Review: Old Forester Signature 100 Proof and Perfect Old Fashioned Syrup

Old Forester, “America’s First Bottled Bourbon” has partnered with Bourbon Barrel Foods to launch its line of Cocktail Provisions, a collection of three bitters, two syrups and one tincture, all designed to elevate (but simplify) the home cocktail experience.

Created by Louisville-based Bourbon Barrel Foods and Old Forester Master Taster and Bourbon Specialist Jackie Zykan, Cocktail Provisions are inspired by the unique and robust flavor profiles of Old Forester. Taking the guesswork out of creating high-end cocktails, Zykan and Bourbon Barrel Foods have developed a cocktail line allowing consumers and trade to craft the perfect Old Fashioned, take the hassle out of Oleo-Saccharum syrup and elevate cocktails to new dimensions of flavor.

I’d like to say we’re going to taste all six of the items in the Cocktail Provisions lineup, but we actually only received one — the Old Fashioned syrup — which sounds decidedly simplistic next to something like a salt & pepper tincture. That sadness aside, we’ll dig into the syrup after we kick things off by correcting a longstanding oversight by reviewing Old Forester Signature, the 100 proof version of OldFo that is a standby of (affordable) cocktailing.

Thoughts follow.

Old Forester Signature 100 Proof – Lots of dark chocolate on the nose, with hints of vanilla extract, graham crackers, and toasty cloves. A bit of heat is evident, but less than the typical bonded whiskey. The palate sees more of that chocolate, some baking spice, cherry notes, and a hint of barrel char — but none of that heavy-duty wood influence that you tend to see with OldFo’s annual Birthday Bourbon releases. In fact, I was surprised to see that I liked this much better than most of those, and I see a common thread between this whiskey and Old Forester 1920, though the latter is a bit fruitier. With its bold attack but silky finish, Signature is engaging from start to finish. Put it another way: It’s much better than it needs to be at this price. Best value. 100 proof. A / $22

Old Forester Cocktail Provisions Perfect Old Fashioned Syrup – Rich demerara syrup spiked with proprietary blend of three Old Forester bitters (ultimately giving it a 2% alcohol level). I have to say, this made for an amazing Old Fashioned (2 oz. Old Forester Signature, 1/2 oz. syrup), and it needed no doctoring at all, just whiskey and this syrup. Tasting the syrup straight reveals lots of cinnamon and nutmeg notes, and while those shine in the cocktail, here it melds with the whiskey to reveal chocolate and vanilla, clear complements to the Old Forester but bumped up a notch here. There’s a touch of orange peel, but if you like your Old Fashioned loaded with fruit, you’ll want to toss a slice of orange and a cherry in there before mixing. For my part, I like it just the way it is. A / $8.50 per 2 fl. oz bottle

Review: Proof Traditional Old Fashioned Cocktail Syrup

Proof is a new brand of cocktail syrups, ranging from steadfast (Traditional) to oddball (Maple Bacon), made by a bartender-led crew based in Decatur, Georgia. The collection is designed to go beyond mere sugar and water, and have bitters already in the mix. Per the company:

These high quality cocktail syrups are an “everything but the bourbon” approach to craft cocktails and feature our oleo-saccharum made the traditional way from organic cane sugar, with our added bitters. Simply mix .5 oz of any PROOF Syrup with 2 oz of your favorite bourbon or rye whiskey, to easily create the perfect textbook old fashioned.

We checked out Proof’s “Traditional” expression, both on its own and when mixed as directed.

With its reddish hue, this is clearly something beyond a “traditional” syrup — it’s the color of watered-down Peychaud’s Bitters, indicating from the start a bit about how it’s been doctored. The nose of the plain bitters is spicy, with cinnamon and nutmeg distinctly heavy, and the palate is quite sweet with brown sugar and a bit of a honey character. Cardamom notes become evident as the finish emerges.

With whiskey (I used Jim Beam Distiller’s Cut in a 4:1 ratio as directed), the combo was a hit. Very spicy — there’s clearly plenty of bitters added to the mix here — it follows through on the promise that it makes two-ingredient cocktails completely possible. The whiskey shines, the bitters shine, showcasing a clear clove element. Perhaps the sugar quotient could be elevated a tad, but that’s perhaps splitting hairs.

I’m not sure I need maple bacon syrup but, what the hell, given the strengths of the “Traditional” version, I’m willing to try.

