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Featured Spirits
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Home Featured Spirits

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Featured Spirits

Welcome to our Featured Spirit Archives. Here, you can read about our experiences with various spirits and become privy to some of our favorite brands of each spirit that we've stumbled upon so far.

You can select a spirit category from the list below to learn about that category. From there, you can select any of the spirits we've featured so far within that category and read what we had to say.

If you have comments regarding the spirits we've selected or have an opinion about what we should feature next, feel free to contact us.



Edinburgh Gin PDF Print E-mail
Featured Spirits - Gins

By Ben Alger

a picture of Edinburgh GinSpencerfield Spirit Company – Edinburgh Gin
Price Range: $35-$40/750 ml

This lively gin comes to us from across the pond in Edinburgh, Scotland. Spencerfield sits on farmland with a small claim to fame. In the 1700s, the land was farmed by master distiller James Anderson. Anderson eventually moved to Virginia and managed the farm at Mount Vernon for George Washington. He convinced Washington to build a still on the land, and Mount Vernon became one of the first big producers of whiskey in the US. Today, that same farmland in Scotland is where Spencerfield pulls from to produce their award-winning spirits. This family business was set up over forty years ago by Alex Nicol, a whiskey aficionado and former marketing executive for Glenmorangie. In addition to gin, the Spencerfield product line also includes three whiskey varieties.

Edinburgh Gin packs a strong wallop at 86 proof and bursts out of the bottle with a bouquet of aromas including juniper, pine and citrus peel. The flavor is every bit as busy and intense as both the label and the aroma suggest. Among the ingredients included is milk thistle, long believed to improve liver function. Bonus!

 
Pau Maui Vodka PDF Print E-mail
Featured Spirits - Vodkas

By Ben Alger

a picture of Pau Maui VodkaPau Maui Vodka
Price Range: $29-$30/750 ml

Vodka distilled from Hawaiian pineapples? Now, that sounds like something that will get us out of our winter funk and dreaming of warm tropical vacations. Made in Hawaii, Pau Maui vodka comes in an interesting bottle almost resembling an exclamation point. It looks as clean as the pure Hawaiian spring water used in its creation. Instead of using traditional copper stills, master distiller Mark Nigbur designed unique clear glass stills for production with the goal of retaining the original flavor of this premium vodka.

I mentioned pineapples earlier, but don’t expect to catch any on the nose or palate. Maui Gold® pineapples are used in the very beginning of the production process as they provide a clean mash to start from. The finished product is a little intimidating on the nose, but you can almost pull out a hint of clean Hawaiian spring water. The flavor is a bit more reserved than the aroma would lead you to believe, but it is still full with a short finish. In a time when flavored vodka is king, Pau Maui is a refreshing return to pure and simple vodka. Think Hawaii. Think Pau Maui. Okole Maluna!

 
Absolut Grapevine PDF Print E-mail
Featured Spirits - Vodkas

By Stephanie Schettler-Cumming

a picture of Absolut Grapevine VodkaAbsolut Grapevine
$20-$25 for 1L

One of the world’s largest premium spirits brands (fourth largest, to be exact) has just come out with its newest variety of flavored vodka. Absolut’s Grapevine vodka uses papaya, white grape and dragon fruit in a refreshing twist to the company’s well-established lineup. Produced solely in its facility in Ahus (located in the southern part of Sweden), Absolut distributes to over 150 countries worldwide. The original Absolut vodka was first distributed to the United States in 1979 and the brand has since become a huge success, coming out with new flavors of vodka every few years since 1986.

At first sip, Grapevine’s taste is somewhat surprising compared to your typical flavored vodka. Going against the trend, Absolut has created a flavored vodka that is light on the flavor. The subtle fruit characteristics not only provide Grapevine with the versatility to enhance your favorite vodka cocktail, but also give it the ability to appeal to those that typically avoid such spirits altogether. For those of you who already enjoy flavored vodkas, the light fruit taste is a welcome change with enough punch to have an impact on your choice beverage. Spring is just around the corner, and Grapevine is calling your name, so pick up a bottle and start creating your new favorite cocktail!

 
Campari PDF Print E-mail
Featured Spirits - Liqueurs

a picture of Campari
Gruppo Campari
Italy

41 proof


Campari, one of my personal favorites, was born in Novara, Italy in 1860, when Gaspare Campari first blended his secret mix of herbs, aromatic plants and fruit. His bittersweet concoction, meant as a digestif (an herbal spirit meant to aid digestion), became rather popular. In fact, it became so popular that people began drinking it before meals rather than after, creating a new trend—the aperitivo (meal opener, meant to whet your appetite). Campari began producing his spirit on a mass scale, originally calling it Bitter Uso Olanda. Obviously the name didn’t stick, but the spirit did!

The Campari brand was born, fueled by aggressive and innovative print advertising, and distribution spread throughout Europe. By 1906, Davide Campari, Gasapre’s son, began exporting Campari. Today, it is available in over 190 countries.

Campari is a divisive spirit—people either tend to either love it or hate it. It has a bright, earthy, herbal nose, with hints of bright fruit. The front end of the taste is rather intensely bitter, but that bitterness breaks into a complex cornucopia of herbal and spice flavors. Campari is famous for its role in cocktails such as the Americano, Boulevardier, Lucien Gaudin Cocktail and, most famously, the Negroni.

 
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