Rogue Spirits (Newport, Oregon) has officially announced that it is entering the ready-to-drink arena with the launch of three Sparkling Craft Cocktails – Cucumber Lime Gin Fizz, Cranberry Elderflower Vodka Soda and Ginger Lime Vodka Mule – in select markets on August 1.
Crafted to “embody the spirit of the DIY ethos of mixology”, Rogue’s new selection of gluten-free Sparkling Craft Cocktails are made with “with award-winning Rogue Spirits and 100% natural ingredients.” Coming in at just 7.5% ABV, each Sparkling Craft Cocktail “delivers a sophisticated, yet refreshing experience with bona fide craft cocktail credentials.”
This new line will launch with the following three offerings (descriptions sourced directly from Rogue’s press release):
Cucumber Lime Gin Fizz – Inspired by cucumbers grown on Rogue Farms, Rogue Spirits Gin forms the base of this cocktail while the cucumber and lime provide a farm-fresh citrus balance. ABV – 7.5%
Cranberry Elderflower Vodka Soda – Inspired by the cranberries that grow on the Oregon coast, Rogue Spirits Bayfront Vodka forms the base of this cocktail while the cranberry, elderflower and lime add a refreshing tartness. ABV – 7.5%
Ginger Lime Vodka Mule – Inspired by a favorite at the Rogue Pub in Newport, Oregon, Rogue Spirits Bayfront Vodka forms the base of this cocktail while ginger and lime provide a refreshing balance of citrus and spice. ABV – 7.5%
“As brewers we love the convenience of beer in a can, and as distillers we enjoy the complex flavor profiles of a good mixed drink, launching a line of canned cocktails just felt right. Leaning on our 16 years of distilling experience, we developed three amazing cocktails and put them in a can, so you don’t have to worry about mixing up your favorite drink on the go,” says Rogue President Dharma Tamm. “Made with flavors that rival our freshly made bar equivalents, our sparkling craft cocktails are perfect for summer, whether it be camping, at the beach or in your backyard. They can be enjoyed right out of the can or poured over ice.”
Cucumber Lime Gin Fizz, Cranberry Elderflower Vodka Soda and Ginger Lime Vodka Mule will all experience an initial launch on August 1 in Florida, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Michigan only and a nationwide release is scheduled to follow in January 2020. All three Sparkling Craft Cocktails are available in 4-packs of 12 oz. slim cans. Prost!
Dashfire Bitters (Minnetonka, Minnesota) has officially announced that – with the help of Vision Wine & Spirits, the national sales & import division of Martignetti Companies – it has launched a new line of Ready-to-Drink (RTD) Cocktails in 6-packs of 100ml cans and 750ml bottles.
Developed to conveniently give you the experience of “cocktail rooms and craft cocktail bars” in your home, Dashfire Ready-to-Drinks are “a line of high-proof, complex, ready-to-drink cocktails, featuring a twist on some of the best classic cocktails out there.” All RTD Cocktails feature “base spirits that are combined with unique flavors and bitters.”
Dashfire will launch the RTD series with the following offerings (descriptions sourced directly from the press release issued by Vision Wine & Spirits):
Bourbon Old Fashioned – This ready-to-pour Old Fashioned Cocktail, with its blend of four bitters, natural sugar cane juice, hint of cherry, vanilla, chicory and spirited with bourbon, is about as pleasant an Old Fashioned you can find.
Elderflower Martinez – This Martinez Cocktail is designed to be appreciated by aficionados but also those new to this classic cocktail. This twist on a classic has a pleasant sweetness of pear, tartness of apricot and the subtle aroma of elderflower.
Fig & Cascara Manhattan – This ready-to-pour Manhattan Cocktail is made with Rye Whiskey, Cream Sherry & bitters, elevated with the addition of Black Mission Fig, Cascara Cherry, Vanilla and Rhubarb Root.
Lemon & Lavender Martini – This ready-to-pour Martini stands apart from the rest. With subtle sweetness and an elegant aroma from lemon and lavender bitters, this is a classic with a twist.
Pomegranate El Presidente – This ready-to-pour El Presidente Cocktail is one of very few high-proof rum cocktails out there. Egbert’s version of this classic Cuban Cocktail has house-made grenadine, made from pure pomegranate juice, and cane sugar.
Chai White Russian – This ready-to-pour White Russian is just plain fun and a joy to imbibe. Made from Vodka, Midwest Heavy Cream, and the already beautiful botanicals of their Chai’Walla bitters.
