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Thyme Tincture DIY: The Experiment


Thyme Tincture

Illustration by Phil Jimcosky

I have recently been exposed to the wonderful and varied world of tinctures. In November we threw our 3rd Annual Red Carpet Party at the Napa Valley Opera House. Mixologists from around the valley joined us to compete in The King’s Ginger Holiday Cocktail Competition upstairs, while downstairs San Francisco based mixologists Daniel Stahl from Rickhouse and Trevor Easter of Heaven’s Dog shook up their own creations for the crowd. Both drinks were outstanding, but Daniel’s sparked my interest because it contained a component that I had only heard about, but never knowingly experienced at that point; a tincture.

In the last few years tinctures have gained popularity in cocktail bars around the country. They allow a mixologist to explore different flavors and add a complexity that can elevate a cocktail to a whole different level. I did a little research on tinctures after my experience and discovered that there is really very little that goes into making them, which was a bit surprising given that they provide maximum flavor output. You simply choose your flavoring agents pack them in a jar, cover them with grain alcohol and shake every day for about six weeks, strain and bottle.

It is so easy, how could I not make a tincture at home?

I did a little research, but I didn’t really find much on tinctures for cocktails. Knowing the basic idea behind them I have started to experiment. Daniel used a tincture of thyme to garnish the drink he was shaking up back in November, so I decided to start with thyme. It has been two weeks since I packed my jars. Things seem to be going well, but I’ve got four weeks to go. Wish me luck and I’ll be back to share my results with you and if you’re lucky, the recipe for Daniel’s Just In Thyme cocktail.

For more fine beverage adventures look me up on Twitter @HungryMutineer.

Mutineer Magazine to Sponsor Firestone Walker From The Barrel Event


Firestone Walker From The Barrel

Mutineer Magazine is pleased to announce that we are once again sponsoring Firestone Walker’s From The Barrel event held at the historic Santa Margarita Ranch in Santa Margarita, CA. The March 30th event, now in its second year, will feature the finest ports, bourbons and barrel aged beers beers in a celebration of all things barrel aged.

Bourbons scheduled to pour include Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey, Jim Beam Black, Angel’s Envy, Woodford Reserve, Eagle Rare 10 year and several others including small production California spirit makers.

Ports and Porto wines from some of the Central Coast’s premiere wineries will also be featured. Wineries scheduled to pour are Cass, Roxo Cellars and Le Vigne with several more to come.

Rare barrel aged beers from California breweries Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Lost Abbey, Ballast Point, Anchor Brewing and Russian River. New this year will be two out of state breweries, Jolly Pumpkin from Michigan and Crooked Stave from Colorado. Stay tuned for announcements of other breweries.

Guests will also have the chance to snack on tapas from local restaurants and dance to stirring sounds of the Tipsy Gypsies, all making for a perfect evening.

When: Friday, March 30 from 7pm-10pm

Where: Historic Santa Margarita Ranch
9000 Yuerba Buena Rd.
Santa Margarita, CA 93453

Price: Tickets are very limited and are $60 a person.

Visit FromTheBarel.net for more information and to buy tickets.

Comments Off on Mutineer Magazine to Sponsor Firestone Walker From The Barrel Event 02.07.2012 |

You’re invited to make Encanto Pisco in Peru


Campo de Encanto Pisco is inviting every American bartender to join them in Peru this April to experience Vendimia, the harvest and fermentation of the Pisco grapes, to watch distillation and to roll up their sleeves and learn the craft of blending Campo de Encanto Pisco.

Follow the simple rules highlighted in the video and you might be on your way to Peru to join Duggan McDonnell and team make Campo de Encanto Pisco.

Comments Off on You’re invited to make Encanto Pisco in Peru 02.02.2012 |

Courvoisier Announces C by Courvoisier


C By CourvoisierDEERFIELD, Ill., Feb. 1, 2012 — Courvoisier, the cognac house of Beam Inc., announced today the addition of C by Courvoisier to its award-winning portfolio. A bold, revolutionary cognac, C by Courvoisier is full of attitude, boasting a daring, intense flavor profile that stands out from the crowd and showcases a new side of cognac.

C by Courvoisier offers consumers an innovative, new option in the cognac category. An intense blend of small-batch-produced cognac specially selected from 50 winegrowers in the Fin Bois Cru, C by Courvoisier is carefully crafted by the house’s master blender and goes through a double-barrel aging process to produce a smooth, full-bodied taste experience.

“The liquid is first aged in young barrels to bring out a strong, wood character and give it a full-bodied, intense flavor,” said Patrice Pinet, Master Blender for Courvoisier. “It is then aged in mature barrels to round out the taste profile and deliver a silky finish. With hints of carnation, orange peel, clove, toast and crusty bread in its flavor profile, it is best served chilled for a truly unforgettable experience.”

