The Iconic Spirits Blog

Classic American Bars: Proof On Main, Louisville

February 27, 2013

Tags: proof on main

Proof on Main is regarded as an essential stop on downtown Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail. The bar is attached to the 21C Museum Hotel, opened in 2006 by philanthropists and art collectors Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson. Brown and Wilson wanted to help reverse the pattern of suburban sprawl by rejuvenating the city’s downtown area (and, presumably, to make money in the process). The overall feel of the place is similar to living in the MOMA; the hotel’s public spaces are filled with changing exhibits of the type of art many people used to make fun of, while some still do. (more…)

National Margarita Day

February 20, 2013

Tags: national margarita day

Friday, February 22 is National Margarita Day. If you’re at least middle-aged and the date sounds vaguely familiar, it used to be celebrated as Washington’s birthday. Nowadays we commemorate our first president on the third Monday in February, and clear the decks for serious drinking on his actual birth date.

Like many other famous cocktails, the origin of the margarita is shrouded in mystery. One version places its invention in Ensenada, Mexico in 1941, when bartender Don Carlos Orozco first served the drink to Margarita Henkel, the daughter of a German diplomat. Another story claims that it was devised a few years earlier by Carlos Herrera, who created it for a former showgirl named Marjorie King. Yet another commonly accepted tale insists that it was first concocted by a Dallas socialite named Margaret “Margarita” Somes. (more…)

Bourbon and Water

February 13, 2013

Tags: maker's mark

Get ready for the newest innovation in the world of spirits: the premixed Bourbon and water.

Am I joking? Of course. Is it funny? Not hardly. It seems that the folks at Maker’s Mark have decided to add more water to their whiskey before bottling, thereby reducing the alcohol level from 90 proof (45%) to 84 proof (42%).

The reason is apparently connected to supply and demand. Worldwide consumption of Bourbon has nearly doubled in recent years, and Maker’s Mark---along with other Kentucky distilleries---is having trouble filling orders from bars, restaurants and package stores. The change in alcohol level will result in a 6% increase in production. (more…)

American Harvest Organic Spirit

February 6, 2013

Tags: american harvest organic spirit

“Organic” is one of the buzz words of the moment, and consumers are making an effort to seek out products that are naturally and sustainably grown. It wasn’t always so, particularly in the beverage world. A decade or two ago, labeling a wine as organic was the kiss of death. Most organic wine back then was unstable, easily spoiled, and smelled like sauerkraut on a good day.

The situation with spirits was more complex. Although the Sazerac Company had been making Rain Vodka from organically grown white corn as early as 1997, the concept was slow to catch on---probably because many drinkers had difficulty accepting the theory that booze could be good for them, at least with a straight face. In fact, the advantages of organic spirits go way beyond any perceived health benefits or taste distinctions. They tend to be made in small batches, allowing the distiller to have tighter control over quality, and they are usually marketed in a fashion that doesn’t insult the intelligence (a practice worth celebrating in itself). (more…)