What We’re Reading: Preppy Drinks Never Go Out Of Style, Suntory Beverage Sets Sights On Overseas Acquisitions, Beam’s Up-And-Coming Spirit: A Whiskey For The Ladies, The Good Stuff

July 19th, 2013 — 12:06pm

Preppy Drinks Never Go Out of Style,  7/11/2013 – The New York Times
Nothing seems easier or, as drinks favored by young adults go, more transitional, than fruit juice and vodka. Perhaps nothing seems duller, too, than its variations: the screwdriver; the Cape Codder; the sea breeze; and, of course, the madras. A little grapefruit or orange juice here, cranberry there, lime wedges and vodka all around. What we’ve got, essentially, is spiked fruit juice, and there’s nothing wrong with that. At the bar where I work, I get plenty of calls for Cape Codders, but my customers are more likely just to order them by their ingredients, elided into vodkacran.  But it’s fun, and easy, to upgrade preppy staples. A splash of triple sec and a great big curl of orange peel deepen the flavor in a madras. A shake of hot sauce and a salt-and-chili-powder rim perks up a sea breeze. Using freshly squeezed juice whenever possible certainly makes a difference. And if you prefer gin to vodka, as I usually do, go ahead and use it; this goes for tequila, too. I like a good splash of club soda to finish these drinks and calm down their fruity sweetness. Read the rest here!

Suntory Beverage Sets Sights on Overseas Acquisitions,  7/9/2013  – The Wall Street Journal
TOKYO—Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd. 2587.TO-3.25% is preparing to spend at least ¥500 billion ($4.9 billion) on acquisitions globally using a combination of proceeds from last week’s initial public offering and bank loans, its president said.

Nobuhiro Torii said Tuesday he finds regions such as Africa, Latin America and the Middle East attractive, adding his team of experts on mergers and acquisitions has visited Brazil and is planning to go to Africa for research on targets.  Suntory Holdings’ beer and liquor unit, home to award-winning whiskies such as Yamazaki, as well as its wine unit, lie outside the operations of the newly listed company. Read the rest here!

Beam’s Up-And-Coming Spirit: A Whiskey For the Ladies,  7/3/2013 – The Wall Street Journal
Kieran Folliard, founder of 2 Gingers, refuses to be a snob about the Irish whiskey he launched less than two years ago and instead continues to push his sweet liquor in an attempt to attract nonwhiskey drinkers. But while Mr. Folliard strikes an everyman–or, maybe in this case, an everywoman–tone when talking about 2 Gingers, parent Bean Inc. is taking the brand’s potential quite seriously.  2 Gingers, named after Mr. Folliard’s red-haired mother and aunt, has quickly become the second most popular Irish whiskey, after Pernod Ricard SA’s RI.FR-2.42%, in many of the upper Midwest states in which it is sold. 2 Gingers, currently in 10 states, will expand distribution to Texas, Pennsylvania and seven other states this year, with more markets to be added in 2014. Read the rest here!

The Good Stuff Get your DIY on with Tito’s Handmade Vodka  7/3/2013 – Tasting Table
Tito’s Handmade Vodka has it going on: It’s American-made, gluten-free, kosher, vegan, and made from 100 percent corn.  This summer, snag a bottle and make your own fresh infusions with the abundance of natural produce available at local farmers’ markets. Try using blueberry, cantaloupe, cucumber or peach and ginger for a vivacious flavor.  Started in 1995, Tito’s Handmade Vodka was the first legal distillery in Texas. To this day Tito’s Handmade Vodka is still handcrafted in an old-fashioned copper pot by Tito Beveridge himself. Read the rest here!

The Best Cocktails In L.A. – LAist. Caña Rum Bar & Las Perlas Make The Top Two!

July 18th, 2013 — 2:58pm

The Best Cocktails In L.A., 7/17/13 – LAist
There’s a lot of drinking to be done in this here city, and where you throw one back on a daily basis is likely just as much about quality as it is proximity. Thankfully our LAist editors are always on the lookout for a good drink in our citywide travels. We picked our favorite tipples around town to save you the mileage. Here are the cocktails that made the cut. Read the rest here and check out the top two favorite drinks from Caña Rum Bar & Las Perlas!

Mix This: The Dry Martini (By Max Seaman, GM at The Varnish)

July 16th, 2013 — 11:28am

A dry Martini may be the ultimate drinker’s drink: strong crisp and clean without any sugars or liqueurs, you can drink them all night long without getting bogged down. The key to a good dry Martini: Dry gin, high quality vermouth, cold ice and perfect dilution.

THE GIN: Make sure to use a good London Dry style gin. We prefer classics like Beefeater or Plymouth, but there are many great brands on the market. DO NOT use a modern-style gin like Hendrick’s. These types of gin are intended to be consumed on their own instead of mixed, and they do not “play well with others.” Hendrick’s, for example, is very sweet with a strong rose-water flavor that will clash with the vermouth and create an odd flavor. A London Dry style gin will integrate with the vermouth for a whole flavor greater than the sum of it’s parts.

THE VERMOUTH: We love Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry Dry, but there are other good dry vermouths out there. Try some out and see what you like.

THE RATIO: For whatever reason, many modern drinkers have become afraid of the taste of vermouth. We think a real Martini needs a strong dose of vermouth. We like a ratio of 2 parts gin to 1 part vermouth, but some people prefer 3 to 1 or even 5 to 1. However, we recommend against the “Winston Churchill” school of drinking a straight glass of gin while looking at a bottle of vermouth from across the room.

THE ICE: Make sure to use ice straight from the freezer. Remember, your freezer is set to a temperature below 32 degrees, and the colder the starting point of the ice, the colder your Martini. Also keep in mind that ice may pick up flavors of whatever is in your freezer. We also recommend chilling your glassware in the freezer, as this will keep your Martini colder longer. Freeze both the mixing glass and your coupe or Martini glass.

STIR, NEVER SHAKE. Shaking adds air bubbles and will create a cloudy, watery mess of a Martini. James Bond was a great secret agent but didn’t know much about cocktails. Make sure to fill the mixing glass all the way to the top with ice – the more ice you use the colder the drink. Stir gently – the idea is to chill the drink and also add just the right amount of water – enough to mellow and integrate the flavors, but not enough so that the drink is a watery mess.

THE GARNISH: An olive vs. a twist is completely up to the drinker. (no shame in asking for both!) A lemon twist adds aroma and a touch of bitterness. An olive adds a tasty snack.

If garnishing with a twist, cut a small strip of lemon peel with as little white pith as possible. Hold with your forefingers high above the glass with the outside of the peel facing down. Gently squeeze out the essential oils, and try to “rain” them down evenly over the liquid. If you hold it too close to the glass, the Martini will be harsh and bitter. After you’ve squeezed the oils, gently brush the rim of the glass with the peel. If you like your Martini a bit more bitter, drop the peel into the glass. If not, set it aside.

If garnishing with an olive, be creative: no need to be limited by those olives stuffed with pimento. There are many delicious olive varieties in world. We like to use cerignola olives from Italy.

-2oz Beefeater Gin
-1oz Dolin Dry Vermouth.

Place ingredients in a frozen 16oz pint glass. Fill with very cold ice and stir gently until the ice has given up about .75-1oz water. Strain into a frozen coupe or Martini glass. Garnish with an olive or a lemon twist. (or both!)

Max Seaman, The Varnish, GM