Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Aviation Cocktail

The hottest new(old) cocktail, the Aviation -- is it taking over the Cosmopolitan for supremacy?

The Aviation -- invented in 1916 by Hugo Ensslin in New York.

The Aviation lost favor because of the difficulty of finding two of its main ingredients -- Maraschino Liqueur and Creme de Violette. The Wine and Cheese Place stocks both now! (currently at Forsyth only) We have stocked Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur for a while and now with the re-introduction of Creme de Violette, the Aviation is becoming the hottest drink around.

Rothman and Winter
Creme de Violette Liqueur...$21.99 / 750ml
From Austria

"The first true Creme de Violette available in over a decade, by request of bar specialists for classic cocktails such as the Aviation and Blue Moon and by sommeliers for champagne cocktails. Produced in Austria from the Queen Charlotte and March Violets found in the Alps. Elegant in its simplicity, this authentic Crème de Violette captures their fragrance, vibrant colors, and taste." -- importer

Hugo Ensslin’s is the creator of the Aviation and he first published the recipe in 1916 in his bartender book:
1/3 Lemon Juice
2/3 El Bart Gin (any good dry gin will do, like Plymouth)
2 dashes Maraschino
2 dashes Creme de Violette
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

Over time, the drink lost the Creme de Violette because the liqueur was so hard to find.

Blue Moon
The Blue Moon is another version of the Aviation, just leave out the Marschino Liqueur

2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Creme de Violette

More exciting liquors...

Haymans Old Tom Gin...$20.99 / 750ml
"Old Tom Gin is a botanically-intensive style of gin popular in the 18th Century and was the Gin of Choice in the 19th Century. Relative to London Dry Gin, the Old Tom style imparts a more complex and flavourful taste experience. With its distinctive profile the Old Tom style
of gin is the key ingredient in classic cocktails such as the Martinez, Tom Collins and Ramos Gin Fizz. Hayman Distillers is the longest serving family owned gin distillery in England. Hayman’s Old Tom Gin is produced from an original recipe from the family archives." -- importer

Product of England. 40% Alc/Vol. 750ml size.

Many of our customers have been upset with the "new formula" Noilly Prat Vermouth, they sweetened the recipe. We have found another great French Vermouth that is DRY!
Dolin Dry Vermouth....$12.99 / 750ml
"Made to the same set of recipes since 1821, Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry has long been the benchmark for fine French Vermouth. Made with fine wines of the region and botanicals found in the Alpine meadows above Chambéry, together they impart a fresh and elegant nose, with a subtle and complex palate. Ideal as an aperitif or in cocktails. In the late 19th century, Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry won medals in Paris, London, St. Louis and Philadelphia and in 1932 earned Chambéry France's only Appellation d’ Origine for Vermouth." -- importer

Batavia Arrack VAn Oosten....$28.99 / 750ml
"It is a taste that has traveled the world from the Dutch East Indies, unique for its ability to both add depth and lift the aromas of citrus and chocolate. From the late 17th to 19th century, in an age when “Punch” was a celebration of all things then exotic – citrus, sugar, and spice, no Punch was without a true Batavia Arrack. In pre-Prohibition America, Batavia Arrack and most notably the Swedish Punsch were essential to many now-classic cocktails. Beyond these uses, Batavia Arrack is also today found in boutique European chocolates and cocktails at Bali resorts. Product of Indonesia and Netherlands. 50% Alc./Vol." -- importer

No Relation or Similarity to Lebenese or Sri Lanka Arak
Lebenese Arak
is typically a distilled grape spirit that is flavored with anise, very similar to Raki, Ouzo and Pastis
Sri Lanka Arak or Arrak
is typically fermented and distilled palm wine (from coconut milk), sometime mixed with neutral spirits
Batavia Arrack
comes only from the Island of Java. It is distilled from sugarcane and fermented red rice, using chinese pot stills with characteristic teak vats

Taylor's Velvet Falernum...$14.99 / 750ml
"Velvet Falernum is a longtime staple item of resorts and bars in Barbados, and today for its use in Tropical, Tiki and Caribbean drinks such as the Rum Swizzle, Mai Tai, Zombie, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the Corn n’ Oil. It is made from an infusion of spices and lime juice into sugar cane syrup and Barbados Rum. John D Taylor’s Falernum is considered by many as the original Falernum, and is today produced by famed rum distiller R.L. Seale Ltd" -- importer.

