What We’re Reading: American Single-Malt Whiskeys Serve Notice, Swedish Punsch, Ohio’s Booze Bond, American Single Malts, San Diego’s North Park, Bartenders Are Doing More Than Taking Orders

January 22nd, 2013 — 4:29pm

Food, art and a hipster vibe in San Diego’s North Park, 1/13/2013 – Los Angeles Times
It’s edgy, it’s cool — and it’s official: San Diego’s North Park made Forbes’ list of America’s Hippest Hipster Neighborhoods in September, joining such spots as L.A.’s Silver Lake and San Francisco’s Mission District. North Park has all the ingredients for the cool school: It’s culturally diverse and has art galleries, boutiques, trendy bars with handcrafted cocktails and local brews, and foodie-approved eateries. Read more!

Bartenders Are Doing More Than Taking Orders, 1/22/2013 – New York Times

Around the neck of every bottle from the fledgling spirits outfit the 86 Co. — the gin, the vodka, the tequila, the rum — is a small glass ridge. To the untrained eye, it looks like a packaging flourish. It is not. Read more!

American Single-Malt Whiskeys Serve Notice, 1/15/2013 – New York Times
a single-malt whiskey from the Balcones Distillery in Waco bested nine others, including storied Scottish names like the Balvenie and the Macallan, in a blind panel of British spirits experts.

It was the first time an American whiskey won the Best in Glass, a five-year-old competition to find the best whiskey released in a given year. Balcones, said Neil Ridley, one of the organizers, is everything you’d expect from a young American: brash, robust and full of flavor. “It was like putting a New World wine against an Old World chateau,” he said. This wasn’t supposed to happen. American whiskey is all about corn and rye; malted barley, the primary grain in the Scotch variety, traditionally plays a minor role in bourbon recipes. And single malts have long been considered an exclusive province of Scotland. But suddenly, American malted whiskeys — most of them single malts — are popping up, some to loud acclaim. “There’s been a wave this year,” said Sean Josephs, a co-owner of Char No. 4, a restaurant in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, that features a bar flush with domestic and imported whiskeys. Read more!

Swedish Punsch: Kronan Brings It Back From The Brink, 1/14/2013 – Huffington Post
By now, you’re probably familiar with how excitable we become when we discover a liqueur or spirit we’ve never tried before. That’s just what happened the other day when we walked into our local wine shop and sampled a bit of Kronan Swedish Punsch. No, that is not a typo, do not adjust your screen — we’re talking “punsch,” not “punch.” Swedish punsch was a popular ingredient in cocktails in America until Prohibition, after which it just kind of disappeared. But thanks to Kronan, it’s back. A sugarcane-based spirit, Swedish punsch also contains rum, sugar and spices. Read more!

Ohio’s Booze-backed Bond Deal Could Be Trend Setter, 1/18/2013 – Forbes
In what could be one of the largest mixes of taxable and tax-exempt bond deals of its kind, Ohio officials are moving forward with a roughly $1.5 billion offering that will be secured with profits from the sale of liquor. The deal has been mired in controversy since it was concocted years ago. However, one thing that potential bond buyers may not have to worry about is the bonds going into default. This week, the state’s liquor control division announced that state liquor sales set a record last year. Given the rate of consumption of liquor in the Buckeye State, I believe there is little reason to think that the strong sale of beverages containing it (or on the rock pours) in the state won’t continue in future years, providing a more than adequate revenue stream to back the bonds. Read more!

American Single Malts, 1/14/2013 – Liquor.com
While America is, of course, famous for its bourbon and rye, another type of domestic whiskey is getting popular: single malt. Though the term is usually associated with Scotch, an increasing number of craft distillers across the US are creating unique versions of the spirit. Here are a few to look out for: ST. GEORGE SINGLE MALT WHISKEY ($70), UPRISING AMERICAN WHISKEY ($42), HUDSON SINGLE MALT WHISKEY ($45 FOR 375 ML), CORSAIR TRIPLE SMOKE ($45), WASMUND’S SINGLE MALT WHISKY ($37). Read more!