National Vodka Day!

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October 4th signifies yet another “holiday” of sorts for spirits lovers…National Vodka Day.  Vodka has become a go-to spirit for young and old drinkers alike.  Whether it’s a vodka and Redbull or a dirty vodka martini, we can all agree that it is one of the most popular and profitable spirits in the world.  In honor of National Vodka day, I have chosen 4 different vodkas to feature here on boozinQC.  Each of the following products differ from the others in either main ingredient or distillation process.  Hopefully after reading, you can find a brand that peaks your interest.

 

1. Hangar 1

Fun fact: You can find this distillery in an old Navy Hangar in California, hence the name…Hangar 1

Aside from a really neat distillery location, grapes are the main ingredient and that sets Hangar 1 apart from other vodkas.  Made in small batches, this vodka is made from fresh (like picked the same day, fresh) viogniet grapes.  Hangar 1 is really popular among vets in the cocktail industry and you can find it at cocktail bars like Soul Gastrolounge.  This is the only vodka on the list that includes a line of flavors, you can find Mandarin Blossom, Maine Wild Blueberry, Buddha’s Hand Citron and Kaffir Lime.

hangar_one

 

2. Tito’s Handmade Vodka

Fun Fact: Tito is a real guy and he lives in Austin, Texas.

There is a lot to love about Tito’s Handmade, whether it’s the story of Tito Beveridge and how he came to create one of the top selling vodkas in the country or how it’s made from corn and microdistilled in an old fashioned copper pot still.  It’s naturally sweet and can be enjoyed on the rocks or if you’re feeling adventurous, in lemonade (jk).  Ok, I’m not kidding..it’s really good with lemonade.

titos

 

3. Reyka Vodka

Fun Fact: Reyka is filtered through lava rocks, real lava rocks.

You can find the Reyka distillery in Borgarnes, Iceland located right outside of Reykjavik. There is plenty that sets Reyka apart from other vodkas in the world, the most notable is the rare Carter Head Still which is typically used to distill the other clear spirit; Gin.  Two other things I should note about Reyka: 1. They only use artic spring water to make their vodka and 2. They use geothermal energy from nearby volcanos to power their facilities.    Pretty neat if you think about it.

reyka

 

4. American Harvest

Fun Fact: American Harvest is USDA certified Organic

Another small batch vodka, this one is made from winter wheat grown on a family owned farm in Idaho and it uses water from the Snake River plain to create a really great product.  From the farm to the wind power used to generate electricity to the recycled glass in the bottle, American Harvest is working as hard as it can to create a spirit with minimal impact on the environment.  Kudos!

american harvest

 

So there you have it.  Yay Vodka.  Cheers y’all!

 

Craft Cocktail Series- Soul Gastrolounge

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On Saturday September 27th, 15 people gathered around a bar, curious, thirsty and ready to learn.

Each attendee learned how to make three different classic cocktails and I don’t use the word classic lightly, each of these cocktails were made popular before 1950.   Check out the recipes and the photos below.  Huge thanks to Good Eats & Meets, Soul Gastrolounge and Andy Maurer for one hell of a Saturday afternoon.

 

Clover Club (1909)

Broker’s Gin

Simple Syrup

Raspberry Preserves

Egg White

 

De La Louisana (1937)

Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey

Dolin Sweet Vermouth

B&B

Absinthe (rinse)

Peychaud’s bitters

 

Queens Park Swizzle (1947)

Flor De Cana Gran Reserve 7Y

Lime Juice

Demerara Syrup

Mint Leaves

Peychaud’s Bitters

Angostura Bitters

Autumn has arrived!!

closeup of mulled wine, focus on the anise star, shallow dof
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The Carolina humidity has subsided and the leaves are starting to change marking the start of my favorite season; fall!  This only means one thing, time to celebrate with a new twist on a classic cocktail.  So here it is, The Hot Apple Toddy.  So many people think that pumpkin is the flavor of fall, I disagree.  I actually believe that apples have way more to offer for fall cocktails, so head on over to your local farmers market and pick up some fresh apple cider and get to mixin’.  Recipe is below.

The Hot Apple Toddy

1 1/2 oz of Monkey Shoulder

1 tbsp of honey or agave nectar

Hot Apple Cider

1 Cinnamon Stick

2-3 whole cloves

monkey_shoulder_whisky

Amazing Race Bar Crawl

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When: October 4th-12pm Where: Downtown Charlotte What: We’ve put our own special twist on The Amazing Race, we’ve added costumes, and alcohol and it’s a blast.  Grab your team of 5 and get ready to go on an adventure to different bars in uptown Charlotte.  Winners get cool prizes and bragging rights and best of all, all proceeds benefit RAIN Charlotte.  Bonus: the race is sponsored by Three Olives Vodka, so expect lots of goodies and samples along the way!!!

You can sign up HERE and see pictures from years past!!!

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Funk Fest Charlotte 2014

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On September 12th and 13th, Funk Fest invaded Charlotte, with performers such as Outkast, LL Cool J, B.O.B, and Ice Cube.  New Amsterdam was lucky enough to be a major sponsor and we had a great time even with all the rain.  We took lots of pics and wanted to share them with everyone.  The link is below, take a look, then post your photo on Instagram or Twitter.  Be sure to use the tag #newamsterdamCLT so everyone can join in on the fun!!

 

 

FUNKFEST2014

 

newAm

National Bourbon Heritage Month

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I’m a little late on this post but I figured it’s better late than never.  That being said, did you know that it’s National Bourbon Heritage Month here in the U.S.? No? Well let me tell you about it.  In 2007 Congress, yes, those guys in Washington declared September to be the month we celebrate bourbon.  It’s also my birth month, personally I think that those two reasons alone make September the greatest month of the year.  I’ve decided to celebrate by featuring a few bourbons that I think y’all might like.

1. Wild Turkey: You’ll almost always find 101 on most back bars in the south.  Made in Kentucky, Wild Turkey recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of Master Distiller, Jimmy Russell.  In honor of this great accomplishment, Wild Turkey released Diamond, a special blend of 13-16 year old barrels. Its a rare blend with limited availability and can be pricey, but it’s definitely worth the cash if you can find a bottle.

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2. Lexington Bourbon Whiskey: Another Kentucky bourbon inspired by it’s home state’s love for horse racing, this 86 proof spirit boasts deep aromas of aged oak with a hint of vanilla.  My opinion; its a good sippin’ bourbon.  It’s smooth  and the hints of vanilla are prominent, great for someone who hasn’t yet gotten their whiskey legs.  You can find Lexington at Heist Brewery in NoDa and if you go on Whiskey Wednesday you can have a glass for $5.

lexington

3.  Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey: One of the few bourbons made outside of Kentucky, Hudson hails from New York, the first family of whiskies distilled there since Prohibition.  I am a huge fan of Hudson, it’s rich and sweet and really sets a standard for craft whiskeys.  Bonus, the bottle is cute as hell, not that the packaging trumps the quality of spirit, because it doesn’t.

hudson

 

There you have it, there’s still 2 weeks left in September, plenty of time to celebrate and sample all three.  Cheers.