What Is the Toast the Trees Program?

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Toast the Trees

Environmental responsibility is a more pressing concern for modern businesses than ever. There is an increasingly expanding consumer market that prizes sustainability, environmental awareness, and eco-friendliness from the brands with which they do business. Companies in all markets are paying attention to this focus on environmentalism. And, that includes distilleries and breweries across the nation.

One of the best examples of brands taking sustainability seriously is Angel’s Envy, a distillery specializing in bourbon whiskey. The Angel’s Envy team has developed a program that aims to give back to the environment and help preserve it for years to come. While many companies have adopted similar environmentalist policies and programs, Angel’s Envy has a distinct impact on both the environment and the whiskey industry of the United States.

The Link Between Whiskey and Oak

An often overlooked yet crucial component of the creation of bourbon is white oak. Distillers will store their whiskey in white oak barrels, to optimize flavors and richness. This method creates the best whiskey. The natural flavors in this wood give bourbon its distinct taste. Different types of whiskey require different types of oak. The two most prevalent oak woods used in the whiskey world are American white oak and European oak.

Bourbon is the American take on whiskey, and bourbon requires American white oak barrels for optimal aging. Scotch whiskey and Irish whiskey tend to use European oak barrels. Many whiskey distilleries have developed filling and refilling policies to conserve their barrels and to optimize the flavor of their whiskeys. When an oak barrel is filled the first time, the whiskey inside absorbs the most flavor from the wood during aging. After so many years, the whiskey will absorb less flavor, and the distiller will need a new barrel. It’s easy to see how the whiskey industry has a significant impact on the supply of oak barrel lumber.

What Is the Toast the Trees Program?

The Angel’s Envy Toast the Trees program aims to replace white oak trees cut down for whiskey barrel manufacturing. They, instead, plant more trees than are cut down. For more than six years, Angel’s Envy has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation and Green Forests Work. Together, they raise money for the mass planting of new white oak trees across the country. Angel’s Envy has a vast network of retail and service partners. They are  ready to provide customers with fantastic experiences in exchange for their support of this sustainability program.

If you’re looking for a whiskey experience that you can feel good about, Angel’s Envy Toast the Trees program is something you should investigate. The distillery is sponsoring cocktail hours and other specials at locations across the country. They are also sponsoring a social media campaign to drive environmental awareness and encourage participation in the program.

The team at Payless Liquors wants to help you connect with the Toast the Trees program this year. We provide a wide selection of fine bourbon whiskeys, including those produced by Angel’s Envy. If you are interested in trying one of these world-class bourbons for yourself and contributing to the Toast the Trees social media campaign, contact Payless Liquors today to find out which Angel’s Envy products we have in stock.

3 Pumpkin Beers To Try This Year

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Pumpkin Beers

Fall is just around the corner, and everyone is bracing for another wave of pumpkin-flavored … everything. While pumpkin flavors help create enjoyable fall-themed variations of many popular foods and beverages, pumpkin-infused beers gained a bad reputation. Every autumn, breweries across the nation attempt to cash in on the pumpkin craze that takes hold. The reason behind pumpkin beer’s bad reputation may be due to too many breweries jumping on the pumpkin-flavored bandwagon. Additionally, they are not devoting the proper time and care to develop robust, flavorful, and enjoyable pumpkin beers.

That trend has shifted now, and many different pumpkin beers are both enjoyable and perfect for fall weather. Respected online beer review hubs like Beer Advocate have even developed their rating categories for pumpkin beers thanks to the innovation of the breweries behind these brews. As you prepare for fall, the following top-shelf pumpkin beers could change your mind.

Cigar City Brewing Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Pumpkin Beers
Cigar City Brewing

This product of Ft. Collins, CO, has earned a world-class rating of 95 on Beer Advocate. It is the perfect addition to your October costume parties. Beer lovers have rated Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale as a well-spiced and full-bodied pumpkin beer with notes of Jamaican allspice, Ceylon cinnamon, nutmeg, and Zanzibar cloves. It’s a well-balanced beer that clocks in at 8.5% ABV. If you like a full complement of robust fall spices to accompany the flavor, this is the pumpkin beer for you.

Elysian Brewing Company Punkaccino

Pumpkin-spiced lattes have inspired a wave of food and beverage products aiming to capture the unmistakable blend of pumpkin and coffee. In the race for the best pumpkin coffee-infused beer, Punkaccino is a strong contender. It’s earned an outstanding rating of 92 on Beer Advocate, with drinkers reporting a pumpkin pie and spice aroma and subtle coffee undertones in a creamy, smooth body. Punkaccino has an ABV of about 6%, and it’s perfect for pumpkin and coffee lovers alike this fall.

