GSN Spirited News: May 19th 2020 Edition

Brooklyn, New York-based Widow Jane has announced Lucky Thirteen, a new barrel pick program featuring 100 barrels of whiskey. Each barrel is aged for 13 years after distilling from a high-rye mash bill. The whiskies are proofed down to 45.5%-49.5% abv, with master distiller Lisa Wicker choosing the final proof after considering where in the rick house each barrel aged. Barrels will be available across the U.S., with Total Wine, plus other retailers in California, Florida, New York, and other states signing on to purchase barrels. The whiskies will retail at around $90 a bottle.

San Francisco-based Hotaling & Co. has added Convite Mezcal to its portfolio. Hotaling will bring three of Convite’s agave spirits to the U.S.: Mezcal Espadín Esencial ($45/40% abv); Mezcal Espadín-Madrecuishe Blend, a $70 bottling at 42% abv made from Espadín and wild-grown Madrecuishe agaves; and Mezcal Coyote, a $160 bottling made from 12-year-old wild-grown Coyote agave that’s bottled at 46% abv. The spirits are available now in New York, California, Texas, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Georgia.

Martini & Rossi, part of the Bacardi portfolio, has launched two new frozen RTD cocktails, Frosé and Frosecco. The 6.5% abv wine cocktails come in 10-ounce packages and can be consumed right from the pouch or poured into glasses. Both are made from Italian wine with natural fruit flavors added and do not contain artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup. Martini & Rossi Frosé and Frosecco are now available across the U.S. for $4 a pouch.

Seagram’s Gin has debuted its latest flavored expression, Watermelon Twisted. Featuring a base of Seagram’s Extra Dry gin that’s infused with watermelon flavors, Seagram’s Watermelon Twisted gin is now available nationwide, retail priced at $11 a 750-ml. The new extension joins the flagship dry gin as well as Pineapple, Lime, Peach, Grape, Red Berry, Melon, and Apple Twisted gins.

Lucas Bols has relaunched its Bols Liqueurs range with a new formula and packaging. The line, which includes Blue Curaçao, Apricot Brandy, and Peach flavors, among numerous others, is now made with natural botanicals. The Bols Liqueurs bottles have been updated as well: they now feature a new logo, and are more in line with the look of the Bols Genever lineup.

Purcellville, Virginia-based Catoctin Creek Distilling Company will launch #InThisTogether Rye on June 1, with all profits going to charities supporting struggling bars and restaurants. The 40% abv whiskey was blended from spirits left over from the distillery’s barrel select program, from which many restaurant accounts had to abstain after suffering financial hardship due to Covid-19. Catoctin took those previously selected single barrels and blended them into this new “Infinity Barrel” Rye, which retails at $49 a 750-ml. It will be sold at the distillery with curbside pickup and at retailers in Washington D.C., Delaware, and Maryland through distributor Prestige-Ledroit. It’s also available online for direct shipping in Virginia only.

San Francisco-based Hotaling & Co. has added The Arran single malt Scotch whisky to its portfolio. Effective June 1, Hotaling will be the exclusive importer of The Arran’s entire lineup, which includes the Robert Burns Malt; 10-, 18-, and 21-year-old whiskies; and a variety of cask-finished expressions, with retail pricing ranging from $40-$246 a 750-ml.

Sailor Jerry has unveiled a new limited-edition commemorative bottle in partnership with the United Service Organizations (USO). Retailing at $15 a 750-ml., the special edition pays homage to the brand’s namesake, Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins, who served in the Navy, and will be distributed nationally through the summer season. As part of the launch, Sailor Jerry and Anchor Media are donating $150,000 to the USO, adding to Sailor Jerry’s total contribution of $1 million supporting the USO and other military organizations since 2016.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Martini & Rossi 150th Year Anniversary

image_martini-rossi_product-lineIt’s hard to imagine the world without Martinis.  Yet, at one time, finding dry vermouth in the United States was difficult, and when a recipe called for vermouth, every bartender would assume the sweet and dark style.  It is in no small part that the company of Martini & Rossi has been at the forefront of popularizing vermouth as a cocktail ingredient for 150 years, and are one of the most recognized brands worldwide.  How did they come to epitomize the timeless classiness of aromatized wine?

It all began in Turin, Italy in 1863.  Founded by Alessandro Martini who understood the properties of herbs, and Luigi Rossi a well-known wine merchant, they had immediate success with their vermouth. Over the ensuing decade, the company utilized up and coming artists to create their iconic poster art, including works by Marcello Dudovich and Andy Warhol.  The company truly understood the idea of brand recognition, and it has served them well.  Order a Martini in Europe, and you will not get a cocktail mixed with gin, dry vermouth and orange bitters, but rather a glass of vermouth on the rocks.  The waiter will only ask if you prefer blanc or rouge.

Today, the company has a large array of products ranging from sparkling wines to dessert wines, but at the heart of it all are the two vermouths.  So, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the great Martini & Rossi, I present my review of the following products from their portfolio:

Rosso (15% alc.) – Quite sweet with a burnt caramel overtone.  Spices and herbs are subtle, but support the overall body.  A good, solid sweet vermouth, but lacks subtlety.  GSN Rating: B+

Extra Dry (15% alc.) – Light and slightly fruity with a dry character.  The herbs work well here to counterbalance any inherent sweetness in the wine.  GSN Rating: A-

Asti (7.5% alc.) – A sweet and slightly musky sparkling wine with a load of sugar content.  Quite carbonated and bubbly.  Quite fruity.  GSN Rating: B

Moscato d’Asti (5% alc.) – A floral bouquet, with an intensely fruity flavor.  Very sweet and dessert-like.  The grape flavor is smooth and juicy with a lot of sugar retention.  Definitely an after dinner dessert wine.  GSN Rating: B

Rose (9.5% alc.) – Quite sweet, but with a lot of tight carbonation which tempers the fruitiness.  The grape flavor is quite prevalent and leaning towards Demi-sec in terms of sugar.  Good balanced flavor overall with no bitterness.  GSN Rating: A-

Prosecco (10.5% alc.) – Lightly carbonated with a sweet and slightly bitter character.  There is a chalkiness in the mouthfeel which adds body to the overall effect.  Flavorful and with a somewhat apple-like character.  Perfect for brunch!  GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Martini