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Making Brandy for Berkeley’s Covenant Winery

According to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), vintage years are verboten on spirits labels. It was all Jeff Morgan — who makes wine, where it’s standard to put a year on the label — could...

London Dry: The Real History of Gin

As a beer-writer of more than 30 years’ standing, I found my curiosity piqued when craft distilling in Britain seemed to be following a trajectory very similar to that of craft brewing. Both fell broadly into two waves: a...

New Release Roundup for November 2020

My bottle review column (last month’s edition here) is less about tasting notes and more about what is unique, new or trending in spirits alongside my ratings (on a 1–5 rating scale). Now more than ever, small-batch distillers and...

Copalli Rum

These days, environmental responsibility is no longer a choice. For many distilleries, it’s a necessity. Implementing sustainability practices requires careful thought and design around the environmental pitfalls present throughout the life cycle of distillation: farming and harvesting, the source...

Raicilla

Raicilla is a Mexican spirit, distilled like tequila and mezcal from the genus Agave. Essentially a Jalisciense mezcal, raicilla was granted a Denominación de Origen (DdO) in January 2019, the application of which has already engendered controversy. Originating in...

New Release Roundup for August 2020

My bottle review column (last month’s edition here) is less about tasting notes and more about what is unique, new or trending in spirits alongside my ratings (on a 1–5 rating scale). Now more than ever, small-batch distillers and...

Congratulations to ADI’s 2020 Judging Award Winners

Once again, ADI’s Judging of Craft Spirits took place in the San Francisco Bay Area, and we were blessed to have perfect weather when we received 11 pallets of some of the world’s best craft spirits. Over the years...

South African Gin

Given the intricate blend of cultures and wealth of natural biomes scattered across 470,000 square miles (1.2 million km²) of land, it should come as no surprise that South Africa is a pioneer within the realm of booze. Many...

Cachaça

Rum, in some quarters, is seeing a resurgence: a burgeoning interest in production methods and an appetite for consumption. But between the blurred lines of rum regulations and definitions hides an overlooked relative — Brazilian cachaça. The conversation around the...

Anisette

As if life ain’t confusing enough, we have this: absinthe, aguardiente, anisette, arrack and arak; and those are just the A’s. Then there’s chinchón, ouzo, pastis, Pernod, raki and sambuca. All are licorice-flavored liqueurs from around the world. I’m...