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Jim Beam Single Barrel

Type: Single Barrel
Classification: Bourbon
Distillery: Jim Beam Global Spirits and Wine, Clermont , Kentucky
Importer: Domestic – No Importer
Age: Selected by flavor profile rather than age. Best guess for most is between 5 and 7 years old
Price: $34.99 750 ML
Price Range: $30 – $40

A premium single barrel version of an old standard.

Notes:This is a new release of Jim Beam in a limited release Single Barrel at 95 proof. This is a bit of a departure for Jim Beam as a brand if not the company. While they have released various higher end, and single barrel brands as a company under different brand names (Knob Creek, Bookers, etc.,) this is the first time the Jim Beam line itself. The Jim Beam line which was mainly a shall we say value brand, has released just released their Signature Craft Series the Spanish Brandy and 12 Year Old Bourbon, a boost to the brand image in and of themselves, and are now releasing a single barrel. We have reviewed a number of their other products in the past but right now we want to concentrate on this entirely new product of theirs and what they intend to do with it.
Important distinctions will be the ability of visitors to be able to bottle their own bottles at the distillery, a bit later the ability to sample and pick their own barrels to bottle, and a forum that is being set up so people can write in and compare their impressions of bottlings from different barrels.

Appearance: Clear honey colored ,on swirling it displays a nice oiliness to the body leaving a medium thick coating on the glass with a clearly defined edge line or meniscus with droplets morphing into slow forming legs.

First Impression: Unmistakable grain, dried fruit, and honey notes show the DNA of a Jim Beam product, not just the distillery and it’s many products but the very specific nose profile unique to the Jim Beam lineage

Taste: A slightly oily, silky entrance with a touch of sweetness and a drying,woody finish of medium finish. Flavors include vanilla,dried apricots,oak char,honey, leather.

Drinks: Makes a great Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and Whiskey Sour. Has the balls of Jim Beam with a bit more finish

Bottle: Nicely done glass bottle that is similar in shape to the signature line to distinguish the from the standard Jim Beam Bottles and give them a luxe look. Label looks a lot like the Jim Beam White Label but smaller with a brown stamp type tag the identifies barrel number and bottled date specifies barrel number so you can write in and/or collect more and different barrels to try out the different ones out there or identify and buy more of your favorite barrels.

Cigars: A good medium bodied cigar with a natural wrapper would do nicely.

Final Thoughts: A nice and much better expression of a Jim Beam product. Very much the difference between a cream versus a homogenized product ( think of milk differences). In the final analysis it still is a Jim Beam – just a more finished version chosen to faithfully reflect all of the Jim Beam characteristics. So, if you like the regular, somewhat lesser Jim Beam expressions you will love this one as the best possible expression of the line while still full of life. The 12 year old is nice but lacks the punch and liveliness of this expression but is mellower and a bit more restrained. If you want a full on Jim Beam experience chose this one.

While not listed on the homepage as yet it will be. In the interim the website has a lot of information on their other offering and an interesting device to compare their bourbons ( in the Jim Beam line only- no mention of their other lines)

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First Night in Paris or the 2000 Euro Ramos Gin Fizz

We are on a trip[ to France and stopped in Paris for a few day.
We contacted Forest of 52 Martinis ( )
and made a date to go to Curio Parlor on Bernadins St.

We had some lovely drinks there such as the English Garden ( Hendricks Gin,Creme de Violette,Cane Sugar lavender Infusion Lemon Juice) and and a No Kotoba ( Last Word in Japanese ) (Whiskey Nikka White Single Malt, Yellow Chartrreuse, Maraschino and lemon juice )Forrs t chose the Smoky Crusta (Rhom Eclipse Mt Gay Lemon Juice, orange juice sugar cane juice and infusion of Lapsang souchong). We also played around with a Pisco Last Word we developed .The Bartender tried and and a variation he made using less Chartreuse.
We got to sign the recipe book and took a number of pictures. We then wandered off to Bar 47 at the Chateau Frontenac Hotel. this is where all our troubles began….

