For Jessica Sanders, the G&T Is All About Aromatics

For Jessica Sanders, the G&T Is All About Aromatics


Usually, bartenders and bar owners talk about how to scale things up: how to bring in more guests, sell more drinks, open more venues. But during the pandemic, that conversation shifted, says Jessica Sanders, proprietor of a laid-back neighborhood bar and gastropub in Austin known for its focus on elevated classic cocktails.

“I learned how to scale down,” she says. Instead of focusing on more, it served her better to think about less, namely how to keep operations lean, with the goal of adapting quickly and sustaining a viable, successful business into 2021 and beyond.

“We have a much smaller team now, with just four or five of us,” Sanders explains. “We’ve had to dial in on … the things we do very well here, and pare everything else away.”

That has extended to the bar’s approach to its cocktail menu. Historically, the bar staff allotted two or three months to workshop a menu of up to 25 drinks, updated quarterly. For spring 2021, the menu of eight original cocktails was established in four weeks.
“We trimmed off all the fat,” Sanders explains. “But [the menu] hits all the notes of what a guest is looking for.” For example, instead of three Gin & Tonic riffs, the goal was to offer just one, making that “the best version of that drink we can offer them.”

This variation, the Forager’s Remedy, layers “warm” spice tones found in The Botanist gin with “cool” herbaceous notes contributed by a basil eau de vie and a lavish opal basil garnish. “The Gin & Tonic is one of those drinks you should smell before you drink it,” she says. “It should hit your nose the second it hits the table.”

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Review: Catoctin Creek “Life’s a Peach” Barrel Select Rye Whisky

Review: Catoctin Creek “Life’s a Peach” Barrel Select Rye Whisky


Catoctin Creek "Life's a Peach" Barrel Select Rye Whisky

Christopher Null May 25, 2021

Catoctin Creek‘s latest special edition rye is “Life’s a Peach,” a highly limited expression (547 bottles produced) of its 100% Virginia rye whiskey that is finished for one year in Short Hill Mountain Peach Brandy barrels. It’s the first time Catoctin — which is known for unusual special editions and weird finishes like this one — has released a peach brandy finished rye to the public.

Peaches and American whiskey tend to go great together, so let’s see what Catoctin Creek has cooked up for us.

From start to finish, the peach influence is clear, though to various degrees. While things start out a bit musty on the nose, in short order a sharp and quite perfumed fruitiness emerges, one which is immediately reminiscent of applejack. The palate is far fruitier than the nose, peach and apricot notes leading the way to a rather sharp, slightly antiseptic character as the fruit begins to fade. Again, it’s reminiscent of that industrial quality that younger applejack has, though more traditional notes of biscuits, sesame, and some barrel char elements come to the fore after the more pungent qualities fade a bit. The finish is surprisingly soft and floral, with notes of nougat balanced by hints of pepper and rosemary, which gives the experience some bite.

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Does “Craft” Exist in Spirits Anymore?


Six years ago, Todd Leopold told me a secret. He was building a time machine. In the quiet of his Denver distillery’s tasting room, Todd presented facsimiles of cryptic blueprints he’d exhumed while researching the arcana of his trade. What they depicted were exacting instructions for a three-chamber still, the kind that was used in the 19th century to make rye whiskey. Looking like something out of a Jules Verne novel, the contraption promised the impossible: to transport a distiller or a drinker to a bygone era when domestic whiskey was categorically different. Though its low yield had rendered it outmoded in an ever-industrializing market, Todd was gripped by his vision, insisting it would exude juice of a quality that contemporary drinkers couldn’t imagine. He swore me to silence.

After 15 years of furtive measures, Leopold Bros.’ Three Chamber Rye has arrived at last. With a deceptively simple mash bill of American malted barley and a forgotten strain of rye called Abruzzi, Three Chamber is nothing short of a game-changer. Drinkers accustomed to the output of more widely known whiskey makers, who produce in a week what Leopold Bros. does in a year and label their offerings as “small batch,” may be awestruck. There’s simply no going back after tasting a potion like this one.

