In Australia, the “New York Sazerac” Reigns Supreme

The first Sazerac I ever ordered was in 2008 at a bar in Brisbane, Australia, called The Bowery, one of the only places making serious cocktails at the time. Like many of my bartending compatriots, during the early days of the cocktail revival I pored over David Wondrich’s Imbibe and did countless hours of my own research. I’d heard of the Sazerac. I did not, however, expect my order to be met with an automatic response in the form of a question: “New York or New Orleans style?”

“New Orleans style,” in the Australian vernacular, means 100 percent whiskey. The so-called “New York–style Sazerac” or “New York Sazerac,” which is typified by a split base of rye whiskey and brandy in equal proportion, was, and remains, the standard version in Australia. Today, it’s so ingrained in the Australian bartending psyche that if you want a Sazerac as it would be served anywhere else—i.e., “New Orleans style”—you have to ask for it specifically. Before I set foot in The Bowery, I’d never heard of it.

13 Types Of Rum, Explained

Don’t limit your impression of rum to daiquiris and Dark ‘n’ Stormies: This spirit, which offers a wide range of depth, deserves to be considered beyond just circa-1980s tiki bars and tropical getaways. While all rums are crafted from byproducts of sugarcane — traditional (or industrial) rums include molasses (which gives the category its tell-tale caramelized sweetness), earthy agricole (or agricultural) rums are made from sugarcane juice — that’s about all the different variations share in common. Age, distillation method, and even place of origin all work in tandem to create different varieties of the spirit, each with a distinct use, profile, and history.

Some rums are made for mixing into cocktails, others are good enough to sip straight (but you can still add a paper umbrella for fun). Keep reading to learn the nuances of each type of rum on the market (while keeping in mind that some bottles fall into multiple categories) and, most importantly, how best to enjoy them. Bottoms up!

American Craft Spirits Grew 10.4% in 2021

Despite challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, boom times continued last year for American craft spirits.

The fast-expanding industry reached more than 13.2 million 9-liter cases in retail sales in 2021, representing an annual growth rate of 10.4%. In value terms, the market reached $7.5 billion in sales, representing an annual growth rate of 12.2%.

Presenting these statistics earlier today were the the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) and Park Street, sharing highlights from their 2022 Craft Spirits Data Project (CSDP) at the Annual Craft Spirits Economic Briefing in Brooklyn, NY.

Diversifying your Distillery’s Income Streams with Jeff Wuslich of Cardinal Spirits

In this episode of the Distillery Nation Podcast, I had the absolute pleasure of talking with Jeff Wuslich. Jeff is the co-founder of Cardinal Spirits from Bloomington Indiana, a craft distillery known best for its line of vodkas, gin, and whiskey!

We chatted about Jeff’s origin story and how he went about changing the laws in Indiana to support craft distilling. How Cardinal Spirits focus on diversification for their income streams and how contract distilling plays a big role in their operation, and so much more!

Meet the New Breed of Independent American Whiskey Bottlers

A new breed of American whiskey producer is copying a trusted page from Scotland’s book of whisky-crafting traditions—they blend and bottle whiskeys that someone else has distilled.

Called independent bottlers, they search out the best and oldest barrels from both craft distillers and major producers across the U.S. and Canada, purchase them, and then create innovative blends, usually in small batches of a few hundred bottles. Some of these blends are made to become standard, repeatable brands, while others are simply one-off bottlings. And not all purchased barrels are bound for blending.

How is Brandy Created?

Today’s brandy takes on numerous shapes and forms, delighting drinkers with unexpected expressions of the classic distilled wine. It’s often a favorite when enjoyed in cocktails such as the Sidecar and Brandy Crusta. If we’re talking old, old school, brandy even featured in early-1800s Mint Juleps. The distilled spirit also packs a punch as an after-dinner digestif when enjoyed by itself.

