Tasting Notes – Spirits Edition: Forbidden Fruit from Lee Spirits Company

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The Tantalus cocktail featuring Forbidden Fruit Liqueur from Lee Spirits Company. Photo Credit- Guillermo Woolfolk/Mashing In

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 by Lee 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.

Tantalus

  • 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!

 

 

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Tasting Notes – Spirits Edition: Full Volume from Highland Park Distillery

HP_17_Full_Volume_700ml_bottle_carton_PNG-768x864For 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!

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Image Credit: Mashing In/Guillermo Woolfolk. The other two images displayed above are the property of Highland Park Distillery.

 

 

Lee Spirits Co. Expands Distribution to Include Texas

LeeSpiritsLogoLee Spirits Company (Colorado Springs, Colorado) has officially announced that it will launch distribution in Texas this July with four products: Dry GinForbidden Fruit LiqueurCreme de Rose and Creme de Violette.

Founded in 2013 by cousins Nick and Ian Lee, Lee Spirits Company was formed with a mission “to develop and manufacture the finest Gin in Colorado and the United States along with accompanying liqueurs that would fit into classic cocktail recipes exactly as originally written” and to one day distribute those “products in retail outlets across the nation and globe.”  That vision has steadily coming to fruition over the last five years as several Lee Spirits offerings have won awards and the distillery has gradually expanded distribution to include Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and now Texas.

“Our team worked tirelessly to complete the deal with our Texas partners,” said Ian Lee, co-founder of Lee Spirits Company. “Texas marks the next step in our growth as a company. In addition, we are excited to launch our products in additional states in the upper Midwest and Eastern Seaboard by the end of 2018. Witnessing our brand’s planned-growth from small a southern Colorado distiller to a company pointed toward national and global distribution is a testament to hard work and dedication.”

Lee Spirits will enter the Texas market with the following four offerings (all descriptions sourced from the distillery’s website):

  • Dry Gin – Our flagship product. Created with original prohibition-era cocktails in mind. We make it just like it would have been made in 1920. It features a floral nose with an earthy finish. Goes perfect in a martini and any recipe from Jerry Thomas’ 1862 Bartender’s Guide.  ABV – 45%  (90 PROOF)
  • Forbidden Fruit Liqueur – Containing white grapefruit, honey, and a blend of spices, Lee Spirits’ Forbidden Fruit Liqueur is perfect to create authentic classic cocktails or to add a unique flavor to your modern creations.  ABV – 32%  (64 PROOF)
  • Creme de Rose – Creme de Rose is created in an American manner of traditional creme liqueurs. Freshly picked red and pink petals combine to recreate this traditional liqueur that brings a floral sweetness to any cocktail or pour it over ice and sip it on its own.  ABV – 30%  (60 PROOF)
  • Creme de Violette – American made product kept honest to its American roots. Our traditional recipe blends botanicals that recreate a Crème de Violette that allows you to reminisce about the past and leads you into the future.  ABV – 30%  (60 PROOF)

These Lee Spirits products will be available in the state of Texas beginning in July 2018.  You can expect to find these fine offerings available in retail stores located in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and several other cities throughout Texas.  Prost!

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Highland Park Distillery Introduces THE LIGHT 17 Year Old Scotch Whisky

HP-Runes-The-Light-Pack-700ml-768x902Highland Park Distillery (Kirkwall, Scotland) has officially announced the extremely limited release of THE LIGHT, a 17 Year Old Scotch Whisky aged on American oak.

Created as the striking antithesis to Highland Park’s recently released THE DARK, THE LIGHT is the second offering in a two-part series that “shares the story of the noble Viking warriors who are [Highland Park’s] ancestors, of [their] contrasting island seasons and of the intense balance of [their] whisky.”  Representing the “spring and summer in Orkney”, THE LIGHT is a 17 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky that gets its light golden color from being aged in 100% refill American oak barrels.  Clocking in at a smooth 52.99% ABV, THE LIGHT offers a sensory experience filled with notes of caramelized pears, nutmeg, vanilla, peat, cedar, oak and light smoke.

With only 28,000 bottles – 700ml or 750 ml bottles, depending on country – produced, THE LIGHT is available now as a highly limited release.  You can expect to find this Special Release at select specialist retailers located in the U.S. and across the world.  Prost!

