Navigation
Wednesday
Aug242016

Catching Up With Amaro Fever





Elisabetta, Antonella, & Cristina Nonino with a bottle of their Chardonnay grappa

A few years ago, back when I still ran a regular podcast and did interviews with distillers from all over the world, I conducted an audio interview with the Nonino sisters—the three famous (and beautiful) heirs to the Nonino family distillery in Italy’s Friuli region, one of the country’s most famous grappa producers. We were hoping to bring attention to the traditional and regional spirits of Italy—a blossoming category we thought would be of immense interest to our cocktail consumers who couldn’t seem to get enough Campari and sweet vermouth to satiate their thirst. In 2016, however, that message is no longer in need of broadcast. The vast and complex world of Italian spirits is no longer a secret. The word is out; the cat is completely out of the bag. The category is all the rage with today’s curious cocktail drinkers and bartenders across America are continuing to innovate and create exciting new drinks from the country’s long-held and spirited traditions. If you thought there were few Italian cocktails beyond the ubiquitous Negroni and Aperol Spritz these days, think again. You’ll find the Nonino family’s amaro recipe on drink menus across the nation mixed with whiskey, rum, Cognac, tequila, cachaca, and even mezcal. The combination of sweet spices with bitter herbs adds an incredible depth to a number of different libations, no matter what the base ingredient. Amaro means “bitter” in Italian, and as America seems to have lost its sweet tooth as it pertains to alcohol over the last decade, it has developed a real taste for Italy’s unique category of bitter liqueurs known as amari. Spirits that were once sipped neat as a way to settle the stomach after dinner are now moving to the forefront of the meal. As the awareness for Italy’s historic regional spirits has continued to spread, it’s brought with it a new renaissance of distillation in the old country and the resurrection of a category once associated with older generations long past. It’s also opened the door for new developments in Italy, casting a wider spotlight on distillers who are branching out into whiskey and even gin. I caught up once again with Elisabetta Nonino this past week to pick her brain about the recent explosion and find out how her family is adapting to the trend.

David: I just tried to order more Amaro Nonino yesterday and I was told by the distributor that the product has backordered because—once again—it’s sold out from the supplier. This is becoming a regular thing! You must be seeing record sales in the United States right now due to our county’s current fascination with amari.

Elisabetta: It’s doing very, very well; both in the United States and in Canada. There’s a big amaro trend in North America right now, especially with the mixology scene.

David: Are you visiting more with bartenders and sommeliers these days rather than with retailers and supermarkets?

Elisabetta: Yes, I was just at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. It’s funny because in Europe the bartenders are saying that London is the origin of this new interest in amari. On Monday, we had a meeting because they’re starting a new mixologist fair and event in Italy, so there were a few bartenders at the meeting saying that London was the source. But I told them: I don’t think so. I think it’s coming from the U.S.; especially the West Coast. Starting about eight to ten years ago we saw interest in San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland for amari, so I think it started there. Don’t you agree?

David: Yes, I do. I remember seeing Manhattans made with Amaro Nonino instead of vermouth back in 2007 when I first started exploring the Bay Area bar scene.

Elisabetta: There is a massive consumption of amaro happening in the American cocktail scene. They are the pioneers, in my opinion. If you study the history of American cocktails before and during Prohibition when alcohol was illegal, I think that’s the origin of today’s mixology. The beauty is that Europe—and especially Italy with amaro—has a long tradition of classic liqueurs. In Italy we make amari, liqueurs, and bitters—we use all three terms. They have always been of a very high quality and a very precise flavor. We used to drink them straight, but the American mixologists have shown that it’s possible to use them in a different way with very good results.

David: Are you seeing bartenders in Europe follow suit?

Elisabetta: In London, yes, because that’s the most important place for cocktails in Europe right now. In Berlin, too; from what I’ve heard. There are a lot of famous bartenders in London right now who are Italian, so they understand the tradition and the history of vermouth and bitters from Italy. Globalization has helped to spread these ideas, I think. What I have noticed, however, is that in Europe we often use fewer ingredients in our cocktails than what’s normal in the U.S.

David: As someone with a long family tradition of producing after-dinner spirits, what does your family think about this new trend of drinking Nonino products as part of a cocktail before dinner?

