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
Keeping with this weeks theme, next St. Patrick’s Day be prepared with your own craft brew. The Craft Beer Brewing Kit gives you step-by-step directions how to get the hoppiest, grapefruit infused, saison your tongue has ever tasted. Ok, that’s actually an impossible beer. You’ll have to pick one style for each batch. Choose from a dozen types from Hefeweizen to IPA to Irish Stout and in about 2 weeks time you’ll have your own craft brew ready to drink.
F+B robots are coming at us this week like Rosie when George Jetson gets home from work. On the heels of the Creator burger restaurant, Tipsy Robot in Las Vegas (No shock that a grain alcohol, cocktail making, robot lives in the city of sin) will mix a drink you ordered through your other robot, your phone. See what’s happening here? Robot to robot. Of the extensive Vegas curated menu our clear favorite was the Bionic Bomb. This 28oz frozen cocktail starts with some raw white refined sugar in the form of something they call Passion Berry to get you good and wired. Next they up the ante and sugar taste with none other than the grandmomma of flavored vodka, Stoli Razberi. You gotta respect that Z. Remembering this is Vegas the final robotic, precision pour is 4oz of Cruzan 151 Rum to float this fribble and your sobriety to all but a memory. Did we mention it comes in a Tipsy Robot Souvenir Cup? Yeah, that happens. We were curious what, or who really, was behind this autonomous bartender, so we did some digging. Turns out, the Italians. Seriously, The Makr Shakr, as the white label robot is called, was designed by Carlo Ratti Associati out of Torino, Italy, the birthplace of Vermouth for those who are down with the Negroni. Carlo Ratti Associati specializes in design and innovation, and now I guess robotics. Or, maybe, that’s the innovation part. I imagine the teams beta tests were Aperol Spritz’s and Negroni’s instead of the freebase drinks the Tipsy Robot is pouring in Nevada. Jokes aside, this team has created projects like Supermarket of the Future and Paris navigating Gym (a boat that runs on spin cycle bike power) which is to say, some awesome projects. When we realized they weren’t cucks we really started loving what they created regardless of its location or application. Considering all that, maybe one more Bionic Bomb is not a bad idea. That’s either innovation talking or the 151.
The wall of colorful boxes with the quirky logo and bad grammer copy drew us in moments after stepping foot on the Renegade Craft Fair floor. Christopher Coccagna, founder of T-WE TEA, holds the company title of “Director of Truth & Beauty” as well as “Expert in Fabulous” We didn’t want to take his word for it so we cupped. Then we cupped some more. After our third cupping (a tea tasting BTW) we saw past the intoxicating packaging and tasted the hand picked ingredients. We felt the hand mixed batches. We even saw the regions from which the brew was harvested. To add to all that, every tea is 100% organic, fair trade, and kosher sourced. That doesn’t make it easy to source but it does make it tasty.
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.