Product of Barbados, 11% Alc./Vol. 750ml size.

Read more about these great new items and also drink recipe

New Liqueurs

Rothman & Winter Liqueurs

Orchard Apricot Liqueur...$21.99 /750ml

Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur combines juice from the seasonal harvest of Austria’s famed Klosterneuberger apricots with an eau-de-vie produced from this same fruit. Destillerie Purkhart selects its apricots each season from family orchards in the Danube Valley and surrounding regions. Ideal for perfecting so many classic cocktails. Product of Austria. 24% Alc./Vol. 750ml.

Orchard Pear Liqueur...$21.99 /750ml

Rothman & Winter Orchard Pear Liqueur combines juice from the seasonal harvest of Williams Pears with an eau-de-vie produced from the same fruit. Destillerie Purkhart carefully selects its pears each season from family orchards in both South Tirol (the Alto Adige) and the Danube Valley. Product of Austria. 24% Alc./Vol. 750ml.

Creme de Violet...$21.99 /750ml

Among the native wildflowers found in the Alps are the Queen Charlotte and March Violets. Elegant in its simplicity, this authentic Crème de Violette captures their fragrance, vibrant colors, and taste. Enjoy this liqueur in classic cocktails such as the Blue Moon or Aviation, or as an ingredient in continental cuisine. Product of Austria. 20% Alc./Vol. 750ml.
Read more about this great liqueur including the story of the Aviation Cocktail

Orchard Cherry Liqueur...$21.99 /750ml

In the realm of cherries, the sour Weichsel varieties found in and around Austria stand out for their vivid flavors and fine balance of the sweet and tart. This liqueur combines juices from the seasonal harvest of Weichsel cherries of farms in Lower Austria with an eau-de-vie produced from the same fruit.

Product of Austria. 24% Alc./Vol. 750ml.
Limited quantities start June 2009

Info from the importer's website:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Beers brewed by prisoners.....

First time in the U.S.
No distribution on
No distribution on (they are not even listed)

Pausa Cafe Social Cooperative
"The Pausa Café Social Cooperative was established in 2004, with its headquarters in the ‘Lorusso e Cotugno’ penitentiary in Turin, Italy. It was founded on a small set of principles. Firstly to support good social and economic development and sustainable practices, while giving special attention to help the more disadvantaged in both the North and South of the world. Secondly to promote a fair trade network based on the partnership between producers, manufacturers and consumers, allowing the producers to be closer to the consumer in order to improve food quality and increase the efficiency of the supply chain. Further Pausa Café also believes in: overcoming the many forms of social exclusion; more equality in international exchange; protecting universal human rights;
valorization of the bond between food cultures, regions and their biodiversity, and how they are human heritage and should be preserved; environmental sustainability; and using nonviolence as a methodology to solving conflict.

The coop’s mission is the production of high-quality foods that achieve the utmost standards of excellence on many levels: organoleptically (best possible flavor and aroma profile), socially (by dealing directly with food producers and working with prison inmates) and environmentally (promoting sustainable farming practices). The project initially started working with coffee and cacao, both products are paradigmatic for their economic potential, importance in the international trade market, and their negative impact on the actual producers in the countries of origin." -- importer

Available online -- click here

Pausa Cafe Chicca.... 750ml

"The CHICCA is brewed with coffee from Huehuetenango in Guatemala, located at the foot of the Cuchumatanes, one of the highest non-volcanic mountain ranges in Central America. The coffee is a Slow Food Presidia and is harvested according to an age-old tradition involving hand picking the berries one-by-one, followed by gentle fermentation and sun-drying. The unique characteristics of this shade-grown Arabica coffee are drawn out during a process of artisanal slow roasting in a wood-burning roaster at the Pausa Cafè facilities in Turin. Medium bodied, this beer is infused with the unique character of this special coffee. First asserted by the shade of color, then affirmed by the coffee notes integrated into the nose and the intense taste on the palate." -- importer

Awarded five stars by Slow Food Italian Beer Guide.

