|Rum Numb Davey|
Joined: Jul 17, 2005
From: Phoenix, AZ
|Posted: 2005-09-23 11:47 am  Permalink|
Article by Robert Plotkin
Consumption of distilled spirits is at a ?ve-year high with no evidence of letup in sight. Many spirits enthusiasts not only are embracing the classic brands and styles but also are seeking out new tastes, often presented in cock-tails made from an ever-increasing and dazzling medley of ingredients. To capitalize on these trends, suppliers have concocted a genuinely innovative and exciting generation of original spirits. For lack of industry parlance, we’re calling them contemporary hybrid spirits, and they’re likely to change the way that we view once-conven-tional product categories.
“Consumers are always looking for something new and different, and the recent in?ux of innovative ?avors on the market gives them a lot of new options to choose from,” says Pat Couteaux, master distiller at In?nite Spirits. “We developed Shakers Rose Vodka because it’s a unique ?avor that has been enjoyed for centuries in other parts of the world. Initially, we weren’t sure if it would be popular with consumers, but the response thus far has been phenom-enal—it goes to show that there’s always room for innovative products.”
“Hybrids are fueling the growing interest in spirits by answering consumer needs, namely quality and taste,” con-tends Jean Christophe Terzaghi, senior brand manager at Schieffelin & Company. “We based Navan’s product propo-sition on joint positive trends. It’s a highly innovative product that appeals to enthusiasts of Cognac, ?avored spirits, and premium spirits. Plus there’s the cachet of the Grand Marnier name.”
COLORED COMMINGLED COGNAC
In recent years we’ve seen the explosion of ?avored vodkas and rums, but these spirits are subsets of traditional categories. Many of the new elixirs are the square pegs that just don’t ?t into the recognized round holes. An excel-lent example is Heaven Hill’s runaway success, Hpnotiq. Imported from France, this Day-Glo aquamarine hybrid is made from a singular blend of triple-distilled vodka, aged Cognac, and a proprietary mix of natural tropical juices. While well suited for drink making, Hpnotiq is more like a skillfully crafted cocktail in a cork-?nished bottle.
“The growth of these ‘fusion’ spirits re?ects not only expanding consumer tastes but also acceptance by bartenders and mixologists,” says Larry Kass, director of corporate communications for Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. “Products such as Hpnotiq are incredibly versatile because of their multifaceted ingredients. These brands give cocktail crafts-men another tool to create both modern twists on classic cocktails and new innovative drinks.”
Another hybrid success is Alizé de France, which is an exotic blend of passion fruit and Cognac. Introduced in 2000, Alizé Red Passion combines passion fruit, cranberry, and Alizé Cognac. Both versions are frequently featured in cocktails. RémyRed is another popular line that has resonated with younger consumers; Strawberry Kiwi Infusion and Red Grape Berry Infusion join the original Red Berry Infusion; for all three, fruits and naturally derived ?avorings are added to the mix, which is then infused with Rémy Martin Fine Champagne Cognac.
This category also includes Xoteric; two versions of Envy, the original (infused with passion fruit and guava) and Mango Melon; the iridescent green Intrigue from Skyy Spirits; and the well-balanced Destinée Ruby and Sapphire from White Rock Distilleries.
NOT HUMDRUM RUM
The rum category has been sizzling, so it should come as no surprise that rum-based products have been devel-oped that go beyond the established styles. Crossing over several conventional categories is Bacardi Ciclón, a blend of gold rums that is infused with aged Tequila and natural lime ?avor. It is an intriguing spirit with a citrus bouquet and a prominent Tequila palate. The rum component pleasantly asserts itself during the lingering ?nish. Bacardi also has introduced a sucralose-sweetened low-cal line of fruit-infused rums called Island Breeze.
Equally intriguing is Allied Domecq’s Kuya Fusion Rum, which features an assemblage of barrel-aged rums, natu-ral citrus ?avor extracts, and an array of island spices. Kuya is a fusion between a classic spiced rum and a new-age fruit-?avored rum. This one-of-a-kind rum is tailor-made for life behind the bar.
KIN TO GIN
Besides the staggering number of new unadorned and ?avored vodkas, the ongoing martini boom has also spawned several exceptional singular gins (Hendrick’s and No. Ten by Tanqueray, to name two) and, relevant to this story, gin hybrids. Wet by Beefeater is a welcome departure from convention. It’s a pure-grain, London-dis-tilled spirit redistilled with a select cast of botanicals, including the essence of pears. The fruit adds a soft and inviting lushness to the gin. Wet is also bottled at an accessible 70 proof, which allows its delicate ?avors to persist longer on the palate.