Saint Arnold Brewing Company Pumpkinator

Pumpkin Beers
Saint Arnold Brewing Company

Pumpkinator from the Saint Arnold Brewing Company in Texas is a must-try. If you are interested in trying yet another world-class pumpkin beer, this one’s for you. With a rating of 95 on Beer Advocate, Pumpkinator is 10% ABV, making it one of the strongest pumpkin beers on the market with a complex and enjoyable flavor profile. Some reviewers think it is pumpkin pie in liquid form. Others report aromas and flavors reminiscent of roasted pumpkin and autumn spices. One thing they can all agree on is that Pumpkinator is one of, if not the best pumpkin beers made in the US.

These three are just a couple of the most highly rated pumpkin beers on the market. With the explosive popularity of microbrews today, you’re sure to see a slew of new pumpkin beers. As the fall season rolls in, Payless Liquors can help you get the pumpkin beers you want. Contact Payless Liquors today to learn more about our beer services and the pumpkin beers we have available.

Keep the Football Spirit Alive With These Fresh Takes on Tailgating Cocktails

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Tailgating Cocktails

As we inch closer to another football season, it’s time to learn how to make tailgating cocktails. Sadly, we must deal with the bleak prospect that some local football may not happen as planned this year. Still, it’s important to keep the football spirit alive no matter what league you’re watching.

Traditionally, of course, the tailgating drink of choice is none other than inexpensive beer. However, this being the season of change, we’ve decided to roll with the punches and provide you with a list of alternative cocktails that truly honor area teams. Try these cocktails for your next tailgate experience:

Boilermaker

Built to honor none other than the Purdue Boilermakers up in West Lafayette, this relatively simple drink is perfect for a tailgate party. All you’ll need are two ingredients any self-respecting tailgater should have readily on hand:

  • 1 lager beer, poured into a mug
  • 1 ½ oz bourbon (preferably Wild Turkey) poured into a shot glass

Then, simply drop your shot of bourbon into your beer and race to the finish!

Hoosier Heritage

While this drink was designed to incorporate Indiana heritage and regional ingredients, IU fans can appreciate the name as well as the unique autumn flavor. You’ll need:

  • 1 ½ oz Knob Creek bourbon
  • ½ oz maple syrup
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz apple cider
  • 1 sprig of rosemary

Pour syrup into a cocktail shaker and muddle with rosemary. Add ice and remaining ingredients, shake well, and strain over ice in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a slice of apple.

Return to Glory

Developed to depict the heritage of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and their return to a storied football program, the Return to Glory is as tasty as it is descriptive. Gather these ingredients:

  • 2 oz Irish whiskey
  • 2 oz ginger ale
  • ½ oz Peach Schnapps
  • Splash of orange juice

Pour ingredients over ice in a tall glass. If desired, garnish with an orange slice and toast to the Fighting Irish’s return to glory.

Blue Stampede

Aside from smaller, more regional programs, the NFL may be the area’s one remaining hope of a full-scale football schedule this year. As a result, we’ve included this recipe crafted specifically for Indianapolis Colts fans – signature blue color and appropriately named tequila (Herradura means “horseshoe in Spanish) aside. We adore this play on a margarita. You’ll need:

  • 1 ½ oz Herradura Blanco (or other white tequila)
  • 2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz agave nectar
  • ½ oz blue curaçao

Pour all ingredients over ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a martini or cocktail glass.

Tailgate Tea

If your team isn’t well-represented in Indy (or if football is delayed once again), there’s no reason to fret. This Tailgate Tea is a crowd-pleaser we’d be happy to sip anytime, football or no. Gather these ingredients:

  • 1½ parts Svedka Strawberry Lemonade
  • 1 part tea
  • ½ part simple syrup
  • ½ part fresh lemon juice
  • Splash of Corona Extra

Pour the first four ingredients into a tall glass filled with ice. Top off with a splash of Corona Extra, stir, and enjoy.

No matter what happens with this year’s football season, Payless Liquors is here for you. Stop in to see how our wide selection of beers, wines, and spirits can help you stock any social distancing tailgate party. Alternatively, call ahead or place an online order for pickup any night of the week.

What Makes a Bourbon a Bourbon?

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What Makes a Bourbon a Bourbon

Bourbon. It’s potentially the one alcohol America can truly claim as its very own. At the very least, it is considered by many to be the quintessential American whiskey. It’s true that this sippable, caramelly, oaky, spirit is unique from other whiskeys. However, many Americans don’t know what makes a bourbon a true bourbon.

We’re here to clear that up, once and for all.

Bourbon Is Not Synonymous With Whiskey

You may have heard the saying before – all bourbons are whiskeys, but not all whiskeys are bourbons. So, what does the phrase actually mean? Whiskey is a spirit that is distilled in many regions of the world. The most notable are from Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and the United States. They are from the fermented mash of different types of grains.

