Author Archives: Andrew

St. Augustine Distillery New World Gin

st augustine gin

Hailing from the U.S.’s “oldest city,” St. Augustine Distillery distills New World Gin from sugar cane.

St. Augustine Distillery is based out of St. Augustine, Florida, a city founded in 1565 by the Spanish. The distillery was established in an old ice plant and distills all their products from Florida Cane Sugar. To my knowledge, Florida cane has never made its way into gin. I’ve always associated cane sugar with rum of course, or maybe sodas like Mountain Dew and Pepsi in their “Throwback” line, but gin?

New World Gin has a solid juniper base and a fragrant nose. I was surprised by the powerful but welcome bite that came with the first sip. If bite is your game, then this is the gin for you. The juniper is followed by a blend of orange, lemon, and cassia bark, angelica, and a number of other botanicals. then there’s the Florida cane sugar that adds a sweet and unique quality to New World. There’s a pleasantly sweet, spicy finish and lingering bite in the finish.

New World Gin can be purchased directly at St. Augustine Distillery Co. or on their website for about $30. They also distill Florida Cane Vodka and their Discovery Rum there, and are working to get their product distributed nationally as well.

Hornitos Plata and Hornitos Reposado

hornitos reposado and plata

Over half a century ago on Mexican Independence Day (September 16), Don Francisco Javier Sauza (yeah that same Sauza), created Hornitos tequila, an aromatic 100% blue agave experience that’s sweet and calming with a little bit of bite.

Hornitos Plata. This is Hornitos’ unaged tequila (“plata” is Spanish for silver). Plata has never made contact with wood barrels, so it’s a clear tequila. Because of its young age, Plata is more of an herbal and floral experience in the smell and taste. This is agave at its purest: very sweet, crisp and clean.

Hornitos Reposado. This “rested” tequila has an aromatic rush of blue agave, unexpected and exciting. The sting in the air that is immediately present in the nose of other tequilas is non-existent here. Instead, a sweet, calming waft of blue agave gets your attention. The flavor is mellow and very smooth, with a bit of welcome spice. Not a tequila I would associate with taking shots, Hornitos Reposado is smooth enough to sip, and enjoy the warmth in your chest of a nice, aged tequila.

Hornitos Reposado will run you $25 and Hornitos Plata, $20. The flavors of both are subtle, and though they’d be fine cocktail tequilas, I will likely enjoy Hornitos Reposado more often as a sipping tequila. The Plata is a little more floral and herbal than I’d prefer.

Book Review: The Seeker’s Guide to Bartending

seekers guide to bartending

“Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.” -St. Francis de Sales

This is one of many quotes that begins each chapter of Jennifer Crilley’s 2014 book The Seeker’s Guide to Bartending. The Seeker’s Guide is similar to the “For Dummies” series, acknowledging that readers have basic bartending skills and are working towards their goal of being a bartender.

An easy read, The Seeker’s Guide incorporates Crilley’s personal stories of challenges, joys, and spiritual growth as a bartender. It’s helpful to know that the book was written by someone who has spent twelve years tending bar.

seekers guide to bartending ipages

The book is very relatable, and each short chapter is filled with personal insights, fun facts, illustrations, simple tips, scientific facts, and perspective shifts. To top it all off, a related activity is placed at the end of each chapter for the readers application. You’ll find everything from insight into how to be a better bartender to overcoming fear, controlling emotions and interacting with customers, to managing tip expectations and money management.

The Seeker’s Guide to Bartending could really be called New Age Bartending based on the content – Crilley writes from personal experience with the clear intention of sharing this knowledge with hopeful bartenders. This is a great read for the up-and-coming bartender. Buy The Seeker’s Guide to Bartending here.

Editor’s note: this is the first post by our new team member Andrew Moore. Welcome to Simple Cocktails, Andrew!