Live Love Leblon

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by Raul Faria

I received the opportunity to visit the Leblon Cachaça distillery in beautiful Patos de Minas, Brazil. Leblon Cachaça has been a favorite spirit of mine for a long time and we’ve used it in many of our most popular recipes like the Garden Smash and Suika Caipirinha. It has a big fresh flavor with tons of citrus and vanilla notes and really captures the flavor of fresh cane juice. So just what is cachaça? Well it is a sugar cane distillate that utlizes sugarcane juice and is a distinct product of Brazil. According to Brazillian regulations it is to be between 38% to 48% ABV and can only be made from sugarcane juice and it also must be made in Brazil. In this post we will walk through the process of making Leblon Cachaça, speak the the man who started it all and provide you a glimpse into what an artisinal spirit production looks like.

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First step to superior Cachaça? Sugar Cane. Cachaça is a sugar cane distillate, similar to rum but differs in that it uses sugar cane juice and not molasses. Now there are rums that utilize the sugar cane juice as well like Rhum Agricole from Martinique but as we stated above, cachaça is a distinct product of Brazil and can only be made in Brazil. Leblon actually owns its supply of sugarcane and has 104 acres of farmland so it is absolutely a farm to bottle operation. This is important as the sugar cane juice must be pressed within 24 hours in order to capture the fresh sugar cane flavor. Having the distillery right next to the source makes that possible.

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Start the presses! The sugar cane must be cut, cleaned, pressed and the juice pumped into the fermentation tanks all within 24 hours. This is crucial in capturing the fresh flavor of the cane juice for the final product. For the entire 104 aforemtioned acres of farmland Leblon owns they have 6 people to cut and 9 people to clean. They keep a tight, dedicated crew to produce their spirit. Definitely an artisinal production.

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It’s all about alambique. After the juice is fermented it is pumped into the alambique stills. The copper alambique stills help separate Leblon from the majority of cachaça on the market. Their use of copper pot stills help capture more of the fresh cane juice flavor while helping isolate the desired heart of the spirit. Many other cachaças on the market are “cachaça industrial” and are column distilled which can mute the fresh flavors of the cane.

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Wood working. The woods utilized in the aging of cachaça are also another variant from the cane juice rums. Cachaça can generally use a wide variety of woods for aging but typically utilize balsam and native woods. Leblon utilizes used XO congac casks for their cachaça and new French oak barrels for the Leblon Reserva.

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I also got a chance to speak with Leblon CEO Steve Luttman about his cachaça. No one has done more to spread the spirit category of cachaça interantionally more than Steve and his team at Leblon. Not just the brand but the spirit category as a whole. Most would simply have described cachaça as “Brazillian rum” and be done with it. Not Steve and certainly no one at Leblon. That is why in 2009 they launched thier “Legalize Cachaça” campaign supporting the Brazillian Goverment’s official petition to have the American Governement recognize chachaça as a distinct product of Brazil made in accordance to Brazillian laws and regulations. The legalize chachaça movent had their vicotory in 2013! This allows cachaça producers today not to have the word “rum” on their labels. So while Steve and his team had been focused on not just advancing their brand but the spirit category of cachaça they also ended up promoting some Brazillian culture along the way.

Tell us how Leblon started? Why Cachaça?

Leblon started in 2005.  I basically quit my job and started the company with my Brazilian family and some friends.  We found a distillery in Minas Gerais – Patos de Minas to be exact – and it really went from there.

Cachaça was a natural fit for me because Brazil is my ‘adopted country,’ and I have a lot of passion for the people and the culture.  It’s a magical country.

Cachaça is basically where Tequila and Mescal were 40 years ago, and I saw the opportunity to produce and present higher quality artisanal alambique Cachaça both in Brazil and throughout the World.  to many, Cachaça is viewed as a low quality distillate i.e. ‘it gives you a headache’ ‘rocket fuel’ etc.  not much different to how people viewed Tequila years ago.  however, artisanal alambique cachaça is the ‘100% agave’ equivalent, so to speak.  the taste differential is just as significant…

What does the copper alambique still bring to the table in terms of flavor?

Alambique distillation is a small batch process that allows you to segregate the highest quality distillate from the impurities, particularly at the ‘head’ and the ‘tale’, this is different than continuous ‘industrial’ distillation, which segregates ‘nada’.

Copper is very important as it interacts with the distillate, and specifically neutralizes the undesirable flavor emitted by sulfur.

Can you walk us through the aging processes for Leblon and Leblon Reserva? How does your choice of woods affect the flavor of Leblon?

Reserva Especial is aged in new French Oak (as opposed to the XO Cognac Casks, which is used for our Leblon Pura).  it’s aged up to 2 years on average, with a blend of Cachaças aged as long as 4 years.

French oak has a very classic flavor, and really works well with the aroma of fresh cane cachaça.  it’s very smooth – not bitter – but it does not impede what Cachaça brings to the party sensorially.

What was the inspiration for Leblon reserva?

