Gift Boxes!

We know you’ve been waiting all year for this. We’ve got a gift box for everyone on your list, from the beer buff to the cocktail curious–even a non-alcoholic sampler pack! Click any of the pictures below to purchase your gift boxes or click HERE to see all of our gift offerings. Cheers, and happy shopping!

Libation Gift Boxes

Food + Libation Gift Boxes

Our Maker’s Mark Private Select Barrel has arrived!

by Tom

The wait is finally over: we have received our Maker’s Mark Private Select Barrel! Maker’s Mark has one of the most interesting single barrel programs ever where you can customize a ring of staves that are dipped into the barrel for a finishing time period of nine weeks. A few years ago we landed on the perfect blend of staves for our palates. With the addition of ten staves with five different staves to choose from, there are a daunting 1,001 different possible combinations.

The Staves to Choose From

The five staves made specifically by the Independent Stave Company to choose from are the following:

  • Baked American Pure 2- the only American Oak in the bunch, giving it brown sugar, vanilla and spice.
  • Seared French Cuvee- This stave is ridge-cut and seared with infrared heat, this stave gives off toasty caramel.
  • Maker’s 46- the classic. This stave gives off dried fruit and caramelized spice.
  • Roasted French Mocha- toasted on high heat in a convection oven, giving off big maple, chocolate, and toasty char.
  • Toasted French Spice- toasted on both high heat and low heat giving off smoke and cinnamon spice.

 

The F44 Private Select Single Barrel

As you can tell, we had a long and arduous task ahead of us. Blending up different combinations of staves to see what we liked best, I mean twist our arms, right? We quickly realized Maker’s Cask Strength is nowhere as sweet as classic Maker’s Mark, so we went for a more creamy and fruity profile while also falling head over heels for the Roasted French Mocha staves. We ended up with the following:

  • 3 Baked American Pure 2 staves for Vanilla
  • 4 Roasted French Mocha for chocolate and maple
  • 1 Maker’s 46 for cherry
  • 1 Toasted French Spice
  • 1 Seared French Cuvee

Here’s the exciting wrinkle, unless you have used our beloved French Mocha Staves in a past recipe, you cannot use it use it. It was been retired and archived so you can only use it in past recipes, so this is the only place to grab this special bottle we have cooked up for you!

Bottled at 109.1 proof,  it smells like chocolate covered cherries and tastes like creamy caramel and vanilla, but why don’t you stop in and grab a bottle and see what you think?

Spooooooky Cocktails!

 

We’ve got some spoooooky cocktails for all your Halloween shenanigans!  Some might push you to try something a little more complicated, but don’t be scared!  They will be worth the work.  And some will be perfect to share with friends at your next séance or ghoul gathering.  Let those skeletons out of your closet, it’s time to party!

Violet Delights 

  • ½ oz Liber & Co grenadine
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 2 oz Empress gin (must use for the color)
  • Fever Tree Club soda

Fill a highball glass with ice, add grenadine, lemon juice, gin, top with soda water and a cocktail cherry.


 

Kitchen Witch Smash 

Mezcal is the star this week for a spooky smoky cocktail.  This one is a little extra work but will be worth it!  For an extra witchy vibe, repeat a mantra or set some good intentions while you muddle your ingredients.  Or hex someone, we won’t tell.

  • 8 fresh blackberries, plus more for topping
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, plus a sprig for serving
  • Juice from half of a lemon
  • ½ oz Código Agave Nectar
  • 2 oz Lu Luna Cupreata Mezcal
  • a couple dashes of Regan’s Orange Bitters
  • Fever Tree Club Soda

In a mixing glass, add blackberries, rosemary, lemon juice and agave nectar. Muddle the ingredients together, squishing everything to release the juices.  Add ice, along with the mezcal and orange bitters.  Stir for 20 seconds and strain over ice into a mason jar. Top with club soda and garnish with fresh rosemary and blackberries.

 


 

Phantom Vehicle

By now you probably have some apple cider sitting in the fridge ready for a new spin.  Here’s a fun fall take on the classic sidecar.  If you’re feeling adventurous, try this warm during your next chilly evening by the fire.   Or if you’re feeling lazy, simply warm up the apple cider, add cognac, and top with whipped cream for an easy treat.

