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K&L Staff Recommendations
We firmly believe that Belvedere is one of the best vodkas in the business and at this price it's a steal. An award-winning hand-crafted Polish Vodka, made according to centuries-old traditional methods, this is 100% Polish rye, distilled 4 times and charcoal filtered. The illustration on the back depicts the Belvedere House, the Polish equivalent to the White House, the official residence of the Polish president in Warsaw. Additive-free and diluted with water from Belvedere's own artesian well. It exhibits delicate aromas and flavors, with hints of van... Read More »
Ketel One is made in Holland. It is a family-owned business which has been carrying on the tradition of vodka-making for eleven generations. They report that the focus at Ketel One is quality, tradition and personal commitment to their customer. This shows in their vodka by offering only the heart of each distilate, tasted by a member of the family before it is released. One of the best Martini vodkas available.
From the official Angustura website: "Made with the same original secret recipe since 1824, the world famous Angostura aromatic bitters remains the quintessential and definitive ingredient for classic and contemporary cocktails. Its versatility, however, stretches way beyond the bar counter as it serves as a unique flavour enhancer with the ability to marry flavours in the preparation of all food dishes. Angostura aromatic bitters also adds its unmistakable flavour and aroma to 'soft' beverages and desserts."
With a nod to Charles Dickens, the folks at Ferrand teamed up with renowned cocktail historian David Wondrich to create a serious pineapple rum that focuses completely on flavor, rather than sweetness. Made by infusing the flesh of pineapples in the standard Plantation Dark Rum. Then, seeking more aromatics, Ferrand distilled the pineapple rind with the classic white rum, then blended the two and matured them for an extra period in barrel. The result is something completely unexpected and absolutely delicious. Not at all sweet, goopy, or in the vein of M... Read More »
This is classic Tannat from Uruguay, full of dark fruit amd damp clay aromas, with that intense, bordering on brutal (in a good way) tannin structure for which the grape is rightfully famous. That said, this Tannat is particularly well balanced, with a texture that also shows some breathability on the palate and and nicely bright flavors as well.
*Best Premium Gold Rum - 2011 Ministry of Rum Tasting Competition* From the distillery: "A complex blend of Copper pot still rums aged for 12 long years, has a characterful nose, showing fruit cake, rum'n'raisin ice cream, cocoa, dried ginger, cinnamon and clove. Develops baked bananas with fudge sauce and chewy toffee notes alongside vanilla oak and a deeper note of syrupy gingerbread, with hints of orange zest. The palate evokes chocolate sauce and the sweet toffee, fudge and tropical fruit flavours from the nose. Flakes of Terry's Dark Chocolate Orang... Read More »
El Dorado Rum is made by Demerara Distillers Limited in Guyana, South America and is perhaps the single greatest rum producer on the planet. Having operated since the 1600s, and supplied the British Royal Navy with rum for more than 200 years, the Diamond Estate Distillery still churns out a variety of spirits today. DDL's historic stills, built in the 18th and 19th centuries and still in operation, produce a number of amazing flavors along with more than seven additional stills that create more traditional ones. The deliciously supple 12-year- old uses ... Read More »
If you want a rum with pure tropical spirit, this may be it. The One Barrel rum, from the country of Belize, smells like a tropical breeze with its aromas of passion fruit, hibiscus and papaya. On the palate it is smooth and round, with just a hint of molasses flavor lingering in the background. Perfect for mixing. In June 2008 the editors at Men's Journal gave it a nod, saying: "The uncommon rum worth seeking out is Travellers 1 Barrel ($22). Made at a small distillery in Belize, it boasts a memorable flavor that's slightly sweet, slightly nutty, with s... Read More »
El Dorado Rum is made by Demerara Distillers Limited in Guyana, South America and is perhaps the single greatest rum producer on the planet. Having operated since the 1600s, and supplied the British Royal Navy with rum for more than 200 years, the Diamond Estate Distillery still churns out a variety of spirits today. DDL's historic stills, built in the 18th and 19th centuries and still in operation and produce a number of amazing flavors along with more than seven additional stills that create more traditional ones. The El Dorado 3 year uses light to med... Read More »
Gin Mare is a product we discovered in Scotland of all places years ago while searching for single malt. The retailer across the street from our hotel in Edinburgh was featuring the gin in a tasting that evening and we went over to check it out. Distilled in Spain with olives, rosemary, basil, and thyme it's a savory and truly Mediterranean experience. The herbs never overpower the palate, however, as the balance between them is quite delicate and refined. It's definitely a fine choice for martinis, paired with olives, of course.
