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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Cocktail ingredients Utah update – June 2015

Put some Scotch to good use in a
Bobby Burns Cocktail.
June brings the beginning of summer, and with summer comes hot weather (upper 90s this weekend).  Hot weather and yard work make for thirsty people, so when cocktail hour rolls around Utah amateur mixologists should have plenty of takers for their cocktails. Just in time, the number of items on SPA (Special Price Adjustment) in Utah this month rose from around 260 for May to over 400 in June.  That means there are some quality cocktail ingredients on sale this month at the Utah DABC State Liquor Stores, so you can get what you need to make some tall coolers or stir up some great cocktails.  Here are some ideas on how to use this month’s sale items to improve your cocktail offerings.

Irish Whiskey lovers will be happy to discover that Jameson Black Barrel is now on SPA for the first time since it became available in Utah last year for $30 (from $35); I had a chance to taste this one in Portland three years ago and can tell you that you will enjoy it.  Rye aficionados are in luck this month, too: Bulleit 95 Rye is marked down 11% to $25, along with George Dickel for those seeking a lower price point.  As for Bourbons, there are about a dozen on sale this month, including single barrel offerings from Basil Hayden and Elijah Craig.  If you like Mint Julep (I know I do), you might want to try one with Gentleman Jack (down 9% to $29.5). 

Lovers of Scotch Whiskies should be happy this month: there are ten single malts and six blends marked down just in the 750ml size.  The single malts range from ten to 16 years old, so enjoy.  The blended Scotch Whiskies include Johnnie Walker 12 year old ($35) and Chivas 12 year for $32.  If you’re searching for a Scotch cocktail to try this month, consider trying the classic Bobby Burns.

There are not a lot of Rums on SPA this month, but you might want to try some Appleton Estates VX (14% to $19) in a Mojito or the classic Rum and Coke.  June 14 was World Gin Day (we missed it), but there are only a few Gins marked down this month.  If you love Gin and Tonics to cool down in the hot weather, you might want to stock up on New Amsterdam Gin (CS# 031475 down 19% to $13), an excellent Gin for the price. Try some Tanqueray ($23) in a Classic Martini

As to any other sale or clearance items, if you see a great deal on anything at your local state store that other cocktailians might enjoy, post a response to this article.  See the following list “Suggested by the author” for information on how to use the Utah DABC website.  You can check out what else is on sale (e.g. the wines, etc.) by clicking through to the “SPA Product List” to open an online price book in PDF format that shows all of the markdowns for the current month.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Cocktail ingredients Utah update – May 2015

Good Gin makes an Aviation
as fresh as the sky itself!
The number of items on SPA (Special Price Adjustment) at the Utah DABC State Liquor Stores this month dropped off again this month into the middle two-hundreds; that’s normal for May.  There are, still, some quality cocktail ingredients available this month, so you might be able to get what you need to shake up some great cocktails.  Here are some ideas on how to use this month’s sale items to improve your cocktail repertoire.

Once again, there weren’t a lot of Bourbons on sale for the derby last week; if you’re into Evan Williams, you’re set.  Otherwise if you want a Mint Julep or a BLT, I hope you still have some in your bar.  There’s not much in the way of blended Scotch Whiskies marked down this month either: liter bottles of Chivas Regal 12 YO are marked down around $5 to $40 and the 1750 ml bottles of Dewars White Label are marked down to $47.  If you’re searching for a Scotch cocktail to try this month, consider going outlaw with a Rob Roy.

Martini lovers will be pleased to know that they don’t have to go thirsty this month.  Hendricks Gin (8% to $34 makes an excellent Classic Martinis).  The other pick of the Gins this month is the large bottle of Tanqueray (marked down 4% to $45) goes well in a Campden Cocktail; this little known cocktail is one you should try. If you love Tanqueray Gin and Tonics while sitting in the yard in the summertime, this might be a good time to stock up.

