Author Archives: Rob Theakston

Recipe: National Rum Day Recipes, 2014

This Saturday (August 16th) marks yet another turn in the calendar for National Rum Day. We’ve had several emails from distilleries come through our inbox over the past week, and here’s a sampling of some of the best of the bunch:

image001 149x300 Recipe: National Rum Day Recipes, 2014Guayaba Arabica
1 ½ parts Bacardi rum
1 part Goya guava nectar
¾ part fresh squeeze lime juice
¾ part coffee scented simple syrup
5 cilantro leaves
1 pinch of salt

To make the coffee scented simple syrup, bring 1 ½ cups of water to a boil, blanch 1 cup of espresso beans into the water for approximately 30 seconds, strain the espresso beans, add 1 cup of sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Place all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and shake until the ingredients are well combined, then strain the mixture through a small mesh strainer or tea strainer into a cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated espresso bean.

Mosquito Coast
2 oz Flor de Cana 7 Years Old
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz pistachio syrup
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
Chile de Arbol Tincture to taste
A dash of Angostura bitters

Add all ingredients except for the bitters in a glass, stir add crushed ice, use a swizzle stick. Top off with angostura bitters.

Bright Eyed Fizz 200x300 Recipe: National Rum Day Recipes, 2014Bright Eyed Fizz
1 1/2 oz Zacapa Rum 23
2 oz sparkling water
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz honey
1/4 oz fresh ginger extract
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground turmeric

Combine Zacapa Rum 23, fresh lemon juice, honey, fresh ginger extract, ground cardamom and ground turmeric into a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain contents into a highball glass over ice. Top with sparkling water.

The A-List – July 2014

Welcome to this month’s edition of the A-List, where we look back at the best of last month’s reviews and ratings and compile them into a really useful, printer-friendly graphic you may take along during your next trip to the store.

(Rob’s note: This month we had some insanely pricey scotch head our way, but for something a bit easier on the pocketbook and a bit easier to find, I’m giving the Lagavulin 12 Years Old Limited Edition and the Buffalo Trace Experimental 12 Year Old the thumbs up this month.)

AList0714 525x894 The A List   July 2014

Drinkhacker Reads – 08.12.2014 – Bogart Gets His Own Gin

Following in the footsteps of Duke bourbon and Jack Daniels’ Sinatra Select, we now have Bogart gin. We’ll skip the obvious “gin joints” joke to be made here, but we’ll just say it’s being made with the blessing of the Bogart estate, and should arrive later this year. No word yet on the long-awaited Sammy Davis Jr. Manischewitz or the Peter Lawrence Cotton Candy Vodka. [NY Daily News]

The Telegraph UK posts an article arguing for better labeling on alcohol products, specifically listing caloric content and health warnings a la cigarette packaging. [Telegraph UK]

Teeling has commenced work on its new whiskey distillery in Dublin’s Newmarket in The Liberties. This is the first new distillery in Dublin in well over a century and aims to pay tribute to the distilleries of yesteryear. Equipment is slated to arrive in October, and a full commissioning of the distillery should occur by year’s end. [Teeling Press Release]

And finally today: Shortie, the Jack Russell which serves as the distillery mascot for Ardbeg, has been commemorated in his very own crop circle in northwest England (Cheshire) as a thank you to the astronauts aboard the international space station. The scientists have been conducting a series of events involving zero gravity maturation, with samples of Ardbeg orbiting in the heavens since Fall 2011. The experiment is set to conclude and return to Earth later this year. [Ardbeg PR]

image002 Drinkhacker Reads   08.12.2014   Bogart Gets His Own Gin

Review: Willett Family Estate Straight Rye Whiskey 2 Years Old

willettrye Review: Willett Family Estate Straight Rye Whiskey 2 Years Old

 

With Willett’s renaissance running high, people have been waiting with anticipation for the first 100% rye offering from master distiller Drew Kulsveen’s new operations at the distillery.  Thankfully, patience has paid off and the whiskey was worth the wait. This small batch rye is like a rookie baseball player stepping up to the plate and hitting a walk-off home run at his first major league at-bat. Don’t be deceived by the label’s youthful age statement: this bottle presents a maturity that belies a rye aged only two years. It’s immediately evident in the nose; where there’s a wild complexity of citrus and spice that proceeds to a dose of floral notes. Tasting is another matter altogether: there’s an immediate hot punch usually reserved for rye spirits 4 to 6 years older, with wood and cinnamon giving way to a finish generous with fruit and mint that lingers for a pleasantly long time.

