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June 2015: The Find

Posted on  | May 27, 2015   Bookmark and Share
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Can Skyy ‘Barcraft’ Hack the Modern Cocktail?

Vodka innovation has inspired some interesting twists and turns over recent decades. Skyy is hoping to steer consumers in yet another new direction with the launch of Skyy Barcraft.  These 60-proof “cocktail-inspired vodkas” in three flavors—Watermelon Fresca, Margarita Lime and White Sangria—are designed to deliver a quick, flavorful and authentic drinking experience with unprecedented ease. Just add one part Skyy Barcraft to two parts club soda over ice. No bar tools (or bartender) required. “Consumers want to bring craft cocktails and the elevated bar experience into their homes,” says Umberto Luchini, Head of Marketing at Campari America. “But, they are also seeking convenience and simplicity. We’re answering this need for more interesting flavor profiles and filling a white space in the premium vodka category.” SRP $18.49/750ml; also in 50ml and 1L. skyyvodka.com



Rum Producers Shaking Things Up

Perhaps rum deserves its image as the ultimate laidback spirit, innovating at the pace of a swinging hammock, but suppliers increasingly are honing messages that take rum away from the beach.

Nicarauguan producer Flor de Caña has gone as far as to trademark the phrase “Slow-Aged.” For Flor de Caña, aging rum is not just about time, it’s about conditions: the company’s original barrelhouses—with no air conditioning, electrical ventilation or humidifiers—leads to a faster maturation. Their portfolio is divided into The Slow-Aged Collection of 4, 5 and 7 year-old rums, favored for mixing; and the The Centenario Collection, tailored for sipping. flordecana.com

Bacardi continues to show an extreme commitment to mixologists. A recent packaging update brought a taller, slimmer, easier-to-grip bottle. The newest Bacardi expression, Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron, honors Maestros de Ron (Master Blenders) and made its U.S. debut at the James Beard Foundation Awards fête in Chicago in May. Designed to be the ultimate white mixing rum, it’s best served with premium tonic waters, or in quintessential cocktails like a Bacardi Maestro Collins (sparkling water, lemon juice, sugar). SRP $24.99 bacardi.com 

Age is also key at Guatemalan producer Ron Botrán, but there is added pedigree as Ron de Guatemala is a protected designation of origin (PDO)—established in 2010 and recognized by the EU in 2014. The PDO prescribes not only climatic conditions for aging, but also the soils, cane varieties and production processes to be used. Botrán begins with freshly pressed cane juice (never molasses), which is reduced into a honeyed syrup and then fermented slowly over 120 hours using proprietary yeast strains derived from pineapple. Following distillation in a towering column still, the new-make spirit is required to make its way to the mountains of Quetzaltenango for the aging based upon the Solera system familiar to fans of Sherry. “The humidity and cooler temperature allow the interaction with the wood to be carried out very slowly, which is critical for the best flavors,” explains Isabel Medina, Global Ambassador. Botrán uses four types of barrels—bourbon, re-toasted bourbon, Port and Sherry—and offers three distinct expressions: Reserva Blanca, Reserva and Solera 1893. botranrums.com 


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