Specially bottled for Berry Bros & Rudd in London, this gin was created to exemplify the classic London Dry style. Unabashedly juniper-driven, the riveting No. 3 gets its name from the historic home of Berry Bros No.3 St James Street in London, where they've been operating continuously since 1698. The No. 3 pushes tradition to the extreme using a simple 3 fruit and 3 spice recipe. The nose is all citrus and piney juniper. On the palate the juniper is balanced perfectly with spicy coriander and verdant cardamom. The finish brings the earth telltale prick... Read More »
El Dorado Rum is made by Demerara Distillers Limited in Guyana, South America and is perhaps the single greatest rum producer on the planet. Having operated since the 1600s, and supplied the British Royal Navy with rum for more than 200 years, the Diamond Estate Distillery still churns out a variety of spirits today. DDL's historic stills, built in the 18th and 19th centuries and still in operation and produce a number of amazing flavors along with more than seven additional stills that create more traditional ones. The 15 year old draws its core flavor ... Read More »
Sipsmith is the first new copper-distilled London gin to actually be made in London in the last 200 years--as most production has moved to Scotland for economic reasons. The boys at the distillery have awoken a new movement of pride in London distillates the term "London dry gin" is actually a type of gin that can be distilled anywhere as long as it adheres to the rules. Sipsmith, however, is London through and through. Done in small batches on a copper alembic, the lighter, aromatic flavors shine through and the gin itself is more elegant and diminutive... Read More »
The newest incarnation of Tanqueray's limited edition gin series is here, a la the Malacca and Old Tom in recent years. The Bloomsbury is an homage to Charles Waugh Tanqueray, the son of founder Charles Tanqueray, and his recipe for gin dating back to the 1880s, when the distillery was located in Bloomsbury, London. Using a heavy juniper berry formula, along with coriander, angelica, winter savoury and cassia bark, the result is a delicately fragrant spirit with a lovely balance of flavor. The juniper is front and center giving the Bloomsbury a classic L... Read More »
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Superb/Highly Recommended* The bouquet is subtle and alluring, with distant notes of buttered popcorn and escarole broth; aeration stimulates aromas of peanut butter, rye toast and damp cobblestone. Silky palate entry is slightly sweet, concentrated and grainy; at midpalate, the flavor turns drier, lightly spiced and almost fruity (as in dried fruit). Aftertaste is long and spicy. Well crafted and quality driven." (6/2004) K&L Notes: Made from 100% Polish rye, the Potocki vodka might be the best vodka we carry. It's the cleanest, most pure form of vodka I've ever ha... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "A soft, classic gin, ideal for Negronis and a wide range of other drinks. Overall, the flavor is neutral, but it has a touch of sweetness and complex underpinnings of pine, citrus and black pepper. Because it’s so versatile, this workhorse is recommended for anyone starting to build a bar." (4/2012) K&L Notes: Plymouth Gin was started in 17933. Plymouth makes their gin on an ancient site, a 16th-century Dominican Friary where Miles Standish and the Pilgrim stayed the night before they set out for America. Plymouth Gin, at 82.4 proof, is a very smooth gin. It is trip... Read More »
From the brewery: "The Roman Empire had a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ - festive food culture, extravagant architecture and spectacular live entertainment. Some might argue the Emperors were brutal, mad and hungry for power, and the people vain when taking baths and working out all day. Listen - that’s still all part of the secret Imperial ingredient - keep it cool, clean, confident, arrogant and flamboyant. Forza Imperiale."
