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A Journey through Armagnac in search of the “Original” Craft Producers

Last autumn, I spent a month journeying through the great brandy producing regions of France, meticulously researching their varied warehousing, maturation, and blending techniques. One morning late in the trip, as I was cautiously navigating the fog-enveloped, narrow country...

The State of Our Bar Community is Dire

It’s a terrifying time for all. But it’s a dire time for small businesses, especially our beloved restaurants and bars. Not only do our independent restaurants and bars bring the color and literal and figurative “flavor” to each of...

The Fixative Effect

A bartender serves up an ice-cold Martini. (If it helps you visualize the scene, let’s say it’s a 7:2 ratio, served up with a twist. Stirred, naturally.) The customer chose a bright, citrus-forward gin. She takes in the beautiful...

Desert Door Unlocks Secrets of Sotol for the U.S. Market

For ages, sotol has been the regional vaquero drink in the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Durango and Coahuila while merely a popular style of moonshine in west Texas. Desert Door Distillery in Driftwood, TX, aims to change that by...

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...

Mezcal & Tequila

When driving through the deserts connecting the regions in Mexico where mezcal and tequila are produced, the landscape shows many similarities between the two areas, including the cacti dotting the rolling desert hills into the distance. Of the many...
2018 Best of Class; Certified Craft Distilled Spirits™

Judging of Craft Spirits

In 2007, when ADI held its first annual spirits competition, there were fewer than 100 craft distilleries in the USA, and the Judging awarded just 12 medals. Eleven years later, the number of craft distillers in the country has...

Unlocking Belgian Distilleries

Belgium, like the United States, has experienced a steady growth in the demand for and production of artisanal spirits over the last decade or so. The typical Belgian consumer is drinking less, and drinking better, and is willing to...

Spice up your rum

Spiced rum is the beach in a bottle, a dash of pirate in a cocktail, or a sophisticated and eminently palatable spirit to sip. With this wealth of guises it is no surprise that spiced rum is increasingly popular....

Clairin

In the world of distillation, there are a number of spirits that have a reputation for being rustic, unrefined and raw. Examples include crude fruit or cane spirits often known generically as aguardiente or aguardente in Spain, Portugal and...