Spring is almost in the air. Soon we’ll be celebrating fresh beginnings, new growth, rebirth, and all that inspiring junk. There are dozens of new products hitting the market and it can be difficult to keep up with the influx of spirits, wines, beers, tools and books. In an effort to help you sift through new and unique releases, we bring you the Nightclub & Bar BottleWatch.
Let’s take a look at some interesting, innovative and enticing bottles. Oh, and one book.
Black Cow Vodka
This unique vodka is made entirely with milk from a herd of grass-fed cattle in Dorset, England. Not just another gimmicky product, Black Cow is a premium, luxury vodka that is incredibly smooth and uniquely creamy. But how does one make vodka from whole milk? If you’re Black Cow, you do it like this:
“The milk is separated into curds and whey. The curds are used to make cheese, the whey is fermented into a beer using a special yeast that converts the milk sugar into alcohol. This milk beer is then distilled and treated to our secret blending process. The vodka is then triple filtered and finished, before being hand bottled. Black Cow is made from the same milk that is used to make Barber’s 1833 cheddar, and our own Black Cow Deluxe Cheddar.”
Voilà. Black Cow produced 120,000 bottles in 2016 and plans to double that number this year. At the moment it isn’t the easiest vodka to get your hands on in America, but if you want to offer your guests something new you’ll find a way to score bottles (*cough cough* Bounty Hunter Rare Wine & Spirits *cough cough*).
Vermont White Vodka
Surely nobody else is making vodka produced from ingredients provided by cows, right? Oh, wait – what’s that over there? Why, it’s Vermont White Vodka, made in America! Vermont White happens to be made by distilling whey, the natural sugar source that happens to be found in cow’s milk. Select nutrients and yeasts are used to create the lactose fermentation utilized to create Vermont White, and after distillation that occurs in a glass fractioning column still, Vermont spring water is introduced. Light charcoal filtration finishes the process and smooth vodka is born.
Belvedere Midnight Saber
If you’re looking for a bottle that simply cannot be ignored, you’ve just found it. Belvedere Midnight Saber is a breakthrough in bottle design and will be launched in March of this year at top nightlife venues. Available exclusively in 1.75 ml bottles, Midnight Saber features a delicate, soft-touch black coating, laser etching, and LED lights. The lights, located at the bottom of the bottle, create the appearance of misty trees popping forth from Midnight Saber magnums.
On the back bar, in the hands or on the tray of a VIP server, or on the table of a VIP guest, Belvedere Midnight Saber is impossible to miss.
Long Road MICHIGIN
Locally sourced ingredients have steadily become the norm, and Long Road Distillers takes this approach to their spirits seriously. 100% of the ingredients used to produce MICHIGIN – a seasonal gin made with ingredients harvested from Beaver Island – are from the state of Michigan. The fresh water is from Lake Michigan, the juniper is hand-harvested on Beaver Island, and the red winter wheat is from Heffron Farms, which has locations in Wyoming, MI, Grand Rapids MI, and Belding, MI. MICHIGIN’s red winter wheat is milled on site at the distillery, situated in Grand Rapids. The remaining Michigan botanicals used to produce MICHIGIN are sourced “from throughout the Mitten from small farms, fields and friends.”
Chandon Sweet Star
One of the fastest growing alcohol beverage categories is sparkling wine. Domaine Chandon, established by iconic Moët et Chandon in Yountville, CA, in Napa Valley in 1973, approaches their American-produced bubbly with French heritage and California innovation. Sweet Star is a semi-sweet sparkling wine with a “nose [that] pops with aromas of bright peach, nectarine, grapefruit and tropical fruits complimented by floral notes. The fruit aromas extend onto the generous palate which is rich and sweet but with a distinctive, refreshing acidity that brightens the mouthfeel.”
Tom Tiburzi, former senior winemaker at Chandon, has described Sweet Star as creamy and luscious. Those familiar with Moët et Chandon Imperial Ice know that some sparkling stands up well to ice, meaning it works well as a cocktail ingredient in drinks served on the rocks. The Pinot Meunier in Imperial Ice helps it handle ice dilution, and that same grape varietal (along with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) is found in Chandon Sweet Star. So, you can feel confident offering your guests a Sweet Star on Ice, a 15-second cocktail.
Sweet Star on Ice
- Sweet Star
- A slice of cucumber, a sprig of mint or citrus zest
Fill a tumbler with ice. Pour Sweet Star. Add your garnish of choice and enjoy!
Sherry wines and botanicals come together in perfect harmony to create Lustau Vermut, which will be arriving in the US this spring. The base sherry wine is a blend of Pedro Ximénez (sweet and velvety) and Amontillado (dry and nutty), both of which were aged separately for 10 years in their own soleras at the House of Lustau cellars in Jerez, located in southern Spain. Each botanical is macerated separately, with wormwood, gentian, coriander and orange peel notes stand out from the smoky background.
Hennessy: A Cultural History of the World's Preeminent Spirit
When is a bottle of Hennessy not a bottle of Hennessy? When it’s a coffee table book, of course! Hennessy: A Cultural History of the World's Preeminent Spirit is the first book written about what is inarguably the world’s most famous producer of Cognac. Written by Glenn O’Brien, illustrated lavishly by Jean-Philippe Delhomme, and featuring contributions from Todd Selby, Nas, Fab 5 Freddy, and Shepard Fairey, Hennessy is both informative and engaging, telling the story of, well, Hennessy. Whether you’re a Cognac aficionado, fan of Hennessy, bartender, cocktail lover, or history buff, Hennessy is a worthy addition to your library.