The Ultimate Spirits Challenge was held March 5-9 in New York City. “The purpose of Ultimate Spirits Challenge is to identify, recognize and reward those products which stand out in their respective categories, showing superior quality.”
Each entry is classified and appropriately grouped into blind tasting flights within each major spirits category. It is then rated on a 100 point scale by a panel of judges. Those scoring 90 points or more are evaluated again in newly-created groupings by a different panel of judges. The top scoring products in this tasting flight are reviewed once more to determine a select group of finalists. The highest scoring spirit in each category is awarded the Chairman’s Trophy.
We would like to extend our congratulations to the following spirits in the Lipman Brothers Portfolio that were awarded the Chairman’s Trophy in their respective categories:
Bols Barrel Aged Genever
José Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Extra Anejo Tequila
Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Silver Tequila
George Dickel Barrel Select Tennessee Whisky
Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka
Click here for a pdf copy of all of the Lipman Brothers spirits receiving 90 points or more in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge.
Growing up in Nashville, I always thought of Chattanooga as a quant town with outlet shopping and Rock City. Over the years I heard less-and-less about Chattanooga, and then, about 10 years ago I began hearing more-and-more about Chattanooga as a city on the rise!
With the aquarium anchoring the downtown, I assumed there would only be family friendly restaurants. To my surprise, just the opposite! The downtown area has gone through unbelievable growth and renovation over the past five years. Many of the older buildings are finding new life with amazing restaurants and bars opening all over the city.
I found Easy Bistro’s hip, modern feel a perfect fit downtown. The upscale Parisienne fare paired with dynamic cocktails offer a delightful evening, especially without a brutal price tag. .25 cent raw bar goodies, wine, and then a dinner of braised local pork medallions made for a perfect experience.
Another great Chattanooga eatery is Public House. The wrap around porch and fresh fare make it a hard spot to leave. Public House actually sits on the corner of Warehouse Row. Warehouse Row used to house outlet shopping, but now has some of the best boutique shopping around. Great food and boutique shopping are hard to pass up.
I also recently discovered a restaurant, Bald Headed Bistro in the nearby city of Cleveland. A western style steakhouse that makes you feel like your in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Innovative appetizers, handmade pasta, and 28 day in-house aged beef makes this a dinner worth driving for.
I discover something new every time I make my way down to Chattanooga. . . And thankfully you can still see seven states from Rock City!
Although the shortest month of the year, February always drags on – Grey followed by a couple of days of confusing sunlight tempting us with what will soon be spring. Fortunately, we are blessed to live in a lively place with much to entertain us both indoors and out.
Number one on my wintertime activity list: going to the Nashville Predators hockey games. Admittedly, I don’t entirely understand the rules, but with all the chanting, cheering, taunting, and fights going on, I have grown to be an avid Preds fan with fang fingers out and jersey to boot! To make the whole experience that much better, there is now craft beer served throughout Bridgestone Arena providing hockey fans the best of what Nashville has to brew – Hap & Harry’s Lynchburg Lager, Yazoo, and Gerst! There is actually a whole area dedicated to celebrating local craft beer – check out Music City Taps bar near section 119 the next time you are down that way.
I also always enjoy a dance at Robert’s Western World on Broadway. Not only do I love that this classic country honky-tonk starts at 11 in the morning and goes until close, but there is always plenty of Jack Daniel’s, friendly staff behind the bar, and Larry, one of our Lipman employees frequently plays at Robert’s. Also worth noting, Garden & Gun recently acknowledged Robert’s as one of the best Southern bars!
Now if sophistication is what fancies my mood, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center truly is a spectacular place to spend a couple of hours. Performances vary from classical, to country, to funk, to dance. You name it the Schermerhorn has had a variation of it! AND, as of recently guests are now allowed to bring “adult beverages” into most performances. When I am in need of a special evening, this is definitely where I go to find it, rain or shine!
So, while we are all sitting tight for the season to change let’s get out-and-about and enjoy what is Nashville!
We are nearing the end of the first month of 2012 and let’s all be honest, maybe we aren’t doing as well as promised with our New Year’s resolutions. Although we all may be climbing out from the holiday guilt of eating and drinking and being merry … a lot… some of us still may be doing… some. Below are some helpful suggestions of ways to reduce the cocktail calories.
