Appleton is Jamaica's oldest producer of rum and they've got rum-making down to a science. The sugar cane is environmentally estate grown and distilled and blended in small batches by Joy Spence, the industry's first female master rum blender. Spence describes Appleton as a "playful, but serious rum" that "should never see the inside of a blender." Instead we were instructed to "sip it up!" Spence, who was on hand at the tasting, guided us through the four steps to properly enjoy fine rum. To find out what they are, keep reading.
This Father's Day why not surprise dad with a premium, limited-edition bottle of whiskey by Canadian Club ($200)? In celebration of their 150th anniversary, Canadian Club has released a 30-year reserve whiskey in a special collector's bottle. I was lucky enough to get a bottle and was wonderfully surprised by the smooth, rich tasting spirit. It has a smoky nose with hints of honey, vanilla, and caramel on the tongue. Unlike other whiskeys, there is no biting aftertaste: the finish is lush and subtly spicy. This whiskey is very easy to drink and although I enjoyed it after dinner on the rocks, it would make a lovely Manhattan. Since my dad is a whiskey drinker, I plan on sharing the bottle with him. Do you drink whiskey? What's your favorite label?
In my quest to become more educated on the world of spirits, I've taken a liking to high-end tequilas. Beyond Patron, there's a huge variety of wonderfully complex tequilas that are perfect for sipping solo or shaking into a classic margarita. One brand, Casa Noble, produces an amazing collection of authentic tequilas. Packaged in a traditional yet sexy bottle, Casa Noble's tequilas are uniquely modern because they're triple-distilled and naturally produced in French wine barrels. Recently I attended a tequila tasting hosted by the founding partner of Casa Noble, David Ravandi. To illustrate the fact that his tequilas are distinct from anything else on the market, Ravandi paired them with cheese. To find out what I thought of the unexpected combination of cheese and tequila, read more
Mezcal or Mescal
A Mexican distilled spirit that's made from the fermented juice of the agave plant's core. The core is roasted underground over pits of hot rocks. This technique gives mezcal a characteristic smokiness. The difference between mezcal and tequila is the plant (tequila is made from the blue agave only) and the roasting method (for tequila, the agave core is cooked in an oven). Although it's produced throughout Mexico, the Oaxacan region is best known for its production and consumption of the potent liquid.
While other airlines are cutting back on in-flight services, last Friday, Virgin America added a new alcohol to its menu. Absinthe, the once illegal "hallucinogenic" spirit, is now available on all flights. The strong green liquor can be enjoyed on the rocks or mixed into the Mile-High Cocktail, a "tormenting and satisfying blend of Le Tourment Vert Absinthe, sprite, and lemons shaken and served over ice." Porter Gale, the vice president of marketing at Virgin, is very excited about the partnership. He said:
We couldn’t be more pleased to partner with Le Tourment Vert to become the first airline to offer guests absinthe in-flight. Virgin America is reinventing the typical flight experience with beautiful design, touch-screen entertainment, and an innovative food and cocktail menu – and the addition of Le Tourment Vert absinthe is sure to be a hit with our discriminating guests.
For those sitting first class or main cabin select, the absinthe cocktails are complimentary; in the main cabin, Le Tourment Vert is available for purchase. Although I'm not boarding Virgin America anytime soon, I normally enjoy a cocktail when traveling. It's nice to know that absinthe is an option. How do you feel about the news?
He's already a pop singer, fashion designer, and restaurant owner, but Justin Timberlake's latest job title? Spirits maker. Yesterday the young entrepreneur announced the launch of his new line of tequila, 901. The brand has been in development for over two years and plans to hit liquor store shelves in May.
A spokesperson for Timberlake explains that "901 is that time of night when your evening is ending, but your night is just beginning." The number also happens to be the area code for Memphis, TN, Timberlake's hometown. With more and more celebrities getting into the food industry, 901 isn't a surprise to me, and I look forward to tasting the tequila when it arrives.
What do you think of Timberlake's latest endeavor? Are you interested in sipping his tequila?
While downing green drinks or beer cocktails is a fun way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, sipping a fine, Irish whiskey is a low-key way to mark the occasion. Like wine, there is a special technique to enjoy the potent caramel-colored spirit.
- Make sure the whiskey is at room temperature. Pour into a clear glass with a narrow mouth and wide bottom.
- Examine the color of the liquid. The darker the whiskey, the longer it has been aged.
- Warm the glass with your hands and smell the whiskey's aroma. Note any fruit, spice, or other flavors, like butterscotch.
- Before tasting, add a tiny bit of water to dilute the concentrated spirit. You will be able to better taste the whiskey without a harsh burn from the strong alcohol.
- Finally, sip the whiskey like you would a wine, and be aware of its body and flavor.
Do you enjoy whiskey? Have you ever been to a whiskey tasting?
On today's date in 1915, absinthe was outlawed in France and several other European countries. Although it had been banned in the United States for three years, the French ban was significant because it was the French who popularized the green spirit.
To honor the date, I put together a quiz of absinthe facts. Test your knowledge on the controversial spirit, when you start clicking.Take the Quiz
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Ever since I got acquainted with Dubonnet, the old-school French aperitif has held a spot in my liquor cabinet. It also plays an important role in my drink of the moment.
I discovered the St. Tropez by reading the serving suggestions on the back of the Dubonnet label. With only two ingredients, it couldn't be more uncomplicated (in fact, the instructions for the drink are so casual that there are no measurements specified at all). Call me cheesy — and chalk it up to the cocktail's chic name, its effortless recipe, or the romanticism of European predinner drinks — but when I'm sipping on a St. Tropez, I immediately feel transported to the sun-soaked sands of the French Riviera.
I've enjoyed many variations of this at home and in bars, and found that I like it best with equal parts of the two ingredients. Find out what they are when you read more