96-100 points Wine Enthusiast: "The first couple of whiffs pick up toasty notes of caramel, almond butter, cotton candy and very old oak; with aeration, more profound aromas develop including saddle leather, vanilla, Sherry and dark caramel. Palate entry is perfectly balanced and sweet; by midpalate the flavor profile is honeyed, slightly cocoa-like, buttery to the feel and utterly decadent. Finishes long, layered, creamy and dark chocolate bittersweet." (7/2003) K&L Notes: Master of rums and the flagship of the house, Santa Teresa 1796 results from a careful blend of Santa Teresa’s finest aged spi... Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "A top pick for tiki and tropical drinks, this practically begs for lime juice. Scented with warm honey notes, the palate shows lots of brown sugar and spice, plus an enticingly untamed, funky finish (the fabled 'hogo'). Since it’s 'Navy Strength,' you might not want to sip it straight up—the producer wisely recommends exploring the profile first in a daiquiri—though it’s smooth and interesting enough if you want to try." (8/2014) K&L Notes: The original Jamaica rum is back. It's been 80 years and true Jamaica pot still rum has lived only in the imagination of cocktai... Read More »
This is first-class Guatemalan rum is made from virgin sugar cane honey--the first press of the sugar cane that's boiled down to thicken--rather than molasses, which is a byproduct of the sugar-making process. This results in a finer, sweeter, smoother rum. Aged in the solera method, like Sherry, the Zacapa Centenario is very dark--mahogany with coppery tints--and has a clove, cocoa, cinnamon and orange peel-scented nose. The palate is sweet and smooth, with cocoa, orange and honey flavors and a sensuous, viscous texture. It finishes long and smooth. It ... Read More »
Velvet Falernum is a longtime staple item of resorts and bars in Barbados, and today for its use in Tropical, Tiki and Caribbean drinks such as the Rum Swizzle, Mai Tai, Zombie, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the Corn n’ Oil. It is made from an infusion of spices and lime juice into sugar cane syrup and Barbados Rum. John D Taylor’s Falernum is considered by many as the original Falernum, and is today produced by famed rum distiller R.L. Seale Ltd.
Material Vodka isn't just another pretty face. Distilled from organic grain using some of Northern California's finest water, this craft vodka is never adulterated or added to in anyway. Absolutely no glycerin, sweeteners, or other flavor additives, just clean water and pure spirit filtered through activated coconut carbon. In addition, a portion of proceeds from Material Vodka go to support radical art & culture through grants, residencies and production assistance. So if you want to support artists directly and drink good vodka, this is the bottle for ... Read More »
From the brewery: "A few times in the history of craft beer it has happened that a highly praised beer rises beyond mortal stardom into a higher godly league. Usually the recipe to make such heavenly drops is thick fudge-like body, pitch black color, amazingly overwhelming aromas of chocolate, coffee, dark fruits and muscovado sugar, obviously only made in limited amounts and most crucial of all - it must taste rare!"
Inventory: Redwood City
El Dorado Rum is made by Demerara Distillers Limited in Guyana, South America, and is perhaps the single greatest rum producer on the planet. In operation since the 1600s, they've supplied the British Royal Navy with rum for more than 200 years. DDL's historic stills, built in the 18th and 19th centuries, produce a number of amazing flavors. In addition, they have more than seven modern stills creating layers of flavor. The 8-year-old rum is the most ubiquitous of the line-up around Guyana, offering the best combination of maturity and value in one bottl... Read More »
Fans of the Lemonhart 151 should look here! Made at DDL distillery in Guyana, the Hamilton brings all the same power and panache for a great price. This is an indispensable rum for tiki drinks.
