Share The Holiday Spirit(s) With Create-Your-Own Spirits of Connecticut Gift Sets

November 27, 2018

As the Christmas countdown starts to accelerate (technically time passes at the same rate, but it sure feels like it speeds up when it comes to getting ready for the holidays), finding the perfect gifts can always be a challenge. Hopefully, you got some ideas from our last post (The Dark Diva’s Holiday Social & Survival Guide Part 3: Gifts For Drink Lovers Made Easy, Fun & Unique). And in this post, we’re going to expand on that theme with suggestions on how to create your own unique “Spirits of Connecticut” gift sets that will surprise and delight any drink lover on your list.

Creativity Counts, But There Are A Few Rules

Okay, I get what you’re thinking – how can you be creative when there are rules? Like them or not, there are always some rules you have to consider. These shouldn’t really impair your inventiveness, but they are important.

1) I shouldn’t even have to post this rule, but just to make sure there is no misunderstanding. RECIPIENTS OF THESE GIFT SETS MUST BE AT LEAST 21 YEARS OF AGE! That’s the law, and it’s just plain good sense.

2) There are some special rules governing shipping alcohol, so check with your carrier before attempting to ship one of these gift sets to someone. (Also pack the contents carefully even if delivering it yourself or you could ruin more than the surprise.)

And that’s pretty much it. So, really not that much to worry about. Now let’s get to the fun stuff!

Use Your Imagination And Have Some Fun
(But Save Some of The Spirits to
Actually Put In The Gift Set!)

Caught ya! Miss Bri knows all the tricks (not that I’ve ever done any of them of course … er … ummm … well … never mind)! While I’ve suggested the specific spirits and a few other contents, feel free to add other things like a CT-themed shot glass, mixers or anything else that comes to mind. That extends to how you package it as well, whether it’s a crate, a basket, a box or whatever. (Also, I’ve specified products from craft-distillers I’ve reviewed so far. If you are familiar with one I haven’t visited, feel free to use their products though it may make a difference in how some of my suggested cocktails taste due to potentially different flavor profiles.)

The Spirits of Connecticut:
Cool As A Connecticut Cuke Gift Set

For anyone who enjoys a refreshing Gin & Tonic, this gift set promises a definite twist of cool taste and attitude.

Suggested Contents:

• WAYPOINT SPIRITS CRAFT-DISTILLED WINTONBERRY GIN (750 ML)
(Lighter and more refreshing than typical gins, with an infusion of locally sourced botanical and floral elements, Wintonberry is made from locally-sourced ingredients.)
• WILD MOON® CUCUMBER LIQUEUR (375 ML)
• WILD MOON® LIME LIQUEUR (375 ML)
(Crafted locally by Hartford Flavor Company, these authentic-tasting, delicious liqueurs are all-natural and gluten-free.)
• ROCKS GLASS WITH A CT THEME
(I used my own recently acquired Waypoint Spirits Rocks Glass ($6) as a suggested inclusion. A Wild Moon® glass would also make an excellent addition to the set.)

RECIPE

The Dark Diva’s “Cool As A Cuke Sin & Tonic”
AKA The Twisted Chiller

I found that Wintonberry Gin, Wild Moon® Cucumber & Wild Moon® Lime mix well with a wild hair for fun refreshment in the sun. Why “Sin & Tonic” you ask? (Seriously, if you have to ask, check your pulse because you may be dead.)

In a glass with ice, combine the following:

1 oz. Waypoint Spirits Wintonberry Gin
0.5 oz. Wild Moon® Cucumber Liqueur
4 oz. Diet Tonic Water
(Diet? Yes, if you’re going to sin, go for sex, booze, rock ‘n’ roll, chocolate, fun stuff — not useless sugar in tonic water)
A Splash of Wild Moon® Lime Liqueur

 Mix well and garnish with either a slice of cucumber or a lime wheel if desired. Cheers!

The Spirits of Connecticut:
A Berry Cheery Holiday Gift Set

All the classic ingredients plus a few additions for a fresh holiday twist on a classic cocktail!

Suggested Contents:

• WAYPOINT SPIRITS CRAFT-DISTILLED LABRADOR NOON VODKA (750 ML)
(Very smooth with virtually no harsh alcohol burn, Labrador Noon is exceptionally mixable or fine as shot.)
• WILD MOON® CRANBERRY LIQUEUR (375 ML)
(Crafted locally by Hartford Flavor Company, this authentic-tasting, delicious liqueur is all-natural and gluten-free.)
• SMIRNOFF® RASPBERRY VODKA (750 ML)
(While not a craft spirit, Smirnoff is distilled in CT.)
• ROCKS OR MARTINI GLASS (WITH A CT THEME)
STANLEY® SCREWDRIVER SET (OPTIONAL) 
(Stanley® Tools are made in CT.)