  • 2 oz. fresh apple cider
  • 2 oz. Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon peel and Griottines brandied cherries, for garnish

Add all liquid ingredients to a cocktail shaker, top with ice, and shake until the shaker starts to frost and feels very cold to the touch (20 to 30 seconds).  Strain into a coupe glass and top with zest and brandied cherries.

 

 

 


 

Cachaça Zombie 

Trick or treat!  What’s this new creature at your door?  It’s cachaca, a Brazilian liquor made from distilled sugarcane juice.  This cousin of rum is a little funky and earthy and makes for a great cocktail.  But don’t worry, after a few of these you’ll be the fun kind of zombie not the brain eating kind.

  • 2 oz Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça
  • 1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
  • 1.5 – 2 oz On the Fly Tropical Cocktail Mixer
  • 1 dash Angostura or Bittercube Trinity
  • Absinthe rinse (optional but recommended)
  • lime wedge and mint sprig, for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Rinse an oversized whiskey tumbler with absinthe, add crushed ice, and pour in your strained cocktail.  Garnish with a lime wedge and mint sprig.

 


 

Spooky Sangria 

You probably still have some apple cider; we all make the same mistakes every fall, nobody is perfect.  So here’s a great recipe to share with your ghoul and goblin friends at your haunted gatherings.  Use up that cider and that dusty bottle of pinot grigio you never got to in the summer, and bring the shenanigans to the party!

  • 1 bottle pinot grigio
  • 2.5 cups apple cider
  • 1.5 cup Schweppes Club Soda
  • .75 cup Velvet Falernum liqueur
  • 3 honey crisp apples chopped
  • 3 pears chopped

Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl, stir, and chill for one hour before serving.

The France 44 Uniform: A Cocktail

by Tom

Guys, our events team has fallen in love with a cocktail. Over the past few weeks our desks upstairs have been buzzing and we felt the need to share it with you guys. Somewhere in between a Last Word, Margarita, and a Negroni, lives what we’re calling The France 44 Uniform. It can go by a different name, but you’ll have to come in and ask to find out. We have changed up the ingredients a few times to find the exact right mixture of libations that also align with business ethos. It’s easy to make and comes in four equal parts so there is no math involved in this endeavor. Definitely our end of summer cocktail, balancing summer and fall flavors, keeping things herbaceous and refreshing. Here we go: 

The France 44 Uniform

In a cocktail shaker combine:

  • 1oz Banhez Mezcal, a beautiful agave spirit made by 36 families in a co-op in Mexico with the right amount to citrus and smoke perfect for any cocktail. 
  • 1oz Vikre Herbal Liqueur, much akin to Yellow Chartreuse but cheaper, locally made in Duluth, and readily available. It is bright and herbaceous, filled with notes of Chamomile, Thyme, honey, douglas fir, and mint. It gives off incredibly complex fall vibes. 
  • 1oz Negroni Aperitivo Sixteen, our new favorite Aperol replacement. Just a pinch more rich and bitter than Aperol and locally distributed. It also has some rhubarb which we love. It’s our new go-to for spritzes and lighter style negronis.  
  • 1oz freshly squeezed lime juice, which at this time of the season, is one whole lime. 

Since this drink has fresh citrus, shaking it over ice and straining it is the best way to wake up all the flavors. While this is easily batchable for a party, it should be made the same day of the party since it has all that fresh lime juice. Or batch it early and add the lime juice later. This drink will transition you from Summer to Fall effortlessly, let us know what you think! 

France 44 Single Barrel Bourbon Picks!

by Tom

We’re Kicking off Bourbon Heritage Month Early! The two single barrel bourbons that we picked out from our recent trip out to Kentucky are here! We couldn’t be more excited to share these both with you. Check them out below. 