Elisabetta: We are excited! It’s a great thing. I think it’s also the best way to introduce younger people to spirits, so that eventually—when they are adults—they can appreciate grappa and amaro by itself. When I was young and just starting to drink grappa or a glass of wine, I didn’t really like it. I think I was like most young people—I wasn’t used to it yet. In Italy and in my family, we are used to eating and drinking very good products, but when you are in your early twenties it’s difficult to appreciate that quality when it comes to spirits. If you start by mixing it, however, you can dilute the alcohol a bit and start to understand the flavor slowly. Then, when you are in your thirties or forties, you can start to appreciate grappa and amaro the traditional way. With cocktails, this same evolution works perfectly.

David: Do you think grappa will follow the same path as amaro? Are you using grappa in cocktails now?

Elisabetta: Yes, and we are proud to be one of the pioneers to use grappa in cocktails. We have a cocktail that my mother helped develop at the Grand Hotel bar in Rome made with our grappa, so we have been interested in grappa cocktails for some time. But the real moment has been in the last five years. It’s nice to see more young people appreciating spirits and not linking grappa or amaro to merely something that their grandparents would drink.

David: People in the U.S. are fascinated by that tradition, I think. It’s almost cooler because your grandparents did drink these spirits. How do you feel when you come to America and see all these young bartenders mixing your family’s traditional spirits in a new way?

Elisabetta: It’s incredible because in the U.S. people are really in love with Italian spirits right now, especially the amari. It’s nice to see so many amari that I remember from my youth—that I remember from the advertisements—come back. In Italy, they had all but disappeared. We’ve been producing our amaro since 1945, but it was originally produced and sold just in Friuli. It was a regional product. My parents were always very focused on pure spirits and distillation—brandy and grappa—whereas the amaro is a mix of ingredients with a brandy base. To see a regional spirit like that become popular in the U.S. makes us very proud of our tradition. It’s also nice to see a renewed focus on quality in spirits. People everywhere are appreciating the high quality of what Italy is doing, but in a different way. In this case, globalization is a good thing.

David: Are young people and bartenders in Italy now embracing their country’s traditional spirits as well?

Elisabetta: Yes, in the big cities we’re starting to see more cocktail bars. Compared to the U.S. it’s a very small number, but it’s increasing. The bartenders and mixologists are all very young people—in their twenties and early thirties—and they are very interested in the history. They love to research the ingredients and the historical background of cocktails as well. Maybe they weren’t interested in spirits at first, but they fell in love after learning more and more about the history and the tradition involved. There’s a high level of knowledge required today to make classic cocktails. When there is research, there is usually an increase in quality as well, so I think we’ll continue to see good things. Research and innovation go hand-in-hand.

David: Do you think the resurgence and research we’re seeing now with traditional Italian spirits might lead to innovation at Nonino?

Elisabetta: Yes, we may look back at some old recipes from my grandmother. My father lost his father when he was eight years old, so my grandmother Sylvia Nonino ran the distillery by herself until my father was about twenty. My father learned how to distill from his mother. When I was in elementary school I remember we had a big selection of liqueurs and amari. My father, however, was more focused on pure distillation. We will probably go back and look at some of those recipes; something linked to tradition, but also innovation.

David: What does the older generation at Nonino think about the new trend of Nonino cocktails?

Elisabetta: In the beginning, they were not really convinced. However, they realized that this is the gateway to traditional appreciation, so it’s great. Nowadays when we go out to a restaurant, my mom loves to drink a Nonino grappa and tonic instead of wine. She says she feels better the next day after a cocktail. She doesn’t have a headache and she thinks it’s better for her overall health. She loves that she can still sense the fresh aromatics of the grappa, but with less alcohol.

David: Lower alcohol drinks are really becoming the norm. We eat differently today than previous generations did. We’re not sitting down for multi-course meals, so it makes sense that we would alter our drinking practices around this evolution. It’s nice to see, however, that traditional Italian spirits are adapting to that change.

Elisabetta: For sure. That is the beauty when you look at the evolution of the way we eat, the way we dress, and the way we live. We’re able to appreciate food and drink in ways that weren’t possible before. Sixty years ago many people didn’t have heat in their home, or air conditioning. Most people did physical jobs to make a living. Now people work in the office, so they eat differently—they don’t need a big meal at lunch anymore. Sixty years ago you might eat meat once a week and you were lucky to have it; now you can have it every day if you like. Since then we’ve moved from fundamental needs based on survival to more specialization. Back then wine was red or white, but now we want to know the vintage, the variety, and the region; with spirits, it’s the same.

