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HENDRICK’S QUINETUM

Hendrick’s carries a unique allure among gin drinkers. At once bold, delicate flavors linger as the lasting impression- a yin & yang that mixologists live for. That is, until Hendrick’s Quinetum arrived in the hands of a select few, subtly suggesting a third dimension. One that demands not only balance, but intrigue. A mysterious cordial of quinine, lavender and orange with extracts of wormwood and holy thistle, Quinetum was created not merely as a perfect marriage with Hendrick’s, but to elevate cocktails to a new depth. And if the cool factor wasn’t already out of our realm, the packaging- based on an old poison bottle, is equally distinctive. With a first batch of just over 4,000 bottles, the cordial was only given out to two dozen mixologists across the U.S. and is not available for retail. As far as getting to taste it? Start asking the top bartenders in New York, Austin and San Francisco and let us know where you found it.

(Originally posted by Kendall Johnson)

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SIEMBRA AZUL TEQUILA BLANCO

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Editor's Rating

Drink Me Magazine Review 96 /100
As brilliantly transparent as the highly descriptive bottle label, it exhibits perfumes of smoked agave, geraniums, and white pepper. Serious complexity with an uplifting freshness, the palate gushes sweet florals, freshly lit tobacco, and cooked green peppers. -JA

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Original author: Julie Albin

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THE 86 COMPANY SPIRITS

The rise of cocktail culture has introduced a new breed of tastemaker- the craft mixologist. Part chef and part bartender, his reputation straddles brilliance & BS, depending on what ends up in your glass. Knowing this truth, and recognizing a void in their wells, a group of bartenders created The 86 Company, a collaboration with some of the best distillers in the world to create a line of spirits designed for (and by) the people who make cocktails for a living. Every detail of the product was considered- from finding versatile, full-bodied spirits, to bottle design, which features an ergonomic design built for constant use. The labels have character and even the small print is honest and witty,  a refreshing change from the cacophony of marketing copy. The 86 Co lineup includes four spirits: Fords Gin, Caña Brava Rum, Aylesbury Duck Vodka and Tequila Cabeza– all of which should start popping up on cocktail menus around the country…just about now.

(Originally posted by Kendall Johnson)

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LEFT HAND BREWING CO. MILK STOUT NITRO

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The moment Left Hand Brewing Company discovered how to bottle nitrogen, a chain of enthusiastic fist pumps could be seen from Colorado to the coasts. Once limited to specialty craft beer bars with a special dedicated tap, Left Hand Brewing Co. Milk Stout Nitro successfully brought the cascading, pillowy pour to the comfort of your own home. Nitro beers have a distinct creamy texture and more evenly distributed flavors compared to their aggressive CO2 counterparts. Look for roasty flavors of mocha, with slight hops & bitterness in the finish. The rest is pure milk chocolate fullness. Left Hand Brewing has just announced two new velvety smooth beers to their Nitro lineup- the Wake Up Dead Stout and their popular Sawtooth All-American Ale. 

(Originally posted by Kendall Johnson)

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CHATEAU MARGAUX 2009 BALTHAZAR

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If you find yourself passing through Dubai and are looking for a lux way to spend $195,000, a Balthazar of 2009 Château Margaux could be a perfect memento. The first-ever Balthazar (equivalent to 16 bottles) of Château Margaux claims to be the world’s most expensive single bottle of wine to be sold in a retail store. To sweeten the deal, not only does your investment give you 12 litres of a wine widely reputed to be one of the best ever produced, but also includes a first class plane ticket to France to take a private tour of Margaux’s cellars and vineyard, plus dinner at the château hosted by Paul Pontallier. As you begin a long flight home you can rest content knowing only six Balthazars have been produced, only three were offered for sale, and one is waiting for you upon exiting First Class.

Tags: Wine

(Originally posted by Kendall Johnson)

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TALISKER STORM

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Situated on the isolated, windswept Isle of Skye, the Talisker name has always carried an air of mystery and moody intrigue. With the release of Talisker Storm, the distillery seeks to bottle up the rugged, dramatic terrain of the foreboding island from where it hails. Immediately intense and smoky, this unique single malt shows a vibrant, sea-salty nose that smoothly balances Talisker’s signature warm sweetness. The lack of an age statement reinforces the unbridled character of the island, and more importantly, allows the distiller greater flexibility to introduce a range of flavors based on maturity, rather than age. Talisker Storm pushes the envelope with intense flavors sure to exhilarate single malt fans. Or more poetically, to experience Talisker Storm is to feel the power of the sea.