The selection of Tequilas this month is not bad!  This month Milagro Silver is marked down 13% range to $26 and the Reposado is marked down 9% to $30. Combine them with Gran Gala Orange Liqueur (an excellent, low cost Triple Sec marked down 14% to $19) to make a dynamite Margarita.  You will also find 1800 Silver (9% to $30) on sale.

As to any other sale or clearance items, if you see a great deal on anything at your local state store that other cocktailians might enjoy, post a response to this article.  See the following list “Suggested by the author” for information on how to use the Utah DABC website.  You can check out what else is on sale (e.g. the wines, etc.) by clicking through to the “SPA Product List” to open an online price book in PDF format that shows all of the markdowns for the current month.



Saturday, April 18, 2015

Cocktail ingredients Utah update – April 2015


Tanqueray Taj Cocktail
A concoction with Gin and Midori
When Utahans walk into the Utah DABC State Liquor Stores this month they will find that the number of marked down items has increased; the number of items on SPA (Special Price Adjustment) increased from around 350 last month to almost 400 for April.  Cocktailians who need to stock their bars can find some nice bargains.  There are some quality cocktail ingredients available this month, so dust off your wallet and your wallet and your shaker and get ready to mix some great cocktails.

There are a handful of Bourbons on SPA this month; let’s hope they are holding them in reserve for the Derby next month, always a big day for Bourbon.  In the 750ml size there is only one Single Barrel offering marked down: Basil Hayden 8 Year (7% to $40).  Sip it, or you can make a very good Manhattan, or perhaps even a Boulevardier.  One Scotch Whisky marked down this month that you might want to pour into a cocktail like a Blood and Sand, is the Johnnie Walker Red that has an 11% mark-down to $25.  Johnnie Walker 12 Year 750 ml. is marked down 7% to $40.

The Rum deals are few and far between this month if you don’t count the “Spiced and Flavored” category.  Appleton Estates VX is marked down 14% to $19, you might want to experiment with a Rum Old Fashioned.  Fortunately, the UDABC didn’t forget about you Tequila lovers.  There are 16 Tequilas (Platas, Añejos and Reposados) on SPA.  My favorites include Herradura Añejo at $51.  This month Familia Camarena Silver and Reposado are both marked down 15% to $17.  It’s Margarita time! 

If you need some Dry Gin, Tanqueray Ten is marked down 9% to $29.  Try it in a Classic Martini.  Always reliable Tanqueray is marked down $3 to $22 (try it in a Tom Collins).  If you like Vesper Martinis, Ketel One (it’s great with a lemon twist) is also on SPA for $21.  There are also deals on Belevedere and Effen, as well as the usual multitude of flavored Vodkas that are better not mentioned.

There are a couple of Liqueurs marked down this month.  Amaretto Di Amore ($12) goes great in Mai Tais and is marked down around 14%.  Disaronno Amaretto is marked down to $23.  Midori Melon Liqueur is marked down 10% to $19; try it in a Tanqueray Taj.

As to any other sale or clearance items, if you see anything at your local state store that other cocktailians might enjoy, post a response to this article.  See the following list “Suggested by the author” for information on how to use the Utah DABC website.  You can check out what else is on sale (e.g. the wines etc.) by clicking through to the “SPA Product List” to open a price book in PDF format that shows all of the markdowns for the current month.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Cocktail ingredients Utah update – March 2015


The French 75 has a reliable kick...
When Utahans walk into the Utah DABC State Liquor Stores in March, they will be pleased to see that sale tags are a little more in evidence than they have been during the last couple of months, but not overwhelmingly so.  The number of marked down items has increased from January and February lows into the “average” range.  The number of items on SPA (Special Price Adjustment) rose from around 270 last month to almost 350 in March.  A few quality cocktail ingredients are available this month, so get ready for some great cocktails, but this is not a real bar-stocking opportunity.