C by Courvoisier:

  • Is made with an intense blend of small-batch-produced cognac, specially selected from 50 winegrowers in the Fin Bois Cru.
  • Offers a bold new taste experience that is perfect for a night out with the guys.
  • Has a flavor profile boasting a rich, intense character with a good balance between floral, fruity aromas and wood, with notes of carnation, orange peel, clove, toast and crusty bread for a bold drinking experience.
  • Is double-barreled for a strong character with a smooth finish.
  • Is packaged in Courvoisier’s iconic Josephine bottle.
  • Has an ABV of 40% / 80 Proof.
  • Offers consumers a new and exciting spirit option to be enjoyed on every occasion.

C by Courvoisier joins the recently released Courvoisier Rose, a lower-ABV liquid that combines the house’s premium cognac with French Red wine grapes for a refreshing drinking experience, and the 2010 release of the Courvoisier Connoisseur Collection- the first cognacs with a declared age statement from any of the four major cognac houses. Like the Courvoisier Connoisseur Collection and Courvoisier Rose, C by Courvoisier is yet another example of the innovative and revolutionary spirit that has defined the cognac house since the time of Napoleon.

C by Courvoisier will be available nationwide beginning February, 2012. A 750ml bottle has a suggested retail price of $34.99.

1 comment 02.01.2012 |

Fine Beverage Photo Blog: Clear Creek Distillery Pear Eau de Vie


Clear Creek Pear Eau De Vie

This photo comes to us from Mutineer Photography Henchman Phil Jimcosky and features Clear Creek Distillery Pear Eau De Vie from Portland, Oregon. To get the pear inside of the bottle, the pear is actually grown inside of the bottle in their orchards, before being filled with their pear eau de vie. This practice of growing pears in the bottle is traditional in Alsace where pear brandy has been made for hundreds of years.

To view more of Phil’s photography that features food, beverage and beyond, visit his blog Food Aperture.

Do you have a photo you’d like considered for the Fine Beverage Photo Blog? Email us at brian@mutineermagazine.com!

Comments Off on Fine Beverage Photo Blog: Clear Creek Distillery Pear Eau de Vie 01.27.2012 |

Evan Williams to Release Cinnamon Reserve Flavored Bourbon


Evan Williams Cinnamon ReserveHeaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., the country’s largest independent family-owned and operated spirits producer and marketer, announces the release of Evan Williams Cinnamon Reserve Kentucky Liqueur, a new product that marries extra-aged Evan Williams Bourbon with natural hot cinnamon flavor. Bottled at 70 proof and available in both a 750ml and 50ml size, Evan Williams Cinnamon Reserve will be shipping nationally in February at a suggested retail price of $14.99 for the 750ml bottle.

The launch of Evan Williams Cinnamon Reserve follows closely on the heels of the hugely successful introduction of Evan Williams Honey Reserve, which launched in the Fall of 2009, and Evan Williams Cherry Reserve, which debuted in 2010. Since that time, both have enjoyed great sales success and critical acclaim, including winning a Silver Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and being named a “Hot Prospect” brand. Evan Williams Cherry and Honey Reserves, and now Cinnamon Reserve, take advantage of established trends in the distilled spirits industry in general and the American straight whiskey category in particular. Among these is the ongoing success and growth of flavored spirits, as well as the continued popularity of Bourbon, especially Evan Williams, which showed the greatest sales percentage increases among high volume brands since 2008, according to A.C. Neilsen. Heaven Hill fully anticipates that infusing Evan Williams extra-aged Bourbon, the second largest selling Bourbon brand in the United States and the world and a “Best Buy Whiskey of the Year” winner, with natural hot cinnamon flavor will yield similar success as that achieved with Evan Williams Honey and Cherry Reserves.

Like the Honey and Cherry Reserves, Evan Williams Cinnamon Reserve is packaged in the highly-recognizable square Evan Williams bottle, with a clear label carrying the Evan Williams logo and a stylized rendition of cinnamon sticks bursting through flames. With a black and orange capsule closure, the packaging draws on the equity of the Evan Williams brand franchise, but with a contemporary flair. Bottled at an approachable 70 proof, and infused with natural hot cinnamon taste that complements the easy-to-drink Bourbon flavor, Evan Williams Cinnamon Reserve lives up to its tagline of “Intensely cinnamon. Incredibly smooth.”

“The launch of Evan Williams Honey and Cherry Reserve has exceeded our expectations,” stated Assistant Brand Manager Hannah Venhoff. “Given the strength of the Evan Williams brand franchise and the proven success of the flavored Bourbon sub-category, we believe it is the perfect time in which to launch Evan Williams Cinnamon Reserve. And with a very approachable price point and a full range of retail and on-premise marketing materials available, we are expecting this brand launch to be red-hot!”

