Home

Monday, December 14, 2015

Come One, Drink All: Teeling Whiskey Review


Why does everyone usually bring a bottle to a holiday party?  Possibly it could be that it's easier to choose a red or white than figure out who's gluten-free or dairy free.  Perhaps it may be a bit simpler to ponder an imported or a domestic spirit rather than gnashing your teeth over the GMO, organic, grass-fed and locally grown conundrums.  When did alcohol become the universal language?  Maybe it was when people became so intoxicated that they really didn't care what anyone was saying as long and the ale was pouring.  Well whatever the reasoning, that universal language seems to be spoken by all who want to have a good time and the the desire to just sip a nice drink and lighten up.

While I could find problems within the universal language, I choose rather to find solutions.  Choosing one, as some would have it could be a taxing dilemma, so I say choose it all.  Just do it in doses.  That's what Teeling Whiskey has done with their Trinity Pack.  Direct from Dublin comes Teeling Whiskey, that has been producing non-chill filtered, aged mature whiskey since 1782 (Yes, you read that correctly).  

My choice for an appropriate holiday sampler for your intended host or hostess, after their guests have gone the hell home, is the Teeling Whiskey Trinity's Pack.  This pack offers Teeling's classic in a neatly packaged handsome set that contains one 5CL bottle of their Single Grain, smooth and satisfying, Small Batch, unique and cultivated and their Single Malt, deep and robust Irish Whiskies.  This pack can give the taster a nice cocktail featuring each of the brand's infamous patented recipes (or just sample them yourself and pick your favorite to give as a gift; either way you can't lose).

Find the Teeling Whiskey varieties at your finer wine and spirit retailers and as always please remember to drink and share responsibly this holiday season.

Monday, November 30, 2015

At This Game, Iowa Beats Kentucky: Templeton Rye Whiskey Review


It should come as no surprise that I love a good cocktail.  I've been to some great venues in the city for thought-provoking, complex and layered drinks that walk the line between 'superb evening' and 'life-changing night out'.  What I find just as interesting as the rinds, the zests, the infused this, the pickled that and the other dizzying array of garnishes are the complementing secondary alcohols.  The liqueurs, the syrups, the dash of aperitifs and the splashes of digestifs all in the name of mixology harmony are just wonderful to experience and pinpoint as they blend with the star.  For with all the glad tidings in a highball or flute, it's the star that begins it all.  It's the star that steals my heart (not to mention my tastebuds).

So it was that time of year for a Friendsgiving in Brooklyn which meant some very important decisions.  Of course I was bringing a spirit as part of my culinary participation, but what spirit should I choose.  I had a lovely Kentucky bourbon whisky and a bottle of Templeton Rye Whiskey, the pride of Templeton, Iowa.  Well I brought both to the affair and clearly one was the star.  

Templeton Rye Whiskey, the host-appointed star, captured that title for this very simple reason.  The presence of the rye takes away that sweet notes that can sometimes define the flavor of a bourbon whisky.  Now while preference is always in the tastebuds of the beholder, on this day with all the sweet cranberries, candied yams, sweet potato and pecan pies and ambrosia salad remixes, the smoother rye-based Templeton offered up a more round and mellow flavor for a distinguished and crisp finish.  Interestingly enough, I enjoyed my glass of Templeton Rye neat and easily sipped away at delightful bursts of subtle spiciness with an herbal grain-like under-note as I laid back with a full belly and great cocktail in hand.  How also wonderfully fitting that Templeton Rye Whiskey also serves as a great digestif as well. 

Templeton Rye Whiskey is available now at your finer Wine, Spirit and Alcohol retailers and as always please remember to drink responsibly!





Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Ties That Bind: Skinny Tie Madness


So I've been on quite a roll it seems.  This year was CuraƧao, Toronto and Saint Martin and just one week ago I was wave-jumping, enjoying absurdly warm pool water and eating some of the best grilled octopus and pernil mofongo I've ever had in Puerto Rico.  It seems that I've learned to enjoy what I love in dressing but now in traveling.  What do I love in dressing?  The aspect of interchangeability, the excitement of the new, the integration into my existing wardrobe and the synchronizing with my mood.  What do I now love with traveling?  Being a foodie with cuisines outside of the five boroughs, the temporary trading of my safe home space for a polished away space, the existing in a place where you (if only for a week or so) have to re-establish your persona to a new crop of locals and finding a sweet balance of clothing and accessories that's packable into the dimensions of a suitcase and carry-on.  