**Serving Suggestions – The 750 ml bottles are ready to be poured over ice for a perfect, premium and restaurant-quality cocktail at any time. Throw the cans in your cooler and you’re ready to enjoy your favorite cocktail at the lake, gathering, boat or golf course. Ice optional.**
“Dashfire’s ready to drink cocktails change the game – people get to enjoy a complete, restaurant quality cocktail at the drop of a hat, whenever and wherever they are.”
– Lee Egbert, Founder of Dashfire Bitters
The RTD Cocktails listed above are rolling out now with availability in 750ml bottles and 6-packs of 100ml cans. You can expect to find Dashfire Ready-to-Drink Cocktails at select liquor retailers located in Georgia, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Washington DC, and Maryland. Prost!
Named after the “historic city of Jaisalmer (pronounced “jess-all-mur), the ‘Golden City’, located in the Northwest of India in the state of Rajasthan”, Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin is a triple-distilled, small batch spirit that is hand-crafted in “a traditional copper pot still” by Master Distiller Anup Barik at Radico Khaitan – formerly known as Rampur Distillery, one of India’s oldest distilleries. With its development based in “the ancient Indian knowledge of herbs”, Jaisalmer is made from a recipe that sources seven of its eleven botanicals from India: Coriander and Vetiver from Jaisalmer itself; Sweet Orange Peel from Central India; Cubeb Berries and Lemongrass from Southern India; Darjeeling Green Tea from Eastern India; and Lemon Peel from Western India. Rounded off with Angelica Root, Licorice, Caraway Seeds and Juniper Berries, Jaisalmer India Craft Gin (43% ABV/86 proof) is a complex offering that retains “the classic gin flavor using juniper berries whilst adding a refreshing twist with Indian botanicals.”
750ml bottles of Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin are available in the U.S. now for the suggested retail price of $50 each. This small batch craft spirit can be found at select liquor retailers located throughout the country or you can purchase it online at The Whisky Exchange.
Now that we have properly gone over the story behind Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin, let’s get into this bottle, pour up a few tasting glasses and even mix up a summer-appropriate cocktail for some Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes for Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin from Radico Khaitan
Appearance: Presented in an eye-catching, frosted black bottle with gold and bright blue accents, Jaisalmer is pristine in clarity and shows no sign of even the slightest tint or hue of color. When swirled in the glass, the gin holds the sides for a moment before dropping in a quick-moving cascade of thin legs. There is not much to report in this arena (it is a clear spirit after all), but all is as it should be.
Aroma: The aromatics open with that classic gin presence of piney juniper and citrusy coriander. Fresh lemon, lime and orange peel follow the coriander’s lead to establish a strong citrus presence that is both sweet and tart. The profile closes softly with gentle earthy and grassy notes accompanied by a light pepper quality from the vetiver.
Taste: The citrusy notes take point here with pronounced notes of lemon zest/peel, lime juice, candied orange peel and sweet orange juice. Tones of lemongrass, ginger and mint then surface to complement and further enhance the gin’s citrus character. The more traditional notes of pine and juniper finally push forward just as the experience closes with a floral/earthy/medicinal character provided by the green tea leaves, Angelica root and licorice.
Mouthfeel: Lightly slick on the palate, Jaisalmer hits with a bright flourish and then dries out almost immediately. Although it is mostly fruity and sweet on the palate, the overall experience finds a nice balance thanks to its piney, earthy and medicinal notes. The 43% ABV provided only the faintest hint of heat, leaving this spirit incredibly smooth. The finish leaves behind notes of sweet citrus, lemongrass and green tea.
Final Thoughts: Every aspect of Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin is beautifully nuanced and – in a word – lovely. We were simply amazed at how each of the eleven featured botanicals were able to make a direct impact on the experience but still find their place in a tight formation so that they can all work together as one seamless whole. The citrus-forward character of Jaisalmer will make believers out of those who claim they “just are not a gin person” while its exotic ingredients and deep complexity will entice the most avid of gin drinkers.
Although thoroughly impressed by Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin on its own, we were immediately convinced that it would be a brilliant gin for mixed drinks before we even broke out a cocktail shaker. Since the heat is already getting absolutely out of control here in Tampa, we put Jaisalmer to the cocktail test by mixing up some refreshing Maharaja Mojitos (pictured above on the right; recipe provided by Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin):
The Maharaja Mojito
50ml Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin
20ml Organic Agave Syrup
15ml Lime Juice
6 Mint Leaves
50ml Bitter Lemon
Fill your glass of choice with ice and pour Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin. Clap the mint leaves and add to the glass. Add fresh lime juice, bitter lemon and agave syrup. Stir gently. Garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy!
