Old Trapper Beef Jerky

The family-owned Old Trapper Smoked Products is experiencing excellent growth, and just in time for its 50th anniversary, completed the commissioning process for its new 80,000 square foot production facility (one of the largest of its kind in the world) located at its headquarters in Forest Grove, OR. After sampling the signature line of its authentic handmade beef jerky, what impressed me, in addition to its outstanding flavor, was the fact that the products are low in calories (60-70 per 1 oz), carbs (6 grams) and fat (0-1 grams). Several varieties are offered, including barbecue, chipotle, hot and spicy, peppered, teriyaki and old fashioned. Seasoned lean cuts of real steak are used and brown sugar is added before it is smoked to perfection using real wood in the company’s smokehouses. The result is tender, never tough jerky that in my opinion stands out from the rest. 



Ole Smoky Salty Caramel Whiskey

Ole Smoky, the first federally licensed distiller in the history of East Tennessee, founded in 2010, has been turning heads with its flavored moonshine and whiskey. While perusing the new product aisle at the 2019 Nightclub & Bar Show and seeing the words Salty Caramel Whiskey I knew I would not be able to pass it up. After tasting it I was rewarded with enjoying one of my favorite flavors, but unlike many flavored whiskeys I’ve found to be too sweet, this one has the advertised flavor without being cloying and still tastes like a whiskey. A recent accolade is the Ole Smoky Distillery received two Beverage Information Group Growth Brand Awards in the Rising Star category: one for the distillery and one for the Salty Caramel. Ole Smoky retails globally and offers more than 25 moonshine flavors and 17 whiskey flavors.



Black Fig Vodka

I’m tired of spirits flavored with fruit that contain only a hint of the fruit’s essence or are over sweetened to the point of no longer tasting like the fruit of origin. So, it’s refreshing to find one that tastes completely like the actual fruit. Such is the case of Black Fig, a vodka infused with real figs. At the 2019 Nightclub & Bar Show I met Black Infusions owner Michael Davidson, who informed me only agricultural products are used, with no artificial flavoring, coloring or sugars. Distilled in Bend, OR, the vodka begins as a gluten-free spirit base made from corn, is filtered through charcoal and through lava rock, after which whole, dried California figs are added. After four to six weeks of natural infusion, the liquid is lightly filtered so it retains its natural flavor profile and amber hue. The proof is in the taste, as only the pure flavor of the fruit comes through, which gives you the impression you are drinking the pure essence of a fig. Although several cocktail recipes are provided, I am perfectly happy to sip this flavored vodka without any dilution. Another fine rendition, using the same methods, is the Gold Apricot. Both vodkas are handcrafted in small batches, are gluten-free, kosher-certified and naturally infused. The Black Fig won a 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Double Gold Medal for Best Flavored Vodka.



kKada Caramel Liqueur

It’s believed that caramel was introduced to the Americas in the 1600s, possibly from the Arab world or by early settlers playing with white sugar over a fire. In any event, it’s about time this wonderful flavor showed up in an all-caramel, non-creamy liqueur. At the 2019 Nightclub & Bar Show I was introduced to the kKada Caramel Liqueur by entrepreneurs Zane Seely and Charlotte Gilbert, who told me the flavor originates from spices from India using a proprietary recipe. This drink is a 50 proof base of vodka distilled in Marysville, WA, is dairy- and gluten-free and can be mixed to add flavor and spice to a variety of drinks, such as cocktails, beer, whiskey, tequila, cider, desserts and hot chocolate. But I found pure pleasure in drinking it straight, and thankfully, it’s not overly sweet, most likely due to its ingredient mix that includes black cardamom, fenugreek, black pepper, clove, cinnamon, ginger, star anise and a bit of curry.