Gray Whale gin could be the hardest working spirit in the business. As gins become more and more interesting to me I’ve begun to seek out the less straight forward botanical mixes. Thankfully the UK is having a craft gin explosion and on a recent trip to California, I discovered the US isn’t far behind. Gray Whale gin chose its flavors based on the migratory path of the gray whale. Aside from being so #verycalifornian the foraged ingredients made for a unique taste and that, after all, is what I am after. With foraged botanicals running from Baja all the way up to Mendocino, the effort for that flavor may be unmatched by any other craft distiller. The outrageously mesmerizing aquamarine bottle that has an enticing depth illusion adds to our allure while their simplistic, contemporary, labeling design sold us. We’re suckers for a well-branded spirit.
More Drink Stuff
We’re big fans of things that are born from passion and experience. Bittermilk is such a product. The married founders, Joe and MariElena Raya, have been tweaking on their version of the perfect elixir for years. We love their line “The labor is in the bottle.” This makes everyone an ace bartender by just adding your favorite spirit. That’s something that come sin handy during the holidays. Your “host with the most” status gets dialed up with a Bittermilk secret behind the bar. Try the limited edition No.7 Yuletide Old Fashioned before the seasons all gone.
Open sourced beer to lower production costs at all corners might sound like Silicon Valley and Golden Colorado had a baby but actually it was the Connecticut Better Half Brewery guys deciding to help their industry, and community, stay on their feet during COVID-19. All Together Beer is the aptly named collaborative brew experiment now being produced by over 700 breweries in 51+ countries. As they mention in their pointed but heartfelt explanation of this project, their business relies on social gathering. The idea was to align a recipe, label design, printers and other resources to cut the production costs and increase the margin. In turn putting more profit into the small breweries utilizing the open source tools. Donate the excess or use it to stay afloat is the only ask from the Other Half team. Based on the recipe, the brew sounds to be a pretty straight forward IPA which will promote consistency across brewing around the world and as the weather gets warmer a cold, refreshing reprieve from the doldrums of our quarantine. Early batches have sold out but with more crafters jumping in weekly more is just a hops away.
We love chai at FTHQ. When Dona Chai’s concentrate version popped up in our Brooklyn backyard we were, needless to say, first in line. They steep this stuff in small batches (unwritten law here in the BK) keeping an Hindu deities eye on quality. Our favorite thing is the recipes they provide for non-tea use. Talk about a multi-tasker.
Pepsi gets into the craft cola game…AGAIN. It’s hard to imagine the #41 company on the fortune 500 list started as “Brad’s Drink” in a North Carolina pharmacy. Pepsi 1893 is a throwback, although the trending craft culture of our modern, urban, artisanal landscape might have you believing otherwise. Here’s a quick history lesson. Caleb Davis Bradham mixes sugar, water, caramel, lemon oil, nutmeg and some fizzy water over ice. People fall in love. He sells 20,000 gallons of syrup. The US goes to war. Sugar is rationed. Post war sugar prices skyrocket. Bradham has no choice but to buy the high priced sugar to keep Pepsi-Cola alive. In 1923 Pepsi-Cola goes bankrupt. Scratching your chin? Fascinating, I know. That 17th century startup eventually became a success (as you know) so, think of this reissue as a return to Pepsi’s roots, a testament to perseverance, a set of simplistic natural flavors and a small (pharmacy) batch refreshment. There’s a ginger flavor too.