Navigation
Search This Blog

Return to KLWines.com

Spirits Journal Podcast Archive

Spirits Journal Twitter Feed

K&L Uncorked Blog

K&L Spirits Tasting Schedule:

Weds from 5 - 6:30 PM

8/20 - San Francisco: No Tasting

8/20 - Redwood City: K&L Signatory Single Malts

2014 K&L Exclusive Scotland Whisky

Kilchoman K&L Exclusive 100% Islay Single Bourbon Barrel #344 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Kilchoman K&L Exclusive 100% Islay Single Bourbon Barrel #345 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1990 Glenfarclas K&L Exclusive Single Malt Whisky PRE-ORDER


Glenfarclas "The Faultline Casks" K&L Exclusive First Fill Oloroso Sherry Casks Single Malt Whisky PRE-ORDER


1997 Bunnahabhain Heavily Peated 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Chieftain's Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1998 Laphroaig 15 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1983 Caol Ila 30 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


2002 Bowmore 11 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Refill Sherry Hogshead Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW


1992 Bruichladdich 21 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1988 Balmenach 25 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1997 Benrinnes 17 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1997 Dailuaine 16 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1995 Glen Elgin 18 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1997 Glenlivet 16 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Single Malt Whisky SOLD OUT!!


1981 Glenlivet 32 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1996 Bowmore 16 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Bladnoch "Young" K&L Exclusive Heavily Peated Single Barrel #57 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1997 Glengoyne 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Sovereign" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Kilchoman K&L Exclusive Single Bourbon Barrel #172 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Kilchoman K&L Exclusive Single Bourbon Barrel #74 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


2013 K&L Exclusive Scotland Whisky Still Available

2005 Island Distillery 7 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Exclusive Malts" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml IN STOCK NOW!


2001 Royal Lochnagar 10 Year Old Faultline Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml IN STOCK NOW!


1995 Glendronach 18 Year Old Single PX Barrel Cask Strength Blended Scotch Whisky 750ml IN STOCK NOW!


1994 Benriach 19 Year Old Single Bourbon Barrel Cask Strength Blended Scotch Whisky 750ml IN STOCK NOW!


1992 Longmorn 21 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1987 Mortlach 25 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Tuesday
Jun152010

Cocktail Recipes: The Vesper (variation)

So after reading the Chronicle's much better summation (see the link in the post below) of up and coming aperitifs, I was motivated to try the Vesper #2 that Heaven's Dog has added to their cocktail menu - without actually driving up to Heaven's Dog.  I already had a bottle of the Cocchi and some brandy at home, but I needed a bottle of the Ransom Old Tom gin - something we carry, but that I had never actually tasted.  It's made in Oregon and is barrel aged with just a touch of sweetness - more so than the Heyman's which I had just run out of.  Upon tasting the Ransom I was very impressed.  It was more what I had originally expected Old Tom gin to taste like.

If you're wondering what Old Tom gin is exactly, it's a style not a brand.  London Dry gin is called dry to distinguish it from slightly sweet gins.  Old Tom gins are always a bit sweet as they were the original ingredient in the Tom Collins.  From Wikipedia: The name purportedly came from wooden plaques shaped like a black cat (an "Old Tom") mounted on the outside wall of some pubs above a public walkway in the 1700s England. After a pedestrian deposited a penny in the cat's mouth, they would place their lips around a small tube between the cat's paws. From the tube would come a shot of Gin, poured there by the bartender inside the pub. They mix better than dry gins with sweeter cocktails like the Martinez or the Negroni.  The Vesper, however, sees no addition of sweet vermouth, so it's interesting that HD decided to go down that route.  I see the merit in this cocktail however and after getting a tip on what the basic formula should be I was ready to get down to business.

I tried to follow the classic cocktail mentality that your drink should always be at least 50% of its base - so:

1 oz. gin - .5 oz Cocchi - .5 oz. brandy - this tasted OK, but the Cognac overpowered.

I decided to beef it up a bit on the Cocchi and rather than decrease the brandy, I added more gin - that's the sweet spot!

What a fantastic cocktail.  You get all the herbacious qualities of the gin, the bitter notes from the Cocchi, and the brandy just helps to smooth it out a bit.  This is what James Bond wished he would have ordered in Casino Royal, rather than some bizzare vodka/gin/kina Lillet martini. 

-David Driscoll

Sunday
Jun132010

Aperitif Profile #3: Gran Classico (Just Arrived!)

Before I begin with our third profile for the month of June, I would like to point out that a more extensive report of my first two profiles has now been written by the SF Chronicle.  The article is actually about the EXACT two products I have previously written about (coincidence?) - the Cocchi Americano and the Chinato of Moscato d' Asti.  You can read the article by clicking here - I'm so happy we're getting some support because people are missing out.  Anyway, onto the Gran Classico.