With an incredible lack of timing (just like last year) there is only one(!) Irish Whiskey on SPA for St. Patrick’s Day this month: Tullamore Dew.  If you enjoy Bourbons, selections this month range include Knob Creek and Elijah Craig 12 Year, both marked down around 5%.  If you want to make a Manhattan, or perhaps a Boulevardier, try some.  This month you might want to stock up on your favorite Liqueurs.  Liqueurs like Underground Herbal Spirit ($26) and Frangelico ($23) are on sale, and also an excellent Triple Sec substitute that works well in Margaritas: Gran Gala Orange Liqueur (14% to $19).

The UDABC didn’t forget about you Tequila lovers this month.  There are 13 Tequilas on SPA with ten Platas and Reposados (there are four different 1800’s marked down).  With seven different Platas... it’s Margarita time.  Rum seems to have been overlooked this month.  If you like Dark Rums, Mount Gay Eclipse Barbados Rum is marked down over 15% to $17, try it in a Rum Old Fashioned, but that’s about it for Rums. 

If you need some Gin, you can get Beefeaters for $21 or a good “economy Gin”, New Amsterdam (CS# 031475), is marked down 13% from $16 to $14 (try them in a Tom Collins).  If you have an open bottle of sparkling wine, but you’re in the mood for something a little stronger than a Champagne cocktail, try a French 75 – a reliable Champagne (and Gin) cocktail that is sure to have just the kick you need.  If you’re more into Vodka Martinis, Tito’s Handmade is marked down 10% to $18 this month.

As to any other sale or clearance items, if you see anything at your local state store that other cocktailians might enjoy, post a response to this article.  See the following list “Suggested by the author” for information on how to use the Utah DABC website.  You can check out what else is on sale (e.g. the wines etc.) by clicking through to the “SPA Product List” to open a price book in PDF format that shows all of the markdowns for the current month.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cocktail ingredients Utah update – January 2015

BLT Cocktail... better than a sandwich!
When Utahans walk into the Utah DABC State Liquor Stores this month, they will know that Santa Claus has left the building.  Special Price Adjustments (SPAs) originate with the distributors of the products, not the UDABC (only Clearance item price reduction come from the UDABC).  Last month they were generous with the holiday promotions.  This month those promotions are scarce.  The number of items on SPA drops from over 600 last month (when Santa was here) to barely over 200 this month.  Part of the reason this post is so late is that things are so very depressing…  Cocktailians in search of ingredients who didn’t stock up in December will wish they had.  If this post seems short, you now know why.  The forecast for next month is not much better (230 items?), so tighten up your belt and wait for March.

Tequila lovers may shed a tear at the lack of SPA tags on the Tequila shelves; unless there is something wrong with my program, they will find none!  For those who love Vodka Martinis, 1750ml bottles of Tito’s Handmade are marked down 13% to $35, plus there is a small selection of other Vodkas on sale.  There isn’t much excitement in the Rum shelves either this month: a trio of mid-price Darks marked down around 20%: Cruzan, Bacardi Añejo, and Bacardi 1873 Solera.

If you’re into Bourbons, liter bottles of Jack Daniels Black Label is marked down 10% to $27. These should make a great BLT; too bad that’s about it for Bourbons (unless you count the $2 off Knob Creek).  There are a couple of single malt Scotch Whiskies that reside in the $50 range marked down this month (a Macallan 10 Year and a Highland Park 12 Year) if you’re looking for something to put into a high end Bobby Burns, give one a try.  As usual, the number of Rye Whiskies on SPA this month is low: one. Knob Creek Rye Whiskey is marked down $2 to $33. Try it in a Rye cocktail like the Scofflaw Cocktail.  If you need some liqueurs, there’s not much action there, either. Tuaca is marked down a little over 10% this month; this vanilla and citrus-based liqueur mixes well with Tequila (too bad there’s none of them on sale!)