Reserva was initially a distillery ‘hobby’ –  we set aside some juice and put it in some new oak casks, and would sample with friends only.  we still don’t have a lot of it, which is why we put it in a 375ml bottle.  and the packaging was done by Helen, who manages our barrel aging, and also happens to be a fine artist and calligrapher on the side. The liquid tastes great, especially on the rocks.

Where do you think Cachaça goes from here? Where is the opportunity for it to grow as a spirit category internationally and also in its home country of Brazil?

I think this will develop much like Tequila did over the past 40 years.  it’s right now still very ‘foreign’ to many people, just like Brazil.  but this changed a lot over the past 8 years, and the World Cup had a huge impact in making Brazil and Cachaça more ‘familiar’ to many people. We think the Olympics in 2016 (Rio) will also have a big impact.  

Like anything, it will take time, which is fine.  But Cachaça, like Brazil, will continue to grow for the next 25 years. there’s no doubt about that.

In Brazil, there is a huge reassessment of local categories amongst the new generations. Unlike their parents, who did not ‘like Brazil’ and wanted to only consume ‘imported,’ Brazilians are becoming proud again of Brazil, and are re-valuing their own culture. There is also a huge local ‘foodie’ movement in Brazil, in which people are looking for high quality, natural, and locally made products…  combine this with the continued long-term economic growth, in which more and more consumers are entering the middle class and can afford ‘better,’ and we have the current ‘artisanal cachaça movement’ happening in Brazil, which we’re at the forefront of…

How did Çedilla come about? What inspired its creation?  Can you walk us through the process a bit?

Cedilla was another in-house hobby – a project of Gilles, who is a well-known liqueur maker in France.  he has been experimenting with a number of fruit macerations, and our Açai version really rose to the top.  it’s a basic fruit maceration – for two months in the cachaça (un-aged Leblon) – with orange peel, ginger root, and lime zest, with cane juice added for sweetness.  

We are also playing with other fruit macerations as well. We have a Brazilian Maracuja (passionfruit) liqueur that is really out of this world. Hopefully you’ll get to try that soon….

Below are some more pics from our distillery tour. Be sure to visit leblon.com for more information about their products and look forward to the recipes from the other competitors as well.

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Beachcomber Cocktail

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by Raul Faria 

Beachcomber Cocktail is #28 in our mission to recreate all the cocktails in the Joy of Mixology by Gaz Regan. I find it to taste like a cross between rum Kamikaze and a Daiquiri. You definitely taste the rum in this one! It’s a pretty easy cocktail to make so let’s get started.

1) Let’s get our tools together; we will need our Boston shaker, Hawthorne strainer, citrus press, a jigger with a 1 oz and a .5 oz measure and a chilled 8oz cocktail glass. Optional tool- double-strainer. Our shopping list will include light or white rum, triple sec or Cointreau, limes and maraschino liqueur.

2) Begin by adding our .5 oz lime juice to the mixing glass. To get the juice we can slice the lime and squeeze directly into our jigger using our citrus press. You can also squeeze the juice through a double strainer into a separate container. This way you will have the juice ready to go, pulp free and it’s a bit easier to pour into your jigger.

3) Next we can add our .25 oz of maraschino liqueur. If your jigger does not have a .25 oz measure you can eyeball half of the .5 oz or use two barspoons. I use Luxardo Maraschino at the bar. It is distilled from marasca cherries and herbs then sweetened with honey. It is aged in large ashwood vats and has a distinct sweet herbal flavor that really works in many different cocktail categories. I really find it fun to use in Tropical, Tiki style cocktails.

4) Now let’s add 1 oz of triple sec to our mixing glass. I like to use Bols but Hiram Walker or DeKuyper will work. If you sub for Cointreau be aware that it is a bit stronger so you may need to balance it with the maraschino liqueur.

5) Time to add our 2 oz of light or white rum. Bacardi, Cruzan, Don Q and Caña Brava are all solid choices.

6) Lets add ice and shake. Strain into chilled 8oz cocktail glass. Enjoy :)

Check out our video walkthrough and sign up for our YouTube channel here.

Be sure to pick up a copy of the Joy of Mixology by Gaz Regan and visit gazregan.com plus sign up for his always entertaining and informative newsletter.

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What is Baijiu?

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by Raul Faria

Baijiu, meaning white liquor and pronounced “bye-joe” is coincidently the name of a Houston based company that is working hard to introduce the number 1 selling spirit in the world to the US. You read that right. Number 1. Outselling every spirit category on the planet. Vodka? Nope. Rum? Pfft, not even close. Whiskey? Negative. Baijiu is the undisputed champion of the spirits war and it seems as though now it’s got its eyes on the Western market.

I was introduced to this spirit by a friend of mine who travels to China for business often and  he said “This is what people are drinking over there.” He produced a beautiful bottle with really cool artwork and Chinese characters on it, Wuliangye it said. I opened it right away… and it was most definitely not love at first sight BUT I will tell you this, I freaking love the stuff now. LOVE IT. My first experience with Byejoe was a hit right away. Baijiu in general is perfect for adding to and playing off of tropical and stone fruit flavors, beer cocktails, and to pair with beers as a boiler maker. Byejoe makes mixing that much easier due to its filtration and balanced flavor profile.

