New bars, quick tips, clever twists – it can be hard to know where to start when entering the world of craft spirits. But as expert Eric Grossman explains, there couldn’t be a better time to join in. Here the Craft Spirits author walks us through an industry whose future is as exciting as its history is rich.
I’ve spent the past few years traveling the globe, and let me tell you: the world of craft spirits has never been bigger... or smaller. Allow me to explain.
The craft spirits industry has boomed. Sales are through the roof, and upstart producers are setting up shop in places familiar and unexpected. But ideas and talent have spread to the point where nearly any style of spirit is locally produced no matter where you call home. Sure, certain liquors such as Chinese baijiu and Mexican agave spirits won’t be made elsewhere anytime soon, but the core standards are being reinterpreted around the world. German distilleries are putting their own spin on gin, and Australians are changing the way rum is appreciated down under.
In addition to the producers themselves, a raft of innovative, creative bartenders from Melbourne to Mexico City are introducing their customers to craft spirits via inventive mixed drinks and tasting flights. Bars that focus on one spirit have opened in San Francisco (the gin-focused Whitechapel), Sydney (the rum-centric Lobo Plantation), and everywhere in between.
Searching online for the latest and greatest craft spirits can send you down an endless rabbit hole of information, much of it unverified. Fortunately, my new book cuts out much of the guesswork. For the uninitiated, much of the mystery surrounding the topic is stripped away. And those who think they know all there is to know are sure to discover a new-to-them producer. (The book features numerous distilleries who only launched in the past couple of years and therefore have yet to reach a global audience.)
In Craft Spirits, readers can learn about more than 250 top-tier craft spirits from all over the world. All of the producers in the book have a passionate commitment to detail and quality, and a transparent philosophy that ensures each bottle delivers an unparalleled experience. The scenarios are endless, and no two producers are truly identical. Some go so far as to number each bottle by hand, ensuring that no two bottles are alike!
All the producers in the book also have an extreme commitment to quality when making their spirits, and employ time-consuming techniques, many of which are rooted in time-honoured traditions and passion. The experts who oversee every batch won’t compromise their vision or ethos in the name of efficiency or shortcuts. Artisanal processes, such as grinding or macerating ingredients – actions that are automated by multinational companies – are done by hand, and producers take pride in slow-going, repeated distillations.
Many distillers in the book source local ingredients, embracing a “farm-to-table” ethos and supporting local communities and sustainability. Many choose equipment according to efficiency and consistency, or use historically accurate stills that evoke a nostalgic era. But if sourcing top-notch craft spirits is proving too difficult or costly at home, you can still stay ahead of the curve by joining in on the mixology trend. The book illustrates dozens of cocktails and infusions, some of which are as easy as making a cup of tea, while others require a bit more technique (and elbow grease).
So, whether you’re inclined to search out some of the hot new spirits featured in the book or try your hand at putting a modern twist on a historic cocktail, I wish you happy – and safe – drinking during this, the most exciting time in the history of craft spirits. Cheers!
Thirsty for more? Craft Spirits will bring out your inner mixologist with cocktail recipes for each spirit it features, and will inspire you to shake or stir your own unique signature cocktail. Tasting notes, step-by-step advice, and profiles of the key micro-distilleries in every category make this book a must-have for enthusiasts.