Thursday, December 25, 2014

Bulleit Bourbon

Yo. Bulleit Bourbon is the Bomb! Check it out! No, I don't work for them and I didn't get paid to say that either (though I can dream).

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

mü creamy vanilla latté

LiDestri Spirits from Rochester, NY recently sent me a bottle of their mü creamy vanilla latté to check out. Instead of being a spirts based drink, it's made with a wine base and flavored in four distinct ways. In addition to the Creamy Vanilla Latté you'll hear more about in a second, they also have Creamy Chocolate Chai, Creamy Coco Cappuccino and Creamy Espresso Macchiato.

Another thing that drew me to the product was the beautiful presentation. The bottle had a bow on it--my wife was pissed she couldn't give it away to a friend we're visiting tomorrow: "that's a really nice idea, perfect to take with us." Each flavor is different, but this bottle showed a ballerina in a pose with her skirt hiked way up--very sexy.  The bottle also told a little story to set your expectations. 13.9% alcohol.

I thought this was going to be awesome in my morning coffee, but you know what? It wasn't really that noticeable. However, over ice, it was a kick-ass drink. Honestly, I love that spirits riff you get from other spirits based drinks, but this was very smooth and easy. Creamy, very flavorful, delicious, "with an adult twist."

If I were you, I'd start trolling them on Twitter and Instagram and be sure to grab this or one of those other awesome flavors. Again, I think it's a beautiful gift to bring with you to any gathering!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Love & Wine, a Rooftop Wine and Spirits (the key word) Affair

These Johnnie Walker dudes were awesome!
Last night, I attended Love & Wine, a Rooftop Wine and Spirits, Gastronomic Affair on the Roof of The Collection Building in Coral Gables, Florida! There was plenty of LOVE and wine, though I skipped wine for the night (mostly, I do adore Moet & Chandon champagne). For me, and I think most of the attendees, the spirits vendors (and food) made the event awesome. Baileys, Johnnie Walker, Ketel One and Zacapa! Yum!

Here are some of the best pictures of those that served these spirits. If you see any women in a skirt or with messy hair, let it be known that the wind was epic! Forget that Marilyn Monroe famous picture. Some of these representatives had a hard time not showing off more than they wanted!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Love, Spirits, Wine, Cars, Food, Miami

Seriously, when I got some info about Love & Wine – A Rooftop Wine & Spirits, Gastronomic Affair, I figured out HOW to be a part of it! Just two weeks from today, on Saturday, November 22, 2014, be prepared to be wined, dined, and loved by some of Miami's most awesome kitchens. Oh, and at the same time you may be drinking Zacapa Rum, sipping Baileys, or romancing with some Moet champagne!

The event takes place on the roof of The Collection Building in Coral Gables, and The Collection will have some awesome cars on display as well. Live music will be playing, and the night will surely be spectacular! You can get tickets at the event website, and be sure to say hello to me! I'll be insulted otherwise!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Craft Spirits Festival Grand Tasting

Last night, Ed Roberts and I attended the second annual Craft Spirits Festival in Coconut Grove, Florida. Thanks to Ed, we were uncharacteristically late for the 7 pm start, but it didn't really matter since the event lasted until 11 pm, and no one needs to drink spirits for four hours in a row! Let me say that The Cruz Building is beautiful and was an amazing place to host this event--really unique in every way!

We stopped by almost every exhibitor to see what they were serving, trying some of the spirits that each vendor brought. We needed to be selective and go for options that we hadn't tried previously. We were also offered numerous cocktails throughout the night, though I personally preferred to taste each spirit neat. In addition to the spirits, several restaurants served hors d'oeuvres at select locations throughout the building.

The Cruz Building has three floors each with a long bar (which, not coincidentally, were all being heavily used). There are intricate stained glass panels, mirrors, chandeliers and many other features everywhere--seriously check this place out some time. The third floor also has an outside terrace. All of the space was mapped out very well, with different spirits and food options throughout. And there wasn't a mob of people like you may encounter at many festivals--the number of attendees was perfect for socializing and learning about the spirits and enjoying the evening.

I saw a few people I knew, including my bosses James and Annette from SoulOfMiami. And you certainly know you've been at a few previous events when you know the promotional models by first name! A few Real Housewives alumni were supposed to be there making cocktails for charity, and maybe they were eventually, but I didn't see them (that made me sad, LOL). But Ed and I had one of those drinks in support of the Louis Salgar Fund, mixed by a non celebrity.

I had a lot of favorites, so let me get that point out of the way first. But I can highlight a few spirits and vendors that really stood out in my mind. My favorite stop of the night was at the Remy Cointreau booth. The woman there was very knowledgeable about her product line, enthusiastic, and obviously missed by her previous company (her old boss said so while we were standing there). By the time we left the table 15 minutes later, we each had a stack of five empty sample cups and a wealth of information.