Ranking high on the list of hybrid spirits is Kensington, a London dry gin from Scotland. After distillation, it’s aged in new American oak barrels from Kentucky. Kensington is slightly sweet, with a touch of smoke on the ?nish, and its rich amber color will capture immediate attention.
In the mid-1990s, sales of distilled spirits lagged behind those of beer and wine. Now as spirits steadily erode beer’s once seemingly insurmountable lead, producers and suppliers are fueling consumer demand by launching increas-ingly intriguing products. These new spirits offer testimony that we are indeed evolving as a species.
BOLD NEW HYBRID SPIRITS
You’ve probably heard the adage before that the only constant is change. It’s especially true in the beverage industry, where manufacturers continue to introduce new products to capture the imagination of spirits enthusiasts. On the off chance you might have missed the initial fanfare surrounding their introduction, here are some of the boldest, most promising new spirits and liqueurs—guaranteed to grace your backbar.
Cachaça—The next spirits category poised to ignite is cachaça, a Brazilian spirit distilled from sug-arcane. Three brands to watch are the unaged superpremium Beleza Pura; Pitú, ?rst produced in northeastern Brazil in 1938 and named after a rare freshwater river crab; and Ypióca (Ee-pee-OH-kah), aged in rainforest wood for up to three years.
Compass Box Orangerie—A ten-year-old Scotch infused with orange peel and spices. Light, smooth, complex, elegant—a fresh twist on an old spirit.
Cream Liqueurs—The category has exploded with new ?avors, including Crème de la Crème’s Maple Cream, Cask & Cream’s Caramel Temptation, and chai-?avored Voyant.
Grand Marnier Navan—A marriage of ?ne aged Cognac with natural black vanilla from Madagascar. The dry, brilliantly ?avored liqueur works ?awlessly on many levels.
Jewel of Russia Wild Bilberry Infusion—This traditional Russian spirit is made from fresh bilber-ries that are crushed and steeped in superpremium vodka. The infusion is low in alcohol (44 proof), leaving the palate free from heat or biting edge.
Magellan Gin—Created by spirits guru Michel Roux and made in small batches in France from triple-dis-tilled neutral spirits, spring water, and a botanical mix that includes deep-blue iris petals. The ?nished gin sports an alluring, light blue tint—a veritable feast for the senses.
Pisco—This Peruvian grape brandy, like cachaça, is a venerable spirit but is just beginning to be appreci-ated in North American restaurant bars, especially as the base spirit of the pisco sour.
Shaker’s Rose Vodka—A 100 percent wheat vodka infused with an elixir of rose and more than a dozen natural ?avors, including honey, vanilla, and citrus.
Wokka Saki—Sake (20 percent) and essence of Asian fruits are fused to a base of vodka, which is microdistilled in a pot still.
HYBRID DREAM DRINKS
Santé presents a medley of new drinks from America’s talented mixologists.
THE SPIDER FROM IPANEMA
By Walter Staib, chef/proprietor, City Tavern, Philadelphia
“Cachaça, which is used primarily as the base spirit for caipirinhas, is an old spirit and probably was combined with apple cider several centuries ago. Cider, unlike clear apple juice, imparts a good body to the drink. The sweetness of the Grand Marnier and the refreshing element of the crème de menthe marry well with the cider. The cachaça gives the drink its alcoholic boost. As the spider name implies, a couple of drinks are sure to sneak up on you, and Ipanema is the main beach in Rio, which is the tie-in to Brazil’s native spirit, cachaça.”
2 oz Pitú Cachaça
1 oz Grand Marnier
Splash white crème de menthe
6 oz fresh apple cider
Apple slice and sugarcane
Combine all of the ingredients in a 14-ounce highball glass ?lled with ice. Stir and garnish with a slice of apple and a sugarcane swizzle stick.
By Cory Hill, bar manager, Brasserie 81?2, New York City
I started with the idea of creating a chocolate-and-coffee cocktail, and because both of these ingredients are grown in South America, I decided to combine them with pisco, a Chilean brandy. The smoothness of the choco-late and the bitterness of the espresso are perfectly complemented by the smooth, mild brandy, which ?nishes with a bit of heat.