This bitter liqueur just got 5 Stars from Paul Pacult - Highest Recommendation! - and we just got it in fresh off the boat last Friday.  Gran Classico Bitter is based on the original Bitter of Turin recipe dating from the 1860’s. This classic aperitif is artisanal-made in a small Swiss distillery from an infusion of numerous herbs and roots including bitter orange peel, wormwood, gentian, rhubarb, and other aromatic plants. Gran Classico Bitter’s color is a natural result of the herbs and plants infused into pure grain spirit produced to the highest Swiss standards and is not artificially colored in any way.  It is amazingly complex and refreshingly bittersweet with a long and remarkable finish. Traditionally mixed into a tall glass of iced, sparkling water in the Italian style, or added to a fine ale, a la Française, or as an unforgettable ingredient in historic cocktails, such as the Negroni or Americano.  It has garnered a year-long waiting list that includes the best mixologists in the world.  I've had bartenders and mixologists everywhere emailing me about when we were expecting this.  It's in stock as of now.  You know me and my Campari loving ways, so I can't wait to get home and make a new Negroni variation. 

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Jun102010

Cocktail Night Extravaganza!!

Pre-Prohibition Cocktail Night w/ Jennifer Colliau & Erik Ellestad @ Martin's West - Monday June 21st 7 PM $15-

I'm not sure I can express to many of you how awesome this is going to be.  These two are some of the most experienced and knowledgable people I have ever met when it comes to booze of any kind.  They are pros.  Jennifer makes the Small Hands Food line up and is a bartender at Heaven's Dog and the Slanted Door.  She specializes in pre-Prohibition drinks and is a master behind the stick.  She is going to mix and show you how to mix and tell you all her secrets.  Erik is also a bartender at Heaven's Dog as well as Alembic and has garnered national fame for his Savoy Cocktail book project - making every drink in alphabetical order.  He makes a hell of a drink and is usually the first person I call when I need help with booze.  IF YOU THINK YOU DON"T LIKE COCKTAILS, THIS IS MY ONE CHANCE TO PULL YOU INTO THIS WONDERFUL WORLD!!  You will be enthralled, guaranteed.  For $15 you get 4 drinks (not full size, so you can drive home still) and you get an education in what "going out for a drink" used to mean in America (and can mean again).  Please call Moira at Martin's West to reserve a spot. (650) 366-4366
Wednesday
Jun092010

A "Smokin" Good Deal Coming Next Week - Stay Tuned

I may have just found the all time greatest deal in spirits since I have worked at this store.  As I was heading out the door yesterday I got stopped by one of my favorite vendors who wanted me to taste a couple of mezcals.  I went back into the store and obliged him and was very impressed with both the blanco and the reposado.  All organic farming from the the small village of San Juan del Rio where we also source a few other bottles on the shelf.  The price, however, was too low to be believed.  I thought he had to be joking.  "How much do you want?" he asked me and I froze.  How much is going to be enough and how much is too much?  Mezcal is the smallest section in our store and it is so underappreciated despite my attempts to push it and my own personal love of it (I probably drink it more than I do whiskey).  I think I'm going to go balls out and buy one hundred bottles of each and do a massive email about it to the big K&L list.  If you want to get into mezcal but don't want to pay Del Maguey prices, I understand and this is going to be your big chance.  I am going to get two bottles that I could sell for $50 and sell them for $20.  They are very very good and my co-workers were all in unanimous agreement.  Get ready.

-David Driscoll

Tuesday
Jun082010

Notes and Tidbits 6/8/10

Not enough info lately to justify sending out an email to the Whiskey Email list, so I'm just going to add a few things to the blog here.

- I just brought in Highland Park 15 because I got a good deal on it via a bulk combo with the 12 and 18.  Lowest price I found on the internet was $54.99 and so I put it at $52.99.  That's cheap if you like Highland Park.  I won't be ordering it again once it's out, so take advantage of the sale.

- Speaking of Highland Park, we're toying with bringing in the new release of the Highland Park 40 year and we have worked out a deal where you can have the brand manager come over to your house and taste you and your friends on the entire portfolio if you purchase the bottle.  I think it's around $3000, but that's pretty nice of them to offer I think.

- Speaking of toying around, I was playing with the idea of starting an old and rare whisky section much like we do with the wines.  I'm not sure how into that most single malt fans are, but there are some auction houses for retail out there that have things like 1974 Ardbeg.  Maybe by the end of the year I'll have a collection of bottles no longer available behind my newly remodeled jewel case.  If you don't want to buy them at least we can all look at them and dream, right?

- Going to send an email out soon about the cocktail event coming up at Martin's West on June 21st.  I'm thinking $10-$15 a person for an evening with Jennifer Colliau and Erik Ellestad.  Jen makes the drinks and Erik tells you about classic drinks and their evolution.  Fun. 

That's it for today. 

-David Driscoll