Category Archives: Wine, Beer & Cocktails

No, Mezcal is Not Just a Smoky Tequila – Debunking Mezcal Myths for National Mezcal Day

For anyone who has said “Mezcal is Tequila’s smoky cousin,” Ilegal Mezcal, the handcrafted Mexican spirit with a legendary history, is here to dispel myths about the diverse spirit in honor of National Mezcal Day, October 21st.

Myth 1: All Mezcal is smoky

  • Smokiness is not a virtue of mezcal – the level of smoke is highly dependent on the individual producers. The amount of resin in the wood greatly impacts how much smoke it emits once burned. So, when utilized in production, certain types of wood will infuse more smoke into the liquid than others. Ilegal chooses to honor the Mezcaleros’ tradition and create an agave-forward product with a light kiss of smoke. 

Myth 2: The Mezcal Boom is hurting agave

  • If you’ve heard the agave spirits boom is leading to overharvesting of agave, not all plants are at risk – this is specific to wild agave. Ilegal utilizes 100% sustainable Espadin agave to ensure the land from which its mezcal comes from is cared for.
  • Growth within the agave spirits category has produced ample employment and economic growth opportunities for many community members in cities such as Oaxaca and Jalisco. Ilegal’s dedication to growing horizontally, not vertically, has allowed the brand to hire more local employees – and expand while remaining artisanal.
  • In order to protect the agave and avoid having plants that are too genetically similar, Ilegal’s agave is planted using both seeds and rhizomes. this helps promote the strength of the agave against illnesses.

Myth 3: Real Mezcal is never aged

  • Joven is not the only Mezcal variety! Mezcals have been aged in wood barrels, glass demijohns, and clay canteros since the 1700s. Back then, most of the wood barrels arrived from Spain carrying wine, which were later used for mezcal. Today, most small mezcal distillers produce a small amount of barrel or glass-aged mezcal and It’s usually reserved for special occasions. Ilegal honors this tradition by aging its Reposado and Añejo in oak barrels, which impart rich flavors on the liquid.

Myth 4: Mezcal must be sipped out of Copita

  • Mezcal is a communal spirit and as such is best enjoyed with no rules attached. An original school of thought declared that mezcal should be sipped on its own and not in cocktails, but modern menus and taste preferences beg to differ.

With mezcal drinks popping up on cocktail menus across the country, it’s clear that the complexity of mezcal should be enjoyed in any way it’s desired – cocktails and aged varieties included. Spice it up and do things the Ilegal way this National Mezcal Day by sharing a Mezcal Margarita with those you care about most. Ilegal’s is made using real ingredients such as the Joven Mezcal, fresh lime, and agave nectar. 

Ilegal Mezcal Margarita 


  • 2 ounces Ilegal Mezcal Joven
  • 1 ounce Lime Juice 
  • 1/2 ounce Agave Nectar 


  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake.
  2. Dump the contents into a rocks glass with a pre-salted rim. 

Or buy an Ilegal Mezcal Margarita Kit and follow instructions for the perfect margarita. 

About Ilegal Mezcal 

Ilegal is beautifully balanced mezcal with a notorious history that includes smuggling and weeklong parties in Café No Sé, a clandestine bar and music hub. Handcrafted in small batches by fourth-generation mezcaleros, our Joven, Reposado, and Añejo mezcals are all made with perfectly ripe, sustainable Espadín agave, double distilled in the Santiago Matatlan Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico. Commitment to quality is apparent in every step of our process, from harvest to first sip.

Halloween Party Perfect Apple Cocktails

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and we have five delicious apple cocktails to help you celebrate Autumn



Melbourne Apple sour
  • 2 ounces Starward Two-Fold Whisky
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce egg white
  • Apple cider, to top


  1. Combine ingredients except for the apple cider in a shaker without ice.
  2. Shake vigorously to whip up the egg whites. Then add ice and shake again until very cold.
  3. Double strain into a coupe glass and float apple cider on top.



Cold Comfort
  • 1 ½ ounces Crystal Head Vodka
  • 1 ounce dark rum
  • 4 ounces apple cider
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick


  1. In a cocktail shaker, add Crystal Head Vodka, dark rum and apple cider with ice.
  2. Shake vigorously for 10 – 15 seconds.
  3. Strain into a rocks glass with ice.
  4. Garnish with cinnamon stick, finely grated cinnamon, and thinly sliced apple.


Zaya Apple Ginger


  • 2 ounces Zaya Gran Reserva
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • ¼ ginger syrup
  • 1 ½ ounces apple cider
  • Ice (for shaking)
  • Crushed ice (for serving)


  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake well with ice.
  2. Strain into a Collins glass over crushed ice.
  3. Garnish with fresh mint & a lime wheel


Tanteo Tequila Mexican Spiced Apples


  • 1 ½ ounces Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila
  • 2 ounces fresh apple juice
  • 1/2 ounce agave nectar
  • 1/4 ounce fresh lime juice


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a shaker.
  2. Shake well and pour into a ice-filled Rocks Glass.
  3. Garnish with apple slice and cinnamon.


