by Danalynne Menegus
It was easy to participate. A few weeks after signing up online, I received the two tasting kits in the mail. Each kit included sample-size (50ml) bottles, tasting notes, and for the cocktail making class, recipes. Thanks to a follow-up email, I knew exactly what would be needed to get the most from the events.
On the day, all I had to do was log into Zoom, and have the tasting bottles, glasses, and the recommended accoutrements ready. Easy!
We first heard from 10th Street Distillery Founder and CEO Virag Saksena, a single malt aficionado who spent more than a decade as a successful software engineer and entrepreneur before shifting into distilling. Then, Brian Ciske, the man behind Furthur bourbon and rye, explained the brand’s connection to novelist Ken Kesey (proceeds from the sales go towards restoring the school bus Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters traveled in back in the ’60s).
- 10th Street’s California Coast blend ($39.99 at The Whisky Shop)
- 10th Street American Single Malt STR ($61.99 at The Whisky Shop). STR stands for the type of casks the whisky is matured in: shaved, toasted, and re-charred. This one took Double Gold medals in the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the 2020 New York International Spirits Competition.
- Cask No. 67 ($79.99) — a peated single-barrel single malt exclusively sold by The Whisky Shop.
- Furthur Straight Rye ($39.99 at The Whisky Shop)
- Furthur Straight Bourbon ($39.99 at The Whisky Shop)
For a full recap and tasting notes, read my extended recap blog post, American Craft Whiskies: A Virtual Tasting Experience.
For the cocktail making class, we got to shake things up with Martin Geijer, owner of Geijer Spirits. As many participants were unfamiliar with falernum and fernet, Geijer gave us a rundown, along with the history of his business. Sam Filmus, president of JVS Imports and ImpEx Beverages, who was also with us for the whisky tasting, shared details on the gin, rum, and whisky.
Our tasting kit included:
- Geijer Spirits California Falurnum and California Fernet
- M&H Distillery Levantine Gin
- Black Tot Finest Caribbean Rum
- Penderyn Legend Single Malt Whisky
- Cocktail recipes to make with the samples, and a list of recommended ingredients/materials for the class
With these ingredients, plus some simple syrup, limes, lemon, and pineapple juice, we were able to expertly mix four different cocktails while learning about the base spirits.
For a full recap, cocktail recipes, and tasting notes, read my extended recap blog post, Shake Things Up With a Virtual Cocktail Making Class.
Host Your Own Tasting Event
These online activities would be great for team-building, customer appreciation, associations, or even groups of family and/or friends.
JVS Imports can organize a tasting for up to 25 people. You can choose from a world tour of whiskies or a specific brand, or any other type of theme of interest to you. Filmus’ team will invite brand ambassadors, distillery owners, and/or master distillers to virtually present their brands for the scheduled tasting event.
All your group needs to do is purchase and share the bottles that are being tasted (typically five one-ounce samples – one regular-sized bottle contains approximately 25 tastes). Another option is to purchase kits from a local retailer with a relationship with JVS, like The Whisky Shop.
For more information, contact Sam Filmus at samf@ImpExBev.com.