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(Originally posted by Kendall Johnson)

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CALIFORNIA SQUARE

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Wine has a fascinating way of both transcending boundaries and adhering to tradition. Case in point, California Square has launched a line of unconventional square bottles filled with classic CA wine. The brand challenges the consumer to shake up the common preconceptions of what wine should look like, in a way that not only makes sense, but swaps the stodgy “square” looking wine bottles for something hip and cool. With all innovation in packaging comes sharp skepticism- and for this reason California Square knows the wine inside must over deliver. Quality wine + eco friendly benefits + retro chic design?  California Square succeeds in being anything but square.

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(Originally posted by Kendall Johnson)

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BALLAST POINT VICTORY AT SEA PORTER

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Editor's Rating

Drink Me Magazine Review 95/100
Vanilla, indeed. But don’t be surprised when the black coffee flexes its muscles near the end. This viscous, slow-sipper is a perfect prelude to hibernation. Expect part beer, part milkshake, 100% unforgettable. 10% ABV. –BJ

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(Originally posted by Brad Japhe)

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EVIAN ELIE SAAB LIMITED EDITION BOTTLE

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Evian, always the sophisticated lifestyle accessory, goes glam for this Limited Edition Elie SAAB glass bottle, the latest in a series of partnerships with international fashion brands. The curvaceous bottle is covered in a signature Elie SAAB lace pattern, an homage to the feminine and elegant designs featured so prominently in the brand’s collections. The partnership symbolizes the immaculate craftsmanship, and mutual sophistication that both Elie SAAB and evian are renowned for. The 2014 Limited Edition bottle by ELIE SAAB will be available beginning October 2013.

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(Originally posted by Kendall Johnson)

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KIVELSTADT CELLARS

When asked to describe his portfolio of wines, Jordan Kivelstadt, the gregarious and talented winemaker behind Kivelstadt Cellars, spiritedly describes them as “as eclectic as the people who make them.” While this sentiment is certainly reflected in the unique varietals and fresh take on the wine industry, his humble description is lacking some important adjectives. More aptly, the Kivelstadt Cellars wines are as charming, balanced and interesting as the family behind them. These wines have all the characteristics to become your go-to wines: exciting, attractive and approachable, or in other words,the whole package.

(Originally posted by Kendall Johnson)

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HOCHSTADTER’S SLOW & LOW STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY

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With the return of cocktail culture came the tales of yore: gunslinging sheriffs, mad-cap outlaws and wild women. And whiskey. Always whiskey.  Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock and Rye is a throwback to the bygone days when the Rock & Rye – a cocktail of rye, sweetened with rock candy- was served as medicine (medicine for ailments, medicine for the soul). In this updated version, a backbone of straight rye whiskey is macerated with orange peels before being infused with honey and a hint of horehound.  The spicy rye is nicely balanced with the flavors of citrus, grapefruit and a hint of sweetness. Spooned into tea or sipped straight, it’s almost worth getting the sniffles for.

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(Originally posted by Kendall Johnson)

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KNOB CREEK SMOKED MAPLE BOURBON

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Self-professed Bourbon enthusiasts might scoff at the idea of a flavored newcomer entering the line-up of a tried & true premium brand; however, a judgmental attitude about the Knob Creek Smoked Maple Bourbon  will leave you missing out. Born out of Booker Noe’s nostalgia for the smokehouse and the sugar maples on the family property, Knob Creek makes its first foray into flavored bourbon.  A hint of maple and subdued smokiness effortlessly turns “bourbon, neat” into a chic, seasonal cocktail.  90 proof.

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Original author: Kendall Johnson

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ABSOLUT CHICAGO

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If your city was a flavor a vodka, what would it be? According to the limited-edition Absolut Chicago, the Swedes think Chicago should be green olives and rosemary- or in their words “a unique blend of the past with the cutting edge of right now…” While we wholeheartedly agree these flavors make a tasty bloody or classic martini, we’re left wondering (with the rest of the world) who vetoed the flavors of deep-dish pizza, Italian beef and hot dogs?  Chicago got the sophisticated end of the stick on this one. Packaged in a limited edition bottle splashed with a cityscape design,  Absolut Chicago is the seventh city-inspired flavor the company has introduced.

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(Originally posted by Kendall Johnson)

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DEFIANT SINGLE MALT WHISKY

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Even without the boldly stated identity on its label, your first impression of the new Defiant American Single Malt Whisky ($45) might be one of blatant defiance. That’s right, American Whisky; and that wasn’t a whiskey fueled typo either. Blue Ridge Distilling Co., founded by marine salvage divers (true story), is a maverick little distiller tucked in the middle of nowhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. And that’s how they like it. Armed with the purest spring water, fresh-milled Barley and a custom German still, their vision is to combine the best of Scottish tradition with American ingenuity. Defiant is their first release and even at its young age, stands strong and aptly resembles its name.

