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Welcome to our inaugural episode of Liquid Luggage brought to you by our friends at PM Brokerage. On this installment and future ones, we will explore interesting spirits and other beverages from the around the world. Most often, these will be unique and interesting craft expressions. We’ll taste ‘em and talk about ‘em. Also, look for cocktail demos, recipes, and more!

This time around, we are at the Grapeful Ape, a fine new cocktail bar and bottle shop located in Old Mandeville about 40 minutes north of downtown New Orleans. We’re joined by spirits consultant, educator, and broker, Phil Minissale (our co-host in this endeavor) of PM Brokerage and Paul Calecas, head bartender of Grapeful Ape.

Here’s what we explore on this episode:

Mahon Gin

The distillate used is grape not grain, which makes this gin truly gluten-free, from start to finish. How to pronounce the distillery name Xoriguer: “sho-ri-gair,” found on the island of Manorca in Spain. Each batch is crafted exclusively for the USA. The juniper berries are sea-salt air-aged for up to 4 years in open crates at the distillery, thus concentrating the flavors and delivering a smooth gin, without bitterness. Two of the wood-fired Alembic stills are 70+ years old, another is 125+ years old and the last one is 270 years old!

Amrut Whisky

Amrut Distilleries Ltd is the king of Indian Single Malt Whiskies. It is best known for its eponymous Amrut brand of single malt whisky, which is the first single malt to be made in India. The core range of Indian Single Malt Whiskies includes Single Malt 46%, Cask Strength, Peated, and Peated Cask Strength, whiskies to be enjoyed often!

El Buho Mezcal

in 2007, NY-based Michelin star chef and mezcal connoisseur, TJ Steele, found the source provider for an excellent Espadín mezcal at the Don Isaac Distillery. It is owned and operated by the 5th generation Jimenez Mendez family.  This Espadín is perfect neat, but also priced accordingly for the cocktail menu. It’s also perfect and versatile for the home bar. It still remains as a single family Mezcal producer. 

A Wild Night in Oaxaca

1.5oz El Buho Mezcal (Espadín)
.5oz Granada Vallet
.5oz Casa D’Aristi Xtabentún
.5oz Lime Juice
.25oz Agave Nectar
2 dashes Bittermens Hellfire

Shake and double strain into a rocks glass with a lime peel garnish.

Some Assembly Required

1.5oz Mahon gin
.5oz butterfly pea syrup
.25oz lemon
3oz Fentimans Tonic Water
18.21 citrus-Japanese chile bitters

Serve with big ice in a wine glass, lemon peel garnish.

Butterfly Pea Syrup

2cups sugar
2cups water
1Tbsp butterfly pea flowers

Combine everything in a pot and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool and strain into container of your choice.

A Res At Dorsia

1.5oz Estancia Raicilla
1oz Cocchi Americano
.25oz satsuma-vanilla syrup
Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with large ice. Garnish with satsuma peel.

Check out our video cocktail demos of some of the drinks featured on this episode of “Liquid Luggage” presented by PM Brokerage…

Pop across the lake from New Orleans to historic Old Mandeville near the Lakefront and check out the terrific cocktail bar and bottle shop, The Grapeful Ape! See their location here…