“A cloudy orange-amber in the glass. It immediately affirms its characteristic element: coffee. Certainly an experiment that expresses itself best when paired with food. The nose is dominated by the robust aroma of fresh brewed coffee which further is reflected on the palate, with a marked and captivating acidity.”

Pausa Cafe Taquamari...pint

"The TAQUAMARI was liberally inspired by the ‘weizen’ beer style, but interpreted in a totally original fashion with the use of Tapioca, Quinoa, Amaranth, and Basmati Rice. All these ingredients come from Terra Madre food communities and are International Slow Food Presidia. It is an elegant fusion of flavors and a journey in biodiversity. The beer is cloudy and smooth, typical of a weizen; but the non-traditional cereals add an incredible freshness and exotic notes resulting in a totally original flavor." -- importer

Awarded four stars by Slow Food Italian BeerGuide.

“Straw colored and opalescent with a thick white head, which is abundant and persistent. The nose is dominated by balsamic aromas, with oriental notes; in the mouth it is very refreshing, sustained by a firm acidity and a pleasant citrus note. The finish is characterized by cereal flavors with a good bitterness. Fresh and drinkable, but at the same time complex.”

If you would like to read more:

New Line of Italian Beers Has Unusual Cachet
Written by Tony Forder
May 28, 2009

Italy’s new craft beers have attained a certain cachet with exotic ingredients and colorful labels. A new line of Italian brews with a different sort of cachet is now entering the import market; they are brewed by Italian prison inmates.
Like Italian craft beers in general, the beers of Pausa Café have a strong connection with the Slow Food movement. Beginning with the commodities of coffee and chocolate, Pausa Café (Coffee Break in English), began as a sociological cooperative project working on two levels. It was founded with the central mission to demonstrate that it was possible to take the problem of coffee (very impoverished producers, treated with unjust international trade practices, often making less than the cost of production beans) and the problem of prison inmates (who may have certain skills but can’t get a job or any assistance after being released from the prisons, thus being forced to return to crime in order to survive) and work towards some solutions to these two issues under the same roof.
By working directly with coffee bean growers in Guatemala and cacao (the raw material for chocolate) farmers in Costa Rica, the project sought to eliminate the costly chain of supply for coffee and chocolate and put more money, and recognition, in the hands of the farmers (similar to the Fair Trade movement). The second level revolves around rehabilitating prison inmates with meaningful skills and creative work which can be utilized after their release.
The founders of Pausa Café began their coffee roasting project in the Lorusso e Cotugno prison in Torino in 2004; the chocolate project was added in 2007. The beer project followed last year, incorporating a 15-bbl. brewing system into the Rudolfo Morando prison in the town of Saluzzo. The coop tapped Andrea Bertola, who formerly brewed with Daniel Meinero at Troll Brewery in Piedmont, as their brewer; he went to work developing recipes.
The American connection came through Michael Opalenski of the importers B. United International who have made Italian beers a specialty over the past few years. opalenski, a Rhode Islander with some Italian roots — his parents both met and lived in Italy and his grandfather was in the diplomatic corps in Rome — decided to parlay his philosophy degree into further study at Slow Food’s University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo. Towards the end of his three and a half year stint he had the opportunity to participate in some tastings for a new Slow Food Guide to Italian Beer.
