Tag: Brandy

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Decades of Brandy: Tasting Through California Brandy & Calvados

After my recent travels in Cognac, France, my longheld love for brandy deepened even further. I am crazy about all manner of brandy (grape-based spirits), from Armagnac to pisco. I am passionate about Calvados (French apple brandy) and other apple brandies — note here my most unforgettable Calvados experience and tasting in the world, in Kyoto, Japan, of all places.… Read more →

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All photos and articles © Virginia Miller.
Magical, unforgettable: Martell's Chanteloup, as enchanting as Manderley or any other epic mansion in literature

Welcome to Paradise: How Key Cognac Houses Differentiate

This article was first published at Tasting Panel Magazine in January 2016. All photos and the article by Virginia Miller.  The romance and history of Cognac is unparalleled. As one who has visited distilleries from Japan to Scotland, Oaxaca to Bassano del Grappa, I thought I’d seen it all. True: the rolling vineyards of Cognac more than slightly recall my… Read more →

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All photos and articles © Virginia Miller.
Photo Source: griffodistillery.com

Top 10 New Spirits Releases of the Summer

Almost daily, I’m tasting a wide range of spirits, wines and beers, whether at restaurants and bars, distilleries, wineries or breweries or as samples crossing my desk. Over the past few months, there have been many new spirits releases, including these spring and winter releases since the year began. I’ve been having fun experimenting with cocktails with recently released Cent-Anni… Read more →

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All photos and articles © Virginia Miller.
Lolo's playing card cocktail menu

3 New Cocktail Menus, Cocktail-ing in Alameda, St. George’s 3 New Spirits, Cold Press Juice

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… Read more →

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All photos and articles © Virginia Miller.
Photo Source: Ben Krantz

St. George Spirits Releases 3 New Spirits: Rum, Apple Brandy & Whiskey

Article by Virginia Miller [ran in Zagat SF on September 3, 2014] We love our St. George Spirits. From the rock and roll attitude of their tasting room and tours in a WWII hangar housing their Alameda distillery (reservations for tours and tastings here) to their fantastic gins, brandies, whiskies, rum, absinthe, coffee liqueur and eaux de vie, they’ve been… Read more →

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All photos and articles © Virginia Miller.
Payet Pisco Torontel

3 Notable New Piscos

One of my most unforgettable international distilling adventures was exploring — and even being part of — pisco production and blending in Peru with Encanto Pisco. I had already loved the spirit for years but fell even more in love after those travels. There are not a slew of pisco releases/imports in a year as there may be with other… Read more →

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All photos and articles © Virginia Miller.
Westland First Peated-Virginia Miller

7 Washington Craft Spirits You Should Know

Article and Photos (unless otherwise noted) by Virginia Miller Three Seattle visits in the past seven months centered around craft distillery and cocktail bar research means a few spirits have stood out among the dozens I’ve tasted from Washington state, most launched in recent years. Here are my top seven from the glut of craft distillers hitting the Washington market:… Read more →

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All photos and articles © Virginia Miller.
Sitting at the bar looking at vinyl collection

Why You Need to Try Real Schnaps

Whatever association you have with the word Schnapps, or Schnaps, as it is known in Germanic countries (the word means “swallow”), it likely isn’t good. Sour apple, pucker, fruit flavors… you might think of cheap, sugary liqueurs in unnatural colors. But this, my friends, is not real schnaps. In Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and the French region of Alsace, schnaps, edelbrande or… Read more →

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All photos and articles © Virginia Miller.
Photo courtesy of lastdropdistillers.com

Rarities: 50 Year Old Scotch & 1950 Cognac

When you get the rare chance to try 50 year old Scotch or Cognac, you do. When it’s a tasting with drink industry legends like James Espey, who is behind the creation of iconic brands like Bailey’s Irish Cream, Malibu Rum and even Johnnie Walker Blue, it’s an imperative. I enjoyed a rousing lunch at Hakkasan this week with James… Read more →

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All photos and articles © Virginia Miller.
(photo source: drinkverbena.com)

Bay Area Bottled Brandy-Fruit Infusions

San Francisco Bartender Bret Sylvester has done the somewhat impossible: created a line of fruit-infused brandies to please the spirits and non-spirits drinker alike. I recently tested out his sparkling line on visiting family and friends. My wine drinking and even some generally teetotaling family members all loved Drink Verbena, while I and other spirits drinkers found the line complex… Read more →

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All photos and articles © Virginia Miller.