By Eric Capstick
1800 Tequila has come up with a brilliantly creative limited-edition collection of Essential Artists bottles selected from over 15,000 online submissions from artists across the country. In the second year of Essential Artists program, 11 of the designs were selected from submissions and one from a “celebrity artist” designed by the Obama “hope” artist Shepard Fairey’s Studio Number One. The winner this year received a $10,000 award and featured placement in the collection. Not only is 1800 Tequila a creatively inspired distiller of pure 100% blue agave tequila, grown on family farms in Mexico, but it is also the best-selling super-premium tequila in the U.S.
I have been a practitioner of tequila consumption since my teenage years in Greenwich Village and through my college years in Ann Arbor and continue to enjoy the occasional margarita or shot of this invigorating spirit. Traditionally this practice invariably featured Cuervo Gold, and in the case of shots, a ritual of licking salt and biting into a wedge of lemon to distract from the taste of that tequila. A few years ago an old friend, who’d spent years in tequila-savvy Arizona, turned me on to the concept of the more refined and smooth silver tequilas, like 1800 Tequila. Not only is this tequila enjoyable to sip in a leisurely way but the Essential Artists bottle is literally a piece of art that will add ambience to any space. The bottle features a stopper that doubles as a shot glass and it will remain in my apartment long after the tequila is gone, perhaps as a beautiful container for olive oil. 1800 Tequila Essential Artists limited-edition bottles ($24.99) can be found in your area by entering your zip code on the company website.
The Botanical BULLDOG
“Respect Its Spirit and It Will Remain Forever Loyal” are words on the exotic charcoal gray bottle of BULLDOG London Dry Gin, an ultra-premium handcrafted spirit. Distinguished by the aromas and tastes of its twelve botanicals, quadruple distilled and triple-filtered, BULLDOG was the brainchild of a former investment banker inspired to create more unusual and exotic versions of favorite cocktails, the Dirty Gin Martini and the Gin & Tonic. His efforts, in coordination with a veteran operator from the wine and spirits industry, were rewarded with the highest rating ever given to a gin by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. BULLDOG’s ‘defiantly delicious’ persona is delicately influenced by its botanical flavors, including, Angelica, Juniper, Lotus Leaves, Liquorice, Cassia, Poppy and Dragon Eye, an ancient Chinese secret said to boost skin vitality and promote sexual stamina. BULLDOG is meticulously distilled in traditional copper pots in a process that creates a truly unique and distinctive spirit.
BULLDOG is at the center of a revival in the popularity of gin spirits and trumpets their brand as the “world’s most mixable gin.” To promote the concept into practice BULLDOG has commissioned a colorful and creative assortment of custom gin cocktails fashioned by the leading international Mixologists, John Freeman, Michael Waterhouse and Somer Perez. Their fifteen unique concoctions are absolutely gorgeous both in presentation and taste, reflecting the exotic character of BULLDOG London Dry Gin in combination with mix recipes that are striking for their fresh and unusual ingredients. One of these fresh creations is Start Me Up! a cocktail conceived by Waterhouse that calls for BULLDOG, apple cider, ginger liquor, pomegranate or cranberry juice, ginger ale and a lemon wedge. People are saying that Gin is making a comeback and if that’s the case then BULLDOG will likely be at the center of the action.
Bombay Sapphire Gin
A more venerable and established player in the ultra-premium gin trade is the sophisticated and catching classic, Bombay Sapphire. In fact, Bombay Sapphire is not only the fastest growing premium gin brand but also the top valued premium gin in the world. Bombay Sapphire was also the first premium gin to showcase the importance of botanicals in the creation of its refined and sophisticated spirit. The distillation process for Bombay Sapphire is also unique to the distillation universe because of the vapour-distillation techniques it has exclusively developed over the years. Most gins are made by boiling botanicals with the spirit in a standard pot still but Bombay Sapphire’s process combines the botanicals with the spirit while it is still in vapour form, using the only two specially adapted Carterhead stills in existence. Ten botanicals from around the world are used in the manufacture of Bombay Sapphire, including almonds and lemon peel from Spain, coriander seeds from Morocco, cassia bark from Indo-China, orris (iris root) from Italy, and grains of paradise from West Africa to name a few.
The compelling character and smoothness of Bombay Sapphire classic dry gin shines through in the refreshingly delicate and light flavors of the spirit itself, whether you serve up an Ultimate Martini, a simple Gin & Tonic, or try the Bombay Sapphire Collins with fresh lemons and sugar. The creativity that has informed the distillation process for Bombay Sapphire has also inspired the company to sponsor individual artists in design, film, music and other areas through the Bombay Sapphire Foundation and the competitions it sponsors. This provides an outlet for the work of thousands of emerging artists and is a perfect compliment to a brand that has always embodied inspired design and superior quality, Bombay Sapphire classic dry gin.
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