So what exactly is Baijiu? Well it is a spirit distilled primarily from sorghum but often backed up with a mash bill of other grains like rice, wheat and corn. It is typically aged in clay pot containers stored in cool temperatures or sometimes in pits depending on the region. Regionality also plays a big role in the flavor profile as well. There are five different aroma types in Baijiu. From the Strong Aroma type that has very potent yeast strains and bacteria that yield strong flavors of both ripe tropical and stone fruits to the other side of the spectrum, Soy Sauce Aroma, that is softer and milder with subtle savory notes. These and the other aroma types, Mild Aroma, Rice Aroma and Other Aroma are often attributed to specific regions in China. Traditionally baijiu was distilled in pot stills, today many are produced with a sort of pot still steamer hybrid which help retain the potent flavors throughout distillation without coming off as harsh as the elder versions.

In my tasting impressions below I’ve featured two baijiu from the Sichuan region that utilize yeast strains with strong stone fruit aromatics. The yeast combined with the sorghum, mixed saccharification (starch to sugar conversion) and fermentation, and unique pot still/steamer used in the distillation produce a fun, funky flavor like no other. Baijiu and its regional variations began in China around the 9th-12th century and the Chinese have a long history of fermenting beverages all the way back to 7000 bc. In short, the Chinese know their booze and knew for a lot longer than anyone else.

In China, baijiu is a drink of both sophistication and tradition consumed by both the blue collar and the suit and tie guys alike. Prices range from around $15 to the tens of thousands, giving the distilled grapes from France a run for their yuan. So much diversity in this spirit category in terms of flavor and regionality, it truly is an amazing spirit that is so much of an unknown quantity on our side of the pond.

I spoke with the folks at Byejoe about the spirit and why they think the time is right for Baijiu in the states.

How would you describe baijiu?

Baijiu is the #1 most consumed spirit on the planet, with over 1 billion cases consumed annually, 99% in China. For reference, baijiu’s 1 billion cases is more than the world’s consumption of vodka, Tequila, rum, whiskey etc combined. It’s the most popular spirit in the world that you haven’t tasted yet.

How is baijiu enjoyed in China? Is it a straight? Served chilled? Sipped? Served with beer?

Baijiu in China is consumed straight at room temperature always with meals, during celebratory banquets, at the close of business deals at weddings and other happy events.

Where does the distinct flavor of baijiu come from? The yeast, The Grains? The aging or all of the above?

All of the above.

What seperates Byejoe from baijiu overseas?

Byejoe is the original 100% Chinese spirit, imported in small batches to America, and filtered using patented ultrasonic technology to create ultra-premium quality. We focused on making Byejoe something that both Chinese and Westerners would enjoy. We also totally revamped the packaging from its original, commissioning a world-renowned bottle designer to reinvent the ancient spirit for sophisticated consumers. The tall, sleek, transparent bottle alludes to ultra-modern Shanghai, which boasts the tallest skyscrapers, fastest bullet trains and billion dollar IPOs. Our design won the coveted Double Gold medal for packaging design, among other awards, at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2013.

Why baijiu and why now?

A bar is like a mini U.N., with every country and every culture having its representative. Tequila from Mexico, vodka from Russia, whisky from Scotland, rum from the Caribbean, sake from Japan…but where is baijiu? Where is the spirit of China? We made it our company’s mission to introduce the oldest and most popular spirit from the East to the West.

What are the different products in the Byejoe line?

So far we’ve launched two products: Byejoe Red amd Byejoe Dragon Fire. Red is the original Chinese spirit distilled from 100% red sorghum, a high protein super grain that is naturally high in antioxidants and naturally gluten free. Its also low calorie, with only 65 calories per ounce. Byejoe Dragon Fire is the first baijiu in the world to infuse Asian fusion flavors of dragon fruit, lychee and hot chilies.

Most importantly, where can our readers pick up a bottle of Byejoe?

Byejoe is currently distributed in California, Texas, Florida, New York, and New Jersey. We will be launching soon in Nevada and the rest of the 50 states! Your readers can visit our website to purchase online and find retail locations in their neighborhood.

Below are my impressions of Byejoe Red, Byejoe Dragon Fire, Wuliangye and Mianzhu Daqu-

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Byejoe Red- made from 100% red sorghum. 40% abv

Aroma- Notes of ripe tropical fruits like starfruit and overripe pineapple and grainy aromas like fresh baked pumpernickel.

Taste- Notes of drier tropical fruits like starfruit and dragonfruit with lush juicy pear.

Finish- Finishes tannic like eating fresh green grapes.

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Byejoe Dragon Fire- Byejoe that has been infused with lychee, dragonfruit and spicy pepper. 35% abv.

Aroma-Big Lychee, banana and ripe pear with faint savory black peppercorn notes.

Taste- Silky texture with lush, juicy lychee right up front and peppery heat mid palate.

Finish- Finishes long with juicy lychee and peppery heat.

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Wuliangye “New Wuliangye Liqour”- Made from sorghum, wheat and corn. 52% abv.