Recently, someone asked me what “craft” meant anymore in the context of distilling. I quickly answered to myself, “Not much,” which wasn’t entirely fair. Good people remain committed to the designation of “craft” as a signifier of transparency and mindful production apart from larger producers and mercenary conglomerates that invest more in apocryphal marketing than in actual spirit-making. As advocates for craft distilling, like the American Craft Spirits Association or the American Distilling Institute, have not been particularly bold in denominating the category, opportunists have been free to co-opt the language of craft, saturating the market with fanciful and obfuscating origin stories like the old chestnut about the lost bourbon recipe found under a mattress in an antebellum prison, the myth of the revived 250-year-old distillery that’s been producing for three years yet offers 15-year-old whiskey, the story of the hardened mezcalero whose grandchildren are the first to wear shoes in the region thanks to a brand’s intervention, and the one about the hyper-regional single malt made from Eastern European grain malted in a facility resembling the Death Star.

While I may have discarded the epithet “craft” a decade ago, consigning it to the obsolescence of other words like “sustainable” or “artisanal,” I remain uncynical in pursuing what those terms have hoped to embody, and Three Chamber does exactly that.

Like a master carpenter, Todd Leopold began by building his own tools, namely his Victorian time machine, which appears an arresting, luminous copper shaft with three discreet portal windows, crafted by Vendome Copper & Brass Works in Kentucky. For now, it is the only still of its kind, but this will likely change once the world tastes its issue. Prior to this release, I had two opportunities to test the whiskey: once, fresh from the tap, and on a subsequent visit when Todd shared a barrel sample at around a year old. Even as a newborn and a toddler, the whiskey was prodigious.

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Pearland citizens circulate petition to get sale of alcoholic beverages on ballot


… The Pearland Entertainment and Beverage Coalition is calling for … The Pearland Entertainment and Beverage Coalition is a special purpose … of the Pearland Entertainment and Beverage Coalition, said in the … of alcohol and mixed beverages," according to the …
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Review: Lejana Y Sola Mezcal Joven

Review: Lejana Y Sola Mezcal Joven


Lejana Y Sola Mezcal Joven

Christopher Null May 24, 2021

Lejana Y Sola (“afar and alone”) is a sister brand of PaQui Tequila, which we reviewed when it was first released a whopping 11 years ago. This joven mezcal is an “ensemble” made from espadin and cuishe and is made in Lachila, Oaxaca via traditional methods that include the use of a horse-drawn tahona to crush the agave.

This is a delightful little mezcal. The nose is sweet and only mildly smoky — citrusy with a light vanilla note, backed up by a touch of campfire smoke and sweet mesquite. The mezcal is just as lively on the palate, a gentle caramel note kicking things off and a punchy lemon-orange character perking up right away. A strong saline and mineral note becomes evident in short order, which is effective at tempering the smoky elements that linger around the edges of the spirit. It’s never overwhelming with smokiness even on the finish, the citrus notes coming off as practically fresh-squeezed and continuing to burst on the tongue well into the conclusion.

This may not be the most complex mezcal I’ve ever tasted, but it’s impossible not to fall for its brightness and sunshine. Excellent for mixing, too.

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How Good Are ‘Better for You’ Wines?

How Good Are ‘Better for You’ Wines?


Heidi Scheid enjoys a glass of wine every night. "Wine is just a part of everyday living, the perfect way to segue from a busy schedule to a relaxed evening," says Scheid, who is the executive vice president of Scheid Family Wines in Monterey, Calif. "But I also like to get up early, exercise and get a lot accomplished." For her, drinking a few glasses of wine at night isn't conducive to waking up at the crack of dawn the next day, and limiting herself to a single glass of wine makes her feel deprived.

Scheid created the brand Sunny with a Chance of Flowers, joining the growing ranks of brands marketing themselves as "Better for You" (BFY). There's no legal or agreed-upon definition of wines in this category, but they’re generally lower in alcohol, sugar and calories and and stress sustainability and/or transparency in ingredient labeling. In the case of Sunny with a Chance of Flowers, the wine is marketed as sustainably grown, with zero added sugar, 85 calories per 5-ounce glass and 9 percent alcohol.

What defines these wines as BFY is their marketing. They’re not dramatically different from many wines. Most table wines are between 11 to 14 percent alcohol and have 120 to 130 calories per glass, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And, while many BFY brands proudly state they have no added sugar, it's actually illegal to add sugar into table wines in some winegrowing regions, including California.

Low-calorie wines have historically been marketed toward women and focused on body image, but the current BFY wines have a different vibe: They’re about offering healthier alternatives. "I think wine as a category just hasn't been that interested in meeting consumers where they are," says Scheid.

She adds that other products have brands that are marketed with a "better for you" vibe. Everything from detergent to yogurt have offerings that suggest they are a healthier option. Other beverages, including beer and spirits, are moving into low- and no-calorie options. Why not wine?

