Napa Valley Distillery's Blog
The Kentucky Derby: The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports! Also known as the Run for the Roses, the Kentucky Derby began in 1872, making it the longest running race or sporting event in American history. The first official Kentucky Derby drew a crowd of almost 10,000 spectators, and has since grown in size. In its record setting year, the Derby attracted over 165,000 fans in 2012. The horses that participate in the race at the legendary Churchill Downs Racetrack run 1 ¼ miles, the record time being set by Secretariat in 1973 at just under two minutes. Traditions include fancy southern galas, dinners, cocktail hours, lavish and opulent hats, and of course, the delicious Mint Julep !
Few cocktails invoke an image the way the Mint Julep does. One mention of this Victorian cocktail and you can’t help but envision glamorous hats, horses, and a Southern event unlike any other.
Before it became the signature Bourbon cocktail at the Kentucky Derby, the Mint Julep was traditionally made with Rum or Brandy. It is believed to be a descendant of the Julab, a rose petal and water mixture. Once the Julab became popular in the Mediterranean region, the rose petals were replaced with mint leaves. Eventually the minty concoction made its way to the south where it was reinvented with good ol’ Kentucky Bourbon. The mixture became an overnight sensation when it became a signature cocktail of the Kentucky Derby in 1933, where they now make around 120,000 of these delightfully minty drinks over the course of just two days!
This isn’t the first time the NVD has produced a Mint Julep since we first began making our oak infused cocktails. We previously released a traditional version made with Brandy. Now we’ve decided to follow in the footsteps of Bourbon distillers and mixologists from the past and reinvent our Mint Julep with our very own Bourbon. Enjoy!
Infamous cocktail guru and Brit expat, Gary Regan is the reigning authority on the history of the Negroni cocktail. The avid mixologist recently published The Negroni: Drinking to La Dolce Vita, and traced the drink all the way back to 1919 Italy. According to legend, the cocktail was born when a patron at Bar Casoni in Florence, Italy demanded a stiffer version of the Americano cocktail, a relatively tame mix of Campari, Sweet Vermouth, and club soda. The bartender obliged by swapping out the club soda for Gin.
The patron was Count Camillo Negroni, whose penchant for strong spirits began while working as a rodeo clown and cattle wrangler in the American Wild West. The Count loved this libation so much, he graciously lent his name to the concoction, and the rest, as they say, is history. For almost a century, the Negroni remained a quiet classic. Though readily available in many Italian bars and eateries, it remained a mystery for most cocktail adventurers until recently. With the resurgence of Pre-Prohibition Era Cocktails, it is estimated that the Negroni appears on 300% more cocktail lists than 10 years ago, and has grown to become this drinking generation’s zeitgeist cocktail.
So why has the Negroni reached such heights? Besides being an incredibly well-balanced drink (strong, bitter, sweet, herbal), it’s hard to go wrong with this cocktail. This means that no matter where in the world you happen to be, if you order a Negroni, you are guaranteed a great libation.
What makes NVD’s Negroni so special? We use our infamous Old Hollywood Ginn and it’s scandalous blend of nine botanicals, which perfectly complement the Sweet Vermouth and contrast the bitter Amaro.
Try one. It won’t be your last.
Proof that the Sky's the LimitThe early 1900’s were an exciting and innovative time in history. They ushered in the rise of aviation as manned “aero planes” took flight for the first time. The men and women who took to the skies became heroes to those watching from below. These new planes and pilots paved the way for commercial flights, and brought the four corners of the earth together as never before. Naming a cocktail after this revolutionary time was the least that could be done. The Aviation is believed to be one of the last great Pre-Prohibition Era Cocktails.Initially thought to have been created in the 1930’s, the Aviation was made with Gin, Lemon Juice, and Maraschino Liqueur. It wasn’t until rather recently that an original recipe for the Aviation was found in a copy of Recipes for Mixed Drinks by Hugo Ensslin, written in 1916. This not only showed that the Aviation was older than previously thought, but also provided us with a fourth, previously unknown ingredient. The original 1916 recipe called for a small amount of Crème De Violette. With the addition of this rare spirit, not only was there a great deal of intricacy added to the cocktail, but the entire aromatics profile was changed.