Aroma- Strong over ripe and big, pungent, sweet stone fruit aromas of peaches and apricots.

Taste- Sweet stone fruit flavors with notes of banana and bubblegum plus from faint pineapple.

Finish- Alcohol heat with lingering banana and bubblegum.

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Mianzhu Daqu “Time Honored Brand”- Made from sorghum, rice, glutinous rice, wheat and corn. 52% abv.

Aroma- Big bubblegum, ripe banana and pineapple with faint notes of doughy rye bread.

Taste- Spicy rye like grains balanced with notes of bubblegum and pineapple.

Finish- Finishes with spicy rye notes and lingering banana.

Be sure to visit byejoe.com for all the information about Byejoe Red and Byejoe Dragon Fire plus find out where to pick yourself up a bottle or where the next Byejoe event will be!
If you want to know more about baijiu as a spirit category definitely check out the amazing blog “300 shots of greatness” or the book “Baijiu: the essential guide to Chinese spirits” by Derek Sandhaus.
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Pineapple Basil Gin Fix

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by Raul Faria

The Pineapple Basil Gin Fix was my entry into the Broker’s Gin Bowler Cup this year and is based on an old style of cocktail known as a “Fix”. Fixes were essentially sours; spirit, sugar and citrus. Now the fix incorporated fruit into the sour template either with juices or the sugar componenet via flavored syrups. Popular choices of the day were raspberry and pineapple; with the Pineapple Basil Gin Fix I obviously chose the latter. I also added an easy make rosemary syrup and fresh basil to play off the botanicals found in Broker’s Gin. Let’s fix our self up a fix shall we?

1) Lets get our tools together; we will need our Boston shaker, muddler, a citrus press, our Hawthorne strainer, double-strainer, a jigger with a 1 oz and a .5 oz measure and a 10-12 oz rocks or double old fashioned glass. Our shopping list will consist of Broker’s Gin, pineapple juice, sugar, lemons, fresh rosemary and basil. We will also need a measuring cup, a saucepan and a pairing knife for our prep.

2) Begin by getting the prep out of the way-

Rosemary Simple Syrup- add 1 cup of sugar to the saucepan followed by 1 cup of hat water. Next add three large rosemary sprigs (or more if you really want the rosemary to shine) to the pan. Be sure to break up the sprigs a few times to get the infusion party started. Stir until sugar blends in and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a very low simmer. Continue the simmer for about five minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cool remove the boiled rosemary and double-strain into a pourable container like a squeeze bottle or mason jar. Add 1 fresh rosemary sprig and store for later use.

3) Start by adding 3-5 basil leaves (depending on size) to our mixing glass portion of the Boston shaker.

4) Lets add .75 oz of fresh lemon juice to our mixing glass. You can either slice the lemon in half and squeeze directly into our jigger or utilize the double-strainer and squeeze the juice into a separate container for later use.

5) Next let’s add .5 oz of our home made rosemary syrup.

6) Now we can add 2 oz of pineapple juice.

7) Time for the star of the show, our 2 oz of Broker’s London Dry Gin. Broker’s London Dry Gin is a classic expression of the style and is distilled in a 200 year old distillery, based on a 200 year old recipe, in copper pot stills, foregoing the modern column still methods of some gins.

8) Add ice to our mixing glass and shake. Double-strain into our chilled, iced 10-12 oz rocks or double old fashioned glass then garnish with a basil sprig. Enjoy!

  

Pineapple Basil Gin Fix- Add basil, 5 oz rosemary syrup, .75 oz lemon juice, muddle contents, add 2 oz Broker’s London Dry Gin, 2 oz pineapple juice, shake, double-strain into chilled, iced 10-12 oz rocks or double old fashioned glass, garnish with a basil sprig.

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MMS live at Jack Daniel’s Distillery

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by Raul Faria

Since 1875 Jasper Newton Daniel has been making whiskey in the great State of Tennessee. He was dedicated to his brand he dubbed “Old #7” and his dedication led his whiskey to become the highest selling American whiskey in the world. Jack Daniel’s Old #7 is now sold in over 160 countries and its iconic bottle and label is known world wide. I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to visit Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg and it is definitely a worthy vacation destination for any whiskey lover. Here are some highlights of the trip with some notes on the production of the various whiskeys produced at the distillery.

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The original statue of Jack Daniel now greets almost 250,000 visitors a year at the welcome center that serves as the Tasting Room, White Rabbit Saloon, Engraving Area and Tour Scheduling. To honor his Uncle Jack, his nephew and head of the comapny at the time, Lem Motlow commisioned the statue and had it placed at “the Hollow” in 1941. The Italian marble, life-sized statue (Jack was 5″ 2″) sat in front of the cave spring water source until September of 2000.

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The Rickyard is where the sugar maple wood pallets are stored and burned and where the Lincoln County process begins. All the sugar maple trees used in the making of the charcoal is sourced locally. The wood is burned right out in the open underneath the large hood vents pictured above. The hood vents direct the smoke and fire away from the Rickyard. Jack Daniel’s distillery has a team of employees that are also certified firefighters on hand to ensure the safety of the wood burning process.

