Good Spirits News - The spirited world of mixology
Blair Frodelius is a professional full-time musician, an award-winning mixologist, USBG Spirits Professional, BarSmarts Live & Wired graduate and member of the Museum of the American Cocktail. Several of his original cocktails can be found in the 75th Anniversary Mr. Boston Official Bartenders Guide, and one inspired by Harry Craddock in the Mixellany publication The Deans of Drink.
Apologue crafts their liqueurs from entirely natural ingredients. Apologue’s liqueurs each feature unique, regional ingredients. Initial expressions include Aronia Berry, Celery Root and Persimmon. Produced out of Soltis Family Distillery on the South Side, Apologue leverages a unique set of experienced palates and makers to bring something new and unexpected to the cocktail scene. More savory than sweet, expressions include Aronia Berry, Celery Root and Persimmon. The liqueurs are sweetened with organic cane sugar and feature full ingredient transparency right on the label, spotlighting the fruits, roots, herbs and barks in each bottle.
Apologue founders Robby Haynes, Jordan Tepper and Ziyad Asrar are shifting the paradigm for what liqueur can be with their new line of palate-provoking, spirited liqueurs. Violet Hour alum Robby has quietly influenced food and beverage culture in Chicago for the past ten years, developing Letherbee Distillers’ industry favorite BËSK and opening Logan Square’s critic-favorite Analogue (RIP). Complementing Robby’s vision, Jordan utilizes his background in food and beverage consulting to cultivate local supplier and grower relationships and lead community engagement. Ziyad’s experience running bar programs such as La Sirena Clandestina coupled with his background in music makes him well suited for his role overseeing programming, cultural events and sales.
GSN did not receive a sample of the Aronia Berry liqueur.
Apologue Celery Root (37% abv) Visual: Citrine. Nose: Quite herbal and dry with a sweet overtone. In some ways it has a wormwood and bison grass scent, and yet neither ingredient is used in the potpourri. Taste: Pleasantly sweetened with the spices and herbs adding a soft touch the overall effect. Very much akin to a bitter amaro. In spite of a plethora of ingredients, none of them stand out as a key player. A very well done blend indeed. Finish: Medium long with the sweet hanging on for some time. Overall: If you enjoy herbal lozenges, this will not disappoint. A fantastic additional to your bartending arsenal, this will add a new essence to savory cocktails. GSN Rating: A
Apologue Persimmon (27% abv) Visual: Ruby Nose: Spiced fruit in the same vein as a wine poached pear. Darker and tangier than the Apologue Celery. Taste: The citrus comes through in a gentle way, but with an entirely dry and slightly bitter quality. The sweetness softens the blow, but is not overpowering. A fruity bitter amaro. Finish: Long, with more of the root quality overlaying the sweet base, leaving a digestif flavor. Overall: Another excellent bitter liqueur that will work with just about any spirit you can throw at it. Really good. GSN Rating: A+
Flaviar recently announced the long-awaited return of Son of a Peat, with the release of Son of a Peat Batch 02. Son of a Peat Batch 01 received critical acclaim from the industry and consumers alike and sold out in record time.
Son of a Peat Batch 02 shares the same DNA as Batch 01, just with a touch more maturity and sherry richness. Each batch is unique and in short supply, but members will be able to buy up to three bottles each, subject to availability; one to open, one to gift and one to save for later.
All 2,000 bottles will be available via a lottery system, exclusively to Flaviar members, so everyone gets the same chance to get their hands on this complex, commanding whisky bottled at the peak of its powers.
Grisa Soba, co-founder of Flaviar, comments: “Years of analyzing data and customer reviews on our platform has helped us understand what a perfect peated malt is for our members, and also what someone new to peated whisky, would enjoy as their first experience of a peated Scotch. With Son of a Peat we’ve been able to satisfy both camps, those that have already fallen for peat and those just starting to explore the peated Scotch world.”
