Monthly Archives: September 2010

A New Way to Enjoy Tequila – Given Liqueur Review

Who doesn’t love tequila? Who doesn’t love lime with their tequila ? Exactly, so when I first heard of a new product that infused the two together to create a uniquely flavored liqueur I just had to get my hands on it. Given (pronounced Jee-Vahn), is a unique blend of premium agave tequila, all natural lime juice, and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, hand crafted through an infusion process in the Cognac region of France. Wait what? Pump the breaks. If you’re like I was, your left eyebrow is probably highly elevated right now. Tequila from France?  Well don’t worry tequila aficionados, it’s only infused there. The tequila is as authentic as it gets, imported from Jalisco, Mexico aka the center of the tequila industry. As for the Sauvignon Blanc Grapes, well you know the French had to throw in their two cents before calling it their own.

First things first, the presentation on this one is amazing. It comes in a sleek and sexy black bottle that looks like my wife’s little black dress. And to top it off , it comes supplied with a cork style enclosure rather than the traditional screw top. So far I’m impressed. Lets hope this Gold Medal Winner at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition of 2010 can live up to the hype.

Aroma: Tequila, tequila, and more tequila. If I poured this in front of you, you would swear it was Cinco De Mayo. A second sniff and you should be able to notice the citrus tones underneath caused by the lime and grapes.

Taste: I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I prepared myself for the intense tequila flavor that I was sure would be coming to match it’s intense smell but instead I was met with a great blend of citrus, sour, and tart flavor. Tequila was apparent but took a back seat to all the other flavors which I actually believe help make this drink work. It almost carries a heavy similarity to a wine, like a moscato. I decided to pour this one for all the adults in the house. My first instinct is to use this as a shooter, but after playing around with a few ingredients as well as trying some recipes available at, both I and my guests will agree Given is not one dimensional. You can shoot it, sip it, or combine it with ingredients of your choice to make your own signature cocktail. Something as simple as club soda to something as complex as basil leaves and you’ve got your self a party in your mouth. Those familiar with other tequila based liqueurs are probably eager to know how it stacks up against the competition. Well I can honestly say that having tasted several brands such as Tequila Rose, Agavero, Almendrado liqueur, Patron XO, and several other tequila based liqueurs, that Given has a unique and impressive taste that has me wanting more. If I had to compare it to one, it would be the wildly popular Agavero, but only in the sense that they are both going to be enhance cocktail recipes. If I had three hands this one would get three thumbs up, but then that would be awkward and I’d be in a different profession. This drink works on so many levels to accommodate the tequila lover and the soft drinker all in one. Check out to find out how you can go about purchasing a bottle.

Given Bisou (Signature Cocktail)

  • 3 oz Given
  • 1 oz Champagne
  • Fresh Mint Leaves

Pour Given with mint leaves into a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a champagne flute. Slowly add champagne and garnish with a cherry.

Given G

  • 2 oz Given
  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • 4 Basil leaves

Muddle Basil leaves in shaker. Add gin and given into the shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass filled with ice.

Given Punch

  • 2 oz Given
  • 1.5 oz Cachacha
  • 1/2 oz Agave Nectar
  • 1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 5 Fresh Raspberries

Muddle raspberries in shaker.  Add ingredients to the shaker with ice.  Shake well with ice cubes and strain into goblet or rocks glass with ice cubes.  Garnish with lemon wheel

Given Liqueur – A New Way to Enjoy Tequila

Sample courtesy of Given Imports Ltd.
Check them out on and


Cocktail of The Week: Dark N Stormy

This weeks featured cocktail is one of my all time favorites, and one of the most controversial. The Dark N Stormy is one part easy, two parts delicious. With only two ingredients this one can be made in seconds and offer a much more complicated taste. Why the controversy you ask? Because unlike many other cocktails, this one can’t have interchangeable brands. Next time you’re out, try ordering one of these and see what rum they use. If it isn’t Gosling’s Black Seal rum then you’re drinking a fraud according to the Gosling family of Bermuda. Truth is considering how hard it is to find their rum, that drink you’ve been enjoying for years has probably not been a Dark N Stormy, well not legally anyway. Recent trademark filings by the Goslings brand and family suggest to legally call it a Dark in stormy it must include the ingredients listed below. So now you can enjoy this drink the correct way. If your a fan of ginger ale you’ll love this one as well, because it includes the much bolder flavored ginger product known as ginger beer. So without further delay, here is this weeks cocktail of the week.