Where traditional rum-based mojitos tend to focus on a quenching sweetness accompanied by a fresh breeze of mint, the Maharaja Mojito shifts things a bit as the Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin really accentuates the drink’s lime character while its botanicals lift the mint to all new heights of refreshment. With that said, mojito traditionalists do not need to fret because the added agave syrup still gives you that satisfying sweetness. It is an incredibly composed cocktail that will have you coming back for refill after refill.
Whether on its own, served simply as an after-work drink with a splash of tonic and an orange slice or enjoyed poolside in an elaborate cocktail, Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin proves that it is a damn near perfect spirit. It has approachability . . . It has complexity . . . It has versatility . . . and it has a place in your liquor cabinet at home and on the shelf at your favorite cocktail bar. Seriously, do not sleep on this one. Prost!
It is once again that time to celebrate our parents during the five week stretch that contains their given holidays: Mother’s Day on May 12 and Father’s Day on June 16. The crew here at Mashing In is well aware that finding a decent gift gets more and more difficult as we get older, so we have decided to compile a gift guide for those moms and dads that enjoy a well-crafted adult beverage from time to time. This installment of the guide is a suggestion for the parent that fancies herself or himself a whiskey aficionado: the whiskeys of MGP Ingredients (Atchison, Kansas).
Since National Bourbon Day (6/14) and Father’s Day (6/16) just so happen to share the same weekend, the good folks at MGP Ingredients have gone through their vast whiskey portfolio to assemble the following gift guide of new releases and top whiskey trends to help you narrow down the perfect whiskey – or two – for your mom and/or pops (gift guide and descriptions sourced directly from MGP Ingredients‘ press release):
Follow the Rye | Rye whiskey is on the rise. It fell out of favor after Prohibition—now it’s back in a big way and has just surpassed 1 million cases, up from just 100,000 cases in 2010. MGP Ingredients makes over 80% of the country’s rye whiskies, crafted in their historic distillery in Lawrenceburg, Ind., the “Rye Capital of America.” Rye is spicy and full of character, the perfect ingredient for classics like the Manhattan, Sazerac and Old Fashioned – and also a decadent sipper if made with care. For cocktails we recommend Rossville Union Master Crafted Straight Rye Whiskey (SRP: $39.99; 94-proof, aged a minimum of 4 years) and for sipping, it’s all about Rossville Union Barrel Proof Straight Rye Whiskey (SRP: $69.99) **both pictured below**. Barrel Proof is blended from the finest barrel reserves to deliver a full, but balanced cask-strength rye whiskey; so smooth, hard to believe it’s 112.6 proof. Rossville Union Rye Whiskey was first released in summer 2018 – and is nationally available.
Eight & Sand – The Rackhouse Series Honors the Railroad | The newest MGP release is Eight & Sand Blended Bourbon Whiskey**pictured on the upper right**. The nose and palate deliver spicy rye and cinnamon notes, followed by a touch of caramel at the caboose. There are no additives or colors – just the good stuff: quality, blended bourbon whiskey. Eight & Sand is competitively priced for smooth sailing ahead. If Dad is a train enthusiast, he’ll particularly love this label: Eight & Sand Blended Bourbon Whiskey supports great American Railroad Museums and historic preservation. SRP: $29.99 (88-proof).
The Bootlegger’s Bourbons | Bourbon is always in style. For every day, we recommend George Remus Straight Bourbon Whiskey(SRP: $39.99) **pictured above**, named for the King of the Bootleggers and aged a minimum of 4 years. There are a few bottles left of the rare, reserve Remus Repeal Reserve Series II(SRP: $84.99) – a collectible choice for bourbon lovin’ dads. Both bourbons are distilled in Lawrenceburg, and have a touch more rye in the blend than most. Remus Repeal Reserve Series II is crafted from 2007/2008 reserve bourbons and is available in limited quantities.
All the whiskeys mentioned above are available now at fine liquor retailers located in Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin. Prost!