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New Web Service We are Using to Create Best of Lists

Using Bagcheck ( to generate a lot of interesting lists and cross pollenate lists for Spirits Review. The Bag it function lets you grab things from a webpage or blog easily so it makes it a LOT easier to do those best of lists I’ve been meaning to write !
Not to mention all those other odd peripheral lists of every damn thing that crosses my mind.
It is also quite useful as a reference when researching all sorts of gear, computer apps and just general shopping .

Help others achieve greatness by sharing lists of the gear you use. Grow your own powers by discovering what gear others are using. What’s in your bag?
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Fathers Day Ideas from Spirits Review

A couple of quick suggestions for good spirits for Fathers Day.

If he likes tequilaespecially for margaritas,palms and such  I highly recommend Avion  Blanco  a fairly new tequila on the market so he probably doesn’t have a bottle yet. Another great one is Siembra Azul but it is proving to be much harder to find these days .
For Pisco hands down I recommend Macchu Pisco  an all natural, organic and more importantly ( to me ) a lovely tasting pisco (yes, they do exist)
For rum I would say the Diplomatico Reserva or Zafra among others such as the Ron Cartavio series.
For bourbons try anything from Buffalo Trace , but the Elmer T.Lee is a standout for the value among their portfolio. There are of course a number of new white dog whiskeys that are quite good also, and you can’t go wrong getting him a bottle of rye either. And don’t forget the craft distillery varieties ou there too- Finger Lakes Distilling makes some great bourbons and ryes if you can find them.
As to gins- Aviation is a great one, along with Ransoms Old Tom and Citadelle  Gin – especially the Reserve.
In cognac we recommend Louis Royer ( a very nice if very overlooked brand – especially their single growth bottlings) , Pierre Ferrand – all very nice and outstanding for the money, and Delamain as our favorite picks.

As a side note we are now using Bagcheck to write up lists of our favorite things (by category)and will be using it to do lists of spirits among many other things.

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52 Martinis: One-handed Cocktail Adventures: le 47 at Chateau Fontenac

52 Martinis: One-handed Cocktail Adventures: le 47 at Chateau Fontenac
An excellent review of the Bar where the 2000 Euro Ramos Gin Fizz was born by Forest of 52 Martinis who was there at the time.

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The 2000 Euro Ramos Gin Fizz Part 2

                                                  We got to the Bar 47 @ Hotel Chateau Frontenac around 10 PM or so. Lovely Bar on the corner and attached to the hotel. Nice selection oof spirits, very n ice drinks menu and wonderful liitlle bar set in this 4 star hotel. Ugo Frabbeti is the bartender there- a excellent, world class bar tender and outstanding host. Ugo will do anything and will meet your most demanding and elastic desires  in order to make sure you have exactly what you want.
It is because of this that the title is what it is.
Joan ordered a Ramos Gin Fizz- both because she loves them and it was on the menu.. 

What they neglect to mention on the menu is that the hotel does not supple Ugo with eggs.

Ugo has to break into the kitchen to get his egg, Crawling through a window and around other thing s to actually gain access to the refrigerators where they lock down the egss. When he was coming out egg in hand (left) someone else  came in and the door whacked his hand – breaking his hand in 2 places.
While we were unsure about this at first hoping it was just a sprain or minor dislocation , he was in extreme pain but he did not lose or crush the egg. He also gamely insisted on trying to make the Ramos , and when shaking proved too excruciating other help was pressed into service- the clerk from the front desk.
Meanwhile I stepped behind the bar and poured Ugo a double gin for the pain and we iced the hand in the hopes of reducing the swelling and pain.

After the clerk proved to not be suitable ( and he had to go back  to the desk) I took over bartending until around 2 AM Which was a lot of fun, as the bar only had a few people and we were able to keep them served no problem . At some point someone ordered in some pizza and the bar continued until the end around  Ugo remained bravely and gamely on station until the end. At which point he went to the emergency room to have his hand  looked at – hoping there would be a beautiful nurse he could fall in love with- more on that later.