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(Originally posted by Kendall Johnson)

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PENFOLDS AMPOULE PROJECT

With only 12 handblown vessels in existence, the Penfolds Ampoule Project ($168,000) is a testament to the respect that Penfolds has not only for fine wine, but for innovation and heritage. Penfolds commissioned South Australia’s finest artists and craftsmen to create a rare objet d’art, designed to store wine in the most ideal environment. Sealed in the handblown glass ampoule is Penfolds’ 2004 Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon, a rare, single-vineyard wine, only released in stellar vintages and produced from the oldest continuously-producing Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the world. When a decision is made to open the ampoule a senior member of the Penfolds Winemaking team will travel to the destination of choice, where the ampoule will be ceremoniously removed from its glass plumb-bob casing and opened using a specially designed, tungsten-tipped, sterling silver scribe-snap. That is, if any of those select twelve ever dare to alter this piece of art.

(Originally posted by Kendall Johnson)

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JOHNNIE WALKER PLATINUM

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Like the rare metal after which it is named, Johnnie Walker Platinum Label ($110) is rich, refined and carries an air of prestige. A complex blend of single malt and grain whiskies are matured for a minimum of 18 years before bottling. The Platinum Label is a skillful blend of style and substance drawn from a limited number of casks, carefully chosen for their exceptional character. This luxurious blend harbors deep layers of flavor that perfectly balance the diverse character of the distilleries from which it came and the wood in which it has rested.

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(Originally posted by Kendall Johnson)

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SCARLETT CABERNET SAUVIGNON

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At first glance, it’s the exotic, redheaded beauty on the label of the 2011 Scarlett Cabernet Sauvignon that captures your attention; but it’s the wine inside that will win you over forever. This complex Cab hails from some of the best vines in Napa Valley, which is immediately evident in the plush black fruit, silky smooth palate and beguiling Asian spices. Scarlett adds well-deserved cachet to the McGah Family name, previously best known among professional sports enthusiasts. From the soil to the glass, Scarlett impresses . A short decant will open this beauty for early consumption, but look for an aging curve that will catch this at its peak drinking window in 8-10 years.

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(Originally posted by Kendall Johnson)

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NEW BELGIUM ACCUMULATION WHITE IPA

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You know the drill- new season, new beer. But the generalizations stop here. With the release of the New Belgium Accumulation White IPA, the boys at New Belgium Brewing Co decided to go against the grain for their Winter Seasonal. In lieu of the predictable toasty, caramel malts, clove and cinnamon spice and belly warming alcohol levels, the Accumulation White IPA cuts through the Holiday small talk with clarity and verve.  Bright citrus reminds us of that December bowl full of clementines & a dose of piney hops is undeniably nostalgic. This exciting White IPA is indeed “a hoppy wonderland.”

(Originally posted by Kendall Johnson)

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FOUNDERS BREWING CO. BREAKFAST STOUT

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Microbrews & controversy. Not only are they two of the hottest trends of 2013, but also a topic that Founders Brewing Co. is quite familiar with. The Founders Brewing Co. Breakfast Stout ($11.99/4-pack) is a seasonal beer with a cult-like following, only available October – December. Touted as the “coffee lover’s consummate beer,” this stout has an intense fresh-roasted java nose topped with a frothy, cinnamon-colored head that goes forever. So you’re asking, what’s so controversial about beer for breakfast? Apparently, in New Hampshire the beer is banned from shelves because the label, depicting a child eating oatmeal, violates state law. Founders has no plans to change the label, which might just mean we’ll have a better chance of getting our hands on the limited supply. Thanks New Hampshire.

(Originally posted by Kendall Johnson)

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FEVER TREE PREMIUM MIXERS

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Remember when you had that perfect G&T in London and then spent weeks trying to replicate it at home without success?  So does everyone. The good news is, the moment Fever-Tree Premium Mixers entered the U.S. market, the dilemma immediately vanished. Subtle botanical flavors mixed with spring water and the highest quality quinine from the fever-tree, create a natural tonic with a crisp, clean taste. Lively carbonation gives the mixers a refreshing bite, while natural cane sugars keep the taste light, without the cloying sweetness associated with soda gun mixers. No artificial sweeteners, flavorings or preservatives = you can feel great about cocktail hour.

(Originally posted by Kendall Johnson)

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