A / $25 per 16 oz bottle /

Review: Mixallogy Cocktail Mixers

The world of powdered cocktial mixers continues its march into the market. The latest comes from an outfit called Mixallogy, which uses USDA certified organic ingredients as the basis for three single-serve mixers. One nifty thing about Mixallogy’s approach is that the mixers are all packaged in a small, plastic cup. The cup does double duty as a shot glass, with each recipe consisting of one shot of liquor, one shot of water, and the powdered contents of the cup. Just add it all to a shaker with ice, then pour into a glass to drink.

We tried all three of Mixallogy’s mixers, made as directed. Thoughts follow.

Mixallogy Margarita – This tastes like a typical mass market margarita, heavy with sugar and processed lime, though balanced enough to be not at all unpalatable. As is typical with powdered mixes, it’s impossible to get the powder to completely dissolve, which leaves a slight chalky residue no matter how hard you shake the thing. But that aside, as quickie margaritas go… B

Mixallogy Lemon Sour – For use with vodka or whiskey. I used bourbon. While I assumed this would be an ultra-sweet whiskey sour, I was surprised to find the finished product overwhelming with bitter lemon notes, and quite a bit short on sugar. Otherwise, the flavors are innocuous enough. I’d say you could doctor it a bit, but that would defeat the point, wouldn’t it? C+

Mixallogy Cosmo – This looks like a cosmo but the flavor is downright bizarre. Strawberries, some vanilla, even a hint of chocolate all play out in the glass. The essence of a cosmo — a trinity of cranberry, lime, and orange — is completely absent here. What this is is more of a Hi-C given a boozy turn (and ultra-sweetened, too). It’s also the only one of this bunch I couldn’t consume beyond a couple of sips. C-

each $8 per package of 6 pods /

Review: Minute Mixology Craft Cocktail Mixers

The big new trend in home cocktailing? Powdered cocktail mixers that give you a true “just add booze” method to cocktail crafting. Taking a cue from the Crystal Light model, Minute Mixology comes in a box of single-serve packets designed to dispensed directly into a glass, with the addition of the appropriate liquor, ice, and water (or soda water, in the case of the mojito).

Can a powder provide a credible shortcut to a “craft cocktail?” Is it even appropriate, say, for mixing drinks on a plane? (Spoiler: No!)

We tried concocting cocktails by mixing up all three of Minute Mixology’s products according to instructions, using premium spirits for the backbone. Thoughts follow.

Minute Mixology Margarita – Largely undrinkable, this is comes across like a margarita in Kool-Aid form, chalky and overwhelming with pungent fake lime flavors and saccharine sweetness. This chemical note manages even to mask the tequila in the mix, which may be good or bad, depending on your evening. D-

Minute Mixology Coconut Mojito – Better than I expected, this is a pina colada-lite beverage that effectively masks that funky lime (and barely-there mint) note from the margarita with a decent coconut kick. While it’s hardly an elevated cocktail, thin and more than a little boring, the cloudy beverage might work well enough poolside, mixed on the fly in a plastic water bottle when your server has gone missing. C

Minute Mixology Spiced Old Fashioned – This one’s different because it’s a short drink, requiring just a splash of water alongside two ounces of bourbon. There’s simply not enough liquid to dissolve this heaping mass of sugar, which ends up making the finished drink extremely chalky and granular. While the promised flavors of orange peel and spicy black cherry notes do indeed make themselves known, there’s so much gunk in the glass — plus a powerful chemical note that percolates out of it — that it’s impossible to actually enjoy. F

each $14 per box of eight packets /

Review: Herb & Lou’s Infused Ice Cubes

High-end bartenders have a neat trick available to them: Rather than chilling a drink with frozen water, they put stuff in the ice, freeze it, then let that flavor your drink as it melts. It’s also a nifty trick for home bartenders who don’t want to bother with a bunch of mixing and shaking: Just freeze up your mixers and drop the cubes in your glass as you need them.

Well, that sounds like a lot of work, too, so here’s a shortcut: Herb & Lou’s Infused Ice Cubes. While fairly self-explanatory, the gist is that Herb and Lou mix up fruit and botanicals and bitters and whatnot so all you have to do is take out a cube and drop it in your drink. Boom, cocktail’s done in 10 seconds flat. The cubes are packaged in slim cardboard boxes, with each cube nestled in its own foil-sealed plastic bin. You stow the whole box in the freezer and pop out a cube when needed.

