Category Archives: Spirits

The Spirit(s) World – Death’s Door Gin


Death’s Door Spirits takes its name from the most treacherous waterway in the Great Lakes – Death’s Door Passage which separates Washington Island in Lake Michigan from the Door County peninsula of the Wisconsin mainland.

A leader in the craft spirits movement, Death’s Door distills premium spirits from grain with a base that includes hard red winter wheat, corn and malted barley.

The company began as an economic development project with founder Brian Ellison working with neighbors to bring sustainable agriculture to their 22-sq. mile island’s economy. He worked with farmers to grow the organic hard red winter wheat and at first, made bread and other baked goods before moving to beer. Today, what began as five acres is 1,200.

The gin was the first product. Today, Death’s Door also makes vodka and white whiskey. For the gin, he uses a mix of wild juniper, coriander and fennel. The end result is a taste of all three botanicals – the juniper berries, coriander seeds and then the fennel seed for a soft finish. It undergoes three separate distillations. None of the botanicals are crushed or macerated, and it contains no citrus.

Located in Middleton, WI, the distillery, completed in 2012, is one of the region’s largest and has a capacity of more than 250,000 cases of finished product. In 2014, Nielsen reported that it was the top selling domestic gin in the U.S. Last year, new packaging – bottle made in the U.S. and ergonomically friendly to bartenders – was introduced. Visit for more information.

The Spirit(s) World

Bols Genever, makers of what was called “Holland Gin” in the 1860s when a former sailer and gold-miner, Jeremiah P. Thomas, was asked by Dick & Fitzgerald, a New York publisher, to help with a book of recipes for the popular mixed drinks of the day because he was then a highly respected Manhattan bartender. The book, believed to be the very first bartenders’ guide, was “How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon Vivant’s Companion.”

Among the 200 recipes included were some cocktails created using Genever – 12 drinks that explicitly called for “Holland” gin. This recipe was one of them:

The Gin Cocktail

2 Parts Bols Genever

¼ part Simple Syrup

3 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Served over ice.

Enjoy this American Classic cocktail all these years later!


The Spirit(s) World – Egan’s 10 Year Old Single Malt

At the turn of the 20th century, the family business of P&H Egan was at its peak, with offices throughout Ireland spanning a broad range of industries. In Ireland they used to say that the Egan’s looked after you from ‘Cradle to the Grave’, meaning they would sell your parents the crib you slept in as a toddler and would eventually sell your children the coffin they buried you in!

At the New York International Spirits Competition recently, Egan’s Irish Whiskey won the Individual Spirits Competition. Jonathan and Maurice Egan carry on the work of making fine whiskey for six generations.

Today, Irish whiskey is said to be America’s fastest growing barrel aged spirit. As a lifelong lover  of Scotch whiskey, I was, I’ll admit, somewhat skeptical but one sip won me over – malty, smoky and elegant. It’s the company’s first foray into the U.S. market – with a gold/amber color, silky body and hints of honey, malt, cranberries apples, caramel and more, as writer and whiskey competition judge Robert Plotkin points out. We found it to be a rich and enjoyable sipping whiskey that definitely belongs on top bars! Visit


The Spirit(s) World – DELEÓN® Platinum Tequila

This beautiful tequila is 100% Highland Blue Weber Agave from the rich soil of the Los Altos region of Mexico and is slow roasted and slow fermented, yielding a special, ultra premium beverage. The master distiller cuts the beginning and the end of each distillation to allow only the best portion, the Corazon, to find its way into each bottle for exceptional smoothness. The smoothness and richness is clear at the very first sip. This is not your everyday tequila, at approximately a suggested retail price of $60, and that is quickly evident. The agave’s natural sweetness is enhanced with depth and complexity. The tequila undergoes two distillations allowing it to retain the unique character developed in the fermentation process. It is aged in both American white oak barrels and French wine casks to develop a distinctive character. You’ll detect citrus, spice and vanilla and hints of coconut and lime. The smoothness is exceptional. Visit

Plantation Pineapple Stiggins’ Fancy Rum

New this year from Maison Ferrand, Plantation Pineapple Stiggins’ Fancy RumPlantation Pineapple Stiggins’ Fancy Rum pays tribute to a Charles Dickens’ character, Reverend Stiggins, from his novel, The Pickwick Paper. The Reverend preached temperance to his churchgoers, but secretly was sipping his pineapple rum whenever possible!

