Thursday, September 26, 2013

Chicago Independent Spirits Expo

Happy Thursday folks! I'm just climbing out of bed after a WONDERFUL night at the Independent Spirits Expo at the Chicago Hilton last night. All I can say is wow. A fun night filled with tasting some excellent spirits, and chatting it up with some of the industries finest. 

Last years event had 80 suppliers and over 400 independent and artisan spirits from all over the world. This years was no different  I tasted thru the entire event and was pleased with everything I was able to sample. From some of my favorite spirits, Like Few Whiskey, ANYTHING from the St. George portfolio, Diplomatico, and Del Maguey, to some newer brands that I haven't had the opportunity to try. 

One standout to me was the Barrel Aged Gin from Smooth Ambler Spirits. WOW is all I can say.  Their Barrel aged gin uses their award winning Greenbrier Gin as the base distillate and is aged 3 months in Oak barrels. This is a complete sipper. To me, it still tastes like a London Dry Gin but I get some peppery notes on the finish so it feels like a Rye whiskey. So my palate was very happy with this spirit!  Check out the video of the distillery here: 

Also at this years indie spirits expo was the authors round table  and my good friend Mr. Warren Bobrow was one of the speakers. Warren has been featured on this blog in the past and now my main man is releasing his 1st cocktail book, "Apothecary Cocktails: Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today." Had the opportunity to have some conversations with my friend this week and even got to thumb thru the book as well. Needless to say this is not just a cocktail book. Back at the turn of the century, most would go to their local apothecary and would get prescribed something herbal that includes some sort of spirit for all your ailments. Without giving to much of the book away, there are some great recipes in there that were used for Medicinal purposes. It will be a must own for anyone in our industry and for cocktail enthusiasts as well.  You can pre-order this book by following this link...

So to all that was able to experience the Indie Spirits Expo, I'm glad to have ran into you and we all had a good time. To any who missed it, DO NOT MISS NEXT YEAR!! 


Until Next Time

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wine Wednesday on Bottoms Up----- The Summer of Riesling

Good afternoon Folks!

Well now that we are officially in the last week of summer, and although it is my favorite season, the fall season is fastly approaching. Football, Basketball, leaves changing color, its gets dark a little earlier, all are letting us know that its time for a whole new flavor of cocktails and wines. Plum, Cherry, Cinnamon, Spice, whiskey, cognac, hot cocktails, port wines, all are about to get a BIG boost with the temperature falling.

BUT, we still have a few days left and our resident wine expert, the extremely talented Tanisha Townsend of Girl Meets Glass is giving us one last wine reminder for the summer. So enough of me talking, lets find out what the Summer of Riesling is all about.........

As much as we try to hold onto the warm days, long nights, and short skirts, the temps are getting lower. And as of September 21st, summer will be officially over. (Collective sigh) And along with it goes the Summer of Riesling.

Summer of Riesling was created by Paul Grieco from Terrior NY as a way to promote the diversity of the grape. Five years later, over 500 restaurants, wine bars and retails shops around the world have joined in and offer multiple styles of Riesling by the glass. Riesling is regarded as one of the world’s finest and most elegant grapes. Its fruity aromatics and bright acidity, make it excellent for pairing with food. Riesling is also late ripening but hardy, lending to sweeter flavors and late harvest styles.
Riesling is most at home in Germany where it’s welcomed by a cool climate. To get the grapes to ripen fully, they are grown on steep sun-facing slopes allowing for grapes to get a maximum amount of sunlight. German-style Rieslings are light in alcohol and age remarkably well with noticeable honeyed aromas. But in the glass, the German style is easily and quickly identified by a distinctive diesel aroma. But don’t fret! The diesel gives way to aromas of melon and wine. German Rieslings also have various levels of sweetness designated on the label.
·        Kabinett: dry
·        Spatelese: semi-sweet
·        Auslese: very ripe, hand selected bunches, typically semi-sweet or sweet
·        Beerenauslese: overripe grapes individually selected from bunches and often affected by noble rot, making rich sweet dessert wine.
·        Eiswein: (ice wine) The grapes are frozen on the vine and then pressed for their juice
·        Trockenbeerenauslese: made from overripe shriveled grapes often affected by noble rot making extremely rich sweet wines.

In warmer climates such as Austria and Australia, Rieslings take  more citrusy and peach notes. Due to their high acidity, they are also one of the few white wines that age well. The older they get, they developed honeyed and smoky notes.

Chateau Tanunda Riesling (Australia) – A bit of petrol on the nose swirls away into aromas of lime blossom and citrus. A drier style, but a long finish on the palate.Willm Reserve Riesling (Alsace, France) – White flowers and citrus on the nose with a racy acidity. Clean flavors on the palate pair well with spicy foods or sushi.
JJ Prum Sommeheur Auslese (Germany) – The petrol aroma jumps up from the glass, but once you get past that there is ripe peach and mango to be had. Great minerality and acidity on the palate, very well balanced.
Dr. Loosen Blue Estate Kabinett (Finger Lakes, NY) – Excellent aperitif wine with its white peach and floral flavors. Tons of flinty minerality from the blue slate the vines are planted in.

For more information on Riesling, check out #summerofriesling on Twitter as we chat away the last few days of summer. Of course, with a glass of Riesling by our side.

So thanks Tanisha again for spreading her wine knowledge over here to myself and my readers and I think Ill be picking up myself a bottle of Riesling tonight to have before summer ends. Be on the lookout for more wine based posts from our favorite wine expert Tanisha in the near future.

Until Next Time