Liquor and Liqueur Connoisseur

Matt Birchard

Liquor and Liqueur Connoisseur is a podcast for anyone that enjoys distilled spirits! Built on the premise of drinking, discussing, and discovering the world of distilled spirits, each episode features consistent tastings and much more. The featured spirit's backstory is covered, including history of production, marketing, availability, notable events for the spirit, as well as personal stories on enjoyment. This podcast features new episodes at least weekly, and is the work of host Matt Birchard, who created the podcast as a way to keep a new year's resolution to himself - which was to drink more! So enjoy each episode whenever you have time, but it's recommended you enjoy a liquor or liqueur during the show!

Episode 109: Gordon's Gin
Sep 24 2022
Episode 109: Gordon's Gin
Episode 109 features Gordon's London Dry Gin. Bottled in 750ml at 40% ABV, or 80 proof and it retails for $12.Enjoy this episode with the late Queen's favorite cocktail, the Dubonnet.Gordon's official website: Historical Timeline:1769 - Alexander Gordon found his distillery in London 1786 - The distillery moves to Clerkenwell in London1823 - Alexander's son Charles takes over after a 7 year apprenticeship1877 or 1889 - The Gordon family sells to John Currie & Co.1898 - Gordon's merges with Tanqueray1904 - Gordon's begins being bottled in green glassCirca 1905 - Gordon's creates an export label and applies it to clear glass1924 - Gordon's introduces a line of pre-mixed cocktails1934 - Gordon's opens a distillery in New Jersey, USA1962 - Gordon's becomes the bet selling gin in the world1998 - Production of the UK and Europe moves to Fife, Scotland2021 - Annual case sales reached 7.4 million 9-liter equivalent casesKey Cocktails:Enjoy Gordon's in the classic Dubonnet Cocktail.1 part Gordon's Gin2 parts Dubonnet (French aperitif wine)Lemon Twist GarnishShake liquid ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.References:Wikipedia Article on Gordon'sDiageo Bar Academy ArticleDiageo Bar Academy History of Gordon'sThe Spirits Business Gordon's Brand HistoryWikipedia Article on the Gin CrazeWikipedia Article on Gin LaneThe Gin Guide Listing -includes list of botanicalsHello Magazine Article on The Queen's Favorite Gin Brand - it was Gordon'sThe Queen's Favorite Dubonnet CocktailThe Spirits Business Article on New Bottle Designs for Gordon'sContact Information:Official show website is: www.liquorandliqueurconnoisseur.comJoin my mailing list:
Episode 107: Vestal Vodka
Aug 20 2022
Episode 107: Vestal Vodka
Episode 107 features Vestal Vodka, Polish Potato Vodka. Bottled in 750ml at 40% ABV, or 80 proof. There are three options covered, the Unfiltered 2015 Vintage that retails for $28. Next is the standard or "white label" that retails for $20. Last is the Black Cherry that retails for $21.Enjoy this episode with any of the Vestal Vodkas you can get your hands on!The official website for Vestal Vodka: Brief Historical Timeline:Early 1990s - William Borrell's father buys a farm in Poland2009 - The Borrell's grow a crop of potatoes on their Polish farm and have it distilled into vodka2010 - This first version of their vodka earns a perfect score on Difford's Guide2020 - Halewood, a UK based spirits producer, purchases 48% of Vestal forming a partnership2021 - TotalWine begins distributing Vestal Vodka in the USA, including all of the available Unfiltered 2015 Vintage2022 - The brand is hitting it's stride, growing distribution while staying true to their traditional production methodsKey Cocktails:It depends upon which version of Vestal you're drinking, but for the Unfiltered 2015 Vintage, let its flavor shine. The standard or "white label" is well suited for any vodka cocktail. The Black Cherry? Use it for flavor, recommended to be mixed with Coke for an alcoholic Cherry Coke.References:My interview with William Borrell, founder of Vestal Vodka.Chilled Magazine Article on Vestal VodkaThe Spirits Business Article Featuring William BorrellThe Spirits Business Article on Halewood Partnering with VestalVice Article on Polish MoonshineThe Ladies & Gents BarInside Hook ReviewContact Information:Official show website is: www.liquorandliqueurconnoisseur.comJoin my mailing list: @LLConnoisseur
Episode 104: Maker's Mark
Jul 16 2022
Episode 104: Maker's Mark
