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Published on May 28th, 2014 | by Jackie

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Manhattan Cocktail Classic: Indie Spirits Expo Highlights

By Jackie Armstrong

When the Indie Spirits Expo rolls around it brings on a bittersweet excitement for me. Exciting because it allows the opportunity for smaller, independent brands to showcase themselves – sad because it means the Manhattan Cocktail Classic is coming to a close!

I went in with the intention of focusing on mostly rums and mezcals, but as you circle the room at the expo it is hard to stay on track – I wanted to try everything basically. The first table I hit was Mizu Shochu, Japense spirit distilled from barley and black koji rice. You can find it on the menu at places like Madam Geneva and Experimental Cocktail Club.

I really enjoyed Novo Fogo, which falls into a category of spirits called cachaca. We could discuss it a lot further – but the easiest way to describe the difference between cachaça and rum is that rum is usually made from molasses, which is a by-product of the refining of sugar cane. Cachaca is made from fresh sugarcane juice that’s fermented and distilled.

One of my favorite finds was the Pierde Almas +9, mezcal distilled with gin botanicals, making it the first mezcal-gin to land in the U.S. While it is technically still a mezcal, it is the perfect something to jazz of your gin & tonic.

Of course, I am already a big fan of Bridget Firtle who makes Owney’s Rum out in Brooklyn. Even though I know and love Owney’s – still had to drop by her table for a taste. It is the rum I keep in my home bar as a cocktail staple. We at Dipsology are also huge fans of St. George Spirits. At the expo I was particularly digging their NOLA Coffee Liqueur inspired by New Orleans style coffee, made with Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee, Madagascar vanilla and French chicory. If you love Blue Bottle’s NOLA Iced Coffee, this is for you.

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