The Elusive Creme De Violette
Previously difficult to obtain in the United States, Crème De Violette is a sweet liqueur made with Violet flowers. Thoughthe name suggests the addition of cream, the word Crème refers to the silky smooth texture and feel of the liqueur. In true NVD form, we decided to break from tradition just enough to stand out from the crowd. Our Crème de Violette is made from a base of Neutral Brandy, and includes three additional botanicals to complement the Violets and add complexity. We also decided to bottle it at a higher ABV than other Crème De Violettes, allowing it to highlight any cocktail in an elegant fashion. Finally, we used natural means to add the distinctive color, ensuring that our Crème De Violette makes its presence known in any cocktail, and on any bar!
The Napa Valley Distillery Aviation
2oz NVD Old Hollywood Ginn*
.75oz Maraschino Liqueur
.5oz fresh lemon juice
.25oz Creme De Violette*
Luxardo Maraschino Cherry (optional)
Add optional Maraschino Cherry to a coupe glass. Add all ingredients and ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into prepared glass. Garnish, and serve. Enjoy and repeat responsibly!
The History of the Daiquiri
Picture it: Ernest Hemmingway drinking a Daiquiri in a poorly lit bar corner as he penned Islands in the Stream. Incorporating the magical blend of flavors into the pages, a cocktail that would transcend time just as the pages it was written on.
Legend has it that after a hard day’s work in the hot tropical weather of Cuba, a man named Jennings Cox invited some guests to his home for a much needed drink. Finding that he lacked an adequate stock of imported Gin, Cox realized he only had local Rum to serve his guests, which he refused to serve straight. Looking around his kitchen, he decided to add a bit of lime juice and sugar.
After just a few sips, Cox and his guests realized they were on to something special, worthy of a name that would stand out in a crowd. Being just a short distance from the village of Daiquiri, they couldn’t have chosen a more perfect title for this most refreshing cocktail.
Our Rumslinger Rum
Napa Valley Distillery is proud to present to you our very first Rum. It is a very special offering that requires a little explanation. We chose to age our Rum in 10-15 gal former Bourbon barrels which have kissed our Rum with a generous tint of color and a tantalizing Bourbon note. Unlike any Rum we’ve ever tasted, we highly recommend enjoying this Rum neat, or in your favorite island inspired libations. Also, try it in a Rum Old Fashioned. Delish!
Our Daiquiri Cocktail
With the introduction of Rum to our lineup, the Daiquiri was an obvious choice for our new Cocktail. Its rich history makes it a perfect addition to our line-up of craft cocktails in a bottle! Made with NVD Rum, the Daiquiri the perfect cocktail for a hot summer day. We hope that you enjoy this cocktail with appreciation for the fact that this is the perfect time in our history to celebrate the culture, music, food, and drinks of Cuba. Cheers!
NVD Aged Eggnog*
12 large eggs (pasteurized if you need peace of mind)
3/4 lb (12oz) sugar (or to taste)
1 pint (16oz) half-n-half
1 pint (16oz) whole milk
1 pint (16oz) heavy cream
8oz NVD Rumslinger Rum
8oz NVD Brandy Cordial
8oz NVD 2007 Bourbon Mash Whiskey OR NVD 2012 Bourbon Whiskey
2oz NVD Grand California (optional, if not using add 1oz more each of Rum & Bourbon)
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (plus more for serving)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Ingredients for NVD Grand Cali Whipped Cream (optional):
1 cup (8oz) heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1.5tsp NVD Grand California
Instructions for Nog:
Separate the eggs and store the whites for another purpose.
