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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
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."
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Wine Enthusiast: "The first sniffings unearth a soft, slightly sour and vegetal aroma; more time adds minor scents of ash and unsmoked cigarette. The bittersweet palate entry taste flashes on cocoa bean and sap; at midpalate toasty, sooty flavors of tobacco leaf, wood smoke, wood resin and vanilla are found. Ends up semisweet, succulent and roughly spirity." (6/2006) K&L Notes: Chopin Vodka, imported from Poland, is crafted from 100% hand-cultivated Stobrawa potatoes. It is four times distilled to create full flavored, smooth and clean vodka. This family owned distillery has operated ... 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 »
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 »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Top 50 Spirits of 2012* Hailing from Jamaica, this smooth 12-year-old rum features a sticky dark-toffee aroma accented by almond and peach notes. On the palate, look for a nice rounded caramel flavor that flashes lots of clove and cinnamon tones on the finish." (12/2012) K&L Notes: Since 1749, Appleton Estate has been located in the Nassau Valley of Jamaica, where they grow varieties of sugar cane specially suited to their rum-making. With their unique and custom-made copper stills, proprietary yeast culture, and soft water from a limestone spring on the property, A... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
A collaboration between Italy's Brewfist and Oklahoma's Prairie Artisan Ales. This is an Imperial Chocolate Stout made with cocoa beans and coffee.
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 »
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 »
89 points Wine & Spirits: "**Best Buy** Iago Bitarishvili’s family has made wine for hundreds of years; Iago started 30 years ago, and makes his one wine in much the same ways his ancient ancestors would have: Using chinuri, a variety indigenous to the Kartli region in central Georgia, he crushes the grapes in a large hollowed-out log, and pours the must, skins and all, directly into 300-year-old qvevri, where it stays for about six months. The wine is decidedly cidery in flavor, and tannic, with a bitter spice that recalls digestivi; yet, in the end, it comes off feeling delicate ...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.
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
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 »
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 »
Not to be confused with Lebanese Arak (an anise-flavored spirit similar to Ouzo) or Sri Lankan Arak (a distilled palm wine made from coconut milk), Batavia Arrack is a Javanese/Dutch distilled spirit made from sugarcane and fermented red rice. Prized for its ability to highlight spices, citrus and chocolate, the spirit, which was traded by the Dutch East India Company, was especially popular in the heyday of the "Punch"--between the late 17th and 19th centuries. It is a quintessential ingredient in many of the Punch recipes included in famed New York bar... Read More »
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
Aged up to 15 years at the Famous distillery in Guatemala. The Botran name is well known through the world. This rum is aged using the Solera system and has a minimum age of 5 years. Distilled like all Guatemalan rum using the sugar cane honey rather than molasses. Instead of removing sugar crystals during processing, the freshly pressed cane juice exclusively from within Guatemala. After being crushed, it is concentrated over heat and filtered until the end result has a similar texture to high quality honey.
A new brewery building (the Monastery Brewery) was completed at the Monastery of Christ in the Desert in March of 2011. The new brewery building, which currently houses a half-barrel micro-brewing system, was specifically designed for expansion to a 5 or 7 barrel brewing system. Brewing in this new, separate facility began in March 2012. The Triple is fruity and spicy with a light body, low alcohol notes and a slight crispness.
This is a special Easter beer, one of the first real Belgian Easter beers. (Slaghmuylder's paasbier being first). It has been brewed with pale malt, Golding hops, cane sugar and refermented in the bottle. It's a seasonal beer, so we suggest not to keep it eternally. The name Boskeun means rabbit of the wood and the label shows it, sampling the last brew.
"Another seasonal, tart, rich, amber brew."
Inventory: Redwood City
Brewer Menno Olivier brings 12 years of experience to his Brouwerij De Molen, which translates to "The Mill Brewery" as the operation is located in a 300-year-old windmill. He began brewing in his kitchen as a hobby, went on to brew in Westmaas and Amsterdam, and then served as master brewer of De Pelgrim, a Rotterdam city brewery. It was during his time as master brewer that he decided to open a brewery of his own, so he created De Molen in the town of Bodegraven, about 30 km north of Rotterdam. This mouthfilling English Barleywine is named bombs and gr... Read More »
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: "*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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
From the importer: "A jewel-like amber hue is the first thing you will surely notice about this qvevri fermented wine. On the nose, aromas of dried apricots, dates, chestnut honey, dried orange peel, cinnamon stick, and almond paste abound. This 'white' wine drinks more like a red with a grippy tannin presence on the palate. Flavors of citrus peel, warm spices, and herbal tea with a nutty toasted walnut finish beg for food. Simply one of the finest Kvevri wines made in Georgia today by Orgo's young star wine maker Timuri Dakishvili. Try with a hearty roa... Read More »