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Mark Owens: Ardagh expansion shows importance of targeting food and beverage manufacturing


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Review: Tanqueray Gin & Tonic (Canned)

Review: Tanqueray Gin & Tonic (Canned)


Tanqueray Gin & Tonic

Robert Lublin May 24, 2021

With all of the ready-to-drink cocktails that have been coming out lately, it is surprising that it took so long for the classic gin and tonic to appear (though perhaps that’s because this is literally the easiest cocktail in the world to make). Now they are starting to arrive, and today we will finally try an RTD gin and tonic made with one of the most classic of London Dry gins (although it’s made in Scotland): Tanqueray.

Cracking the can and sticking a straw right in, this is a lovely gin and tonic with everything expected in place. The juniper character that dominates Tanqueray Gin is front and center, offering a nice piney nose and palate. The juniper and angelica in the Tanqueray along with the quinine in the tonic introduce a pleasant, mature bitterness to the cocktail, and it’s never too sweet. Additionally, the level of carbonation is just about perfect right out of the can. Alas, poured over ice, the Tanqueray Gin & Tonic quickly gets too watery. Tanqueray may be an iconic bottling, but isn’t a terribly complex gin. The canned cocktail expression at least does justice to the product with which it’s made.

6% abv.

B+ / $15 per four-pack of 12 oz. cans / tanqueray.com [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

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BACARDÍ Real Rum Canned Cocktails expand range with new flavors

BACARDÍ Real Rum Canned Cocktails expand range with new flavors


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Video: The 2021 Growth Brands Awards Winners and Trends


Each year our Growth Brands Awards recognize the top products and suppliers in the beverage alcohol business. The Summer issue of Cheers highlights the fastest-growing and top-selling spirits and wine brands. Our Fall issue honors the 2021 Growth Brands Suppliers of the Year, and newest Hall of Famers.

In the video below, our beverage media team talks about the top trends that drove winners from the past year, while also delving into the 2021 Suppliers of the Year and Hall of Famers. Enjoy!

The post Video: The 2021 Growth Brands Awards Winners and Trends first appeared on Cheers.
(Originally posted by Melissa Dowling)
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The 2021 Wine Growth Brands Awards Winners

The 2021 Wine Growth Brands Awards Winners





Snoop Cali Rosé



The 2021 Wine Growth Brands Awards from Cheers magazine celebrate the fastest-growing and top-selling wine brands from the past year. These were bottles that attracted the most consumer attention while also defining category trends.

The 2021 Wine Growth Brands Awards follow our 2021 Spirits Growth Brands Awards, posted last week.

As always, our lists include the most innovative new brands, emerging stars, comeback stories and tried-and-true staples.

Growth Brands: Wines That Shine

To say that 2020 was a rough year would be a massive understatement, but it was particularly rocky for people in the wine industry. Not only did they have to contend with the pandemic overall, with the business shutdowns and the decimation of the on-premise sales, they also endured several serious wildfires on the West Coast of the U.S., and got caught up in tariff wars.

Nonetheless, the turmoil brought on by Covid-19 actually seemed to improve wine sales. The Beverage Information and Insights Group projects that wine volume increased about 1% in 2020, vs. falling nearly 1% in 2019.

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Skyy Vodka New Packaging, Liquid


Launched in 1992, Skyy Vodka has announced updated branding for 2021 — along with a new vodka recipe.

In formulating this refresh, Skyy acted upon an opportunity to enhance its liquid for a new generation of vodka drinkers who gravitate towards soda water as their go-to mixer, the company says.

That same pursuit led Skyy to explore naturally occurring elements found in the coastal waters surrounding San Francisco. These minerals impart a “subtle salinity and minerality to the liquid,” the company says, intended to enhance the mouthfeel and fresh taste of the vodka and soda.

To achieve the final product, SKYY brought together a collective chemists, professional bartenders and a water sommelier. The result is a liquid that is fresh and clean on the nose with a hint of fruit and toasted grain, coupled with a clean, smooth taste on the palate, the company says, all designed to pair with soda water and a grapefruit twist, SKYY’s signature pour.

“In the vodka world, filtration reigns supreme. But we think that what defines a premium liquid experience isn’t what you take out of it, it’s what you put into it,” says Andrea Sengara, vice president of marketing of Campari America. “Inspired by the pure, clean and refreshing essence of the Pacific, SKYY Vodka is proud to return to its roots by challenging category norms to stand out in a sea of sameness.”

