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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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."
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 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
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Varietals: Mujuretuli & Alexandrouli
This Moroccan winery, founded outside of Casablanca in 1923, was named one of Wine & Spirits Magazine's "Value Brands of the Year" in June, 2014.
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 »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
*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 »
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)
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 »
Citra, Mosaic, Herk From the brewery: "English: For quite some time the Amager crew has been discussing this question: which person is the most rock’n’roll in the whole craft beer world - is it Barnaby Struve of Three Floyds or is it Todd Haug of Surly Brewing? In the end it wasn’t really all that difficult to decide since only Todd has played for Laura Dern in a David Lynch movie (yeah, Nicolas Cage was in that same movie, but since when did he count?) AND Todd plays the guitar in both a speed metal band and a stoner band. Add to that that Todd and his ... 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 ar... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
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 »
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.
60% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 10% Cinsault from an estate founded in 1923.
Inventory: San Francisco
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."
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 »
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!
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 »
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 amazing cultural legacy. All of Pheasant's Tears wines, i... Read More »
From the distributor: "J.W. Lees Harvest Ale matured in Calvados casks for 4 months. This fully fermented ale has been brewed by JW Lees as a celebration of the brewers' art. Harvest Ale can be enjoyed now or laid down like a fine wine for enjoyment to come."
Inventory: Redwood City
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: Special Order
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 »