They’re not cheap — each cube will run you over a buck — but a box of 12 will probably last until you’ve long since forgotten about it and decide to clean out your fridge.

We tried all three varieties on the market. Thoughts on each one follow.

Note: One cube is generally not going to be enough to chill your drink, so add extra (regular) ice in addition to the infusion if you’re serving on the rocks. The cubes themselves melt very quickly, and may not even stay solid in your freezer if it isn’t exceptionally cold.

Herb & Lou’s Infused Ice – The Cecile – A mix of watermelon, cucumber, clover honey, and thyme, designed for tequila (or vodka). It’s not the most attractive presentation, with a reddish sediment settling on the bottom of the cubes, but the impact with tequila isn’t bad. The honey is most noticeable, and the thyme gives the tequila a nice herbal lift. The cucumber doesn’t really translate well, probably because there’s not enough of it in a cube to make an impact, but the watermelon is more noticeable as the ice melts away, particularly on the finish. I’d drink this. B+

Herb & Lou’s Infused Ice – The Clyde – A purported spin on the cosmopolitan, with peaches, “Benedictine-inspired herbs,” and bitters. Doesn’t sound like any cosmo I’ve ever had, though I tried it with vodka as recommended (or try tequila, they company says). I didn’t get a lot of flavor from this, so I actually used two cubes in my glass (or you could just use less spirit). The results were appropriately peachy, with just a hint of aromatics. Nothing wrong with that, but there’s just not much to it. I’m thinking this might go over way better with Champagne. B

Herb & Lou’s Infused Ice – The Cooper – A “blood orange-ginger Old Fashioned,” designed for bourbon. Of the trio in the collection, this is the one that tastes the most like a real cocktail. The orange is vibrant and, at least when paired with Knob Creek, which I used, makes for a lovely complement. The ginger is more evident on the nose than the palate, but there’s a spiciness to the finish that showcases the ginger quality as well. This one changes considerably as the ice melts, the ginger getting increasingly hot as you go along. Definitely a winner. A

each $17 for 12 cubes /

Review: Eli Mason Mint Julep Syrup

Eli Mason is a Nashville-based producer of a variety of classic syrups, including grenadine, demerara syrup, and more. The company recently sent us its mint julep syrup — water, cane sugar, turbinado sugar, mint, and natural gomme syrup — to check out.

This is an interesting syrup, for sure, but it’s also a bit unusual. There’s a peppery quality to it, and a spice akin to root beer. The mint is actually played down next to that spice, and it gets even more lost when mixed with bourbon, where it takes on more of a chocolate note, driven perhaps by the turbinado sugar in the mix.

I’d still use it — but probably not for a classic julep.

B / $14 per 10 oz bottle /

Review: Q Drinks Mixers – Complete Lineup

Q is a leading name in the artisan mixer space, and recently the company fairly radically revamped its lineup, jettisoning a few products, adding at least one, and most importantly, dropping its bottle size from 9 ounces to 6.7 ounces — more in line with “single serving” size and, more importantly, allowing them to reduce the price from $8 per four-pack to $6.

Today we look at the full Q Drinks lineup as it stands at the moment — seven products spanning the gamut of the most common mixers. Let’s dive in!

Q Drinks Club Soda – Heavily carbonated (“as much carbonation as the bottle will hold”) and quite neutral in flavor, with just a hint of salt and a splash of bitterness on the back end. Extremely versatile and — yes — fizzy! A

Q Drinks Ginger Ale – Much spicier than your typical ginger ale — and remember, Q makes a ginger beer, too, so hang on to your hat. I could use a touch more sweetness in my ginger ale, but in the favor of this throat-clearing rendition is a clean and crisp character that gives it ample versatility… plus that trademark Q Drinks heavy carbonation. B+

Q Drinks Ginger Beer – A bit hazier, with ginger bits floating in it. It’s definitely a spicier concoction than the ginger ale, but not so overpowering as to make one cry. This is spicy, lightly sweet, and clean in construction from start to finish. A solid palate cleanser and a great little companion for rum. A

Q Drinks Kola – A refreshing blend of kola nut, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, cloves, lemon, lime, and agave for sweetness. It’s a touch sweet for my taste, with less carbonation than other Q products, and the agave gives the finish an herbal touch that is a bit at odds with the baking spices up front, and which comes through even when mixing. B