If you're a whiskey drinker looking to try using the Amaro Nonino in a fun cocktail, here are a few options. Personally, I haven't made a Manhattan with vermouth since trying it this way:

The Amaro Nonino Manhattan

- 2 oz. of rye or Bourbon

- 3/4 oz. of Amaro Nonino

- 2 dashes of bitters

Stir well and strain into a cocktail glass with our without ice. Add a cherry!

There's another drink someone showed me once called the Paper Plane that, like a Negroni, is easy to remember because it's all equal parts (so long as you remember what those parts are!).

The Paper Plane

- 3/4 oz. Bourbon or rye

- 3/4 oz. Amaro Nonino

- 3/4 oz. Aperol

- 3/4 oz. lemon juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

-David Driscoll


Monday
Aug222016

La Charme du Pays Gascogne

The simple life. Simple needs. Simple pleasures. A loaf of fresh bread. A plate of fois gras. A glass of rosé with lunch and a small serving of Armagnac afterward. That's life in Gascony—you do a little work, you take a little break. You enjoy the simple things of existence—the things that make living worthwhile. While many Americans continue to be intimidated (and therefore put off) by the refinements of the French lifestyle, there's nothing snooty or highbrow about la vie de Gascogne. The people of Château de Pellehaut, for example, are no different than you and me. The Béraut family lives a simple life in the countryside of the Ténereze, not far from the small village of Montreal-du-Gers. They like to sit outside, eat, drink, and talk just like us. Their wines are not expensive, nor are their brandies. They are humble, but well-made necessities of living.

But, of course, you know all this. You've been buying Pellehaut from us for almost ten years at this point. You've been sipping on their K&L exclusive selections since 2011. Their fifteen year old vintage expressions cost fifty bucks. Their everyday "L'Age de Glace" is a laughable twenty-seven. These are not men looking to conquer the spirits industry and become the next multinational conglomerate. They are farmers who look to quench their thirst after a long day working the land. Pellehaut is only hoping to share that hardworking spirit (literally) with their fellow man.

I know many of us look at Bourbon as the spirit of the American working class, but to me Armagnac is the ultimate brown water of the blue collar. It's the last major booze-producing region completely without corporate investments and it's a spirit made by the people, for the people (while Kentucky is half foreign-owned at this point). It's an unpolished manifestation of the hard work and paysanne panache these farmers exude, each sip a robust reminder. So I invite you to live the simple life along with me. Get a loaf of crusty bread. Make a simple meal. Have a beer or a glass of wine. Then pour yourself a glass of this:

Château de Pellehaut "L'Age de Glace" Ténerèze Armagnac $27.99 - Chateau Pellehaut has been one of our top direct imports for the past year here at K&L. We've visited the Ténarèze producer twice over the past few years, always finding something new to bring home for our brandy fans. What really excited us this year, however, was a new project they were working on called L'Age de Glace: a young brandy meant to drink on the rocks (hence the name "Ice Age"). The fruit of the Armagnac takes center stage here, melding wonderfully with the small hint of vanilla from the wood. It's all distilled from Folle Blanche fruit and it's soft, round and aromatic, but it still has that little bit of rustic brandy flavor that I associate with old-school Armagnac. At 41%, it's light and easy going, but there's still a lot of character. I have a feeling I'll personally be going through bottles of this; lots and lots of bottles. 

2001 Château de Pellehaut 15 Year Old Ténerèze Armagnac $49.99 - While Bas-Armagnac gets all the press and the Haut-Armagnac gets completely ignored, the Tenareze region of Armagnac is quietly producing some of the best brandies in the world. Much like the Borderies region in Cognac, the Tenareze brandies seem to have more fruit and a bit more life than the more classic Armagnac style. Using only new or first-fill barrels for the beginning years of maturation, the Armagnacs have richness, weight, and spice. The 2001 vintage is going to be a bourbon-drinker's delight: there's a rich, round mouthfeel of charred oak and creamy vanilla, supplemented with more texture from the raisined fruit. It's anchored entirely in richness, and there's plenty of spice on the finish to keep it interesting. Distilled from 100% Folle Blanche (a more flavorful and complex varietal for Armagnac) it's a slam-dunk deal if there ever was one.