Vital Information for THE LIGHT from Highland Park Distillery

Release – Special/Limited, May 2018
Style – Single Malt Scotch Whisky 
ABV – 52.99% (106 Proof)
Treatment – Matured in 100% refill American Oak barrels
Flavors – Caramelized pear | Nutmeg | Vanilla | Peat | Cedar wood | Oak | Light smoke
Fun Fact – A description of the inspiration behind this whisky series: “Light and dark are concepts that exist in opposition, yet together create a perfect balance. One cannot exist without the other; as one appears, the other disappears; together they create something greater than themselves – in nature, a perfect, continuous cycle.”
Availability – 700ml or 750ml bottles (size depends on country)
Distribution – Worldwide

 

Whiskey Business Tasting Event Returns to Orlando for Fourth Year

WhiskeyBiz_editedOn Friday, April 27 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Orlando Weekly will host the 4th Annual Whiskey Business, Orlando’s premiere whiskey and bourbon tasting event, at the historic Cheyenne Saloon and Opera House (126 W Church St, Orlando, Florida).

Back for its fourth year, Whiskey Business is a unique event that allows whiskey fans the opportunity to sample a “variety of whiskeys, Scotches, ryes and bourbons” in one unforgettable evening.  As attendees roam the beautiful Cheyenne Saloon and Opera House, they will experience this stellar lineup of whiskeys while also enjoying a spread of little bites from local restaurants, a captivating burlesque show, musical entertainment, and so much more.  This event certainly has a little bit of everything, so let’s break it all down to ensure that we cover all that Whiskey Business has to offer.

The Basics

What – Orlando Weekly’s 4th Annual Whiskey Business
When – Friday, April 27 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where – Cheyenne Saloon and Opera House | 126 W Church Street | Orlando, Florida

The Whiskey

It kind of goes without saying that the centerpiece of Whiskey Business is the whiskey, and the following distilleries/brands will be on site pouring samples of their fine libations during the event:

Beyond just the whiskey samples, brands from around the world will serve up whiskey cocktails while brand ambassadors and distillers present themed and interactive stations, ranging from flavor pairings to recipe creation, to distilling demos and Q&A sessions.

The Food

To satisfy any grubbin’ needs you may encounter during the event, the following establishments will be in the house to serve up sample-sized “little bites” to attendees:

The Entertainment

Blue-La-La’s Ladies of the Peek-A-Boo Lounge will be in attendance to entertain guests with a burlesque show.  Musical entertainment will be provided by DJ BMF and Phat n Jazzy.

The Cause

A portion of the proceeds raised at Whiskey Business will go to benefit The Barber Fund, a small, grassroots 501(c)3 organization established in 2014 with a mission to HELP THOSE LIVING WITH CANCER.

“The Barber Fund is proud to have helped men, women and children with cancers varying from Ovarian Cancer, another Sinonasal Carcinoma (very rare), Colon, Lymphoma and Neuroblastoma. We have paid mortgages, power bills, medical bills, phone bills, purchased groceries, chaperoned appointments, helped care for animals and so much more.”

Ticket Information

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by clicking here.  Tickets are available in the following tiers:

  • General Admission: $45 each before fees – Includes unlimited whiskey samples, access to the live entertainment, “little bite” dishes from the hottest local restaurants, and craft beer options.
  • VIP Admission: $75 each before fees – Includes early entry at 6 p.m., access to a private VIP area with private bar, a VIP gift, VIP lanyard, unlimited whiskey samples, access to the live entertainment, “little bite” dishes from the hottest local restaurants, and craft beer options.
  • Designated Driver: $20 each before fees – Must be 21 or older to attend and obviously does not include any access to alcoholic beverages

The ticket prices above are listed as “Early Bird” prices, so be sure to secure your tickets as soon as possible to take advantage of this reduced cost.

Alright that should just about cover all the information that is currently available for this year’s Whiskey Business. If any additional details surface before the event, we will be sure to update you with that information here.

If you are free and going to be in the Orlando area on April 27, just go ahead and get your friends together, lock down some tickets, and support The Barber Fund’s incredibly worthy cause by having an amazing time at Whiskey Business.  Make it happen.  Prost!

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Sugarlands Distilling to Offer Piña Colada Moonshine this Summer

SugarlandslogoSugarlands Distilling Company (Gatlinburg, Tennessee) recently announced plans to officially release Piña Colada Moonshine beginning on Monday, May 15.

Piña Colada Moonshine has been created by Sugarlands Distilling to act as the perfect paring for any summertime gathering with friends and family.  This new offering combines the flavors of “fresh pineapple and coconut milk” to trick the mind into believing it has been transported “directly to the sunny beach setting of its dreams.”  Clocking in at 70 proof (35% ABV), Piña Colada Moonshine “is best enjoyed over ice, on an island, or on your own front porch.”  Piña Colada is the latest moonshine to join Sugarlands’ “award-winning line of spirits that has won 20 awards internationally since distillation began in 2014.”