Styles of whiskey vary throughout the world, especially in which types of grains are used in the process. For example, Scotch whisky is mostly crafted from fermented barley, while Canadian whiskey is often made from a blend of grains. As a whiskey, American bourbon is also made from fermented grains, but the recipe – and process – is unique to its production and required by law.

The legal requirements bourbon producers must adhere to in order to label their product as so include:

  • American production. To be labeled a bourbon, a whiskey must be produced within the US. However, other whiskeys can be produced anywhere.
  • 51% corn mash. While most other whiskeys can use any combination of fermented grains, bourbons must consist of at least 51% corn mash.
  • New, charred-oak barrels. All whiskeys are aged in oak barrels, but a bourbon is aged in a never-before-used, charred barrel to help lend the signature flavor.
  • Distillation limits. It must be placed in barrels at no more than 125 proof and distilled to no more than 160 proof.
  • No additives. While you might find a whiskey with added caramel and vanilla notes, true bourbons cannot have any flavor or coloring additives.

Other Fine Print

Aside from the name on the label of your favorite bourbon, you might notice a few other terms, including:

  • Straight is aged for at least two years. It’s likely longer than four if you don’t see an age specified on the bottle.
  • Aged left to sit for longer periods in charred barrels take on a bit darker color and more of the flavor imparted by the oak and char – namely vanilla and caramel notes.
  • Single barrel is a batch that is sourced from only one of a brand’s many barrels – as opposed to most bourbons, which are blends of multiple barrels to produce a uniform flavor across the entire line.
  • Small batch might be straight bourbon or may simply be a smaller batch than usual, blended from multiple barrels.

For more information about bourbon or any other spirit, ask the knowledgeable staff about the wide selection of bourbons at your nearest Payless Liquor location. Take a moment to pick out key phrases from the label to know what toexpect. Together, you can take a moment to find your newest find.

Sparkling Reds

Sparkling Reds – the Ultimate Late Summer Wine

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As the end of summer looms ever closer, you may be quickly tiring of the sparkling wines you found appealing earlier in the summer. If that prosecco or moscato d’asti just isn’t doing it for you as the weather cools, we have an alternative. With their light body but slightly more substantial taste, sparkling reds are a great choice for late summer.

The Old Sparkling Reds

Sparkling red wine in and of itself is far from a new idea. Sparkling reds were big a few decades ago – mostly in the late 70s and 80s. Varieties such as lambrusco and sparkling shiraz found their place in many American wine glasses; however, they eventually suffered a terrible reputation. Viewed by wine critics as fruity, sticky-sweet, and a dime a dozen, the once-beloved sparkling red slowly fell out of favor in America. It was replaced by a variety of other imports and locally produced reds. Meanwhile, multiple varieties of sparkling reds continued to undergo their natural evolution in the areas of the world that had been producing them for centuries. The unfortunate result? Nearly an entire wine-drinking generation lost their taste for sparkling reds – even the high-quality varieties produced in Europe – entirely.

The New Sparkling Reds

Today’s modern sparkling reds have an opportunity to win back the favors of the American wine drinker. Significantly less syrupy, effervescent instead of cloyingly carbonated, and available in a much broader range from dry to sweet. Sparkling reds are better than ever. If you’re looking for an ideal, late summer wine, start with one of these varieties:

Late Summer Wines

● Lambrusco. Lambrusco was once the epitome of the sweet, syrupy sparkling red in America. It has a long and storied history in Italy. Made entirely of any one of four varieties of lambrusco grapes produced in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. The modern Lambrusco has managed to keep many of its original qualities, while also undergoing a transformation of sorts. The result is a wide range of Lambruscos, from the sweet fizzy reds perfect for an after-dinner drink to the dry, secco Lambruscos that pair well with most appetizers.

● Sparkling Shiraz. Shiraz is the signature grape of Australia and results in wines of all colors and flavor profiles. Sparkling reds crafted from the shiraz have always been a tradition in the country, but the style is undergoing a renaissance similar to Lambrusco. More and more sparkling shiraz’s are being aged in oak barrels or produced in ways that give them a bit more body than other sparkling wines – a perfect complement to their black fruit-forward flavor.

● Red Moscato. If you enjoyed the sweet sparkling reds of the 70s and 80s, there’s no need to fret- many quality wines continue to be produced that capture that essence with a nod to a finer flavor profile. One example is the Red Moscato produced by Risata, maker of America’s most popular Moscato D’Asti. Similarly light and sweet, but with a good deal more depth of flavor, Red Moscato is perfect to sip with food or as an aperitif.