Now when I combine the two I wind up with wonderful keepsakes like a silver cage ring from San Juan or a coconut beaded bracelet from St. Martin and great memories from the sight and touch of the cottons and linens that traveled with me.  With that in mind, when packing for San Juan I grabbed two cool ties from Skinny Tie Madness.  Perfectly packable and not fussy for the seaside, their 'Bandana Bandit' and 'Dry Dreams' worked great with my airy linens and slim seersuckers yet had enough cool factor for my tattered denims, avant chambrays and a couple of my own vintage tie clips.


Tantamount to the expressiveness of a pocket square, sock or cufflink is the coolness of a tie.  With more men becoming much more comfortable with donning a button-up and tie and blazer, the idea of the fun tie has become the sartorial t-shirt in a sense.  You pair it with a fussy button down to take yourself less seriously or you match it up with a denim-esque collard shirt for a new remix on 'casual with denim'.  Broader ties suggest more classic while skinnier cool-factor ties have become the new message sender for the sartorial guy similar to the way the expressive/logo tee was for the 80s and 90s guy.  Skinny Tie Madness is a company that is continuing in the trend of the modern look of a skinnier tie by giving men options to loosen up by enjoying ties in easy familiar fabrics and prints.  SkinnyTieMadness.com allows men to choose a tie according to color, width, style genre and fabrication affordably and offers a variety of ties, pocket squares, tie clips and bowties that'll speak to the modern man that has something to say through his tailoring.  


The more integrated tailoring and its accessories become is the more men will seek ways in which to distinguish their take on how they communicate through their own personal adornment.  Skinny Tie Madness is one way by which they can do so while still arriving properly attired for the affair.  

www.SkinnyTieMadness.com

Thursday, November 5, 2015

99 Problems But My Drink Ain't One: Four Roses Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky Review


Ahh Fall weather is here!  The lovely crisp weather, the leaves beautifully changing color, the dressing in cozy layers once again and the oncoming excitement of the holiday seasons are here.  Then the alarm on your phone goes off.  Suddenly you realize that the crisp weather will mean the seasonal calling of the heating oil guy again.  Those so-called leaves mean you have to get out the old rake on what would've been a restful Saturday morning again.  The cozy layers may not fit after a couple of seasons in the closet so its time to go shopping again.  Finally, questions of 'who's house', 'who's bringing what' and 'how many gifts do I have to buy this year' creep in to make Thanksgiving more of a chore to feed the greedy and the December holidays a burden on your credit cards.

There can always be positives and negatives with anything.  However, isn't it quite interesting how a great cocktail can be the perfect remedy to commemorate a wonderful day or to salvage a horrible one?  So when faced with the annoying task of clearing the yard of a million acorns or grumbling that it's too early for the seasonal cashmere to be on sale, find some way to cope with the inevitable.  Lemons make lemonade.

Now save some of those lemons for a real cocktail.  While many attribute whisky to the South and Ireland, this cosmopolitan New York guy says whisky is year round, but especially relevant in the Fall.  Why?  Hot toddies!  They're that deliciously soothing comfort food in drink form that gratifyingly sneaks up on you with its warm spicy and fragrant kick.  For my inaugrual hot toddy of the season I've chose the wonderfully crafted Four Roses Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky.

Four Roses has been creating their award-winning whiskies for over a century from their home in Louisville, Kentucky.  Their Small Batch Whisky is handcrafted from a combination of four of their select bourbons for a unique and distinct homegrown flavor hence the moniker of Small Batch.  The result creates an excellent hot toddy since Four Roses Small Batch has a naturally spicy and woodsy flavor with a bit of sweet that when added to the ingredients for a hot toddy make a flavor profile that is very satisfying.