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Review: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch A121 (January 2021)

Review: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch A121 (January 2021)


Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch A121 (January 2021)

Christopher Null May 24, 2021

The first Elijah Craig Barrel Proof release of the year, coded A121, is upon us — and hold on to your hats, folks, as it is one of the best releases in the series to date.

For those unfamiliar, these single barrel releases of Elijah Craig (made with a modest amount of rye in the mashbill) are bottled uncut and unfiltered and always at 12 years old. At just under 62% alcohol, it’s a relative lightweight in the series — but I assure you, pay that no mind.

The nose here instantly transports the drinker to the rickhouse, effusive with woody aromatics and some smoldering, scorched earth — but tempered beautifully with sweetness and fruit. Honey and blackberries meld beautifully with peppermint jelly and a grind of pepper, with all the components in lovely balance.

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Anchor Brewing Co. Tropical Hazy IPA, Crisp Pilsner, Little Weekend

Anchor Brewing Co. Tropical Hazy IPA, Crisp Pilsner, Little Weekend


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Make the Spanish G&T Your Own

Make the Spanish G&T Your Own


The Spanish Gin & Tonic never went away. A blockbuster drink in the United States about a decade ago, Spain’s gintónica was noted for voluminous balloon glasses (copas de balón) filled with specialty gins, artisanal tonics and a garden’s worth of garnishes. Though it has taken a back seat to flashier drinks, it held steady on many menus, and lends itself to customization at home.

The gintónica has roots in Spain’s Basque region, “sometime between 1999 and 2008,” says Keli Rivers, brand ambassador for Sipsmith Gin and the former bar manager and “Ginnoisseur” at the San Francisco bar Whitechapel. She pinpoints as the epicenter San Sebastián, where forward-thinking chefs would gather for Lo Mejor de la Gastronomía Congress (The Best of Gastronomy Conference) to share ideas, showcase avant-garde techniques and most of all, blow off steam. Gathering at spaces such as Coctelería Dickens or El Museo del Whiskey, one of the chief activities was, Rivers says, “drinking one of the many gins stocked in a large wine glass with plenty of ice, cooling down the warm evenings.”

Eventually, gintónica variations began showing up on the menus of Michelin-starred restaurants like El Bulli in Catalonia, “garnished with items that enhanced what was in the gin.”

By 2013, most of Europe was aware of Spain’s affection for the gintónica; By 2014, the Spanish Gin & Tonic, as it became known here, made its way stateside. Consumers cozied up to copas filled with what Rivers characterizes as “large fruit salad cocktails,” abundantly garnished with colorful citrus or cucumber wheels, fresh herbs and free-floating juniper berries or peppercorns.

Though it’s no longer a novelty, the Spanish G&T remains a staple at many bars. Part of the appeal, says Marshall Minaya, beverage director at gin-focused New York bar Valerie, is that the Spanish version transforms the G&T from an equal-parts highball to a session drink. “A proper Spanish-style Gin & Tonic has a one-to-four ratio of spirit to tonic,” he notes.

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THE DUBLINER IRISH WHISKEY COLLABORATES WITH RASCAL’S BREWERY  FOR LIMITED-EDITION BEER CASK SERIES – Irish Whiskey News

THE DUBLINER IRISH WHISKEY COLLABORATES WITH RASCAL’S BREWERY FOR LIMITED-EDITION BEER CASK SERIES – Irish Whiskey News



THE DUBLINER IRISH WHISKEY COLLABORATES WITH RASCAL’S BREWERY

FOR LIMITED-EDITION BEER CASK SERIES

The Dubliner Irish Whiskey has launched The Dubliner Smoked Stout Whiskey, the first release from the brand’s latest limited-edition collection, The Dubliner Whiskey Beer Cask Edition Series, following a collaboration with one of Ireland’s leading craft brewers, Rascal’s Brewing Company.

The Dubliner Smoked Stout Edition is a whiskey packed with personality and flavour, bottled at 40% ABV. If freshly baked oat cookies, honeyed sweetness and fresh cinnamon spice, followed by big creamy maltiness and subtle toasty smokiness floats your boat, this is one whiskey you’re going to need in your life. 

You’ll need to be quick though -The Dubliner Irish Whiskey Smoked Stout is a limited edition with fewer than 2000 bottles on sale, available to customers in Ireland now online from www.thedld.com for €35.