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Fathers Day Suggestion – Or Any Time You Need a Nice Bottle for Someone

As my role as a “Spiritual Adviser” I am asked a lot about what bottle to get for someone who already usually has a well established private bar collection of their favorite whiskeys. Some of these are bourbon, a lot of them single malt scotch and a few Irish whiskeys as their focus. Problem is, it is getting increasingly hard to get someone something different that they will like. Most people seem to have fairly established collections and tastes, and chances are over the years between what they buy for themselves and what they have gotten as gifts you run out of options.
I recently found a nice alternative to all of the above whiskeys with a spirit that Dad probably doesn’t have, or certainly not this particular expression. Remy Martin 1738 Accord Royal 2 is a lovely blend of over 240 eau de vies of cognac the minimum age is 4 years and the oldest 20 years. This makes it a bit short of an XO but on the flip side less than half the money ( around $50 or so), more importantly it has many of the aroma and taste characteristics that whiskey lovers -be they Scotch , Bourbon or Irish enthusiasts-enjoy . That coupled with the fact that in many cases they can use this cognac for their familiar cocktails ( swapping the cognac for their usual)  for a somewhat familiar but new taste and all the cognac cocktails they can easily make also.
We found the Remy 1738wasn’t just good in a snifter ( which it is) but mixed and tasted well in a number of cocktails. Both in price and overall characteristics it closer to a whiskey ( in many nice ways) than a cognac is traditionally thought of. Not only an opportunity to get a father something he doesn’t have but would like (unlike a tie) but a chance to teach him some new tricks and expand his horizons a bit.

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USBG Bartenders Cocktail Competition May 1st 2009

Laura Baddish and Jonathan Pogash were kind enough to invite us to the United States Bartenders Guild Cocktail Competition held at the World Bar in (a) Trump Tower (corner of 48st and 1st Ave). It was quite the gathering of mixologists,writers, distillers, and assorted others.Bartenders as far away as Moscow came to watch. The link to the still photos and some of the videos (flickr won’t allow us to post one of them as it is too big) is HERE . The YouTube videos are HERE . We will continue to label, edit, and describe the various pieces as we piece together the information for each one. This is a bit of a rushed post to get the pics and video up – we will add more info later on.

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Is Absinthe in Danger of Becoming The New Mezcal?

I’ve been watching Absinthe for a number of years now, and despite what many people perceive as a booming market I am afraid for its future.
Yes , it is now legal in Europe and the United States, Yes, there are all kinds of it being imported now and the variety and quality has never been better.
I’d give it about 2-5 years before it utterly collapses- tops. It will be relegated to a couple cheap brands that only the young and stupid will buy.
Why ?
People think it will make them high. Nobody understands it ( O.K. very few of the general public understand it). It is too much a niche drink. Bartenders hate it. Explanations below:
Too many people think there is some hallucinogenic properties to it (like the worm in mezcal stories- equally untrue) that will cause them to consume too much of it in college (or younger) , wake up in a alley and/or have a experience that will prevent them from drinking it again for at least 20 years or so.
Very few people (in the general public) understand it, it’s history,variety, nuances or even what quality absinthe should taste like. There is very little education and outreach among brands to consumers or retailers. Most retailers are content with 2-4 brands max and couldn’t tell you the difference between any of them. It’s just a product. No one seems to promote it much as a diverse category like a scotch or bourbon, where people are encouraged to explore the differences and and variety of tastes each product brings. The consumers don’t ask and just grab whatever bottle is on the shelf. They rarely come back for another one. Unless there is some education, activism, and appreciation for it as a catagory it will wither and die due to sheer indifference and ignorance.
No one serves absinthe cocktails or even remembers them. For absinthe to survive and thrive, it needs cocktails.The industry needs to publish all the extant cocktail recipes from the era when there were such things and develop new ones damn soon. If there is not a menu of cocktails and hopefully some new popular ones soon its use and consumption will go nowhere.
Bartenders hate it because of all the serving headaches inherent with the current absinthe popular culture and the serving options.
Fire, too many people believe you should set it on fire. This is a malignant and stupid rumor that was started by someone (who will remain nameless) who wanted to create a new ritual and hook for Czech Absinthe. Fire in a bar, people looking to get wasted and high, the rum fire lawsuits, Oh yes, great formula for success and acceptance. Serving French style- fragile, easily knocked over, or stolen fountain, slow mixing , just what a bartender wants. Add expensive, fragile glassware, expensive serving spoons ( both easily stealable to) and yes, we have a problem. That and the length of time to prepare each frappe is going to cause a riot on Saturday night.
Many early pieces of absinthe glassware and spoons were heavy, cheap and mass produced. It was meant to be durable and not worth stealing- or if it was – a minimal loss.
The industry needs to start producing heavy duty restaurant grade glassware and spoons to match. Libbey and Oneida spring to mind as possible sources. Bars and restaurants don’t use sterling silver and crystal (for the most part) for service, absinthe needs to have serving equipment that is not a headache. Also Absinthe cocktails would help eliminate this problem – no special glasses and spoons.
I think that unless these issues are addressed will relegate absinthe to the level of mezcal – a drink that while it can be wonderful and has a small handful of afficicandos is misunderstood by most of the public and retailers and is a highly niche market except for college students.