There sure as hell ain't no fifteen year old American whiskey for $49.99. But, don't worry: the folks in France's pays de Gascogne have you covered.

-David Driscoll

Friday
Aug192016

Whisky Season 2016 – Round Two

Are you ready for Round Two of K&L Whisky Season 2016? I hope so because we’re back today with three more single casks that offer more of that incredible bang-for-your-buck we showcased in Round One. This time, however, we’re debuting our first editions from Hepburn’s Choice—a label we’ve been using for the past few years in conjunction with our friends at Hunter Laing in Glasgow. Once again, the goal in our meeting was to find classic Scotch that tasted like Scotch, yet offered nuance and complexity, while keeping prices down to the absolute minimum. That’s not too much to ask for, right? We also wanted to find great whisky at different price points to offer options to every kind of Scotch drinker, putting delicious and mature malts back into reach for many who had given up on the genre.

Some of these distilleries aren’t household names, but we think you’re going to be quite pleased with the flavor and the quality. Let’s look at the first three selections from Hepburn’s Choice below. You can click on the links to visit the product page as well and check out the reviews from other K&L staff members:

1998 Royal Brackla 17 Year Old "Hepburn's Choice" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $59.99 - The Royal Brackla 17 year old completely caught us off guard on our recent trip to Scotland. We'd of course heard of the Bacardi-owned distillery, known for its role in blended whiskies, but we'd never tasted one quite like this. Joining us for the first time this year during the meeting was Hunter Laing's master blender Tom Aitken who used to blend for Dewar's back when Bacardi first bought the brand. Tasting samples with a veteran who understands the inner workings and the history behind some of these lesser-known distilleries is invaluable. Tom explained that former owner Diageo used the distillery as a sort of experimental lab during the nineties. They made all sorts of different styles back then apparently and the quality could be wildly variant. This particular cask was absolutely stunning. It was straw colored and light to the eye, but packed with so much flavor it was deceiving. There were definitely phenolic elements at play; very subtle hints of peat that worked as an undercurrent to all the sweet stone fruit and vanilla. The combination of grain and fruit was like burst of classic malt goodness, but on the finish it turned savory with hints of sage brush and white pepper. All in all, this is an incredibly dynamic malt for the price and a great introduction to the distillery for newcomers. Bacardi has since turned Royal Brackla into its own single malt brand that should be on American shelves soon.

1991 Glen Keith 24 Year Old "Hepburn's Choice" Single Sherry Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky $89.99 - This single sherry butt cask of Glen Keith is another K&L "refill" selection, meaning we purposely looked for whisky that had been matured in sherry casks that had been used previously. The result of refill aging is that the whisky still takes on some of the richer, fruity, sherry-esque flavors, but much more mildly, helping to maintain the integrity of the inherent malt character. In looking for delicious Scotch whisky that tasted like old-fashioned Scotch whisky, we came upon this outstanding Glen Keith: a Speyside distillery that's part of the Chivas portfolio. The whisky is classic Highland in style. The nose explodes with cereal grains, apricots and pear, vanilla, and the faintest hint of almond. The palate shows a bit of rich Oloroso character briefly before giving way to the more standard dried stone fruit flavors and supple, malty deliciousness. It's the price, however, that really grabs your attention: 24 year old, cask strength, single barrel, Speyside single malt for $89.99??!! Sherry-aged, no less! Thank goodness it was a big barrel because we're sure this is going to be quite popular.

Now let me add a bit of editorial before this next selection. This whisky labeled “John McCrae” is one of the best old school Scotch whiskies we’ve found in years. It’s not peated, or heavily sherried, or super mature, or powerful and potent. It’s simply a classic malt whisky that delivers the goods on every level. There’s fruit, and vanilla, and suppleness, and texture. It’s slightly sweet on the tongue, but creamy and malty towards the finish. It’s just a perfect specimen, in my opinion. And it’s from Balven………oops! I wasn’t supposed to say that out loud.