It is once again that time to celebrate our parents during the five week stretch that contains their given holidays: Mother’s Day on May 12 and Father’s Day on June 16. The crew here at Mashing In is well aware that finding a decent gift gets more and more difficult as we get older, so we have decided to compile a gift guide for those moms and dads that enjoy a well-crafted adult beverage from time to time. This installment of the guide is a suggestion for the parent that enjoys a nice pour of fine Bourbon or Rye Whiskey: the whiskeys of Angel’s Envy (Louisville, Kentucky).
Angel’s Envy, a family-operated business created by the father-son duo of Lincoln Henderson and Wes Henderson, is a Louisville-based Bourbon maker that artfully crafts “divine inspiration . . . into a spirit so sublime you’ll want to share it with the world.” With all offerings “hand blended [in] batches of 8 to 12 barrels at a time”, the overall approach at Angel’s Envy is to combine “200 years of bourbon tradition [with] an independent master craftsman’s instinct to improve.”
For Mother’s & Father’s Day 2019, Angel’s Envy suggests treating your whiskey-loving parent to one (or more) of the following three core offerings (descriptions sourced directly from the distillery’s press release):
Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey | Description: Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon is finished in port wine casks for an award-winning spirit. We guide each batch’s conditioning, blending our handcrafted bourbon in small batches of 8 to 12 barrels at a time. Once it’s deemed ready, we finish our bourbon in ruby port wine casks, which adds subtly distinct flavor nuances that enhance the whiskey without challenging it. Our port finishing process lasts between three to six months, depending on taste. SRP: $49.99
Angel’s Envy Rye | Description: Angel’s Envy Rye Finished in Rum Barrels is genuinely unique and worthy of Master Distiller Lincoln Henderson’s legacy. The taste profile of rye whiskey was a perfect fit for a rum cask finish. After sampling over 100 rums to find the right flavor to complement rye whiskey, the team’s decision was unanimous. SRP: $89.99
Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 2018 Cask Strength | Description: Ranked the “Best Spirit in the World” by Spirit Journal in 2013, Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Bourbon Finished in Port Barrels is unlike any whiskey you’ve ever tried and we released a very limited number of bottles – 12,000 to be exact. We judge only a handful of barrels exceptional enough for our lengthy finishing process. Even at 124 proof, every sip is worth savoring. A remarkably complex and unfiltered spirit, we suggest you enjoy it neat or with just a splash of water to release the flavor nuances, and perhaps with a few friends who appreciate outstanding whiskey. SRP: $199.99
You can find all the offerings listed above available in 750ml bottles at fine liquor retailers located in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky and throughout the rest of the Angel’s Envy distribution network. Prost!
It is once again that time to celebrate our parents during the five week stretch that contains their given holidays: Mother’s Day on May 12 and Father’s Day on June 16. The crew here at Mashing In is well aware that finding a decent gift gets more and more difficult as we get older, so we have decided to compile a gift guide for those moms and dads that enjoy a fine adult beverage from time to time. This installment of the guide is a suggestion for the parent that fancies herself/himself as a vodka aficionado: BĒT Vodka (Minneapolis, Minnesota).
Carefully crafted by “two millennials” – Ben Brueschoff and Jared Poling – after working with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, BĒT Vodka stands out from “the typical potato, wheat and corn [Vodka] varieties” by being a “unique luxury” Vodka made with sugar beets that are “harvested and processed into granulated beet sugar, then dissolved into water with nutrients, fermented for up to two weeks, distilled no less than three times, blended with filtered water, and passed through active carbon to create a premium-pour.” This process results in a taste that is “smooth on the front, with peppered spice on the back, and a hint of vanilla essence.” Clocking in at 40% ABV/80 proof, BĒT Vodka is “full of heart and made for sharing.”
BĒT Vodka is currently available in 750ml bottles at select restaurants, bars and liquor establishments in the Twin Cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. You can look for this premium spirit at “Booze Mart, Central Spirits, Lowry Hill Liquor, MGM Liquor, Rum River and more” or you can purchase BĒT Vodka online by clicking here. Prost!
Developed to celebrate the rich history of NASCAR’s fastest and most competitive track, Talladega 50th Anniversary Corn Whiskey is a “traditional, unaged corn whiskey . . . reminiscent of the spirits bootlegged throughout Appalachia.” Clocking in at 100 PROOF/50% ABV, Talladega 50th Anniversary has “a crisp and clean, sweet corn flavor” that will “[take] you back to a simpler time.”