Serves 7

Three Spirit Mulled Social Cider


  • 1 liter non-alcoholic apple cider
  • 7 fl ounces Social Elixir
  • 3 lemon wheels
  • 3 orange wheels
  • 1 stick of cinnamon, broken into pieces
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 black cardamom, cut open
  • 5 allspice berries, crushed


  1. Add all ingredients to a saucepan or soup kettle and heat gently until steaming.
  2. Serve.

A large-batch cider that keeps the good vibes of the party going – without the alcohol. Made with Three Spirit Social Elixir, Cacoa, Lion’s Mane Mushrooms and Damiana – raises the spirits for a blissful mood.

Cacao Euphoric heart opener
Cacao raises spirits, eases the soul and encourages connections. Full-bodied and bittersweet with a curious savory bite, its balancing effect keeps you blissful and tuned-in.
Lion’s ManeThe potent nootropic saprotroph
Lion’s Mane has been used for centuries for its nootropic properties and its delicate taste. cultivated on sustainable beds, it keeps you focused while you make new memories.
Damiana – Ancient Mexican aphrodisiac
Damiana has been used for centuries by people aiming to access their subconscious and induce lucid dreams. Floaty, flirty, with a deliciously unique aromatic flavor.

Coravin Announces a New Innovation for Champagne and Sparkling Wines with Moët Hennessy

Upon the release of its much-anticipated Coravin Sparkling™ System, the global wine technology innovator has announced a strategic partnership with the luxury wine & spirits leader, Moët Hennessy, as the “Official Preservation Partner of Moët Hennessy Champagnes”, that will revolutionize by-the-glass consumption of Champagne and sparkling wines. Together, both partners will ensure its global distribution, focusing on restaurants, wine bars, and other establishments with on-premise consumption of fine drinks.

Coravin, Inc. is best known for its wine preservation system that extends the life of a bottle after a single glass service through the injection of inert gas. Until recently, it was only available for still wines but, after extensive testing in collaboration with the global Maisons of the Moët Hennessy Group – which include Dom Pérignon, Krug, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart and Moët & Chandon – Coravin Sparkling™ was created. It ensures the integrity of the finest bottles of Champagne and sparkling wine weeks after the first glass has been served.

“Coravin’s aim is to make fine wines and Champagne more accessible by facilitating by-the-glass options. As a relatively young company, to have the recognized world leader in Champagne and luxury sparkling wines not only support but adopt our technology is extraordinary,” said Christopher Ladd, Coravin CEO. 

After eight years in development, the Coravin Sparkling™ System is the first universal fit solution to preserve the effervescence and flavors of sparkling wine after single-glass service. Its Sparkling Stopper locks securely on any half-bottle, 750ml bottle or Magnum, while the Sparkling Charger injects carbon dioxide into the bottle after the wine is served, to prevent the bubbles from dissipating. 

Didier Mariotti, Cellar Master of Veuve Clicquot said, “The Coravin Sparkling System is able to wonderfully preserve the flavors and mouthfeel of our Champagne for two weeks. It is the first product of its kind to perform at this level.”  

Coravin Sparkling™ Wine Preservation System

The Coravin Sparkling System will also have an economic benefit for restaurants and bars by virtually eliminating the risk of waste, while making prestige Champagne more accessible to consumers. 

“Our mission is and always has been to craft great experiences for our consumers. The new Coravin system will enable more Champagne lovers to discover and enjoy exceptional bottles. Indeed, it will allow our gastronomy partners and the finest bars and clubs to offer our different Champagne brands and expressions by the glass while, over several days or weeks, keeping them fresh and sparkling.” – Philippe Schaus, President & CEO of Moët Hennessy.

“Creating this system has always been a dream. Now that we’ve brought it to fruition, I’m incredibly proud to partner with Moët Hennessy to expand the ways the world can experience and enjoy sparkling wines,” said Coravin Founder, Greg Lambrecht.

