Heritage Distilling Canned Cocktails

We have another round of canned cocktails for the Rendezvous: An In-depth Look at RTD Cocktails campaign; this time from Heritage Distilling from Washington state. The distillery is the largest independently owned craft distillery in the Pacific Northwest and operates six tasting rooms in Washington and Oregon. And for the last nine years, Heritage has won more awards than any other craft distillery in North America from the American Distilling Institute.

The canned cocktails are a relatively new addition to their portfolio and the recipes use existing Heritage spirits, syrups, and other flavors, and a little soda water for effervescence and to keep the ABV below 7%.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy consists of Heritage Vodka, lemon juice, and soda water. Refreshing just as it is, would only add another slice of lemon.

Gin Jam Fizzzz is their Elk Rider Gin, raspberry jam, and soda water. Very fruit-forward and botanicals stand out on the nose. Augment with a dose more of gin to tame the berries.

Blood Orange Vodkarita is comprised of Heritage Vodka, blood orange flavoring, margarita mix, and soda water. An orange crush.

Peach Bourbon comes from Heritage Bourbon combined with peach bourbon syrup, lemon flavor, and soda water. Peaches everywhere, nose, body, and finish. Added some rye whiskey to tame the peaches and add a little spice.

RTD Cocktails Profile: Drink Troop

Napa’s Troop Beverage Co. was started by the married team of CC and Reed and “amateur bartenders, expert canners, and San Francisco explorers”. They started Troop in 2019 because they had enjoined creating new cocktail recipes and sharing them with friends. And thus, started a business to justify their cocktail habit.

Our influencers received a combination of three cocktails: Vodka Lemonade, Tequila Paloma, and Rum Mojito. Each cocktail weighs in at 10% abv and is packaged in 200ml cans. Depending on the recipe, the ingredients consist of a spirit, freshly squeezed juice, and soda water. The influencer favorites varied but all appreciated the portability, freshness, and low alcohol — particularly while hiking and hanging outside. Here are some of the Instagram posts from the participants.

Drink Troop on Swig and Ramble

Chefsquire.eats
theweetipple
Hannah | Wine Marketing with Adventure
One Girl One Glass One World
The Napa Cowgirl
Just the Bottle

The Virginia Cider Trail Coincides with the BevFluence Cider: New Perspectives on Cider, Perry, and Brandy Campaign

This is a big month for Virginia Cider. Last week the American Cider Association (ACA) announced the launch of the Virginia Cider Trail where users of the app can win prizes and receive discounts at participating cider houses. And it just happened that this summer I have already visited four of these establishments. And I believe I was the first to officially check-in using the Virginia Cider Trail app at Sage Bird Ciderworks and Ciders from Mars. 

In addition, our partner site at BevFluence has opened brand registration today for their Cider: New Perspectives on Cider, Perry, and Brandy campaign. The cider, perry, and brandy products will be presented to a combination of industry experts, mixologists, bartenders, creators, bloggers, writers, and other media – and across the craft beverage landscape. This will generate new perspectives about cider, perry, and apple brandy from creators who range from cider novices to experts. I also plan on taking the ACA’s Certified Cider Professional (CCP) exam during this campaign and using the ciders with my training guide. Brands and content creators can register here for the BevFluence campaign or learn more about the CCP here.

Lost Boy Cider is an urban cidery in Alexandria and sources its fruit from various orchards in the Shenandoah Valley. In early June they hosted one of four sessions on the Virginia Cider Road Show presented by the ACA. After a brief overview of Lost Boy by cidermaker Dave, the ACA’s Jennie Dorsey provided a history of cider, a history of cider in North America, and then the history of cider in Virginia. She then provided a brief overview of Virginia’s three most important apple varieties: Newton (Albemarle) Pippin, Hewes VA Crab, and Harrison. She finished by discussing the ACA’s Apple classes (bittersweet, bittersharp, sweet, & sharp); ACA Cider Families (cider, perry, fruit cider, botanical cider, & dessert ciders); cider cocktails; and cider-food pairings. Yes, a boatload of information was packed within each session. We finished with a food and cider pairing featuring cheeses from Cheestique. I think the Barrel-Aged cider paired with the Appalachian cheese, dried pear, and balsamic vinegar was my favorite — very complimentary.

Castle Hill Cider is located east of Charlottesville in Keswick and has an interesting history regarding the propagation of cider apples. As stated on their website:

Colonel Thomas Walker, the original owner of Castle Hill Estate, was the first to bring Newtown Pippin apple scions to Central Virginia following his return from the Battle of Brandywine in 1777.  The variety was planted at Castle Hill and became known as the Albemarle Pippin apple.

And as most Virginia cider lovers know, the Albemarle Pippin is still one of the signature Virginia apple varieties and was even exported to England throughout the 1800s.  Castle Hill Cider was founded in 2020 and the estate is planted with 6,500 trees featuring more than 30 apple varieties including Albemarle Pippin, Black Twig, Harrison, Burford Red Fresh, GoldRush, Dabinett, Hewes Crab, and Wickson Crab. The ciders are bottled in either 750ml or 375ml bottles and range from sweet to dry. 

During our visit, we choose a Classic flight and a Barrel aged flight. The majority of the group preferred the Terrestrial 2020 where the tannins and slight RS are balanced. It’s also an interesting blend that includes Black Twig, Winesap, and Ashmead’s Kernel. Personally, I preferred the funky, dry, and naturally fermented in quevri Levity 2020. Is this the only American cider fermented and aged in Georgian quevri?

For the barrel-aged ciders, the Hewes Pommeau Reserve is fascinating with complexity created by four years of aging in Woodford Reserve barrels and Keswick Winery wine puncheons. I also enjoyed the Silver Bough where Dabinett and Golden Hornet ciders were aged over a year in rum barrels.

Sage Bird Ciderworks is located in downtown Harrisonburg and opened a couple of years ago after the persistently hard work of Zach and Amberlee Carlson. This is the first cidery in the home of the Dukes and they offer an excellent array of various styles. I settled on a flight of five ciders – slightly more than the paddle size. The clear favorite was the Dry River Reserve — their flagship brut cider made from a blend of Virginia-grown apples. The Peaches For Me fits perfectly into the upcoming BevFluence campaign since the cider was aged in used apple brandy barrels. The oak treatment is noticeable — providing a peaches and cream feel with a boost of apple flavors. Finally, an interesting geographic cider is their Stay Gold, a dry cider inspired by West Virginia’s official state fruit, the famed Golden Delicious apple. 

Ciders from Mars is located about 30 miles south in downtown Stanton across the street from both Ox Eye Vineyards and Redbeard Brewing Company. So no excuses for not visiting. The cidery was founded by Virginia natives and science-minded Nikki West and Jeremy Wimpey. And Nikki improved her cidermaking through courses at the Cider Institute of North America -> a partner of the American Cider Association. Over a burger from 1Tribe Farm, I sampled six ciders through a standard flight. The Helles Dry is a solid representation of a brut cider and on the other side of the spectrum, the Pink Oceans was interesting with a subtle strawberry profile. However, the most impressive cider was easily the Liquid Gang, made from foraged apples and fermented using native yeast. The tannic structure mimics biting into an apple. Could be my favorite cider made in Virginia and is on par with the excellent cider from New York’s Aaron Burr Cidery.

RTD Cocktails Profile: Wild Roots Vodka Sodas

Who has taken a bottle of vodka and infused some type of fruit into the alcohol? I’ve done it with blueberries, figs, and blackberries but never achieved the success of Portland’s Wild Roots Spirits and their range of fruit-infused vodkas. Each of these spirits starts with six times filtered corn-based vodka infused with over a pound of real fruit farmed in the Willamette Valley. Grapes are not the only quality fruit grown in the largest river valley in Oregon. Recently Wild Roots entered the RTD market by creating a series of Vodka Sodas based on these infused vodkas. These 12-ounce sparkling craft cocktails are low in alcohol (4%), gluten-free, flavored with natural ingredients, contain only 2 grams of carbs, and have less than 100 calories.

Our influencers received a combination of four cocktails: Raspberry Vodka Soda, Lemon Vodka Soda, Peach Vodka Soda, and Blackberry Vodka Soda. Their favorites varied but all appreciated the portability, freshness, and low alcohol — particularly while hiking and hanging outside. Here are some of the Instagram posts from the participants.

Chefsquire.eats
DenJenEats
KelseeBHankins.com
Let Her Drink Wine
Swig & Ramble

RTD Cocktails Profile: Post Meridiem

We’ve learned from the highly successful Rendezvous: An In-depth Look at RTD Cocktails campaign that RTDs come in flavors, percent alcohol, and size. One brand that has stood out despite its diminutive size is Post Meridiem Spirits, a producer from Atlanta, Georgia. Their RTDs are intended to directly correlate to a craft cocktail so each can is 100ml in size and equates to a standard cocktail pour. In addition, these rugged – yet artistic cans – are encased in a steel wall, encouraging their portability for hikes, picnics, beach visits, and foreign travel. Post Meridiem also provides transparency regarding the ingredients – proudly displaying the cocktail recipe directly underneath the cocktail name. And finally, these are not low alcohol crushable RTDs, these are true cocktails with the alcohol content reflecting what would normally be expected in the targeted recipe.

Our influencers received a combination of four cocktails: The Modern Classic Cosmopolitan, The Double Old Fashioned, The Real Lime Juice Margarita, and The London Dry Southside. Their favorites varied but all appreciated the portability, transparency, and quality of each cocktail recipe. Here are some of the Instagram posts from the participants.

DenJenEats
Princess Nohelani
Jessica
Let Her Drink Wine
WineCompass

RTD Cocktails Profile: iiCiNG Flavour Shots

“It was really simple …… we thought, why can’t we flavour alcohol like MIO flavours water. And with that thought, the brand was born. “, Paul Wolchuk, founder of iiCiNG Flavour Shots

iiCiNG Flavour Shots

iiCiNG Flavour Shots allows consumers to become their own bartenders by moving the flavouring to the final stage of consumption instead of dictating which flavours are used in the production of the RTD or hard seltzer. Wolchuk’s previous experience was co-packing for the beer industry and one of the consistent issues he noticed was that co-packing flavoured beer was constantly on hold for flavour profile issues. Then he thought, let the brewers create the beer and he will create the flavours. And more importantly, they wanted to ensure that iiCiNG had zero calories, zero sugar, and all-natural flavours.

Bourbon Root Beer

The flavoured alcohol market can be segmented into three categories (coolers, cocktails and hard sodas) and thus iiCiNG attempts to create flavours to fit into these buckets. The first three flavours were Root Beer, Pina Colada, and Raspberry Grapefruit which were then followed closely by Cherry Burst and Blueberry Bang. Kreamsicle and Limoncello are the final two flavours — although more are in the pipeline.

The entire premise of iiCiNG is to allow the consumer to control their flavour profile, not the bottler. You choose what to add it to, when, where and how much. According to Wolchuk, “it makes the drink experience as individual as you are.” He continues, ” all our flavours not only taste exactly like the flavour, but they look and smell like them. No BS, they do!”

We have devised several recipes that we will be trying and will be updating this post as we discover more ourselves and hear from the content creators. Cheers.

Bourbon Root Beer
2 oz bourbon
6 oz seltzer water, chilled
iiCiNG Root Beer to taste

Lemoncello
2 ounces vodka
6 ounces chilled seltzer water
iiCiNG Lemoncello to taste

Pina Colada
4 oz rum
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz cream
coconut flakes and pineapple chunks
iiCiNG Pina Colada to taste

Coffee Cherry Smash (inspired by Cocktail Contessa)
2 oz bourbon or rye whiskey
½ oz coffee rum or coffee liqueur
iiCiNG Cherry Burst to taste

Sparkling Raspberry Grapefruit
6 oz sparkling wine
iiCiNG Raspberry Grapefruit to taste

Raspberry Grapefruit Margarita
4 oz 100% agave tequila
2 oz grapefruit juice
½ oz lime juice
iiCiNG Raspberry Grapefruit to taste