RECIPE:

Santa’s Berry Twisted Stanley Screwdriver

Another holiday concoction from The Dark Diva’s “La-Bar-Atory” with all CT alcohols, this is a great treat for Santa’s helpers when dealing with “some assembly required” surprises late on Christmas Eve nights!!! (I recommend finishing the assembly before finishing too many of these concoctions!)

Fill rocks glass OR shaker with ice, then mix:

1 oz. Waypoint Spirits Labrador Noon Vodka
0.5 oz. Wild Moon® Cranberry Liqueur
0.5 oz. Smirnoff® Raspberry Vodka
3 oz. Orange Juice

Stir in rocks glass and serve OR shake and strain into a chilled martini glass!
Ho! Ho! Cheers! 

The Spirits of Connecticut:
Every Day’s A Twisted Holiday Gift Set

This versatile gift set is the basis for two of my special recipes, but I’m sure the recipients won’t stop there. One of my recipes is also great for warm weather so they can literally make any day a holiday.

• WAYPOINT SPIRITS CRAFT-DISTILLED
MAN OVERBOARD SPICED RUM
(750 ML)
(A bit lighter and smoother than other spiced rums I’ve tried, this the first one I enjoyed enough to actually buy and use.)
• WILD MOON® CRANBERRY LIQUEUR (375 ML)
• WILD MOON® LIME LIQUEUR (375 ML)
(Crafted locally by Hartford Flavor Company, these authentic-tasting, delicious liqueurs are all-natural and gluten-free.)
• ROCKS GLASS (WITH A CT THEME)

RECIPES:

Twisted Mystic Rumberry Cocktail

Naming this cocktail was almost too easy! The image of sailors coming ashore in Mystic to quench their thirst with rum combined with traditional cranberries for the holidays led to this cheery year-round refresher.

In rocks glass filled with ice, mix;

1.0 oz. Waypoint Spirits Man Overboard Spiced Rum
0.5 oz. Wild Moon® Cranberry Liqueur
0.5 oz. Wild Moon® Lime Liqueur
2.0 oz. Diet Cranberry Juice

Stir and serve! Just try not to go overboard! Cheers!

Twisted Windsor Nutmegger Eggnog

Honoring CT’s first town and featuring all CT spirits, this smooth hen’s moo concoction is a perfectly potent and nicely spiced way to celebrate the holidays with friends.

In rocks glass filled with ice, mix;

1.5 oz. Waypoint Spirits Man Overboard Spiced Rum
0.5 oz. Wild Moon® Cranberry Liqueur
3.0 oz. Eggnog
A Sprinkle of Nutmeg

Stir, serve and toast the season! Cheers!

***Gift Guide Update***

Since last week’s blog post, there have been a few updates in our Gifting Guide.

NEW! Waypoint Spirits Sampler Set

Waypoint Spirits Sampler Gift Set

Waypoint Spirits in Bloomfield has just introduced a Sampler Set featuring six 100 ml bottles of their signature craft-distilled liquors, including Labrador Noon Vodka, Wintonberry Gin, Man Overboard Spiced Rum and Spicy XIII Vodka. Priced at $40, the set comes in a wood-slat crate with rope carrying handle. Contact them at drinkwaypoint.com for more details.

REMINDER! Hartford Flavor Company Hours

Just a reminder that you can stop by Hartford Flavor Company Monday – Thursday during the holiday season from 9-5 to purchase Wild Moon® Liqueurs and merchandise only. (Tours and tastings are Friday evenings, Saturday afternoons and Sunday afternoons only.) Contact them at hartfordflavor.com for more details.

Let us know if you have questions or anything to share!

 

 

Discovering Connecticut’s Craft Distillers: Hitting the CT Spirits Trail at the Home of Wild Moon Liqueurs

July 22, 2018

The CT Spirits Trail Passport

Hope you’ve had an enjoyable weekend so far, despite the return of humid weather to the Nutmeg State. As for myself, I spent a lovely afternoon on Saturday making my first stop on the CT Spirits Trail (www.ctspiritstrail.com) at Hartford Flavor Company (www.hartfordflavor.com), crafters of Wild Moon all-natural botanical liqueurs. It is well worth a visit!

All 7 Wild Moon Liqueurs (Thanks to Randy for lining them up for this shot.)

Having been introduced to Wild Moon Lime liqueur upon the recommendation of a staff member at Table & Vine in West Springfield, MA during a visit in early June, I found it to be a valuable addition to my la-bar-atory. It ended up being a key ingredient in my popular Twisted Purple Backstabber martini as well as a perfect additive to several other recipes. In fact, it was so good I opted to try the Wild Moon Cranberry Liqueur. Again, it has proven to be an ideal addition to a number of recipes. So, I was quite interested in visiting them and sampling the rest of their line.

WILD ABOUT WILD MOON

The bar in Diana’s Lair

Located in the back of 30 Arbor Street (Suite #107) in Hartford, it’s easily identified by a sign and an entrance deck. Upon entering, there is a small vestibule which opens into a very nice bar area known as Diana’s Lair (you’ll understand the naming once you’ve done the tour). You’ll find a full range of souvenirs (T-shirts, signs, glassware, etc,) for sale as well the Wild Moon Liqueurs themselves.

