Have you ever wondered how bars choose what liquor to carry? Some bar owners and managers choose out of a catalog but it’s of course better to choose after tasting the products. Sometimes you go to shows like Nightclub and Bar or cocktail weeks like Tales of the Cocktail or Manhattan Cocktail Classic. Or some distributors do special tastings of their products but usually it’s after liquor reps come in lugging product. Anchor Distilling makes gin, genever, whiskey, vodka but also imports many brands including the line from Berry Bros & Rudd. They also carry Luxardo products and I was excited to try the new Luxardo Aperitivo liqueur.
But first we tasted the English Harbour Antigua Rum. I wasn’t familiar with this rum which on first taste seemed a bit rough but I thought it’d be an excellent base for a grog. I can see the pirates asking for this now.
To be fair, I am most familiar with Bols Genever which is very distinctive to me. Genevers are a distant relation and forerunner to gin. Bols tends to be malty and I’d use it more as a whiskey rather than a gin. However, Anchor’s Genevieve was more floral and I really got a sense of the botanicals. It seemed more like a gin to me. I don’t like Genevieve more than Bols but rather use them in different cocktails. Which brings me to the topic of people should really test out the spirits before using them willy-nilly. All spirits have their own personality. When a bartender asks your preference in spirit, I tend to ask what they trust would be the best in the cocktail. I am always happy to learn from their experience of playing around with the spirits.
At last, I got the Aperitivo. Initially it reminded me strongly of Campari. I had imagined it would be like Aperol but it is more bitter. I liked it since I like the more bitter Campari. On the other hand, it has a smooth finish which reminded me of the more gentle Aperol and the new Calisaya from Oregon.
I tasted more spirits from the Anchor line alongside bar manager Brittini Rae Peterson at Goldie’s. It was fun to watch her pick out what she would order. You’ll have to check back to see if any of these made it but I’m guessing the Aperitivo might be a go.
© The Minty // LA Cocktails 2013