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We’re nearing the end of February and spring is just around the corner — at least that’s what I’m hoping. This month you’re getting some great beverage recommendations and something brand new: cocktail recipes. Lighter cocktails are perfect to ease us into the new season. But St. Patrick’s Day is also coming up ahead of those spring flowers, so I’ve tossed in a couple of Irish options as well.

Enjoy! -Fred

Farmer’s Gin – 93 Ultimate Spirits Challenge

Farmer’s Gin is USDA Organic Certified and combines juniper, elderflower, lemon grass, coriander, and angelica root along with some other select botanicals. This gin is unique because its botanicals are more balanced throughout in contrast to the London Dry style that’s juniper-heavy. You still get some juniper, but it’s more complimentary to the lemon grass and elderflower then it is overpowering. It makes a good gin and tonic if you’re not too into juniper, but what I really like to do is impress people by using it in an Aviation Cocktail. Available at select locations.

Aviation Cocktail

  • 2 oz Farmer’s Gin

  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice

  • ½ oz maraschino liqueur

  • ¼ oz crème de violette

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for about 30 seconds and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry or a lemon twist.

Libelula Tequila Joven

Libelula is a 100% blue agave Tequila. It is a Joven, which means it’s been blended. It’s a mix of 80% blanco (unaged) tequila and 20% reposado pot still tequila aged a minimum of eight months in used American whiskey barrels. That combination gives you the bright, fresh agave flavors from the blanco, while the reposado adds a little complexity and body. This is great on its own, but there is no better way to celebrate spring a little early than with a paloma — my personal favorite — or a margarita . Available at all locations.

Paloma

  • 2oz Libelula Tequila Joven

  • ½ oz fresh lime juice

  • Pinch of salt

  • Grapefruit soda (Squirt, Fresca, or there are many craft brands available now as well)

Combine tequila, salt, and lime juice in a tall glass. Add ice, fill with soda and stir gently. Garnish with a lime wedge.

GREAT ST. PATRICK’S SUGGESTIONS.

Connemara Peated Irish Whiskey  –  94 Beverage Testing Institute

If you would have asked me six months ago what my favorite Irish whiskey was, I would have had a pretty easy time answering. Then last fall I tried Connemara for the first time, and now I’ve got a new contender in the running. It’s not new to its category, but it is unique. It is one of the few, if not only, peated Irish whiskies available. Admittedly, that’s probably why it took me so long to give it a try. I like peated Scotch, but I was a little worried about those flavors in an Irish whiskey. I was wrong — this is an excellent whiskey. There’s a good amount of peat on the nose, but the flavor isn’t overpowering. My first thought was of something along the line of a roasted apple dessert. It’s amazing, and much too good to do justice in a short paragraph. Just believe me when I say it blew me away. I recommend serving it neat or with a splash of water. Available at all locations.

Teeling Single Malt Irish Whiskey

The twist with Teeling Single Malt is not only that it’s 100% single malt pot still Irish whiskey, which would have been enough, but it’s also finished in multiple wine casks before being blended. It’s a combination of Sherry, Port, Madeira, White Burgundy, and Cabernet finished Irish malt whiskies. It gives you all the classic Irish whiskey flavors of toast, honey, and fruit — apples and pears come to mind — in a more complex package. I recommend serving it neat or with a splash of water. Available at all locations.

Five Farms Irish Cream – 97 Ultimate Spirits Challenge

Five Farms gets its name from the fact that all the cream is sourced from five family-owned farms. It is one of, if not the best, Irish cream I’ve ever had. It’s thick, sweet, and creamy; I gift a bottle to my mom at every family holiday gathering. You can drink this basically any way you can come up with. It’s great on the rocks, over ice cream, or with coffee. I for one am not a coffee drinker, but that’s how my mother enjoys it. The possibilities are endless.

From the website “Five Farms is a true farm-to-table product, crafted from single batches of fresh cream that are combined with premium Irish Whiskey within 48 hours of collection to become authentic Irish Cream Liqueur. The cream is sourced entirely from five family-owned farms in County Cork, run by families that have a deep connection to the land and a passion for their craft.”

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