“I’m here! Can you not see me? I’m wearing green.“ Jameson, the world’s most celebrated Irish whiskey, proudly flaunts its Irish heritage every day, but always reserves a little something extra for St. Patrick’s Day. In addition to sponsoring a full day of carousing in Dublin, Jameson has joined millions of revelers in dressing up for the occasion with a limited-edition design of its iconic bottle, inspired by the sights, sounds and jubilant atmosphere of its Dublin hometown. The limited edition bottle, which is the fourth to be released by Jameson in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, was designed by Irish illustrator Dermot Flynn, who used Jameson’s intrinsic Irish character as inspiration. The whimsical illustrated label features the legendary Dublin pub, The Stag’s Head, along with some of the city’s most historical figures and notable slang. The bottle has been created for a limited period and will be available in 40 markets worldwide in March 2014. Although the spirit inside may be the same, it just seems wrong not wearing green on St. Patty’s Day. May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live. Sláinte!
Japanese culture has long been associated with harmony in nature. From the misunderstood intricacies of flower arrangements to the most delicate and contemplative snip of a bonsai tree, Suntory ambitiously introduces this concept to the Western culture’s most beloved spirit: vodka. Just released to the U.S. market, Ao Vodka is a premium vodka distilled from Japanese rice and fittingly takes its name from the Japanese word for blue, or shades of green found in nature. Landscapes of rice paddies are poetically called ao for their mingling of blue and green. The thought itself seems to provoke a zen state, and one we want to stay in forever- especially amid the cacophony of booze marketing. Made from 100% Japanese rice and water sourced from the island of Kyushu, Ao Vodka aspires to bring back the often-overlooked luxury of nuance, and therefore should be sipped neat, with a simple, Japanese-inspired garnish. Priced in the premium category, Ao teaches us that less can be more and subtlety is indeed significant. A lesson most of us could benefit from. Currently available in the New York market and online at Bowery & Vine and Crush Wine & Spirits.
Hot off the press, and just in time to entice those suffering from the serious winter blues, Drink Me Magazine Issue 30, The Islands Issue, has just arrived on shelves. We’re taking you on a much-needed tropical vacation in an issue that covers the often under-appreciated sugarcane spirits, the lore and lure of Tiki Bars, a shark invaded oasis and the illustrious uses for coconut over the years. We’ve also got you covered with a special section on the 2014 Drink Me Elite 150, the first of what will be an annual rundown of the best beers, wines, and spirits we tasted over the year. It’s an eclectic list that ranges from bottles that cost as much as a down payment on a new house to gems that will run you far less than the quality of the liquid implies.
Loyal Drink Me Mag fans can follow the link to register for a free subscription to Drink Me Magazine via the eReader. Aloha!
Regarded as an exemplar in the UK’s burgeoning sparkling wine movement, Wiston Estate has wooed many non-believers in the English Method. A tiny 16-acre vineyard is close-planted to the three classic Champagne grape varieties of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. The vines thrive on prime chalky soils reminiscent of the Côte des Blancs and élevage takes place in Burgundian French Oak barrels. But the Champagne comparison ends there. The Wiston Estate South Downs Cuvee Brut is decidedly distinct and brilliantly British. Described as having that kind of “crackling, bright acid and chalk driven style” the tension and focus is 100% not French. After hearing so much buzz about English sparkling wines in the last few years this beautiful bottle in stately blue will be the push to try it for yourself. Who says a proper cup of tea is the authentic representation of what England can offer?
Touted as “a stout of great contention” Southern Tier Crème Brûlée Imperial Milk Stout hails from the brewery’s intriguing Blackwater Series. These seasonal, limited production Imperial Stouts boast special ingredients to nudge them over the edge of ordinary. What happens when you run hot wort through coffee beans? cocoa beans? vanilla beans? We’ll tell you what you get- one of the most palatable Imperial Stouts to hit your lips, and one that seems to defy categorization. Though such a contentious stout will undoubtedly invite discourse… Do you agree?