Dark N Stormy

2 oz Goslings Black Seal Rum
6 oz Ginger Beer

Add ginger beer to a tall glass filled with ice. Float Goslings rum on the top and garnish with a lime wheel. Enjoy.

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Posted by on September 27, 2010 in Cocktail Of The Week


Press Release: Avion Tequila


New York, NY – Avion Tequila LLC was formed by a group of entrepreneurs and beverage industry professionals with the sole purpose of creating and developing a tequila that defines a new standard of quality and taste. The announcement was made by Ken Austin, Founder and Chairman of Tequila Avión.

Ken Austin, an integral part of the executive management team at Marquis Jet since 2001, and currently one of the Company’s Executive Vice Chairmen, has had a consuming passion for the beverage industry since early in his business career when he worked in senior management positions at E&J Gallo and The Seagram Beverage Company. Mr. Austin has been a tequila lover for nearly two decades, searching for the ideal tequila, and formed Tequila Avión with Kenny Dichter, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Marquis Jet and Chairman of MGX Lab.

Jenna Fagnan was recently appointed as President of Tequila Avión. “Jenna is an exceptional professional with outstanding qualifications in the wine and spirits industry. Jenna will be instrumental to the success of Tequila Avión,” said Mr. Austin. Prior to joining Tequila Avión, Ms. Fagnan served as Vice President of Marketing and Vice President of Sales at TAG Heuer, a subsidiary of LVMH and prior to that was Managing Director of Dom Pérignon USA, a subsidiary of Moët Hennessy. Previously, Ms. Fagnan was a Supervisor with Wieden & Kennedy on the Nike and Coca Cola businesses, in which capacity she helped to develop brand strategy, create multimedia advertising campaigns and re-launch the Diet Coke and Coca Cola Light brands worldwide.

Said Ms. Fagnan, “It is a privilege for me to join Tequila Avión because we have a product that defines a new standard of quality and taste, as well as a stellar team of marketing, branding, advertising and public relations professionals to support it. I am confident that, together, we will redefine the trade and consumers’ expectations, invigorate and grow the tequila marketplace and capture a significant share of the ultra premium tequila category.”

“I’ve always experimented and searched for a tequila that is smooth and has great character, whether I drink it neat or in a cocktail. Over the years, close friends and business associates who were also passionate about tequila have joined me in this pursuit,” said Mr. Austin. “We came to realize that if we wanted the ideal tequila – balancing exceptional taste, character and smoothness – we would have to create it ourselves. With the help of experts that understood our quest, that is exactly what we have achieved in Tequila Avión, a distinctive and defining new standard of quality and taste in tequila, or ‘Taste Elevated’ as we refer to it.”
Tequila Avión forged a partnership with fifth generation agave growers to secure the finest Blue Weber Agave plants found in the very highest regions of Jalisco, Mexico, which are the most coveted for use in tequila production, due to their rich mineral content as well as their distinct quality and character. Earlier this month, Tequila Avión completed a multimillion dollar round of funding from investors, including many notables from the worlds of arts and culture, business, technology, sports, lifestyle and luxury goods.

The formulations for Silver, Reposado and Anejo, the three Tequila Avión varietals are now in full production. Distributor partnerships, launch markets, and rollout plans are complete and will be disclosed imminently. The Company’s web site will launch in July at and it has a Facebook fan page; Tequila Avión.



Posted by on September 19, 2010 in Press Releases, Tequila


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Cocktail of the Week: Cream Soda

This week’s featured cocktail is about as simple and tasty as it gets. Two ingredients that combine to create a party in your mouth. The Cream soda cocktail, or “adult” cream soda as I like to call it, is one of the first cocktails I tried while in college and I have never forgotten it. The original recipe calls for “vanilla” vodka, but after experimenting with several different brands of Vanilla Vodka I have found it to be perfect with a particular brand. This drink goes well with just about any occasion, and its simplicity will make it a great go-to drink when you have limited time and/or money on your side.

1 1/2 oz Stolichnaya Vanilla
4 1/2 oz Ginger Ale
Lime Wedge

Add ingredients together in a High Ball glass and stir. Add lime wedge garnish.