This is just the opening volley for something potentially incredible happening down the road in Bardstown (an expression with a Grand Marnier finish is on tap for later this fall), and as a bonus we get to reap the benefits of time. As the stock gets older, it will be interesting to mark the contrast between younger and older siblings of the same stock. If this two-year rye is indicative of things to come in the future, get ready for the media myth-making maelstrom to catapult the Willett brand into the stratosphere.

109 Proof.

A- / $40 / kentuckybourbonwhiskey.com  [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

Drinkhacker Reads – 08.07.2014 – Boycotts and Bourbon Edition

Just days after declaring that Kentucky Gentlemen are no longer welcome within borders of his empire, Russian hockey superstar/project manager/mega dictator Vladimir Putin is now introducing a series of bans on imported foods and goods. How great of an impact this will have on America’s agricultural industry has yet to be fully ascertained, but experts agree it will have some significance. Amusingly, wine is still an acceptable import (for now). Will this hurt the growing American whiskey industry? Possibly, especially with demand elsewhere in the world suddenly running slightly lower vs. last year. Regardless, trade sanctions on anything never help economies and in the end no one really wins. Here’s hoping for a change of heart soon. [BBC]

A New York court has ruled that Diageo must change the name of its Johnnie Walker Explorer’s Club range of whiskies, as the brand runs too close in premise and spirit to the established Explorer’s Club of New York, which features some of humanity’s most well known adventurers as its members. Of course Diageo is disappointed by the ruling, but says it’s excited about a new product line soon to be released, Johnnie Walker MENSA. [Wall Street Journal]

The exhaustive and expansive campaign known as the Single Oak Project is starting to wind down, with the 14th batch in the series slated to be released later this month. This is the first of what will be a very heavy upcoming release schedule for Buffalo Trace, with new E.H. Taylor offerings, new editions from the experimental collection, and of course the always in-demand Antique Collection coming out within the next few months. Our review of batch 13 is up now. [Single Oak Project]

And finally today, BevNet reports that Wild Turkey is partnering with the United States Bartenders Guild (USBG) to promote an intensive course in the bourbon-making process. Behind The Barrel will be a series of events with Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell with the aim of providing a thoroughly educational experience and with the hopes of establishing a bourbon expert certification program in the future. Potential students can apply for the program on Wild Turkey’s website. [BevNet]

Drinkhacker Reads – 08.04.2014 – Bonham’s to Present Japanese Whisky Auction

For those with ample money to spend and a die hard interest in quality spirits, take note: Bonham’s is once again hosting Asia’s largest Japanese Whisky auction, with a chance to score one of the world’s rarest bottlings: a 50 year old Yamazaki. A full catalog of auction items is currently ready for perusal. So get your currency converted and ready to go for August 15th, because this is sure to be quite good fun. [The Drinks Business]

We haven’t had a celebrity endorsement of interest in quite some time. For a while it seemed as if there was one appearing at least once a week, but this one is a bit different. E-40 has been in the rap game for a long time with a reasonable amount of success, establishing a loyal fan base and with longevity most other rappers would enviously take if given the option. What makes his story so great is the second act of his career: Building a pretty successful stable of wine releases over the past two years. The Sacramento Bee goes on to call him the “Robert Mondavi of hip-hop”, but we’d like to think of him as a pretty great grape wrangler independent of his music career. [Sacramento Bee]

Elsewhere, 10 Barrel Beer is currently recalling bottles of two brands of beer due to bottles exploding. Its “Beer #1″ and appropriately-named “Swill” lines have been having fermentation problems resulting in exploding glass bottles. [King 5 News]

Forbes runs a profile piece on Buffalo Trace, the latest in a seemingly long line of articles about the distillery in the last months. Not much here that fans don’t already know, but for people just discovering the brand it may be worth a read.[Forbes]

And finally today, a sobering look at climate change, how it’s impacting wine production in Australia and Africa, and what the future holds for the industry both in terms of quality and quantity. [Quartz]

The Drinkhacker Shopping List – 07.31.2014

If it’s Friday, it’s time for the Shopping List, our twice monthly look back at the best and worst we’ve reviewed on the site. This edition has a generous share of bourbons and wines from which to choose, with many earning quite high praise. We’ve also had the good fortune to review some fantastic Scotch.