If you’re on the hunt for a more satisfying late summer wine, these sparkling reds could be just the ticket. Stop by your local Payless Liquors to see what’s in stock, or reserve a bottle of one of these new favorites for pickup. Start your late summer tradition with Payless Liquors.

Skunky Beer

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Skunky Beer – and How to Avoid It

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Ever heard of a Skunky Beer? Imagine it’s a hot day in late August. You’ve spent the entirety of the day wrestling the backyard into submission. You’re sweaty, a bit overheated, and all you want is a nice, cold beer. So, you open the fridge and savor the wave of cold air that hits you before reaching for your favorite bottle of domestic. You pop the top and tilt the bottle. But instead of the refreshing taste you’re expecting, you get the offensive flavor of musty, wet animal.

What happened? What scenario possibly could have unfolded to turn your favorite beer into a malodorous bottle of sludge? Let’s find out.

Why Skunked Is an Apt Term

Since you were old enough to buy a case of beer and toss it in the trunk of your car to transport home on a hot day, you’ve likely heard the warnings – never let beer get warm and then cool it again, lest it become ‘skunked.’ While the advice was flawed in one respect (allowing beer to cool, warm, then cool again isn’t what causes skunking), the use of the term ‘skunked’ is pretty accurate. Skunked beer tastes the way it does because chemical reactions inside the bottle have created a compound called 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol (MBT) – a compound nearly identical to the one skunks spray in self-defense.

Humans can taste this compound in ridiculously small doses; just a bit of MBT is enough to completely ruin a beer. So, how does it appear in your beer bottle? More importantly, how can you prevent it?

What Causes Skunky Beers

Contrary to popular belief, beer does not become skunked after exposure to heating and cooling – unless you’re regularly boiling and nearly freezing your beer. (It does, however, increase the speed at which your beer oxidizes, leading to a slightly less offending wet cardboard flavor.) Instead, the main culprit behind skunking is the UV rays of the sun.

Over time and in large enough quantities, the blue spectrum of UV light interacts with the hop compounds (isohumulones) in your beer, breaking them down and lending an electron to an amino acid. The result is the dreaded MBT compound that gives your beer that skunked flavor.

How Can You Avoid Skunky Beer?

The first step in skunky beer prevention occurs at the brewery – brewers choose packaging that helps to block out UV light and avoid skunking altogether. Kegs and cans are completely opaque and are the best way to prevent skunking, and brown bottles come in a close second – there’s a reason most craft beers are packaged in these two containers. Green and clear bottles let in the most UV light, and the beer contained within is thus the most susceptible to producing MBT.

Skunking can happen at any time– usually during the warehousing or in-store portions of your beer’s trip to your fridge. That means there isn’t a lot you need to do to prevent skunking except purchase beers that come in cans or brown bottles. If your favorites are packaged in clear or green bottles, just do your best to keep your beer out of the sun.

You can trust Payless Liquors for all your cold, fresh beer needs. Our beer stock is regularly rotated to prevent unnecessary exposure to the UV light that can cause skunking. We also have a large selection of brands and styles to please any palate. Stop in or complete an online order form for pickup today.

Our Essential List of Beach Cocktails You Can Enjoy at Home

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Beach CocktailsIt’s summertime, which usually means beach cocktails, long weekends at the lake, and even excursions to tropical destinations abroad. Unfortunately, summer travel plans—including tropical fun—seem to be on hold this summer with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many Americans are choosing to partake in simpler, at-home vacations instead of heading to the surf and sand and dealing with the travel restrictions and quarantines that are sometimes required upon return.

No Beach Vacation Doesn’t Have to Mean No Tropical Drinks

One of the aspects of a beach getaway many of us will miss the most are the exotic, tropical drinks so often found at vacation destinations. Fortunately, they’re also one of the easiest parts of your vacation to recreate right here at home. Check out our list of beach cocktails from some of the most popular tropical destinations and corresponding recipes you can enjoy in your backyard.

Blue Hawaiian

This classic Tiki beach drink from one of the only domestic tropical locations is a must-have for any backyard luau. You’ll need:

  • 1 1⁄2 ounces vodka of your choice
  • 3⁄4 ounce blue Curaçao
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1⁄2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1⁄2 ounce simple syrup
  • Splash of half-and-half
  • Pineapple for garnish

Combine all ingredients except pineapple into a cocktail shaker and shake with ice—strain into a tall glass of crushed ice and top with pineapple.

Bahama Mama

As you’d expect, this tropical drink hails from the Bahamas. This fruity drink is best blended, but some swear by serving it over crushed ice instead. Round up these ingredients:

  • 1/2 ounce coconut rum
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • 1/2 ounce cherry grenadine
  • 1/2 ounce white rum
  • 1 ounce orange juice

Pour all ingredients into a blender, along with 1 cup crushed ice. Blend until smooth, and serve in a tall glass.