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Century Pittsford Nicole’s Liquor Store Review

The much delayed , much anticipated Pittsford Century,Nicole’s Liquor Store is now Open.
Wegman’s Does Wine the Same Way they do Sushi or Anything Else-
Badly.corporate,soulless,Potemkin Village. It has that Wegmans feel, take something and corporate manage it to death – like their sushi,cheese or natural foods, lets bulk up on questionable cheap products that are mediocre and serve them up in a overly big,brightly lit store that has much charm,interest or fun as a cat litter (but to be fair, cleaner) ignoring interesting products or doing any research to find truly good products.

The selections are uninspired, the selection LOOKS big but is not- they have a lot of the same product side by side to bulk up space but the selections are lacking.
Where are the artisanal items,small production,interesting or quirky things? What about all the new and interesting products out there?This place is a homogenized,pasteurized and antiseptic version of a store with no soul.
The information are has 1 computer to look things up, the spirit books selection is poor to middling.

I won’t do a point by point critique of each area but it was uninspiring,unimaginative,and unexciting- not to say boring and lacking.

As to their tastings,the stuff they had in the spirits section today was undrinkable kiddie Koolaid with regretabble vodka.On their opening day they chose this?
Even the ABC chain liquor stores in Florida do a lot better job in terms of breadth of selection.

Yeah, it looks flashy,big,supposedly great but I wouldn’t go back. After all this I’ll probably be banned from the property anyway!

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The Eliot Spritzer

I guess this goes to show what happens when I am unsupervised…
I started thinking about Eliot Spritzer and a drink that would be fitting and I was foooling around with various options,Champagne was obvious for the spritzer and success, then something for madness or loss of any even remote self control. hmmm, mezcal?, gin, then I thought the obvious, Absinthe,why not ?
Most people actually believe those stories, so it would be humorous. So then I thought “Death in the Afternoon,Hemingway , etc.,
and Campari for a bitter bloody ending, why not?
We of course used upstate New York Champagne given Eliot’s love of upstate too.
Original – Quite Bitter- Especially at End

1/2 oz of Campari
1 oz Absinthe
3 oz Champagne
(Basically a Death in the Afternoon variant)
Pour the Campari into a champagne flute
Float 1 oz of Absinthe (I prefer the Kubler Clear/white for looks or if you want a sweeter version use Lucid)
Float the champagne over all of it. (The absinthe will mix with the champagne)
Another method to make it is to add the Absinthe and champagne first then put the Campari in the bottom using a turkey baster or other syringe type device to layer it below the other ingredients.
If you want a sweeter version add sugar or simple syrup to the absinthe before hand
Of course the story is champagne (sweetness of success) followed by the Absinthe (Madness and Sex)and then the Campari (a bitter,bloody red end)

Sweeter Version

1/2 oz of Campari
1 oz St Germain Liqueur
1 oz Absinthe
3 oz Champagne

Pour the Campari into a Champagne flute
Mix the St Germain, Champagne and Absinthe together then float over the Campari
Another method to make it is to add the mix first then put the Campari in the bottom using a turkey baster or other syringe type device(marinade hypo) to layer it below the other ingredients.
Of course the story is champagne (sweetness of success) followed by the Absinthe (Madness and Sex)and then the Campari (a bitter,bloody red end)