Q Drinks Grapefruit – Designed specifically for paloma cocktails, per Q, this grapefruit soda is plenty refreshing on its own, too — with the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and bitterness giving it a complexity well beyond a can of Squirt. Brisk and refreshing, and a beautiful shade of pink, be careful with anything you mix with it, as these cocktails go down far too easily. A

Q Drinks Tonic Water – Bracingly bitter, with plenty of quinine, with a hint of lemon peel on the back end. Lots of carbonation gives this tonic a ton of length, and the finish sees the bitterness, with some hints of amaro, lingering for what seems like minutes. A definite top tonic for bitterness nuts. A-

Q Drinks Indian Tonic Water – If you like your tonic with a touch of sweetness, this is the expression for you. It’s still powerfully bitter and highly fizzy, but the spritz of lemony sugar gives it added complexity. Designed to stand up to more powerful gins, I’d say it’s mission accomplished. A

each $6 per four-pack of 6.7 oz. bottles /

Review: Cocktail & Sons Watermelon & Thai Basil Syrup

Cocktail & Sons’ latest seasonal syrup has arrived. This one blends watermelon and Thai basil to create a decidedly summery — and surprisingly versatile — sweetener.

The watermelon does the heavy lifting here. It is pungent right from the opening of the bottle, and the unmistakable flavor is loaded on the palate. Slightly floral notes linger through to the finish, and though the basil never packs the sharpness you might expect, it does provide an herbal lift on the back of the tongue.

An excellent companion with gin.

A- / $15 per 8 oz. bottle /

Making Cocktails with Fizzy Tickle Water

Tickle Water
We’ve all heard the jokes about wine being referred to as “Mommy’s juice.” Today, we’re bringing you a way to “adult” Tickle Water with cocktails to give your Mommy’s juice a sparkly spin.

Tickle Water is a carbonated beverage which is flavored naturally; it has no sugars or other preservatives. The label shows zero carbohydrates, calories, or sodium. It comes in five types: unflavored, green apple, watermelon, cola, and grape. The flavors are all very light, they don’t overpower your senses. We rate them all a B+. Cost is about $1.50 per 8 oz can.

Although Tickle Water is marketed as a kid’s beverage, don’t let that deter you from using it in adult cocktails. Right off it’s easy to say, “Hey, watermelon sounds like a margarita.” Or, “Unflavored makes as gin and tonic.” While those are true, we wanted something more. Here are several cocktail recipes we created with Tickle Water — with . But note, these are not sweet like a flavored soda. If you like your cocktails on the sweet side, then add simple syrup to give them more sweetness.

First is a Stengah, which comes from Britain and was popular in the early 20th century. Traditionally made from whiskey and soda water, we used the green apple Tickle Water for a nice effect. The recipe is pretty easy, too.

2 oz. whiskey
2 oz. green apple Tickle Water

Pour both ingredients over ice in a highball glass.

This next cocktail is an original we’re calling a Watermelon Tickle.

Watermelon Tickle
3 oz. watermelon Tickle Water
1 ½ oz. pineapple rum
1 oz. coconut rum
3 oz. cranberry juice
½ oz. ginger simple syrup

Shake everything except the Tickle Water with ice. Pour into a tall glass with ice and serve. Who needs a garnish with something this yummy? If you really need one, then use a slice of candied ginger on a skewer.

Flowers and Fruits Refresher
4 oz. grape Tickle Water
2 oz. raspberry vodka
½ oz. crème de cassis
½ oz. crème de violet
3 dashes lavender bitters

Add all ingredients to a tea glass and gently stir. Add ice. Garnish with seedless red grapes.

Fluffy Duck
courtesy of 1001 Cocktails
1 oz. advocaat liqueur (see below)
1 oz. crème de cacao
1 oz. natural Tickle Water

Pour the crème de cacao into a chilled margarita glass one quarter filled with crushed ice. Next add the advocaat . Top off with the Tickle Water and serve. No garnish is necessary.

Note: We know advocaat is more commonly found around the winter holidays but don’t let that stop you. Here is the recipe we used to make our own.

Fluffy DuckAdvocaat
10 eggs
1 ½ cups brandy
1 1/3 cups sugar
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. You won’t use the whites so feel free to use them for something else. Add the vanilla, salt, and sugar in a medium sized pot. Whisk well and then add the brandy slowly. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly to prevent the eggs from forming clumps. Once the mixture coats the back of your spoon, then remove the pot from the heat.