Episode 104 features Maker's Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky. Bottled in 750ml at 45% ABV, or 90 proof. It retails for about $28.Enjoy this episode with a Maker's Mark Old Fashioned!The official website for Maker's Mark: Historical Timeline:1840 - T.W. Samuels erects the family's first commercial distillery in Kentucky1943 - Bill Samuels gets out of his family business, for awhile1953 - Bill Samuels founds Maker's Mark1958 - The first bottles of Maker's Mark are hand dipped in red sealing wax1973 - Maker's Mark hires Kentucky ad agency Doe Anderson1975 - Bill Samuels, Jr. becomes President and CEO of Maker's Mark1980 - Maker's Mark is featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal1981 - Hiram Walker buys Maker's Mark2004 - A second still is added to increase production2005 - Pernod Ricard (who ended up with Maker's Mark through acquisitions) sells the brand to Fortune Brands, which would become part of Beam Suntory2011 - Maker's Mark sells 1 million 9-liter case equivalents for the first time2011 - Rob Samuels, grandson of the founder, takes over when his father Bill Samuels, Jr. retires2013 - Proof is reduced 3%, but only for a moment2015 - A $67 million investment includes a third still and new warehouses2019 - Maker's Mark sells 2.4 mill casesKey Cocktails:Use as you would any quality bourbon. I'm drinking it neat, but try it in an Old Fashioned or Manhattan.References:Book: Maker's Mark - My Autobiography by Bill Samuels, Jr. published in 2000Wikipedia Article on Maker's MarkBrand History Article on The Spirits BusinessDrink Spirits Story on Maker's Mark WhiskyMaker's Mark on The Spirits EducatorVinepair.com Article on Hops Used in ProductionVinepair.com Article on Maker' MarkDoe Anderson Ad Agency for Maker's MarkPress Release on Bill Samuels, Jr. Retiring via the Wayback MachineContact Information:Official show website is: www.liquorandliqueurconnoisseur.comJoin my mailing list:
Episode 103: Flor de Caña 12
Jul 8 2022
Episode 103: Flor de Caña 12
Episode 103 features Ron Flor de Caña 12. Boxed and bottled, it's 750ml at 35% ABV, or 70 proof and was intended for the domestic Nicaraguan market. In the United States, this is sold at 40% ABV, or 80 proof and it retails for about $40.Enjoy this episode with a neat pour of Flor de Caña 12!The official website for Ron Flor de Caña 12: Historical Timeline:1875 - Alfredo Francisco Pellas Canessa immigrants to Nicaragua from Genoa, Italy1890 - Alfredo sets up a sugar plantation and the workers celebrate the harvest with some rum made on site 1937 - Flor de Caña is established as a brand1959 - Flor de Caña begins export sales in Central America1980s - The brand stockpiles aging rum, amassing the largest reserves of aged rum in the world1999 - Flor de Caña is sold to 40 countries and 5 continents worldwide2012 - Distillery tours begin, following investment2013 - The branding was updated including the bottles2017 - International Wine and Spirits Competition awarded the brand the Best Rum in the WorldKey Cocktails:This is a sipping rum for sure, just great on it's own. However, you may also want to try it in a rum Old Fashioned.References:Wikipedia Article on Flor de CañaBrand History YouTube VideoAn Older Brand History YouTube VideoBrand Ad on YouTubeDistillery Tour YouTube VideoProduction Video on YouTubeSpanish Language YouTube Video Purporting 80% is 12 Years Old RumWikipedia Article on NicaraguaWikipedia Article on Nicaraguan RevolutionThe Spirits Business Article on Packaging UpdatePress Release on Tree Planting CampaignContact Information:Official show website is: www.liquorandliqueurconnoisseur.comJoin my mailing list: @LLConnoisseur
Episode 102: Patrón Tequila
Jun 5 2022
Episode 102: Patrón Tequila
Episode 102 features Patrón Silver Tequila. Boxed and bottled in a handmade glass bottle that's 750ml at 40% ABV, or 80 proof and it retails for $50.Enjoy this episode with a neat pour of Patrón Tequila!The official website for Patrón: Historical Timeline:1989 - John Paul Dejoria and Martin Crowley wonder what the aristocrats in Mexico drink, Martin Crowley finds it at Casa Sieta Leguas1989 - John Paul Dejoria and Martin Crowley form the Patron Spirits Company, securing 100% of production from a distillery in Mexico, as well as the services of Francisco Alcaraz, who would become Master Distiller1991 - Patrón hold a blind tasting event at Spago in West Hollywood with a celebrity guest list2000 - Ed Brown is hired as CEO2002 - Patrón begins setting up their own production facility, what would become Hacienda Patrón2003 - Founder Martin Crowley dies, kicking off a 5 year legal battle for control of the brand2006 - Patrón reaches 1 million 9-liter equivalent case sales2008 - John Paul Dejoria acquires 70% of Patrón with Bacardi owning 30%2012 - Patrón reachs 2 million 9-liter equivalent case sales2018 - Bacardi buys John Paul Dejoria out of his stake