TheList073114 525x1179 The Drinkhacker Shopping List   07.31.2014

Book Review: Gentlemen Bootleggers

Gentlemen Bootleggers 350 200x300 Book Review: Gentlemen BootleggersThe recent trend of nonfiction surrounding historical events in the alcohol world is widely encouraging: It’s a field where much potential and promise for new scholarship is welcome and necessary. With a new pack of young writers establishing themselves for the long haul as historians and keepers of the flame, it is with great hope this groundswell doesn’t cease in the immediate future.

In his debut offering, journalist Bryce Bauer tells the tale of Templeton, Iowa, a community that refuted the early 20th century social structures commonly established throughout small Midwestern towns to band together and achieve success as bootleggers during Prohibition. The story centers around a wily cast of characters such as Otis P. Morganthaler, F.H. Huesmann, and Joseph Irlbeck, names which sound like they would own investment firms or a line of cookies in 2014, but here they each play a role in the town’s survival during one of the 20th century’s most tumultuous times. The whole tale seems to border on the comically absurd, and would make for one heck of a Coen brothers-crafted screenplay.

Bauer’s work is well documented and thoroughly detailed, leaving no doubt that these events really and truly happened (there are some skeptics who deny bootlegging even occurred in Iowa). But one of the best parts of Gentlemen Bootleggers is the level of engagement with which Bauer tells the story. His writing feels effortless; more like a really enjoyable conversation over several drams on a late winter’s afternoon, rather than a starchy, overly annotated tome gathering dust on a library stack. Like Fred Minnick’s Whisky Women in 2013, Gentlemen Bootleggers is a solid debut and hopefully not the last we’ve seen of Bauer on the subject of spirits.

A / $20 / [BUY IT NOW]

Recipe: Lavazza Coffee Cocktails, 2014

As I type this it’s an early Sunday morning and I’m currently hurting from a bit too much celebrating the night before. Thanks to a hyperactive child who is wired beyond reason, I am unable to sleep in. While I’m patiently waiting for my coffee to brew and some children’s show is blaring in the other room, I’m clicking through my inbox, where I found these recipes sent over from Lavazza. Right now, they’re looking pretty great. I have yet to try them, but will report back if I get the motivation and/or will to live any time soon.

Lavazza Grand Slam
1 oz. Lavazza espresso
1/2 oz. Kahlua
1 oz. Grand Marnier

Prepare in mixing glass, serve it topped with fresh cream in a Martini cocktail glass.

image001 206x300 Recipe: Lavazza Coffee Cocktails, 2014Lavazza Espresso Match Point Martini
1 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. Kahlúa
1 oz. Lavazza espresso
lightly whipped cream for topping
1 malted milk ball (instead of an olive, of course)

Fill mixing glass with ice cubes, add ingredients and stir quickly to chill, strain into a chilled Martini glass and top with layer of whipping cream and garnish with malted milk ball, if desired.

Drinkhacker Reads – 07.30.2014 – Crafty Practices Running Rampant

Is the tide finally turning? Shanken discusses a bit of a problem the vodka industry is facing right now: their flavored vodka lines just aren’t selling the way they once were. Hopefully this is a sea change for folks looking for something a bit less absurd than vodka which tastes like lawn clippings, or asphalt, or wax candles, or whatever the industry is trying to sell these days. [Shanken News Daily]

Will consumers embrace no-age statements on scotch? This is the question the Spirits Business poses in a recent article discussing recent changes to the industry. A better question to possibly ask is: will they have a choice? It seems as if this practice isn’t just for Scotch either: Bourbon is heading in the same direction as well, with a few Sazerac brands recently removing age statements from their bottles. [The Spirits Business]

The Daily Beast runs a profile piece on Lawrenceburg, Indiana’s MGP, a place where many of the “craft”/”artisan” distilleries are currently sourcing their stock. Much has been made lately of the craft debate, with some people asking for more transparency while others are asking if we’re taking this all a bit too seriously. [Follow up: Dave Lieberman from OC Weekly publishes a rebuttal to the original Daily Beast article, and the reddit majority fires up its cylinders for the day.] [The Daily Beast]

