As another year passes, filled with wonderful cocktails and mixed drinks, I thought it appropriate to pay tribute to a few of the best new spirits that hit the market in 2006. It is only natural that the rise in popularity for cocktails spurred the market to release innovative, new, high quality products because, the drink is only as good as the ingredients inside it. And because they are so new (and unless you live in one of the hot test markets) it's possible you haven't seen these spirits on the shelves yet. Never fear because at the beginning of 2007 many of these new spirits will broaden their markets.
1. Tezón Tequila
Tequila Tezón is a super-premium tequila that was released in the US market in June of 2006. This small batch tequila is handled with care from planting to processing and it shows in every smooth, earthy sip. Tezon is available in the three varieties of tequila (Añejo, Reposado and Blanco), each with their own distinct characteristics.
Produced by: Pernod Ricard Mexico at the Olmeca Distillery in Arandas, Mexico
Price: $50, $60 and $70 per 750mL bottle
Cocktails: Dulce de Tequila, Jamaica Margarita, Tezón Caramel Apple Pie, Tezón Mistletoe
In September of this year Domaine Charbay added to their exquisite line of wine and spirits with a Pomegranate Vodka. This new vodka has an intriguing, earthy sweetness that sets it apart from other spirits that are following the POM trend. Every aspect of this super-premium vodka is designed for maximum enjoyment.
Produced by: Domaine Charbay Winery & Distillery in Napa Valley, California
Price: around $40 per 750mL bottle
Cocktails: Charbay Moroccan Cocktail
Intriguing, unique and super sweet, X-Rated Fusion Liqueur added a new dimension to the list of liqueurs on the market when it was released in February of 2006. This premium vodka is infused with Provence blood orange, mango and passion fruit, resulting in a luscious mixer that opens up many new cocktail possibilities.
Produced in: France; imported by Daucourt Martin Imports
Price: $30 per 750mL bottle
Cocktails: Pom-X Martini, Tickled Pink
The exotic flavors of the lychee fruit are at their full glory in Lichido Liqueur, which was released in June of 2006. The natural lychee taste is highlighted with a vodka and Cognac base and accents of guava essences and white peach juice.
Produced in: Cognac, France; imported by Transatlantic Spirits LLC
Price: $22.99 per 750mL bottle
Cocktails: Lichitini, Red Lotus
Boca Loca is a premium cachaça that was released to the US market this year. Serving as one of the best examples of Brazil's national spirit, the handcrafted Boca Loca is fragrant, smooth and full-bodied and is fully appreciated in a Caipirinha, Brazil's national drink.
Produced in: Sao Paulo, Brazil; imported by Meyer Marino Import Company
Price: $21 per 750mL bottle
Reaching back to traditional Dutch roots of gin, Aviation is a bouquet of herbs that is begging for a Martini. The clean, crisp taste of juniper, cardamom, coriander, lavender, anise seed and orange is a beautiful and a testament to the artistry of the distillers.
Produced by: House Spirits of Portland, Oregon
Price: $28 per 750mL bottle
7. JC Jasmin Cognac VSOP
To flavor their new Jasmin Cognac, Jacques Cardin adds distillate imported from India to their already impressive ultra-premium Cognac. It's like teatime and the after dinner drink converged for an enjoyable, stimulating sipper.
Produced by: Jacques Cardin Cognac, France; imported by Sidney Frank Importing Co. Inc.
Price: $38 per 750mL bottle
Espresso and vodka combine for a delightful and overdue union in Van Gogh Espresso Vodka. To obtain the rich natural flavor, fresh roasted coffee beans are infused into the premium clear vodka that distinguishes the distillery. The release of this vodka is perfect for turning a White Russian into a coffee lover's delight.
Produced by: Royal Dirkzwager Distilleries in Schiedam, Holland; imported by Luxor International
Price: $25 per 750 mL bottle
Cocktails: Chocolate Martini, White Russian
9. SV Supreme Vodka
Billed as "the silk vodka" this new import became available to the US in September of 2006. SV Supreme Vodka is filtered 14 times through five types of mountain crystals and minerals leaving one silky, smooth premium vodka.
Produced in: Ukraine; imported by Soyuz-Victan
Price: $28 per 750mL bottle
Cocktails: Apple Martini, Cosmopolitan
A variety of herbs have long been used in a number of spirits, now we have an infused vodka that displays the pure, natural qualities of the plants. Herb's Aromatic Rosemary Infused Vodka is filled with the unmistakable sweetness of rosemary that has the potential to turn any cocktail into an herbal delight. Available in limited markets in 2006, it is expected to reach more markets in 2007.
Produced by: Distilled Resources in Idaho
Price: $25 per 750mL bottle
Other flavors: Cilantro, Dill, Fennel