Michael Jackson – The Beer Guy – Not the Clown

Michael Jackson was an Icon in both the beer and whisk(e)y having written extensively on both, with a passion and humor unmatched by anyone. He will be sorely missed by all of us. We hope there is beer (and whiskey) in heaven and Michael is taking notes for the rest of us.
His breadth of expertise, humor and class made his writing and speaking irreplaceable. The beer and whiskey worlds have lost their most articulate spokesperson. The love, passion and dedication to his subject and trade were unmatchable, he was the master.
He was considered one of the(if not the) experts on Single Malt Whiskey(read Scotch)and Whisk(e)y in general. He was the author of “The Single Malt Companion” (5 editions) which was the guide to single malts,the Malt Whisky Companion, and his latest book Whisky The Definitive World Guide Scotland and its Whiskies, along with writing extensively for Malt Advocate and Whisky Magazine and was widely known as a whisk(e)y judge/critic etc., the world over and was considered an expert in all forms of whisk(ey) about which he wrote extensively. He also wrote Michael Jackson’s Bar and Cocktail Companion (If you do a search on Amazon you can probably get a count of how many books he actually did) He was also referred to as the “Whisky Chaser” along with the “Beer Hunter”
I think he was equally as big in the spirit world as the beer one – and also (to our loss) there are a damn sight fewer spirits writers/experts than beer people. Only Jim Murray might be considered in the same class as him for the whiskies(Jim is a nice guy with a lot of expertise but there is no one who can replace Michael in both worlds/fields). Michael was the Cyrano de Bergerac of Beer and Whisk(e)y,his prose about something approached high art in writing and his enthusiasm was contagious. It inspired myself and scores of others to explore and write about beer and whisk(e)y enticing us into the world of malt beverages and ink with nary a backward glance. Our only solace is that we know Michael will have the beer and whisk(e)y sorted out by the time we join him.

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Tales of The Cocktail in New Orleans Day 1 July 18th The Conference

This is the 5th Tales of the Cocktail to be held in New Orleans Louisiana and the first one I attended.It ran from Wednesday July 18 through Sunday July 22nd.Absolutely jam packed with excellent workshops,seminars, and sessions on every facet of the Cocktail the organizers and presenters could think of-history,theory and practice of almost every type of cocktail and spirit.
The presenters – and the crowd that came for the event – were almost as dazzling.You could not throw a rock in the hotel without hitting a world famous bartender, author, or restaurateur.The presentations were first rate, the food delicious, and the parties well… lets just say there were equal to the attendees.

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Tales of The Cocktail in New Orleans Day 1 July 18th

I had gotten this great deal to go to Tales of the Cocktail through Travelocity-6 Nights and Airfare from Rochester , New York for $610 including a shuttle to and from the airport.The hotel was a 2 star supposedly according to their website like a small French hotel.They forgot to add the adjectives Marseilles Waterfront- down by the old U Boat Pens.
It took 3 tries before they found me a room that had working air conditioning,broken phone door whose lock took at least 8 tries to open each time,cracked sink and a air conditioning unit that barely worked at all.The elevator worked some of the time, the fire alarm was broken, the cockroaches were big and the other guests scary.

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Spirits Review is Adopting Flickr for Adventures

In an attempt to get more of our trips and adventures online more quickly, we’ve decided to start using Flickr to post all of our photos as soon as we get them off the camera along with a least some narrative to let people know what we’re up to. Over the next few weeks we will be posting roughly 2500 photos chronicling a number of trips to distilleries and a few gatherings and later I will be posting them more formally on the website under our adventures section.We haven’t figured out exactly where to put the link for Flickr, but be assured it will be easy to find.