Son of a Peat Batch 02 (94.4 proof) Visual: Medium gold. Nose: Hefty peated nose caressed by a tangy and sweet malt aroma. The best of both worlds. Taste: Creosote and medium-heavy peat out of the gate, tempered by a rich and engaging lightly sweet malt. The smoke has a chewiness that is right on the edge of aggressive, but manages to simmer down after a minute into a soft rumble. Finish: Long with a playful battle between the peat and the malt, neither one being declared the obvious champion. Overall: A really nice Scotch in the style of an Islay, but softer and friendlier to those looking to try something new. This works exceptionally well on a single large rock. The GSN staff is unanimously enthusiastic about this release. GSN Rating: A
For years, Conor McGregor developed his whiskey under the project name “Notorious” through which came the foundation of what was to eventually become Proper No. Twelve. It became a longer and more complicated project than originally expected, so McGregor turned to a distillery with a proven history of quality whiskey making. He met with the master distiller, and together they took measures to bring the whiskey to fruition. “We created close to one hundred blends and ultimately selected what we knew was the one and only proper whiskey blend. We took the time to develop an incredible whiskey that is reasonably priced and I am excited to share it with the world,” said McGregor.
McGregor added, “Many ask where the name Proper No. Twelve comes from. I was born and bred in the Dublin suburb of Crumlin, Dublin 12 – this is a proper Irish whiskey and being a ‘Dublin 12 Man’ we named my brand Proper No. Twelve. My success can be traced from the lessons I learned growing up in D12, the values of loyalty and hard work.”
It is important to McGregor to give back in a meaningful way. First responders and emergency service providers exemplify his core values and those of Proper No. Twelve – commitment, loyalty and community – a “ONE FOR ALL” mentality. “First responders and emergency personnel all over the world are the unsung heroes who act with courage and answer the call of duty every day for people in need,” said McGregor. The company has committed to donate $5 for every case sold to local first responders and emergency service organizations and charities, up to $1 million annually. The organizations will be identified for each country around the world and donations will go directly to specific countries where sales take place.
Proper No. Twelve’s first expression is a blend of grain and single malt.
Proper Twelve Irish Whiskey (80 proof) Visual: Dark gold. Nose: A lot of wood tinged with butterscotch, young leather, dried straw and autumn leaves. Taste: Smooth and surprisingly tame. The initial flavors take a while to kick in , and when they do, they are subdued. Slight vanilla, mild oak, tiny bit of char, and a quiet maltiness. Finish: Medium long with some lingering sweetness and a bread-like finish. Overall: Not a lot going on here, but it is in no way a disappointment. This is an Irish that is fine for shots, or in light cocktails such as an Irish Old-Fashioned or Irish Manhattan. GSN Rating: B
Bumbu Rum Company recently announced Bumbu XO, a small-batch ultra-premium rum aged up to 18 years in bourbon barrels and finished in white oak sherry barrels from Andalusia, Spain. Bumbu XO is distilled and aged at a 120-year old Panamanian distillery and proudly uses only local sugarcane and pure spring water.
Bumbu Rum is based on original 16th and 17th century recipes used by West Indian sailors. Made using spices native to the Caribbean along with sugar cane from the islands as well as South America.
Bumbu XO (80 proof) Visual: Dark copper. Nose: Oak, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla bean, green banana, browned butter. Taste: Rich spirit appointed with a vanilla wash that quickly fades into dry and well-balanced oak. Finish: Long with a slightly bitter vanilla edge at the tail end. Overall: This is a very dry rum, that makes it perfect for tiki-style cocktails. This will cut through the fruit juice and syrup, giving a full bodied kick to your libations. GSN Rating: A-
Treaty Oak Distillery is named after the famous 500-year old tree in Austin, under which Stephen F. Austin signed agreements defining the borders of Texas. Their ginsare called Waterloo, after the original name of Austin. In 2016, Treaty Oak relocated to a 28-acre property in Dripping Springs, Texas, that is now open to the public for food and beverage service, as well live music, a ground breaking Cocktail Lab, and room for expanding their whiskey and gin production.
Waterloo No. 9 gin brings together limestone-fed springs, lavender, pecans and coriander in a bouquet of Hill Country flavors. The botanicals are unique to the Texas Hill country and vapor infused in a still column. Included in the blend are USDA Certified Citrus from the Texas Valley and 90% non-GMO heirloom grains grown by Texas farmers, using sustainable organic practices; as well as pecans, lavender and grapefruit zest all harvested in Texas.
Waterloo No. 9 (94 proof) Visual: Clear. Nose: Heavily laden with juniper and a curious sage aroma. The citrus takes the backseat here. Taste: Light and easy on the palate, with the spices lying low, while more of the citrus comes out to play after a few seconds. Crisp and sharp, and in the style of a London Dry. Finish: Medium long with a touch of the juniper giving the finish a traditional send off. Overall: A perfect gin for most citrus and floral based cocktails. Not too aggressive, but also not too withdrawn. GSN Rating: B
Building on traditional Dutch jenevers distillers, Treaty Oak ages Waterloo Antique gin in medium-char, white oak barrels to create body and complexity of flavor and a robust mouth-feel unusual in gin. Waterloo gin is aged for 18 to 24 months.