Drink Me Magazine Review 93/100
“This brew evokes its namesake delivering a robust, vanilla-heavy creaminess sure to please any Imperial Stout devotee. Pour it into a snifter and wait a few moments for it to release burnt sugar, molasses, and maple syrup. 9.6% ABV” -BJ
Vermouth is back in vogue and it’s looking infinitely more stylish. The charmingly chic La Quintinye Vermouth Royal, caught our eye immediately. A collection of three vermouths, Extra Dry, Blanc, and Rouge, La Quintinye recently launched at London’s lavish Café Royal. Named after King Louis XIV’s botanist at the Palace of Versailles, the bottles bear fanciful images of the famed kitchen gardens he created, and an overall French sophistication. The base is Pineau des Charentes, a fortified wine made from grape juice and Cognac which is then blended with a mix of botanicals. One of the most interesting of these botanicals is Artemisia absinthium (better known in the UK as wormwood) which is a traditional ingredient in vermouth- but one that causes problems when exporting into the US. Which might explain why these beauties haven’t reached us yet. Available only in Europe for the time being, keep your eyes open at the most stylish bars you frequent. You’ll know them when you see them. *swoon.
Great Divide Brewing Company’s Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout is one of the brewery’s seasonal offerings, though chances are, you can hear fans clamouring for it year round. The brewery affectionately refers to it as Yeti Imperial Stout’s sophisticated sibling: “they may be from the same clan, but they have entirely different personalities.” Oak aging gives Imperial Stout a subtle vanilla character, rounding out intense roastiness and huge hoppy nature. Who says you can’t tame a Yeti?
Drink Me Magazine Review 95/100
“One of the most beautiful beers you can ever lay eyes on, with a rich, tan head atop an inky black body. Just what an imperial stout should be, too, with gobs of molasses, coffee, chocolate, brown sugar a hint of lemony tartness — all aged to perfection in oak barrels, but never overdone. We named our dog Yeti. ‘Nuf said.” -BJ
In the 19th century wine & spirits merchant Justerini & Brooks set up headquarters in Regent’s Park, London, with a vision to create a “house” blend Scotch Whisky (which would later become J&B Rare), after seeing the potential of blended whisky in the international market. During this same time in history, Royal Navy sailors were coming back from distant travels with ink art embellished on their skin, a trend that quickly reached British Royalty in 1862, before spreading all over Great Britain and throughout Europe. As a celebration of the brand’s origin, J&B France has collaborated with famed tattoo artist Sébastien Mathieu, owner of Le Sphinx a private tattoo room in Paris, to design and tattoo 25 limited edition bottles. The bottles, which are covered in latex skin to strengthen the tattoo perception & craftsmanship, each took 20 hours to complete and have resulted in something truly intriguing- pushing the boundaries of art and package design. There are no immediate plans to release more bottles, but those produced are numbered, signed and are exclusively available at Drugstore Publicis and L’Eclaireur Rue Herold in Paris. Watch the video for an in-depth look at the very real process.
From famous bagels to pizza dough, everyone knows it’s all in the water. New Yorkers have been touting the righteous qualities of their water since the city was built, and now small batch whiskey joins the rank of vocal adorers. Widow Jane Whiskey, a newcomer from Red Hook, Brooklyn, is one of these proud New York whiskies- a small batch bourbon made from water extracted directly from a limestone mine in upstate New York. In addition to paying tribute to the literal foundation that supports a city of skyscrapers, Widow Jane symbolically represents an enterprising spirit that has made Brooklyn an epicenter of the craft spirit movement. And like all New Yorkers, Widow Jane’s roots are a melting pot of cultures- grains from the Bluegrass state of Kentucky are shipped to New York for distillation, where the spirit is then aged in American Oak barrels and finally cut down to bottle proof with this mystical, local water. But in the end, it’s that water that gives the whiskey its name and its distinction.