Mojito

Originating in Cuba and the Florida Keys, depending on which type of lime you prefer, this citrusy, minty drink is a refreshing twist on tropical. Gather up these essentials:

  • 1 1/2 ounces white rum
  • 1/2 ounce fresh key lime or traditional lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 1/2 ounces club soda
  • 8 mint leaves

Muddle mint leaves in a shaker, then add 2/3 cup of ice. Shake vigorously before adding club soda and pouring into a tall glass. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Michelada

This classic Mexican drink is a great sipper inside in the AC or the backyard by the pool. You’ll need:

  • Mexican lager beer, like Modelo or Tecate
  • Clamato juice
  • 3 splashes hot sauce, preferably Tapatio
  • 2 splashes Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice of one lime
  • Tajín seasoning

Rub a lime around the edge of the glass and press Tajín seasoning onto the rim. Fill the glass 1/3 full with Clamato, add the hot sauce, Worcestershire, lime juice, and fill the rest with cold lager. Season with Tajín and salt as desired.

Get Your Tropic On at Payless Liquors

While there are a host of other popular tropical drinks out there—from the Sex on the Beach and the Mai Tai to the Pina Colada—we think the four listed above are a great representation of the different styles you’ll find on beaches around the world. For all the best spirits, mixers, and even a recipe suggestion or two, stop into your nearest Payless Liquors location today.

How Well Do You Know Your Sparkling Wines?

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sparkling winesThink you know your sparkling wines? If you’re a fan of celebrations and all that goes with them, you’ve likely been exposed to the glorious sparkling cocktail concoctions often served alongside. From the familiar mimosa and the rare and delicious Bellini’s at brunch to the joyous Champagne toasts at weddings—and even the odd refreshing glass of Moscato after dinner—sparkling wines are present at some of the world’s most pleasant occasions. However, whether they’re flying solo or mixed into a tasty cocktail, all sparkling wines are not created equally.

Not All Sparkling Wines Are Champagnes

While many people refer to all sparkling wines as Champagne, a true Champagne can only be produced in the Champagne region of France. While some sparkling wines produced outside the European Union bear the name of Champagne, they’re not subject to the same production standards or regulations as European sparkling wines. Here’s a brief guide to the different types of sparkling wines:

  • Champagne.

    As mentioned, sparkling wines using Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier grapes and produced in the Champagne region of France can legally bear the name of Champagne. Champagnes range from dry (Brut Nature, Extra Brut, Brut, and dry) to sweet (demi-sec and doux) and often have notes of almond, orange, and cherry. Typically, they are around 12% ABV and have very fine, persistent bubbles due to the second fermentation they undergo in the bottle.

  • Crémant.

    Crémants can adhere to the same production methods as Champagnes. However, they are produced from a wider variety of grapes, including Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and others. Most are produced in Alsace, Burgundy, and the Loire Valley, but share many of the same properties as Champagnes.

  • Proseccos

    Proseccos are produced mostly in Veneto, Italy, primarily with Prosecco grapes. Prosecco is fermented a second time in a tank instead of in the bottle. This results in lighter bubbles that don’t last as long. Most Proseccos are sweeter than Champagne and can have tropical fruit, banana, vanilla, or hazelnut aromas.

  • Cava.

    Cava is the Spanish version of sparkling wine. It is produced almost exclusively in Catalonia. Most Cavas use Spanish grapes like Parellada and Macabeo, but some may add French grapes to the final mixture. Cavas have a distinctive sour taste, but can also have a toasty profile as well; Cava producers use the traditional method of secondary fermentation in the bottle. So, its bubbles are similar to those of Champagne.

  • Moscato d’Asti.

    Sometimes referred to simply as Moscato, this sparkling wine is produced from Muscat grapes. They have been cultivated since ancient Greek and Roman times for premium sweetness. As a result, Moscato is much sweeter than the other types of sparkling wines. It has a lower alcohol content as well. The best Moscato d’Asti grapes are picked at peak ripeness. It results in sparkling wines that have notes of orange, peach, apricot, and rose.

Find the Ideal Sparkling Wine for Your Occasion

Whether you’re hosting a wedding, a mimosa brunch, or simply want a refreshing bottle of sparkling wine after dinner, it’s essential to choose the right bottle for your tastes. The experts at Payless Liquors can help you find a dry, sweet, or moderate sparkling wine of any variety in our extensive wine selection. Stop in or call ahead to find a new favorite today.