Talladega 50th Anniversary Corn Whiskey officially releases on April 12, 2019 and will hang around as long as supplies last. You can expect to find this Limited-Edition moonshine available in 750ml Mason jars at select liquor stores located in Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and throughout the rest of Sugarlands Distilling Co.’s distribution network. Prost!
Vital Information for Talladega 50th Anniversary Corn Whiskey from Sugarlands Distilling Co.
Release – Limited; April 12, 2019 Style – Corn Whiskey (unaged) ABV – 50% PROOF – 100 Fun Facts – “Talladega Superspeedway – or just ‘Dega to its loyal fans – broke ground as the Alabama International Motor Speedway on May 23, 1968 and hosted its first race on Sept. 14, 1969. ‘Dega is known as the most competitive track in NASCAR. It’s the biggest, steepest (33 degrees), and fastest venue in NASCAR. The Sweet Home of Speed still holds the NASCAR qualifying record of 212.809 mph, and it tops in the record books for lead changes (88), most leaders (29) and closest finishes – 0.002 second. Oh, and another thing ‘Dega is really good at? Legendary parties. It’s been 50 years of greatness, but the best is yet to come.” Availability – 750ml Mason jars Moonshine Finder – https://www.sugarlands.com/find/
Inspired by the amazing history of the American railroad, Eight & Sand’s name “refers to the eighth (and fastest) notch on a locomotive’s throttle and the sand used on the wheels to prevent slipping. To wish a train crew an ‘Eight & Sand’ is akin to ‘smooth sailing’.”
When it comes to the liquid itself, Eight & Sand is a “blend of bourbon and whiskies married together to create a smooth and satisfying experience in every sip.” Bourbon fans can expect this offering’s “nose and palate [to deliver] spicy rye and cinnamon notes, followed by a touch of caramel at the caboose.” Eight & Sand clocks in at 44% ABV/88 PROOF and contains “no additives or colors – just the good stuff.”
Eight & Sand Blended Bourbon Whiskey is on shelves now with availability in 750ml bottles (competitively priced at $29.99 each). You can expect to find this new offering at fine liquor retailers located in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas and Wisconsin.
Now that we have properly covered the inspiration and details behind Eight & Sand, let’s pour a couple fingers and get into some Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes for Eight & Sand Blended Bourbon Whiskey from MGP Ingredients
Appearance:Eight & Sand pours a yellow-tinged amber in color that is not too light, not too dark. When held to direct light, the yellow tones gain vibrancy at the edges while the deeper amber color holds at the core. The whiskey is crystal clear, no signs of cloud or haze. A swirl of the glass leaves long, syrupy legs that slowly work their way back down into the liquid.
Aroma: A solid cinnamon presence greets the nose, but it is quickly tempered by a waft of earthy leather and spicy rye. A tropical character then surfaces, adding tones of coconut, berries and exotic citrus. The profile closes with a soothing combination of toasted oak, vanilla and caramel.
Taste: Spice, rye and a sprinkle of cinnamon are the first notes to hit the palate. The tropical fruit character that really asserted itself in the nose is far more reserved here, but a bit of berry and coconut does turn up at times. Earthiness replaces that fruitiness nicely with notes of tobacco and leather. Vanilla, caramel and soft oaky tones round everything out with a comforting sweetness.
Mouthfeel/Finish: Light and little airy on the palate, this blended bourbon is clean, goes down easily and is considerably smooth (not at all harsh or overly aggressive). The 44% ABV/88 PROOF does bring some warmth to the throat and chest, but it is more than reasonable for a bourbon. The finish is a gentle blend of cinnamon, vanilla and tobacco.
Final Thoughts: All in all, Eight & Sand is an incredibly intriguing offering (especially when you consider the super reasonable $30 price tag). The aroma is absolutely mesmerizing, the flavors are more than solid enough to break the stigma that the blended bourbon category tends to carry, and the whiskey ultimately lives up to its name by being smooth and easy-drinking. Beyond that, it has the ability to stand on its own (neat or on the rocks) or in an Old Fashioned or any other bourbon-based cocktail that could benefit from a punch of fruitiness.
Final tally: it is enjoyable, unique, versatile and comes at a price that will not break the bank. Sounds like all of that amounts to a win. Be sure to check out Eight & Sand the next time you hit the bottle shop in search of something new. Prost!
For this special installment of Tasting Notes, we take advantage of the exciting opportunity to sample and work with Forbidden Fruit, a nearly forgotten liqueur that has been recently resurrected byLee Spirits Company (Colorado Springs, Colorado).
