Grind Time: Summer sampling with Young’s Market
BY JASON GENEGABUS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Ever wonder how bars discover new products? More often than not, owners and/or employees attend trade shows where they meet and greet with liquor distributors and brand ambassadors while sampling the latest beers, wines and spirits.
On Wednesday, Aug. 15, Young’s Market of Hawaii held its Holiday Buying Show 2012 at the Hawaii Convention Center. With operations on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii island, they’re one of the main liquor distributors in the state. And thanks to Christa Wittmier, the company’s special events and marketing director, I got an opportunity to explore this year’s show along with hundreds of others from the local food and beverage industry.
With more than 50 tables set up, some hosting multiple brands of alcohol and/or wine, there was plenty of booze to learn about — and sample. Here are my favorite finds from the show.
Sub-Zero Hangar One:
While the three featured flavors of Hangar One vodka weren’t that memorable, getting a sample shot poured by a pretty young lady from a bucket filled with dry ice made it worth a stop at this table.
I’m not that big a fan of horchata, a Latin beverage with a milky consistency and typically made with sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. But Agave Loco Brands’ RumChata had me instantly reevaluating that opinion. A smooth blend of Carribean rum, rice, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla, it has a creamy consistency with the flavor of a liquefied cinnamon roll.
I can see myself buying a bottle of this stuff around Christmas time and adding it to a carton of non-alcoholic egg nog to jazz things up.
The Balvenie DoubleWood:
I’ve only recently acquired a taste for Scotch after years of being content with stuff like Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort. Now that I know better, I’ve grown to enjoy the wood and smoke flavors that are often found in whisky made in Scotland.
This DoubleWood offering uses whisky aged first in traditional oak casks before being switched to European oak sherry casks that add a slight fruit note to the finished product. This stuff is mellow, smooth and very, very tasty. Definitely worth a try!
My favorite table this year was one featuring products by Kentucky-based Western Spirits. Brand reps were pouring samples of five liquors I had never seen before: Sam Houston Whiskey, Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey, Whitetail Whiskey, Lexington Bourbon Whiskey and Tres Leches Triple Cream Liqueur.
My favorite of the group was the Lexington (can you tell I’m on a bourbon kick these days?), although I also liked the Bird Dog.
Sous Vide Tequila:
Leave it to Pint & Jigger owner Dave Newman to one-up everyone else in the room — the former Nobu Waikiki bar manager used a sous vide machine to infuse the flavor of charred Jack Daniels barrel chips into a mixture of Maestro Dobel tequila, cassis, lemon and ginger-infused simple syrup.
Drawing upon the recipe for an El Diablo by David Power of Kauai’s The Feral Pig, Newman said the use of a sous vide machine provided the depth and flavor characteristics that used to only be possible via traditional barrel-aging. Instead of waiting weeks for the aging process to be complete, he’s able to cut the time down to just two days.
The end result? One of the best tequila-based cocktails I’ve ever had. Newman said the El Diablo will be on the menu at P&J soon, with other sous vide-inspired creations planned in the future.
A closer look at the ingredients in Newman’s El Diablo after adding a handful of Jack Daniels barrel chips just before starting the sous vide process:
“Grind Time” is always looking for the latest places to get your grub on. Email Jason Genegabus with restaurant, bar or any other food/drink-related item at email@example.com.