Getting back into rum production after a 45 year hiatus, the Worthy Park distillery first began releasing rum again under the Rum-Bar label in Jamaica in 2007. Although the US has gotten hints of what they've been up to through independent bottlers (if you've had Hamilton Jamaican, The Funk, or Doctor Bird, you've had Worthy Park), the company was waiting for their first premium bottling to mature before they made their official debut.
Have you ever had that moment, when you look back at your family’s history and think about how far we’ve gotten from their hands-on work, and how much of the knowledge held by our grandparents and great grandparents has been lost? Guillermo Sauza saw his great-great-grandfather Cenobio’s tequila empire whittled down to the family’s agave farm and the mothballed La Fortaleza distillery, turned into a literal tequila production museum. Meanwhile the Sauza brand and distillery continued to grow in the hands of an international conglomerate. So Guillermo decided to do something about it.
"Craft whiskey" has finally evolved beyond the semi-meaningless small batch, artisanal, hand-crafted tropes that it created for itself and Oakland's own Wright & Brown's Rye and Bourbon Whiskeyis case and point. This is objectively good whiskey - local, small batch (fewer than 800 bottles), artisanal, hand-crafted be damned.
Distillery 291 is a true grain-to-barrel-to-bottle producer crafting distinctly Colorado-imbued whiskies in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. They’ve been distilling in Colorado Springs for six years now, and in that time they’ve managed to nail a whiskey that is kind of the holy grail of craft – as easy to enjoy as the stuff put out by the big boys, while pulling out flavors that are absolutely unique. Named People’s Choice at the Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival in 2014, 2015, and 2016 – it’s clear they’re on to something big.
The idea of adding 6 blueberries and 3 basil leaves into a Gin & Tonic doesn’t instinctively get me thinking, "oh Joseph get ready this is going to be soooo great!" Then it is. A sip that totally catches me by surprise will always be one of my favorite things about cocktails, when something incredibly simple adds up to so much more in the glass than it does in my head. It’s the sense of a totally new and slightly incomprehensible result that makes me think mixology-mixschmology, this is some alchemy shit. AND with Gin Tonics you don’t even have to muddle, squeeze, shake, or strain a single thing.
When you ask someone for 3 whiskey cocktails, they’ll probably give you a whiskey sour, an old fashioned or a Manhattan. These classic drinks, while absolutely delicious, can get a little boring sometimes. So it’s time to expand your horizons and try these next 3 whiskey cocktails that most may not know by name, but can easily be made at home, or by your favorite bar tender.
Located on the slopes of Mount Sibillini in Eastern Italy, Distilleria Varnelli has been creating intensely Italian liqueurs there since its founding in 1868. Some 150 years later, the families’ intensely Italian four women strong fourth generation continues to insist on 100% natural ingredients and traditional techniques. Elda, Gigliola Simonetta, Mari Donatella and Orietta Maria still personally oversee the secret phases of production, hopefully it’s the very old school extraction of botanicals over a wood fire. The mission: “Offer products that make pleasant moments of social life still more pleasant, with ancient flavors reinterpreted in a contemporary way.” Perfect. If you can’t tell, I’m totally stanning for these D’oro Donne and their quintessential Amaro.
Crushed blackberries, honey, bourbon—here’s a summery treatment for a wintery spirit, so why not whip up a round to serve alongside a beachside bonfire? Use this technique for making honey syrup, you’ll be forever armed with a more interesting—and quicker—alternative to simple syrup.
Bitters are intimidating as hell. I mean, we get overwhelmedwhen 24 types of jam are put in front of us– and everyone knows what to do with jam. The most common reaction to the shop's 200 bitters tends to be something along the lines of “where do I start, but also what do I do with them!” It doesn’t help that finding recipes calling for something other than Angostura is actually pretty hard, oh and if you do find something, it probably calls for bottles you don't have at home. So what to do?
Jamaican Rum is the classic example of hogo, a term derived from a French phrase describing slightly decayed meat, "haut gout". Hogo represents a highly aromatic and heavier style of rum brimming with molasses, fruit, and funk. The name is inspired by the overripe, strong flavor and smell of that funky fruit, like an old banana whose aroma has intensified and concentrated. Counting 265 years of history and the lion’s share of the local market, the J. Wray & Nephew distillery is the hometown favorite. Its J. Wray and Appleton branded Rums offer options from affordable to super-premium, for cocktailers and connoisseurs alike.