First created in the late 1800s, Forbidden Fruit, a citrus-based liqueur, at one time grew to such popularity that it was frequently mentioned as an ingredient in The Savoy Cocktail Book and The Café Royal Cocktail Book – two highly-respected tomes from the 1930’s that now chronicle the history of classic cocktails. Never heard of it? Well, the reason for that stems from the moment it was “acquired from the original producers by the Jacquin Company.” This move set the stage for Forbidden Fruit to oddly meet its demise in 1970’s when the Jacquin Company decided to “[repurpose] the bottle design for their new Chambord Raspberry Liqueur.” Production of Forbidden Fruit completely ceased, leaving “classic cocktail enthusiasts . . . no choice but to try to substitute Forbidden Fruit with another ingredient or to recreate it themselves” . . . until Lee Spirits Company showed up.
Staying true to their “mission to authentically recreate classic cocktail ingredients”, the folks at Lee Spirits “scoured auction houses, purchased unopened bottles of original Forbidden Fruit Liqueur“, and reverse engineered Forbidden Fruit’s flavor and experience “as accurately as absolutely possible.” After building a recipe containing “white grapefruit, honey, and a blend of spices”, Lee Spirits Company can now confidently declare that “it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference” between their version and the original in a side-by-side comparison. Due to Lee Spirits Company’s dedication and commitment to the revival of this historic liqueur, a wealth of classic cocktails can now resurface, and Forbidden Fruit can once again inspire new creations developed at bars around the country.
Forbidden Fruit is available now in 750ml bottles and can be found at fine retailers located in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
Now that the storied history of Forbidden Fruit has been covered, let’s get into these Tasting Notes so that we can finally experience what we have been missing for all these years.
Tasting Notes for Forbidden Fruit from Lee Spirits Company
Appearance:Forbidden Fruit is packaged in a tall, slender bottle that is adorned with a white label bearing a clean, mostly black and gray design that gets a just a pop of color from the illustrated grapefruit and spices. The liqueur is extremely pale yellow in color and slightly cloudy, making its presentation somewhat reminiscent of freshly squeezed lemon juice. When jostled, the liquid coats every part of the glass it encounters with an oil slick that impressively draws some lengthy and long-lasting legs.
Aroma: Citrus forward, the aromatics lead with a grapefruit character spiked with bit of sweet orange juice. A lovely honey presence then builds and carries with it earthy and floral cardamom notes. Coriander closes the profile with a complex, citrus quality that brings the grapefruit back up front.
Taste: The spices strike first here with floral cardamom, citrusy coriander and just a touch of cinnamon. The citrus and honey then surface simultaneously to supply notes of candied grapefruit and orange. Underneath it all, there is a soft undertone of creamy vanilla that further tempers the grapefruit with another layer of sweetness.
Mouthfeel: Slightly syrupy and sticky in texture, Forbidden Fruit coats the palate with a healthy helping of sweetness. That said, there is a touch of citrus-sourced bitterness that adds some dimension to the liqueur’s sweet character. All those fermentable sugars produce an 32% ABV that offers some building – but not overwhelming – heat in the throat. Honey and vanilla linger in the aftertaste.
Final Thoughts: On description alone, we were expecting Forbidden Fruit to be more of a bittering liqueur . . . but our ignorant expectation for something one dimensional was way off. Instead, we were met with a dynamically complex spirit that is citrusy and floral, sweet and gently bitter, earthy and spicy. Above all, it is just ridiculously unique.
Obviously, Forbidden Fruit is not necessarily meant to be a stand-alone spirit consumed neat like we did for the Tasting Notes above. Its place is in a delicious cocktail, so we decided to continue our tasting journey by shaking up a Tantalus, a classic cocktail that also vanished when Forbidden Fruit met its fate in the 70’s.
3/4 oz. Brandy or Gin (we went with Lee Spirits Dry Gin)
3/4 oz. Forbidden Fruit
3/4 oz. Lemon Juice
1/4 oz. Honey
Add all ingredients to a shaker tin filled with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
The recipe makes it so the herbs in the Dry Gin and the spices in the Forbidden Fruit are smoothed out and dialed back. This leaves incredibly bright citrus notes (tart lemon & grapefruit) and a floral honey presence with the opportunity to shine. Any sweetness from the honey and Forbidden Fruit is balanced beautifully by the lemon juice and gin, resulting in an incredibly refreshing cocktail that drinks dry and disappears about as quickly as it is poured.