Tom’s Pick: Rebel Wheated 120 Proof Single Barrel Bourbon 

We just received one of the first barrels of Rebel Single Barrel Bourbons to hit the state of Minnesota! This Single Barrel of Rebel we picked out is wheated, meaning they took out the classic spicy rye grain and replaced it with wheat as the secondary sweeter, softer grain. I’m always on the hunt for good wheated bourbon, and it’s not always easy to find. There are always two staples: Maker’s Mark and Larceny, then there are the mysterious unicorns in Weller and Van Winkle which are impossible to find. This barrel reminds me a lot of Larceny Barrel Proof, another rare bourbon we seldom get. Bottled at 120 proof, this bourbon is both bulky and silky. Bold vanilla and caramel on the nose with an extremely textured oily mouthfeel that coats the palate. The finish has a warm apple with just a hint of cinnamon baked in. With water added, the caramel tones brighten up and the oak spice finally comes through on the finish. Adding an ice cube unlocked a shocking level of complexity tying together the vanilla, oak spice, and fall apples.                                                         

When a trip down to Kentucky presents itself, you always pull the trigger. We stayed in Bardstown, a quiet town situated 41 miles south of Louisville. It’s one of the biggest hubs for bourbon in Kentucky. It’s perfect for making bourbon due to its high elevation that leads to optimal temperature fluctuation for aging and its many limestone springs used as their pure water source. If you ever hit the bourbon trail, please feel free to come in and talk to Tom to get tips and ask questions! Large bourbon hubs such as Bardstown and Frankfort are smaller towns even though Frankfort is the ironically the capital of Kentucky. We love going down to bring our customers back awesome whiskey we otherwise could not get our hands on as well as figure out the tips and tricks of the bourbon trail!                                           

This bourbon absolutely shines in a mint julep. Its caramel and vanilla come through with the crushed ice taming the high proof. 

Rebel Mint Julep:

  • 1/4oz simple syrup 
  • 2oz Rebel Single Barrel Bourbon 
  • 1 small bushel of 6-8 small mint leaves 
  • Pebbled/crushed ice 
  • Copper/metal cup (optional but does help with keeping everything ice cold.) 
  • Garnish: more fresh mint 

Instructions: combine the simple syrup and mint at the bottom of the glass and GENTLY muddle. You aren’t smashing the mint into salad, you are waking up the essential oils of the mint. Add bourbon and pack the glass with fresh ice and stir till the glass is chilled. The garnish is important, you want to slap the mint a little to get that mint going becoming more fragrant. Plus its fun. Place the mint across from your nose so it’s the first thing you smell when you go to take a sip. Enjoy! 

Tashi's Pick: Ezra Brooks 120 Proof Single Barrel Bourbon

Tashi here to talk about our Single Barrel of Ezra Brooks! I wrote all about our trip to Kentucky back in April, which you can read here. I tried to keep our Luxrow barrels a secret and I’m sure ya’ll figured out that’s where we went based on the photos, but here we are: the big reveal! This was my first trip with France 44 and my first time on the bourbon trail.  I was pretty nervous at our tasting, even though I came prepared having just finished my WSET Level 2 Spirits Certification. It was a huge privilege to accompany Tom, and for him to agree with my Ezra Brooks pick. So this is my baby, truly Tashi’s pick.

I enjoy this single barrel the most after I’ve let it breathe for a while. This one is gonna hit ya with some rye spice immediately either way, but have some patience and you won’t regret it. On the nose I get vanilla and toffee, on the palate caramel and spice with a warm lingering finish. Once it’s opened up I akin it to fresh baked coffee cake. I think this single barrel is gonna surprise you! I hope you venture for a bottle and please let me know what you think of my pick, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Summer Whiskey Cocktail Recipes (And Our New Single Barrel!)

by Tom

Elijah Craig Rye Has Arrived… With the 11th France 44 Signature Cask Strength Single Barrel to Boot!

Elijah Craig Rye

Heaven Hill has finally come to the Minnesota market with their brand new rye whiskey! Joining their signature Rittenhouse and Pikesville brands, the new Elijah Craig is a “low rye content” rye whiskey, with just 51% rye with a larger than normal 35% corn content. This helps balance out its herbaceous edge with sweetness around the corners. It is a rye with bourbon tendencies, bridging the gap between the two. Orange rind and fennel spice burst off the nose with a fantastic rounded finish of rounded vanilla and toffee on the finish. Yes, this is a perfect whiskey for Old Fashioneds and Manhattans, but with the weather being swelteringly hot, Let’s look to more cooling drinks such as Mint Juleps and lemonade punches! 

