What We’re Reading: The Best Whiskey I’ve Tasted In A Long Time – And A Well Kept Secret, Biotech To Whiskey, Tumbling Stock Of Luxury Chinese Liquor Company Reflects Strength Of Corruption Clam-down, This Is What An ‘Ultra-Premium’ Gin Tastes Like, Southern Curves Flavored Vodkas, Seasonal Drinks Hitting Retail Shelves, Give Your Drink A Touch Of Zest With This Spicy Jalapeno Tequila

September 13th, 2013 — 1:52pm

The Best Whisky I’ve Tasted In A Long Time – And A Well Kept Secret, 9/6/2013 – Forbes
In this column I’ve occasionally written about prestigious Scotch whisky labels that offer special vintage releases, such as The Macallan, which periodically rolls out collector bottles from single years. But the vast, vast majority of whiskies, Scotch, Irish, bourbon, rye, Japanese, whatever, are not vintage. They may have an age statement, like 12 years old, but that means all the whiskies blended in (or vatted if we are talking single malts) are at least that old. While it is the standard practice for wines, it is pretty uncommon for quality whiskies to be made entirely from the distillation of single year and sold as vintage.One very notable exception is Balblair, the only Scottish distillery that releases nothing but vintage whisky. Read the rest!

Biotech To Whiskey: Q&A With High West Distillery’s Founder,  9/4/2013 – Forbes
All entrepreneurs have a winding journey, but few wander as successfully as David Perkins, founder of High West Distillery in Park City, Utah. When I met David, I was immediately captivated by his business, his demeanor, his unusual path, and his incredibly tasty whiskey. Here’s a glimpse at his story. Read the rest!

Tumbling Stock of Luxury Chinese Liquor Company Reflects Strength of Corruption Clamp-down,  9/3/2013 – Forbes
Kweichow Moutai , the Chinese state-owned producer of expensive liquor that is often a favorite at government officials’ dinner tables, reported net profit growth on Monday of just 3.6% for the first half of 2013. This is the slowest growth since the company’s listing in 2001 on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, sending its stock price tumbling by more than 10% in one day.  Kweichow Moutai’s revenue growth slid to 9.5%, compared with 39% in the first half of 2012. Second-quarter sales were particularly hard hit and dropped 3.6% year-over-year. Given that 40% of the company’s sales can be attributed to government consumption using public funds, as the chairman revealed in May, the weak performance reflects the new cabinet’s resolve to tackle government overspending. Read the rest!

This Is What An ‘Ultra-Premium’ Gin Tastes Like,  8/26/2013 – Forbes
Even the best gins are designed to be pieces of a palate. This isn’t a solo spirit—it’s a team player that’s meant to dance with tonic or vermouth.  So you can understand my hesitation when Desmond Payne, Beefeater’s legendary master distiller (and one of the most dapper gentlemen I’ve ever met), passes me a pour of his new Burrough’s Reserve gin release and tells me to drink up.  As part of his company’s pitch at creating a new category of “ultra-premium” gin, Payne told me he wanted to make the ultimate throwback spirit. Not only would it incorporate James Burrough’s original recipe (a recipe that remains intact with modern Beefeater releases), but it would be made using his original still. And then, a twist: Unlike most gins, which are bottled as clear, unaged spirits, this one would sit in an oak cask, Scotch-style. The goal: Create the rare gin that could be ordered neat. Something that isn’t a mere cocktail component, but a standalone sipper. Read the rest!

Southern Curves flavored vodkas,  9/13/2013 – Beverage Industry
Southern Curves Spirits launched Sweet Georgia Nectar and Southern Praline flavored vodkas for women. The vodkas are made from corn and then distilled five times and infused with all-natural flavors, the company says. Sweet Georgia Nectar is infused with jasmine, honeysuckle and peach flavors, while Southern Praline features toasted pecan and crunchy brown sugar candy flavors, it adds. Each contains 35 percent alcohol by volume with a suggested retail price of $17.99 for a 750-ml bottle. Read the rest!


Seasonal drinks hitting retail shelves,  9/1/3013 – Beverage Industry
As the leaves start to change color and consumers begin to shift their thoughts to the crisper seasons ahead, beverage-makers release their seasonal offerings. Below is a list of a few beverages created for the fall and winter seasons ahead including, Kahlúa Pumpkin Spice, Guinness Red Harvest Stout, Bolthouse Farms Pumpkin Spice Latte, Holiday Nog and Peppermint Mocha, and Pinnacle flavored vodkas. Read the rest!

Give Your Drink a Touch of Zest with This Spicy Jalapeno Tequila,  9/11/2013 – Trend Hunter
If you’re looking for a way to add an extra kick to your pre-drink festivities, mix your drinks with jalapeno tequila. While tequila is already a favorite alcohol choice for people looking for a crazy night out, the added spice creates an extra appeal that will entice people to try it. The drink created by Tanteo is a bold choice, and may lead you to never want to drink regular tequila again. Read the rest!

Penny Pound Ice – “Chilling Cocktails to Perfection”

September 11th, 2013 — 12:30pm


Penny Pound Ice
In a basement fit for filming a new Saw movie (I think that at least one of the Saw movies was actually filmed here), big things are happening – big, watery, frozen things. 300 pound blocks of ice are being made in behemoth ice makers and cut into gorgeous crystal clear cubes with a single intent, to chill cocktails to perfection. Penny Pound Ice stands alone in Los Angeles as the only place to get ice of this fashion. Started by Eric Alperin in conjunction with 213 Spirited Ventures in February of this year, Penny Pound has been making these specialty ice cubes for 213 bars such as The Varnish, Tony’s Saloon, 4100 and Coles.

Creating crystal clear cubes of ice like these isn’t as simple as sticking water in a freezer and popping them out when the timer goes off. The process is a bit more complex and much more awesome. Roughly 40 gallons of water are poured into huge rectangular metal monsters called Clinebell Machines and begin a 3-day “slow-freezing” process. Pumps at the top of the tank circulate the water as it freezes, much like water flow in a lake, causing all of the impurities and minerals in the water to rise to the top and escape through the air. Pure water freezes clear, and more importantly, it freezes harder and at a higher density. When the large blocks have frozen through, they are removed with a winch and then cut down to 2” cubes that are begging to be plunged into a boozy concoction.

Why put so much effort into ice cubes, you ask? “Ice is the bartenders flame,” says Eric Alperin. “Harder and denser ice means more durability when shaking and building cocktails, and allows a drink to mature at a more controlled dilution rate.”

So, the next time you elbow up on the bar of Coles, order an Old Fashioned and take a moment to appreciate that beautiful block of ice swimming in your glass.

- Justin Graham

Music Monday: Audacity Live at Casey’s Friday September 13th

September 9th, 2013 — 3:15pm

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Audacity is Orange County’s latest proof that California’s the place to be. This fresh-faced Fullerton four piece has roots that stretch back to elementary school. That sense of lifelong camaraderie comes across in their buoyant take on the classic power punk sound. Bouncy slacker pop is always an appropriate soundtrack for a warm West Coast spring night. The music invokes trails of Todd Rundgren’s A Wizard, A True Star, as well as the best work of the Modern Lovers. Twisting in those influences with geographic touchstones like the Descendents and the Adolescents, Audacity crafts tunes that trade in hooks and fun amidst a rush of volume and youthful enthusiasm. Audacity is asserting their place among power pop peers like Nobunny and Atlanta’s Gentleman Jesse and His Men. Audacity is evidence that suburban sprawl combined with a little sun and surf can make for fantastic results.

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