The Iconic Spirits Blog

Maker's Mark

May 30, 2012

Tags: Maker's Mark, Maker's 46

Bill Samuels, Sr. purchased Burk’s Distillery, outside of Loretto, Kentucky, in 1952. He was no stranger to the Bourbon business. His ancestor, T.W. Samuels, built the first commercial distillery in the state in 1840. Except for Prohibition and a ten-year gap in the 1940s, the Samuels family had produced whiskey continuously.

According to legend, the first thing that Bill Sr. did was burn the family’s Bourbon recipe. (more…)


May 23, 2012

Tags: punch, history of punch, Planter's Punch

Summer doesn’t begin on June 21, or on the first real beach day. It begins on the day when you get the inspiration to make some punch. And---just like paying taxes and exiting the planet---you’ll end up doing it sooner or later.

Most historians believe that punch was invented in India. Employees of the British East India Company brought it back with them in the 17th century, and it quickly became part of life in the British navy. It was originally concocted in 72-gallon casks called puncheons, which evolved into the modern punch bowl. By the 19th century punch bowls were a standard item in British households, and the fashion had spread to America as well. (more…)

Recent Releases from Van Gogh Vodka

May 16, 2012

Tags: Van Gogh Vodka, Van Gogh Cool peach, Van Gogh Dark Chocolate, Van Gogh PB&J

Van Gogh Vodka is produced at the Royal Dirkzwager Distilleries in Schiedam, Holland. The company has been family owned since its founding in 1879 (the “Royal” in the name refers to a Royal Warrant conferred on the distillery by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands), and remains so---a rarity in this era of corporate ownership by multi-national conglomerates. According to Master Distiller Tim Vos, “We believe we are creators of Dutch vodkas with a broad palette of tastes and colors,” and thus Van Gogh “is a name that makes sense for us.” Ironically, 1879 was around the time when Vincent Van Gogh left Holland for good, fed up with an art establishment unable to comprehend a broad palette of colors. (more…)

Four Roses Limited Edition Single Barrel

May 9, 2012

Tags: Four Roses Limited Edition Single Barrel

The term “single barrel” is one of the most confusing in the lexicon of spirits. Most designated Single Barrels are actually blends of liquor from different casks. Elijah Craig Single Barrel, for example, is composed of Bourbon from no more than 70 separate casks, and there are single barrel Bourbons on the market drawn from as many as 200 different barrels (most regular Bourbons, by contrast, are blends of whiskey from 500-700 barrels). (more…)

Pimm's Cup: The Rites of Spring

May 2, 2012

Tags: Pimm's Cup

Premixed cocktails just won’t go away, despite the fact that no one admits to drinking them. They were never really stylish in America, since they conjured up images of brown bags, bums and convenience store parking lots; in this age of designer libations, they seem to suggest laziness, as well as a lack of imagination and taste. Even so, they turn up like the unwanted dinner guest. At the recent convention of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America in Las Vegas, one of the flashy “new products” was something called Twist In A Glass, which contained a precise amount of mixer (Margarita, Cosmo, etc.) in a cocktail glass, just waiting for the customer’s alcohol of choice. (more…)