The Iconic Spirits Blog

Behind the Zion Curtain

March 27, 2013

Tags: utah liquor laws, zio curtain

The headline on the accompanying newspaper story is only partly true. Eighty years after the Repeal of Prohibition, there are still a number of states with antiquated and restrictive liquor laws. Among the worst of these, as you might imagine, is Utah. The 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City shined a spotlight on the state’s alcohol statutes, and things haven’t loosened up much in the intervening decade.

You can order a drink in a restaurant with a liquor license, but only when consuming food---if you want a libation while looking over the menu, forget it. This law doesn’t apply to bars, since the patrons have presumably corrupted their souls by the mere act of entering the building. There’s also an exception for airport lounges, since the sinners are on their way out of the state and can no longer exercise a negative influence on the locals. Want to buy beer, wine or liquor? Go to a state-operated store. The most absurd liquor law in Utah, however, is the so-called Zion Curtain. (more…)

Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur

March 20, 2013

Tags: solerno blood orange liqueur

Oranges today are commonplace, but they were once among the rarest and most highly prized of culinary treats. During his march across Europe, the Emperor Napoléan learned that a chemist in Belgium was making a liqueur from mandarins, which at the time were an exotic ingredient not available outside Sicily or Northern Africa. He requested that the liqueur be blended with is personal Cognac. Unfortunately, he didn’t have much time to enjoy it, since the first shipment was delivered while he was on his way to Waterloo. Today, that liqueur is known as Mandarine Napoléan.

Blood oranges, a natural mutation of the sweet orange, have always occupied a special place in the world of citrus. While they may have first appeared on the scene in Asia, they migrated to the Mediterranean shortly afterward, and today are the primary variety of orange grown in Italy. Connoisseurs and botanists alike will tell you that Sicily has the best climate for growing citrus, and that the island is the source for the finest blood oranges. (more…)

The Robotic Bartender

March 13, 2013

Tags: bartendro

Ever wondered exactly what’s missing in your life? Have you ever agonized over the one piece of the puzzle that---if you could only find it---would finally complete your existence on planet Earth?

If so, what’s probably missing is a robotic bartender. I’m not referring to a guy making drinks with no personality or expression on his face, but rather to the ultimate combination of technology and debauchery: the Bartendro. (more…)

Concannon Irish Whiskey

March 6, 2013

Tags: concannon irish whiskey

If consumers confuse Livermore’s Concannon Vineyard with the Irish whiskey of the same name, the mixup is understandable---the two products have a common lineage.

James Concannon left Ireland for America in 1865, harboring the dream of creating great Bordeaux and Rhone-style wines in the New World. Ten years later he wandered across the country to California, became intrigued with the Livermore Valley, and immersed himself in the world of winemaking. Eventually, he became the first Irish immigrant to start a successful winery in the U.S. His operation survived Prohibition, and eventually became known as a champion of California Petite Sirah and the potential of Livermore as a viticultural area. (more…)