Published on May 16th, 2014 | by Jackie


Manhattan Cocktail Classic: Spirits on our Radar

One of the great things that happens during the Industry Invitational is the walk around tasting, where we get to taste spirts and talk with brand representatives/distillers. There were a ton of great finds this year! Here are a few highlights:


Ludlows Jelly Shots
It’s a simple but genius idea. Take classic cocktails and translate them into jello shots. I love the idea and the taste lives up to the expectations. These jelly shots are the ideal grab and go, cocktail item we have been waiting for. I love when something we all know like a jello shot is taken and elevated to the next level. In flavors like Planter’s Punch and Moscow Mule they are sure to please. The shots will be available in packs of 5 starting this summer in New York and California.

Koval Distillery
I loved the products I tasted that are coming out of Koval, the first distillery in Chicago since the 1800s. They use only locally grown organic grain that comes from a farmers collective in the Midwest. The distillery produces a number of whiskeys, liqueurs and spirits. I especially enjoyed their millet whiskey and their rose hip liquer. Koval uses a white whiskey base for all of their liquers, which is a huge taste plus.

Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur
Barrow’s Intense is a bright liqueur that is made with fresh ginger. One taste and I was hooked, seriously. The only thing that I can’t figure out is if I like it better by itself on the rocks or mixed in a cocktail. I will have to go with cocktail. Luckily, it is popping up in many cocktails around town. Colonie in Brooklyn is serving it in their rhubarb ginger daiquiri. So good.

Clase Azul Tequila
I am a lover of agave based spirits, and this tequila is one of my favorites (and not just because of the beautifully crafted decanters in which it is stored). If you are looking for a tequila for your cocktails at home, their Plata silver is for you. You can find me sipping on the Reposado, aged 8 months, at places around the city like The Dutch.

prairiePrairie Organic Spirits
Prairie Organic has a vodka, gin and a delish cucumber vodka. Their vodka, distilled from organic corn, is smooth and has been one of my favorites to use in my own cocktails at home for a while. We recommend trying their strawberry/basil infusion. All you need to do is reserve 1/3 of the vodka from the bottle, fill with sliced strawberries/basil and top off with the reserved vodka. Let it sit for 3-4 days to infuse the flavor.

Fever Tree Mixers
We like to make sure that we use the best possible spirits in our cocktails – shouldn’t we do the same for the mixers we use as well? The Fever Tree line of mixers includes things like ginger beer and my personal favorite – elderflower tonic water. Seriously, it is fabulous. The company is U.K. based, but you can find them on amazon (prime eligible, of course).

Macchu Pisco
Ever order a pisco sour but wonder what on earth pisco is (besides delicious)? Well, pisco is a clear, grape based brandy from Peru and Macchu Pisco makes some of the best. Their flagship brand is more neutral – a step up from vodka – and their La Diablada is wonderfully fruity & floral. Both are great summer options if you’re looking to mix it up and branch out from the same old spirits. Learn more about Macchu Pisco in our spirit spotlight.

Sorel is locally made in Brooklyn and is a hibiscus based liqueur infused with notes of clove, ginger and nutmeg. Yum! It has become a staple behind bars and featured on cocktail menus across the city. The second anniversary of Sorel is coming up and there will be a special anniversary dinner. The dinner will be held at Marietta in Brooklyn and will feature a Sorel cocktail paired with each course.

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