What We’re Reading: Beer Lovers, Say ‘I Love You’ with These Stouts; Seven Wines–and Two Spirits–to Romance Your Valentine; A Bumper Crop of Apple Brandies; Pernod Ricard Seeking Acquisitions in Chinese Wine; Russia’s Ban on Alcohol in Arenas Leaves Drinkers Flat; Two Deluxe Irish Whiskies Arrive in US; Romantic Valentine’s Day Cocktails; Buying Liquor Could Get Way Easier

February 13th, 2014 — 4:42pm

APphoto_Alabama Beer
Beer lovers, say ‘I love you’ with these stouts  2/12/2014 – Los Angeles Times
Need a last-minute gift for your Valentine? Chocolates and flowers will only get you so far; try a craft brew to set the romantic tone instead. Whether your lover is a seasoned beer geek or a bit more timid about diving into the sea of craft brews, there’s a seductive beer available to pair with the lascivious holiday. Slip one of these brews into the menu you’re planning to prepare for your Valentine. Read the rest here!

Seven wines–and two spirits–to romance your Valentine  2/12/2014 – Los Angeles Times
NV Los Amantes Joven Mezcal (Oaxaca, Mexico) Only recently available in this country, Los Amantes (“the Lovers”) is hand-crafted by Guillermo Olguín, who also owns the Mezcaleria (mezcal bar )Los Amantes in Oaxaca. Triple-distilled, this spirit is exceptionally smooth with a delicate smokiness. From $50 to $60. Alternate bottle: NV Del Maguey Vida Mezcal. About $40. For that someone who reads long novels late into the night NV Chateau de Pellehaut Reserve Tenareze Armagnac (Southwest France) A bottle of wine lasts, at most, an evening. The better it is, the quicker it goes. But a bottle of Armagnac can stretch over many evenings. It makes a great companion for a reader of long books such as “War and Peace,” “The Goldfinch,” or “The Luminaries.”  In the chill hours near midnight, a sip of this fine spirit  from the Tenereze area of Armagnac in southwest France with its chalk and limestone soils, warms the soul. From $50 to $58. Alternate bottle: Darroze “Les Grands Assemblages” 12 or 20 Year Old Bas-Armagnac, from $76 to $100. Read the rest here!

Rusty Soul
A Bumper Crop of Apple Brandies  2/13/2014 – Wall Street Journal
IN COLONIAL AMERICA, apple brandy, or applejack, as it came to be called, was once as abundant as the apple trees found on nearly every farm. It even gave whiskey and rum a run for their money. But over two centuries, American apple brandy fell into steep decline, with just a blip of popularity during Prohibition, when some enterprising farmers realized they could turn apples into illicit profits. Over the last decade, farm-based micro-distilleries have been popping up across the country, making brandy from fruit grown on-site. A new wave of American apple brandy comes in two main styles: barrel-aged applejacks copping a feisty bourbon attitude, and more rarified bottlings striving for the finesse of the French apple brandy Calvados. Read the rest here!

Pernod Ricard Seeking Acquisitions in Chinese Wine  2/13/2014 – Wall Street Journal
PARIS—France’s Pernod Ricard SA RI.FR +1.98% is on the hunt for wine in China, a new area of growth in one of the world’s largest alcoholic-drinks markets now that the nation’s thirst for cognac and scotch has run dry. The maker of Mumm champagne and Jacob’s Creek wines is scouting for acquisitions in Chinese wines, a segment that could tap into the emergence of a new middle class and rapid urbanization, Chief Executive Pierre Pringuet said. Read the rest here!

Russia’s Ban on Alcohol in Arenas Leaves Drinkers Flat  2/11/2014 – Wall Street Journal
SOCHI, Russia—At long last, Morgan Simms thought. Inside the Olympic curling center Tuesday afternoon, the 25-year-old Canadian spotted a welcome sign—Beer. “I got excited,” he said. But like most beer sold inside the Olympic Park, these cans of Russian brew Baltika were nonalcoholic. “They’re just playing games with my heart,” he said. Russia, whose most famous export may be vodka, is staging the driest Olympics in memory. For many fans, it is the biggest upset of the Winter Games. A new federal law last year prohibited the sale of alcohol inside sports stadiums and arenas. And a local ordinance last month banned alcohol sales within 50 meters of some sports venues. The strict approach reflects both the Kremlin’s recent efforts to wean Russians from their legendary love of the sauce, and the unpleasant memories of drunken, unruly fans at the last Winter Games in Vancouver. For the Sochi Games, real beer is a scarce commodity in the Olympic Park, and vodka even rarer. Read the rest here!

