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K&L Staff Recommendations
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.
If you want a rum with pure island 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 som... Read More »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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."
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--mahogony 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 »
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 »
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 »
Originally created in 1823 by James Pimm of Kent to be served as a digestif, Pimm's Original Gin Sling was the first "House Cup" at London's popular Oyster Bar, thus the spirit's name: Pimm's No. 1 Cup. A special blend of herbs, liqueurs and quinine were steeped in gin and paired with oysters on the half shell. As the brand's reputation grew, other Pimm's Cups were developed, each based on different spirits, including vodka and brandy, but only the gin-based cup is available in the US today. The iconic cocktail, appropriately named Pimm's Cup, has been a... 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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
From the brewery: 'Hazy and richly aromatic. Aggressively dry hopped with new German aroma hops Mandarina Bavaria and Huell Melon; orange zest to boot. Lightly toasted white oak provides tannins and mouthfeel. Assertively tart, with light sea salt appearing on the finish. Citrus and hop flavors galore. Absolutely mouthwatering."
Inventory: Redwood City
*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 »
The Appleton V/X is the first member of the Appleton Estate family of aged rums. It is a blend of 15 different select aged rums and because of its sophisticated flavour profile, it is great for classic cocktails. Appearance: harvest gold/honey colour with remarkable clarity and brilliance. Nose: Subtle scents of brown sugar, light spice, dried fruits and orange peel. Palate: Rich flavors of toasted honey wheat bread and refined sugar. Finish: Finishes as serenely as it started
96-100 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." (12/05)
Wine Enthusiast: "The 55% abv blue label is one of the strongest and most expensive gins on the market. Look for the trademark faint yellowish-saffron tinge and herbal scent, with assertive pine and anise flavors and a tart lemony touch. Serve this overproof gin tamed with ice and lots of tonic." (4/2012) K&L Notes: Old Raj Gin is distinctive in that it contains a measure of saffron, the rare and costly spice derived from the crocus flower. In addition to the slightly spicy flavor, this also imparts a pale yellow color. The subtle, aristocratic botanical mix (starring, of course, juni... Read More »
"American light lagers and Pilsners are easy to drink and refreshing. They are not, however, easy for a craft brewer to make – but we are always up for a challenge. Pilsner malt and flaked rice provide sweet cereal grain notes while German and Czech hops add spiciness and a balanced bitterness to the finish. Cold fermented and aged with a German lager yeast, the palate is clean with a snappy finish."
Inventory: Redwood City
Made with "soft" water from Lake Bolmen in southern Sweden, known for its arctic purity, neutral corn spirits five-times distilled that lends sweetness to the gin and a blend of classic botanicals including juniper, coriander leaf and cardamom. The blend creates a gin with a warm, nutty spice punctuated by the addition of citrus (lemon, bergamot, lime and bitter orange) and sarawak black pepper, for a clean, refreshing gin with no funky aftertaste or astringency. Beautiful! Skip the tonic water with this gin; it's perfect unadulterated.
From the brewery: "If there is anything we love as much as making beer in our own brewery, it is getting the chance to travel and work with world class breweries around the world. We had the pleasure of working with Amager Bryghus during our recent visit to Copenhagen to brew a collaboration beer. The Tulsa Twister will be a a farmhouse ale brewed with Danish malt and Simcoe hops. It will be fermented on saison yeast and dosed with brettanomyces. Henrik Papso, Head of Communications at Amager Bryghus, said the beer will be released on the 4th of July at ... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Best buy. Top 50 Spirits of 2009* Initial aroma is caney, grassy and fruity. Palate entry is crisp, moderately sweet and properly bittersweet in bearing; midpalate displays excellent balance, sweetness level, medium-bodied texture, and even some background cinnamon spiciness. Finishes long, crisp, nicely sweet and caney, and delicious." (7/2009) K&L Notes: Created in 1910, its luminous, golden amber glow and distinct floral and spicy notes have pleased, ever since, the palates of connoisseurs the world over. Its subtle, balanced blend perfectly harmonizes taste and ... Read More »
Miller's Gin is handcrafted and made in very small batches. It is then transported by ship to Iceland. Here, in the small village of Borgarnes, on Iceland's remote west coast, lies the Selyri spring, source of some of the purest water to be found on earth. This spring water is blended with the spirit to create a marriage of softness and clarity of taste. Westbourn Strength 45.2% abv. This is a delicious, herbaceous, London dry style gin that adds another great value to our shelves. Gin and tonics galore!
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 »
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: From the Beverage Testing Institute: "Clear. Aromas and flavors of peppered cucumber, sweet custard, fresh herbs, lemon verbena, and vibrant juniper jelly with a satiny dryish medium body and a seamless, warming, white clay, pepper, pine, root and grassy herb a... Read More »
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.
