GSN Annual Holiday Gift Guide 2014 Edition

santa-napkinTime for our first annual round-up of the best gifts you can give your spirited friends and family this holiday season!  Cheers!

Booze

20130513_203300_13684735807Caffe Borghetti If I weren’t already a french-press coffee drinker, I’d switch to Caffe Borghetti every morning.  This is like fresh brewed boozy espresso.  Highly recommended!

kringle_cream_bowKringle Cream Liqueur Kringle has a dairy-fresh flavor that takes me back to childhood.  Like a butterscotch and maple cream flavored dessert.  I’d gladly drink this over eating a Danish, any day.

125th_Front_SMBLEFour Roses 125th Anniversary Bourbon  This is a world-class bourbon that exemplifies the art of distilling and blending.  Well worth seeking out to “cellar”.  Kudos to Master Distiller Jim Rutledge for this engaging beauty!

indexOld English Gin  Really well done and a testament to the historical recipes of the 1700’s.  It’s no wonder that Britains went mad for this style of gin.

Tindexhe BenRiach Authenticus 25 Year Old Peated Single Malt  Sweet, smokey, salty, tannic, grainy, malty, saline, spiced and fruity.  Yet throughout all of this, there is a total cohesiveness.  A killer whisky that defies tradition.

indexBaker’s Bourbon  This is like pure bourbon candy.  I’ve been sipping it for a few weeks every now and then, and I am still impressed.

indexTres Agaves Silver Tequila  Summer in a glass.  This is the kind of tequila you want to take home and introduce to your mother.

indexRedbreast 21-Year-Old Whiskey  They’ve done it again.  The Midleton Distillers have set the bar for Irish whiskies beyond anything else on the market.  Honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that it retails for $200+ a bottle, I would gladly make this my daily nightcap.

indexRhum Clement Select Barrel  So good, you’ll be saddened when the bottle is empty.  Absolutely one of the finest rhums I’ve ever had.

indexCitadelle Reserve Solera 2013 Gin  The mouthfeel is amazing and there is a lot of body to this gin that is unlike either the Plymouth style or Dutch genever.  Just outstanding.  This will make any cocktail wake up!

indexBarrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur  One of the best liqueurs I’ve had in a while.  Not only does it taste homemade, but it has a tropical/Asian sensibility that makes it indispensable for use in tropical based cocktails.

indexSelvarey Cacao Rum  Many flavored rums tend to extremes.  This one in no way can be improved upon.  A true artisanal rum that everyone should try at least once in their life.

indexIlegal Mezcal  This is a lovely mezcal that excels at everything.  Flavor, balance, distillation, mouthfeel, you name it.  Mezcal lovers seek this one out!

indexKavalan Solist Ex-Bourbon Single Cask Strength Whisky  Wow.  Just killer.  One of the finest bourbon barrel-aged whiskies I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking.

indexKavalan Solist Vinho Cask Strength Whisky  A killer whisky that shouldn’t work as well as it does.  I was amazed from the get-go at how well the flavor of the wine meshes with whisky.

Partida Anejo - Hi ResPartida Anejo Tequila  Absolutely beautiful.  An amazing tequila that will enhance a traditional Mexican meal.  If I had to choose a tequila to celebrate the spirit of Mexican distillation, this would be it.

indexThe Hakashu Single Malt Heavily Peated Whiskey  Possibly the finest Japanese peated whisky on the planet.  If you can find a bottle, buy it immediately and only share with your closest friends and loved ones.

indexBasil Hayden’s Bourbon  My current favorite bourbon for sipping straight, this also is absolutely amazing in Manhattans, Sazeracs and even Old Fashioneds.

indexAnchor Old Tom Gin  This gin is everything is should be and nothing it shouldn’t be.  Fantastic in a simple highball, but also with enough depth of character to shine in complex gin based cocktails.

indexAuchentoshan American Oak Whisky  This is a spirit to convert non-Scotch lovers to the wonderful world of Scotch.  If you are already a Scotchophile, this is one to keep within hand’s reach when arriving home after a bitterly cold winter’s day.

1413301533807Awestruck Lavender Hops Cider  Each sip surprises the palate and engages the mind to really reflect on what you’re drinking.  Very clever, creative and a real winner among ciders!

Books

20131001_102455_138330149557Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean by Jeff Berry (Cocktail Kingdom)  Literally every page is dripping with amazing discoveries, photographs and recipes that you will find it hard to put down.  It’s almost as if you are watching the history of what are collectively known as “tiki drinks” unfold in a “Mad Men” type way.

index17The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level by Dinah Sanders (Sanders & Gratz)  Where has this book been all my life?  For those of us who love to sample as many cocktails as we can when visiting a new bar, unfortunately there comes a point where the alcohol wins.

51un7zkafil-_aa160_The Bar Book by Jeffrey Morgenthaler (Chronicle Books)  You may want to invest in some quality bottles if you really get serious, but it’s also just plain fun to realize that cocktails can be more than the sum of store-bought ingredients.  Cocktails ultimately can be infused with a part of yourself.