Frosty Light Margaritas
Kosher salt for the glasses’ rims
1/2 cup juice from Mexican limes or fresh limes
1/4 cup Tequila Cazadores or Milagro
1 1/2 tablespoons of Cointreau or Aquavera (orange-flavored liqueur)
2 1/2-3 tablespoons superfine sugar
12 ice cubes
1. Run a lime wedge around the edge of each glass. Then dip rims into a saucer filled with the Kosher salt.
2. Put the remaining ingredients into a blender; blend until the ice cubes are chipped and the mixture becomes frothy.
3. Pour the mixture into the prepared glasses; garnish with lime.
1 teaspoon sugar
3 sprigs mint
1.5 ounces light Bacardi Rum
1. Put the sugar in a highball glass (or any 8-12 ounce glass) and squeeze 1/2 of a small lime.
2. Toss squeezed lime in glass.
3. Add mint sprigs and muddle for a moment.
4. Add Bacardi Rum, handful of ice, and fill with chilled soda water.
Half a shot glass Cointreau
1/4 shot glass of Titos’ Vodka
1. Squeeze 1/2 lemon.
2. Pour half a shot glass of Cointreau, 1/4 shot glass of Titos’ Vodka.
3. Top it off with club soda and use a mint leaf for garnishing.
All three of these cocktails are approximately 150 calories and simply delicious. There are also light beers available, but calorie for calorie you will may find that you will enjoy one of these fun cocktails because they are packed with more flavor. Remember, most of the calories in cocktails come from the high sugar mixers, so the fresher the drink the easier it is to drink to your health!
Lipman Brothers and the R.S. Lipman Company are honored to represent outstanding wineries, distillers, and breweries from around the globe. The following are just a few that have been singled out for special recognition in 2011.
Every year, Wine Enthusiast Magazine honors those who epitomize the culture of wine with the Wine Star Awards. We are thrilled that several of the Wine Star Award recipients are a part of what we do here at Lipman.Wente Vineyards is America’s oldest continuously operated family-owned winery and was named the American Winery of the Year. Charlotte Voisey of William Grant & Sons (Hendrick’s Gin, Milagro Tequila, Sailor Jerry) was named Mixologist of the Year while David S. Taub, CEO of Palm Bay International was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award and Georg Josef and Maximilian Riedel of Riedel Glassware received the Generations of Innovation Award. All recipients will be honored at a reception at The New York Public Library on January 30, 2012.
Additional notable achievements are Unibroue Don de Dieu Triple Wheat Ale taking the number one spot in Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Top 25 Beers of 2011. Another great product that topped out at number one on Wine Enthusiast’s 100 Must Have Wines of 2011 is Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Nipozzano Riserva 2007 (Chianti Rufina).
Additionally, F. Paul Pacult’s Spirits Journal is instituting an annual F. Paul Pacult’s Spirits Journal Hall of Fame. Each year no more than five spirits will be inducted into their “Hall of Fame”. Included in the inaugural year’s picks are, Highland Park 18yr Single Malt Whisky (Scotland) calling it the “The quintessential whisky; the ultimate expression of the distiller’s art and magic, and The Best Spirit in the World”. Also inducted into the Hall of Fame was Cointreau Liqueur (France), “the perfect liqueur in every sense of the word…An indispensable spirit in scores of legendary cocktails (Sidecar, Margarita) and contemporary cocktails (Cosmopolitan), and when tasted side-by-side with its wannabes, it trounces all with startling conviction.”
The prestigious Ultimate Spirits Challenge rated Michael Collins Blended Irish Whiskey a “96” Ultimate Recommendation, #1 Irish Whiskey and the Chairman’s Trophy Winner for 2011. Some of our beers also did awfully well at The Great American Beer Festival. Rogue Ales’ Hazelnut Brown Nectar and Smoke Ale received Gold Medals as did Ommegang Brewery with their Belgian-Style Witte and Flying Dog’s Horn Dog Barleywine. Silver Medals were bestowed upon Lakefront Brewery’s Gluten-Free New Grist, Oskar Blues’Mama’s Little Yella Pils and Napa Smith’s, Organic IPA. Oskar Blues captured a Bronze Medal for their Old Chub Scotch Ale.