Check out this simple recipe for a hot toddy with Four Roses Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky.  With each sip try not to take Fall and everything that will ensue from it so seriously. 

Classic Hot Toddy

ounce Four Roses Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky
1 tablespoon honey
½ ounce lemon juice
1 cup hot water
Cinnamon stick or lemon wheel for garnish
Combine the first four ingredients into the bottom of a warmed mug.  If desired, garnish with a cinnamon stick or lemon.
Side note:  You'll really be satisfied with using Four Roses Small Batch for your hot toddy.  The notes lend themselves so harmoniously to a spicy hot toddy.  Also, you'll want to get the big bottle since a great hot toddy is so smooth and comforting, you'll reach the bottom of the mug before you know it so better quadruple up on the ingredients and make a whole carafe.  You'll thank me later!

Four Roses Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky is available now at your finer liquor, wine and spirits retailers and as always please remember to drink responsibly.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Island Escapade, In A Bottle: Tommy Bahama St. Kitts For Men


How does one establish a memory that lasts?  How does someone cultivate a memorable experience that will be comfortably burned into the brain for a lifetime?  Tastes, sounds, sights, touches and smells all conspire to make experiences the wonderments that they are.  So a little over a week ago I packed my bags and headed for a week long island vacation in the Caribbean in search of a memory that would last.  Being the fashion maven that I'd like to think I am, of course the clothes had to be right.  I'd already planned to be off of any kind of diet and had faith that the food and drinks would be sinfully and delectably right.  Trading gritty concrete and black asphalt for powdery sand and teal water was sure to be a welcomed sight and provide a much more soothing touch. 


A few weeks before my travel I had received this new handsomely bottled fragrance from Tommy Bahama called St. Kitts for Men.  I had the idea that I wouldn't even smell the fragrance until I landed at my island destination.  My hope was that experiencing Tommy Bahama St. Kitts for the first time while in this new exotic locale would leave a sweetly burned memory to keep with me even when stateside again.


The pairing was kismet.  Tommy Bahama St. Kitts seemingly captures nuances of a Caribbean island through a nice balance of blended notes.  The sweet scent in the humid Caribbean air came through in St. Kitts' fresh mandarin note while the warm briny ocean air was captured with the present note of sea salt.  Cutting the sweet and the salty was the spicily soothing cedarwood and the musky and delightfully rare ambergris.  The fragrance worked well with just a couple touches at the pulse points and was a delight to experience again when slipping on that beach tee after a fresh invigorating seaside swim.  





Tommy Bahama St. Kitts for Men is a pleasant fragrance that made my trip to an island saint of another name that much more memorable.  I first sprayed it on while getting ready to go out for dinner on my first night there and remember how nice, but also sexy, the sweet woody fragrance was as I pulled of my tee getting ready for bed that night.  The right balance always comes together to make an experience that much more memorable.  Tommy Bahama St. Kitts for Men is available now at TommyBahama.com.

**Special thanks To Deulon Lesure (IG: _Deulon) for prop styling

Monday, October 19, 2015

From The Old To The New: Makar Glasgow Gin Review


Are you currently doing what I'm doing?  Are you begrudginly going into the deep recesses of your closet to pull the Fall/Winter items to the forefront of your everyday rotation?  No?  Perhaps you can't seem to let go of that favorite tank top or perfect sun-bleached khaki short but, let's face it, Fall is here.  Now figure for a sec that you may discover what I discovered buried behind your treasured summer linen suits and shirts and find a delightful but surprisingly forgotten gem of an article of clothing that somehow became lost over the years.  For me it was a pair of full cut trousers that my dad had made for me back in college.  

Rendered by a pair of older masterful hands, those trousers are ones my dad had made tons of times, but never in the fabric of choice that I had brought to him.  I picked out a crisp yet beautifully fluid Super 150's taupe grey wool gaberdine.  Having been used to only making these pants in thicker worsteds and twills, my dad and I arrived at a nice collaboration of the full cut that I wanted and I also got a lesson in a classic trouser cut in modern fabric.  The result was superb and my underlying lesson learned was that sometimes it's better to have the knowledge and inspiration of an older learned hand to produce a combined great experience of modernity and a revered classic. 