1991 John McCrae (Balvenie) 24 Year Old "Hepburn's Choice" Single Barrel Cask Strength Blended Malt Scotch Whisky $129.99- While it's become common practice over the years for independent bottlers to label their single malt whiskies by distillery, there are a handful of producers who do not want their brand name to be mentioned or utilized by a competitor when selling casks to a third party company for blending use. To prevent that from happening, some producers practice what's called "teaspooning," meaning they add a teaspoon of a second whisky into the cask, instantly changing the whisky from a "single" malt into a "blended" malt. Once the whisky is "blended," the name of the distillery can no longer be used on the label because it's technically no longer a single distillery bottling. However, when you taste this single barrel of John McCrae blended malt whisky (aka teaspooned Balvenie) we're pretty sure you're going to be as thrilled as we are. To get a single cask of Balvenie is almost unheard of, and getting one this good for this price is a rare treat indeed. The nose is candied ginger, round vanilla, and sweet malty grains, and the palate builds into more cereal grains, dried fruits, honey, resin, and a beautiful, classic, old fashioned Highland Scotch finish of sweet biscuity malted barley. It's the whole package from front to back and it's naturally proofed down to 47.6% ABV. We think this will be one of the most spectacular deals of the year for fans of both Balvenie and delicious, no frills malt whisky.

Not bad, right? And we haven’t even begun talking about the ultra-mature grains or the bevy of Islay whiskies we have in store. We’ll have subsequent rounds to talk about in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Aug182016

Modern Day Passions & Obsessions

I work in a field that has one of the geekiest, most inquisitive and passionate set of customers that exists. Next to comic books, Pokemon, and Xena Warrior Princess memorabilia, I think whiskey appreciation is close to becoming one of the most analytical and life-consuming hobbies in the world among its more serious fans. I also happen to be working in a niche market at a store that specializes in unique, hard-to-find, out-of-the-way selections, where I'm the one actually going out there and sourcing these products, so take that initial geek factor and multiply it by ten when talking about my personal day-to-day encounters with whisky fans. All day long at K&L I have people emailing, calling, and tracking me down in the store to ask seriously esoteric questions about alcohol. I love helping people find a great bottle of booze. Nothing makes me happier, in all honesty, than helping someone who needs assistance—whether it's helping a customer remember the forgotten name of a wine or helping my 85 year old neighbor Miriam throw out her garbage when her hip is sore. My patience can be tested when people forget where they are and begin abusing that good will, but I learned this week in Austin that I am not alone in this delicate position of "craft" customer service. I learned from standing in lines and watching the meat-hungry customers around me that serious barbecue fans might be even more geeky than whisky nerds. 

I'm far from a barbecue connoisseur, so I’m not the kind of person who's willing to stand in line for four hours for the legendary Franklin brisket (so, no, unfortunately I didn't get to try it). But I did happen to walk by La Barbecue in East Austin as they were getting ready to open, on my way back from the adorable Cat Cafe. I figured: why not go for it? The smells emanating from the food truck were incredible and I had heard from multiple sources this place was a serious contender for best BBQ in Austin. The line was only about five deep when I got there, but within minutes it had expanded to a snake of thirty-plus people. I was sixth, so I didn't expect to wait long. It was only when two guys begin holding up the line that I began to eavesdrop. "What temperature do you...?" I heard one of the men ask before his voice trailed off. As I listened closer it became clear that rather than ordering, these guys were trying to ask the pitmaster about his various methods and strategies for slow-cooking, as if there weren't two dozen hungry people waiting patiently behind them. They began listing off their own methods and their own preferences for dry rubs, ovens, cuts of meat, you name it. After a few minutes of this “shop talk” you could sense the restlessness from the people waiting patiently to get their lunch. To their credit, however, the guys at La Barbecue were friendly and professional the whole time. Barbecue, much like craft beer, just happens to be one of those things you can somewhat easily attempt at home (unlike distillation) so there's an entire army out there of DIY hobbyists looking to talk about their passion with established players in the game. Just look at the social media feeds dedicated exclusively to barbecue online where people all over the world are sharing their favorite creations, destinations, and recipes.