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 »
Before the Greeks, before the Romans, it was the Georgians who were making wine. Archeological evidence dates back 8,000 years, references to Georgian wines can be found in the writings of Homor and Apollonius, and even the Georgian alphabet seems to have its origins in the shapes made by the tendrils of grape vines. Pheasant's Tears is the joint effort of American John Wurdeman, Georgian Gela Patalishvili and Swedes Erik Andermo, Jakob Mörndal and Henrik Callerstrand, to preserve and promote this ancient cultural legacy. All of Pheasant's Tears wines ar... Read More »
Finally! Black Hole is what Mikkeller is all about. Daring, vulgar and extreme. From the very beginning Mikkeller's goal has been to push the limit and with this warming, intense imperial stout, a new chapter in the Danish beer history has been written. The high bitterness from the hops and the sweetness from the malt and alcohol, creates a good balance which makes Black Hole an explosion of nuances, but also leaves a feeling of a perfect and complex beer in the heavyweight category. 13.1% ABV.
Inventory: Redwood City
Before the Greeks, before the Romans, it was the Georgians who were making wine. Archeological evidence dates back 8,000 years, references to Georgian wines can be found in the writings of Homor and Apollonius, and even the Georgian alphabet seems to have its origins in the shapes made by the tendrils of grape vines. Pheasant's Tears is the joint effort of American John Wurdeman, Georgian Gela Patalishvili and Swedes Erik Andermo, Jakob Mörndal and Henrik Callerstrand, to preserve and promote this ancient cultural legacy. All of Pheasant's Tears wines, i... Read More »
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "The aroma offers succulent dried fruit and nut surface notes plus deeper scents of oak, black raisins, cinnamon, prunes, vanilla bean and honey. Palate entry is stately and semisweet; by midpalate, lip-smacking flavors of nougat, almond butter, molasses and Sherry abound. Finishes as elegantly and fully as it started." (5/2004) K&L Notes: A superior, award winning full-bodied 12-year old rum offers a rich amber color and a distinctively smooth taste loaded with flavors of butter, toffee and baked apple. It is a pleasure to sip hand-warmed in a brandy glass, neat or o... 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 »
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "The delicate perfume is softly grainy, with nuances of white pepper, wheat crackers and cigarette tobacco. The palate entry is elegant yet a touch hot; at midpalate the dry flavor turns silky in texture and minerally and stone-like in taste. Concludes bean- and kernel-like, bittersweet and a touch soy curd-like. A subtle, understated vodka with lots of layers and grip." (11/2004) K&L Notes: The same incredible vodka as Jewel of Russia Ultra without the expensive, hand-painted bottle. Possibly the best vodka available at any price.
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "High-toned aromas of dried peach, apple, spice and sandalwood in this qvevri-aged wine give way to a rich, almost silky palate that bursts with notes of yellow flowers and honey-tinged oolong tea. Bright, citrusy acids and bracing, tea-like tannins extend on the long finish." (4/2013) K&L Notes: This is a white wine made from the Mtsvane grape varietal, native to the Republic of Georgia. Nikoloz Antadze founded this small family winery in 2006, which consists of 3 hectares in the Kakheti appellation. Antadze farms organically and and makes wines according to the Geor... Read More »
Selvarey Cacao is the creation of legendary master blender Don Francisco "Pancho" Fernandez, former Cuban Minister of Rum and thirty-five year veteran of Havana Club. He hand selects a rich five year old light rum from Panama which is infused of the finest locally sourced chocolate. Sort of dangerous, but also delicious.
Inventory: Special Order
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.
The story of Diep 9 Genever is particularly interesting. During World War I invading German armies stripped Belgian genever distilleries of copper stills and piping, melting down the metal for shell casings. This brought traditional genever production to a halt, almost ending a national tradition in Belgium. The distillery's founder, Frans De Moor, lost his life in 1914 when he refused to relinquish his copper pot still to German occupiers. He was executed in full view of the public on the town's bridge and stabbed with a bayonet to ensure his death. Aft... Read More »
Rated *World Class* with a 100 point score from Beer Advocate, this is a must-try for fans of funky sours.
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Superb/Highly Recommended; One of Top 50 Spirits of 2009* Smells nicely of sweet grass, paraffin, acetate and wheat crackers; aeration bolsters the aromatic impressions of the first round and adds a subtle spiciness (nutmeg?) that complements the grassy quality. Palate entry teems with zesty, spicy, medicinal and grassy flavors; midpalate flavors come off chocolaty and milky, with disparate background tastes of egg cream and green pepper." (7/2009) K&L Notes: At the restaurant where I worked as a student in London, the friendly Polish Chef would share his bi-monthly... Read More »
Maraschino is the original liqueur from Zadar, Croatia acknowledged all over the world for its excellence. Recognizable by its distinctive sweet flavor and aromatic bouquet, it is prepared according to the traditional recipe created by the pharmacists of the Dominican monastery at the beginning of 16th century. Distilled from the Dalmatian marasca cherry, providing pleasure for numerous fastidious connoisseurs ever since. Historically recognized and prefered by some of the worlds greatest. From Napoleone Bonaparte to Casanova, Hitchcock and Baudlaire, k... Read More »
Brennivin is Iceland's most classic tipple. The stark black label and intense flavor, have given rise to the nick name "Black Death," but the traditional Icelandic "schnapps" is all about celebrating life! Distilled from grain and flavored with caraway, it does not have any sugar added after distillation and therefore is not classified as schnapps in the US. This magnificent and enchanting drink is usually used as a shooter, but it's now gaining traction as a solid base for cocktails. It's definitely a bucket list type of drink. You must try it once and ... Read More »