Elijah Craig Mint Julep 

  • 1/2oz Prohibition Simple Syrup 
  • 4 Mint leaves
  • 2 1/2oz Elijah Craig Rye Whiskey 
  • Crushed ice 

Add the simple syrup and the mint leaves to a cold glass. Gently muddle. Add the Elijah Craig Rye and the crushed ice. Stir until combined. Garnish with a sprig of mint.  Refresh yourself!

Vanlice Rye Punch 

  • 4oz Locally Made Vanlice Vanilla Essence Lemonade 
  • 2oz Elijah Craig Rye Whiskey 
  • 2 Dashes Angostura bitters 

Fill a highball glass with ice (crushed or cubes) add the lemonade and Elijah Craig Rye. Stir and finish with bitters. 

Elijah Craig Cask Strength Single Barrel

Our record-breaking eleventh Elijah Craig Single Barrel has arrived! We were lucky enough to pick out our second cask strength barrel of the year. We love to hand select single barrels whenever we get the chance, bringing the highest quality whiskey exclusively to our customers. This eight year old single barrel is filled with dark fruits of raspberry and cherry with a hearty oak back bone. It is an intense 126.7 proof uncut from the barrel and could use and ice cube or a few drops of water for it to open up. We pick out a few dozen single barrels of bourbon and rye a year, hand selecting the best we can find. Upcoming barrels include Ezra Brooks 120 Proof Bourbon, Rebel 120 Proof Wheated Bourbon, Rittenhouse Rye, Stellum Bourbon and Rye, Four Roses, and a Maker’s Mark Private selection.  

My favorite recipe for our France 44 Single Barrel Selections: 

Ingredients

  • 2oz Single Barrel Whiskey 

In a Lowball or Glencarin Glass (the perfect spirit glass) add the Elijah Craig Single Barrel and enjoy neat, with a few drops of water, or an ice cube.

Anyway you prefer, just enjoy yourself! 

Insider Peeks: The France 44 Event Space

Hello, friends! Karina and Hailey here to give you all of the information you could possibly want about the Events space: where we’re at with construction, what the new event programming will look like once construction is complete, and what we’ve been busying ourselves with in the meantime. Spoiler: we have some pretty cool things brewing! 

Where we’re at… 

After months of holes being dug, and filled, and dug again… we are finally seeing some serious construction progress. If you’ve visited the store lately, you’ve no doubt noticed the changes over the past several weeks. This week, we have really begun to see the Events space start to take its more proper shape. We finished the drainage rough-ins, studwork, and trusses, and the plywood is being completed as we speak. In the coming weeks, we’ll start to pour concrete on the first and second stories and start on the interior work.  

The big, need-to-know construction update is that from August 15-26th we’ll be redoing our parking lot – meaning the parking lot will be completely unavailable from August 15-18 and August 22-25 (thankfully, we’ll have the lot back temporarily for the weekends those weeks). The good news: once this is finished, our new parking lot will be fully complete and we can finally return to normal use of the full-sized lot.  

We’re keeping the worst of it to the slower weekdays and are working on some creative ways to ensure you can still get the goods during those times. Plus, the Events Team will be onsite for a No Parking Lot ‘Fun Times’ Party on August 17-18 and August 24-25 from 3-7pm as a massive thank you to those that power through the brunt of our parking lot woes. Things to look forward to will include:  

  • Free wine and beer samples 
  • France 44 Events merch 
  • Extra bike racks – and a free Cheese Shop cookie if you ride your bike or walk to the store! 
  • A Double Points “stock up” event the weekend prior (August 11-14) 
  • Extra curbside service with easy-to-order grab and go bundles and curbside phone ordering 

 


 

Alright, enough about construction… What exactly will the space be used for, you ask? So many things! 

CORPORATE BOOKINGS // One of the most exciting things about the Events space is that it grants us the opportunity to expand our offerings to our corporate partners beyond our current off-site catering. And, because we have such versatile offerings in terms of rooms and spaces, we pretty much have the capacity for anything and everything (within reason, of course).  

The lounge and patio will offer a beautiful backdrop for entertaining clients and staff members alike, in a casual, relationship-oriented setting. Book either (or both!) for a simple, casual happy hour; or go for a themed tasting with cheese plates and appetizers to pair. We’ll even link you up with one of our certified Sommeliers or Cheese Mongers for an educational component if you so wish. 