And finally today, a new study from the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins and the Boston University School of Public Health has determined that underage drinkers are three times more likely to drink brands advertised on television programs they watch compared to other alcohol brands. The results help to reinforce a 2012 linking television and media identity to brand loyalty and familiarity among underaged drinkers, and another recent study linking pop music and alcohol brands. [Science Codex]

Review: Nikka Miyagikyo 10 Years Old

10year 525x700 Review: Nikka Miyagikyo 10 Years Old

Finding any sort of Japanese whisky in the middle of Kentucky seems to be a very complex chore at the least, nearly impossible at best. Limited to a scant few offerings — Hibiki, Yamazaki, and the yearly arrival of Hakushu — the choices within the Commonwealth are muted amongst a frothy sea of bourbon enthusiasts (though this may change with the Suntory acquisition of Beam, we shall see). When wanting something different beyond the traditional quartet of Bourbon, Scotch, Irish, or Canadian, the shelves offer limited options. So when a friend offers to bring back something from Japan for your shelf, it provides extra incentive for their safe (and early) return home.

The nose on Nikka’s Miyagikyo 10 Year Old expression is light and pleasant, with traces of floral and smoke elements that linger, hanging about for almost too long. It’s almost better to let it breathe a bit in the glass before beginning the whole experience. Tasting reveals mild citrus and spice with some traces of oak and pepper, a medium body that keeps the citrus lingering in the finish along with the oak.

Unlike some of the older siblings in the Nikka stable, this really doesn’t contain some of the heavy malt tones usually synonymous with the brand. On the plus side, this mild inconsistency may prove useful as an accessible entry point to the Nikka line and to Japanese whisky as a whole. Those desiring more complexity may elect to upgrade to the 12 or 15 year if the option presents itself. 80 bucks is an investment, but if Japanese whisky is your (new) game, expect to pay that and more stateside.

90 proof.

B+ / $80 / nikka.com

Recipes: 2014 Summer Cocktail Roundup

As w near the close of the summer season, we decided to publish a few cocktails worthy of consideration, but which didn’t necessarily fit into some other thematic concept.

image003 199x300 Recipes: 2014 Summer Cocktail RoundupRaspberry Ganache
2 oz. Sobieski Raspberry Vodka
2 oz. Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut
½ oz. cream
Splash of cherry juice
Rock candy and cherries for garnish

Add all ingredients into a blender with ice. Blend and pour into a tall glass. Garnish with rock candy and cherries.

Crimson Hero
(courtesy of Zachary Blair, mixologist at KANU Lounge at Whiteface Lodge, Lake Placid, New York)
3 oz Charbay Blood Orange
.5 oz Barenjager
.5 oz vermouth
Splash of lemon
Orange twist and sage leaf (for garnish)

Mix ingredients together, shake well and strain, pour over ice, add garnish and serve.

mule 188x300 Recipes: 2014 Summer Cocktail RoundupMexicue Mule
(courtesy of Mexicue Kitchen and Bar)
2 ounces bourbon
1 oz ginger syrup
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
½ cup chilled ginger beer
Lime wedge (for garnish)

Fill tall glass with ice. Add bourbon and lime juice, then ginger beer; stir to mix. Pour into high ball. Garnish with lime wedge. (Note: Mexicue recommends Kings County bourbon, but we used Beam Double Black and it turned out just fine.)

image002 Recipes: 2014 Summer Cocktail RoundupFrozen Fairy
1 oz. Lucid Absinthe
1 oz. rum
4 oz. piña colada mix
1 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. melon liqueur
Pineapple for garnish

In a blender add Lucid Absinthe, rum, piña colada mix, pineapple juice and ice. Blend until smooth. Pour the frozen mix in a tall glass and float the melon liqueur on top. Garnish with pineapple

