You know how finding stuff is sort of the best? Like your lucky socks that you were sure had been eaten by the dryer, or that box of your favorite cookies that you stashed at the back of your pantry? Well, brandy was a similarly fun find! Over 700 years ago, merchants transporting wine started taking some of its water out, to make moving it around easier—it would take up less room and wouldn’t spoil. And how would they transport it? In oak barrels, of course! And they’d add the water back in before drinking. Well, it didn’t take long for someone to take a sip and realize the barrel-aged brandywine tasted pretty darn good on its own, no water necessary. And there you have it, surprise! Brandy was born.
We hope you can’t wait to discover the joy of this fine, fine distilled wine in our January box: Brandy, She’s So Fine! Subscribe now through January 2nd to get yours—it’ll ship the week of January 9th.
So what libations can you expect from our good friend brandy? First up is the Cherchez La Femme, created by Kellie Thorn, a refreshing departure from winter’s typical bitter and boozy offerings. This cooler—made with tart winter fruit and juniper berries—highlights the spirit and evokes the season in just the right, delicious way!
Kellie joined forces with star chef Hugh Acheson in 2010 to open Empire State South in Atlanta, GA, and was so successful there that in 2013 she became Beverage Director for all of Acheson’s restaurants. A BNIC Certified Cognac Educator, Kellie recently passed the BAR Five Day program in New York and helps organize annual charity events for Wholesome Wave Georgia and Community Farmers Markets.
Next up is the Business Time, a winter take on a pisco sour created by Brice Hoffman. This cocktail has an amazingly velvety, almost chocolaty flavor to it from the delicious combination of almonds and cinnamon in our cinnamon orgeat. (Or-what, you say? Get the scoop on this almond joy.)
This drink’s not vegan, as it does call for a raw egg white (though the egg won’t be included in the box—we weren’t quite ready to take on that shipping challenge!—and we can recommend Ms. Better’s Miraculous Foamer as a vegan alternative). Utilized properly, raw egg whites give cocktails a texture and body you can’t get any other way. They’re an important component of a traditional sour cocktail and have been used in classics for centuries. So if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make an egg white cocktail, now’s your chance! (Or get an egg-cellent sneak preview.)
Brice Hoffman—currently the Head of Beverage at Urban Cowboy Public House—is an acclaimed hospitality veteran with more than a decade behind the stick. He honed his craft at venues like the award-winning Bourbon and Branch in San Francisco, and continued to do so in Nashville as the Bar Emperor at Rolf and Daughters. His favorite approach is to play with classics while putting his own special touch on each menu to keep it current, interesting, and—most important—tasty.
The Mediterranean Toddy by Brian McCullough puts Middle Eastern flavors front and center. Basing it on the za’atar tea popular in the region, we’ve spiked this concoction with brandy, warm honey, lemon zest, and cinnamon for a full-flavored toddy with an edge. It’s savory and wonderfully aromatic, with a long-lasting warmth to make you feel safe and cozy.
Brian—GQ Magazine’s Bombay Sapphire’s Most Inspired Bartender 2010 and Eater Dallas’s Bartender of the Year 2013—opened The Standard Pour in Dallas, TX, in 2012. It has been named one of the Best Bars of the South by Southern Living Magazine, and Best Cocktail Bar in Dallas by Thrillist and CultureMap. He was president of North Texas US Bartenders Guild 2010–2015 and has been featured in Tasting Panel Magazine, Imbibe, Garden & Gun, Southern Living, Food & Wine, Travel Leisure, Conde Nast, Drinks International, and D Magazine.
We can’t wait to share Brandy, She’s So Fine with you. The Ladies’ Man would definitely approve.
May you discover something fun this season (like cash in your coat pocket),
The Shaker & Spoon Team