A spirited winter - Page 2

Hip Bittermens, Tempus Fugit crème de cacao, Scottish gin ... deliciously new and unusual liquors make gifting a treat

Drink your way through the holidays


Old World Spirits, a small gem of a distillery just south of San Francisco in Belmont, produces a whole line of winners, from California-spirited Blade Gin and its aged counterpart, Rusty Blade, to the lushly spiced Kuchan Nocino black walnut liqueur. New release Goldrun Rye is the right gift for whiskey fans. K&L Wine Merchants (www.klwines.com) is stocking some of the first bottles available of this long-anticipated rye.

With an Old West label, the Gold Rush-inspired rye whiskey calls up warm cereal and whispers of molasses and caramel; it's smooth enough to convert bourbon drinkers to the spiced pleasures of rye, the "other" American whiskey. Unlike many ryes, the spice doesn't overwhelm. Rather, it tastes as a fresh as just-baked loaf of rye bread.

$36.99, www.oldworldspirits.com



In my recent travels through Scotland, I sampled a brand new Scottish gin called Caorunn, pronounced "ka-roon." (Scottish gin? We're seeing more, like Bruichladdich's Botanist and Darnley's Gin, made in England but with Scottish connections). Besides employing typical London dry style botanicals like juniper, Caorunn goes a different direction with Scottish ingredients like heather, dandelion, rowan berry, bog myrtle, and Coul blush apple (a total of six traditional and five Celtic botanicals make up the gin).

Despite its traditional roots, Caorunn plays against type with rosy apple notes, a crisp body, and dry finish. For gin lovers, it's a slightly different take. In experimenting at home, I find it works best with rustic apple juice, bringing out a vivacious fall spirit evocative of the gorgeous Scottish Highlands in which it is made (it's distilled at Balmenach Distillery).

$35, www.caorunngin.com

Bonus ideas: Any or all of the three stunning new gins from St. George's will warm their hearts. Art in the Age (a Philadeliphia-based company that created Root and Snap liqueurs, www.artintheage.com) just released Rhuby, a spirit based on 1700s American rhubarb tea recipes, made from rhubarb, beets, carrots, lemon, petitgrain, cardamom, pink peppercorn, coriander, vanilla, and pure cane sugar. And stay tuned for my palate-pleasing Scotch gift suggestions on the Pixel Vision blog.

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Old World Spirits is in Belmont! Very close to San Carlos... don't worry though, no one seems to know where our little town is.

Posted by Melissa W. on Nov. 30, 2011 @ 1:42 am

Melissa -- now I have to take a trip there ;) Fixed above.

Posted by marke on Nov. 30, 2011 @ 7:52 am

They're open for tastings on the last Friday of every month (though I think it's early this month for Christmas). For $15 you can taste the whole line up and Davorin, the distiller is there chatting up guests. It gets crazy busy so get there early! Devil's Canyon Brewery is open as well in the same parking lot and they bring in bands and usually a food truck. One night a month Belmont is a very enviable place to live! :)

Posted by Melissa W. on Nov. 30, 2011 @ 9:57 am

Hi All.. Just wanted to point out our facebook and twitter pages are a great way to follow us and find out what events we have coming up, where we will be doing tastings, and any new recipes we have come up with. Please like us at facebook.com/sgtclassick and twitter.com/sgtclassick We like to say here at Sgt Classick, Let our spirits, raise your spirits! Happy Holidays

Posted by Dave Classick Jr on Dec. 13, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

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