Drinkhacker Reads – 07.28.2014 – Whiskey Cats Rule Edition

It’s a commonly known fact that cats are the glue which keeps the internet together and running in ship-shape. What’s lesser known is that cats are also responsible for keeping bourbon distilleries safe, making sure at night that mice/unsavory folk never help themselves in the warehouses (fact: cats can also call 911). So it was with great sadness when we learned of the passing of Elijah, the 19 year old guardian cat of Woodford Reserve. Named after one of the founding fathers of bourbon, Elijah was often a presence on the Woodford Reserve tours, and we can recall many a time when we’d see him basking in the sun, eyeballing suspicious tourists, or barking orders at an employee to get the barrels inside faster. Our hearts go out to the Woodford Reserve crew. [Lexington Herald-Leader]

Congrats to Han Shan, whose catchy name will no doubt be one that trips off the tongue as Hudson Whiskey’s new brand ambassador. Chosen from thousands of applicants, Han Shan (whose name literally means “Cold Mountain” in Chinese) won a nationwide competition and will be traveling the world spreading the gospel of Hudson in short order. Here’s hoping he makes the transition to hooch after being a noted environmental activist and advocate of several social justice causes. [Hudson Whiskey]

In science/technology news: Researchers have determined that moderate alcohol use can actually sharpen one’s sense of smell; Omega-3 may protect the brain during alcohol binges; sake has its own microbial terrior; a new app arrives on the market to help with wine decisions; Gizmodo tries an electricity flavored vodka; and climate change may be ruining wine corks.

And finally today, the Smithsonian publishes an article putting your favorite drinks under the microscope, providing some beautiful and fantastically abstract results. [Smithsonian]

Drinkhacker Reads – 07.23.2014 – Bourbon, Bad Banner Ads, Buyouts and Boston Beer

Bourbon production in the state of Kentucky has reached production levels not seen since the 1970s. More than 5 million barrels are currently aging in warehouses across the Commonwealth, with no signs of growth slowing down any time soon. Alltech, which recently took a bruising on the site for its Town Branch Bourbon, also announced plans to open a new distillery in eastern Kentucky. One of the poorest regions in the nation, it’s good to see companies bringing new jobs to the region. So in the interest of fairness to Alltech: Kudos. [Lane Report]

According to the Drinks Business, Diageo has been hit with another complaint, the second in 2014, by the UK Advertising Standards Authority for its recent Captain Morgan Facebook advertisements. In totally unrelated news, a Diageo marketing and advertising executive is leaving the company to go to Facebook. [Drinks Business]

For weeks there’s been talk of Drambuie getting snatched up on the market by a mega-company, with several names being thrown about as nominees. Now we’re getting a clearer picture and it looks like William Grant is in the lead, but not at the price tag Drambuie’s owner is asking. [Herald Scotland]

And finally today, Boston tech companies are now using beer as a way to lure in the best and brightest to startup companies. Clearly, foosball and table tennis tables, scooters, mud wrestling midgets, Rock Band consoles, private chefs, and masseurs were just not cutting it for this new generation. [Beta Boston]

Drinkhacker Reads – 07.21.2014 – ID That Old Whiskey!

Rare is our chance to talk about the world of sports on the site, but this one is worth it: the New England Patriots (an NFL football team, for our international friends) are suing Bacardi after the mega-company walked away from a deal involving a new pavilion to be built on stadium grounds: Casa Bacardi. [Boston Globe]

In other comedy news: Diageo, the multi-billion dollar, internationally-based spirits empire with tens of thousands of employees globally, defends its right to be called a “craft distiller” over at the Spirits Business. Fittingly, this article comes during the latest release in its Orphan Barrel project: “Rhetoric.” Up next: Ford rebrands itself as “artisan,” the Koch brothers are “small businessmen,” and Apple reinvents itself as “a modest little startup”. [The Spirits Business]

In science news: researchers at The University of Texas have genetically engineered worms that can not get drunk no matter how much alcohol they ingest. This could prove promising for future sobriety technologies, such as pill to sober people up immediately. [Independent UK]

Finally today, a site which has been getting a lot of buzz lately is WhiskeyID, an incredible new resource where folks can try and figure out the origin of that old dusty bottle from their grandparent’s attic instead of emailing us about it. Lovingly culled together by some of the most passionate whiskey fans on the net, it’s limited in scope but insanely informative. Expect great things from this site in the near future. We’ll be checking in regularly! [WhiskeyID]

Recipe: National Tequila Day, 2014 Edition

July 24th brings us another mid-week holiday we can all get together and celebrate: the 2014 edition of National Tequila Day. We offered some great tequila recipes last year, but here’s a few more that have come across our inbox you might want to check out.

