The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2015

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Sniff, Sip and Swallow: CASAMIGOS TEQUILA Longtime friends George Clooney and restaurant- and-nightclub mogul Rande Gerber created Casamigos Tequila with the intention of making the smoothest, best-tasting,tequila around, and they're so confident of what they produced that they bottled their tequila without any gimmicks, plain and simple. Crafted in Jesus Marie, Jalisco, this small batch, ultra-premium tequila is made from the finest, hand-selected 100% blue Weber agaves, grown in rich red clay and cool climate, slowly baked in brick ovens, then fermented for 80 hours and double- distilled in copper-lined pot stills. Casamigos Añejo is beautifully pure and has a complex aroma with soft caramel and vanilla notes. Our Panel's Notes: "Wow, that's a delicious repo; fantastic use of wood! This cocktail is a winner: tequila-forward, yet not in a scary way. Clean, crisp finish; innovative yet simple garnish that actually adds to the drink."—Peter Kasperski "A really well-made cocktail with a fun garnish that would be the perfect start to a meal!" —Mark Kiffin "The Añejo has notes of smoky, earthy chocolate with raisins, and the cocktail is really nice, with great chocolate-pomegranate flavor." —Aaron DeFeo The Spirit and the Man: DUKE KENTUCKY STRAIGHT BOURBON Just as passionately as John Wayne, the Man and the Legend, was a hard-working craftsman who loved and perfected his craft, Duke Spirits, ran by his son Ethan Wayne and Hundred Acre vintner Chris Radomski, has carried on the tradition with its bourbon—a blend of barrels from Kentucky that lives up to the name. This carefully honed blend of a wide range of whis- keys results in a roundup of vanilla, cherry, cinnamon and slightly smoky citrus nuances. Duke Kentucky Straight Bourbon's 88 proof is double that of the .44 caliber Winchester the Duke carries, and even more surprising is that it's over-delivering at a price point of $34.95 a bottle. Our Panel's Notes: "A nice sweet bourbon with a very dry finish. A bit fiery on the mid—but in a good way!" —Richie Moe "A great tasting spirit and I love the story behind the brand. The sarsaparilla is very relevant in this cocktail and is a great touch as opposed to ginger beer. I love the balance between the citrus elements and the sweet bourbon! Great drink!" —John Christie "It tastes like a wheated bourbon, and has great flavors and balance. Good use of all flavors within the cocktail; tobacco, sage and lemon really come through." —Matthew Doerr La Alegre Granada "Playful Pomegranate" ◗ 1½ oz. Casamigos Añejo Tequila ◗ ½ oz. lemon juice ◗ ½ oz. honey syrup ◗ ¼ oz. ginger agave ◗ ¼ oz. ancho/cinnamon-infused Casamigos Repasado Tequila ◗ Pomegranate seeds ◗ Muddle the pomegranate seeds. Combine all ingredients with ice, shake, and strain into a coupe. Garnish with lemon slice. El Burro Duques ◗ 2½ oz. Duke Kentucky Straight Bourbon ◗ ½ oz. sarsaparilla syrup ◗ ½ oz. pomelo grapefruit juice ◗ 2 dashes of grapefruit bitters ◗ Ginger garnish ◗ Combine all ingredients, shake and strain over crushed ice. Serve in mule. Lyndsi Hastings, Principal Bartender, Culinary Dropout in Scottsdale, AZ. Jerame Tillman, Liquid Architect, The Handlebar in Tempe, AZ.

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