As to any other sale or clearance items, if you see anything at your local state store that other cocktailians might enjoy, post a response to this article.  See the following list “Suggested by the author” for information on how to use the Utah DABC website.  You can check out what else is on sale (e.g. the wines etc.) by clicking through to the “SPA Product List” to open a price book in PDF format that shows all of the markdowns for the current month.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Santa arrives early as Utah DABC rolls out sales for December 2014

A Negroni may be served in a cocktail glass,
or on the rocks.
Once again there are over 600 items on Special Price Adjustments (SPA) for the December holidays (up from 329 last month), so when Utahans walk into the Utah DABC State Liquor Stores this month, they will expect to hear Santa chuckling.  These deals are great for gifts (given or received), or for stocking your bar.  Still need a Christmas gift for Dad (or Mom)? Don’t forget to look at the gift items that are often found on the top shelf of the Utah State Stores. These gift packages usually contain a bottle of liquor and items like glasses or a shaker for about the same price as the bottle without the gift. Some of them are pretty nice, others might be a little tacky.  Shop early in the month for a better selection and buy one for a lazy relative to give you for Christmas.

First for Gin lovers: as the Gin revival continues, stores have expanded their Gin sections to accommodate new brands.  If your local store has a small selection, visit a larger store when you have the chance to check out the new items.  This month there is a variety of Gins marked down, most of the good ones around 10%, more or less.  Gins with price adjustments include offerings from Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, Beefeater, and even bargain Gin: New Amsterdam (1750ml for $24).  While you’re picking up a nice bottle of Gin, pick up a bottle of Campari (on SPA this month) and try one of my favorite Gin cocktails, a Negroni.  You can look up all of the prices for yourself by clicking through to the “SPA Product List” to open a price book in PDF format that shows all of the markdowns for the current month; then search on “Gin” or the product of your choice.  Oh, and there are 13 non-flavored Vodkas marked down this month too (including Ketel One and Chopin, if you’re a Vodka drinker.

Now for the Whiskeys: There are 44 Whiskeys on SPA this month (60 if you count 1750 ml bottles), so it’s a great opportunity to stock up. Twelve different Bourbons:  most of the major brands are represented, try Bulleit ($25), and there are single barrel offerings from Basil Hayden, Elijah Craig, and Evan Williams.  Kick back on Christmas Eve and enjoy a nice Bourbon ManhattanThree Irish that normally retail around $25 to $35 are marked down around 10%.  There are 20 Single Malt and Blended Scotches marked down, including 9 twelve year olds and Glenlivet French Oak 15 year.  This is your big chance to cheer up and impress your old man with a gift he’ll enjoy.

This is your chance to stock up on your favorite Liqueurs or buy them as gifts; 30 are on SPA this month.  Try Di Saronno Amaretto ($23) over ice, or a favorite for cocktails: Amaretto Di Amore ($11); both are marked down.  Godiva Chocolate Liqueur ($27) and Kahlua Coffee Liqueur ($16) are on SPA, along with a variety of Irish Cream Liqueurs (great gifts for light drinkers) and Liqueurs like Alize and Midori.  A favorite Triple Sec substitute: Gran Gala Orange Liqueur ($20) is on SPA, or feel free to go upscale with Cointreau ($34).  There are only 11 (non-spiced) Rums on sale this month.  Appleton Estates VX Jamaica Rum is the best of the bunch, or you can try Mount Gay Eclipse for $17.  Sadly there are no high-end premium Rums to put under your tree.

If you’re looking for Champagne for New Year’s Eve, there’s not a lot of the good stuff on sale this month.  Mumm Napa Brut is the pick at $19, but the Barefoot Bubblies in the $9 range are decent and have won some awards for their price range.  I haven’t quite forgotten you Tequila lovers, either.  There are 31 choices this month in the Blanco or better categories, including some top brands!

As to any other sale or clearance items, if you see anything at your local state store that other cocktailians might enjoy, post a response to this article.  See the following list “Suggested by the author” for information on how to use the Utah DABC website.  You can check out what else is on sale (e.g. the wines etc.) by clicking through to the “SPA Product List” to open a price book in PDF format that shows all of the markdowns for the current month.