Lost Distillery + France 44

Here at France 44, we’re always looking for the new and different. We feel we’ve struck gold with our two brand new quarter barrels of scotch from The Lost Distillery Company. The Lost Distillery Company teams up with the Archiving team at the University of Glasgow to recreate classic distilleries that have been lost for the past few centuries. They research things such as locality, water sources, barley and peat type, washback and still type, among many other factors to try and recreate lost distilleries from a blend of different malt whiskies from all parts of Scotland. We grabbed very different whiskies finished in unique casks that are only available here at France 44 and when all 84 bottles (yes, just 84 bottles) are gone, they’re gone for good!

Lost Distillery Towiemore Pedro Ximenez Finish $44.99

Towiemore was a lighter styled Speyside malt whisky that closed due to issues with its water supply in 1931. While known for rich cereal tones from the high quality barley, light orchard fruits and toasty vanilla, they were also known to have used sherry butts whenever possible. The quarter barrel we chose is finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry butts. Starting from a light, fruity/creamy base, this Pedro Ximenez finish can really shine. Big flavors up front of raisin, plum and fig jam, the palate shoes almond cream nuttiness, and an enduring clove spice on the finish really pops. Big, rich and warming.

Lost Distillery Gerston Rum Finish $64.99

Gerston was a distillery in the Caithness area of Scotland along the east side of the far northern part of Scotland that initially closed in 1882. This area would have been known as a finishing dominated area due to the rocky terrain, which would have been bad for farming. The water source would have been very clean with hints of salinity to match the high salt content peat used to malt the barley. We are talking about a coastal area making coastal influenced whisky. Maritime salt, toffee, and subtle hints of smoke and earth would have dominated this lost malt. We chose a rum barrel finish to accentuate the salted toffee vibe this whisky give off adding honey and vanilla to this lightly smoky and spicy whisky.

Get them while they’re hot, there’s not many to go around!

Buck Off That Boring Mule

The Moscow Mule, originating from the Buck, is a cocktail made with vodka, ginger beer and lime. It is a quintessential summer drink to quench your thirst on in these hot days. The Buck is a more generic recipe made up of a spirit, ginger beer/ginger ale, and citrus.  The original Moscow Mule was created by Cock ‘N’ Bull founder Jack Morgan to see how his ginger beer would mix with vodka.  It’s a great drink for anytime of the year, but can be very refreshing on a hot, humid day.  These are a few fun variations on the Cock n Bull Ginger Beer 4 Pack Bottlesoriginal.

The Classic Moscow Mule

A Moscow Mule is usually mixed in a copper mug and served with ice.  If the Cock n Bull is too sweet of a ginger beer for your taste, try spicing it up with Q ginger beer which has added cardamom, coriander, and chili pepper extract while only being sweetened with agave nectar.

The Manchester Mule

An interesting take hailing from England–typically one would use a London dry gin for this recipe, but the floral Letherbee or fresh Tattersall are two great replacements. The Pimm’s and cucumber add some bitterness and herbaceous tones to a typically citrus/spcice-centric drink. This helps to offset the bright piney flavor of the  gin and the spiciness of the ginger beer. Not to say that it doesn’t work in a more classic form: if that’s what you’re interested in, try subtracting the Pimm’s, add lime juice and Beefeater 24 gin for a slight grapefruit flavor, and replace the cucumber with a lime wedge.

Stubborn/Bourbon/Rye Buck

Who says Mules have to adhere to being clear spirit drinks? The Stubborn Buck is the classic recipe, but using Jameson or another Irish whiskey instead of vodka.  The Kentucky Buck is self-explanatory, but delicious nonetheless.  We would suggest using Buffalo Trace or Bulleit.  If you really love spiciness, you could use a rye whiskey instead.  In that case, the dry spice of Rittenhouse or sweeter styled Templeton are great ryes for mixing.  Angostura bitters always add a little extra depth to a whiskey cocktail.

There are endless variations of this drink and we fully support you going out and creating your own spin on this classic. Come on in with questions about our recipes and give us new ideas to try!

Limited, Exclusive, and Drool-Worthy: The France44 Single Barrels

Bourbon is a hot commodity. It’s hard to keep up with the changing market, but we’re excited to announce the arrival of two brand-new single barrels of bourbon, Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare, along with High West’s new edition of Yippee Ki-Yay Rye Whiskey!

France44 Exclusive Buffalo Trace Bourbon

Everything from the Buffalo Trace distillery is hard to get right now. Buffalo Trace’s namesake whiskey is no different, even if it only costs twenty-five bucks. Whenever we get the chance to get our own single barrel, we jump on it! This is one of the richest Buffalo Trace single barrels we have ever had–it’s super fruity on the nose with juicy red apple, toffee, and vanilla. The palate is much oakier and spicier than normal Buffalo Trace, showing nice leather and cinnamon. The finish is all orange rind and caramel, classic for Buffalo Trace and tailor-made for an Old Fashioned.