How to Stock Your In-Home Bar

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home barStocking your home bar with all the essential tools, glassware, mixers, and—of course—spirits will give you the ability to mix classic cocktails and invent new ones without rushing out to purchase missing ingredients each time the urge strikes. This checklist can help ensure you have all the items to make all the most essential drinks:

  1. Liquors. To make most classic cocktails, you’ll need a solid stock of basic liquors, including:

    • Vodka—used in more mixed drinks than any other spirit, vodka is necessary. Choose one affordable and one high-end vodka for your home bar.
    • Whiskey—as there are numerous types of whiskey, go with your preference. Choosing one great, sippable bourbon and one blended rye allows you the ability to serve whiskey on the rocks or in a cocktail.
    • Rum—white rum is most commonly used in mixed drinks, so choose one quality white and one darker or spiced rum to round out your home bar.
    • Tequila—most margaritas are made with tequila blanco, so choosing an inexpensive version for blended drinks and a top-shelf version for sipping is a good strategy.
    • Gin—although gin is a divisive spirit that seems to be either loved or hated, you should choose a quality gin to have on hand behind your home bar.
    • Liqueurs—these flavored liquors should be stocked according to your taste. However, starting with triple sec, Amaretto, and vermouth will allow you to make most classic cocktails.
  2. Mixers. Unless you’re serving your liquors straight up, you’ll need essential mixers to make your cocktails, including:

    • Juices—keep lemon, lime, tomato, orange, pineapple, and cranberry juice on hand.
    • Sodas—be sure to have a cola, a lemon-lime soda, and a club soda behind your bar.
    • Blended mixers—store-bought mixers like sweet and sour, grenadine, and even bloody Mary mix are helpful (you can make simple syrup yourself).
    • Bitters—one bottle of Angostura bitters should work for most cocktails.
  3. Glassware. While there are seemingly endless types of bar and beer glasses, you’ll need just a basic few to get started. Then, increase your bar glass selection as your mixology skills improve. Start with:

    • Beer glasses—the pint glass is the most versatile, however they can be used for mixed drinks, too
    • Rocks glasses—these short glasses are a staple for any drink served straight up or on the rocks.
    • Wine glasses—stock both red and white wine glasses, or purchase a medium-sized glass suitable for either.
    • Martini glasses—mixed drinks like Manhattans, martinis, and even the odd margarita can be served from a martini glass.

Bar tools. To make most mixed drinks, you’ll need a cocktail shaker, a durable mixing glass, a jigger to measure liquor, and a bar spoon to stir your mixed drinks. Also, most home bars include a beer opener, a corkscrew, and a cutting board and citrus knife or zester for garnishes.

Don’t worry if you aren’t able to check off all the items on this list right away. Simply begin with a bar stocked with your preferred liquors, and add spirits as you go. For more information about spirit selection, mixers, or equipment, inquire at your friendly neighborhood Payless Liquors.

tequila

Don Julio Tequila Drink Recipes For Any Occasion

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Tequila is most famous for being the prime ingredient in a margarita. However, this Mexican liquor made from agave plant is extremely versatile and can be used to make other delicious tequila cocktails. On National Tequila Day, ditch the salt and lime and try these drink recipes with a premium tequila like Don Julio.

Don Julio Blanco Margaritatequila

  • 2 oz Don Julio Blanco Tequila
  • 1½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 oz Agave Nectar
  • 1 oz Soda
  • Lime Wedge for Garnish

Combine Don Julio Blanco, fresh lime juice, and agave nectar into a cocktail shaker with ice.

Shake well, strain into a rocks glass over ice, top with soda, and garnish with a lime wedge.

Don Julio Blood Orange Palomatequila

  • 1½ oz Don Julio Blanco Tequila
  • 1 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
  • ½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • Seltzer
  • Chili Powder for Garnish

Combine Don Julio Blanco, fresh lime juice and fresh grapefruit juice into a cocktail shaker with ice.

Shake well. Then strain contents into a glass over fresh ice. Top with seltzer. Garnish with chili powder.

Don Julio Lemonadatequila

  • 1½ oz Don Julio Blanco Tequila
  • 3 oz Cold Water
  • ¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 8-10 Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 1-2 tsp Sugar
  • 10-15 Ice Cubes

Add lemon juice, mint leaves, and sugar to blender. Pulse a few times until mint leaves are chopped.

Add tequila and cold water and pulse again to mix.

Add ice cubes and blend into slushie. Pour and garnish with mint leaves.

Don Julio Rosa Primaveratequila

  • 1½ oz Don Julio Reposado
  • 1 oz Coconut Cream
  • ¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Muddled Strawberry

Add all ingredients in a shaker. Strain into rocks glass over ice. Garnish with half a strawberry.

