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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
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."
"Despite the crudeness it is tricky to make an effective Molotov cocktail. Despite the unruly nature of the rebel it is very tricky to resist accepted conventions. Molotov Cocktail is a tour de force in rebellious hoppiness, it's a spark for action and by far one of the most anti-authoritative beers ever made by Evil Twin Brewing."
Inventory: Redwood City
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
From the same guys that first marketed the Ron Zacapa, this excellent Panamanian rum is here at a special introductory price. A 2010 RumXP Gold medal winner, it will most likely make its way up the price ladder as it becomes more popular. 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 bottling!
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 8 year old rum is the most ubuitiou... 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 »
"All of our wines at Pheasant’s Tears are fermented and aged in qvevri, a unique Georgian vessel used to ferment and store wine. Qvevri were the first vessels ever to be used for wine fermentation, with archaeological finds dating back to 6000 BC. Qvevri are clay vessels lined with beeswax and completely buried under the ground where the temperature stays even thoughout the year, allowing the wines to ferment in the natural coolness of the earth. Pheasant’s Tears qvevri vary in age but, some date back to the mid 19th C...This popular red is so dark in ... 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 »
*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 »
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.
Decanter: "A blend of early-picked Chardonnay, late-picked Gewurztraminer and equally overripe Moscato Bianco, it is an unusual white, but in a very good way. Fragrant and juicy with the acidity brought by the winds off the Río de la Plata, it is a perfect summer aperitif. ("Decanter travel guide: Uruguayan coast")" (6/2014) K&L Notes: Produced from sustainably farmed Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay and Moscato, this is a lovely white, with pretty stonefruit aromas leading to a juicy palate that maintains its freshness while displaying a subtly creamy texture. The folks who own this... 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 »
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.
Inventory: Special Order
From the importer: "A dry white made from Tsolikouri grapes, an indigenous variety grown in the Tvishi appellation in northern Georgia’s Lechkhumi region. The wine has a light amber color and a fresh, delicate taste with a fruity aroma, It is delicious with any white meat and spicy food. JSC Teliani Valley was founded in 1997 on the site of a 19th century winery in the village of Tsinandali, 79 km east of Tbilisi. It is currently one of the top producers of quality Georgian wine. While the company follows the long standing Georgian tradition of winemakin... Read More »
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
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.
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 the newly formed 86 Company, who makes spirits specifically for bartenders, Cana Brava Rum is a recreation of an old style of rum, and is right now one of a kind on the market. After searching the U.S. for a distillery that could make the perfect mixing rum, Simon Ford (long time Pernod-Ricard brand ambassador and industry guru) and his partners decided to go to the source. They sought out legendary rum producer Don Pancho Fernandez in Panama. Don Pancho was the Cuban minister of rum for decades and is generally credited for creating the internation... 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 »
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 »
"Named after atom bomb test grounds, designed by a French car engineer - the bikini was to many a disturbing and degrading creation and fortunately for others a symbol of emancipation. This is attractively light bodied, seductively well balanced and very drinkable Sour Bikini is anything but a sissy beer."
Inventory: Redwood City
Antigua Distillery is the force behind this delightful, traditionally-styled rum that should please cocktail fans and serious rum aficionados alike. Not quite as powerful or funky as the Smith & Cross Jamaican, and not as sweet or caramelized as the Guyanese El Dorado rums, the English Harbour is aged in American oak for five years and shows a bit of the earthy molasses flavor before transitioning into notes of mellow caramel and citrus. Great for Mai Tais, but great on the rocks as well. A true middleground rum option.
Vranac is an ancient red grape varietal found almost exclusively in the newest European country, the small republic of Montenegro. With only 650,000 inhabitants it has just become independent in 2006. Montenegro is located at the Adriatic Sea on the southern tip of Croatia. While not much is known about the grape's heritage, it is widely assumed that Vranac is a relative of the Dalmatian Plavac Mali, which in turn is the ancestor of the Californian Zinfandel. With both cousins the Vranac shares its dark ruby color and a fairly full body. Vranac tends to ... Read More »
From the importer: "Rich opaque purple color with aromas of gently crushed berries, wet earth, warm spices like cinnamon, clove, and cardamom. On the palate this wine is surprisingly light with the fresh berry notes dominating. As it opens up, flavors of raisin and currant become more apparent as well as the secondary aromas of spices and earth. Moderate tannins and a smooth finish complete the experience. Simply one of the finest Kvevri wines made in Georgia today by Orgo's young star wine maker Timuri Dakishvili. Pair with roasted or grilled meat dishe... 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 »
Haiti's finest rum! The Barbancourt family used to keep this spectacular rum for themselves, but fortunately for us and for other rum connoisseurs they began releasing small quantities in the 1960s. Aged for 15 years, this sipping rum enchants with a a full, rich palate brimming with pear and citrus flavors, warming spices and a little peppery kick.
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 »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This gin features an astringent, lemony scent and crisp feel. At first, the flavor is sweet and piney, but finishes relatively neutral and dry. Gift-worthy, masculine packaging..." (4/2011) K&L Notes: Intense and vibrant, this new English gin has captured the hearts of gin lovers worldwide. This gin is "Cold Distilled" where a vacuum is used to reduce the pressure within the still. This lowers the boiling point to an incredible -5 degrees celsius. By not using any heat to distill, Oxley captures the puriety of its botanicals like no other product available.
A mix of light and dark rums macerated with spices and bitter orange peels. Very special and highly acclaimed.