Tastings

Treat Your Guests to Sips of Rare and Limited-Edition Spirits

This month’s bar steps away from cocktails for the moment and focuses instead on the spirits themselves. Rare editions are the stars. Set up two or three tasting stations with different spirits and exquisite glassware. Be ready to indulge guests with your knowledge of what went into making the spirit. On the side, offer mini bottles of high-end sodas and ultra hydrading water to keep the crowd un-parched.

[1] Four Roses Single Barrel 2013 125 years of exquisite bourbon making comes with the release of this 13-year-old barrel strength masterpiece. Hand selected by their Master Distiller, only about 4000 bottles will showcase a Kentuckian tradition straight from the barrel—uncut and non-chill filtered. From the tasting notes: Hints of ripe plum and cherries, robust, full body, mellow. Lift your glass and toast to 125 years more. Around $40. fourrosesbourbon.com

[2] Highland Park Freya is the third release of a 15-year-old limited edition single malt playfully dubbed Valhalla. This release is inspired by Freya, the Norse Goddess of love and war. From the tasting notes: Orange peel, butterscotch and rose petals provide the sweetness along with orange blossom and ginger. Lively popping candy, lemongrass and tropical fruits are lightly shrouded in peat smoke. $235. Available online at b-21.com highlandpark.co.uk

[3] Karlsson’s Batch 2009 is made of Sweden’s revered Virgin New Potatoes, which are harvested before the potato has fully developed its skin, so the potato has a very high water content and extremely low starch content. The vodka is distilled once and unfiltered to create a pure flavor which reflects the unique characteristics of the source ingredient. It’s also gluten-free. Only 1,980 bottles available. karlssonsvodka.com $75. Available online at astorwines.com.

[4] Milagro Select Barrel Reserve is made from 100% blue agave. After harvesting, the piñas are roasted in clay ovens for 36 hours, lending a light smoky flavor. After roasting, the piñas are fermented, then distilled three times. Most tequilas are distilled twice, the third distillation brings more of the agave flavor out. Tasting notes: caramel, tobacco and butterscotch open up to hints of sweet agave, pineapple and citrus. milagrotequila.com $90. Available online at caskers.com

[5] Ransom Old Tom Gin is an award-winning gin, modeled and resurrected after the style of gin in the mid 1800s, with the help of cocktail historian David Wondrich. It gets its golden color from barrel-aging, and flavor profile from corn and malted barley, juniper berries, orange peel, lemon peel, coriander seed, cardamon pods, and angelica root. Possibly, a gin for those who don’t care for gin. ransomspirits.com $45. Available online at astorwines.com

[6] Baron Otard Xo Gold Premier Edition is only available at duty-free shops. Baron Otard is aged in the ancient cellars of the landmark Château de Cognac, the home of Baron Otard, who purchased the property in the early 1800s. The cellars’ thick walls and proximity to the River Charente provide an ideal environment for aging eaux-de-vie. From the tasting notes: fruity flavors (plum, hazelnuts) with the softness of honey, enhanced by a touch of violet. baronotard.com $150.

[7] Harvest Spirits Rare Pear Brandy Made in New York State using bartelett and bosc pears which are crushed whole and fermented with skins on. Minimally distilled twice, then aged two years in charred American oak with minimal filtration, and no added sugar. Only 850 bottles were created. harvestspirits.com $34. Available online at astorwines.com.

H2O essentials At a party like this, hydration is key. Make sure to offer guests plenty of delicious and refreshing options such as Essentia hydrating water which uses a three step process to create this super alkaline beverage. This water is put through an extensive filtering, osmosis, and ultraviolet exposure process to achieve 99.9% purity. Add electrolytes to that and remove bitter-tasting low pH ions, and the result is a purely fresh water with soft taste. essentiawater.com