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.
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There’s no doubt we live in a rosé world right now. If you have no idea what that means you’re either blinded by the latest micro, small batch, Queens brewery release OR you’ve been in more 12 step meetings than IG rabbit holes (Which we highly applaud). The reality is we’ve gone pink crazy thanks to some brilliant marketing by Yes Way Rosé, the White Girl boys, Pinknic, Summer Water and now Forty Ounce Wines. No doubt the ‘share-ability” appeal breaks the FOMO meter but does any of this tinted hooch actually taste good? Enter Patrick Cappiello, Food + Wine’s sommelier of the year and his idea to make young peeps more excited about wine by putting it into a 40oz bottle. Add in a St. Ides-Classic Muscadet mashup design by Carolyn Frisch and you have your next viral IG double like. Patrick, as we discovered, does back his bottle with flavor as one would expect from a dude who’s wine knowledge is his bread and butter. Although, this isn’t his first maverick wine move. He also hosts this crazy supperclub style dinner at Rebelle Restaurant that uses the wine focus of the night to create the menu. Sometimes it’s a region that leads the dinner, sometimes a grape and sometimes a specific vinyard. Either way, they are as renegade as their namesake and let’s just say, you’re not driving home. Back to the palatability of this Billy Dee Williams throwback with deep french roots, the wine maker Patrick and his partner, Chris Desor, worked with was actually responsible for the whole thing. Had the two not been on a wine trip visiting Julien Braud, a classic producer in Muscadet, and discovered he used 40oz style bottles to store his grape juice, there wouldn’t be a Forty Ounce Wines. (Full interview here.) Which is to say this fruity vino tastes as good as it #hashtags. Backed by some big restaurants and their somms, Patrick’s goal of making wine more accessibly was deemed a success when the first run sold out immediately. You can grab a bottle in person at these spots or, if in NYC, word is Marc Forgione, in the village, is pouring by the glass. If stocking up for a rosé draught is your game, smash the link below for online delivery.
They had us at Murder Your Thirst. At first look Liquid Death Mountain Water seems like Johnny Rotten and Gwyneth Paltrow had an illegitimate tall boy. That still might be largely true but on second glance this is an anarchist’s letter to the perfectly pinkified, millennial, wellness, team member walking through Nomad sipping a CBD infused, Cha Cha Macha in their Sweaty Betty bottoms and color matched Lulu top post Pure Barre class on their way to a M N D F L session. We’re not hating, just maybe a little overtired of the strict, gentrified urban experience that’s all too polished around our office these days. People still work in factories. They still triple shift to feed their kids. They still fall off the wagon, smoke two packs of reds and show up for their 8am shift with their brain beating out of their skull. That is not to say that there’s not a middle ground to those two humans. It is to say, everyone needs to hydrate. That’s where Liquid Death Mountain Water levels the playing field with a beverage design that is as sensational as the people behind it. Every part of the experience has been carefully and perfectly thought through. You want to join the mailing list, no problem, just sign a contract to sell your soul. Not kidding. You want to know “About” why they created it? A word perfect description and philosophy explains everything including their intention to take their healthy water brand and help fund weird art, music, and entertainment that big corporate brands rarely will. They even made a righteous animated explainer video and then this fantastic PSA. As if all that was not enough for you to get on board the death hydration train and order up a case immediately, they even tweaked the “email sign up” toggle button in checkout to read; “I’d like to stay in the loop on news and special offers, just don’t bombard me with stupid bullsh*t”. There’s not much more for us to outline here except to hit their home page and click their FUCK YES buy button. Aces to the Liquid Death crew for this masterpiece.
Full disclosure on this holiday gift reco. We’re tight with the Barking Irons guys. Help you move. Treat you to dinner. Bail you out of jail kind of tight. Disclosure aside, let’s talk delicious unique Americana history. With Barking Irons Applejack at the root of this story, we guarantee happiness under the tree. Or under those gold multi-candle holders. We digress, this spirit is the OG. Meaning, the British and Spanish sailed over to America. They couldn’t find the usual things to make booze from. They found a crap load of apples. “Jacking”, A freeze distillation process to increase the alcohol content, became a thing. They aptly named it Applejack. Boom, the first indigenous American liquor was born. Quick side note, we are by no means stepping over Haren A Pitahaya, the Apache and Maricopa saguaro cactus wine but Applejack was the first “modern” American spirit. Since then, most of us have forgotten about this story and the product it produced. The guys at Phear Creative thankfully have not. They put into production the first new Applejack option since Laird’s in 1780. What does all this mean? You can gift (yourself if you are so bold) not only a unique addition to ones home bar BUT a historical reference and story to go along with all the fabled Santa Claus tales.