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Cachaca (Ka-shaa-suh) is a colorless unaged spirit from South America made from sugar cane juice. There are of course some exceptions-some are aged and have color,some are made from molasses.The bulk of them come from Brazil (which has over 5000 brands plus probably an equal if not greater number of bootleg,homemade brands/producers).
It could be considered a type of rum as the ingredients are the same but most rum producers are happy that the Cachaca producers keep making the distinction.
Cachaca has been becoming more popular of late (read commercially viable beyond a very narrow ethnic/specialty market)by dint of aggressive marketing in Europe and North America. This is in no small part because it is one of the last frontiers of exploitable drinks.
Vodka has been done to death,gin is complicated to make,Rum is crowded (and good luck against Bacardi White and its marketing muscle),whiskey takes too long to make and there are limited distilleries,whereas Cachaca has a huge number of distilleries who produce it if for virtually nothing,are close to their markets (in terms of shipping-compared to China or Korea – other possible future producers of the next “New” spirits) and are willing to but your label on their product for very little.
Problem is, most of the stuff tastes like (and is used for) fuel. All it is is plain old ethanol (read drinking or drinkable alcohol) and most of the producers use a criteria of quantity and cheapness over quality.It was and is a drink of the poor in South America much as Moonshine or Samagon is in other countries-cheap, fiery alcohol sold for pennies per drink. (liter of Cachaca in a slum is about 25 cents).
There are of course exceptions to this rule,much like the fact that there are very good or excellent bootleg whiskey or vodka producers,there are distillers of Cachaca that take pride in their products- and produce them legally.
Most cachaca (legal) is produced in column stills- a high volume/low cost way of producing massive quantities of alcohol (same way ethanol plants for fuel do- with much the same results).
Higher end artisanal Cachaca is made in Alembic type pot stills in batches and carefully distilled in smalll batches with an eye towards quality.
Almost all of this Cachaca is drunk as Mojitos- a mix of Cacahca,mint and sugar with or without some lime juice thrown in.Basically a Mint Julep using a unaged white spirits instead of a whiskey.Most of the cheap and/or illegal stuff is drunk striaght out of the plastic bottle or jug it came in – usually a recycled drinks or sometimes a pesticide bottle.

Atlanta – Nibbled to Death by Rats

I just got back from visiting Atlanta,Georgia.
I had gone there years ago on a trip and hadn’t been there in years.
The guide books said there was a lot to see and do in Atlanta and its environs.
They did not mention the absolute sterility and de facto segregation of downtown- the downtown is a huge, deep, concrete and highrise labyrinth with nothing but expense account restaurants,hotels and office buildings.It is separated from the rest of Atlanta by a large buffer zone of development that effectively cuts off the rest of the city and its inhabitants . Anyone not wearing a uniform (be it suit, coveralls or tourist wear) and on foot is immediately identified as a intruder.There are more police downtown then in Las Vegas – or occupied France for that matter.Downtown is a very sterile environment enforced by a heavy police presence and very defined borders where tourists are politely but heavily discouraged to cross and locals much less politely.This did not prevent some of the numerous scams run by the locals such as the American Taxi Company – who allowed their driver to bilk me out of $10 to drive 2 blocks (off the meter by the way) and refused to return phone calls when I tried to report this price gouging or the hotels who must get a percentage from the shuttle service for those $16 a head van trips to and from the airport-while not mentioning the $1.75 train which is faster.
Not to mention the rats,I’ve never seen so many when I was walking around – individuals and packs of them roaming around downtown – they must have even outnumbered the office workers it seemed.
They seemed a metaphor for the numerous locals who fed on the tourists-suddenly appearing ripping you off in little bites and myriad ways till they drained you dry.

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If you are setting up a home bar, or are a serious student of drink you need the proper glassware and if you are doing things properly a lot of it.
Frankly I am disappointed by a lot of the glassware out there currently -not to mention the cost of it.
A lot of the martini glasses out there now are suitable for keeping fish in but not a drink.
A too large martini glass means your drink will get too warm before you have finished it- a ugly proposition.
I suggest going to estate sales to find good quality glassware- it is cheap and plentiful.

If it doesn’t all match? Well at least you don’t have to spend money on those glass charms so people can tell their drinks apart.

