Nov
15
2014

Imbiber

New drinks at the Alembic

New drinks at the Alembic

My Top Drink Articles: November 1-15

Photos and articles by Virginia Miller

From my numerous articles a week as Zagat Editor, I summarize and link to some of this coverage here – you can follow along on Twitter @ZagatSF, where I post daily, or on my own @ThePerfectSpot via Twitter or Facebook.

Wine

Bluxome Winery & Les Clos team up for a month of (delicious) sailing on the bay

Cocktails

New cocktails on ALEMBIC’s menu alongside dishes from its brand new kitchen

Second Annual Give Back the Bird: drink Wild Turkey whiskey cocktails for charity this Thanksgiving at 5 favorite SF bars/restaurants

Beer

3 new BEER BARS you should know in SF and Oakland

FacebookShare
Written by in: Imbiber |
Nov
01
2014

Imbiber

Blackbird's refreshing carbonated cocktails

Blackbird’s refreshing carbonated cocktails

My Top Drink Articles: October 16-31

Photos and articles by Virginia Miller

From my numerous articles a week as Zagat Editor, I summarize and link to some of this coverage here – you can follow along on Twitter @ZagatSF, where I post daily, or on my own @ThePerfectSpot via Twitter or Facebook.

Wine & Spirits

6 things to know about 1313 MAIN in DOWNTOWN NAPA

FLAVOR! NAPA VALLEY readies for its 4th year mid-November

Cocktails

BLACKBIRD’S carbonated draft cocktail line-up

Coffee

TINY WARRIOR: A new Mission coffee outpost with creative iced coffees & a pour over coffee menu from various producers

FacebookShare
Written by in: Imbiber |
Nov
01
2014

Imbiber

Lost Spirits Cuban Rum

3 Spirits Picks for October

Article by Virginia Miller

Many spirits cross my desk or are tasted at numerous bars or distilleries I visit in any given month… being in Asia half of October, there were dozens of spectacular (and rare) spirits I tasted, mostly in Japan. Those will be explored more in upcoming articles in Whisky Magazine UK, on my Liquor.com page, here at The Perfect Spot and in other publications I’m writing for.

For October, here are 3 international spirits — gin, rum and Scotch— that stood out most this month.

LOST SPIRITS’ CUBAN RUM ($40)

You’ve heard me talk about Monterey’s visionary and excitingly experimental Lost Spirits and its distiller Bryan Davis before. Davis has done it again. Just I am in love with their Navy-style rum, their just-released, 151 proof Cuban-style rum is my new addiction. With those beautiful funky notes, it’s a sweeter but still bracing, potent rum that evokes island breezes and vacation, but with earthy depth and complexity. This is some of the best taste-to-value rum you will find anywhere — and I am a fan of their classic-style artwork (pictured above). I can’t wait for more from Davis, Joanne Haruta (co-owner) and Lost Spirits.

Where to Buy: At K&L

GLENROTHES 1992 Vintage, 2nd Edition ($249.99) and 2001 Single Malt Scotch ($70)

Glenrothes has long been a favorite Speyside Scotch producer of mine for its balance and general elegance.

Glenrothes 2001It was back in 2011 that I last had dinner with Ronnie Cox, Glenrothes’ longtime brand ambassador (his official title is Brands Heritage Director for Berry, Bros. & Rudd — BBR). I had the privilege of doing so again this September at Dirty Habit. We tasted through Glenrothes’ 1998, 2001 and 1995 Scotches and were the first in the world (outside of BBR staff) to taste the 1992 Vintage before it was poured during VIP hour at this year’s Whiskyfest SF.

The 2001 and 1992 were my favorites for different reasons. Glenrothes 1992 Vintage, 2nd Edition (44.3% ABV), is aged 10 years longer than the 1st edition (released in 2004) and is a mixture of ex-sherry and bourbon casks. It is actually the first Glenrothes vintage made of Scotch aged entirely in refill casks, meaning the wood doesn’t dominate and the base spirit shines. I caught plenty of apple and vanilla on the nose and warm apple notes, bright pear and butterscotch to taste, balanced by a long, dry finish. The 2001 Glenrothes has more spice (the sherry cask showing off) and a rounded depth that whispers of citrus, sandalwood and even chocolate. I could linger with that one all night.

Where to Buy: Master of Malt

ANCHOR DISTILLING’s OLD TOM GIN ($29.95)

Anchor Old Tom GinIt has been awhile (the last release was Hophead Vodka) since there was a new Anchor Distilling spirits release. Anchor’s Old Tom Gin is a worthwhile new addition to a gin line-up that includes their fascinating Genvieve, a Belgian/Dutch-style genever, and their longtime, standard-setting London dry style gin, Junipero. This Old Tom is more approachable (and easily drinkable) than other versions on the market (I wrote more about the category here) — and it tastes wonderful with a quality tonic.

Old Tom is a classic style hearkening back to 18th century England, juniper-dominant in keeping with gin as we know it, somewhere between malty genever and London dry gin. Distilled in a pot still, it’s sweeter than a London dry, thanks to star anise and licorice root botanicals as well as stevia sourced from Paraguay, adding a silkier texture and mouth feel than in a London dry.