The beverage was created by Maison Ferrand’s proprietor, Alexandre Gabriel, with the help of a good friend, spirits historian David Wondrich. The rum is now available in the U.S. as an annual limited edition, released two times a year. The suggested retail  price  is $34.99.

The rum was popular in Britain in the 19th century but will be sure to attract the attention of rum aficionados in the U.S. Obsessed with pineapples, each one is peeled carefully by hand and the rinds are infused with Plantation 3 Stars in pot stills. Separately, the fruit is infused with Plantation Original Dark for three months. The two liquids are “married” together and the rum is placed in casks where it rests for three months. Enjoy the resulting Plantation Pineapple Rum by itself or in cocktails. In Boston at the Hawthorne, the acclaimed Jackson Cannon likes to use it in Old Fashioneds, we’ve heard.

The Spirit(s) World – Molinari Sambuca Extra, VOV & Limoncello cocktails

Visit Tuscany, Capri or Milan with sips of new cocktails from Molinari Sambuca Extra, Limoncello di Capri and VOV!

Tim Cooper creates Volada using VOV, a traditional Italian Zabajone Cream liqueur made from egg yolks, high quality Marsala wine, alcohol and pure vanilla from Madagascar. Created in 1845, VOV came about when confectioner and nougat specialist from Padua, Gian Battista Pezzol, was looking for a way to use leftover yolks from his nougat-making! He mixed them with Marsala, alcohol and sugar for an energy drink, popular at the time. It won a silver medal in  1856. VOV remained prevalent into the 20th century and is still made from the original recipe.


1.5 oz. VOV

1.5 oz. Pineapple juice

.75 oz. Unsweetened almond milk

2 dashes Angostura bitters (optional)

Freshly grated cinnamon

Place all ingredients into a mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain over new ice into a wine glass. Garnish with a pineapple slice & freshly grated cinnamon. This cocktail can also be blended for a frozen version.

Molinari Sambuca Extra is said to be the top-selling liqueur in Italy and the one that started it all. Anise-based, it is blended with wheat alcohol and sugar in a closely guarded, secret formula. Utilizing only ingredients of the utmost quality, Molinari takes pride in the purity and smooth flavor of the liqueur.  

Collins Molinari

2 oz. Molinari Sambuca Extra

1 oz. lemon juice

3 oz. sparkling water

2 oz. fresh cucumber

Muddle the cucumber in a mixing glass, add Molinari Sambuca Extra and the lemon juice. Shake well with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with sparkling water.

The #1 selling Limoncello in bars and restaurants in Italy, Limoncello di Capri is produced in small batches using only IGP certified lemons grown on the Island of Capri and in the Sorrento Peninsula. Limoncello di Capri says it is one of the few brands of Limoncello produced using only real lemons which are hand-picked then peeled and naturally infused over a four to six day period to create a naturally infused spirit without the addition of coloring, preservatives or additives. The producer says it controls the entire production process including farming, distillation and bottling, ensuring quality control from start to finish.

Capri Spritz

1 oz. Limoncello di Capri

5 oz. Prosecco wine or Champagne

Pour Limoncello di Capri in a flute or martini glass, top with Prosecco wine or Champagne.

The Spirit(s) World

Negroni Week is winding down but Negroni’s  will always have a place at the bar. This week bars have participated in an event that donated a portion of the proceeds of the cocktail to a charity of the restaurant’s choice. And Campari has also pledged to donate $10,000 to the charity chosen by the bar/restaurant that raises the most money during Negroni Week.

Of you are not familiar with this classic, here’s the recipe!

The Negroni



1 part Campari

1 part sweet vermouth

1 part gin



Stir ingredients with ice and pour!