*Gold Medal - 2007 San Francisco World Spirits Competition* Gosling Brothers Ltd. imported its first barrels of Caribbean rum into Bermuda in 1860. Numerous different blends were tried until one was formulated and deemed ideal. The result was a well-aged, extremely dark rum, which the firm dubbed "Old-Rum". For over 50 years the rum was sold only by draught, with local patrons bring in their own bottles to be filled. The rum continued to be sold exclusively out of the barrel until the First World War, when the company began filling champagne bottles re... Read More »
From the same guys that first marketed the Ron Zacapa, this excellent Panamanian rum is one of the best valuees in rum. A 2010 RumXP Gold medal winner and distilled by the master of rum himself, Don Poncho, Zafra is a true 21 year old and not made using a solera system. With rich toffee, exotic fruit, and spice, the Zafra 21 year has everything you're looking for in a sipping rum. It's attractively packaged and priced to move. All rum lovers deserve to treat themselves to a bottle of this great new rum!
El Dorado Rum is made by Demerara Distillers Limited in Guyana, South America and is perhaps the single greatest rum producer on the planet. Having operated since the 1600s, and supplied the British Royal Navy with rum for more than 200 years, the Diamond Estate Distillery still churns out a variety of spirits today. DDL's historic stills, built in the 18th and 19th centuries and still in operation and produce a number of amazing flavors along with more than seven additional stills that create more traditional ones. The complex and ethereal 21 year uses ... Read More »
Ed Hamilton, who helped us secure the barrel of St. Lucia for our Faultline rum, now has his own series of rums from different Caribbean islands. This Jamaican Black Pot Still edition is fabulous for mixing and comes in at a rock-bottom price of $24.99. Tough to beat that for your Dark & Stormy needs. Now just grab some ginger beer and get going.
It's not often I'm on the lookout for a new Cachaça, but my good friend Val brought me this absolutely delicious, strikingly labeled liter bottle of pure bargain-priced booze. Velho Barreiro Cachaca is only $15.99 and is briefly aged in Brazilian wood (I think oak?). It's full of real rum character and should make killer drinks for those looking for a new mixer. And the price...my God! (David Driscoll, K&L Spirits Buyer)
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of black cherry, espresso bean and white chocolate tease the palate in this Moroccan blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Syrah. Brightness reigns despite powerful tannins, and flavors of black cherry, rhubarb, jalapeño, coriander seed, vanilla and citrus zest are a pleasure on the tongue. (MD)" (10/2015)
This craft gin from, yes, the center of London, is distilled in a copper pot still. Producer note: "City of London is a one-shot connoisseur’s London Dry Gin, flavoured with a fine balance of juniper berries, angelica, liquorice and coriander seeds – with fresh orange, lemon and pink grapefruit added also to give the gin its distinctive zesty notes."
This is one of the best deals in rum--period! A select group of barrels is chosen for the Clement Agricole Barrel Select and whoever is doing the selection is doing a great job. The richness is off the charts, but while its supple and round in the mouth, the flavors are never overly sweet. The hint of agricole earthiness comes in at the end, reinforcing the special agricole flavor from Martinique. This is a great segway into the agricole category and a must-have for any serious rum fan.
After so much time spent merely reading about the great single malt whiskies from Taiwan's Kavalan distillery, we can finally get our hands on them here in the states! The first release from Kavalan was their classic single malt expression that uses ex-sherry, ex-Bourbon, and ex-wine casks of between four and four and a half years of age for the marriage. The first thing that strikes you as you taste it is how un-youthful it is. It might as well be a 12 year old malt from the Scottish Highlands, but with an incredible supple-fruited character. The malty ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Just when you think you've tasted every type of booze known to man, you discover that there are yet more regionally-specific spirits being distilled in places you've never considered. Like Bolivia, for example. South America is generally rum country, but in Bolivia they make a pisco-like spirit called Singani, distilled from Muscat of Alexandria grapes grown high in the Andes mountains. Seeing that Muscat is an aromatic varietal, known for its fruity and floral character, the Singani spirit distilled from it takes on many of the perfume-like elements fou... Read More »
Unquestionably, one of the best Saison's every year.From the distributor: "Fruity, complex saison beer from the Ardennes forest from a tiny farmhouse brewery very hard to find even in Belgium."