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KENTUCKY DISTILLERS WELCOME DELAY ON DOUBLING OF E.U. WHISKEY TARIFFS – American Whiskey News

KENTUCKY DISTILLERS WELCOME DELAY ON DOUBLING OF E.U. WHISKEY TARIFFS – American Whiskey News


KENTUCKY DISTILLERS WELCOME DELAY ON DOUBLING OF E.U. WHISKEY TARIFFS

For Immediate Release – May 17, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The historic Kentucky Distillers’ Association today applauded the joint U.S. and E.U. decision to delay the doubling of tariffs on Bourbon and American whiskey that were set to automatically increase June 1.

“This is welcome news as distillers in Kentucky and across America were perilously close to a crippling blow on European exports,” KDA President Eric Gregory said. “This gives both sides some breathing room to return to free and fair trade and once again level the playing field for Kentucky’s signature spirit.

“We deeply appreciate the leadership the Biden Administration, Congressmen John Yarmuth and Andy Barr, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and all global leaders who are working to resolve this ongoing trade dispute that has slashed exports and jeopardized the certainty of our largest overseas markets.”

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Whisky Hammer ~ Our May 2021 Auction is now LIVE! – Whisky Hammer News

Whisky Hammer ~ Our May 2021 Auction is now LIVE! – Whisky Hammer News








May 24th, 2021

Our May auction is now LIVE!

Place your bids from Friday 21st May until Sunday 30th May.

www.whiskyhammer.com

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Sullivans Cove *Upcoming Release* Three American Oak Single Cask Whiskies – Tasmanian Whisky News

Sullivans Cove *Upcoming Release* Three American Oak Single Cask Whiskies – Tasmanian Whisky News


May 24th, 2021

Three American Oak Single Cask Whiskies

In the coming days, we will release three American Oak Single Cask whiskies.—

In addition to an American Oak Bourbon Single Cask (TD0177), we will be releasing an American Oak Tawny Single Cask (TD0317) and an American Oak Second Fill Single Cask (TD0121). All three are exceptional examples of the malt-led Sullivans Cove spirit working alongside the characteristics of American Oak for long-term maturation.

TD0177 American Oak Bourbon Single Cask, bottled at 47.2% was matured for over 14 years in a 200L cask and yielded only 122 bottles.

TD0317 American Oak Tawny Single Cask, bottled at 47.9% was matured for over 12 years in a 300L cask and yielded 427 bottles.

TD0121 American Oak Second Fill Single Cask, bottled at 47.5% was matured for 14 years and 5 months in a 300L cask and yielded 440 bottles.

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Extremely Limited Mature Scotch Exclusives at K&L California – Scotch Whisky News

Extremely Limited Mature Scotch Exclusives at K&L California – Scotch Whisky News



Limited-Edition, One-of-a-Kind World-Class Whiskies
Featuring bottlings from Ardmore, Bunnahabhain, Tomatin, Tormore, and Tullibardine

Today’s offer represents the rarest of the rare in the world of Scotch. These mature, ultra-limited bottlings will easily provide a centerpiece to any collection rich in the best of whisky. Coming in both 700ml and 750ml sizes, the complexity and power across the board is unmatched, as these K&L exclusive single casks have been selected among many as the finest their respective distilleries have to present. Only a handful of bottles of each are available for the world, and you’re seeing them here first. We recommend swift action to secure your allocation on pre-arrival, as once these whiskies are gone, they’re gone for good.

* Please note that some of these rare spirits items are offered in our regular 750ml format, while others are bottled in 700ml format. These items are on pre-arrival, ready for pickup or delivery in late summer 2021. Please refer to each individual product page for more detail.

1994 Tomatin 25 Year Old “Hunter Laing Old & Rare” Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml) (Pre-Arrival) ($249.99)

Tomatin is a fascinating distillery with a unique history and many incarnations, from starting as a bulk blender and supplier and eventually shifting to a steadfast focus on quality single malt production. From the early 1900s through the mid ’70s, Tomatin grew continuously. They added stills multiple times as demand for their product increased exponentially. By 1975, they were the largest single malt production facility in Scotland. Sadly due to market forces they never operated at their full capacity, and by the mid ’80s the massive bust in the market for Scotch was impossible to ignore. Tomatin was liquidated and became the first of many Scottish distilleries to be purchased by Japanese companies. Today owned by the company known as Takara Shuzo, Tomatin has many bottlings on the market, but it is the choicest single casks that command the most attention. Here we have an incredible single cask of sherry-finished Tomatin 25 Year Old at a natural strength of 49.3% ABV. Expect a great value single malt with tropical and stone fruits in abundance, melded with sherry spice and orange peel dipped in chocolate.

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