Tequila thing 225x300 Recipe: National Tequila Day, 2014 EditionThe Garden Fresh Skinny Summerita
Created by Travis London, celebrity chef
1 oz. X-Rated Fusion Liqueur
1 oz. Cabo Wabo Blanco
juice of half a lime
3 sprigs fresh cilantro
3 thin slices of fresh cucumber
3 thin slices of a fresh jalapeño pepper
cucumber wheel for garnish

(NOTE: We did not have any X-Rated Fusion Liqueur, nor did we have any of Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo styled tequila around, but we did have some tequila and other stuff, and things worked out just fine)

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker (except cucumber wheel) filled with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with cucumber wheel.

summerzap 177x300 Recipe: National Tequila Day, 2014 EditionBitter Summer Zapatista
Created by Borys Saciuk of 15 Romolo in San Francisco
1.5 oz. Cabo Wabo Reposado Tequila
0.75 oz. Campari
0.75 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
0.25 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. agave nectar
Fresh Egg White
Pinch of Indonesian Pepper

Beginning with agave nectar and pepper, combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain over fresh ice into a tall glass. Garnish with long grapefruit peel.

Cherry Valance
1 ½ parts Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila
½ part applejack
½ part fresh lemon juice
1/3 part pomegranate syrup
Egg white

Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass, add ice and shake extremely vigorously until egg whites are mixed well. Serve in a coupe glass.

Este Lado
Created by Mixologists Ben Scorah and Marshall Altier
1 1/2 ounces Don Julio Blanco
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Slice of English Cucumber
Mint sprig
Additional mint and cucumber (for garnish)

Muddle English Cucumber and mint sprig in simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add Don Julio Blanco, fresh lime juice and ice. Shake well. Strain Contents over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with mint sprig and cucumber wheel.

rosemary Recipe: National Tequila Day, 2014 EditionBlushing Rosemary Margarita
2 parts Milagro Silver Tequila
1 part fresh lime juice
¾ part agave nectar
4 watermelon chunks
1 rosemary sprig
1 lemon wheel
2 dashes Fee Brothers Lemon Bitters

In a cocktail shaker, muddle fruit and herbs. Add remaining ingredients. Shake and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with Rosemary Sprig and Lemon Wheel.

charro Recipe: National Tequila Day, 2014 EditionCharro Negro
2 oz. Trianon Blanco Tequila
1 ½ oz. cola
Fresh lime juice
Sea salt
Lime wheel for garnish

Rim a glass with salt and fill with ice. Add lime juice, cola and Trianon Blanco Tequila. Add a pinch of salt and stir. Garnish with a lime wheel and serve.

The Drinkhacker Shopping List – 07.18.2014

Welcome to another edition of the Shopping List, our bi-weekly look back at the best and worst of what we’ve reviewed over the last few weeks, and we’ve certainly reviewed a generous amount of stuff. While we did review quite a bit of wine over the last two weeks, perhaps the biggest news was the marathon session of limited edition expressions from Diageo that we had the good fortune of trying, along with the Signature Craft bourbons from Jim Beam. Some of this stuff isn’t out on the shelves yet, but will be in short order. So keep your eyes peeled, and if you’re one of the lucky ones to score some of the Diageo scotches, drop us a line with your thoughts.

TheList0718141 525x1179 The Drinkhacker Shopping List   07.18.2014

Drinkhacker Reads – 07.16.2014 – Upcoming Fall Releases

As Christopher’s review earlier today indicated, the new Beam Signature Craft series offering isn’t out until September. However, it’s just one of many exciting releases coming up this Autumn, which has turned into the American whiskey equivalent of NYC’s Fashion Week. The venerable, Pappy-addicted website Bourbonr (with a little help from our man Sku) has a thoroughly detailed roundup of the new releases you can expect to see — or in some cases not see due to limited supply and high demand — this upcoming season. We tried an early sample of Willet’s Exploratory Cask Finish at a tasting this past spring and it was exceptional, possibly a contender for one of the best of 2014. Looking forward to the final results! [Bourbonr]