Two Deluxe Irish Whiskies Arrive In US  2/13/2014 – Forbes
Last year I went to Dublin to play golf and needed a gift for a good friend – the kind of friend who has everything. Everything that is, except for a bottle of the Green Spot, arguably Ireland’s finest whiskey, which I carefully wrapped and brought back in my luggage, because you can’t get the Green Spot here. At least not until March 1, when the Green Spot will be sold in this country for the first time. It is not alone. Redbreast, historically my favorite Irish whiskey here and abroad, is rolling out its most deluxe version ever, a 21-year old, also hitting our shores March1. It will be an auspicious day for whisky fans across the country, and courtesy of Pernod Ricard, which distributes both of these brands here, I just got to sample previews of both. Yum! I really liked the Redbreast, which is hardly a surprise, because it has always been my favorite Irish whiskey and this is a well-aged, high quality spirit aged in Sherry (and American Oak) in similar fashion to my benchmark Scotch whisky, The Macallan, except a bit sweeter. This is the oldest version of Redbreast available since the label was launched in 1903, and non-chill filtered. The company describes it as full bodied, but I think that’s a bit confusing: it is not “big” or bold so much as layered and nuanced. It glows rather than burns, is very smooth and has a notable aroma of fresh and dried fruits. The Redbreast is delicate but still rich and full, with a slight oiliness that gives it a fatty quality, in a good way. Read the rest here!

Valentines Day Drinks
Romantic Valentine’s Day Cocktails  2/11/2014 –
While flowers and chocolates are, of course, standard on Valentine’s Day, to really impress your date, you’re going to need to get behind the bar and fix some cocktails. To help you out, we’ve picked 10 of our favorite romantic drinks, including classic and original concoctions, that you can whip up for your sweetheart no matter what else you have planned for the evening. These mixological love potions will certainly help you set the scene and put your Valentine in the mood. So forget cupid; you can thank us later. Cheers! Read the rest here!

Buying Liquor Could Get Way Easier  2/12/2014 – Huffington Post
As it stands now, liquor is sold only in the approximately 600 stores run by the state. The latest push to privatize liquor stores in Pennsylvania is among several proposals in state legislatures this year dealing with the sale of liquor, wine and beer. A similar attempt in Pennsylvania failed last year, as it has before, amid legislative squabbling. This time around, Corbett, a Republican, took a more subtle tack by only mentioning the issue in his State of the State speech, but declining to offer legislation and leaving it to lawmakers to put forth any bills. Read the rest here!

Spirit Guide: From Mystery to Hospitality with 4100 Bar’s Travis McFarland

February 11th, 2014 — 1:26pm

Before working in a bar, I was always mystified by the job of the bartender; their ability to produce a long list of drinks, some seemingly more intricate than others, to take payment and give change, all while engaging in conversation with their many guests. The speed and effectiveness behind the heuristics that allow the bartender to entertain and deliver with an air of confidence seemed like impossible tasks. Obviously not all bartenders carry this work ethic and confidence, but in general, the role of, “the bartender”, seemed very intimidating. These thoughts became even more apparent when I was offered the job of barback at my favorite bar, the 4100 Bar.

Once I began working alongside these working bon vivants, I was able to see their tricks and techniques to make all those mystified tasks possible. I was lucky enough to eventually be given the opportunity to become a bartender and to be trained to perform those remarkable efforts. I felt like a magician’s apprentice. I went from barback to bartender at 4100 Bar and eventually at The Golden Gopher, as well. Working within these two bars I see the importance of warm hospitality, and of providing my guests with that same feeling of comfort and delight that I once shared. I’m glad to use my new talents and abilities to help my guests feel like they’re in a welcoming, enjoyable place that offers them good drinks and a good time.

Travis McFarland/4100 Bar/Bartender

Seven Grand DTLA Whiskey Society: Compass Box w/ Robin Robinson, Wed., 2/12, 7pm

February 7th, 2014 — 11:11am

Compass Box Vert
This coming Wednesday, Feb. 12th, at 7pm, we will be hosting U.S. Brand Ambassador Robin Robinson from Compass Box. Robin will taste and educate us on some of the unique and amazing whiskies from his line. These guys are doing some things that no one else is doing, and creating some the most exciting blends on the market. Come learn with Robin, he’s a great educator.

A Welcome Punch will be served at 6:30pm, late-comers will not be seated, but can wait to meet Robin after the event, and enjoy Compass Box drink specials with their membership card while they wait. Come early and get cozy with your neighbors!

RSVP on the link below:

Register Here!

Memberships for the Seven Grand Whiskey Society can purchased at the bar, dues are $120 per year, and allow the bearer to bring a guest to any event. First-timers can pay a one-time $15 fee for admittance.

Be sure to come check out the Bar Jackalope, our new sipping lounge and tasting library, located in the back room at Seven Grand. We are open 9pm- 1:30am, Sunday through Thursday, offering tasting flights, hand-carved ice, whiskey and poetry books, a cigar patio, and table-side hospitality. We think you are really going to like it.

We look forward to seeing you.

Pedro, currently sipping Tiger. “Far East’s Finest.”

Pedro Shanahan, Spirit Guide,
Seven Grand Whiskey Bar, Co-curator,
Whiskey Society L.A.

For more info on the Whiskey Society:

And some more fun links, our photo/video report from whiskey travels in Ireland in September:

White-Knuckle Driving: Seven Grand crew travels to Ireland!

A great video featuring John Glaser, Master Blender at Compass Box: