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A Round of Holiday Cocktails For 2020

A Round of Holiday Cocktails For 2020


Pomegranate Mule
Sleigh Wreck cocktail
Gift Giver cocktail
Candy Cane Cocktail
Holiday Sour
Gingerbread Martini
Candy Cane Martini

As we scramble to find some holiday cheer to end this strange and scary year, it’s time to raise a festive cocktail. Mixologists around the world have been concocting new recipes to celebrate the season; here are nine that we like.

Mistletoe-Politan
(shown atop)
1 ½ oz. Aged gin
¼ oz. Green chartreuse
¼ oz. Cassis
¾ oz. Lemon juice
½ oz. Pomegranate juice
2 oz. Angostura aromatic bitters
Rosemary sprig, for garnish

Combine all ingredients and shake. Strain into coupe glass and garnish with rosemary.

The mixologists at Commonwealth in Las Vegas created this recipe.

White Christmas Martini

White Christmas Martini
1 oz. Tia Maria
1 oz. Vanilla vodka
1 oz. Malibu
2 ½ oz. Milk
Granulated brown sugar

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Kislev Fizzer


2 oz. El Sativo Blanco tequila
1 oz. Coconut heavy cream
1 oz Simple syrup
1 oz Egg white
¼ oz. Fresh lemon juice
¼ oz. Fresh lime juice
¼ oz. Mr. Black coffee liqueur
3 drops Orange flower water
Top sparkling water

Add all ingredients (except sparkling water) to shaker tin, egg whites last. Heavy dry shake for 30 seconds. Add ice, shake for 30 seconds. Strain into a wine or Collins glass. Top with sparkling water until the fizz pops out of the glass. Shave nutmeg on top.

The mixologists at El Sativo created this recipe.

The post Kislev Fizzer first appeared on Cheers.

(Originally posted by Melissa Dowling)
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Booker’s Bourbon Announces Pigskin Batch


The third and final whiskey release in 2020 from Booker’s Bourbon is their Pigskin Batch.

As is traditional for the brand, each expression’s unique name refers to a part of the whiskey’s history. Pigskin Batch is a nod to sixth-generation Master Distiller Booker Noe’s love of American football, the company says, which eventually became a family affair.

Booker played both tackle and kicker on his high school team. Although he never pursued a college football career, he was talented enough to practice with the team when he attended the University of Kentucky as a freshman, the company says. Anyone who knew Booker knew his love of football, the company adds. Whether it was his favorite team on TV, or his son and grandson playing in the backyard, Booker loved watching a game.

Booker’s Pigskin Batch has aroma of brown sweets and slight vanilla notes, the company reports, before a flavor that is big and bold, as you would expect from this cask-strength brand.

This whiskey is available nationwide beginning in November in limited quantities for a suggested retail price of $89.99 for a 750-ml. bottle.

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NRA: 17% of Restaurants Shuttered During Pandemic


More than 110,000 restaurants—17% of establishments—have closed since March, according to the latest data from the National Restaurant Association. The survey of 6,000 operators, conducted from Nov. 16-30, found that 10,000 restaurants have closed over the past three months due to the pandemic. Some 100,000 restaurants had shut as of September.

Most of these restaurants were established in the industry for years, and on average, had been in business for 16 years. About 16% of the shuttered eateries had been in business for 30 or more years,

What’s more, 87% of full-service restaurants saw revenue slip 36% during the past three months, and 83% of operators expect the next three months to be even worse. More than half (58%) of operators surveyed said that they expect layoffs and furloughs to continue in the next three months.

In a Dec. 7 letter to Congressional leaders, Sean Kennedy, the NRA’s executive vice president for public affairs, said that more than 500,000 restaurants of every type “are in an economic free fall.” And for every month that passes without a solution from Congress, he said, “thousands more restaurants will close their doors for good.”

The letter supported the $908 billion emergency bipartisan relief package as a short-term solution. Kennedy noted that the plan “represents a ‘down payment’ for a larger relief package in early 2021, providing restaurants with immediate relief to survive the most dangerous point in our business season.”

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Drizly Forecasts Higher-Than-Usual Holiday Alcohol Sales


The on-premise continues to struggle during the pandemic, but alcohol retailers should feel even more merry this holiday season.

Alcohol ecommerce company Drizly recently released its second annual monitor of North America’s independent alcohol store owners and managers, providing an in-depth look at the experience and expectations of beverage alcohol retailers operating in a Covid-19 environment. The study found that nearly half of retailers predicted significantly higher sales this holiday season, with 78% of respondents reporting higher online sales since March.

In terms of individual categories, mezcal leapfrogged the likes of Irish and Japanese whiskies in expectations for growth next year.

Among key findings:

Higher sales have sustained, and online ordering is outpacing in-store shopping. 70% of independent retailers surveyed experienced higher in-store sales since Covid-19 became widespread, while 78% saw online sales increase. Furthermore, while nearly half of retailers reported that online sales accounted for less than 5% of their total sales prior to Covid-19, 56% said that online sales had grown to 11% or more of total sales post-Covid — with a substantial share reporting that online sales now comprise 30% or more of total sales.An upbeat outlook for the holidays. Positive sales trends are expected to hold up through the holiday shopping season. 63% of respondents expect sales to at least match a typical Q4’s, and 44% predict that their sales will be significantly higher than during comparable prior periods.Grocery delivery threat gains momentum. Grocery delivery services were cited as independent alcohol retailers’ fastest-growing competitive concern, jumping nearly 30 percentage points since last year, and in absolute terms, surpassing online wine retailers.Emerging craft segment may fuel hard seltzer’s growth. As White Claw and Truly solidify their category leadership, nearly a third of retailers are looking to fast-proliferating craft entries to keep the hard seltzer category thriving. Bringing ready-to-drink cocktails into the disruption discussion, expect early leader High Noon to maintain its growth trajectory, with 51% of retailers planning to give it more room over the next year.A bright outlook for Mexican spirits. Expect to see tequila and mezcal taking up more shelf space in 2021 and beyond. Tequila edged out 2019 champ bourbon to take first place in retailers’ inventory growth predictions for spirits. Meanwhile, mezcal placed behind only tequila, hard seltzer and RTD cocktails among emerging categories that retailers expect to stock more next year. The finding squares with sales on Drizly, where mezcal’s share growth has vaulted 57% ahead of last year.

“It goes without saying that 2020 was an unprecedented year,” says Cory Rellas Drizly, Group CEO and Drizly co-founder. “We feel fortunate to have played a role in helping our retail partners continue to serve consumers during these times, and in many cases, actually grow their businesses.”

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Kentucky Bourbon Festival Announces 2021 Event Dates


The 30th annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival will take place Sept. 16-19, 2021.

This yearly event in Bardstown, KY celebrates the history of distilling America’s native spirit during National Bourbon Heritage Month. The 2021 festival includes expanded opportunities for bourbon enthusiasts to engage with brands, the organizers say, along with educational experiences.

“We’re excited to deliver an improved and truly authentic, world-class celebration of America’s native spirit,” says Randy Prasse, president and COO of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. “We’re looking forward to welcoming bourbon lovers back to Bardstown, a small town as historic as bourbon itself.”

Tickets for the Kentucky Bourbon Festival will be available in summer 2021, but gift cards are available now for holiday gift-giving through the festival’s website.

The non-profit Kentucky Bourbon Festival’s Board of Directors also appointed its 2021 Executive Committee:

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ProWein 2021 Canceled Due to Pandemic


Mass distribution of Covid-19 vaccines may be imminent, but will not occur soon enough for ProWein 2021.

The leading global wine trade show announced today the cancelation of its 2021 show in Düsseldorf, Germany, originally scheduled for March 19-23.

The decision was due to Covid-related restrictions. Current infection rates, ongoing travel restrictions and legal stipulations led Messe Düsseldorf — the organizer of ProWein — to re-assess the situation. Further developments are not foreseeable, the organization says, especially in view of the decision by the German Federal and State governments on November 25, 2020, according to which trade fairs still cannot take place.

“We did not make this decision lightly; on the contrary, in intensive and close coordination with our partners and exhibitors, we very carefully examined the arguments for or against a trade fair in these dynamic pandemic times,” says Erhard Wienkamp, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf. “The decisive factor for us was primarily the interest of our exhibitors and visitors.” 

The timing of the decision played an important role.

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Hochstadter’s Vatted Straight Rye Whiskey


The Cooper Spirits Company has announced the release of its third bottling of Hochstadter’s Vatted Straight Rye Whiskey.

Taken from the historic Scottish term for the process of blending several single malts in a vat to create a new flavor, this version of Hochstadter’s Vatted Rye incorporates five straight ryes from North America aged anywhere from 4 to 18 years. 

