February 2, 2024 — How about trying something new and different this year! We’ve found several interesting spirits that might not be familiar: Hollywood-themed whiskies from Filmland Spirits, romantic Italian aperitivos from Italicus & Savoia, and one of our all time favorites Hood River Distillers. All are not only delicious but something to talk about too. And they make great gifts as well as cocktails!
Let’s start with Filmland Spirits. Founded in 2020, the company was born from enthusiasm for whiskey, a passion for old movies and story-telling. The Filmland team is wildly creative and we’re pretty sure there’s a lot of laughter during creative meetings as they choose movies, product names and labels. Imagine coming up with Ryes of the Robots Extended Cut Cask Strength Straight Rye Whiskey. Perfect for anyone who relishes a good pun.
Besides being amused, we discovered a darned delightful rye whiskey. We also sampled Town at the End of Tomorrow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Aged 9 Years. Even better! Sooo smooth. There’s nothing gimmicky about these whiskies and we can see why all Filmland’s whiskies have won Gold Medals or higher. Even the bottles tell part of the story as they are custom designed to reflect an art deco style reminiscent of the movie houses of old and feature movie posters as labels.
The recipe below features Moonlight Mayhem! Extended Cut Cask Strength Straight Bourbon. Visit their website to order on line or find a store. Despite warring robots, biting werewolves and time travel, romance romps throughout and it’s exactly the right way to celebrate Valentine’s Day!
Blackberry Bite Cocktail
½ oz Moonlight Mayhem! Extended Cut Cask Strength Straight Bourbon
¾ oz lemon juice
½ oz simple syrup
Garnish – frozen blackberries and mint
Method: Muddle simple syrup and blackberries in a shaker. Add Moonlight Mayhem! Extended Cut and lemon juice, then shake with ice. Strain into a highball glass, add ice. Top with club soda and garnish with frozen blackberries and mint.
Italicus & Savoia
For a romantic Valentine evening, set the stage with a classic Italian aperitivo. A civilized way to close the gap between lunch and dinner, the tradition dates back to Roman times. The libation is usually low alcohol and accompanied by a light snack. Distinguished Italian spirits authority, Giuseppe Gallo, created Italicus Rosilio di Bergamotto. Launched in 2016, it has won top awards all over the world and the languishing Rosolio category is enjoying a rich revival. Rosolio does not refer to roses. Italicus is a rosolio di bergamotto which translates from the Italian to “morning dew of bergamots”. How poetic and romantic! (Bergamots are sour citrus native to Italy. The fragrant oil is used in numerous products from scents to soap to Earl Grey Tea.)
Signore Gallo also created Savoia Americano Rosso made with a blend of 22 botanicals providing a perfect mid-point between red bitters and sweet vermouths for a range of classic Italian cocktails.
Both elegantly presented products are widely available and the recipes below are easy to make. For more ideas and interesting information visit the beautiful Italicus web site and Savoia Americano.
1 part Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
1 part Tequila Blanco
½ part lime juice
1 bar spoon agave nectar
Method: Shake and serve straight up in a coupette. Garnish with lime zest or green olives.
Julietta & Romeo
1 oz Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
½ oz Savoia Americano
2 oz Prosecco top-up
Method: Pour the Savoia and Italicus into a tumbler or highball glass. Top with Prosecco. Garnish with gold dust and rose petals.
Hood River Distillers
We’ve been lucky enough to sample many products from Hood River Distillers and we’ve enjoyed every one of them. Founded in 1934 – wow! 90 years ago – Hood River Distillers is the largest, and the oldest, distillery in the Northwest.
We love the name of this cocktail for Valentine’s cocktail.We also like the Timberline Vodka and the Clear Creek Raspberry Liqueur. All those complex flavors and so easy to make! (Just as an aside and off topic, we really like their Trail’s End Bourbon.) Read about the Timberline Vodka here, which includes Pacific Northwest apples, and glacier-fed spring water from Mt. Hood; plus the liqueurs read here from Clear Creek Distillery, one of the first craft distilleries in the United States using locally grown fresh fruits and berries rivalling their European counterparts.
Sitting in a Tree (K-I-S-S-I-N-G)
1 ½ oz Timberline Vodka
¾ oz Clear Creek Raspberry Liqueur
2 oz Pineapple Juice
Method:Shake with ice, strain into a martini glass, garnish with a lemon twist