2 ounces Chilean Pisco brandy
1 ounce Godiva Dark Chocolate Liqueur
1 ounce chilled espresso
Candied lemon-twist garnish
Combine the brandy, dark chocolate liqueur, and espresso in a shaker ?lled with ice. Shake well and strain into a seven-ounce martini glass. Garnish with a candied lemon twist.
Ray Srp, mixologist, Bellagio Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas
“I created “Victoria’s Secret” for the September 2003 issue of The Balance, the newsletter for the United States Bartenders Guild—Nevada Chapter. The drink is named after the ship that returned to Spain carrying the botanicals gathered from Magellan’s journey. The gin’s blue color is not a factor in the recipe—it is [obscured by] the other ingredients. [Magellan’s] blend of botanicals mixes well with the sweetness of the apricot, the sour of the lemon, and the bitterness of the Campari, which results in a nose of grapefruit and a complexity of ?a-vors. The addition of cloves and iris root in the Magellan seems to soften the ?avor of the juniper without overpowering it.”
11?2 ounces Magellan Gin
3?4 ounce apricot brandy
11?2 ounces fresh sour
1?4 ounce Campari
Combine the gin, brandy, sour, and Campari in a mixing glass ?lled with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel.
By Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric, partners, Cocktail Conceptions and Employees Only restaurant, New York City
“[Wet’s] pear infusion combines per-fectly in the apple cordial and, together with the spice of ginger and tartness of fresh cranberries, brings forward a very refreshing and unexpected balance,” comments Dushan Zaric. “Because the aroma of the botanicals used in the product is more gentle due to the [lower] 35 percent alcohol, Wet works much bet-ter in this recipe than a standard London Dry gin . . . [and] this characteristic makes Wet as mixable as vodka but far more exciting.”
2 thin slices of ginger root
10 fresh cranberries
1 tsp super?ne sugar
1?2 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
11?2 oz Wet by Beefeater
11?2 oz Berentzen Apple Liqueur
Muddle the ginger, cranberries, and sugar in a mixing glass. Add the remaining ingredients and ?ll the glass with ice. Shake vigorously and pour out all contents into a rocks glass.
Leslie Nilsson, executive chef, Sage Event & Café St. Barts, New York City
2 ounces Belvedere Vodka
1 ounce Voyant Chai Cream Liqueur
Splash ginger ale
Crystallized ginger stirrer
Combine the vodka, liqueur, and gin-ger ale in a mixing glass ?lled with ice. Shake gently and pour into a chilled martini glass. Add a crystallized-ginger stirrer and ?oat a jasmine ?ower or two as a garnish.
By Albert Trummer, bar chef and owner, Trummer Home bar and café, Greenport, New York
“Navan is the perfect base spirit to make a brilliant drink. The vanilla of the Navan—which is the best vanilla ?avor I have ever tasted in a spirit—intensi?es the ?avor of the fresh pineapple juice. Navan is perfect for blending with juices, and it combines beautifully with rum—especial-ly in an updated version of Hemingway’s favorite, the daiquiri. While Navan is excellent alone, I think it becomes more ?avorful in drinks.”
4 oz fresh pineapple purée
21?2 oz Navan
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
Splash coconut milk
Combine the pineapple purée, Navan, lime juice, simple syrup, and coconut milk in a mixing glass ?lled with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled mar-tini glass. Garnish with a pineapple leaf.
HAMAKAZE (Sea Breeze)
By Dimitri Lezinska, London-based mixologist
“The sake sensation on the palate is ever present but not overpowering. Its strong, smooth ?avor and delicate hints of peach and passion fruit give me a lot of options. Wokka Saki com-bines very well with most ?avors and appeals to both men and women.”
2 ounces Wokka Saki
21?2 ounces cranberry juice
21?2 ounces apple juice
Juice from half a lime
Combine the Wokka Saki and fruit juices in a 14-ounce highball glass ?lled with ice. Stir and garnish with a lime wedge.
In Peruvian and Chilean bars and lounges, pisco sours rule. Below is a traditional recipe.
11?2 oz Tacama Pisco Don Manuel
1?2 oz fresh lemon or lime juice
1?2 oz simple syrup
1 egg white
Dash of Angostura bitters garnish
Combine the pisco, lemon or lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white in a mixing glass ?lled with ice. Strain into a small cocktail glass. Garnish with several drops of bitters on top of the drink.
Just finished a bottle of Havana Club Anejo 3 Anos, which was excellantly suited for many rum cocktails!