Waterloo Antique Gin (94 proof) Visual: Medium gold. Nose: Juniper and vanilla oak char. Taste: A bit fiery and somewhat bitter from the oak cask. Not reminiscent of jenever to my mind. The juniper seems to clash with the wood, and the botanicals are lost entirely with the exception of the high citrus note. Finish: Medium long. Overall: Sadly, I was disappointed with this one. I think it needs some tweaking to achieve what they are aiming for. As it stands, I would not add it to my bar. GSN Rating: C-
Waterloo Yaupon Gin is Treaty Oak’s take on an Old Tom Gin with a botanical blend of Yaupon Holly, Juniper, Makrut lime, anise, orris root and wildflower honey.
Waterloo Old Yaupon Gin (90 proof) Visual: Slight peach. Nose: Unlike any gin I’ve nosed. At first it has a musky, herbal , yet citrusy palette. But, most notable is the unmistakable scent of honey. Exceptionally complex. Taste: Quite fruity and leaning toward the sweet end of the spectrum. Almost cocktail-like in its flavor profile. Finish: Long and with a stone fruit tinge. Overall: This is a gin that you could happily sip on its own. It’s definitely in the Old Tom camp, but tastily unique in its own right. GSN Rating: A
Who would have guessed that there would ever be a National Absinthe Day? Since it was banned in the United States in 1912, and prohibition nailing the coffin shut in 1919, it is really a miracle that absinthe is back on the market. 2015 marks the ninth anniversary of this new holiday devoted to the Green Fairy.
In celebration of this event, here is the traditional way to enjoy a glass. And no, you don’t light it on fire!
Pour a measure of absinthe in an absinthe glass
Place a sugar cube on a flat perforated spoon on top of the glass
Drip ice-cold water on the sugar cube to slowly dissolve it
Add three to six parts water to the glass
Take your time, sip. The slower, the better
If you’re looking for a cocktail that calls for absinthe, try this one from the classic Savoy Cocktail Book published in 1930.
Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail
.75 oz Plymouth Gin
.75 oz Cointreau
.75 oz Lillet Blanc
.75 oz Lemon juice
Rinse a chilled cocktail glass with absinthe and set aside. Add the remaining ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into the prepared glass. Be revived!
Each batch of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is an uncut Small Batch of 12-year-old Bourbon bottled straight from the barrel. The variance in proof from batch to batch presents a unique opportunity to explore the impact of the angel’s share and the resulting proof in a small batch of barrels.
The first letter of the batch number indicates which of that year’s releases the bottle was a part of, starting with “A,” while the second digit is a number that determines the month of the year the bottle was released. The third and fourth digits indicate the year.
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch No. A119 (135.2 proof) Visual: Medium golden brown. Nose: Brown sugar, oak char, caramel and vanilla. Taste: Spicy and warming, and quite smooth despite the high-proof. Some baking spices offset the maple and molasses character. Finish: Long with lingering spice. Overall: As with all of the Elijah Craig Barrel Proof releases over the last few years, they have definitely got this down to a system. There is a cohesiveness between them in spite of the many variables that can happen when aging in the rickhouse. GSN Rating: A-
From Rolling Thunder Barrel Works, Rogue’s Newport-based cooperage (barrel-making facility), comes the return of Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout and the new Rolling Thunder Stouted Whiskey. Released each February, Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout is aged in whiskey-soaked barrels that are made at Rogue’s Rolling Thunder Barrel Works. Rolling Thunder Stouted Whiskey takes it a step further:
Rolling Thunder Stouted Whiskey starts with barley grown and harvested at Rogue Farms. That barley is brewed into wash and distilled into whiskey. While Master Distiller Brian Pribyl is distilling the whiskey, Rogue cooper (barrel-maker) Nate Linquist makes a barrel out of Oregon Oak (Quercus garryana). The whiskey is aged one year in these Rolling Thunder Barrel Works barrels.
Towards the end of that aging period, Brewmaster John Maier brews his imperial stout. Brian’s whiskey is then transferred to new barrels and John’s imperial stout is transferred to the whiskey-soaked barrels. After nine months, the beer is pulled and released as Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout. The original whiskey is put back into the whiskey- and stout-soaked barrels for an additional two years of aging. Rolling Thunder Stouted Whiskey, the final product of all this hard work and time is hand-bottled in hand-numbered bottles and topped with a hand-branded topper.