The Coravin Sparkling™ System is available internationally for at-home and professional use via Coravin’s global websites. For more information on Coravin, please visit

Warm up chilly nights with Orange Mulled Whiskey Cider

As the air becomes cool and crisp, enjoy welcoming colder temperatures with toasty beverages to chase away the chill. Nielsen Massey Vanilla’s Pure Orange Extract adds a zesty twist to classic hot beverage recipes. Pure Orange Extract’s bright citrus flavor lightly balances the luxurious depth of chocolate and softly complements other citrus flavors like lemon. Warm those chilly hands this October with these pleasantly hot drink ideas and a recipe:

  • Sitting by a fire or entertaining guests, Orange Mulled Whiskey Cider  will warm the soul. Its spicy, cinnamon aroma will surely leave the house smelling delicious.
  • Modernize the classic hot chocolate by adding Ellen’s Candied Orange Rind to the rim of your mug. Dip the candied rind into the hot chocolate for a sweet, fruity treat.
  • Top your favorite hot beverages with a dollop of Whipped Cream. Use Pure Orange Extract in the whipped cream for a fresh taste that will complement cocoa, coffee or even mulled cider.

Orange Mulled Whiskey Cider

  • Difficulty: Sinfully Simple
  • Print

Serves 6


  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1/2 cup 100% pure pomegranate juice
  • 1/3 cup 100% pure maple syrup (adjust maple syrup if cider is already sweet)
  • 1 Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean
  • 1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Orange Extract
  • 3 large cinnamon sticks
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 5 whole allspice berries
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 2/3 cup whiskey


  1. Add apple cider, pomegranate juice and maple syrup to a large saucepan; heat over medium-high heat. Split vanilla bean in half lengthwise with the tip of a small knife. Scrape both sides of the bean with the knife’s dull side and add the seeds and bean to the saucepan.
  2. Add the orange extract, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries and cardamom seeds to the saucepan; stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  3. Strain mulled cider through a fine mesh sieve. Add whiskey; stir to combine. Serve with a fresh apple slice.


Pure Orange Extract

Made from the finest-quality oranges, Nielsen Massey’s refreshing and sweet Pure Orange Extract can spruce up any classic dish. This versatile extract goes well in everything from jams and fruit pies to salad dressings and desserts.

Quick Bites: Eastside Distilling Launches New Premium Burnside Black Barrel Strength Rye Whiskey

An award-winning, special release finished in select Oregon white oak barrels

Portland craft distillery, Eastside Distilling, announces the national release of the Burnside Black Barrel Strength Rye Whiskey, a Bourbon Casked Double Barrel Rye. It is the newest, premium product in the Burnside Whiskeys® lineup, and recently won gold at the New York International Spirits Competition. 

As with the other expressions in the Burnside portfolio, Burnside Black was rested in select Oregon white oak (Quercus Garryana) barrels, but it is special because it was also Bourbon Cask-Matured, resulting in a very distinctive flavor profile. Notes of green grass, wildflower honey, toasted hazelnut, leather, and honey caramel with a mellow tannic finish makes the release a stunning representation of Burnside’s meticulously blended whiskeys. As with all the releases, the Burnside Black uses pure Mt. Hood, Oregon water for superior taste and quality.

According to Jason Ericson, Eastside’s Head Distiller, “Oregon oak imparts a deep vanilla and clove flavor that American white oak cannot match. Quercus Garryana has high tannin levels requiring a minimum three-year seasoning period to ensure the bitter and astringent qualities of tannins do not over-influence our whiskey. The longer the staves are seasoned, the more the tannins break down, creating a darker, sweeter, and fruitier flavor than whiskey aged in American oak barrels.”

Eastside has the largest collection of Oregon white oak barrels dedicated to whiskey in the world. Since Oregon oak is a species of conservation concern, Eastside only uses responsibly harvested oak trees to age its Burnside Whiskeys®, reflecting the company’s commitment to sustainability. They have recently partnered with American Forests, the nation’s oldest conservation organization, to help protect and restore the Oregon white oak habitat in the Willamette Valley. They will plant 5,000 oak trees as part of the restoration of the Oak Savannah in the Pacific Northwest. Furthermore, Eastside has joined the One Trillion Trees Initiative with the global goal of one trillion trees conserved, restored or grown by 2030.

“Oregon white oak trees have been an important part of the sustainability, values, and aesthetics of the state for hundreds of years and we are committed to helping Oregonians protect existing trees while growing the next generation of oaks,” says Janet Oak, Chief Brand Officer.

In addition to planting 5,000 Oregon white oak trees in the Willamette Valley, Eastside Distilling is also running an in-store promotion: for every bottle of Burnside Whiskey purchased, they will plant an Oregon white oak tree. Burnside Black Barrel Strength Rye Whiskey ($69) can be found in OR, WA, CA, ID, MT, WY, CO, AZ, and TX. The link to purchase here: with nationwide shipping.

Ready for the premier? The 50/50 Martini will put you in the mood for a great spy movie

We know the martini is a favorite of many as well as the preferred drink of a special international agent.

Whether you prefer your martini shaken or stirred, one way to upgrade the classic drink is with 1757 Vermouth di Torino Extra Dry from Casa Cinzano. 