Initially released in 2015, Hochstadter’s Vatted Rye is the first rye to use the “vatted” designation, the company says. Straight rye whiskeys are combined in a vat and married until harmonized. The liquid is then proofed down to 100 proof.

This year’s version incorporates ryes from Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Indiana and California, all of which aged in American oak barrels with a No.4 Char and selected from the Cooper Spirits’ whiskey library, curated by the late Robert Cooper. The result is a smooth, yet robust and balanced flavor, the company reports, with notes of blackstrap, nutmeg, mace, clove, spearmint, German-style rye bread, black pepper and sour cherry.

“Vatted Rye is still a significantly misunderstood category,” says Chad Solomon, Cooper Spirits’ director of trade advocacy and innovation. “Vatting adds a complexity to the liquid and gives it a unique flavor profile that would be hard to achieve otherwise. What’s truly incredible about this product is Rob Cooper’s vision and foresight. Knowing the rye category was going to explode, he strategically curated the barrels in the company’s library to ensure long-term success. His overall goal was to create a product that over-delivered in every aspect, and we achieved that with Vatted.”

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Avaline Sparkling Wine


In time for the holidays, Avaline — co-founded by actress and entrepreneur Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power (author: Who What Wear, Versed Skincare) — has released Avaline Sparkling.

This new bubbly joins Avaline’s portfolio of vegan-friendly wines made with organic grapes.

A dry wine, Avaline Sparkling is a blend of xarel·lo, macabeo and parellada from Penedès, Spain. In the hands of producer Raventos i Blanc, it is made in the traditional method, aged 18 months on the lees, doubling the minimum aging time required for other sparkling wines from this region, the company says. This family-owned winery, established in 1497, specializes in the production of sparkling wines. Both the vineyards and wines are certified organic by the Competent Body of Catalonia, while the vineyards are certified biodynamic by Demeter.

Sustainability is important to the Raventos family. The vineyards are plowed by horse rather than tractor; they hand-pick their grapes; and have goats and sheep maintaining the farm, creating a self-sufficient ecosystem, the company says.

Avaline Sparkling is 12% ABV. The suggested retail price is $26 per 750-ml. bottle.

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A Decked-out Daiquiri For Cotton Candy Day


We’re not sure why National Cotton Candy Day is in December, or why it’s the same day as Pearl Harbor Day, or even why there is a Cotton Candy Day at all. But there is, and it’s Dec. 7.

We would normally let this one go by unnoticed, but the folks over at Blue Chair Bay rum sent us a holiday mailer with the fixins to make The Candy Stand Daiquiri. So maybe we’ll be raising a toast to cotton candy this year after all.

The cocktail uses a Blue Chair Bay coconut rum cotton candy from Pandy Cotton Candy. Based in Nashville (which is where cotton candy was invented in 1897—by a dentist!), Pandy sells the flavored-rum confection online. But if you happen to have any cotton candy on hand, that will probably do.

The Candy Stand Daiquiri
1 ½ oz. Blue Chair Bay white rum
½ oz. Lime juice
¾ oz. Simple syrup
½ oz. Blue Curaçao
Pandy Blue Chair Bay coconut rum cotton candy

Combine liquid ingredients and shake. Strain into coupe glass and top with cotton candy.

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Podcast: Alcohol Gifts for 2020


On & Off is a podcast that covers the alcohol industry with a focus on retailers and bars and restaurants.

Do you need ideas for what to buy someone this holiday season? In our latest podcast episode, Beverage Dynamics and Cheers Editors Kyle Swartz and Melissa Dowling discuss some of their favorite alcohol gifts.

Kyle picks out the two best deals in American whiskey from 2020. Both are phenomenal bottles you can find on the shelf right now, at an affordable price. Later, Melissa shares some holiday cocktail ideas, including a wonderfully boozy Puerto Rican tradition.

Listen to the alcohol gifts podcast episode here.

Like that podcast episode? Check out our recent episodes:

What’s Next for Hard Seltzer?Whiskey Trends in 2020Vodka Trends in 2020Alcohol Tech & COVID 19

The post Podcast: Alcohol Gifts for 2020 first appeared on Cheers.

(Originally posted by Melissa Dowling)
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Finlandia Turns The Big 5-0


Finnish vodka brand Finlandia Vodka celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Created with pure glacial spring water and Suomi barley under the founding principles of nature (luonto), state-of-the-art-distillation (tislaus) and design (muotoilu), Finlandia honors the best of its homeland.