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Here is a barrel full of the maple charcoal in which the various whiskies of Jack Daniel are filtered. The process is actually slower than what people may imagine. There are six pipes that slowly drip whisky being pumped in from the still house through 10 feet of packed charcoal in much larger barrels. I saw at least six (out of almost 70) of these enormous barrels working through the Lincoln County Process of maple charcoal filtration. Gentleman Jack actually utilizes the process twice to achieve its desired mellow flavor.

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This is the cave from which the Jack Daniel’s Distillery sources its water for their whiskies. The cave, often referred to as “the Hollow”, is remarkable for its high limestone content which strips away impurities, especially iron, that makes it ideal for whiskey making. This cave is immense, so much so that the folks at Jack Daniel paid a spelunking to team to chart the cave. They got a mile in before they had to call it quits. This location was very important to Jack Daniel and he refused to be outbid when whiskey makers Hiles & Berry put the 142 acres up for sale in 1884. Jack knew he was on to something special and according to his biography offered the winning bid of $2,180.40. Not a bad deal.

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This new statue now greets guests at the Hollow and was created out of bronze. Created for Jack Daniel’s 150th birthday, this statue is said to better capture the spirit of Jack Daniel and is often referred to as “Jack on the Rocks”.

 

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The Barrel House at the distillery holds over 6,000 barrels of whiskey but there are over 78 warehouses at various locations in Moore County full of Jack Daniel’s whiskey in barrels working their magic

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Almost 25 million gallons of whiskey are produced here in Lynchburg by Jack Daniel’s distillery. It is a 24 hour a day 7 days a week operation too. These mash tuns and stills are enormous and through rotation all the stills are operational at all times unless they are being cleaned or serviced. Interestingly enough the area surrounding the fermenting mash smell like fresh baked sourdough bread, very tasty. The trees closest to the stills are jet black, green leaves but a otherwise healthy tree with a black trunk.

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Jack Daniel’s old office is still located at the distillery and is a registered landmark. Inside the office his desk and other antiques from his time at the distillery are still there, including the infamous safe that he kicked and ended up with gangrene as a result of the infected wound. The Legend goes like this- One morning Jack came in early to the office and needed to check the safe. Convinced and frustrated that “the darn thing was broken” he gave the safe a swift kick and seriously injured his foot in the process. This led to a string of health problems and is said to have caused his death.

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If you want to know more about the life and times of Jack Daniel check out the book “Blood and Whiskey” by Peter Krass. Very informative and clears up a lot of the questions people have about Jack and the birth of Tennessee Whiskey

Special Thanks to Cami Novak and everyone at the Brown Forman Corporation for their hospitality. It was an amazing opportunity to see the operation up close and see what makes Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey so special.

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Fire Potion

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 by Raul Faria

Fire Potion was created with and for Golia Vodka. Its tart and a little spicy plus it’s a pretty straightforward cocktail to make. When creating cocktails for Golia vodka I’m always inspired by the Mongolian Empire and its leader…Genghis Khan. I imagine a sprawling Empire full of warriors, elders and alchemists. Fire Potion draws it’s inspiration from the alchemists of the old Empire. I wanted to utilize easily accessible ingredients that would also fit in with what would have been available in the ancient marketplaces. I’m assuming jalapeno peppers are not native to Mongolia but I had to sacrifice some thematic accuracy for easier access :) Lets make a Fire Potion!

1) Lets get our tools together; we will need our Boston Shaker, a Hawthorne Strainer, Double-Strainer, a pairing knife, a jigger with a 1 oz and a .5 oz measure, our citrus press and a rocks or double old fashioned glass. Our shopping list will consist of Golia vodka, Yellow Chartreuse, POM wonderful, lemons, sugar, and jalapeno peppers.

2) We will need to some prep done beforehand-

Jalapeno slices- We will need 4 jalapeno slices per cocktail. Three for the cocktail itsef and one for the garnish. Now a couple of things when preparing spicy peppers. First I would highly recommend using latex gloves during preparation. Trust me. Youre eyes will thank you when you go to take your contacts out at night. Begin by slicing off the stem and discard it. Next simply cut your slices. If you prefer it less spicy you can remove the seeds from the slices with your knife.

Simple syrup- Simply mix 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar and stir until dissolved. I prefer a 60/40 ratio of sugar to water and I use hot water to help it dissolve.

Lemon Juice- Slice your lemons in half and using our citrus press squeeze directly into your jigger as needed or you can utilize a double-strainer and strain into a separate container for later use.

3) We can begin by adding three jalapeno slices to our mixing glass portion of the Boston Shaker.

4) Next lets get our .25 oz honey syrup into the mixing glass.

5) Now we can add our .75 oz lemon juice.

6) Add our 1 oz of POM wonderful pomegranate juice. POM wonderful is the best and also the most accessible 100% pomegranate juice on the market. If you can’t find POM or prefer to use fresh pomegranate juice feel free to substitute.