Aged in 100% stainless steel. Even though it's named after Alexander the Great, this Pinot Noir is bright, refreshing and just fun to drink. A fantastic everyday Pinot for less than $15!
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "A relative newcomer to the gin landscape, this is the proper gin to use for a Tom Collins cocktail. It intentionally leans sweet, but it’s balanced with the right amount of alcohol bite, a lightly piny scent, and faint herbal and citrus peel notes. If using this 19th-centurystyle sweetened gin for other cocktails, be sure to hold off on adding sugar." (4/2012) K&L Notes: Old Tom Gin is a botanically rich and slightly sweet version of gin that results in a balanced and mild tipple. This is ideal for a variety of classic cocktails, such as the Martinez, a San Francisco... Read More »
Eleventh generation heirs, Carl Jr. and Bob Nolet collaborated with their father, Carolus Nolet Sr., tenth generation distillery owner, to create a fresh take on gin that appeals to a new generation of gin drinkers. Floral and fruit-forward, the Silver uses some unique ingredients like Turkish rose, peach and raspberry. Perfectly integrated and delineated, these flavors work wonders together and can be coexed to the foreground by a thoughtful mixologist. A modern twist on the classic dry gin designed to enhance all you classic cocktails and inspire you t... Read More »
From its origins in the tropical hills and valleys of Jamaica, the allspice berry has for generations been prized for its exceptional tastes of clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg and a pepper note that dazzles the palate. The allspice liqueur, known in classic cocktails as "Pimento Dram," brings together the fine pot-still rum and classic allspice berries of Jamaica. Enjoy St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram in classic cocktails, Wassail and other punches, mulled wine, continental and island cuisine. 22.5% Alc./Vol.
98 points Wine Enthusiast: "The opening aroma is marvelously beany and grassy; later, sweetish flavors of dark caramel, chimney soot, and dark, old honey make scrumptious inhaling. The palate entry is honeyed, warm, and cocoa-like; at midpalate the grassy, weedy, cane-like taste balances the honeyed sweetness. Concludes cocoa-like, intense yet smooth, and memorably sweet. Best Buy." (12/2005)
To make this famous gin, Spanish almonds and Spanish lemon zest, Chinese licorice roots, Italian juniper berries, Italian Orris root, Angelica root, coriander seed, cassia bark, cubeb berries and grains of paradise from West Africa are processed and blended with a botanical recipe developed in 1761. Clean and light with herbaceous, earthy and light fruit qualities, Bombay Sapphire is distinctive on its own and in cocktails. Try: Berry Bombay 3 parts Bombay Sapphire 6 blueberries 2 strawberries Juice of ½ a lemon 1 tbsp sugar, plus extra for rim Chill a ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
From the brewery: "Fantôme is a classic artisanal Farmhouse Brewery in the heart of the Ardennes Forest. It's brews are in the robust, flavorful 'saison' style, and recall the early days of Belgian brewing. Brewer Dany Prignon is known far and wide for his adventurous creations, so when the boys from Arizona Wilderness made a pilgrimage to Belgium in May of 2016, they brought along some ingredients foraged from the Sonoran Desert. Don't ask about the recipe though... the Fantôme never gives up it's secrets."
92 points "outstanding" Beer Advocate, and a championship ale many times over in national competitions. Time and again, "The Landlord" has proven worth the rent.
Inventory: Redwood City
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "A sooty initial aroma; following aeration, enticing, dry notes of palm oil, unsalted butter, grain mash and slate emerge. The palate entry is bone dry as soot and slate tastes meld, then turn delightfully oily and textured. Clean, medium-weight and nicely. (PP)" (4/2006)
Rhum Barbancourt is a superior premium dark rum distilled twice in copper pot stills. It is then barrel aged in white oak barrels. Unlike other island rums, Barbancourt is made directly from sugar cane juice, pressed from hand-cut locally grown cane. Aged 8 years. A full bodied premium "Reserve Speciale" dark rum with a velvety quality. Will enhance any rum drink.