The beers of Pausa Café gave him pause to say the least. He was particularly intrigued by Chicca, a beer brewed with both green and roasted coffee beans, and Tosta, a 12% barleywinish brew made with cocoa paste, chocolate’s raw state, before the addition of sugar, etc. The other Pausa Café beers are Taquamari, an organic and biodynamic beer using tapioca, quinoa, basmati rice and amaranth, and a traditional Bohemian Pils aged in washed Slovenian wood barrels.
Opalenski reached out to brewer Bertola and visited the prison brewery. “The two prisons are very different places,” he said. “No one has a sentence over 10 years in Torino. It’s very large and the inmates are quite friendly. Saluzzo’s smaller and quite dismal and the inmates typically have longer sentences.” He said he talked with the prison psychologist at Saluzzo. “In the winter they only get 30 minutes a day outside in a small square. They dream of touching trees.”
Back in the U.S., when opalenski was hired last year by B. United’s president, Matthias Neidhart , he immediately spilled the beans on Pausa Café’s unique project.
“Michael’s Pausa Café project perfectly fit our company philosophy,” Neidhart said. “When we started in 1995 my ultimate objective was to create a ‘true learning organization’ making ‘products of highest flavor/aroma complexity, continuous improvement, curiosity, innovation, knowledge, training, and humility’ the critical attributes of our organization. About three years ago we added the dimensions ‘social responsibility’ and ‘environmental responsibility.’
“The only concern we had,” said Neidhart, “was ‘did the quality of Pausa Café ales meet our highest standards?’ When we finally had an opportunity to taste Chicca, Tosta, and Taquamari, we were speechless…blown away...and silent. We had rarely ever tasted anything quite like it.”
Opalenski said that currently two inmates work in the brewery and five in the coffee and chocolate facility in Torino. “It’s not for everyone, but for those who are ready, it teaches them a trade and helps with the process of reintegration. It’s an alternative to turning back to their old ways when they get out,” he said. Two “graduates” of the program are already working for Pausa Cafes outside prison walls.
Opalenski told me the story at The Ginger Man, over an Italian beer of course Quarta Runa made with peaches by the Montegioco brewery unfolded nicely as it warmed a little. Maybe the next beer we share, we’ll be able to reflect on the help we are giving to keep someone in Italy on the straight and narrow as well as to the survival of farmers in the mountains of Huehuetenango, Guatemala." -- Ale Street News

Very limited Bourbons...

Both available online now - click here
Parker's Heritage Golden Anniversary.....$134.99
VERY, VERY Limited --

"Parker Beam started practicing his family's craft at Heaven Hill in 1960. In the subsequent years, he has elevated the work of Master Distiller to an art form. In honor of his Golden 50th Anniversary, Parker hand selected barrels of Bourbon from each of his five decades and married them together for a rare and unique whiskey experience -- a fitting tribute to 50 years of Bourbon makeing" -- back label

Parkers Heritage 27 Year Old Bourbon....$169.99
(only 2 bottles left)
"The 27 year old bourbon, was Malt Advocate magazine’s “American Whiskey of the Year,”
"Parker’s Heritage Collection, 27 year old, 48%, $200Very well balanced and mellow on the nose and palate. Sweet notes of mature dark rum, toffee, nougat and candy corn dovetail with dried apricot, golden raisin, hot cinnamon, soft mint tea, and vanilla. Polished leather and tobacco leaves on a long, contemplative finish. This is what an ultra-mature bourbon should taste like: all the depth and complexity that comes with this much aging without all the excessive oak. The wood is there, but it never crosses the line. The next closest Heaven Hill bourbon in age is the Evan Williams 23 year old for the export market. There’s no comparison. This PHC has it easily beat. The EW 23 is way past its prime. In fact, this PHC shows less oak and lethargy on the finish than the 129.6 proof expression of last year’s inaugural 1996 vintage PHC, a whiskey less than half its age. (There were three different expressions, and I thought the other two were outstanding.)
"John Hansell, Malt Advocate magazine rating: 96