However, we have saved what we believe is the best for last. In February 2011, The Malt Advocate (Now Whisky Advocate) awarded Angelo Lucchesi a Lifetime Achievement Award. Angelo was the very first salesman for Jack Daniel’s, beginning his career with this legendary distillery in 1953. Angelo has been a tireless champion of Jack Daniel’s and for all American Whiskey. In 2011 the Jack Daniel’s Distillery celebrated Angelo and his accomplishments alongside his 90th birthday with the Angelo Lucchesi Commemorative Bottle. Lipman Brothers has a long standing relationship with Angelo, as Lipman Brothers is the first distributor of Jack Daniel’s worldwide. We couldn’t be prouder of Angelo and all that he has done to help build Jack Daniel’s into the brand it is today. Just as a side note…. This author, is the proud owner of an autographed bottle.
My general guide when shopping for a beverage gift is to focus on the recipients individual preferences. Do they enjoy spirits, wine or beer? A number of spirits producers, breweries, and wineries package their products in attractive gift boxes and “value added packages” during the holidays. These include flasks, champagne flutes, and logoed glassware that stick around long after the gifted beverage has been consumed.
The following are “Spirited” suggestions for this holiday season. If you don’t see something that is appropriate, visit your local retail wine and spirits store where you will no doubt find a wider selection perfect for those on your list.
Everyone has a “Gentleman” in their life, and Gentleman Jack Rare Tennessee Whiskey would be well received (hint hint) by the gentleman on your list. Wine Enthusiast Magazine rated Gentleman Jack Rare Tennessee Whiskey “96” points and selected if as one of the “Top Spirits of 2011”. For the rum aficionado on your list, the Angostura 1919 Rum from Trinidad & Tobago will provide a rich lush sipping experience. Aged for a minimum of 8 years in American oak bourbon barrels, Wine Enthusiast Magazine rated it “90” points and noted the “striking, gift-worthy bottle”. The Crown Royal “Cask 16”, a blend of over 50 different individually aged whiskies finished in rare cognac casks will delight any Canadian Whisky enthusiast, or most anyone who appreciate dynamic spirits for that matter. It was selected as “Canadian Whisky of the Year” in 2010 by The Malt Advocate. To make this the perfect gift, go to www.crownroyal.com where you will find instructions on how to personalize the famous Crown Royal bottle bag with the recipients name and a message. Artisan Scotch Distiller Compass Box Great King Street “Artist’s Blend” blends grain whisky and malt whisky producing an elegant and versatile blend that can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks or in a classic Scotch cocktail. The Malt Advocate rated this “91” and is the perfect blend for single malt fans. The Vodka fanatic on your list will certainly appreciate receiving the Double Cross Vodka, distilled seven times from spring water and winter wheat providing a spirit of “unrivaled purity and character.” Both the vodka and visually stunning bottle have garnered numerous awards.
Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season….Cheers, Paul Grand
Eggnog. It shows up just to let you know the Christmas season is truly upon us. Some have family recipes that have been passed down from generation-to-generation while others go to the Purity carton in the grocery store.
Eggnog has an interesting history. It actually dates back to medieval England where it was traditionally consumed by English aristocracy. Sometime in the 18th century, Eggnog made its way over the big blue to America. Because of the high tax on English Brandy, Americans began using Rum and by the end of the Revolutionary War, America had embraced a new liquor, whisky and have been using it in Eggnog since.
Traditional Eggnog Ingredients
12 eggs, separated
6 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups /whisky/bourbon (Jack Daniel’s or Bulleit Bourbon)
1+ 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup brandy
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
Traditional Eggnog Directions
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar for approx 10 minutes with mixer (you want the mixture to be firm and the color of butter).
