The stuff of dreams: Creativity in gin and vodka mixers

Written by By Matthew Vorsheil, for CNN Now you can taste “Black Friday” when you sip at the original Black Velvet in New York or sip Russian vodka with a side of cacao at…

The stuff of dreams: Creativity in gin and vodka mixers

Written by By Matthew Vorsheil, for CNN

Now you can taste “Black Friday” when you sip at the original Black Velvet in New York or sip Russian vodka with a side of cacao at Tokyo’s Chaya Brasserie.

These aren’t typical examples of spirits from a luxury lifestyle brand. This is the real deal from limited edition small batch mixers.

Per a (very, very temporary) press release by the small, but growing, “exotic blend” of spirits, we’re talking 42 exclusive apertifs and 40 standard cocktails in the worlds of cocktails, special offers and alternative cocktails with the New Covent Manhattan, the New York City grande dame of mixers.

Here’s what’s new, what’s changing and what’s staying the same, as of April.

The Third Class in London

Mixologists at Tandem London have been incorporating the Black Velvet into their cocktails. This cocktail combines fresh blackberries with Bailey’s Irish Cream

Above is Black Velvet’s New York iteration, the New York Black Velvet, created by mixologist Zack Bystander. Courtesy New York Black Velvet

The latest take on exotic Chinese whisky comes from Tangier’s, The Third Class

Singaporean bitters have been recently imported into the United States. The blended dry additions contain flavors from South East Asia for those seeking a splash of South East Asian ginger. Pictured is one of several versions of their Cold Booted Scottish Rum Espresso Brown on offer from Hoa Bao Distillery in Korea

After almost two years in Brazil, Genero Pacié is now available in the US. The popular cocktail garnished with watermelon, is no longer sold at Ace Hotel in São Paulo. (Ricky Conrad)

Spirits traditionally barreled have gone the way of Elvis, with the number of infused libations being produced at the same time dropping dramatically. A low-slung, mahogany vessel is now seen as more central to the distilling process than the old stock and some of the best byproducts are collected and used in new product.

Below are three of the newest flavors at what might be the best place to discover them all.

New York’s classic Black Velvet has been given a Thai, Caribbean and Indonesian flavor by the Jats for the Chocolate Queens. Courtesy Jats

As it turns out, the making of a good gin cocktail (or what one considers a “gin cocktail”) is often a multistep process, and more often than not a total off-the-shelf fix. No further proof than this Rare Gin Gimlet from the Jats for the Chocolate Queens, which uses gin from Jo Casavant of Holland and is a classic take on a bar-ready shot. Pictured above is a sample of this gin from Bushmills

The best cocktails usually come with a few surprises.

In Singapore, Holy Basil Tea is described as “Russian roulette” with gin from The Jodie Ager of Germany for a subtly flavored cocktail at Southeast Asia’s Leatherdale Inn. Pictured above is the owners with one of the teas used in the cocktail.

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