Fill a large bowl half way with ice and water. Set the hot pot in the ice bath to let it cool. Once cool, strain out any lumps and pour the remaining liquid into a bottle. Refrigerate before use. It should keep for a couple of weeks.

The Dutch and Germans like to put advocaat atop their ice cream and on pancakes, as well as use it in cocktails.

Review: Lavazza Coffees – Santa Marta, Kilimanjaro, and Intenso

With coffee cocktails all the rage now, having a good cup of java as the base for a great drink is more important than ever. Lavazza’s two single origin coffees and its Intenso dark roast all bring something different to the table, and each will make a great base for a different style of coffee cocktail.

Lavazza Santa Marta – A single origin Colombian coffee from the oldest coffee growing region in the country, Santa Marta has a subtle smoky flavor, evocative of slightly burned sugar or burned toast. This coffee has a very nice acidity and balance and a smooth mouthfeel with nuts and caramel in the finish with very little bitterness. This coffee would be a great mate for bourbon, bonded whiskey, or Scotch, because it has the body and the sweetness to create a great balance between the spirit and the coffee. B+

Lavazza Kilimanjaro – Another single origin coffee, this time from high in the mountains of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. The coffee has a balanced fruit undertone, with notes of cherry and blackberry. There is a slight sweetness to the coffee which compliments the acidity of the berry flavor. This coffee is extremely smooth and flavorful, and because of the inherent fruitiness, this coffee will work very well with rum-based coffee cocktails. B+

Lavazza Intenso  The darkest roast of the three, Intenso is a traditional Italian dark roast coffee. With unmistakable notes of dark chocolate, this well-crafted coffee has a wonderful mouthfeel. Underneath the chocolate is just a hint of oak, making for a complex yet thoroughly enjoyable cup of coffee. A great use of this coffee would be a brunch cocktail made with limoncello instead of a Bloody Mary or Mimosa… such as the one below. A

each $10 per 12 oz bag /

How about one of those new coffee cocktails, then?

The Coffeecello
6 oz cup of Intenso
1 oz Limoncello
1 sugar cube (optional)
Ice as needed

While the coffee is still hot, dissolve a single sugar cube in the coffee if desired.  Once the coffee is room temperature, put coffee and limoncello in a cocktail shaker, mix and pour over ice. Garnish the glass with a zest of lemon or a sugared rim.

Cupping Coffee with Intelligentsia

Intelligencia Coffee
There is no scent warmer and more inviting than that of coffee beans roasting. The moment we stepped through Intelligentsia’s front door, all traffic woes were forgotten in favor of a good mood. We knew the afternoon would only get better. We walked past huge bags of newly roasted coffee beans and paused a moment before an enormous roasting machine with its large paddles for stirring the beans as they roast.

Large roaster machineHave you ever experienced cupping coffee? During our visit to Intelligentsia Coffee’s San Francisco facility, we learned how to perform this delightful ritual used by coffee roasters to determine the quality of their newly roasted coffee beans. There are elements each bean is rated upon with regards to types of aromas and initial flavor profiles. We discovered that each roaster has their own proprietary checklist they work from.

Cupping coffee — a tasting system that involves a significant amount of protocol — isn’t quick and there’s a specific way to sip the coffee from the spoon. Loud slurp noises are acceptable! However, it is worth the time because fine beverages meant to be savored — including coffee.

For cupping, the first thing you do is lean over the cup to take in the aromas. You can use your hand to wave the scents toward your face. Aromas range from floral to leguminous; the goal is to identify additional scents, such as botanicals, floral, or citrus.

Next you sip the coffee and determine the following factors:

  • Taste – There are sixteen types of taste descriptors, ranging from acrid to delicate; then from soft to creosol. Elements like saltiness and bitterness levels are notated on a checklist.
  • Sweetness – How prevalent or how missing sweet notes are present in the brew. The type of sweetness can vary as well; honey-like or sugary or syrupy if overdone.
  • Acidity – Varying types of acidity can enhance a coffee’s flavor or add to bitterness. Acidity ranges from lactic to acerbic with the harshest being kerosene like.
  • Complexity – Complexity involves the balance of the flavors present in a cup and whether elements in the flavor profile complement one another or compete, creating odd or negative tastes.
  • Aftertaste – This is typically used to describe negative tastes at the end of a beverage. While it is often a sign of something wrong with the bean or during the roasting, it can be a pleasant association as well.

A Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel put out by the Specialty Coffee Association shows all the common elements to look for.

Our host, Mark Cunningham explained how any coffee is at its finest during the cupping and that it will never be better than at that moment. He told us that a good coffee will still taste good after it’s gone cold, but lesser quality coffees get bitter and harsh.

Our cupping completed, we came back to our coffee after touring the roasting floor to discover the truth in his statement. The cups of varying roasts tasted just as amazing as when we first sipped from the spoon. The big chain coffees’ burnt-tasting dark roasts are no longer palpable. Strong doesn’t need to be bitter or charred; in fact, it is much better when it isn’t.

Cupping RitualIntelligentsia also offers a variety of artisan teas called tisanes. We sampled two of them at the cupping. Both were wonderful blends of tea, spices, and botanicals such as cardamom, rose hips, and turmeric. They are expanding in the tea area by continuing to produce new blends.

Just how does Intelligentsia obtain their high quality coffees? By working with small, family owned coffee bean farmers around the world. Their buyers are very hands-on in their search for the best beans to purchase, taking the time necessary to visit the farms and sample the raw product. With the climate and soil compositions determining the flavors of the coffee after roasting, this is an important step. It makes sense when you realize that beans mature at different times of the year, depending upon where in the world the plants are growing. One thing Intelligentsia insists on are beans properly matured on the plant before harvesting. We liken that to the taste difference between garden grown tomatoes and those picked early and expected to ripen on the way to the grocery store. Most fruits and vegetables stop ripening once harvested so their flavors aren’t robust as those garden grown. Coffee beans wouldn’t be any different.

Just recently opened to the public (previously their clients were bars and restaurants), Intelligentsia has red coffee trucks which make appearances around town in San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Follow them on Twitter to find out where you can catch them. They also recently opened a monthly coffee subscription service. Additionally, Intelligentsia offers classes on brewing for barista training.

In closing, we learned that Two Sisters Bar and Books in San Francisco created a couple of cocktails featuring Intelligentsia coffee. They were kind enough to share those recipes with us. We made them with the Intelligentsia coffees and found them both to be amazing cocktails. Give them a try and let us know what you think.

The Bluegrass BuzzThe Bluegrass Buzz
created by Mikha Diaz for Two Sisters Bar and Books
3 oz. Intelligensia Cold Brew from cold brew concentrate (diluted at a 6:1 ratio)
1 1/2 oz. Old Forester 86 bourbon
1/2 oz. brown sugar simple syrup (equal parts brown sugar, gently packed, and boiling water; stir to combine)
lightly whipped heavy cream

Combine cold brew, bourbon and brown sugar simple syrup in a small tin or pint glass. Fill with ice and shake. Strain into a small rocks glass. Top with 2-3 tablespoons of lightly whipped cream.

The Sharp Shooter
created by Kathryn Kulczyk for Two Sisters Bar and Books
1 1/2 oz. Cold Brew Cognac (4 oz. El Diablo blend, ground for cone drip filter, infused into 750 ml. Maison Rouge 100 proof cognac)
3/4 oz. Ancho Reyes liqueur
1/2 oz. Carpano Antica vermouth
3 hard dashes Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters

Combine cognac, liqueur, and vermouth in a small tin or pint glass. Fill with ice and shake. Strain into a small rocks glass. Top with three whole coffee beans.

Review: Cocktail & Sons Fassionola Syrup (2017)

Fassionola bottle shot

Cocktail & Sons’ seasonal Fassionola — a red tiki syrup that includes pineapple, mango, passion fruit, hibiscus flowers, strawberries, and lime zest — is back in time for the summer, and the company has tweaked the recipe in time for the inauguration of its partnership with Ruth’s Chris steakhouse, where the syrup will be featured on the cocktail menu.

This year’s version sees the strawberry dialed back a bit and the pineapple notes taking more of a central role (while still allowing for plenty of clean and fresh strawberry character). Very tiki in tone, it pairs well with a lighter, fruitier rum, which lets the freshness of the Fassionola show itself with gorgeous clarity. It’s a definite improvement over 2016’s model — give it a spin in your next Hurricane!

A- / $15 per 8 oz. bottle /