Where to Buy: Alchemy Bottle Shop in Oakland

FacebookShare
Written by in: Imbiber | Tags:
Oct
15
2014

Imbiber

Burritt Room + Tavern's Chameleon on the new fall menu

Burritt Room + Tavern’s Chameleon on the new fall menu

My Top Drink Articles: October 1-15

Photos and articles by Virginia Miller

From my numerous articles a week as Zagat Editor, I summarize and link to some of this coverage here – you can follow along on Twitter @ZagatSF, where I post daily, or on my own @ThePerfectSpot via Twitter or Facebook.

Wine

All-day dream cafe, LES CLOS, opens from Saison sommelier Mark Bright, serving impeccable French food & wines

Cocktails

CHARLIE PALMER’s BURRITT ROOM + TAVERN: New Chef’s Table with cocktail pairings

MARLOWE reopens in the former Coco500 space, now with cocktails

ALTA’s new cocktail & food pairing menu, new fall cocktails, house root beer and house made spirits

PATHOS, Berkeley’s Greek dining, wine and cocktail destination

Best Thing We Drank: New Fall Cocktails at BURRITT ROOM + TAVERN

Beer

MONK’s KETTLE REOPENS with sidewalk seating and new draft system

SF CRAFT BEER Festival

Alta's Conquistador on the fall menu

Alta’s Conquistador on the fall menu

FacebookShare
Written by in: Imbiber | Tags: , ,
Oct
15
2014

Imbiber

Whiskyfest 2014 – 8 Top Tastes

Article by Virginia Miller; photos from brand websites

It was another great year of whiskey, whisky and beyond (Cognac, gin, beer, etc.) at WhiskyFest San Francisco on October 3rd at the SF Marriott Marquis  – a massive whisk(e)y tasting event featuring distillers and brand ambassadors from around the world, held only in SF, NY and Chicago annually.

Charbay Release III

Charbay Release III

This year, here were my top 8 tastes, mostly from new releases.

1. Charbay Whiskey Release III from the Pilsner Collection
Marko Karakasevic has done it again with his stunning, complex Release III whiskey, in keeping with Release I and II, longtime favorites and game-changing American whiskies for me years ago. It is another (pricey) rarity — as is his incredible aged sipping rum, out later this fall.

2. Bowmore 23 year
Bowmore 15 year Darkest has long been one of my favorite Islay (read: peaty, smoky) whiskies, gorgeous in its balance and sophistication. The 23 year Bowmore keeps right in line with the distillery’s excellent line of Scotch, this one aged 23 years and finished in port butts for 6 months.

Octomore 6.1

Octomore 6.1

3. Wild Turkey Diamond
Though released in August, this special whiskey just arrived in San Francisco post-Whiskyfest, with only 11,000 cases worldwide. The man, the legend, Jimmy Russell, was at Whiskyfest SF again this year with his son and master distiller Eddie, who poured this special anniversary whiskey for us. It is a blend of 13 to 16 year old whiskeys from hand-selected barrels chosen by Eddie. It’s elegant, bright with fruit, subtly sweet, with caramel bourbon notes and gentle spice. It’s a beauty and a special tribute to Jimmy’s decades of distilling.

4. Bruichladdich’s Octomore 6.1
The Octomore releases are always fascinating each year, if not a push to the extremes of peat. This year’s Octomore 6.1 surprised me. I taste each edition annually and found this one more balanced than in years past. There’s a subtlety to the 6.1 that undergirds all that peat. A standout I’d like to revisit.

tullibardine-25yo5. Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy
Named after the master distiller at New Midleton, a beautiful distillery I visited in 2011 (home to production of Jameson, Redbreast, Green and Yellow Spot and numerous Irish whiskies), Barry Crockett Legacy is a limited release each year since 2011 and this year was a lovely edition, showing off the nuances of Irish whiskey with notes of bright peach contrasting with whispers of hay, citrus and toffee.

6. Tullibardine 25 year
This malt-forward Scotch line tends to be pretty soft across the board but each iteration gains complexity aged in different casks and wine barrels (like the interesting Sauternes-aged Scotch). Tullibardine 25 year is aged in ex-Jim Beam and Heaven Hill barrels, then in Burgundy Pinot Noir casks, finished in Pedro Ximenez (PX) and Oloroso sherry casks for 18 months. Those layers unfold as one sips, from sherry spice to vanilla and caramel notes of the bourbon casks.

7. 40 Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve
We don’t get enough of the better Canadian whiskies imported, it’s true. So it’s nice when we do and Forty Creek is one such producer, thanks to winemaker-distiller John Hall. 40 Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve is double barrel aged, with vanilla, nutty notes and a long finish, while the new Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve exhibits rye spice but is smooth and rounded from the wine barrels it is aged in.

8. BenRiach Authenticus 25 year
This rare BenRiach 25 year release is subtly peated, sweet and herbaceous, soft yet fascinating, a fine member of an underrated Scotch line.

