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Colleen Graham

Booze News: February 29, 2012

By February 29, 2012

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First off, a warning: there are many interesting bits of news this week so this may get lengthy, but it is worth it. Let's get to it.

Recap of the 2012 San Antonio Cocktail Conference - A month out and the highlights of the week in San Antonio linger with me and this is a full accounting of what happened at this year's event and I'm sure we can look forward to much of this next January.

Whiskies of the World Expo - Mark the date to be in San Francisco on March 31 for this annual event. If the next event is any indication, you may want to get tickets soon.

WhiskyFest Chicago Sold Out - If you were hoping to hit the Midwest edition of WhiskyFest this year, you are sadly out of luck. However, tickets are available for the New York and San Francisco events, both of which are in October. For more events, keep up to date with the Cocktail Calendar (I attempt to include most everything, though there are no guarantees).

New Spirits:

  • Ballantine's Glenburgie Editions - Four new expressions of this great blended Scotch are set to release soon. The first is a 17YO Signature Distillery. Once again, it looks as if these will only be available in global travel markets.
  • Glenmorangie Artein - Another anticipated Scotch release, the third in the brand's Private Edition series, is out.  This 15YO expression is 'extra matured in 'Super Tuscan' wine cask.' Availability is the U.S. though supplies are limited.
  • Bärenjäger & Bourbon - This will not be released until April, but it is exciting news for fans of the honey liqueur because this newbie is a blend of Bärenjäger with Kentucky bourbon.
  • Hemp Seed Vodka - It seems that those folks at the Alaska Distillery who brought us salmon-flavored vodka have beat Flavor Flav to the hemp vodka market. They have to have the most interesting R&D meetings in the industry.
  • Monkey Shoulder Whisky - This manually mixed Scotch sounds amazing and though it is not new to the U.K., it was recently launched in the U.S. It also happens to come in one of the sweetest bottles I've seen in some time.
  • Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream - Since the Tennessee law changed in 2009 the state's liquor industry is seeing a new crop of distillers and SPEAKeasy Spirits LLC is one of the latest with plans to release this liqueur shortly after starting production.

World's Oldest Liquor Collection Now Worth Millions of Euros - Bay van der Bunt of the Netherlands has a liquor collection most of us could only dream of and he's in the market to sell.

Why Vodkatinis are Actually a Good Thing - Sometimes my searches take me to the most unlikely of places and this week it took me to - of all places - Man Cave Daily for one of the more entertaining anti-sugartini articles I've read in awhile.

Oskar Blues to Can Whiskey - Another whiskey in a can is hoping to hit the market. In this case Colorado brewer Oskar Blues is branching out, hoping to form Lyons Soul Distilling LLC and produce an agave spirit and whiskey blend, then can it. The good news out of this is the can development already includes a resealable option.

Kentucky Precinct Decides Alcohol Sales with Coin Flip - After the Graham Precinct of Davies County the vote that would determine if alcohol sales would be allowed came up as a tie they decided the next best thing would be to flip a coin. The tail-sided result was a no vote so Graham will remain dry.

Negronis Exult in the Beauty of the Bitter - It is true that American tastes are not developed for the bitter and it's often a challenge to get drinkers to accept the flavor. It can be done, however, and this story does an excellent job of showing how mixers like Campari are being showcased by bartenders fighting the great bitter battle. If for nothing else, read the article for the Mezcal Amores recipe: mezcal, infused Campari, Punt e Mes vermouth, and orange bitters.

Home-smoked Vodka: An Experiment - Over at Word of Mouth on the Guardian, John Wright tackles an experiment in DIY smoky vodka.

Whisky Age Statements a Fallacy: Distiller - I do agree with Anthony Wills of the Kilchoman Distillery in the thought that there are some very fine 'young' whiskies and some rather poor 'old' whiskies. The important part of enjoying whiskey is that you enjoy the taste despite what the label may say.

Drunk Monkeys - I have to leave you with a video that went viral this week for no other reason than because it is fun. The BBC's  Weird Nature program documented monkeys on St. Kitts in the Caribbean stealing beach-goer drinks and becoming as inebriated as the college kid down the street. Also, there are a surprising number of teetotaling monkeys. Here's the clip on YouTube. It's fascinating and though a study of monkey drinking habits, I also caught the amazing number of humans who seem oblivious to the thievery.

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