7) Time to add the star of the show, our 2 oz of Golia vodka. Golia is definitely a product of its environment, the beautiful, rugged, frontier like coutryside of Mongolia. Golia’s water is sourced from underground well water that is drawn from the Khüiten Peak, the tallest mountain in Mongolia, assuring the water is pure and untouched by pollutants. It is made from winter wheat that is farmed organically and utilizes no tilling farming techniques. The final product is then run through silver and platinum filters.

8) Now we can add our .75oz of Yellow Chartruese to the mixing glass. We’ve used Yellow and green Chartreuse in a few other recipes like The “L” Word and Bitter Betty. Full of herbal flavor with notes of black pepper.

9) Add ice to our mixing glass and shake. Double-strain into our chilled ice filled rocks or double old fashioned glass and garnish with a jalapeno slice and a lemon wedge. Enjoy!

Fire Potion- 2 oz Golia Vodka, .75 oz Yellow Chartreuse, .75 oz lemon juice, .25 oz simple syrup, 1 oz of POM wonderful, 3 jalapeno slices, add ice, shake, double-strain into ice filled rocks or double old fashioned glass, garnish with a jalapeno slice and a lemon wedge.

 

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Motlow’s Mule

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by Raul Faria

Motlow’s Mule was named after and inspired by Lem Motlow, one of the earliest Master Distillers at Jack Daniel’s Distillery (behind Bill Hughes and Uncle Jack of course) and nephew of Jack Daniel himself. He was always focused on moving the ball forward by increasing production and expanding the Old #7 brand. He was head of the company during its most trying times and eventually set the course for Jack Daniel’s Old #7 to become an American classic recognized all over the world. Incidentally he was also owner of one of the largest and most successful mule trading companies in the south. Motlow’s Mule….get it….MULE…cuz it’s like a Moscow Mule but with Motlow…he owned mules…ahem. After reading the book “Fire and Whiskey” by Peter Krass I suspect that Lem liked to experiment and try new things. Much like current Master distiller Jeff Arnett with Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey, the soon to be released Jack Daniels Fire and the new and exciting Jack Daniel’s Unaged Tennessee Rye Whiskey. The second I tasted it I knew I wanted to mix with it. Motlow’s Mule feels like something Lem or even Jack himself would have mixed on the farm for a cocktail party or gathering by the big piano. It’s very easy to make and utilizes simple, fresh ingredients. Lets make a Motlow’s Mule!

1) Lets get our tools together; we will need our muddler, our citrus press, a mixing glass, our Hawthorne strainer, a Lewis Bag, a Mallet, and a Jigger with a 1 oz and a .25 oz measure. Our shopping list will consist of Jack Daniel’s Unaged Tennessee Rye Whiskey, Lemons, Honey, Mint and Ginger Beer. Optional tool- Double-strainer, measuring cup and Copper Mug.

2) First lets get our 6-8 mint leaves into our mixing glass. Begin by rinsing off the mint then start picking the leaves off the stems, leaving the top 3-5 mint leaves attached to the stems to create sprigs we will use for later.

3) Now let’s add our .25 oz lemon juice. We can simply squeeze the sliced lemons right into the jigger or you can strain into another vessel ahead of time and utilize our double strainer to catch all the pulp and seeds. Be sure to slice a few wedges to use for the garnish and for your guests to squeeze in if they like it a bit more lemony and tart.

4) Time to add our .25 oz of honey syrup. For the Motlow’s Mule we will be utilizing a 2-1 ratio honey syrup. I’d begin with a 2 cup sized measuring cup. Add 1 cup of honey, then add .5 cup of hot water. Stir until well blended and viola! Honey syrup. If you dont have a measuring cup handy just use your jigger and keep a 2-1 ratio.

5) Lets muddle our mint. We are just pressing the mint not grinding it. Our goal is to get some mint oil into our honey and lemon.

6) Now let’s add the star of the show our 2 oz of Jack Daniel’s Unaged Tennessee Rye Whiskey. This is a preview product of the upcoming release of the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rested Rye. While we are waiting on the barrels in Lynchburg to work thier magic we can enjoy the limited release of the unaged version. Especially in our Motlow’s Mule :)

7) We are now going to get our mug ready. Lets add ice to our Lewis bag and smack it with the hammer until we get crushed ice. Scoop it out of the bag into our mug and strain the contents of our mixing glass (utilizing our Hawthorne strainer to keep out the mint) over the ice

8) Lets add 4 oz of ginger beer to the mug. I like Fever Tree or Goslings for ginger beer but feel free to use your favorite brand. Give it a light stir, pack with more crushed ice and then garnish with a mint sprig and a lemon wedge. Be sure to smack the mint awake for release those oils for full aromatics effect. Enjoy!

Motlow’s Mule- 6-8 mint leaves, .25 oz honey syrup, .25 oz lemon juice, muddle, add 2 oz Jack Daniels Unaged Tennessee Rye Whiskey, add crushed ice, top off with 4 oz of ginger beer, quick light stir to distribute, pack with more crushed ice and garnish with mint sprig and lemon wedge.