in Patrón for $5.1 Billion USD2020 - Case sales are 3.1 millionKey Cocktails:Please try Patrón neat, then mix as you like in your favorite cocktails that call for tequila.References:The Patrón Way by Ilana Edelstein, published in 2013 with a forward by John Paul DejoriaJohn Paul Dejoria interview on YouTubeIlana Edelstein interview on YouTubeMercury News article from 2017 on the founders of PatrónWikipedia Article on PatrónWikipedia Article on John Paul DejoriaStatista Global Sales InformationForbes article "The Truth Behind Patrón's Tequila Empire (may require subscription)Bacardi Press Release on Purchase of PatrónBusiness Insider Video on How Patrón is MadePatrón YouTube Video on "60 Hands"Contact Information:Official show website is: www.liquorandliqueurconnoisseur.comJoin my mailing list:
Episode 100: Gran Centenario Añejo Tequila
Apr 29 2022
Episode 100: Gran Centenario Añejo Tequila
Episode 100 features Gran Centenario Añejo Tequila. Bottled in 750ml at 40% ABV, or 80 proof and it retails for $36.Enjoy this episode with a neat pour of Gran Centenario!The official website for Gran Centenario: Brief Historical Timeline:1857 - Tavern owner and tequila producer Lázaro Gallardo starts making what will become Gran Centenario1895 - Gallardo names his tequila Gran Centenario to commemorate the new century and the coming 100th anniversary of Mexican independence1920 - Luciano Gallardo, the founder's son, designs art deco inspired bottles and begins selling Gran Centenario beyond the tavern1995(?) - Becle, the parent company of Jose Cuervo, acquires Gran Centenario (may have been much earlier)Today - Gran Centenario is the best selling tequila in MexicoKey Cocktails:Gran Centenario Añejo makes for a great sipper, but give their signature cocktail a try if you like.Golden Angel1.5 parts Gran Centenario® Añejo1 part Pressed Ginger1 part Fresh Lemon Juice1 part Fresh Lime Juice3⁄4 part Agave NectarDash of Kosher SaltGarnish with wedges of fresh Lemon and LimeReferences:Proximo Spirits, the US Importer of Gran CentenarioTequila Source ListingForbes Article on Gran CentenarioTequila Matchmaker ListingYouTube Review (in Spanish)Becle Financial Overview with Sales InsightTrademark Listing for Gran CentenarioCuervo 2018 Annual ReportMashed.com Article on Tequila NOM MeaningContact Information:Official show website is: www.liquorandliqueurconnoisseur.comJoin my mailing list: @LLConnoisseur
Episode 97: Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum
Apr 8 2022
Episode 97: Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum
Episode 97 features Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum. Bottled in 750ml at 63% ABV, or 126 proof and it retails for $26.Enjoy this episode with a "Wray & Ting".The official website for the brand simply redirects to the corporate parent: Brief Historical Timeline:1825 - John Wray founds The Shakespeare Tavern in Kingston, Jamaica 1860 - John. Wray brings his nephew, Charles James Ward into the business1862 - J. Wray & Nephew Ltd. is formed1862 - The brand wins gold medals for their aged rums in London1901 - J. Wray & Nephew acquires the Monymusk Estate1913 - Charles Ward dies, leaving the business to trustees1916 - Lindo Brothers & Co. purchases the company from the trustees1917 - Distillery operations move to the recently acquired Appleton Estate1940s - This overproof bottling was likely introduced1997 - Joy Spence is appointed Master Blender2012 - Gruppo Campari buys J. Wray & Nephew Ltd.Key Cocktails:This rum is great for mixing and stands up in a cocktail. A popular serve is the "Wray & Ting".1 Part Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum2 Parts Ting or Smilar Grapefruit SodaServe over iceReferences:Campari's Brand ListingWikipedia Article on j. Wray & Nephew Ltd.Liquor.com ReviewYouTube Video Discussing the Campari Acquisition Circa 2015Steve The Barman on YouTube, Features Wray & Nephew Overproof RumLong Presentation on Production at Appleton Estate, by J. Wray & NephewGood Tasting & Review on YouTubeAnother Good Tasting & Review on YouTubeContact Information:Official show website is: www.liquorandliqueurconnoisseur.comJoin my mailing list: @LLConnoisseur
Episode 95: Tanqueray
Mar 25 2022
Episode 95: Tanqueray