Reserve Your Bottle Today

For a limited time only, Payless Liquors is pleased to offer bottles of Don Julio 1942 and Don Julio Real to our customers who truly enjoy fine sippable tequilas. Reserve your bottle at our East Street location and arrange for in-store or curbside pickup today.

 

 

Modern IPAs—What You Didn’t Know About One of America’s Most Popular Beers

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IPAIf you’re a beer enthusiast of any persuasion, you’ve undoubtedly heard of IPA by now. This hoppy, floral, slightly bitter brew has found its way onto the shelves of nearly every beer cooler in America—and is the star of many a craft brewery lineup. The IPA is often an object of scorn by beer traditionalists. They claim to dislike its relatively high alcohol content, bitterness, and often-extreme level of hops. However, the beer market tells a different story—IPAs make up a full 13 of the top 25 beers on Beer Advocate’s Top 250 Beers list.

What’s in an IPA?

IPAIPA is an acronym for India Pale Ale and is, of course, a version of the classic pale ale styles that emerged in England in the early 1700s. These old pale ales utilized malts roasted with coke (a coal-based fuel that produces practically no smoke), resulting in ales that were much lighter than the traditional dark, smoky ales of the region. Since the malts were lighter in flavor rather than color, the hops were able to become the star.

The IPA became popular over a hundred years later. British expatriates living in the east Indian colonies requested barrels of their favorite “bitters,” or pale ales, to get a taste of home. According to legend, brewers feared their beers wouldn’t make the journey without becoming too sour and flat. So, they drastically increased the alcohol and hops content in the hopes that the beer would be drinkable when it arrived. However, it’s now believed that this explanation is just a story, because other beers made the journey without this addition. Whatever the origin, an IPA is simply a lightly malted pale ale produced with more hops and, in most cases, more alcohol.

What’s With All the Lingo?

As the style became more popular in the US in the 1970s and ’80s, American breweries utilized American hops like Cascade or Simcoe in both their pale ales and their IPAs. The pale ales were already higher in alcohol and more hop-forward than the British pale ales that came before them. Common sense dictated that the IPAs should be even more so. By the time the style took off in the late ’80s and ’90s, there were so many different types of IPAs. Consequently, brewers had developed terminology to describe their unique brews:

  • West Coast IPA—these brews are more bitter, hoppy, and floral than the average American IPA.
  • East Coast IPA—this style is maltier and mellower, although hops still shine.
  • Double IPA—the Double IPA simply doubles the amount of hops included rather than the brewery’s traditional IPA.
  • Imperial IPA—the term was originally synonymous with double IPAs, but now can even include triple IPAs.
  • Hazy IPAs—also known as New England IPAs, these beers aren’t filtered and, as a result, are creamier and less bitter than other IPAs.
  • Juicy IPAs—usually a type of hazy IPA, juicy IPAs include citrusy hops and yeast esters to impart a fruity flavor.

Try a New IPA for National IPA Day

With the ever-increasing number of releases from craft and big-name breweries around the world, you’re more likely than ever to find the perfect balance of hops and malt. No matter which type of IPA appeals to you, August is an ideal time to start looking. The first Thursday of the month is National IPA Day. So, stop into a Payless Liquors location near you and find your new favorite IPA to celebrate.

How Don Julio Created Two of the World’s Finest Tequilas

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Don JulioMost of the world knows tequila best as a party spirit, with Don Julio being the center of attention. It’s the essential ingredient in a margarita and makes an excellent one-shot-wonder, to be consumed with a pinch of salt and a wedge of lime. So pervasive was this reputation that when some spirits drinkers were presented with the idea of a “luxury tequila,” they had trouble imagining a tequila drinker would want to sip instead of shoot.

Of course, Don Julio wasn’t the first truly fine tequila in the world—but it was the world’s first luxury tequila. Here, we’ll explore tequila production, which makes Don Julio so special, and present two genuinely outstanding examples of fine tequila.

What Is Tequila, Anyway?

Tequila is a type of mezcal—a spirit produced by distilling nectar from the agave plant. For a mezcal to earn legal classification as a tequila, it must be produced strictly from Weber’s blue agave plant and undergo production in Jalisco, Nayarit, Guanajuato, Tamaulipas, or Michoacán.

Harvesters remove the hearts, or pinas, from the center of the agave plants and roast them in special ovens to convert the starches into sugars. From there, the pinas ferment for about four days, and the liquid is distilled so that it reaches the required alcohol content. Then, the tequila is either aged in a cask of choice or bottled for sale.

How Don Julio Crafted Some of the World’s Finest Tequila

In 1942, Don Julio developed a procedure to produce higher-quality tequilas. Instead of packing as many blue agave plants into his fields as possible, Julio proposed giving each plant room to grow and mature fully. His passion for the spirit—as well as his unique dedication to quality over quantity—inspired a local businessman to grant him a loan, and Don Julio Tequila was born.