FacebookShare
Written by in: Imbiber | Tags:
Oct
01
2014

Imbiber

New cocktails at La Urbana in celebration of their 1 year anniversary

New cocktails at La Urbana in celebration of their 1 year anniversary

My Top Drink Articles: September 16-30

Photos and articles by Virginia Miller

From my numerous articles a week as Zagat Editor, I summarize and link to some of this coverage here – you can follow along on Twitter @ZagatSF, where I post daily, or on my own @ThePerfectSpot via Twitter or Facebook.

Whisk(e)y

Seminars not to miss and legendary whisk(e)y figures at this year’s WHISKYFEST on October 3

Cocktails

2 new OAKLAND COCKTAIL destinations, from Tiki-meets-Africa to an art deco Uptown hangout

New cocktails to celebrate LA URBANA’s one year anniversary

Top cocktails on HAKKASAN’s new fall menu

Mezcal and tequila collection & cocktails at AGAVE MEXICAN in a HEALDSBURG strip mall

Not your average football drinks: COCKTAILS at the 49er’s new LEVI STADIUM

Trendspotting: refreshing FLIP COCKTAILS

HECHO opens in the Castro with Mexican-American food (with a Tex Mex slant) & tequila/mezcal cocktails

Beer

SCHROEDER’S OKTOBERFEST Events

FacebookShare
Written by in: Imbiber | Tags:
Oct
01
2014

Imbiber

Facundo Rums

The FACUNDO Rum Collection in CA This Fall

Article by Virginia Miller

As I was at first, you may get sidetracked by the brand Bacardi. But as just with any spirits house that may be known for churning out mass-produced spirits, particularly one like Bacardi that has been around for over 150 years formerly located in Cuba (with US headquarters based in Miami and international headquarters in Bermuda), they have a special selection of barrels aging for years.

In 2013 they released their The FACUNDO™ Rum Collection in tribute to Bacardi’s original master blender, Don Facundo Bacardi Masso, by his great-great grandson, Facundo L. Bacardi. The family decided to share some of their premium barrels in this collection which was conceptualized at their 150th anniversary party. It was released in Miami and NY last year (nowhere else in the world) and this fall in California. SF and LA are now the only other two cities in the world getting all four of these rare rums.

It wasn’t until I tasted the rums, however, that I experienced the uniqueness of them both for Bacardi and in the rum world. As you can see from the photo above (courtesy of FACUNDO Rum), these are luxury, sipping rums and the striking, thoughtfully designed bottles reflect this. Manny Oliver, the head master blender who has worked for Bacardi for nearly 40 years, was here in SF walking me through the rums, explaining that some of the 300 hand-selected barrels used in these blends, being over 20 years old, have lost so much “angels’ share” due to Caribbean heat that there’s as little as 5% of the rum left in the barrels, contributing to the scarcity of the liquid.

Hear are my thoughts on all four, which you can look for at rum bars like Smuggler’s Cove in SF and La Descarga in LA:

1. NEO™
Seeking to be a premium white sipping rum, NEO (meaning new) is a blend of rums aged up to eight years, then filtered (second charcoal mellowing) prior to blending to remove color, although there is still a gentle blond hue. It’s smooth but not flavorless. Almond and floral notes shine, the rum bright with fruity wood. It tasted clean and bracing in a Rum Old Fashioned.

2. EXIMO™
If forced to choose, EXIMO (meaning “to free” in Latin) may be my favorite of the 4, both in taste and its stately bottle designed to represent the sun’s rays. It’s a more medium-bodied dark rum — the only one in the Collection blended before aging in a barrel for 10 years. It’s layered and buttery, complex with earthy dark chocolate and a lingering nuttiness.

3. EXQUISITO™
EXQUISITO means exquisite and this was the most elegant and even softest of the four rums, though a dark rum. It’s a blend of rums aged seven years as well as some aged 23 years. The final blend is then finished in sherry casks, imparting sherry-like notes of raisins, spice and toasted nuts.

4. PARAISO™
PARAISO (meaning “paradise”) blends the Bacardi family’s oldest and finest barrels of rums aged up to 23 years, then blended, then rested in French XO Cognac casks, some more than 60 years old. The result is medium-bodied, refined rum that exhibits plenty of almond, oak, chocolate, toasted caramel and nuts.

FacebookShare
Written by in: Imbiber | Tags:
Sep
15
2014

Imbiber

Lolo's new playing card cocktail menu

Lolo’s new playing card cocktail menu

My Top Drink Articles: September 1-15

Photos and articles by Virginia Miller

From my numerous articles a week as Zagat Editor, I summarize and link to some of this coverage here – you can follow along on Twitter @ZagatSF, where I post daily, or on my own @ThePerfectSpot via Twitter or Facebook.

Cocktails

LOLO’s artistic new PLAYING CARD COCKTAIL MENU

NOPA’s two cocktail menus within a cocktail menu

Cocktails on the new TRICK DOG MENU

Cocktailing in ALAMEDA

Spirits

ST. GEORGE RELEASES 3 NEW SPIRITS for Fall

Juice

My new cold press juice favorite, UPTOWN JUICE

FacebookShare
Written by in: Imbiber | Tags: , ,

Site Admin | Log out | Theme: Aeros 2.0 by TheBuckmaker.com