Beyond expanding what we’ll be able to offer for our public classes, the new-and-improved classroom will also be the perfect setting for corporate team building sessions. Develop closer relationships within your team through experiential and hands-on activities, and engage in some friendly competition! Learn to make your own batch of vermouth from scratch, create the perfect cheeseboard, or dive into the classic cocktails and their many variations. Here’s a little secret, too: come 2023, we’ll also add pizza making to the docket. 

PRIVATE EVENT BOOKINGS // One of our core values at France 44 is our continued connection to our neighbors and community, and we are incredibly excited to further that connection by opening our space to our lovely neighbors. Whether it be for a graduation or birthday party, or you’re just looking to have a good time with friends and loved ones without the stress of hosting in your own home, we’re here for you!  

Party on the patio for cocktails and appetizers before moving into the classroom to enjoy family-style platters (courtesy of our always on-point in-house Catering team); host an intimate happy hour and cozy up at the fireplace in the lounge; or book a private tasting with friends and be spoiled with a selection of wines that you never knew you ought to be drinking. 

We’ll also be hosting a few pop-up events in the early days of the Events space, as we get our feet on the ground. We’ll be sending out more info in the coming months for a slew of ticketed events in the new year, beyond our usual public classes.  

PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION COURSES // It’s been a “tightly kept secret” that we’ve been working hard over the past year to expand our educational offerings at France 44, and we could not be more excited to share that we are officially an approved Wine and Spirits Education Trust School! 

For those who are not familiar with it, the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) is one of the leading organizations for certifications in wine, spirits, and sake. There are WSET schools around the world, from Shanghai to London to Chicago, but we are very excited to be one of only a few in Minnesota. Our public classes have always been a core component of our business, and our WSET school will expand that to a more professional level. That said, whether you’re looking for professional training or just thoughtful imbibing, the door will always be open to industry folk and enthusiasts alike who are looking to expand their knowledge. After all, education is the dividing line between an intentional drink and a mindless one.  

 

We’ll start out by offering Level I and Level II Wine, but Level III Wine (along with Level I and Level II Spirits) will soon follow. Keep an eye out for informational sessions via zoom and small in-person groups, and sign up for our mailing list through the France 44 Education homepage to stay up to date on course announcements and other goings on. 

IN THE MEANTIME…

You might be left wondering what exactly the Events Team has been up to during all of this construction – yes, we’ve been putting on a few off-site events here and there, but we’ve also been focusing on the catering side of our business in the meantime. Our main takeaway? Wow, is there a lot of hard work and love that goes into creating and sourcing all of the beautiful items on our catering menu. From our whole-animal butchery that is responsible for everything from our house sausages to our gyro meatballs, to our catering chefs who lovingly put together all of our artful cheese and charcuterie boards by hand, to our off-site group manager who helps curate the perfect food and beverage menu for your event and coordinates the staffing to boot… Sure, we may be a bit biased, but we really do have an extraordinary team, and it’s thanks to them and all of their hard work that we are able to have such special food & beverage offerings.  

So, if you’re as impatient as we are for the Events space to open, take advantage of what our catering team has to offer! If you haven’t caught the theme yet, flexibility is kind of the name of the game for us: we can easily accommodate groups large or small, most dietary restrictions, and we have an incredible Sommelier team available to help with any staffing needs you might have as well. Check out our catering menu here, and for in-home or off-site events with Sommelier services, shoot us an email at catering@france44.com to chat through our options.  

 

Perry vs Pear – A Tale of Two Ciders

by Melissa

I recently had a customer who came in and asked for a pear cider. When I asked if they wanted a pear cider or a perry cider, they were confused. That made me realize that others might be confused as well. Fear not, I am here to end that confusion for you!

A perry cider, also known as Poire cider, comes from 100% pears. No other fruits or adjuncts with it. Most makers use “perry pears” which are small, walnut like pears. These pears are terrible for eating and very temperamental to work with. They are also very difficult to grow here in the United States, which is why you will see most perry ciders we carry are from France where the climate and terroir is better for these challenging little pears.

A perry cider usually has dry, tannin components as well as high acidity. However, the residual sugars take the bite off and give it a gentle mouthfeel. Since it is made with pears and not apples, it can’t really be compared to a cider made with apples. It has a taste profile of its own. (It is like trying to compare red and white wines.) When you taste a perry, you need to open your mind to a different experience than you have had with apple ciders.