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Posted by on September 19, 2010 in Cocktail Of The Week


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Kickoff Cocktails: College Football Inspired Cocktails

It’s football season again! And you know what that means, yet another excellent reason to drink aka tailgating. Last week was the start of the much anticipated college football season and with it’s second week comes some great match ups. Notre Dame Vs Michigan, Florida State vs Oklahoma, Alabama vs Penn State, and the great rivalry is enhanced between Miami and Ohio State. In dedication to college football and tailgaters all cross America I have worked to bring you several NCAA Football inspire cocktails. Some are original and some are favorites of mine but they all represent some of the nations favorite college programs. Don’t see your University here? Don’t worry, this is an ongoing project of mine that will have additions added regularly. If you have a suggestion for YOUR team feel free to send it my way to be showcased.As always, remember to drink responsibly.

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. Florida A&M Rattlers
  3. Florida Gators
  4. Florida State Seminoles
  5. Georgia Bulldogs
  6. LSU Tigers
  7. Miami Hurricanes
  8. Michigan Wolverines
  9. Nebraska Corn Husker
  10. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  11. Ohio State Buckeyes
  12. Oklahoma Sooners
  13. Texas Longhorns
  14. USC Trojans
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Posted by on September 9, 2010 in Tailgating


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Press Release: Canadian Mist Black Diamond Set to Launch in United States

Louisville, Ky. – Canadian Mist Whiskey is proud to announce the release of “Canadian Mist Black Diamond”, a premium line extension which is set to hit shelves in late August.

This richer, more robust expression of Gold Medal-winning Canadian Mist is the creation of Canadian Mist Master Blender Steve Hughes, whose signature will adorn each bottle. Canadian Mist Black Diamond is blended at 86 proof and has a higher sherry and rye content to give it a more enhanced flavor and deliver the smooth profile for which Canadian Mist is known.

“Our consumers told us they wanted a premium offering from their favorite brand for those special occasions and every day celebrations,” said Hughes. “We wanted to enhance two main flavor attributes that are the key contributors to our gold medal winning formula.”

Distilled in Collingwood, Ontario, Canadian Mist Black Diamond is crafted using select grains and crisp, clear water from the pristine Georgian Bay, North America’s largest pure water source. It is rich in rye and sherry for a full-bodied flavor that can be savored straight or enjoyed in your favorite cocktail.

“Canadian Mist Black Diamond delivers the exceptional quality and taste our current consumers have come to expect from Canadian Mist,” added Alan George, Canadian Mist Brand Director. “It is truly a premium whisky experience that is ideal for celebrating life’s special occasions, or any occasion at all.”

Canadian Mist Black Diamond, a Brown-Forman product, has a suggested retail price of $14.99 for a 750ml. It will launch in six markets in August – Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan and Texas. More markets will follow in early 2011.

About Canadian Mist
Canadian Mist is an award-winning whisky distilled in Collingwood, Ontario with water from the pristine Georgian Bay, North America’s largest pure water source. Brown-Forman Corporation is a diversified producer and marketer of fine quality consumer products, including Jack Daniel’s, Canadian Mist, Southern Comfort, Finlandia Vodka, Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Early Times Whisky, Old Forester Bourbon, Fetzer Wines and Korbel California Champagnes. For more information, visit

Enjoy Life. Drink Mist Responsibly.
Imported and Bottled by Brown-Forman Beverages, Canadian Whisky, A Blend, 40 – 43% Alc. by Volume, Louisville, KY ©2010 CANADIAN MIST is a registered trademark.
Contact: Svend Jansen
Public Relations Manager
Brown-Forman Corporation

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Posted by on September 7, 2010 in Press Releases, Whiskey


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Cocktail of the Week: Electric Lemonade

Here is one last great “summer” cocktail to enjoy before you completely switch over to fall/autumn mode. This is one of my favorite “cool off” cocktails that is both refreshing and simple to make.

1 1/2 oz  Stoli Citrus Vodka
1/2 oz Blue Curacao
2 oz Sweet and Sour mix
Splash of Lemon-Lime Soda

Combine all ingredients (minus soda) into a cocktail shaker and shake well. Pour over a highball glass filled with ice and garnish with a lemon slice and maraschino cherry. Pour over a high ball glass filled with ice. Top with lemon lime soda and garnish with a cherry. Cheers !