Episode 95 features Tanqueray London Dry Gin. Bottled in 750ml at 47.3% ABV, or 94.6 proof and it retails for $22.Enjoy this episode with a Tanqueray and Tonic.Tanqueray's official website: Historical Timeline:1830 - Charles Tanqueray begins working in the Vine Street Distillery 1898 - Tanqueray merges with Gordon's Gin1922 - Tanqueray Gordon & Company join Distillers Company1933 - Tanqueray is the first alcohol served in the White House after Prohibition was repealedWWII - The distillery is bombed1957 - Distillery is rebuilt and reopened with their famous pot still named "Old Tom"1960s - The Rat Pack drinks so much Tanqueray they double sales in the USA1979 - Tanqueray sales hit 1 million cases1995 - Tanqueray production moves to Scotland2016 - Tanqueray becomes the best selling gin in the USA2019 - Global sales peak at 4.5 million 9-liter equivalent cases2022 - Drinks International names Tanqueray the #1 best selling gin brand worldwideKey Cocktails:Enjoy Tanqueray in a classic Gin & Tonic or Martini.References:Behind the Scenes Video - Part OneBehind the Scenes Video - Part TwoBehind the Scenes Video - Part ThreeBehind the Scenes Video - Part FourDistillery Tour VideoVisit to the Diageo ArchivesAdditional Video Coverage of TanquerayDiageo Bar AcademyCharles Tanqueray History BlogDiffords Guide Listing on TanquerayVinePair Article on TanquerayTravel Distilled Article on TanquerayWikipedia Article on TanquerayTanqueray Brand History on The Spirits BusinessStatista Global Sales DataDrinks International 2022 Gin Brands ReportContact Information:Official show website is: www.liquorandliqueurconnoisseur.comJoin my mailing list:
Episode 94: Italicus
Mar 20 2022
Episode 94: Italicus
Episode 94 features Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto by popular request from listeners. Bottled in 750ml at 20% ABV, or 40 proof and it retails for $40.Enjoy some Italicus with Prosecco and a lot of ice, plus some olives while listening to this episode. Italicus' official website: Historical Timeline:1500s - Rosolio was enjoyed by Catherine de' MediciLate 1700s - The 17th Duke of Savoy, Vittorio Amedeo III, banned Rosolio from his household and switched to vermouth, which he preferredEarly 2000s - Giuseppe Gallo, founder of Italicus, comes across a recipe for Rosolio di Torino2106 - Italicus is launched2017 - Italicus wins Best New Spirit 2017 at Tales of the Cocktail's Spirited Awards2019/20 - Drinks International recognized Italicus as a top-trending brand2020 - Partnership with Pernod Ricard announced2021 - Italicus is available in more than 40 countries and had sales of $5 Million USDKey Cocktails:Italicus was designed to go with bubbles. The suggested serve from the bottle is:1 part Italicus 1 part ProseccoLots of IceGreen OlivesBuild in a wine glass and enjoy.References:ItalSpiritsThe Blue GrottoWikipedia Article on RosolioTales of the Cocktail Article on ItalicusMaster of Malt Article on ItalicusPress Release on Partnership with Pernod RicardWinerist Article on ItalicusFood And Wine Article on ItalicusSaveur Article on ItalicusDiffords Guide Article on Bergamot LiqueursCasa Mia Tours Article on ItalicusStartup Spotlight on Giuseppe GalloContact Information:Official show website is: www.liquorandliqueurconnoisseur.comJoin my mailing list:
Episode 92: Appleton Estate Signature
Feb 25 2022
Episode 92: Appleton Estate Signature
Episode 92 features Appleton Estate Signature Jamaica Rum. The entry level blend from the Appleton Estate is bottled in 750ml at 40% ABV, or 80 proof and it retails for $23.Enjoy this episode with some Appleton Estate Signature mixes in your favorite rum cocktail.Appleton Estate's official website: Historical Timeline:1655 - The Appleton Estate is established1749 - Rum is first distilled at Appleton Estate1825 - J. Wray & Nephew gets it's start with John Wray founding the Shakespeare Tavern1916 - Lindo Brothers & Co. purchase J. Wray & Nephew, then purchase the Appleton Estate1944 - The first Appleton Estate branded rum is introduced1997 - Joy Spence is appointed Master Blender, making her the first female Master Blender in the industry2002 - Appleton Estate breaks the 1 million 9-liter equivalent case barrier2018 - Campari Group acquires J. Wray & Nephew, along with Appleton EstateKey Cocktails:This Signature blend of Appeton Estate is recommended to be enjoyed in a rum cocktail, but I enjoy it neat.References:Short History of Sugarcane in JamaicaWikipedia Article on J. Wray & NephewCocktail Wonk History of J. Wray & NephewYouTube Interview on Appleton EstateCampari Group Listing for Appleton EstateJamaica Travel Article on Appleton EstateJaime Montilla Appleton Estate ReferenceThe Spirits Business Appleton Estate Brand HistoryThe Spirits Business 2015 Rebrand ArticleThe Spirits Business 2020 Rebrand ArticleAlcademics Article on Appleton Estate Distillery TourRum Revelations Article on Jamaica GIContact Information:Official show website is: www.liquorandliqueurconnoisseur.comJoin my mailing list: