GSN Alert: February 22nd – National Margarita Day

1953_12Interestingly enough, the first printed recipe for the Margarita shows up in the December 1953 issue of Esquire magazine (pictured at left) Here’s what they had to say about it: Drink of the Month – “She’s from Mexico, Senores, and her name is the Margarita Cocktail–and she is lovely to look at, exciting and provocative.”

1 ounce tequila
Dash of Triple Sec
Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon

Pour over crushed ice, stir. Rub the rim of a stem glass with rind of lemon or lime, spin in salt–pour, and sip.

Anyone today would certainly recognize that recipe, albeit in a more definitive form (more Triple Sec, no lemon, and no crushed ice).

But, the origins of the Margarita go back much further, probably about 25 years earlier.  No one knows for sure who created the drink, but my favorite theory about the name is that it was originally called a Tequila Daisy.  The Spanish word for daisy is Margarita, and a Tequila Daisy was basically a Margarita (tequila, orange liqueur, sour mix).  In any case, it has become one of the top 10 cocktails of all time.

Here are some modern versions crafted just in time for your celebration:

GildedHareThe Gilded Hare (Courtesy of Matt Grippo at Blackbird in San Francisco)
1.5oz Suerte Blanco Tequila
.5oz Gonzales Byass Amontillado Sherry
.5oz Cinnamon Syrup
.5 Grapefruit
.5 Lime
5 Drops of Bittermens Hellfire Shrub
This winter influenced margarita is a tad complex. Suerte Blanco tequila, amontillado sherry, lime, grapefruit, cinnamon and habanero. Big bright tequila flavors up front and a warm lingering finish of spice and wood with just enough kick to warm your mouth without the burn.

image012 Lemon Basil Margarita (Courtesy of Cointreau)
1 1/2 oz. Blanco Tequila
1 oz. Cointreau
1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
1/2 oz. Lime Juice
3 basil Leaves
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Shake and strain over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with basil and lemon wheel.

drinkCRUZ Citrus Margarita (Courtesy of CRUZ Tequila)
2 parts CRUZ Silver Tequila
¾ parts agave nectar
1 lime squeezed
½ lemon squeezed
½ orange squeezed
1-2 parts filtered water
A couple sprigs of mint
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.

image001Cucumber Lavender Margarita (Courtesy Tortilla Republic, West Hollywood)
2 oz. Casa Noble Organic Tequila (or other 100% agave silver tequila)
2-3 ½ Inch Cucumber Slices, muddled
1.5 oz. Fresh Squeeze Lime Juice
0.75 oz. Lavender-Infused Simple Syrup
(soak 4-5 sprigs of lavender in simple syrup for 2-3 days, or purchased at Farmers’ markets and specialty grocers). Shake. Pour into a 12.5 oz. glass on rocks. Garnish with cucumber and fresh lavender blossoms.

image006The Milagro Blood Orange Margarita (Courtesy of Milagro Tequila)
1 ½ parts Milagro Silver Tequila
¾ part Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
1 part Fresh Lime Juice
¾ part agave nectar
Pour all ingredients in a Boston Shaker with ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice in a salt-rimmed rocks glass. Garnish with orange and lime wheels.

image003StrawBeerita (Courtesy of Licor 43)
3 oz. chilled beer, lighter-style lager
1 oz. Licor 43
1 oz. tequila
1/2 oz. lime juice
3 Strawberries
Directions: Cut strawberries and a few lime slices and muddle in a shaker. Add tequila, Licor 43, lime juice and ice and shake. Pour mixture into a margarita glass and top with beer. Garnish with a strawberry slice and lime wedge.

GSN Backbar Review: October 27-31, 2014

indexM.S. Walker is launching the West Cork Irish whiskey range in the U.S. The new offering is produced in Skibbereen by West Cork Distillers, a family-owned distillery specializing in artisanal whiskies made with local ingredients. The brand’s U.S. lineup will include West Cork Original Classic Blend ($26.99 a 750-ml.), which is made with locally-grown grains and aged in Bourbon casks, and West Cork 10 Year Single Malt ($39.99 a 750-ml.), which is aged in first-fill, flame-charred Bourbon barrels. West Cork joins the Kennedy Irish whiskey and malt, Newfoundland Screech Caribbean rum and Grand Macnish Scotch whisky brands in M.S. Walker’s imported spirits portfolio.

indexIn a deal with Southern Wine & Spirits, Tennessee-based Sugarlands Distilling Co. will begin distributing its lineup of seven Sugarlands Shine whiskies in Illinois for the first time. Its expressions include Silver Cloud (a 100-proof Tennessee Sour Mash), Blockader’s Blackberry, Butterscotch Gold and Old-Fashioned Lemonade. Illinois will mark the ninth state for distribution of Sugarlands in an arc extending from Florida to Minnesota. The company has set its sights on extending distribution next to Texas, Colorado and California, management says. The name is derived from the sprawling forests of sugar maple trees surrounding the craft distiller’s headquarters in Gatlinburg.

indexM.S. Walker has launched Grand Macnish Scotch’s Black Edition label in the U.S. market. Made with a blend of hand-selected whiskies, Grand Macnish Black Edition is extra-aged in double charred Bourbon casks and said to offer a “bolder and darker” taste profile. The new addition is currently available, priced at $29.99 a 750-ml. Black Edition joins Grand Macnish’s 12 Year Dual-Cask, 15 Year Sherry-Cask and 150th Heritage Blend labels in M.S. Walker’s existing import portfolio. Established in 1863, Grand Macnish is one of the oldest blended Scotch brands on the market, according to M.S. Walker.

indexBoulder, Colorado-based Suerte Tequila is introducing a new limited release Single Barrel Extra Añejo this fall. The newest offering from the small-batch Tequila maker is aged five years in charred American white oak whiskey barrels, used only once for each batch. The first shipment contains less than 1,000 bottles. Bottles featuring artwork from Seattle-based tattoo artist Adam Jackson will be available in cases of six for a suggested retail price of $110 a bottle throughout New York, Colorado, Washington D.C., Maryland and Delaware. Founded in 2012, the company creates its Tequila using the Tahona process at its distillery in Jalisco, Mexico.

indexAnchor Distilling Co. is launching Hine Cognac’s limited edition Hine 250 label in the U.S. this November. Created to commemorate Hine’s 250th anniversary in 2013, Hine 250 is a Grande Champagne Cognac made with eau-de-vie from 1953 and packaged in a Baccarat crystal decanter. The luxury offering is limited to 250 bottles, with 10 bottles reserved for the U.S. market, priced at $15,000 each. Hine 250 joins Hine Cognac’s Rare VSOP, H By Hine VSOP, Antique XO, Homage, Mariage, Talent and Triomphe labels in Anchor’s portfolio.

indexRochester, New York-based Black Button Distilling has partnered with distributor Blue Print Brands to launch its craft spirits portfolio in New York City. Black Button’s current lineup includes Citrus Forward gin, Apple Pie moonshine and Wheat vodka, as well as a soon-to-be-released Black Button Bourbon label, set to roll out next year. Along with New York City, Black Button’s offerings are also available via a special order program across Pennsylvania. Black Button, which began operating this past January, says it’s also negotiating distribution deals in 10 additional states.

indexPernod Ricard’s Chivas Brothers unit has unveiled Founder’s Reserve, a new core expression within the Glenlivet single malt range. Created to commemorate the contributions of brand founder George Smith, Founder’s Reserve’s aging process features the addition of first-fill American oak casks. The new entry will be available worldwide this March, priced in line with The Glenlivet’s 12-year-old entry. Founder’s Reserve marks The Glenlivet’s sixth core member of the brand portfolio, joining its 12-year-old, 15-year-old, 18-year-old, 21-year-old and XXV.

indexDiageo has officially launched a range of new flavored whiskies under the Jeremiah Weed brand. The line includes Jeremiah Weed Spiced (70.6 proof), Cinnamon (71.2 proof) and Sarsaparilla (70.4 proof) flavored American whiskies, all retailing at $19 a 750-ml. bottle and suggested to be consumed as shots or mixed with cola. The Jeremiah Weed brand also includes Southern Style Sweet Tea Vodka and Blended Bourbon Whiskey offerings.

indexHeaven Hill Distilleries is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in mid-November with events and the release of a commemorative Single Barrel Bourbon. The multimillion-dollar distillery and tourism experience on Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail attracted 70,000 visitors this year, the company says. A 2005 Vintage Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon will be available for purchase at the Experience starting November 10. Bottles of the 100-proof offering ($99.99) are dipped in copper wax and feature Evan Williams Bourbon Experience First Anniversary on the label with only 420 bottles available.

indexSan Francisco’s Anchor Distilling Co. has partnered with sister company Anchor Brewing to release Christmas Spirit, a new holiday entry. Featuring winter spice notes, Christmas Spirit is distilled using Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale, an annual beer release typically available from November through mid-January. The 45%-abv clear spirit will be sold throughout the holiday season, priced at $49.99 a 750-ml. Christmas Spirit marks the latest “beer-meets-spirit” collaboration from Anchor Distilling and Anchor Brewing, following their December 2012 launch of Hophead vodka ($29.95), made with hops from Washington state’s Yakima Valley.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Suerte Tequila

LQ1001_fI’m not sure how the rabbit’s foot became associated with luck.  However, with this new tequila (suerte is Spanish for luck) the rabbit on the bottle is a bit more interesting.  It has all four feet, plus some symbolic tattoos.  A sort of hipster/punk jack-rabbit.  Silly rabbit….

Suerte is prepared in a traditional manner along with some extra finesse.  Here are the details: The agaves are baked for 52 hours and then crushed with a Tahona stone for 16 hours.  Fermentation with a proprietary yeast lasts for 72 hours, and then it is double distilled over a 72 hour period.

Suerte also makes a reposado and an anejo.  GSN was sent the blanco for review.

Suerte Blanco (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Salty, spicy and with heavy with agave funk.
Taste: Warming with a sweet and peppery spice character.  There’s more salinity evident after the initial burst of flavors.  This is a very crisp tequila.
Finish: The peppercorn lingers for quite awhile.  A final note of lime zest completes the picture.
Overall: A perfect tequila for drinking neat or used in a Bloody Maria.  In a Margarita I think it’s a bit too spice forward.
GSN Rating: B

For more information go to: Drink Suerte