In a Zoom event on Nov. 12, Finlandia’s master mixologist Pekka Pellinen noted that when the Helsinki-based vodka brand launched in 1970, Finland’s government controlled all aspects of the alcohol business. The state-owned beverage alcohol company Alko developed the premium brand only for export.

The U.S was one of the first countries to import Finlandia, along with the then-West Germany, France and Austria. “It took two to three years before they started to sell Finlandia in Finland,” Pellinen said.

Finlandia, which has been owned by Brown-Forman Corp. since 2004, was one of the first higher-end vodkas to introduce natural flavors with the launch of Finlandia Cranberry in 1994. The brand’s packaging, which has evolved over time, is inspired by its Nordic roots with characteristics of ice and the Midnight Sun.

Pellinen demonstrated how to make some of his favorite holiday cocktails, including the Espresso Martini and Bloody Mary. For his Bloody Mary, Pellinen added ¼ oz. of Finlandia grapefruit vodka, in addition to ¾ oz. of the plain vodka, “which gives it a nice fresh citrus taste.”

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Suntory Brings Nonalcoholic Beer All-Free to America


Japanese distiller and brewer Suntory — known for its red-hot whisky brands — has introduced its sparkling nonalcoholic beer, All-Free, into the U.S. market. This comes as the nonalcoholic beer category continues to grow and improve in America.

Suntory’s All-Free has zero calories and 0.00% alcohol. It is a sparkling malt and hops beverage.

“The concept of All-Free was born from the deep desire to bring joy to consumers and change the perception that an active lifestyle and a delicious beer were incompatible,” says Yuichi Kato, the head of product development of All-Free at Suntory Beer Ltd. “We pride ourselves on innovation and we explored more than 400 formulas before finding the perfect recipe for All-Free. With the ideal balance between a refreshing aroma and crisp, light, satisfying flavor, we are so proud to introduce Japan’s favorite sparkling malt and hops beverage to the U.S. market and give American consumers a beer-like experience with zero calories and 0.00% alcohol.”

As with traditional beer, Suntory uses two-row barley malt, which contributes to the flavor of All-Free, while the aroma hops provide bitterness to the nose. All-Free is made with 100% Tennensui water, and natural flavors.

This recipe enables the removal of the fermentation process in production of this no-ABV beer.

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Chicken Cock 15-year Barrel Proof Whiskey


Grain & Barrel Spirits has announced a special-release Chicken Cock 15-year limited-edition holiday season barrel proof whiskey.

This is also known as the Chicken Cock Master Distiller’s Pick.

Only 1,300 bottles are available. Chicken Cock 15-year is 114 proof.

The suggested retail price is $300 per 750-ml. bottle.

Chicken Cock 15-year is available via retailers throughout the state of Kentucky and for purchase online.

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Kentucky Owl Bourbon Batch No. 10, Rye Batch No. 4


Kentucky Owl has unveiled two new limited releases: Kentucky Owl Bourbon Batch No. 10 and Kentucky Owl Rye Batch No. 4.

For Kentucky Owl Bourbon Batch No. 10 blends older, oaky barrels with with more youthful, fruity and spice-driven selections, the company says. At 120.2-proof, this offering includes flavors of sweet caramel, toffee and vanilla, followed by floral fruity notes before finishing with a kick of spice on the back of the palate, the company reports.

Kentucky Owl Rye Batch No. 4, nicknamed “The Last Rye,” is 112.8-proof. It’s a blend of rye stocks aged 10-to-13 years that together bring a taste of rich oak, roasted almonds, caramel brittle and spiced dark cherry, the company reports. 

“The Last Rye Batch No. 4 is the final release in this series, bottling some of the last stocks of our rye blend in inventory that have continued to mature until the blend is at its peak,” says Master Blender Dixon Dedman. “It truly marks the end of an amazing journey for Kentucky Owl since the first rye release in 2017,”

The suggested retail price for both whiskies is $299.99 per 750-ml. bottle.

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Mars Distillery Japanese Whiskies


Mars Distillery has announced three releases now available across the U.S.: IWAI 45, Komagatake 2020 and Tsunuki the First. 

IWAI 45 (pronounced “E-Y”) is named for Kiichiro Iwai, a pioneer in Japanese whisky. It’s a bourbon-style Japanese whisky, the company says. The most release of IWAI 45 increased the ABV to 45%. The suggested retail price is $34.99 per 750-ml. bottle. The IWAI line also features the blue label IWAI, mostly corn followed by malt and a hint of rye aged in ex-Bourbon barrels, the company says, and IWAI Tradition, a blending of sherry, bourbon, and wine casks with a dash of peat.

