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Posts posted by dakini_painter

  1. In NY, there are a total of eight wholesalers, and only two of them serve all of upstate. The two big wholesalers are Southern Wine and Spirits and Empire.


    So I totally agree that any kind of of specialty spirit or even artisanal/small brand of spirit is promoted the way I mentioned and you reinforced. My discussion with other distillers of other spirits say the same thing.


    There are so many small craft spirits that have such problems being acknowledged by the public when they're inundated with the marketing for Absolut, blah, blah, blah. The products from Islay seem to be more available than from Anchor Distilling. But that could just be my impressions.


    I've seen the flaming sugar cube a few times, and it hasn't been always associated with "Czech" brands. Sometimes it's the bartender that thinks that's the way it should be done to "caramelize" the sugar. Sometimes it's just the way the customer wants it, even if it's Kübler. Usually I don't see "Czech" brands in the bars here in NYC. But the flaming sugar cube seems to have taken a life of it's own outside those brands.


    I just tell people my absinthes are naturally sweet from the anise and they don't require sugar (flamed or not). I've also learned it's important to have an assistant with you at all tastings. The assistant is needed to prepare absinthes, as I've discovered I can't talk and prepare an absinthe at the same time. Especially when there's 30 people waiting.

  2. Southern Tier iniquity Imperial black ale. 9% ABV. 21º plato. 2-row pale malt, debittered black malt.


    kettle hops: chinook, cascade.

    hop back: williamette.

    dry hops: cascade, centennial.


    I like it. This beer is a session in itself. It doesn't seem terribly bitter. It's definitely an ale rather than a stout. I'm not a beer expert, but I think it's good. So far my experience with Southern Tier is that the head from the bottled products is not very strong, it disappears right away. Maybe that's a characteristic of ales?


    We really need beers like this in a pint which is the perfect size. 650 ml is a bit much. But I'm not going anywhere. Maybe my friend that called earlier will call again when he gets done with his beer run.


    Do you know that there's more pure alcohol (1.97 oz) in this beer than a glass of absinthe (1 oz of spirit)? No wonder this beer messes me up more than absinthe.

  3. I actually have never had the La Fee, but it seems fairly common in NYC. Many bars serving multiple absinthes often seem to have La Fee on the absinthe menu. Not as often as Kübler and St George, but it does appear.


    It does have the flaming sugar cube going for it. While totally non-traditional, and not authentic, this method appears fairly often. (I know what everyone thinks about this and I agree, but when a customer asks for their absinthe to be prepared this way, even a knowledgeable bartender isn't in a position to tell them they're an idiot.)


    The way the flaming sugar cube is done in NYC bars is to simply burn off the alcohol before burning the sugar and extinguishing the fire with a stream of water from the fountain. For many bartenders, this is an unnecessary extra step (because it takes longer) regardless of any impact on the flavor. Personally, I don't see the point unless you're a pyromaniac and like to watch the fire.


    As far as how I market my absinthe it's all based on word of mouth, personal visits by the distiller to the various establishments stocking the product or potentially doing so. Repeat as often as you can. Know the bartenders/mixologists, learn something about spirits and be knowledgeable and truthful. Product demonstrations that show you care about the product. I've been told by retail store owners of product reps (for absinthe) "showing off" their product by pouring some absinthe into a plastic cup and dumping water in it.


    I always use a Pontarlier glass (with cuts) to show proper watering ratios and use a glass brouilleur or the balancier (huge fun, nearly guaranteed sale). But the end result that the customer drinks has to taste good and be something they would want to drink. When presenting to the spirits buyer for a bar or store that person has to be treated like the end customer, because for the distiller or distributor they are your end customer. But if the product doesn't sell in their store to their customers, you won't get any repeat business no matter how fancy your initial presentation.


    If you can sell the bar owner or spirits buyer and the staff on your product, then they become your sales people as well. And if the consumer likes what they taste, then they'll drink it again and buy it again.


    I know this seems obvious, but it doesn't seem to be a business model that many people use. I know it's very old fashioned. Hm, winter's coming. Maybe I should invest in one of those $2700 1890's replica overcoats with the beaver trim...

  4. There are different factors involved depending on state and producer. Many of the existing state laws go back to the era immediately following Prohibition. These laws were geared towards having a few large distributors and a few large producers.


    For the control states, there isn't automatic approval, and may not be free. And it may not make sense for a small producer. For the non-control states, the approval may be as simple as sending in your check and some paperwork, but now you have to find a distributor to carry your product in that state since producers in one state cannot sell directly in another state (in the non-control states).


    It's far more complicated that you imagine. The small producer distribution problem is what I think is the main reason there won't be a micro-distillery boom like there was a micro-brewery boom.

  5. a giant leap forward for the category into mainstream spirits, with affordability at no compromise to quality from The House of La Fee


    Define quality. Define "mainstream".


    The WS reviewers of La Fee (US version) have rated that product at 2.5. Does this mean that they are able to produce the same product at lower cost? Or are they trying to imply or say that they have improved the quality and provided it at lower cost? Not necessarily.


    Replace "The House of La Fee" with any other producer and the meaning is unchanged. You could even change it to promote the latest gazillion gigahertz laptop from whatever PC manufacturer you know.


    It could be this is a great product; I'm just commenting on the notion of marketing in general.

  6. I ended up having to add some water to both so they'd be drinkable.


    Nothing wrong with that. Just because it's not mentioned in the recipe doesn't mean that it shouldn't be used. The difference between a 68% absinthe and a 50% absinthe is water. The reduction in proof needs nearly half as much in water as spirit (0.42:1).


    btw, the Dutchess is one of my favorite cocktails as well as the frappe.

  7. I'd also recommend the Duchess (a variation on the one listed in the Savoy Cocktail book)


    Equal parts absinthe, sweet and dry vermouth and water. All shaken with ice and strained into a cocktail glass. If using modern quality vermouths like Vya or Dolin's you end up with a color like skin (perhaps of a Duchess???). You might want to add some food coloring to produce a brighter red color, or try a more commercial (gasp!) sweet vermouth for coloring with a more artisanal sweet vermouth for flavoring.


    Edit: I added the water to have the absinthe louche. The vermouths themselves don't lower the proof enough and aren't thin enough to have that happen. You might decide that a clear (ie unlouched) cocktail is better.

  8. When I place my freshly made absinthe in the barrel it's been diluted to around 148 proof. So far, any sea monkeys seem to drop out fairly quickly, even after a week (though two seems better). I haven't noticed any real color degradation in the barrels. When I empty the barrel for bottling, the last liter or so in the barrel usually is pretty murky, so that's not used for bottling product and is returned to the production account for redistillation. Then I reduce to bottling proof and filter during bottling.


    The big problem is liquor store lighting. Those dark but not smoky NYC bars seem fine for preserving color.