New group for “Spiritual Assistance”

We have started a new google group for Craft Distillers and Importers of fine spirits who are looking for markets,distribution, and retailers at .
We are looking for people who would like to sign up for membership and exchange information,tips, and leads on how to get a foothold in the market.
We will be setting up forums and topics as people ask for them and will also be setting up a website ( later on and incorporate it into the site.
The aim is to form a group of individuals/companies that can help get products advertising,public relations, and to market .
This venture has started because there are so many good products out there and breaking into the market requires a lot of money,savvy and luck. We hope to overcome this through mutual assistance, trading information,and pooling of resources.
As many in the trade know, the distribution network is consolidating rapidly and many small good products are being squeezed out by the mass produced dross. Most small producers cannot get the large distributors to sell their products.
We are actively looking for distributors who are seeking high quality products and are willing to hand sell them to retailers and restaurants, retail stores ( brick and mortar and internet) restaurants who wish to have some of the best new emerging products on the market .

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Spirits Review FUBAR

In case anyone has been looking for some more new reviews we apologize.
Here is the current situation here:

Server has been fried by Niagara Mohawk- we are still trying to build a new one.

New computer is still not acquiescing to our demands to work.When it is up we expect to increase posting by 100-150% as our new software packages will eliminate a lot of work and boost productivity. It will also allow me to post directly to the page eliminating some time lags (see below for example)

Photographer and webmaster are MIA till at least next week.They are working on a movie called “Summer Longings” by Cyanotype Productions ( This means no photos or postings till then.In the interim we are reviewing and writing as much as possible to get ready.

Cinco De Mayo Dinner Menu at the Strathallan

Cinco de Mayo Tequila Dinner Menu

Friday May 5, 2006 at 7:00 pm

Course I

Smoked Tomato and Ancho Veloute with Lime Pesto and Chayote

Cazadores Reposada

Course II

Lime Dusted Ahi Tuna with Daicon Sprouts, Red Oak and Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Herradura Hacienda del Cristero

Course III

Niman Ranch Cedar Smoked Pork Tenderloin Accompanied By Chipotle Pear Chutney and Sweet Potato Pierogies

Herradura Anejo

Course IV

Lime Butter Basted Opakapaka (Pink Snapper) with a Cilantro Risotto and

Citrus Baby Vegetables

Oro Azul Blanco & Chinaco Blanco

Course V

Mango Tomato Flan Parmesan Arregiano and ‘Planeta’ Extra Virgin Olive Oil

made with

Margaritaville Mango Tequila

Chef de Cuisine – Ethan Drake

Sous Chef – Jeff Yaniak

$75 All Inclusive (Includes Tax and Gratuity)”

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Tequila Dinner at The Strathallan
Friday was Cinco de Mayo which is usually observed ib a similar fashion to St Patricks Day- An excuse to get paralitic because of something done by a ethnic group that you don’t belong to hundreds of years ago, on some rot gut drinks.
This was not the case at the Strathallan.
The Strath hosted a 5 course dinner which was paired with 10 Tequilas.
The Full menu is posted on the previous post as I cannot figure out how to cut and paste this article and the menu togetherr.

All of the food was outstanding.
My only observations were:
1. The room was small,noisy and hard to around in.
2. The tequila was fairly mainstream (Mostly Herradura)
Otherwise it was a wonderful dinner, well executed and cheap considering the type and amounts of both the food and tequila. We look forward to other Spirited Dinners there and will post announcements about them as we get the information

[Posted with hblogger 2.0]

I’m Going to Rehab

No , not that kind. Sorry to disappoint my critics. I’m happy with my current level of alcohol consumption. I am having to go to another kind of rehab for a occupational hazard.As a inveterate collector,sampler and reviewer of all things alcoholic I bring back a fair amount on my trips to just about anywhere.Unfortunately it weighs a lot, and I’ll be damned if I am going to hand it over to the airlines to steal or smash any of my souvenirs.It seems I tore my shoulder out lugging my carry on baggage. It seemed OK for a few weeks afterward but after a while I couldn’t hold a Martini in my right hand for more than 5 minutes.That was the breaking point, I was forced to admit I had a problem and that it was taking over my life- I was powerless to stop it.I had to believe in a higher power – that being rehab and therapy-not spiritual but physical, at times very physical.
So far it seems to be working I can hold a Martini glass again but I can’t shake a cocktail shaker with that over the shoulder shake – yet.With time and money I hope to get back in form.