We do our best to have perry ciders in the cooler, but it isn’t always easy since most do come from France. We currently have stock of Bordelet Poire, Drouin Acide Sour Poire, Drouin Poire, and Le Pere Jules Poire. True perry ciders from the US exist but aren’t widely distributed. If you cross the border into Wisconsin, you can sometimes find an Oriole Orchard Perry from AeppelTreow Ciders.

A pear cider is a cider made with pears and additional fruits or adjuncts. Most frequently, makers blend pear and apple cider for a pear cider. When it comes to pear ciders, there are many and they all vary in flavor profile since each maker uses different additions to make their cider. They range from sweet to dry as apple ciders do but have more prevalent pear characteristics.

Pear ciders are more common to find throughout the United States because makers can use any pears they want to blend with other things to create the flavor profile they are looking for. Wyder’s has a Dry cider and a Reposado barrel aged cider that we carry. A personal favorite of mine is Restoration Cider Company’s Normandy Pear. It reminds me of eating a fresh pear right off the tree.

If you haven’t had a chance to try a pear cider or a perry cider, now is a great time to do it because we will be offering all perry and pear ciders at 10% off for this weekend. Let us know what you think about them!

PS Be sure to look in for new arrivals when you are in the store!

Cabin Crushin’ Beverages

As the weather heats up and cabin life begins, we find ourselves craving drinks that are refreshing, lighter, and portable! Here is what we will be drinking this holiday weekend and this summer to keep cool! 

Cazadores Canned Margaritas - Hailey

Call me basic if you want, but I’ll drink a margarita any day. Cazadore’s 4-pack Canned Margaritas are perfect whether you’re camping, up at the cabin, or just hanging out at the beach. I’m a big fan of their Spicy Margaritas — they have a delicious jalapeno flavor without too much of a kick. Stick them on ice in the cooler and bring your fav coozie!

Junkyard Grandpa Bill's Pils 4pk Can - Bill

It’s hot!  I want Pilsners to drink. And this all Citra Hopped Pils has been my favorite for the last 2 months. We just stole more from the North Dakota allocation and even that’s almost gone!  
Easily one of my top picks of the year so far.  It’s everything I love about craft beer!

Itxas Harri Canned Rosé - Josh

One of my favorite rosés is now in a can! This dry, light, and fresh Basque rosé is everything I want when sitting near some body of water during this hot MN summers. The demand and availability of really good canned wine has exploded in the past few years and I couldn’t be happier about it! Grab a bottle can today!

Fever Tree Light Cucumber Tonic Water - Ryan

Ever wish someone would bottle the bracing shock of jumping off a rope swing into a cool river on a 95 degree day? They did, and it’s called Fever Tree Refreshingly Light Cucumber Tonic. I drink it on its own with some ice as a rejuvenating afternoon cooldown, but it of course makes a perfect partner to your favorite vodka or gin.

Minneapolis Cider Co. Orchard Blend - Melissa

My go-to Cabin Crusher is Orchard Blend from Minneapolis Cider Company. It is well balanced and refreshing. Its even fun to mix with orange juice for a cidermosa as a lower ABV brunch beverage. 

Ghia Non-alcoholic Aperitif - Karina

I’m riding the NO/LO bandwagon this summer. Balance is key! Ghia was my first love in this popular category. The ginger and bitter botanicals are great for digestion after too many brats and brownies, but it’s equally delicious in a low proof negroni (just add gin)!

Bell's Oberon - Aaron

If you’re looking to combat the hot summer sun, look no further than Bell’s Oberon. This delightful wheat ale is a perfect reward for mowing the lawn on a scorching day, and at 5.8% it’ll pack a punch!

Hi-Neo Chu Hi Yuzu Highball - Tom

YOU NEED TO TRY THIS! It’s seriously insane how declicious this is.

Highballs are a simple concept: base spirit, fruit juice, and sparkling water. This Japanese Highball is made from a shochu rice based spirit, yuzu fruit juice, and bubbly. Its crazy crushable refreshing patio drinker. I’ll have a few on the pontoon this weekend!

Escapada Vinho & Birrificio Tipopils - Stephen

I’m submitting two because I am an overachiever. 