Julio selected only the best pinas for eventual fermenting. He developed a process that steamed each pina for a total of 72 hours for peak quality. When his luxury tequilas were finished, Julio chose to bottle them in a short tequila bottle. Tequila enthusiasts everywhere could share a bottle around the table instead of leaving them hidden beneath the table.

Don Julio’s Best—Don Julio 1942 and Don Julio Real

While each of Don Julio’s tequilas is something special, experts agree that two stand out above the others in this fine collection:

Don Julio

  • Don Julio 1942. Crafted as an homage to Don Julio himself, this añejo is aged 2 ½ years in bourbon oak barrels. Then, it’s distilled a second time in a stainless-steel pot still, producing a rich, sweet tequila. Tasters note that 1942 has a full, creamy palate with hints of caramel and spice and a long, spicy finish.

Don Julio

  • Don Julio Real. The crown jewel of the Don Julio selection. This tequila is worth the purchase based on the crystal and silver leaf decanter alone. However, the real treasure is found inside, with one of the world’s first extra-añejo tequilas, aged 3 to 5 years in American oak barrels. With tasting notes of coffee, vanilla, and wood, this supremely smooth tequila is one of the best in the world to sip neat.

Reserve Your Bottle Today

For a limited time only, Payless Liquors is pleased to offer bottles of Don Julio 1942 and Don Julio Real to our customers who truly enjoy fine sippable tequilas. Reserve your bottle at our East Street location and arrange for in-store or curbside pickup today.

“Uncle Nearest” – The World’s First African-American Master Distiller

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Uncle Nearest
Does the name Nathan “Uncle Nearest” Green sound familiar? Ask anyone with a marginal interest in whiskey about the industry’s biggest names, and you’ll likely hear such legends as Jack Daniel, Evan Williams, and Jim Beam. While these brands are certainly the largest players in the industry – named for the real people behind their legendary spirits – there’s another whiskey name you may not know. However, efforts by author Fawn Weaver have led us to truly appreciate the contributions of the world’s first African-American Master Distiller – Nathan Green.

Who Was Nathan Green?

Born in Maryland circa 1820, Nathan Green’s life before whiskey is largely unknown. In fact, historians aren’t sure if he was born into slavery or became a slave at a later point. What is known is that Nathan was working in Lincoln and Moore County Tennessee on the farm of a preacher and distiller. He soon became the farm’s chief distiller, specializing in practices that would one day become known as the “Lincoln County Process”. It is a famed distillation technique many believe originated with the way West African slaves used charcoal to purify beverages.

The original Lincoln County Process involved using sugar maple charcoal to filter the whiskey. This results in a uniquely smooth, mellow product that was different from other whiskeys of the time. By the time a ten year old, white boy named Jasper Newton came to the farm to work, Green had gained notoriety for his process. The boy showed an interest in all the smoke coming from the rear of the property, was introduced to Nathan “Uncle Nearest” Green, and the rest is history.

Uncle Nearest, Master Distiller

As Jasper Newton grew up on the Lynchburg farm, he learned all about the Lincoln County Process and how to make true Tennessee whiskey. After losing his father in the Civil War, Newton partnered with the farm owner, and eventually purchased the farm and distillery outright. The young man who became Jack Daniel continued to learn from Uncle Nearest. Now a free man, he was employed as Jack Daniels’ Master Distiller, becoming the first African American Master Distiller in the world. Uncle Nearest’s sons and grandsons continued to work with the Jack Daniels distillery long after it moved to its new Lynchburg location. Jack Daniels tours still credit him with creating the famed Lincoln County Process to this day.

Unfortunately, Uncle Nearest’s contributions to American Whiskey went otherwise unappreciated for decades. Author Fawn Weaver, some members of the Jack Daniel family, and Uncle Nearest’s descendants wanted to change that. What resulted was the 2019 opening of a distillery that bears the name of Uncle Nearest himself and pays homage to the Lincoln County Process.

Uncle Nearest Whiskey

Currently, the distillery produces three distinct whiskeys. They include Uncle Nearest’s 1820 Single Barrel Whiskey, 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey, and 1884 Small Batch Whiskey. All three continue to receive platinum and gold awards and comprise the most awarded American whiskey or bourbon brand of 2019. After a century in the shadows, Nathan Green is finally getting his due – his part in the Tennessee whiskey story that includes Jack Daniel and Uncle Nearest in equal, mutual accord.

Uncle Nearest
Photo Credits: Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey

To reserve your bottle of Uncle Nearest Whiskey, contact Payless Liquors or complete our online ordering form.