Nashville distiller's whiskey headed for NY State

Picture 4Whiskey from a fledgling Tennessee distiller soon will be available in at least 10 other states.

Collier and McKeel, a Tennessee whiskey distilled in Nashville by a company founded in 2011, is expanding to as many as part of an agreement with Virginia-based distributor The Vintner Group, according to a news release.

"This whiskey will only get better with age, and we're proud to be sharing it with our customers in several states," Clay Farmer, director of marketing for The Vintner Group, said in an announcement.

Collier and McKeel will be sold in stores and restaurants in Washington, DC, Delaware, Maryland and Florida immediately. In a few months, it will expand to retailers and specialty bars in New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois and Indiana.

The whiskey is made from a sour mash of corn, rye and malted barley plus limestone-filtered water. It is filtered via something called the Lincoln County Process through maple charcoal to give it the genre's distinctive smoky flavor that differentiates it from bourbon. It then is aged in small barrels, which means more of the whiskey is touched by the wood during maturation.

As a neat little touch, the master distiller puts his fingerprint -- his actual fingerprint, not a stamp or printed version or someone else's print -- on every bottle produced.


10 Cane becoming a Barbadian rum

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- Drinks giant Moët Hennessy is moving production of its flagship rum brand 10 Cane here from Trinidad & Tobago.

The Paris-headquartered company will be distilling, blending and bottling its rum at the Foursquare Rum Distillery here.

The Barbados government said the location shift, which will mean a new facility for distilling, blending and bottling the rum is expected to bring in as much as $50 million in foreign exchange.

"Rum is a distinct Barbadian product, and I believe that we are the home of rum, and that is something that I don’t think we have fully capitalised on as yet," said Donville Inniss, Industry Minister of this Caribbean island nation.

“This is very exciting because this brand having been established world-wide, it has a track record, so we are not starting from zero," said Sir David Seale chairman of Foursquare. "We are starting from a point that it is a guarantee amount that we can produce ... . Our sums will say that it is quite possible that we will earn in excess of $100 million (Barbadian dollars, which are 50 cents per American dollar) in foreign exchange over the next five years."

Inniss said Barbados is not a low-cost location for manufacturing. As a result "we have to tap into the niche areas and rum is a product that is synonymous with Barbados and, therefore, we have to exploit fully the rum industry. This means ... making use of an ultra-modern plant distillery and creating niche products."


This month's cocktail suggestions

The Standing Stone
The Standing Stone
From Eric Henry, The Whistler, Chicago

Henry, whose recipe was featured in Esquire magazine, decided to do this take on a whiskey sour by using Scotch and combining it with Don's Spices, which originated at the old Don the Beachcomber's tiki style pubs from the mid-20th Century cocktail culture.

1½ oz. MacGavin's Single Malt Scotch (or any Highland single malt)
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
 ½ oz. B.G. Reynolds Don's Spices #2 Syrup
¼ oz. Angostura bitters

Shake with ice. Strain into coupe. No garnish necessary.
The Envy

From Colleen Graham, AOL.com columnist  

Graham, a spirits writer and bartender, included this recipe in her 2012 book "¡Hola Tequila!" (Sellers Publishing).

1½ fluid ounces blanco tequila
¾ fluid ounces blue curaçao
¾ fluid ounce pineapple juice
Dash of orange bitters

Pour the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a frozen cocktail glass filled with cracked ice. Garnish with a pineapple flag or a single maraschino cherry.
Triple Orange Margarita

From Americano restaurant, San Francisco  

Mixologist Ronaldo Colli came up with this cocktail when asked to whip up a drink containing Gran Gala.

1½ ounces ultra premium tequila
¾ ounce Gran Gala Triple Orange
1 ounce orange juice, freshly squeezed
½ ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
¼ ounce agave nectar
1 lime wheel
1 orange peel

Pour Gran Gala, tequila, orange juice, lime juice, agave nectar and orange peel into a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled glass filled with ice. Strain into a chilled margarita glass if you prefer your margarita up. Garnish with a lime wheel and the same orange peel on top of the cocktail. Salted rim is traditional, but optional.


Robot bartender moves like ballet dancer, literally

It seems we may be running out of old-fashioned ways of doing many things. Such as making cocktails.

Don't believe it? Take a look at the video from the folks who invented the Makr Shakr, a gadget they showed off at the recent Google I/O conference in San Francisco.

It cuts up fruit, measures out drink components and serves them like a human bartender. Its motions are based on those of Roberto Bolle, a dancer with the American Ballet Theatre.

The project was run by the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with support from Coca Cola and Bacardi. Carlos Ratti, an MIT dirctor, said it is a "great example" of how technology is being used to change how humans interact with products.


New Bacardi ads revives Cuba Libre history


Through all sorts of societal changes and over several generations, the Cuba Libre has endured as a very popular cocktail.

The recipe is a simple one: Light rum, Coca-Cola and a squeeze of lime.

Where it came from is, as is the case with so many cocktail origins, a matter of opinion.

The most popular version matches that told in a soon-to-be-released Bacardi USA TV commercial -- that it was created in Cuba in 1900 as Colonel Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders helped fight for the island's independence from Spain -- and takeover by the U.S. They toasted the victory with the cheer "Free Cuba!" or "Cuba Libre!" in Spanish.

The spot, reports Advertising Age, is the first in a series of ads showing historical events that shaped the 151 year-old brand, which has links to the creation of other rum cocktails such as the Daiquiri and Mojito. However, Coca-Cola won't be getting a free ride on the Bacardi advertisng dollar. The ad will refer to the drink as "run and cola."

The historic theme may well be in response to competitors' rum ads featuring historic personalities. Diageo has recast its once silly Captain Morgan as real-life privateer Captain Henry Morgan of the 1600s. William Grant & Sons is pushing its Sailor Jerry rum by using Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins, a renowned American tattoo artist and Navy man of the mid-1900s.

Last year, both brands gained market share on Bacardi, although it remains the top-selling U.S. rum with 35.4% share in 2012, according to Euromonitor International which measures volume of liters sold. Captain Morgan is No. 2 with 23.2%, and Sailor Jerry No. 7 at 2.6%.

Bacardi's campaign is timed to coincide with Cuban Independence Day on Monday. Interesting, considering both Bacardi and Coca-Cola left the island nation after Fidel Castro came to power. Bacardi now is made in Puerto Rico; Coca-Cola in plants all over the world -- except Cuba and North Korea where the product is not sold.


RI juggles its by-the-bottle interpretation

From the Providence Journal
PROVIDENCE, RI -- The Rhode Island state liquor regulator has reversed a longstanding interpretation of the law on selling a bottle of distilled spirits in a bar or nightclub.

A whole bottle may be sold for on-premises consumption, according to a recent order by the state Department of Business Regulation, which oversees liquor licenses.

The order notes, however, that the drinks must be poured by a "certified server."

City of Providence officials say it is a misinterpretation and that the city will sue to stop its enforcement. The city's licensing board has been cracking down on the practice.

"Bottle service," as the term generally is used, refers to the sale of a whole bottle of a distilled spirit, usually in a nightclub's VIP section. Clubs often require the purchase of a bottle as a prerequisite for VIP seating.