Handcrafted using small batch production, 1757 is gently infused with the finest mature blend of aromatics. Made using only Italian wines, it is enriched with a botanical bouquet featuring Artemisia (wormwood) from Piedmont, making 1757 Extra Dry Vermouth the ultimate “secret weapon” for a delicious cocktail. 



  • 1 part 1757 Vermouth di Torino Extra Dry 
  • 1 part SKYY Vodka or Bulldog Gin


  1. Pour the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. 
  2. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. 
  3. Garnish with olives or a lemon twist.


  1. Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously until well-chilled. 
  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an olive or lemon twist.

Crystal Head Vodka MOJO

Tasty and refreshing, this delicious MOJO recipe is perfect for summer’s last hurrah.

Crystal Head Vodka’s version of the Mojito is pure deliciousness and perfect for the last 3-day weekend of summer. Raising a toast to all of you this Labor Day weekend with Crystal Head Vodka’s refreshing MOJO.

Crystal Head Vodka MOJO


  • 2 ounces Crystal Head Vodka 
  • ¾ ounces fresh lime juice 
  • ¾ ounces simple syrup 
  • 8-10 mint leaves


  1. Add all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and gently muddle mint.
  2. Add ice and shake vigorously for 8-11 seconds.
  3. Double strain into a tall collins glass over ice.
  4. Add fresh mint crown and lime wheel for garnish.

Ian Somerhalder’s and Paul Wesley’s Brother’s Bond Bourbon is one of the fastest selling ultra-premium Bourbon brands

The brand shipped 50,000 cases in first 4 months of launch

Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley held a special toast on Wednesday, September 1st on the Brother’s Bond Bourbon official Instagram Channel (@BrothersBondBourbon) to kick off National Bourbon Heritage Month.
Read more about Brother’s Bond here.

Brother’s Bond Bourbon

Ian Somerhalder’s and Paul Wesley’s Brother’s Bond Bourbon, their hand-selected straight bourbon whiskey, continues strong momentum and growth in the first four months of launch, shipping 50,000 standard cases.

The Tasting Panel Magazine (June 2021 edition) concluded that Brother’s Bond Bourbon taste profile is exceptional giving it a 93 Rating.

“50,000 cases shipping in the first four months, is well ahead of plan,” says Vincent Hanna, CEO. “The response with roll outs in every market is overwhelming, the ReserveBar presales sold a retail value of over $1.4 M, within 2 x 24-hour periods, these record-breaking presales set the stage for unprecedented demand. Production has been scaled up to accommodate demand and reorders as online and instore retailers continue to sell out due to the consumer frenzy.

Brother’s Bond is the most followed alcohol brand on Instagram, with over 1.58 million followers.  The Brother’s Bond IG Live session with Ian and Paul was Whisky Advocate’s most viewed session, surpassing 20,000k views. This trend of exceeding expectations continues in many other media experiences, even the Whiskey Neat Podcast has well over 400,000 views to date.

September is National Bourbon Heritage month and Brother’s Bond will be part of Bourbon Heritage history. Rolling into many markets with the Time to Bond™ campaign through social media will drive excitement to the bourbon category.  By September 1, 2021, the brand will be available in 27 states including: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Brother’s Bond is now one of the fastest selling ultra-premium bourbon brands shipping 50,000 cases in first 4 months

Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley by Dean Bradshaw

Select Spritz, featuring Select Aperitivo

Welcome to basil & salt’s first ever cocktail week!

I know what you’re thinking. How is this different than any other week?

This week is editor’s choice and I thought I would share my favorite cocktail recipes with readers, and I would really like to know what your favorite cocktail is!

If you would like to share, find the menu tab at the top of the page, poke ‘cocktail questionnaire’ and fill out the form. I look forward to reading your responses.

The Select Spritz


  • 3 Parts La Marca Prosecco
  • 2 Parts Select Aperitivo
  • 1 Splash Soda Water
  • Garnish: 1 Large Green Olive


  1. Pour Select, La Marca Prosecco, and soda water into a wine glass over ice.
  2. Top with a large green olive.

A PROPER Coffee, featuring Proper No. Twelve Irish whiskey

Here at basil & salt we LOVE our coffee, so when I was kicking around inclusions for Cocktail Week, I made sure a few coffee cocktails made the cut.

Technically, basil & salt’s cocktail week doesn’t kick-off until September 1st, but I thought I would sneak this one in early.

Created by: Sonnu Verdini – Bar Manager, TRADE | Boston, MA


  • 2 ounces Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey
  • 1.5 ounce Boston Harbor Coffee Liqueur
  • 1 ounce Mandarine Napoleon
  • .5 ounce Benedictine


  1. Shake/strain into a Nick and Nora glass.
  2. Garnish with hand-whipped cream and coffee beans.

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