We started with Remy Martin 1738 Cognac. It was full of amazing fruity apricot flavors, very smooth, and lacking the burn in the finish. Great product! Another interesting product we tried was Remy Martin V, an eau de vie made in the same way as their cognacs but without aging it in barrels. We were reminded several times that it's not a Cognac but rather a product of its own.

On the first floor we also tried Highland Park Dark Origins, a product not on the market yet. The Dark Origins name refers to the color given to the Scotch during maturation in Sherry casks. It was a rich, smoky, delicious spirit, full of wood and fruit with an intense burn at the finish.

Moving on... and up a beautiful staircase to the second floor. At the top of the stairs we were greeted by one of those huge bar areas. This bar was home to Woodford Reserve, Gentleman Jack and Jack Daniels to name a few. I tried each though the highlight was the bottle of Jack Daniels Sinatra Select. We were told that within the JD family, this is a comparable whiskey to Johnnie Walker Blue. And it was very smooth though I can't say I have $160 to take that bottle home. Fun experience there.

I made a handful of new friends along the way which you can see below. And Ed made a new friend named Al from Dillon's out of Canada. Al was a super passionate guy that obviously believed he has the most awesome vodka and gin in the world. He started telling us about the grapes they use to make their vodka, and I think what riled him up was when I asked if they modeled that after Diddy's Ciroc! Apparently there are only four or five vodka makers in the world that use grapes.

We then got to taste Dillon's gin. I asked him if I was supposed to drink it straight or it was to be used as a mixer in a cocktail. We got a botanical lesson like no other! My only real experiences with gin are mixing it with juice in college to be cool like Snoop and that my little brother and his pals got sick when they stole a bottle when we were kids. But apparently you can sip good gin straight!

Up on the third floor, we were greeted at the Tito's Vodka table by my old friend Becky, who used to work at "my" Total Wine store. We worked our way through cordials, mezcals, bourbons, even ciders from Rekorderlig. Crop Organic had this Spiced Pumpkin Vodka that was awesome! It was all organic and healthy and stuff, too, but that was secondary for me!

We lastly hit the outside terrace where Flor de Cana rum was flowing and cigars were being smoked. By that time, it was almost 11 pm so the vendors were starting to wrap things up. But we made it through the entire place, visiting almost everyone.

The Craft Spirits Festival was terrific, from the venue to the vendors! I can't wait to go again next year!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Grand Tasting of Craft Spirits Festival

The Grand Tasting of the Craft Spirits Festival will take place this Thursday, October 9, 2014 from 7pm -11pm at the Cruz Building in Coconut Grove. This is the second year of this showcase for attendees to sample and learn about these craft beverages. Over 30 exhibitors will be offering whisky, rum, vodka, gin and other spirits, and some will be mixing cocktails as well.

Grand Tasting tickets are available for $75 and can be purchased at the Craft Spirits Festival website. I'll probably be tweeting with #craftspiritsfest. I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ardbeg Supernova: Newest Taste of Islay

Last night, Ed Roberts and I stopped by Lure Fishbar at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel for a taste of Ardbeg Distillery's newest Scotch named Supernova. Wow! What a beautiful and impressive hotel! And we didn't even go in the main hotel, just visited the bar and restaurant next to the enormous pool.

You probably remember Trisha Cancilla leading us through three of the distillery's expressions on ByTheGlassShow not that long ago. Well, Ed and I hit the table with those same three first: their 10 year Scotch, Corryvrecken and their Sherry-finished Scotch named Uigeadail. And you'll never guess who we bumped in to--you guys are so smart--Trisha. She even posed for a few staged pictures with me. I met Trisha's boss Israel too!

Ed and I also did the picture thing with some fun props. There was a very good band playing the entire evening, and I swear they had a Wii fishing game--the Ardbeg model that was showing everyone how to play was kicking my ass. I couldn't figure out how to cast to the right spot (pretty similar to my real life fishing dilemnas).

That's when we hit the Supernova table. Another model poured the newest expression into cute branded Ardbeg shot glasses. I had a few and it was terrific. We also tried one of the two cocktails available--you seriously had to stand by the bar to grab one they were so popular!

David Blackmore, Bill Lumsden, Me (duh)
Just when you thought things couldn't get better, Dr. Bill Lumsden, creator of all the Ardbeg Scotch expressions introduced himself and told us a little about Supernova. I'm pretty sure he's convinced that aging Scotch in space will have some alien effects, and as a scientist, he's going to find them! Global Master Brand Ambassador for Ardbeg David Blackmore was also there (he called in to that same BTGS I mentioned earlier). Bill and David were spreading the good Scotch word and posing for pictures all night, too!

That's about it. Fun night. Plenty of Scotch. Nice crowd of people enjoying themselves! And I made a few new friends as you'll see below.