After experiencing just how delicious Forbidden Fruit and the Tantalus cocktail are, it is difficult to understand why this liqueur so easily faded away into obscurity. With the bright but balanced flavors in Forbidden Fruit having the amazing ability to complement and enhance so many different kinds of spirits and mixers, its decades-long absence just does not make any sense.
The time is now and long overdue for Forbidden Fruit. Whether you own a bar that specializes or dabbles in the cocktails of yore or are just a home bartender that enjoys wowing guests with classic-style cocktails, you need to have some Forbidden Fruit on hand. Not only will this help you step up your cocktail game, but you will also play a pivotal role in assisting Forbidden Fruit reclaim its significant place in cocktail culture. Prost!
For this special mid-week installment of Tasting Notes, we take a moment to indulge ourselves with an afternoon dram of FULL VOLUME from Highland Park Distillery (Kirkwall, Scotland).
Just as a musician works with his/her “amps and equalizers [to maintain] critical balance at high volume by fine-tuning musical frequencies”, Highland Park’s Master Whisky Maker, Gordon Motion, uses his skills to ensure “that every individual wave of flavor finds its perfect place in the beautifully harmonized final spirit.” FULL VOLUME illustrates this point by striking a balance between two styles: Bourbon and Scotch Whisky. Originally distilled in 1999, FULL VOLUME is a Single Malt Scotch Whisky that has been matured in “100% ex-bourbon casks rather than Highland Park’s traditional sherry-seasoned ones.” This lengthy rest ultimately produced a 47.2% ABV Whisky that offers harmonized “flavors of creamy vanilla and sweet citrus fruits from the bourbon casks, balanced by Highland Park’s characteristic aromatic smokiness.”
FULL VOLUME is available now in specially-packaged 750ml bottles for the suggested retail price of $100. You can expect to find this Limited Release Whisky on shelves at select specialist retailers located throughout the U.S.
Now that we are all a bit more familiar with the inspiration behind FULL VOLUME, it appears it is finally time to find a good chair, grab a glass and crank it to eleven with some Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes for FULL VOLUME from Highland Park Distillery
Appearance: Poured neat from a tasting vial, FULL VOLUME presents itself as a brilliantly clear whisky that is light straw yellow in color. When held to direct light, the color holds for the most part but a touch of vibrant gold builds at its center. The whisky is slick on the glass, coating the sides with a wide tract of slow-falling legs that eventually meet to create a complete oil slick that never loses its hold of the glass.
Aroma: The nose begins with rich and inviting tones of vanilla and coconut. That sweetness is then brightened up with notes of lemon and orange zest. Tropical fruits bloom from the citrus to add notes of mango and papaya. The expected presence of peat finally surfaces to close out the profile with some light smoke that works alongside just a touch of toffee.
Taste: The grains and peat smoke quickly grab your attention here, but immediately mellow out to reveal citrus tones that come across as carefully grilled lemon and orange. Sweeter, candied lemon tones then force through and bring with them juicy exotic fruits such as mango, pineapple and papaya. Vanilla smooths it all out, creating a combined quality that mimics a lemon ice box pie that has just a bit of cinnamon in the crust. The experience finishes with a pleasant combination of coconut and banana.
Mouthfeel: Smooth and slightly creamy on the palate, FULL VOLUME has a beautifully long finish that allows you to fully savor notes of coconut and smoke. That 47.2% ABV is nothing to scoff at, but it is incredibly well behaved and allows each sip to be effortless and thoroughly enjoyable. Not at all harsh or aggressive.
Final Thoughts: If you are a bourbon drinker that has been looking for a way into the Scotch Whisky game, FULL VOLUME just might be your gateway. Although distinct and attention-getting, the peat and smoke in this offering are far more reserved than you will find in most Scotch Whiskies. The bourbon casks supply approachability with those familiar, gorgeous notes of vanilla and coconut, and the overall fruitiness – both the citrus and tropical fruits – of this expression keeps things light, bright and dynamic. Just like the music that inspired it, this unique spirit comes across as a smooth, free-flowing thought piece as it evokes memory while stimulating contemplation and imagination. All in all, FULL VOLUME is bourbon reminiscent while still retaining its character and heritage as a Scotch Whisky, and that makes for one hell of a memorable sip. Be sure to check it out the next time you are on the hunt for something special to add to the home bar. Prost!