Sugarlands will officially release Piña Colada Moonshine on May 15.  Once released, this offering will be available in 750 ml Mason jars at select liquor stores found within the distribution area of Sugarlands Distilling Company and online at BuySugarlands.com. Prost!

Vital Information for Piña Colada Moonshine from Sugarlands Distilling Company

Release – launching May 15, 2017
Style – Flavored Moonshine
ABV – 35%  (70 proof)
Distribution – Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Minnesota & Indiana
Buy Online – BuySugarlands.com

 

 

Orlando Whiskey Festival Returns in May

3rdOWFposterOn Saturday, May 13 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Whiskey & Bizz Events will host their 3rd Annual Orlando Whiskey Festival at Mercedes Benz of Orlando in Maitland (810 N Orlando Ave, Maitland, Florida).

Established as “the first ever Whiskey Festival to hit Central Florida,” the Orlando Whiskey Festival will officially return on May 13 for its third installment.  With a pour list boasting nearly 100 brands spanning from fine single malts to flavored whiskies, this event promises to provide guests with a top tier, educational whiskey experience that also allows them to interact with industry professionals.  In addition to the abundance of amazing whiskies, this event will also feature “gourmet menu selections . . . from some of Orlando’s most popular restaurant groups”, craft beer from Hourglass Brewery, wine, live entertainment, and all net proceeds will benefit the amazing cause of The Lovely Project.  There is a lot to cover when it comes to the 3rd Annual Orlando Whiskey Festival, so let’s break it all down:

The Basics

The Whiskey

This event will feature a pour list of 92 whiskeys.  This will include such distilleries as Angel’s Envy, The Balvenie, Basil Hayden’s, Four Roses Bourbon, Heaven Hill Distillery, Highland Park, Jack Daniel’s, Laphroaig Distillery, Suntory Whisky, Willett Distillery, Woodford Reserve, and many more.  To check out the full list of featured whiskeys, click here.  

The Food & Entertainment

“Menu sampling from some of Orlando’s most popular restaurant groups” will be available during the event.  Participating eateries include the following:

The event will also feature live musical entertainment provided by Mo’mo-Browne.

The Charity

All net proceeds from the Orlando Whiskey Festival will benefit The Lovely Project, “a Non-Profit Organization, headquartered in Orlando, Florida, that exists to empower girls by providing them with tools, education and peer-mentorship for living a purposeful, productive life.”  The Lovely Project’s Mission Statement is as follows:

“Our mission is for every young girl to grow into a woman who will create positive impact on the world around them. The girls we reach in our community have the opportunity to cultivate healthy friendships in a safe, fun environment while being encouraged and mentored. Our vision is for every girl to know that she is Lovely.”

Ticket Information

Tickets to the Orlando Whiskey Festival are available for purchase now (click here to purchase), and tickets will be available online until May 12 (while supplies last).  Tickets are available in the following tiers:

  • General Admission: $95 plus fees – Ticket includes entrance into the festival at 7 p.m., a branded Glencairn official whiskey tasting glass, unlimited tasting of nearly 100 different brands of whiskey, menu sampling from some of Orlando’s most popular restaurant groups, access to an outdoor cigar lounge featuring Drew Estates Cigars, live entertainment from Mo’mo Browne, specialty cocktails prepared by selected whiskey brands, and craft beer from Hourglass Brewery
  • VIP Early Access: $145 plus fees – Ticket includes entrance into the festival one hour early at 6 p.m., a branded Glencairn official whiskey tasting glass, unlimited tasting of nearly 100 different brands of whiskey, menu sampling from some of Orlando’s most popular restaurant groups, access to an outdoor cigar lounge featuring Drew Estates Cigars, live entertainment from Mo’mo Browne, specialty cocktails prepared by selected whiskey brands, and craft beer from Hourglass Brewery

(**NOTE** There is a third ticket option available for purchase on the Eventbrite link provided above.  The “Ultimate Whiskey Dinner Experience” is a separate event scheduled for Friday, May 12 at DoveCote Brasserie.  If you purchase that ticket, it only grants you access to the three-course dinner.  It DOES NOT grant you admission into the Orlando Whiskey Festival. **NOTE**)

If you happen to be in the Orlando area and free on May 13, you may want to consider checking out the Orlando Whiskey Festival.  Not only will you be treated to an incredible evening filled with the finest whiskies, but you will be able to enjoy it all while supporting the very worthy cause of The Lovely Project.  How can you go wrong with that?  Prost!

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