Note on the copper mug- The Copper mug has its roots in the original cocktail the Moscow Mule. The creators of the cocktail wanted something flashy to get people to drink their vodka and they had access to someone in the copper products industry. Period. No magical Russian tradition of drinking out of copper. Marketing and access to the materials plain and simple. Back then vodka was something new and exotic from Russia and was not the spirit of choice in America so in 1941 John G Martin of the Hueblin Company that had recently acquired the Smirnoff brand and Jack Morgan owner of the Cock and Bull Tavern in Los Angeles served a copper mug to guests who ordered the new Moscow Mule cocktail they invented and even engraved the names of celebrities who drank one at the bar. Mules can be made in a chilled glass but copper is a better conductor of energy and will maintain a cooler temperature than glass. Copper mugs are super expensive and the chilled glass works just fine for the cocktail so I’d say go with what you got but if you’re feeling fancy and have an extra $20-30 each to spend I say go for it.

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Jack Daniel’s Unaged Tennessee Rye Whiskey

jackrye

by Raul Faria

Jack Daniel’s Unaged Tennessee Rye Whiskey is a limited release due to the exciting prospect of the forthcoming Jack Daniel’s Rye Whiskey. While the new product is aging in barrel, the folks at Jack Daniels, including Master Distiller Jeff Arnett, decided to release a small amount of the unaged rye for us to try while we eagerly await the release of the aged version. Its very interesting to see how rye whiskey affects a mashbill. This bottling is a perfect way to really get a sense of what it brings to the table. Everything on the palette is so smooth, light and mellow then right and the end you get that distinctive, spicy rye pop right at the end. This is usually why whiskey makers include various amounts of rye to balance notes like caramel, oak, and vanilla. So I would definitely recommend picking up this limited release while you can so you can experience this yourself. As far as mixing goes I could see it in a Sour, a Cosmopolitan, a Sake Martini, and I think it would make a killer Motlow’s Mule (stay tuned for that original recipe). Check out my impressions below.

Aroma- big aromas of fresh baked sourdough bread, warm rye breads, with faint notes of ripe stone fruit.

Taste- a slick slightly oily texture with very mild and light in flavors of sourdough and water cracker followed by a burst of spicy rye notes.

Finish- finishes clean with mild notes of bread and crackers.

 

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A Gentleman’s Cola

gent1a

by Raul Faria

when the Order of Gentlemen calls, one must rise to meet the challenge. One the Order’s Ambassadors, Miss Cami Novak, challenged me to create a cocktail for the Las Vegas Cocktail Classic this year and I came up with “A Gentleman’s Cola”. It is a combination of the twice mellowed Gentlemen Jack, CioCiaro Amaro, Dry Soda Vanilla, a little lemon and a saffron, cinnamon and vanilla bean infused Mexican Coca Cola Syrup. It’s an easy to drink sipper (sometimes a little too easy) with a softer effervescence than a straight Jack & Coke. Lots of flavors from the infusion and the Amaro, all backed up by the super smooth Tennessee Whiskey, Gentleman Jack. Ready to imbibe with the Order of Gentlemen?

1) Let’s get our tools together; we will need our Boston Shaker, Hawthorne Strainer, a 14-16 oz Collins or cooler glass, a Jigger with a 1 oz and a .5 oz measure. For our prep we will need a fine mesh or Double-strainer, a Tea Ball, a pairing knife and a large Boiling Pot. Our shopping list will consist of Gentleman Jack Tennessee Whiskey, CioCiaro Amaro, Angostura Bitters, Lemons, 2 Liters of Mexican Coca Cola, Saffron, Vanilla Beans and Cinnamon Sticks.

2) Time to get our prep out of the way-

Infused Mexican Coca Cola Syrup- lets begin by getting our tea ball and inserting ½  of one split vanilla bean (simply cut in half with the pairing knife then cut that half through the middle), ½ teaspoon of saffron. Add the loaded tea ball and 1 cinnamon stick to the pot. Pour in our 2 liters of Mexican Coca Cola. Next bring the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once that has been achieved, reduce heat to simmer and allow mixture to reduce. A 2 liter batch will more than likely reduce in 3-4 hours and should yield about 4 oz of syrup. This recipe will also allow for 2 more liters of cola and if you need more simply double up the recipe for a max of 1 full teaspoon of saffron, 1 vanilla bean, 2 cinnamon sticks and 8 liters of cola that will reduce to 16 oz of syrup. The empty bottle make a snazzy container for your syrup as well.

3) In our mixing glass we can add our .5 oz of infused Mexican Coca Cola syrup. Mexican Coca Cola is pretty easy to find in Hispanic Specialty grocery stores and is considered the best due to the fact that it is made with cane sugar. The stuff in the USA sadly has high fructose corn syrup. If you are having trouble finding the Mexican Coca Cola then try Colas that are made with cane sugar at places like Whole Foods, Sprouts or Trader Joes.

4) Now we can add our .5 oz of fresh lemon juice. Simply slice the lemon and feel free to squeeze directly into the jigger or we can utilized our double-strainer to catch all the pulp and seeds and strain into a separate container for later use if you plan on making more.