“As the only farmer-brewer-distiller-cooper in the world, we are the only company who can create Rolling Thunder Stouted Whiskey completely in-house,” says Rogue President Dharma Tamm. “We grow ingredients we use to brew and distill and make the barrels we age those products in. As Rogues, we are excited by the possibility of creating things by hand that no one has the patience to do.”
Rogue Rolling Thunder Stouted Whiskey (97 proof) Visual: Dark copper. Nose: Sweet root beer nose paired with a strong backbone of straight whiskey. Quite herbal in an unusual twist. Taste: The imperial stout lends an old-world flavor to a rich whisky base. The herbal quality on the nose is translated here into something akin to a Ricola lozenge flavor. This is in no way a negative, in fact it reminds me of a bittered whiskey. Finish: Long, with a semi-sweet and rich finish. Overall: I love Rogue beers, and with this latest addition to their burgeoning spirits line, they have a happily blended family. You’ll definitely keep coming back for more. Great craft, Rogue! GSN Rating: A
In a move toward diversifying its portfolio and reaching spirits consumers, Goodwood Brewing Co. recently announced a foray into the crafts spirits space with the launch of a Premium Bourbon aged in stout barrels. The 90 proof, small-batch bourbon is the first product to be launched under the Goodwood Spirits line.
Goodwood Stout Bourbon is aged in charred white oak American barrels for 12 years, before being finished in Goodwood Bourbon Stout barrels. “Bourbon has always been an integral part of the Goodwood product line with our barrel aged program” notes CEO Ted Mitzlaff. “We are located in the heart of bourbon Country and understand the tremendous impact barrel finishing has on creating superior taste profiles.”
Goodwood Spirits was released in early February in select retail stores and exclusive accounts throughout the Louisville and Lexington markets, and will enter the rest of Kentucky in the near future. Goodwood Spirits can also be purchased at the Goodwood Brewing Taproom in Louisville, KY.
Goodwood Stout Barrel Finish (90 proof) Visual: Medium dark copper. Nose: Hearty nose of classic bourbon, patinaed by chocolatey stout. This smells chewy. Taste: At first semi-sweet corn bourbon takes center stage, but soon a gradually dark, malty essence comes in and coats the palate with bittersweet chocolate. Well married. Finish: Long and with a curious dark cherry finale. Overall: A beautiful pairing and a genius idea. A heartier bourbon that snaps and commands your attention. GSN Rating: A
To mark the tenth anniversary of the Highland distillery’s Private Edition series, Glenmorangie introduces the tenth release in the award-winning collection – Glenmorangie Allta – the first single malt whisky created from yeast growing wild on the distillery’s own barley.
Glenmorangie Allta (Scots Gaelic for ‘wild’ and pronounced ‘al-ta’) reveals the often-overlooked importance of yeast and its impact on flavor in the whisky making process. With a background in yeast physiology, Glenmorangie’s Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks, Dr. Bill Lumsden, remained aware of yeast’s potential. Years ago, he recalled a little-known story the late, great whisky writer Michael Jackson had told him, about a unique “house” yeast Glenmorangie was said to have possessed – which inspired Dr. Bill to explore wild yeast’s effect on Glenmorangie’s spirit.
Dr. Bill collected a few ears of Cadboll barley in the fields near the distillery and after analysis in the laboratory, he discovered Saccharomyces diaemath, a species of wild yeast unidentified until that point. He arranged for the yeast to be cultivated and brought it together with the distillery’s barley in the whisky-making process. Then, he transferred this spirit into ex-bourbon barrels, including many second-fill casks, to showcase the fruity character given by the yeast.
Glenmorangie Allta (102.4 proof) Visual: Medium light gold. Nose: Light, fruity smoke with a markedly rich malt base. Taste: Malty, some honey, oak stave, light peat smoke, all wrapped up with a warming and sprightly elegance. The flavor profile changes over a few minutes from malt to fruit to a hint of those bourbon barrels. The yeast itself adds a richness and depth that is more forward than most of the Glenmorangie portfolio. Finish: Long and sweet with a round finish. Overall: In spite of the high-proof, this is very drinkable undiluted. Glenmorangie took a risk and it paid off in spades. Lovely and well worth seeking out. GSN Rating: A+