Beat the yolks with the sugar and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl until the mixture lightens in color and falls off the whisk in a solid "ribbon."
Combine dairy, booze and salt in a second bowl or pitcher and then slowly beat into the egg mixture.
Move to a large glass jar (or a couple of smaller ones) and store in the fridge for a minimum of 2 weeks. A month would be better, and two better still. In fact, there's nothing that says you couldn't age it a year, but I've just never been able to wait that long. (And yes, you can also drink it right away.)
Serve in mugs or cups topped with a dallop of NVD Grand Cali Whipped Cream and little extra nutmeg grated right on top.
Instructions for NVD Grand Cali Whipped Cream:
Add the heavy cream and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip until it forms soft peaks. Add the brandy and mix in.
*Retooled recipe from Alton Brown 2014 - http://altonbrown.com/eggnog-recipe/
The NVD Mai Tai
Nothing makes you feel like you're enjoying a relaxing island vacation quite like a Mai Tai. This tropical cocktail is citrusy sweet, with a delicate balance of island spices. Though there is a little discrepancy over whether it was created in Oakland or Los Angeles, everyone agrees that this tasty cocktail brings the beach to any party! Cheers!
Difficulty Level 1
2 oz NVD Daiquiri Cocktail
1 oz NVD Rumslinger Rum
.5 oz NVD Meyer Lemon Variety
.25 oz El Guapo Orgeat
6-8 drops NVB Island Time Bitters
Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain itno a coupe.
ENJOY AND REPEAT RESPONSIBLY
Cookie Island Lemon Drop
Difficulty Level 2
1.5 oz NVD Rumslinger Rum*
1.5 oz NVD Meyer Lemon Variety*
.5 oz El Guapo Orgeat*
1.5 oz heavy cream
12-16 drops NVB Island Time Bitters*
graham cracker crumbs (optional)
If using the cookie rim, first dip a rocks glass in a small amount of cream, then into the graham cracker crumbs.
Set Aside. Add remaining ingredients, except cinnamon, to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with cinnamon & lemon wheel.
ENJOY AND REPEAT RESPONSIBLY
We've been working hard at getting this bar club shipment ready! Thousands of bottles and tons of boxes and miles of bubble wrap! Have you ever wondered that process it takes to get the bottles ready? Once we have the awesomeness ready to bottle, we pump it into the line up of beautiful bottles we have all come to know and love.
Here they are waiting to be filled! Note Timmy5 keeping them from falling off the end:
Then there's Carlos, dutifully working hard.
Honestly though, without these two amazing guys, we wouldn't have had this March shipment ready. They got everything ready just in time!
Slapping those labels on!
Ta-Da! From our desk to yours!
Summer Mint Julep
3 oz NVD Mint Julep Cocktail*
5 Fresh mint leaves
1/4 Fresh Peach
1oz Bang Candy Peach Basil Nectar*
In a cocktail shaker, muddle well mint, peach, and syrup. Add mint julep cockatil. Stir. Pour into a julep glass over crushed or shaved ice. Garnish with mint sprig and peach slice.
Enjoy and repeat responsibly.
*Ingredients included int he June 2015 Bar Club Package
Recipe created by Napa valley Distillery resident mixologist Aaron Lahey
Rayo de Sol
Ingredients - Makes one 5 oz cocktail
2 oz NVD Old Hollywood Ginn
1 oz NVD Grand California*
.75 Fresh lemon juice
.25 Fresh lime juice
1 oz Bang Candy Peach Basil Nectar*
2 dashes Berg & Hauck Celery Bitters
Shake all ingredients vigorously over ice. Strain. Garnish with fresh lime zest.
Enjoy and repeat responsibly
*Ingredients included in the June 2015 Bar Club Package
Recipe created by Napa Valley Distillery resident mixologist Aaron Lahey
June 3, 2017
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- 2007 Bourbon Mash Whiskey (1)
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