How was the food at La Barbecue? Absolutely incredible. But you can read about that topic from more experienced experts online. Of course, all the meat we had this week in Texas was incredible because they actually cook and season it. In the Bay Area food culture we have a completely different concept of beef. We’re looking at it from a wine-based perspective; one that values the inherent quality of the meat and—as with grapes—believes in preserving that original integrity as much as possible. We’re far more interested in how the cow was raised and how well the meat pairs with Bordeaux than we are in the actual cooking process. In fact, most people I dine with eat their steak rare because they want to actually taste the meat (me included). Texas barbecue, on the other hand, looks at meat from more of a whisky perspective. It’s not just about searing the meat on either side and slopping it down on a hot plate (we call that “cooking” in California for some reason); it’s more about the long game and the development of flavor under controlled and specific conditions over time. The scene in Austin also touts local and sustainably-raised meat, but then combines that Grade-A beef with tradition, science, and patience. These guys are cooking brisket in low heat ovens for more than fourteen hours, rendering the fat into pure silk and sealing in a succulence that must be tasted to be understood. But I want to make this clear: it’s not just the barbecue guys that are bringing flavorful meats to the Austin food scene. Every burger I had this past week was more flavorful than back home (and I had three). Every piece of bacon was that much more sizzling and savory (and I had bacon every morning). I had pork tacos on two occasions and they were simply out of this world. But, yes, the barbecue was the real show—I had it from Stubb’s and Cooper’s as well. Even the turkey was light years ahead of anything I had tasted previously. 

Meat is very much a thing in Austin. If you order a dish without meat, your server will likely ask you if you want to add meat to it. As we quickly learned, however, it’s not because the locals don’t appreciate fruits, vegetables, or grains (because there’s plenty of those things, too); it’s just because their Texas meat is so freakin’ good. My wife is practically a vegetarian and is not known to eat meat often, but I’ll be damned if she didn’t eat meat with every single meal. She ate more meat in the last four days than she’s eaten in the last year. I finally threw in the towel this morning and ordered a salad for lunch, the barbecue sauce practically oozing out of my pores at that point; but she went right back in and ordered more beef. It was like Freaky Friday—like we had switched bodies. There’s a culture of cooking in Austin, and I mean that in the most literal sense. It’s not just a simple foodie scene where people take photos of charcuterie and act like it’s interesting, but rather a devoted and experienced crowd of meat eaters who put flavor and texture above all else. Through processes that are honed, tweaked, and obsessed over in extreme detail, Austin pitmasters are constantly looking to outdo one another and raise that bar just a bit higher. Ask anyone in town where the best barbecue is and they’ll each give you a different answer—kind of like burritos in California. 

Sometimes when I travel and people on the road find out I work at K&L, they’ll want to pour me a small, local wine they’re proud of to see what I think. Usually it’s fine—nothing special—and I’ll be as polite and positive as I can be in return, but I’m spoiled because I taste so much great wine every single day. I have to imagine that’s what it’s like for a Texan to order meat anywhere else in the U.S. It must be a let down no matter where they go simply because they come from an advanced meat culture. They’re passionate about meat in a way that Californians will never understand because we don’t really push meat to its limits. I have to admit: we’re pretty good when it comes to cabernet and cocktails. But we have a lot to learn as it pertains to meat, mainly because we don’t geek out nearly as hard. We’re not nearly as passionate. We’re nerdy about other consumable things: like alcohol, bread, and gluten-free cookies. We’re worried about batch numbers with our whiskey, and organic farming with our produce, but I don’t ever see guys bothering cooks in the kitchen with scientific meat questions about temperature and time. Don’t worry, however, because the guys at La Barbecue told me they’re now doing pop-up trucks in LA every weekend. Hop in line, order some brisket, ask some questions, and let those dudes show you how real meat is done. You might want to get over there and check it out if you’re a Californian carnivore or a Texan transplant—it’s meat for people who obsess about meat.

-David Driscoll

Tuesday
Aug162016

Celebrate Cachaça @ José Andrés' Bazaar 

Join us and Avuá Cachaça to celebrate the Rio Olympic Games with a tasting of José Andres' exciting tapas menu alongside the incredible, hand-produced Avuá Cachaça. We'll enjoy Andres' wonderful Jicama Guacamole, delicious Catalan-style Pa'amb Tomatquet, and many more enticing specialties from the Spanish legend, while Pete Nevenglosky, co-founder of Avuá Cachaça, takes us through his journey of tasting nearly every Brazilian cane distillate being produced. After tasting the best of the best, Pete approached one of the finest distilleries in Brazil to secure exclusive rights to export their products. The result is an artisan cachaça unlike any we've ever experienced here. Truly a handmade product and one poised to create a renaissance among drinkers of cane spirits and cocktails alike. Take this incredible opportunity to experience one of Los Angeles's greatest dining experiences at a fraction of the normal cost.

Avuá Dinner, Thursday August 18th @ Bazaar in the SLS Hotel from 8:30-10:00pm $65

-david og