Komagatake 2020 represents the third release in this annual series. This is a single malt whisky aged for more than three years in sherry casks and American white oak make barrels. It has notes of prune, honey, and vanilla on the nose, the company reports, before sweet orange and cocoa powder on the palate. The suggested retail price is $169 per 750-ml. bottle.

Tsunuki the First is a single malt aged for more than three years in bourbon barrels and sherry casks. Tsunuki is the birthplace of Mars’ Hombo family, and its sea-level location results in higher humidity and fluctuating temperatures. This experiment with terroir has produced a rich whisky with sweetness like vanilla and maple syrup, the company says.

The Hombo family began producing shochu in 1909, and has since expanded their portfolio to include sake, neutral spirits, mirin, umeshu and whisky. They obtained their whisky license in 1949 with the help of their advisor, Kiichiro Iwai, and now operate out of two distilleries: Shinshu, the main distillery, built at 2,625 feet in the Nagano Alps; and Tsunuki, based in Kagoshima on Kyushu island, located near the southwest tip of Japan. Future whiskies will be produced at the Yakushima aging site, a Natural Heritage Site and subtropical jungle with Japanese cedar forests.

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Regatta Craft Mixers New Can


Regatta Craft Mixers has announced the debut of its new 7.5-oz. sleek can 6-pack format.

This new packaging rolls out across all five flavors in the Regatta range: Regatta Bermuda Stone Ginger Beer, Regatta Light Ginger Beer, Regatta Dry Citrus Tonic, Regatta Royal Oak Ginger Ale and Regatta Pacific Sea Salt Club Soda.

The new 7.5-oz. sleek can 6-pack is available this month.

“Our consumers have spoken,” says Sam Zarou, Regatta Craft Mixers CEO. “They prefer the ease and convenience of 6-packs for those spontaneous (and planned) on-the-go occasions. We have heard them loud and clear. Rest assured, it’s the same great flavors and award-winning tastes they love in the can, but now in a better value, grab-and-go 6-pack so they can enjoy cocktails made with Regatta Craft Mixers wherever they are.”

“Convenient packaging is key, but we know our consumers also want products that share their values and enhance their lifestyle,” Zarou adds. “Regatta Craft Mixers are expertly crafted in small batches using the finest ingredients to appeal to these discerning customers. Our products are American-made, non-GMO project verified, and use the finest natural ingredients and no artificial preservatives. Simply said, our craft mixers make better cocktails and are now available in a 6-pack format that fits our consumer’s active and social lifestyles.”

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Monochromatic


1 ½ oz. Rieger’s Kansas City whiskey
½ oz. Caffè Amaro coffee liqueuer
½ oz. Barbadillo Pedro Ximenez sherry
¼ oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
¼ oz. Rich Demerara syrup

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir to proper dilution and temperature. Strain into rocks glass with ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.

The post Monochromatic first appeared on Cheers.

Original author: Melissa Dowling
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Positioning Your Restaurant for Sale


Selling a restaurant can be a challenging and time-consuming process. Often the most difficult part of the sale comes with managing emotions as the owner and approaching the sale objectively. Here are a few suggestions to help position a restaurant in the best light for sale and also make the process easier.

Plan ahead, with detailed financials.

A restaurant owner owner should ideally start the exit strategy planning three years in advance of a sale. Having detailed financials for three years prior to the year the owner wants to sell helps determine an opinion of value of the business and a fair market price.

Many owners tend to value their restaurant based on what they heard another restaurant sold for or what a colleague, friend or even financial advisor tells them it is worth. There is no standard multiplier or way of valuing a restaurant because they are all different.

The best approach is to have detailed profit and loss statements for three years total and meet with a restaurant broker active in the market to help with setting a justifiable and competitive asking price.

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Friendsgiving Margarita


2 oz. Exotico Reposado or Blanco tequila
¾ oz. Real Apple purée
½ oz. Lime juice
1 ½ oz. Cranberry juice
Dash of Ground nutmeg and cinnamon

Shake all ingredients over ice then strain over fresh ice. Garnish with apple slivers and a cinnamon stick.

The mixologists at Exotico created this recipe.

The post Friendsgiving Margarita first appeared on Cheers.

Original author: Melissa Dowling
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