Kelly, our engaging tour guide/hostess, was a knowledgable and enthusiastic brand ambassador!

After a short wait, the tour began. There were three of us on this tour (myself and a lovely couple, Randy and Karen, from western CT who were in town for the jazz festival). Kelly, our guide, was very friendly and enthusiastic about the company and its products as she gave us a short history of the company and even explained the logo. (I don’t want to spoil the fun, so you’ll have to take the tour to find out the details.)

Botanicals are placed in mesh bags like this which are then place in barrels with the alcohol base to create the Wild Moon liqueur infusions.

The key point is that Lelaneia, the founder, started the company to provide a gluten-free option so that she and others could enjoy cocktails. (Since most spirits are distilled from grains, gluten can certainly be an issue. This is why the alcohol used as a base for these liqueurs is imported from the Netherlands – the supplier is the only place that will certify the alcohol is gluten-free.) Lelaneia also made the commitment to use all-natural, locally sourced ingredients (aside from the base) so that the liqueurs truly represent the artisanal spirit (no pun intended). In a process that is as much art as it is science, each batch of each liqueur is carefully crafted to meet Lelaneia’s exacting standards.

A MATTER OF TASTE

With each sample, Kelly would give us a description and some background. Then we would discuss our own taste perceptions, ask questions, etc. It was a very informal and comfortable environment.

The tasting portion of our tour was most interesting as Kelly would explain how each liqueur was made and offer some insights before serving us the samples. The taste of each one was intriguing and a subject for discussion among all of us (Kelly, Randy, Karen and myself) as to how we interpreted the flavors and what drinks or food recipes they might work well in.

• Wild Moon Lime, which I use frequently, is both tart and sweet for a surprisingly balanced appeal.

• Wild Moon Cranberry, seasonally available and another one I use, mellows the sharp cranberry tanginess just enough for full enjoyment.

• Wild Moon Cucumber struck me right away with its incredibly natural taste of cool, crisp cucumber. (It’s also featured in a special drink recipe at the end of this blog.)

• Wild Moon Rose was totally surprising in its complexity and intriguing character. I have a few recipes in mind for it.

• Wild Moon Lavender is another complex variety with a mix of herbal and floral influences that I am experimenting with at the moment.

• Wild Moon Birch has more of a masculine, earthiness to it which make it a natural pairing for a whiskey such as bourbon or even Irish whiskey.

• Wild Moon Chai Spice is indeed alive with the warm glow of cinnamon and other spices. It should be perfect for any fall or winter warmer cocktail as well as adding a nice touch to coffee or tea.

At the end of the tour, we each got to pick a cocktail from a menu of drinks made using a Wild Moon Liqueur as a key ingredient. My choice was the Rose Moon Margarita, which was quite tasty (except that even the very limited amount of “margarita mix” used in it managed to give me heartburn later).

**UNIQUELY RECOMMENDED**

The Sampler pack features six 100ml bottles of Wild Moon Liqueurs (all except Cranberry).

Hartford Flavor Company has earned my **Uniquely Recommended** rating which means it’s an experience that’s definitely worth your time, with excellent craft liqueurs, an inviting atmosphere and enthusiastic staff. I also recommend taking advantage of the opportunity to buy Wild Moon Liqueurs while you’re there. (I bought a sampler pack to experiment with in my recipes.) They’re open for tours and tastings on Fridays 4 pm – 7 pm, Saturdays 1 pm – 6 pm and Sundays 2 pm – 5 pm. The cost is $10 per person, which includes the tour, tastings and a cocktail. (I considered it a bargain.)

You can also find Wild Moon Liqueurs at many local package stores in CT, MA and more, including Table & Vine in West Springfield, MA and my local go-to package store, Joe’s Fine Wine & Spirits in East Windsor, CT.

Keep up with Miss Bri’s Fresh & Twisted Blog as we work our way around the state with reviews at each stop on the CT Spirits Trail.

A BEAT THE HEAT RECIPE

The Dark Diva’s “Cool As A Cuke Sin & Tonic”
AKA The Twisted Chiller

We found that Wild Moon mixes well with a wild hair for fun refreshment in the sun. Why “Sin & Tonic” you ask? (Seriously, if you have to ask, check your pulse because you may be dead.)

Ignore the strainer. It was leftover from a martini experiment earlier.

In an 8 oz. glass with ice, combine the following:

1 oz.Tanqueray London Dry Gin
0.5 oz.Wild Moon Cucumber Liqueur
4 oz.Diet Tonic Water (Diet? Yes, if you’re going to sin, go for sex, booze, rock ‘n’ roll, chocolate, fun stuff — not useless sugar in tonic water)
A Splash of Wild Moon Lime Liqueur

Mix well and garnish with either a slice of cucumber or a lime wheel if desired.

Thanks for checking out this edition. Please let us know what you think!