41jritnrd7l-_aa160_Death & Co. Modern Classic Cocktails by David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald & Alex Day (Ten Speed Press)  Out of the hundreds of cocktail guides out there, this one more than any other makes you feel like you are right there working with the bartenders from opening to last call.

Bitters

indexBob’s Chocolate Bitters  Honestly, a minute after tasting these, I’d swear I just ate some chocolate.  Nicely done.

indexBob’s Ginger Bitters  Even if you weren’t to use these in a cocktail, they would be a great digestion aid in tea.  Really tasty too.

Barware

jackson-cannon-bar-knife-256px-256pxJackson Cannon Bar Knife  I honestly have not used a better knife at the bar, though I’ve tried many others over the years.  This is a sure winner that will become a cherished part of your routine behind the stick.

GSN Backbar Review: Jan. 6-10, 2014

indexTerlato Wines has added super-premium Tequila brand Riazul to its Artisan Spirits portfolio. Under the new, long-term partnership, Terlato will import and market Riazul’s Plata ($45), Reposado ($55) and Añejo ($65) expressions in select U.S. markets, effective early this year. Launched in 2008 by founder Inaki Orozco, Riazul is a 100%-agave range sourced from the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. The brand’s Plata is a silver, unaged offering, while its Reposado is aged for nine months in French and American oak. Riazul’s Añejo, meanwhile, is matured for two years in French Limousine oak Cognac casks.

indexFour new single malt Scotch whiskies from Speyside’s BenRiach Distillery are rolling out in the U.S., imported by San Francisco-based Anchor Distilling. Anchor already markets 20 BenRiach expressions in the U.S. That offering will now be expanded to include: The BenRiach Horizons 12-year-old Triple Distilled (50% abv, $80 a bottle), The BenRiach Solstice 2nd Edition 17-year-old (50% abv, $100), The BenRiach Septendecim 17-year-old Peated Single Malt (46% abv, $80) and The BenRiach Authenticus 25-year-old Peated Single Malt (46%, $250).

indexBeam Inc.is partnering with Justin Timberlake on a new Tequila project, Sauza 901, which will appear in select U.S. markets early this year. Timberlake had already been marketing a 901-branded Tequila—referring to the area code of his hometown of Memphis—which was handled by Palm Bay. Beam says the new Sauza 901, which will be owned jointly between it and Timberlake, will not change in taste profile from the original 901, and will retail around $30 a bottle.

indexThe Teeling Whiskey Co. has appointed California-based Infinium Spirits the exclusive U.S. importer for its flagship Irish whiskey brand. Infinium will officially launch the Teeling Whiskey entry in the U.S. market, across on- and off-premise channels. Founded in 2012 by Jack Teeling, the Teeling Whiskey Co.’s Teeling Whiskey is billed as a small-batch bottling made with hand-selected grain and malt Irish whiskies and matured in ex-rum casks. In addition to Teeling Whiskey, Teeling also produces Teeling Whiskey Company Vintage Reserve and Poitin labels.

imagesFlorida craft distiller Cape Spirits Inc. is extending its Wicked Dolphin rum brand with a new spiced offering. Wicked Dolphin Florida Spiced ($25.99 a bottle) is crafted from Florida sugarcane and a blend of fresh-ground spices. The 80-proof offering, which joins Wicked Dolphin’s white rum in the portfolio, is distributed by RNDC in Florida, where it’s present in chains like Publix, Total Wine & More, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Sweet Bay and Walgreens. Company founder JoAnn Elardo tells SND that the group is also exploring potential expansion into the central and northeastern parts of the country.

indexDiageo is expanding the Johnnie Walker range at the high end with the U.S. launch of John Walker & Sons Odyssey, a super-luxury blended Scotch whisky. A mix of three rare, undisclosed single malts, the Odyssey blend was developed by Johnnie Walker master blender Jim Beveridge using hand-written notes from Sir Alexander Walker, grandson of the brand’s namesake. The whiskies were married in European oak and the blend is bottled in a crystal-grade glass decanter. Formerly available only in select Asian and other global markets, Odyssey is now in U.S. national distribution at a suggested retail price of $1,100 a 750-ml.

indexGlenmorangie has introduced the latest release in its upscale Private Edition series, Glenmorangie Companta. Companta, which is Scots Gaelic for “friendship,” is a 46%-abv non-chill filtered Scotch whisky that retails at $99 a bottle. Crafted by Glenmorangie master distiller Bill Lumsden, Companta’s wood profile includes maturation time in Grand Cru casks from Burgundy’s Clos de Tart and in sweet fortified wine casks from Côtes du Rhone. This latest offering marks the Highland distillery’s fifth annual release in its Private Edition Range, with predecessors including Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX, Finealta, Artein and Ealanta.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily