Catchy names will only get you so far. So it's a good thing that Oddka Vodka ($TBA) is more than just a clever moniker and cheeky line drawing label. This unusual brand is known for its equally unique flavors, including electricity, caramel popcorn, fresh cut grass, wasabi, and apple pie. While they're certainly fine by themselves, the majority of them all but beg for a clever mixologist to use them in drinks, giving you the ability to add a dash of Wasabi heat to your Bloody Mary, a fresh, summery bite to your Moscow Mule, or, well, we're not sure what you're supposed to do with electricity-flavored vodka — but we're positive someone will figure it out.
Most of the ciders you come across here in the states tend to be sickly-sweet affairs, making them less than ideal for pairing with food — or for drinking more than just one. Soon, however, you'll be able to escape that sad fate by picking up some Stella Artois Cidre ($TBA). Launching May 13 in four-packs and 24 oz. bottles, this new drink is drier and crisper than your normal cider, made with hand-picked apples grown in wine-friendly regions, and design to complement foods like chicken, fish, many cheeses, and even Asian foods.
Just because they have "breakfast" in the name doesn't mean you need to guzzle them before Noon. Although, on second thought, the flavors of Mama Walker's Breakfast Liqueurs ($13) are so perfectly suited to the waking hours that we might have to rethink our first statement. Coming in at a healthy 70 proof, these specialty spirits come in three IHOP-friendly flavors — Maple Bacon, Blueberry Pancake, and Glazed Donut — and are sure to liven up your morning, afternoon, or night.
It's such a catchy name that we're surprised no one's using it commercially, but these two bottles of Shipwreck Whiskey ($TBA; auction) are actually very rare. They were among eight bottles recovered from the SS Politician, an 8,000-ton cargo ship that sank off the coast of Scotland in 1941, bound for Jamaica and New Orleans with 28,000 cases of whiskey. Bottled by W & A Gilbey with an original cork and wax sealed by Christies, you can be sure it'll be one of the more interesting drinks you can take.
Don't let its clear color fool you — this is no typical moonshine. Inspired by the white whiskey distilled by founder Jacob Beam, Jim Beam Jacob's Ghost White Whiskey ($22) is actual, full-on whiskey that offers the woody flavors of a traditional bourbon but with a lighter body and greater versatility. It's aged for at least a year in a charred white oak barrel, resulting in a slightly smoky flavor with light vanilla and sweet corn undertones. And while it can certainly be enjoyed like a traditional bourbon — neat, on the rocks, or in traditional whiskey cocktails — it really shines when you use it to replace white spirits like vodka, tequila, or rum. A bourbon-based Bloody Mary? Yes, please.
Think the Kentucky Derby was your only excuse to visit Louisville this year? Think again. You'll likely be flying into the city to go fetch a bottle of Jim Beam Distiller's Masterpiece ($200). This limited-edition release is available only at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse in Clermont, KY, roughly 30 minutes outside Falls City. As for the booze itself, it's a potent 100-proof, extra-aged in the optimal rack-house position as determined by Master Distiller Fred Noe, and then finished in PX sherry casks to give it a unique dynamic all its own. Smooth, rich, and full-bodied, it will arrive in its own wooden case that's sure to become a highlight of your liquor shelf.
It's been called a precursor to all fermented drinks, and there's a reason for that: it's easy to make. So easy, in fact, that you can do it at home. This Homemade Mead Kit ($60) includes everything you need to make your own honey wine, including a one-gallon fermentation jug with a metal lid, a temperature strip, a hydrometer, an airlock, a stopper, a siphoning tube, and enough yeast for five one-gallon batches. So everything but the honey, and the 4-6 weeks it takes to go from throwing stuff in a jug to tasty goodness.
When it comes to unusual spirits, it's hard to top Clear Creek Douglas Fir Eau de Vie ($46). Inspired by the rare Alsatian distillate Eau de Vie de Bourgeons de Sapin, this unique tree spirit is crafted by infusing hand-picked Douglas Fir buds into clear brandy, which gets re-distilled and re-infused before being strained and bottled. Said to smell and taste like the woods, you'll find notes of juniper, wood, vanilla, and Christmas tree in each sip. In other words, it's as close as you can get to drinking Pine-Sol without making a call to poison control — and we mean that in the best way possible. [Scouted by Eric]
One of the great things about small distilleries is their ability to try out new flavors that the bigger outfits can't. Take Kings County Distillery Chocolate Whiskey ($20) for example. This unique, limited edition spirit is made by infusing Kings County Distillery Moonshine with the leftover cocoa husks from Mast Brothers Chocolate, craft chocolate company that's not too far from Kings County's own distillery in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The resulting drink is rich, with a nice mix of sweet and savory flavors, and at 40% ABV, quite stout, as well. [Scouted by Kenneth]
Uncut and unfiltered, Booker's Bourbon ($50) is a must have for any true bourbon lover's liquor cabinet. Created by 6th generation Master Distiller Booker Noe — also known as Jim Beam's grandson — this drink is bottled straight from the barrel, and comes in at 121-127 proof. Yes, that's quite strong, but thanks to the oaky, smoky flavor and intense, complex finish, odds are you'll be sipping on each glass for as long as you can.
Have a fantastic drink of coffee, no brewing required with Secret Squirrel Cold Brew Coffee ($20-$30). Brewed over 18-24 hour periods using nothing but filtered water and ground beans, this coffee concentrate can be mixed with hot or cold water or milk — whatever you like — and produces a smooth, rich coffee flavor. Available in two- or three-bottle packs; each bottle makes between 4-7 drinks, depending on the size and strength.
New to the world of absinthe? Get a jump-start on your green fairy education with these Absinthexplore Kits ($35-$80). Included in each set is either three or six 50ml vials of various high-end absinthes, as well as at least one spoon, all packaged in a handsome black box. The six-vial sets include two spoons while the three-vial sets include one; if you don't see a set that interests you, you can also build your own, with as may as three spoons packed in.