France44 Exclusive Eagle Rare 10 Year Bourbon

Two different single barrels from the famed Buffalo Trace distillery at once? You bet! Eagle Rare is Buffalo Trace’s 10 year offering, one of the best values on the shelf. It is one of only two 10 year bourbons we have bottled by the companies that distill them, along with Russell’s Reserve 10 Year from Wild Turkey. Every other 10 year bourbon was purchased by a merchant bottler at a young age and aged and bottled by a third party. The nose on this Eagle Rare exclusive bottling is filled with ripe red cherry, sweet cinnamon, and warming caramel. The palate shows vanilla, that same sweet cinnamon, and heady oak with a hint of cola spice on the finish. Great for sipping neat and a perfect fit in a Manhattan.

High West Yippee Ki-Yay Rye Whiskey

High West is a famed France44 favorite. Known as “the mad blenders”, High West has been known to go where no other company has gone before and try things never thought possible. For Yippee Ki-Yay, they took their classic staple Double Rye! Whiskey (a blend of 2 year high-rye rye whiskey and 16 year Kentucky low-rye rye whiskey) and finished it in a blend of Vya Sweet Vermouth and Qupe Syrah wine barrels. That’s right–a rye whiskey finished in sweet vermouth and Syrah! The end product is a beautiful and unique whiskey with a nose of rich candied orange almost akin to blood orange, and bright baking spices. On the palate there are hints of caramel sweetness but the rye starts to really shine with signature High West flavors of semi-sweet dill, fresh mint and caramel. There are lingering cherry tones with a sweet clove that lasts forever on the finish. It’s a quarter of the way to a cocktail in itself, beautiful neat or with one rock and an orange rind. Add just a splash of sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica) and you have yourself a unique and beautifully complex Manhattan.

Our shelves are stocked with great whiskey and it is constantly changing and renewing itself. We have all these and a few new gems on the shelves, and we’d love for you to come in and chat bourbon and rye with us anytime!

Ginning from Ear to Ear

Get fresh with a few of our favorite gins—from the tried-and-true to the fantastically funky. Check out 4 of our springtime picks, complete with suggestions for some killer cocktail recipes for each.  Let the weekend be Gin!

Letherbee Vernal 2017

Letherbee, a France 44 favorite hailing from Chicago, have graced us with a few cases of their brand-spanking-new Vernal Gin! Every spring and fall they make a different unique gin that they will never replicate. This year’s Vernal is highlighted by fistfuls of fresh lemongrass, crisp basil on the nose, and a spicy ginger that pops on the palate.

This rare gem is perfect with some Fever Tree Naturally Light Tonic Water to highlight the fresh herbs, or in a martini with a lemon twist.

Caledonia’s “Bees Knees” cocktail

Barr Hill Gin

Caledonia Spirits out of Vermont are known for two things: Gin and Honey. They are originally an apiary—that’s right, bee farmers! As an ode to their bees, they make a very clean and simple gin infused solely with juniper, and then water it down to 90 proof with their own honey. The honey comes from clover and wildflower, and those nuanced flavors shine with the spicy juniper and sweet thick body the honey gives the spirit.

This gin is great with some crisp clean Q Tonic to cut some of the thickness or in a classic Bee’s Knees cocktail with lemon and honey.

Cannonball Navy Strength Gin

Looking for something with a little more punch? The brand new navy strength gin from Scotland, Cannonball, has you covered. Clocking in at the classic 114.4 proof that the British Navy used to carry on their ships, this brutish gin has twice the juniper of most gins with lemon peel to balance and an unusual ingredient in Szechuan pepper!

Big, bold, and spicy on the palate, this gin is best drunk with the full flavor of Fever Tree Indian Tonic or in a spicy negroni with Campari and Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth. You’ll have a blast with this one!

Norseman Gin Strawberry Rhubarb

Norseman Strawberry Rhubarb Gin

Northeast Minneapolis’s local staple Norseman is back at it again with their Strawberry Rhubarb Gin. This lighter style gin is made with Minneapolis grown rhubarb and is great for those in your life that think they don’t like gin and need a little nudge in the right direction. The slight sweetness from the strawberry gives it body while the juniper and rhubarb play together with interesting complexity. Remember that rhubarb itself is almost 100% water, so the note of rhubarb is light. But with a squeeze of fresh citrus (squeeze that lime!) the rhubarb brightens up and becomes tart.

Best served with Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic for added dry floral tones and a hefty squeeze of lime.