I found rare treatise on the Mint Julep and want to share it with everyone else who is interested. It is out of print and old enough to be out of copyright-But if you are going to use this somewhere please give me a credit for typing the whole thing up for the web, Thanks!-Chris

The Very Dream of Drinks

The mint julep has aroused almost as much argument as the war between the states. The controversy over the correct receipt for making the famous drink has raged back and forth between Kentucky and Maryland, Louisiana and Georgia and heated discussions, to sat nothing of wagers, are likely to accompany the mere mention of the drink. In Georgia mint juleps have been made with corn whiskey, sweetened with molasses, while depraved New Yorkers have gulped down juleps concocted with such bizarre ingredients as Creme de Menthe and maraschino cherries. It is no wonder that the late Irvin Cobb declared the outsiders “pretenders and upstarts” and that no one but a Kentuckian knew how to make a mint julep.
The classic receipt for the Kentucky mint julep was published over half a century ago in Kentucky Whiskies. It was written by Soule Smith, lawyer, journalist, and superb raconteur of considerable local fame. In this famous receipt, the making of a mint julep becomes a ceremony. In loving and mellifluent language, the subtle blending of cold spring water with fragrant mint and good Bourbon whiskey and cracked ice somehow evokes the whole charm of the Blue Grass countryside. Here, then, is the famous receipt printed once again in a small illustrated edition for the delight of good Kentuckians everywhere.

But in the Blue Grass land there is a softer sentiment—a gentler soul. There is where the wind makes waves of the wheat and scents itself with the aroma of new-mown hay, there is no contest with the world outside. On summer days when, from his throne, the great sun dictates his commands, one may look forth across broad acres where the long grass falls and rises as the winds may blow it. He can see the billowy slopes far off, each heaving as the zephyrs touch it with a caressing hand. Sigh of the earth with never a sob, the wind comes to the Blue Grass. A sweet sigh, a loving one; a tender sigh, a lover’s touch, she gives the favored land. And the moon smiles at her caressing and the sun gives benediction to the lovers. Nature and earth are one—married by the wind and sun whispering leaflets on the happy tree.
Then comes the zenith of man’s pleasure. Then comes the julep—the mint julep. Who has not tasted one has lived in vain. The honey of Hymettus brought no such solace to the soul; the nectar of the Gods is tame beside it. It is the very dream of drinks, the vision of sweet quaffings. The Bourbon and the mint are lovers. In the same land they live, on the same food they are fostered. The mint dips its infant leaf into the same stream that makes the bourbon what it is. The corn grows in the level lands through which small streams meander. By the brook-side the mint grows. As the little wavelets pass, they glide up to kiss the feet of the growing mint, the mint bends to salute them. Gracious and kind it is, living only for the sake of others. The crushing of it only makes its sweetness more apparent. Like a woman’s heart, it gives its sweetest aroma when bruised. Among the first to greet the spring, it comes. Beside the gurgling brooks that make music in the pastures it lives and thrives. When the Blue Grass begins to shoot its gentle sprays toward the sun, mint comes, and its sweetest soul drinks at the crystal brook. It is virgin then. But soon it must be married to Old Bourbon. His great heart, his warmth of temperament, and that affinity which no one understands, demand the wedding. How shall it be? Take from the cold spring some water, pure as angels are; mix it with sugar until it seems like oil. Then take a glass and crush you mint within it with a spoon—crush it around the borders of the glass and leave no place untouched. Then throw the mint away—it is a sacrifice.
Fill with cracked ice the glass; pour in the quantity of Bourbon which you want. It trickles slowly through the ice. Let it have time to col, then pour your sugared water over it. No spoon is needed, no stirring is allowed—just let it stand a moment. Then around the brim place sprigs of mint, so that the one who drinks may find a taste and odor at one draught.
When it is made, sip it slowly. August suns are shining, the breath of the south wind is upon you. It is fragrant, cold and sweet—it is seductive. No maiden’s touch could be more passionate. Sip it and dream, it is a dream itself. No other land can give so sweet a solace for your cares; no other liquor soothes you so in melancholy days. Sip it and say there is no solace for the soul, no tonic for the body like Old Bourbon whiskey.