That's kind of how I felt when sampling Makar Glasgow Gin.  Here we have a brand new, under a year old gin that's elegant, refined, crisp and bottled beautifully.  The Glasgow Distillery Company was inspired by one of Glasgow's original distilleries founded in Dundashill, Scotland in 1770.  What Glasgow Distillery took for their Makar Glasgow Gin was the focus on an intense and sophisticated flavor profile through small batching and a recipe of key local ingredients to ensure a unique and modern taste experience achieved via the way of time-honored tradition.

The result?  Makar Glasgow Gin is a really great gin to cap off my official 'Month of Gin' series.  The melange of notes come together to create this juniper-led dry gin that is fresh and dare I say sexy.  How can something taste sexy?  Well take, for example, how I sampled this gin.  Simple, clean, over the rocks with just some orange zest.  When you taste a drink with an intricate flavor profile you have to pat attention to the subtleties.  That's what makes it a sexy gin.  The subtleties are discreet, tease the tastebuds and trigger synapses in brain that case connections with the familiar and the pleasant as far as the notes go.  The citrus pop of the lemon peel, the herbal soothing of the angelica root & rosemary, the fragrant woodiness of the cassia bark and the coriander seeds and then the beautiful contradiction of the black pepper and licorice make a tantalizing and soothing cocktail.

Since I'm waxing a bit of nostalgic, I think I'll slip on those handsome trousers and fix myself another drink.  Sleek, sexy and complex with nods to classic, cultivated and familiar; that's the modern way to drink.  Makar Glasgow Gin is available now at your finer wine, spirit and liquor stores and here at bespoke spirits.net and as always, please remember to drink responsibly.  

Monday, October 12, 2015

Garnish A Bad Day With Gin: Caorunn Gin Review


Suppose the following scenario.  A hectic day at work complete with the annoying retelling of their boring weekend from that bothersome co-worker.  The draining subway commute home made even worse by the presence of the President's motorcade being in town and yet another train-halting water main break.  All this happens only to find out that you rushed out the door this morning without taking out that restaurant cut of beef you had intended to enjoy for dinner.  Chinese take-out it is; however, you called and they just ran out of the crispy duck special which is the only reason you keep their menu on-hand anyway.  So what now?  What allows you to salvage the day since, let's face it, you're going right back to it tomorrow?  A satisfying cocktail!

Such a cocktail doesn't always require a trip to the bar, it could be that you walk over to your liquor cabinet.  To combat such a day, think special, think characteristic, think comforting and think unique. This is, as I dubbed last week, the official 'Month of Gin' and I recently discovered a delightfully great gin that makes a good end of the day cocktail so redeeming.  That gin is Caorunn.

Caorunn Gin is a small batch gin.  If that means nothing to you then think of it in this way.  Just as you may take pride in knowing that some items in your closet are made locally or lovingly with skilled artisanal hands, small batch simply refers to making strides to handcraft a gin to have more control over the unique and a distinguished flavor true to the original aesthetic.

As is the case with Caorunn Gin, this aesthetic boasts handcrafting from pure grains and time-honored Celtic botanicals.  So I can take all this into consideration when mixing that cocktail or I can just know that if you've been making gin since 1824 then you're doing something right. So I went over to my living room bar and gave this recipe a go:

Caorunn Perfect Serve G & T

1 part Caorunn Gin
2 parts premium tonic water
Red apples slices for garnish

Mix in a balloon glass with ice 

The result?  A pretty great gin and tonic.  It was smooth and the finish was crisp with an underlying note of sweet that only left me refreshed.  The presence of the red apple garnish played nicely with the drink as part of Caorunn Gin's flavor profile actually consists of Scotland's coul blush apple variety.  How fitting to enjoy a perfect G & T from a company that has taken pride in perfecting their gin to make sure, perhaps, that a less than perfect day could end up on such a delicious note.

Caorunn Gin is available at your fine wine, spirit and liquor retailers and as always please remember to enjoy responsibly.