Gin Mare ($37.99)
From the producer:
"Gin Mare opens the door to a new variety of gins, with a novel pan-Mediterranean concept that unites the different cultures around this sea representing their botanical stars such as:
Arbequina olives, thyme, basil and rosemary
OUR LIQUID GOLD: THE ARBEQUINA OLIVE
The only one in the world with its own Designation of Origin
OUR MEDITERRANEAN BOTANICALS
Basil from Italy
Thyme from Greece
Rosemary from Turkey
Citrus fruits from Spain
OTHER BOTANICALS THAT MAKE UP THE GIN MARE PERSONALITY
Juniper, Coriander, Green Cardamom (harvested on farms)
Gin Mare also elicits the generational evolution of this category via a family with great weight in this work. Gin Mare is born from a pure Mediterranean environment with our distillery located in an ancient fishing village between the Costa Brava and the Costa Dorada.
Gin Mare is created using Mediterranean crafts and time, in order to obtain an exceptional gin: from a premium barley base, through delicate maceration and distillation which is independent for each botanical (some, like the citrus carry a harmonization process more than one year) to the authentic blending which expresses all the characteristics of each botanical in the final product.
NAMING GIN MARE
The word “Mare” weighs heavily throughout Mediterranean culture, immediately leading us to “Mar” (“sea”) which is the exact translation in Italian. But further research discovers that its meaning in other languages leads to a more familiar meaning, specifically maternal. At the same time, we must remember a universal concept that would include “Mare Nostrum”, the sea of all the communities living under this magical Mediterranean influence which unites the love of gastronomy, the pleasant climate, a way of life with different values where time runs differently than the rest of the world."
I love gin, and have tried all kinds, but none comes close to this gem from Spain. It truly reflects the Mediterranean in its savory, herbal profile, and it will challenge everything you think you know about gin.
123 Organic Reposado Tequila "Dos" ($52.99)
From the producer:
"When tequilero David Ravandi envisioned 123 Organic Tequila, he was inspired to design a brand specifically with wine enthusiasts in mind. The delicate floral aromas and complex mineral flavors found in 123 Organic Tequila are the result of artisanal, small-batch distillation and estate hand bottling.
As the sun and moon meet in the sky above the agave plantation, two stealthy jaguars (miztli) roam the fields in search of their elusive prey. During their silent hunts, Reposado (Dos) tequila rests in white oak barrels for six months before its timely release. This complex spirit reveals aromatic raw and cooked agave tempered by the warmth of oak aging with spicy notes of vanilla, anise and hint of citrus; a combination equally at home in cocktails and as a sipping tequila making it the most versatile of the 123 Organic Tequila styles."
Jose Cuervo and I had a pretty bad break-up in college. I'm sure some of you can relate. As a result, I spent nearly 20 years avoiding even the smell of Tequila, and I was not eager to taste any in preparation of opening this shop. Then I discovered that really good Tequila is REALLY GOOD. The owner of Blue Agave in Saratoga introduced me to Dos, and I was not exaggerating when I told him he changed my life in regard to Tequila. It's delicious, well-made, elegant, and worth every penny. Don't waste this in a mixed drink: sip it neat or chilled.
Black Dirt Distillery Bourbon ($45.99)
From the producer:
"The Black Dirt region of New York State, also known as the Drowned Lands, consists of the remains of a shallow lake that formed 12,000 years ago during the glacial period. The ebony soil is so rich and unique as to be an anomaly. In some areas the soil is comprised of up to 90 percent organic matter, considered by some to be “one great big compost heap,” from both the glacial lake and repeated flooding of the Wallkill River, and can go as deep as 30 feet. More mastodons have been unearthed here than anywhere else on Earth.
BLACK DIRT takes its name from the dark, fertile soil left by an ancient glacial lake that once covered Thousands of acres of upstate New York. Perfectly suited for growing crops such as corn, this Black Dirt has never been used for Bourbon production – until now.
Aged a minimum of 3 years, 4 months in new charred American Oak
Char level 3
80% Black Dirt grown corn
12% Malted Barley
A lot of New York Bourbons, though quite good, are young compared to those from Kentucky. This one has a solid 3 years on it, and the flavor profile shows the maturity. It is smooth, long on the palate, and has a depth of flavor that could be attributed to the addition of malted barley in the mash bill. I'm impressed with this effort from the first micro-distillery in New York.
Bloomery SweetShine Black Walnut Liqueur ($24.99)
From the producer:
"Bravely Bold with a Double Gold!
2015 San Francisco Wold Spirit Winner
Like our Limoncello this is a traditional Italian digestivo, a straight from the bottle sipper after dinner finishing very smoothly. Unlike limoncello this is not as sweet and offers many spice flavors in the finish. The dark color is from all natural unripe or green black walnuts and a mix of spices creating a unique flavor for you to savor!
The Manhattan has been a perennial favorite but we found a way to truly update this to something very special. Over ice start with 3 oz of bourbon or rye whiskey, add 1/2 oz of sweet vermouth, 1/2 oz of Black Walnut SweetShine and a dash of bitters. Garnish with a cherry. Big City in the name, big flavor in the glass, big smile on your face!"
This is a delicious and unusual liqueur, in part because of the black walnuts, and in part because of the high alcohol content (73.4 proof!). West Virginians mean business when it comes to "shine!" The flavor is deep, dark, and smooth, and just sweet enough to be enjoyed on its own, but the Black Manhattan will knock your socks off.