March is shaping up to be a busy month in the spirits world. (Spirits, as in cocktails. Not visitors from beyond.) I know of at least four new brands that have launched recently, or are launching in the next few weeks: three with local ties to Dallas, and one that is just plain good… especially as we plan for patio weather.
Kruto Vodka is a wheat-based vodka made in the Ukraine by Russian emigrant to the United States, Eugene Grafer (now based in Plano), working along with his Russian business partner. Their goal was to create the smoothest, highest quality vodka for the American market… mainly so they would have something delicious to drink while in America. The Kruto Original Vodka is distilled 9 times and filtered 5 for a smooth, delicate spirit that has a touch of floral and toasted honey notes from the wheat, great to be used as a base in cocktails. They will also launch their Kruto Flawless Vodka soon, distilled and impressive 15 times creating a very clean spirit meant to be sipped on its own, slightly chilled. And, the best part about this vodka, it is priced around $16 a bottle, quite affordable compared to others in the same quality category. Kruto will be available at Goody-Goody and Sigel’s stores starting the first part of March.
Losing Larry Hagman in late 2012 was devastating to those who knew him and loved his generous, giving and veru funny soul. The end of March a new bourbon will launch inspired by Larry’s beloved, mischievous and ruthless character, JR Ewing from the Dallas TV show. In conjunction with the third season of the new Dallas series on TNT, Southfork Bottling Company in collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Warner Bros. Television Group, has created JR Ewing Bourbon, and 80 proof spirit made in Kentucky, aged 4 years in American Oak to create a slightly spicy, oak and vanilla filled palate that lingers on the palate, staying with you even after you have finished your drink…much like Larry’s spirit. The Bourbon will retail for around $35 a bottle and will be available at fine spirits stores at the end of March.
Dallas County finally has its first locally produced whiskey distillery. Herman Marshall Distillery, located in a small strip center in Garland, was founded by Marshall Louis and Herman Beckley, making a bourbon whiskey that is 100% Texas from Texas corn and mash grown near the Texas panhandle. Their small batch – hand crafted bourbon and rye, which launched last summer and can now be found at liquor stores throughout Dallas like Sigel’s, Spec’s and Total Wine and More, has received some great recognition and awards, including winning silver at the 2013 American Distilling Institute spirit competition. The bourbon is about $40 a bottle, the rye slightly more, priced around $45 a bottle.
I am not the biggest fan of sweet drinks, often shying away from flavored spirits like “wedding cake vodka” or “cotton candy flavored vodka.” I do, however, like a fruit filled drink that is balanced, especially one that is refreshing and smooth. Belvedere Vodka just launched their new vodka maceration, Belvedere Mango Passion Vodka filled with fresh mango, passion fruit, mandarin orange and lime flowers. Like some of their other infusions, like their Lemon Tea and Bloody Mary, just the flavor of the fruit shines, creating fresh and clean vodka, ideal for sipping on a patio simply mixed with club soda or fresh lemonade. The vodka, which will launch nationwide in just over a month, will retail for about $35 a bottle.