This wine is best chilled! Mildly effervescent, citrus notes with grapefruit in the spotlight, 9.5%, and ridiculously refreshing! Pairs well with patios, docks, and perhaps a even a garden gazebo. 
 
Do ya like Pilsners? Do ya like herby earthy flavors with very mild bitterness? Do ya like Italian goods? You do? Excellent. I have the beer for you.  One of the OG Italian pilsners, you’ll be through your first one before you can say “Ciao Bella”

Heineken 0.0% & Superior Lemon Switchel - Tashi

We took a 12 pack of Heineken 0.0% cans canoeing and camping this past weekend and I was pleasantly surprised at how crushable they were, and the price didn’t disappoint either!  Light, refreshing, and honestly you can’t even tell it’s NA.  Not into beer?  I recommend Superior Lemon Switchel.  It will quench your thirst, keep you feeling refreshed, and has the same bubbly feel as a beer or seltzer.

Hamm's - Rob

Just because my answer to every ‘staff-pick’ blog is the same doesn’t make it any less true. And let’s be honest, there is only one right answer for a crushable cabin beverage, and that answer is Hamm’s. It has been said that Hamm’s is the most refreshing liquid ever. Plus, now that our cases of Hamm’s have the throwback packaging, they taste even better. 

Summer Ginspiration

by Tom

Looking for some Ginspiration? We have you covered!

The weather is finally warm, the sun is shining, and gin season is in full swing. We’ve all got our stand-bys, go-tos, and classics for gin cocktails, but if you’re looking for something different to spice up your gin game, we’ve got a few fun ideas…

Hakuto Japanese Gin

Japan has emerged as a prominent location for a few of our best selling gins. A few follow very similar botanical builds: yuzu peel, sansho pepper, green tea, and cherry blossom. Two things separate The Hakuto: Japanese Nashi Pears and the intensity of the yuzu peel. The nose has huge citrus zest and the pear comes across afterwards cooling it off a bit. It works great with lime and a splash of tonic or soda but where it really shines is in a negroni. The citrus and fruit show up well wile being accented by a lighter bitter like a Cappelletti or Negroni Aperitivo. Here’s a recipe:

The Hakuto Negroni

  • 1oz Hakuto Gin
  • 1oz Fot-Li Spanish Vermut
  • 1oz Negroni Apertivo (similar to Aperol, but better!)

Stir with ice, strain into a coupe or rocks glass, and add a twist of citrus peel.

Bimini Coconut Gin

Bimini is a gin distillery out of Maine making a fresh take on American gin where they are toning the juniper down while enhancing flavors of grapefruit, coriander, and hops. Bartenders took notice of the gin’s citrus-forward flavors and began substituting it for light rum in tiki drinks, leading the company to make a coconut fat-washed version of their gin (essentially, the gin is combined with coconut oil and strained).  This is not a coconut bomb, no fake flavorings or additives have been added. It is fresh and tropical but still very much gin. It makes killer classic cocktails, gin and tiki alike. Here’s a recipe for an Army Navy, a gin riff on a Mai Tai:

Bimini Army Navy

  • 2oz Bimini Coconut Gin
  • 1oz Lemon Juice
  • ¾oz Liber & Co. Orgeat (basically almond simple syrup)
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with a twist of grapefruit peel.

Cotswold Old Tom Gin

Old Tom Gins have a complicated and storied past, but to boil it down, they date back to the 18th century when England was consuming boatloads of poorly-made gin. Many were sweetened with a pinch with sugar or licorice root just to soften their rough edges, but the sweetener also nicely balanced the citrus and juniper flavors. The name “Old Tom” now can connote a wide range of styles, including some that are barrel-aged, but almost all are richer and slightly sweeter than your typical London Dry. Cotswold is a fresh take on an old classic, using licorice to lend a soft sweetness, a bit of fresh ginger, orange citrus and classic cardamom. It’s perfect on its own but it also makes a stunning gin and tonic and a super refreshing Tom Collins. Our pick is the ultimate old-guy drink, gin and bitters:

Gin-n-Bitters

  • 2oz Cotswold Old Tom Gin
  • 4 dashes Angostura Bitters

Combine ingredients in a rocks glass with a large ice cube.