5) Lets add our 1 oz of CioCiaro Amaro. Based on a secret recipe this Amaro has been around since 1873. It has flavors of bitter orange, anise, cinnamon and for me….cola. Thats why I knew Id be using this amazing liqueur to back up the cola notes I was looking for in this cocktail. CioCiaro is also great straight oout of the bottle and is the key ingredient in the cocktail classic Picon Punch (due to the fact that Amer Picon is no longer available in its traditional form, a tale for another article). What is an Amaro you ask? Well in brief it is an herbal style of liqueur produced in Italy that typically combines bitter barks, herbs, plants, flowers and citrus oils to create unique flavors. They are traditionally considered digestivos or digestifs and are consumed after meals. I dissagree with tradition here as I think anytime is a good time for some CioCiaro :)

6) Time to add the star of the show, our 2 oz of Gentleman Jack. Gentleman Jack is a Tennessee Whiskey, which by law is defined as Straight Bourbon originating from the State of Tennessee. Bourbon must be aged in new, freshly charred American Oak barrels, must also be made in the USA and must contain a mashbill consisting of at least 51% corn. Bourbon must also be distilled to no higher than 80% ABV, barreled at no higher than 62.5% ABV and bottled at no less than 40% ABV. To be called “Straight” Bourbon it must meet all the previous requirements plus it must be aged at least 2 years and have an age statement listed on the bottle if has not been aged 4 years or more. Straight bourbon must also have no added coloring agents or un-aged nuetral grain alcohol added. So again in a nutshell Tennessee Whisky is Straight Bourbon made in Tennessee. There is however one more unique process attributed to Tennessee whiskies and that is ‘The Lincoln County Process” of maple charcoal filtration. This is not a legal requirement of Tennessee Whisky and is a point of contention with some whiskey makers in the great State of Tennessee.  Now consider this, every bottle and style of Jack Daniels, the most famous, popular and iconic American Whiskey in the World, utilizes this process. Gentleman Jack is twice mellowed meaning it has undergone the Lincoln County Process of filtration twice for an amazingly smooth Tennessee Whiskey.

7) We are now going to add three dashes of Angostura bitters to the mixing glass.

8) Now that we have all our ingredients in our mixing glass (except the dry soda vanilla). Lets add ice and Shake!

9) Strain into chilled, iced 14-16 oz Collins glass and top off with 2-3 oz of Dry Soda Vanilla. Dry Soda is a low sugar, all natural brand of sodas that are focused on flavor not sugar. They have an entire line of cocktail friendly flavors like cucumber, juniper, pear, cherry, ginger, blood orange, rhubarb, lavender, lime, apple and of course vanilla. They are perfect for long drinks, sippers and to mix with a single spirit. Try your favorite gin with the Dry Soda cucumber or maybe some Finlandia vodka with a little Dry Soda Lavender or even some Jack Daniels Honey with some Dry Soda Lime, endless combos.

10) Garnish with a lemon wheel and serve. Enjoy!

A Gentleman’s Cola- 2 oz Gentleman Jack, 1 oz CioCiaro, .5 oz Infused Mexican Coca Cola Syrup, .5 oz of lemon juice, 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters, Shake/Strain, into chilled, iced 14-16 oz Collins Glass, top off with Dry Soda Vanilla, quick, light stir to distribute or top off at the same time you strain, garnish with lemon wheel.

 

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Yoshinogawa Golden Gourd Daiginjo

goldengourd

by Raul Faria

Yoshinogawa Golden Gourd Daiginjo is one of my favorite selections from the Toji club at Sake One. It is sent out to Toji club members and is available on their website around the holidays and I look forward to it every year. We’ve covered the Yoshinogawa Shuzou’s sake before at mixologymadesimple.com, like the Yoshinogawa Winter Warrior, Gokujo Ginjo and Rokudan Jikomi, the Golden Gourd Junmai Daiginjo is unique in both its striking bottle (check out the pic above, how cool is that bottle?!) and the fact that it is aged 3 years at low temperatures in an inert container.

Sake aging is not commonly done and represents a very small fraction of sake produced. They also do not age the sake like a whiskey or Scotch where they extract flavors from the barrels. Instead the sake is typically aged in inert containers or in the bottles themselves and the goal of this aging is to allow the remaining sake enzymes to transform the sake into something else, in the more dramatic examples of aged sake, or more commonly to allow the flavors to bind together to create a “rounder” sake overall. Check out my impressions below-

Yoshinogawa “Golden Gourd” Diaginjo

Aroma- Big pineapple right away on the nose with ripe tropical fruit, present stone fruit aromas as well with a bit of banana. Lots of fruity aromas here.

Taste- Big, lush, juicy melon with a velvety, silky texture.

Finish- Lingering melon with a detectable rhubarb note on the finish.

Region= Niigata  Rice= Gohyakumangoku  Seimaibuai= 40% 

ABV= 15.6%  SMV= +3  Acidity= 1.2

Be sure to visit the Sake One website to pick up your own bottle. This one is a limited yearly run so if you are interested in getting your own bottle you better get on it :)  You can also sign up for one of their sake clubs and have selections delivered to your door on a bi-monthly basis.

 

 

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