photos by Sk Delph

The doors opened at 12 noon on August 14th, 2019 at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Nevada to a world of spirits that not only heightened our senses, but romanced the patrons as well. The lineup of spirits to sample was filled with flavor and the stories of what brought them here. 

“The Sagamore Spirit distillery’s Straight Rye Whiskey comes from the Sagamore Farm Spring House built in 1909. It’s a naturally filtered spring water fed from a limestone aquifer. It’s part of what makes this spirit so special,” said Brett Bauer, Sales Director, Western US for Sagamore Spirit. “At one time in history, the Vanderbilt family actually kept champion thoroughbreds here.” These names might ring a bell: Discovery, Bed O’Roses, Native Dancer. Every horse in the 2008 Kentucky Derby can be traced back to Native Dancer. There’s true passion here. And when I sipped the double oak Sagamore Spirit Rye Straight Whiskey (96 pts), I can honestly say, I felt the passion flowing through me. The farm no longer features thoroughbreds. Kevin Plank, the founder and CEO of Under Armour owns it now and produces this amazing line.

Sash & Fritz was another great surprise. Deutscher Wodka (Yes, that’s vodka with a ‘W’) blew me away. “Sash stands for Alexander Pawlowitsch Romanow. He was once a Czar of Russia and Fritz is Friedrich Wilhelm III, King of Prussia. They were friends,” said Peter Steger, the Geschäftsführer/CEO. Or more gently, the crafter of Sash & Fritz. “We make this wodka from 100% German wheat and spring water from the Ore Mountains. It’s mellow enough to sip,” he said. And he was correct. I sipped as he coached me through the aromas of grain and yellow fruits. Interesting!

There was also an opportunity to learn. Bacanora was a new one for me. In Sonora, Mexico, an industrious little village has been distilling a mysterious spirit called Bacanora. It’s named after the village, because what better way is there to make it exclusively theirs? Bacanora can only be made from the ‘Agave Pacifica’ that has a unique claim for rarity. I tried the Sunora Cream de Bacanora Mocha. It took the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Gold Medal and it took me as well. A 30 proof liqueur with a blend of rich dairy cream and mocha is definitely a winner! The Bacanora Blanco 84 proof took Double Gold with a smoky nose and yet clear crisp taste; I just might have found a
new addiction.

Gin made a real entrance today showing off a new approach to flavor profiling. Bogart’s Gin was off the charts, made with juniper berries from Italy selected by fragrance, fresh hand-zested citrus, cucumber and are you ready for this? Hand-roasted crushed macadamia nuts give Bogart’s Gin a creamy texture that must be tasted to be described and on the finish, a hint of lavender and coriander to further the intrigue. Bogart’s features other great products, however, Bogart’s gin…

I’d also like to share a story about The Women’s Cocktail Collective. It’s a collaboration between ten female producers of spirits who came together to help themselves and other women in the business, believing they are stronger together. Their businesses are entirely women-founded and their products are remarkable. A few examples: Pomp & Whimsy’s Gin Liqueur, founded by Dr. Nicola Nice, is a cordial style gin inspired by female writers and homebrewers of the Victorian era. This graceful liqueur certainly delivers. Square One Organic Vodka, founded by Allison Evanow, is one of the first certified all-organic vodka lines featuring flavors from bergamot to botanical and basil. Macchu Pisco is a Peruvian Spirit founded by Melanie and Lizzie Asher, two sisters who were inspired by their grandmother, Amelia Rodriguez, who had helped her mother sell Pisco in the bodega. They are dedicated to sustainability from “grape to glass.” And Yola Mezcal, founded by Yola Jimenez, employs exclusively female farmers and distillery workers knowing that 80% of their paychecks go to their families for food, clothing and education (vs. 50% by male workers).

I wish I could tell you about all the fabulous products and their unique stories, of which there were so many and the flavors all worth a taste. If you didn’t get a chance to check out the Inaugural Craft Expo definitely check with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Nevada for the next one.