thin slice of pear.


GSN has previously reviewed several New Holland spirits (here and here).  This time around the good folks at New Holland sent our offices a line up of some of their whiskies, including one aged in a beer barrel.  We decided to reevaluate a few of our earlier reviews in addition to trying the new Zeppelin Bend Reserve.

Beer Barrel Bourbon is first aged in new American oak barrels for several years, before a three-month beer-y slumber. Aged bourbon is finished in second-use Dragon’s Milk beer barrels for 90 days.

distilleries-new-holland-artisan-spirits-new-holland-beer-barrel-bourbon-2-250x350Beer Barrel Bourbon (80 proof)
Visual: Rich gold.
Nose: Surprisingly bright and almost effervescent.  Somewhat reminiscent of a root beer scent.
Taste: Slightly sweet and caramel indicative, but with a distinct leaning toward the root beer, sarsaparilla spectrum.  Quite interesting and tasty.
Finish: Medium short, with more of the herbal notes lingering than bourbon essence.
Overall: Light and easy-going.  Perfect for sipping neat. Perhaps not for everyone, but I’ve never had a bourbon quite like this, and I find myself gravitating toward it after an evening meal.
GSN Rating: A-

A straight-malt whiskey, twice distilled and aged in new American oak with a heavy char. Twice distilled to 140 proof. Barreled at 120 proof in heavy-charred American white oak. After a 3-year minimum maturation time in the barrel, the whiskey is transferred out and proofed to 90 proof with deionized water. Zeppelin Bend Reserve goes through a second aging for an unstated length of time in sherry casks.

New Holland - all_112715Zeppelin Bend (90 proof)
Visual: Sunny gold.
Nose: Dark autumnal forest funkiness overlying a chewy and malty nose.
Taste: Tenderly sweet with hints of clove, black cherry, wood smoke and walnut.  A rich mouthfeel gives way to a mid-range of baking spices and toasted bread.
Finish: Long with a softly fading cinnamon tonality.
Overall: Again, a unique take on straight whiskey and one that has more than enough character to distinguish it from others in the crowd.  This is designed for mixing in whiskey cocktails that call for character.
GSN Rating: A

distilleries-new-holland-artisan-spirits-new-holland-zeppelin-bend-reserve-v1-250x350Zeppelin Bend Reserve (90 proof)
Visual: Dark gold.
Nose: Bright and rich sherry nose undergirded with a supportive malt canvas.  Elegant, dessert-like and mouth-watering.
Taste: Rich, sweet, absolutely luscious sherry/malt blend.  This is a very direct and to the point sweet straight-malt, with a powerhouse of flavor that keeps developing over a long time.  One sip and you’ll contemplate, two and you’ll be in heaven.
Finish: Long, long, long.  Which is a good thing, because otherwise I’d be going back to the glass sooner than I should!
Overall: This is just about as perfect an American craft whiskey as it gets.  Highly recommended!
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: New Holland Brew

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