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June 2012

Julien Escot Wins Havana Club International Cocktail Grand Prix 2012

Julien Escot of the bar Papa Doble in Montpellier, France has won the 2012 Havana Club International Cocktail Grand Prix. All images provided by Havana Club Escot beat out 40 bartenders from countries around the world (not including the US due to the embargo) to win the title. The competitors first made drinks in the semi-finals. They had to prepare a twist on a Cuban classic and an original creation. From those 40, just three bartenders were chosen to go into the finals. They were Julian Escot, Ryan Chetiyawardana of London (who is working on some new bar projects currently... Read more →

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Jack Daniel's Distillery Visit

This spring I toured eight American whisky distilleries, including Jack Daniel's. As you'd expect, Jack Daniel's is a huge operation with a very slick tour. You start with a video at the visitors' center, then take a shuttle up to the top of the hill. There, they burn sugar maple wood into charcoal for the Lincoln County Process, in which newly-distilled spirit is filtered through charcaol before barrel aging. They weren't burning wood on the day I visited, so no bonfire for me. Then we visited the cave spring where they get the water to ferment the grains before distilling,... Read more →

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Distillery Visit: George Dickel

This spring I visited the George Dickel distillery, located in Cascade Hollow, Tennessee. Dickel and Jack Daniel's are the two defining Tennessee whiskies: both employ the "Lincoln County Process" of running the new spirit through 10+ feet of charcoal before it is aged. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a requirement of Tennessee whisky, as Tennessee whisky is not its own category by US law. By putting "Tennessee" on the label it must be made in Tennessee, but beyond that Dickel and Daniel's meet all the requirements for bourbon. In 1870, George Dickel founded the distillery, originally called Cascade... Read more →

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Summer Whisky Cocktails in Whisky Advocate Magazine

Holy Smokes! They put my story on Summer Whisky Cocktails on the cover of Whisky Advocate Magazine! Inside it's 7 pages of deliciousness, with recipes brought to you by: Alan Akwai Brendan Dorr Jon Santer David Delaney, Jr. Larry Rice Sam Ross Kevin Diedrich Kevin Kelpe Mike Ryan There are swizzles and punches and highballs and bucks and smoky drinks! Run screaming to your local newsstand and pick up the Summer 2012 issue of Whisky Advocate today! Read more →

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Cuba Libre Plus Plus

In a recent FineCooking.com column, I wrote about the Cuba Libre (Preparado), which I found in the book Home Bar Basics and Not-So-Basics. Author Dave Stolte found the recipe from Paul Harrington, who in turn learned it from a customer from Venezuela. The drink contains rum, Coke, bitters, gin, and lime juice. Get the recipe here. Read more →

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New Booze Released in April and May 2012

Over at ShakeStir.com, an online community for bartenders and industry folk, I run the New Booze blog. There I keep track of new spirits being released and new distribution of existing spirits into new markets. New spirits released (or announced) in April and May were: Absolut Cherrykran Purus Vodka (increased distribution) Pink Pigeon Rum Karlsson's Batch 2008 Grey Goose Cherry Noir Four Roses 2012 Limited Edition Single Barrel Bourbon Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum Wild Turkey 81 Rye Camus Cognac Ile de Re Three New Absinthes from Viridian Spirits Col. E.H. Taylor, Jr Barrel Proof Bourbon Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur... Read more →

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