While brandy can be created anywhere in the world, the most well-known versions — Cognac and Armagnac — hail from two southwest regions in France. Grape-based brandies also abound in other countries, including the United States where it has deep, historical roots. Other styles of brandy might be created from apples (i.e. Calvados) or cherries, while famed Italian brandy grappa is based on the leftover pomace from winemaking.

While this infographic focuses primarily on grape-based expressions of brandy, fruit-based versions are also enjoyed worldwide. Follow the spirits’ journey, from vine to aged, distilled wine, in the graphic below.

Calvados: Getting To The Core Of French Brandy

Hundreds of apples go into making every bottle of this spirit so you can get a true taste of Normandy

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then what would a glass of Calvados do? Well, chances are it would make you feel pretty amazing. Calvados is a type of brandy that’s made by distilling apple cider (and sometimes pear cider as well) and once these products are distilled you end up with a concentrated cider which is high in alcohol content. This is then added to wooden barrels to round out the flavours and give them even more depth.

This spirit is traditionally homed to Normandy in France and in particular three different regions. Calvados, where you can distil the drink however you wish as long as it’s aged for at least two years. The second is Calvados Pays D’auge, where the spirit is distilled twice and aged for a minimum of two years. The third area is Calvados Domfrontais, where it’s distilled once but aged for at least three years with the most important factor being that it must contain at least 30% distilled pear cider.

How to Use Batavia Arrack in Cocktails

It’s not uncommon to find history repeating itself in the drinks world: Early modern cocktails are ripe for revival, disco is back, and many of the world’s oldest and most storied spirits are making a comeback.

Such is the case for Batavia arrack, a funky molasses- and rice-based spirit that originated on the Indonesian island of Java. Named after Java’s 17th-century, Dutch-colonized capital, Batavia arrack is among the oldest-known distilled spirits, and predates even rum (which would later surpass its predecessor in popularity, playing a part in pushing Batavia to the back shelf). 

Trade routes brought the spirit to the Western world, where Batavia arrack enjoyed great popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries, establishing itself as an essential ingredient in punch—also a colonial import from the same region. 

Do We Still Care If Whiskies Are Sourced?

About a decade ago, the phrase “sourced whiskey” elicited largely negative connotations. The rising throng of American whiskey enthusiasts at the time disliked the idea of non-distilling producers (NDP) buying others’ brown goods, bottling them and calling it their own. They accused NDPs of hiding their sources and their whiskies’ more revealing details.

But then as now, experienced drinkers understood that some of the nation’s most revered pours were sourced. And, not surprisingly, some of those outraged over NDPs’ label secrecy became fans of sourced bottles that gave rise to now-cult favorites like Willett, Old Scout, Whistle Pig, Jefferson’s, Kentucky Owl, Michter’s and others.

Why Bardstown Bourbon Co. Purchase of Green River Spirits Matters

In late June 2022, Bardstown Bourbon Co. announced they expected to close a deal to acquire Green River Spirits Company. This was a surprise move because even though Green River holds one of Kentucky’s oldest whiskey distillery DSP numbers, after years of disrepair, the distillery is only finally back up and running. Many bourbon enthusiasts might not even be overly familiar with the brand as they only just recently released their first bourbon and their distribution is still fairly limited. So why Green River and what does Bardstown Bourbon Co. have to prove with this acquisition?

In March 2022, Bardstown Bourbon Co. was purchased by Pritzker Private Capital, another sign big money players are continuing to invest heavily in bourbon’s future. A mere three months later the same group acquired Green River Spirits, and it probably won’t stop there given their possible endgame.

What makes this move more interesting than say Campari purchasing Wild Turkey, is that Bardstown Bourbon will affect a far-reaching segment of bourbon over the course of the next 5-10 years. While Campari purchasing Wild Turkey affected the Wild Turkey and Russell’s Reserve brands, Bardstown Bourbon purchasing Green River affects countless other brands which could have a ripple effect across the industry.