Very slowly add the whisky/bourbon and brandy
When whisky/bourbon and brandy have been added, allow the mixture to cool in the fridge (for up to 6 hours)
30 minutes before your guests arrive, stir the milk into the chilled yolk mixture
Stir in 1+ 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
In a separate bowl, beat the cream with a mixer on high speed until the cream forms stiff peaks
In yet another bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form
Gently fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture
Gently fold the cream into the egg mixture
After ladling into cups, garnish with the remainder of the ground nutmeg
Although homemade Eggnog seems like a lot of work, there are but a few opportunities a year to make it! Even try using a nice dark rum, like Myers for a classic American feel.
What is the happiest hour of your day? There is no better bang for your buck when it comes to cocktails and friends and how lovely is the Happy Hour tradition that serves both?
There are two places the Happy Hour tradition may hail from. Either founded in the 1930’s as the hour before dinner where alcohol consumers were forced to drink at hidden speakeasies. From the speakeasy they would then make their way to a respectable establishment for dinner where it was illegal to serve alcohol because of the 18th amendment. The other possible origin of Happy Hour may have begun on naval ships during long stints at sea where for one hour a day music and boxing were provided to heighten the hearts of sailors.
On a daily basis most of us aren’t trapped on giant ships for weeks at a time, but for some of you, work may feel this way. Take a break from your hectic lives and give yourself a happy hour!
Happy Hour typically runs from 4 – 7 PM with food and drink specials. YELP, Urbanspoon, and CitySearch are three great sites for reviews and suggestions while Eastland Café, Whitfield’s Restaurant & Bar, MAFIAoZA’s, and Park Cafe are a just a few of our local favorites. Get out and about and let us know how you go!
Over the weekend, I went to a party at a friend’s house. As is custom, everyone brought a mixed six-pack of craft beers and because cigars are what I do, I brought cigars to share. In the summer months we typically play corn hole, so as people headed out the door, they grabbed a beer and a STOGIE. People are always asking me for guidance in cigar selection and this evening was no different. On Saturday, it occurred to me that the direction I was giving my friends might also be useful for you fine readers.
A really good starting place is to reflect on what you already know you like. If someone tells me they like Yazoo Hefeweizen I would then suggest a medium body cigar like the Macanudo Cru Royale. The Macanudo Cru Royale has hints of cedar and nuts which balance out the fruitiness of most Hefeweizens. Hefeweizens are known to be full of banana, citrus and coriander flavors. The Macanudo Cru Royale compliments those flavors without overpowering the Hefeweizen beer.
Now if you prefer a darker beer like Rogue Double Chocolate Stout then you are likely to enjoy a full-bodied cigar like the Oliva Cain F.
I encourage you to experiment the next time you smoke a cigar. Pour three different styles of beer – maybe a Hefeweizen, Pale Ale and Stout and then try the cigar against each one and see which combos your prefer. Just remember, neither the beer nor the cigar should overpower the other. Have some fun experimenting and let us know how you go!
- The Czar of Cigars
School is nearly out. The weather is finally getting warmer, and Memorial Day is just about here. Other than BBQs and nostalgic memories of heading to the pool to celebrate the last day of class, admittedly, I have at times neglected to observe the real purpose of this national holiday.
Nearly 150 years ago, Union General John A. Logan designated a day where graves of fallen Civil War soldiers should be decorated. A short twenty years later, this day was named Memorial Day, a holiday dedicated to remembering ALL who died in American wars and conflicts. Finally, in 1971 it was determined that the last Monday of every May would be a national holiday, Memorial Day.
Something else you fine readers may also be unaware of is that at 3 PM local time on Memorial Day we are asked to take a short moment to remember. I think this Memorial Day at 3 PM I will remember and thank the fallen men, women, and their families for the sacrifices they have made. Just as importantly, I will also think nice, beautiful thoughts for those I know, and for those I don’t know who are currently serving my country. For they are still making a great difference in the quality of life I am able to live as a twenty-something year old, American female.
I certainly don’t intend for this entry to be political, only grateful. Regardless of which side you fall on, many have sacrificed immensely for something bigger than themselves. Their courage, loyalty, and faith are not forgotten.
Lipman Brothers toasts a great American craft brew or artisan spirit to all the brave servicemen and women both fallen and alive. We also send out a great big “Cheers” to YOU for a safe and wonderful Memorial Day weekend!