Drinkalogue: Corsair Artisan Distillery

Testify! The Gospel According to Corsair Artisan Distillery

On a recent trip to Nashville, I was lucky enough to tour the Corsair Artisan Distillery, self-proclaimed makers of booze for badasses.

These guys are the real deal. They distill everything themselves. Our guide preached against “so-called” distillers who take what MGPI (formerly LDI) barrels in Indiana and then bottle it in Iowa, Utah or Nashville. (More on MGPI in another post.)

But I get it. Corsair is completely hands-on, every step of the process.

They have a guy who slices vanilla beans with a razor blade for their vodka. The veggies and botanicals for their award-winning gin are also hand-cut and “layered like a lasagna”. Their bottles are even individually labelled and filled.

Despite their attention to detail and reverence for distilling, they don’t follow convention. They poke at the establishment with refreshing irreverence. It takes an evil genius to devise quinoa whiskey. And a mad scientist — albeit one with incredibly good taste — to invent Triple Smoke Whiskey.

Then there’s Distillery Cat, a stray who’s now a full-fledged staff member and an expert mouser. My some-time assistant Lula Belle would be jealous.

Great big distilleries feel like theme parks. Wineries feel like artists’ studios. But Corsair felt like being in the garage with the Ramones in 1974.

My only regret: I should’ve left with a few more bottles. I didn’t realize that outside of their Gin and Triple Smoke Whiskey, it’s not easy to find Corsair on local shelves.

Note: In Nashville, Corsair distills whiskey. In Bowling Green, they distill vodka, gin and absinthe. 

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Drinkalogue: Mixology Class at H. Harper Station

Crafting Classic Cocktails

I recently attended a Scoutmob-curated cocktail class at H. Harper Station. It was hosted by Jerry Slater, whose reputation as a master mixologist is beginning to extend far beyond the Atlanta area.

It was definitely $35 well spent. Not only do you learn tips and techniques from a master, you get three classic cocktails (for us, a Daiquiri, Negroni and Manhattan). Plus snacks that feature PIMIENTO CHEESE and BACON.

The classes are offered exclusively by Scoutmob. Sign-up to be the first to learn about the next round.

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Drinkalogue: Birthday Girl

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Atlanta’s a great place to drink.

To celebrate Amy’s XXth birthday, we visited two of Atlanta’s best places to drink (and, um, eat): Cibo e Beve and Holeman and Finch.

Cibo e Beve

If you want to stay warm on a freezing night, sit next to a blazing pizza oven and order a couple of drinks. Cibo e Beve takes their drinks seriously (on a few occasions, our meal was accented by the sounds of a lewis bag taking a serious beating). The food was incredible, too, but this blog isn’t called “notarealchef”. 

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My wife started with:

No Sex In The Rainbow Room
Our version of the classic cosmopolitan appropriately named from the stories of its origin. Madonna was served one of these cocktails by famed mixologist Dale Degroff at the Rainbow Room in NYC and later the drink gained more fame through television. Our version contains Hangar Vodka, Cointreau, fresh lime and cranberry juices. Garnished with a flamed orange.

My first thought was to order a Herbie Dale cocktail, featured in Esquire Magazine. But since we were eating Italian, I decided to drink that way, too:

Negroni
This classic Italian cocktail has been tweaked for taste. Our version contains Ransom gin, Punt e mes italian sweet vermouth, and Campari. A horseneck orange garnish provides the aromatic.

We weren’t disappointed. “No Sex…” was a really elegant spin on a Cosmo — a Cosmo for grown girls, if you will. And believe it or not, I’d never had a Negroni before. So although I don’t have a baseline for comparison, I will be experimenting with my own version at home. 

Holeman and Finch

Somehow, I talked the birthday girl into letting me stop by the H+F Bottle Shop on the way to the Holeman and Finch bar. Man, I love that place. I found myself discussing cocktail books with Greg Best, who is probably the man responsible for making Atlanta a prime destination for craft cocktails (first at Restaurant Eugene, then at Holeman and Finch).

As much as I wanted one of the shop’s vintage copies of the Savoy Cocktail Book, I exercised massive self control, walking out with only a tiny, $11 bottle of St. George Botanivore gin and a bag of Demerara sugar. 

Despite elbow-to-elbow patrons, our triumphant return to Holeman and Finch didn’t disappoint. I ordered an After Market (created by Mr. Best):

1.5 oz george dickel | .5 oz marie brizzard apry | .5 oz lime | 1 b. punt é mes  | 2 d. fee bros. whiskey barrel-aged bitters | shake, 2x strain, up | cracked black pepper

The cracked black pepper really puts it over-the-top, adding just the right kick.

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Amy ordered a gin gimlet. It made her make a scrunch face. My guess is she missed a little Rose’s Lime sweetness (they way Mr. Jordan Stone of Redondo Beach, CA used to make them for her). But I thought it was a damn fine, tart, stiff drink.

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One thing I really like about H+F: the drink menu includes the recipes — not just the ingredients. That’s awesome for rank amateurs like myself. 

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When the bill came, I was surprised to learn that our server was a Dark Lord of the Sith.

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Here’s hoping that my lovely wife has another birthday someday so we can do it all over again.

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