Rumors are going around the party chat line that Diageo might mega-merge with Miller (SABMiller), creating one the biggest drinks companies on the planet. The Street takes a look at what this collision might mean for both companies. [The Street]

In tech news, the domain name .bar went into registry form on Monday, and over 100 companies have already registered for potential new URLs. Early on it looks like only one beer brand jumped on the bandwagon: Miller. Check out who else is joining up. Might be time to go register and launch drinkhacker.bar. [Domains]

Brazil may have hosted some big parties over the last few weeks involving sports, but the country’s thirst for cachaça may be drying up, according to a new report issued by Just Drinks. Global sales of the sugar-based hooch fell 3% in 2013, selling a new record low 79.3 million cases. As Brazil accounts for 99% of cachaça sales, this isn’t exactly what cachaça CEOs need to hear. However the news isn’t all bad, as international sales grew 1% over the same time frame, with sales in Portugal and Chile leading the way. [Just Drinks]

And finally today: don’t call it a comeback, but maybe just a tiny shot of botox and some nips and tucks here and there. Shanken is reporting that major players within the rum industry are gearing up this fall to launch new products to help re-establish the spirit as one of the top drinks of choice for consumers. After a major decade long surge, sales slumped over the past three years, largely thanks to competition from bourbon, tequila, and our perennial favorite: flavored vodkas. [Shanken News Daily]

Contest: Knob Creek Campout

Do you like Knob Creek? We think they’re pretty swell. So we were excited to get an email detailing a contest Knob Creek is throwing for ten lucky winners: a campout on the Beam/Knob Creek distillery grounds.

Here are the specifics:

What: Ten lucky folks head to the Knob Creek Distillery in Clermont, KY for an on-site campout and full-flavored grilling experience. One lucky winner from eligible markets (CA, FL, GA, KY, MD, NY, NC, TX, VA and PA) and a friend will join other winners from across the country at the Knob Creek Campout. This weekend long campout will include:

  • Fred Noe, 7th Generation Master Distiller and 2013 Bourbon Hall of Fame Inductee, will host a fireside chat on the history of Knob Creek, followed by a pig roast dinner.
  • VIP BBQ cookout with Celebrity Chef Michael Symon, who will prepare his exclusive bourbon-inspired recipes.
  • Performance by an authentic Kentucky bluegrass band.
  • Behind the scenes distillery tour to see how Knob Creek’s award-winning bourbon is produced.
  • Each winner will receive round-trip airfare for two, ground transportation to the distillery and a Big Green Egg.

Where: Jim Beam/Knob Creek Distillery in Clermont, KY.

When: September 26th – 28th, 2014

How: All eligible participants can enter for a chance to win by visiting knobcreek.promo.eprize.com/sweeps

Who: All legal US residents, 21+ who reside in the below ten states can enter the Sweepstakes: California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia

Contest registration ends July 31st, so hop on over and enter. And save us some brisket.

Drinkhacker Reads – 07.14.2014 – Cheap Wine and Luxurious Repositioning

The Daily Mail is reporting the wild statistic that one in five bottles of big-brand wines sold at retailers could very well be fraudulent. In what sounds like a plot to an independent movie, local gangs are forging labels, placing them on bottles and then selling them to stores at a reduced price. Apparently this trend has been going on for quite some time, as the BBC ran a feature on this in 2011, complete with pointers on how to spot the fake bottles. [Daily Mail]

In order to better align with its core business brands, First Drinks is rebranding itself as William Grant & Sons, and looks to reposition its portfolio (Glenfiddich, Grant’s, Balvenie, Hendricks, Sailor Jerry, and Tullamore Dew) in luxury markets. As a direct result of the reorganization, the Spirits Business is reporting that William Grant also “reappraised” 30 employees from its staff, possibly because the employees weren’t preening and positioning themselves as luxurious enough. [Spirits Business]

In a recent report issued by report overlords Technomic, Americans like their wines cheap, with competition being the toughest in the $10-20 price range. The report also includes a spiffy infographic detailing some other findings. [Restaurant Hospitality]

And finally today in science news: global warming is making Shiraz less alcoholic and scientists are now reversing their position back to their original stance that too many daily drinks is not good for your heart. Oh yeah, and Chris scored a major article in Wired last week. Did you read it? If not, here’s your chance.