3 comments 01.26.2012 |

Shit Bartenders Say


I don’t think much needs to be said about this, but it’s great.

The Passenger in DC took it a step further and crafted a few cocktails in its honor.

The Passenger DC

Photo courtesy of Derek Brown

$1 off if you bring your own ice.

1 comment 01.20.2012 |

So You Want to be an Absinthe Connoisseur Part 3: Tasting Events


Brian Huff - No tasting

Photo Credits: Brian Huff Photography

If you’ve been reading our absinthe connoisseur series of posts, and doing your homework (a.k.a. drinking!), you’ve probably developed a nice base of education, giving you some fluency in absinthe conversation.  You’re also probably yearning to share your newfound knowledge with others.  I know of no other drink that creates so many proselytiser as absinthe does.  If you’ve come to the decision that you’d like to introduce a group of people to absinthe, why not host a tasting event?

Absinthe tasting events can be both a bonding experience amongst friends and like-minded individuals as well as a very educational opportunity.  However, different situations call for different types of tasting events.  A gathering of friends on a Saturday night over pizza probably wouldn’t work well with a double blind formal tasting.  Nor would a gathering of absintheurs intent upon formal scoring for publication purposes call for an informal type of tasting.  So today’s article will go through both types of events, giving you the ability to conduct either type.  We’ll start by describing how to do an informal tasting, and then list the modifications you’ll need to make in order to produce a formal one.


Both types of tastings will need the following:

  • A well-lit venue which will allow each person to have a comfortable seat, writing space, and view of the absinthe ritual.  For most tastings, something as simple as a dining room will work perfectly.
  • A Wormwood Society Scoresheet and Tasting Instructions (or your own WS Tasting Journal) and pen/pencil for each taster – make sure to have enough scoring sheets for each absinthe.
  • Several bottles of absinthe – we recommend no more than three or four per tasting as absinthe tends to anethetise the palate after more than that.
  • Simple Syrup (sugar and water mixed at 1.5 cups of sugar to 1 cup water) – ideally, have a dropper bottle full of simple syrup at each seat.
  • Tasting glasses – enough for each taster to have a clean glass for each absinthe (i.e. 5 tasters and 4 absinthes = 20 glasses).  It’s helpful if these are marked at .5 ounce, 2 ounce and 3 ounce levels if the tasters will be preparing their own.
  • Plenty of pure spring water and ice.
  • Either an absinthe fountain or small individual water carafes or pitchers (water bottles with the pull out spout will also do in a pinch).
  • Table water crackers for palate cleansing – Palate cleansing beverages such as Santasti are another plus.

Absinthe Tasting

Preparation: Self prepared, or pre-prepared?

The first thing you’ll want to figure out is whether you’ll want everyone to prepare their own glasses, or whether you’d like to hand out samples that have been already prepared.  There are pros and cons to each.  By having each person prepare their own glass, it becomes a much more tactile experience, but it also could lead to improper preparation.  You’ll also need more accessories, or a fountain with more spigots to be able to accommodate the needs of each taster.

Brian Huff - NO tasting 1On the other hand, if you prepare the samples for them, you can prepare one large glass of absinthe, then decant it into each taster’s glass.  This ensures that each taster starts with an absinthe that has been prepared to the exact same ratio of water to absinthe.  You can prepare the one large glass in front of the tasters in order to let them observe the louche process.   For this approach, you’ll want to prepare 0.5 oz. of absinthe for each taster.  So, if you have 4 tasters, then you’ll be preparing 2 oz. of absinthe in the glass.

Since absinthes vary so widely in alcoholic proof and herbal robustness, each will have its own particular ratio that showcases its character best. It’s recommended to first prepare the absinthe at a dilution of 3:1 (3 parts water to 1 part absinthe).  If the panelist customarily uses sugar, it may be added after this first taste.  Just a few drops of simple syrup should suffice.

Careful observation of the remaining criteria should follow, tasting the absinthe at gradually increasing dilutions. Some absinthes will reveal their “sweet-spot” at as low as 3:1, while others may stand up to as much as 6:1. More sugar may be added as desired.

Have each taster review the tasting instructions as they progress through the different review qualities such as aroma, taste, and finish, assigning a number to each quality.  Each reviewer should jot down their own personal notes about each category as well.  Encourage them to explain what they are experiencing, and discourage them from trying to pick out individual herbs.  Most people won’t know what melissa, coriander, or wormwood really taste like, but they could describe lemon zest, white pepper, mint, chocolate, etc.

See the full post »

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