Local Wine Co's Blog

American Gin – Success by cdbakunas
May 5, 2015, 5:14 pm
Filed under: Food and Drink, Word on the Street | Tags: , , , ,

We’ve been saying for years that if you want to make a superlative cocktail from a white spirit then there is no where else to go except for Gin. And how fortunate are we today that the panoply of Gin choices today is better than its ever been in AMERICAN HISTORY, thus we are at the nascent edge of a Gin Renaissance and it’s a glorious time to imbibe cocktails.

A little back-patting is at hand. We released Small’s American Dry gin six years ago and have been dedicated to spreading the word and the love of Gin to our peeps behind the distribution wheel, the dedicated bartenders that work hours that are harder and longer then most realize and to the craft retailers who toil 7 days a week, speaking, sharing and selling craft: without whom we could not produce, exist and grow…thank you all!!! That you could know how grateful we are of your help, your consistency to quality as opposed to “deals,” that you share our story and love our product. Our success is only a shadow of your work and persistence.

Two great articles for Small’s that came out in the last 10 days. So stoked!12 American Gins

12 Great American Gins You Should Absolutely Know!


Peter Field:

The Consumption of Style: The Betty

Peter and Small's


By the way Peter, you never looked better with a bow tie!!!!


Ransom Spirits: What’s In a Name? by cdbakunas
June 5, 2012, 10:34 am
Filed under: Word on the Street | Tags: , , ,

The Hooch Life publishes lifestyle articles for enthusiastic drinkers that want to find out what’s happening in the wonderful world of craft. They took a day to hang with Tad Seestedt at what we affectionately call “the farm,” and Emily Hutto created this awesome video. Check out the video.

Ransom Spirits, What’s in a Name Video – Click Here?

Cocktail Class at Chicago’s Chopping Block by cdbakunas
April 23, 2012, 2:09 pm
Filed under: Making Cocktails, Word on the Street | Tags: , ,

Thursday, May 31, 7-8:30 $50

Join us in welcoming back Christophe Bakunas, all-around great guy and Proprietor of Local Wine and Spirits Company, which produces fantastic wine (see the “Sweet Spot” Cabernet our current list) in addition to artisanal, boutique spirits. Christophe will teach us how to shake, stir (and drink!) perfect summer cocktails, and “cocktail kits” with booze and recipes will be available for purchase after class. Cocktails will include Christophe’s signature John Collins, Rosemary Vodka Spritz, White Wine Refresher, Hemingway Daiquiri, and his Whiskey Daisy. Not to be missed!
Home Page – The Chopping Block

Early Drinkers and Flappers (and what they’ve done for us today) by cdbakunas
May 11, 2011, 8:09 am
Filed under: Libations, Travel, Word on the Street | Tags: , , , ,

Did you know that women were not allowed in bars in the 19th century? Really? That seems like a serious flaw in the social fabric of attempting through swagger, humor or dumb luck to pick up girls at the local tavern. God bless the generation of our great, great grandfathers who persevered until we arrived at the age of Liberalism.The term “flappers” comes from the 1920’s during the Prohibition Era and connoted women who eschewed rigorous social standards and did crazy things like drink alcohol in bars (speakeasies) drove cars and wore shorter skirts. I guess if you have to look for something positive in the failed social experiment of American Prohibition, flappers should be at the top of your list. The dawning of the age of Liberalism is deeply entwined with our American history and the founding of this nation, the pursuit of liberty and equality, which takes social roots in women’s right to vote, right to drink and right to drive. John Locke, the earliest philosopher, political proponent of Liberalism, and a major influence on the founding fathers of America, said, “New opinions are always suspected and usually opposed without any other reason but because they are not already common. ”

America is and will always be a nation of invention, perseverance and leadership. Will we make mistakes? Of course. Will we have prohibition again? Absolutely not. And now that women drink with men (depuis circa 1920), America has exported the concept of cocktails to the world, craft distilleries are on the climb, and classic cocktails are du rigueur.

It was only a few years ago that a bar in middle town anywhere USA would have the same five beers, Bud, Bud Light, Corona, Heineken, Amstel and if you were lucky Sam Adams. Today it is nearly impossible and improbable that you will walk into the same sort of establishment, your local watering hole, neighborhood restaurant, liquor store (excluding the gas stations and 7-Elevens of the world) and not find it replete with micro brews from around the world.

As we experienced a tremendous downturn in our economy an interesting phenomenon occurred. The Federal and State governments were and are in a budget crisis, so what do they loosen up? The right to own permits to brew and distill. Today there are nearly 450 micro distilleries across this great nation. That’s a rocketing 300% growth in the last decade. And good for us the consumer. Our choices for distilled beverages is rapidly increasing and with the increased competition the quality of spirits across the board is getting better and better.  Now it’s our job as consumers to ask for more and interesting spirits. I’ll know the day that Main Street has beaten Wall Street when I can walk into an airport in Dallas, Texas or Raleigh, North Carolina and ask for a martinez cocktail, and they’ll not only have Old Tom gin, but they’ll know how to mix this elixir.

Drink well, and ask for the good stuff.

Trade Shows by cdbakunas
April 26, 2011, 7:54 am
Filed under: Travel, Word on the Street | Tags: , , , ,

Trade shows are the ubiquitous gathering of wine and spirit professionals in regional areas where one distributor takes three or four hours to highlight all their wares and invites their entire customer base to attend. In major markets these events get very large. The question is how do distributors differentiate themselves in this rather cookie cutter style event; how do they position themselves to their customers; and how do the wineries and distilleries that attend make an impact amongst dozens to hundreds of other colleagues vying for the small attention of the buyers? And let’s be honest, palate fatigue sets in rather quickly, there is always a high percentage of consumption which clouds the rational mind (but makes the event a helluva lot of fun) and beverage professionals tend to have short attention spans, especially when coming from the fast paced and hectic environment of restaurants.

I believe that one way to stand out in the crowd, as a producer, is to be honest, humble and sincere (be yourself) and to offer better product and better prices than your competitor. Of course if you have a product that is completely unique, like the only Old Tom Gin produced in America, that makes a huge difference, but if you are making California Cab or Chardonnay, why are you unique? Not saying that you can’t be, but what is it that makes you unique in this over burdened supply side world of domestic and international wines?

And as a distributor, what are you doing to separate yourself from the crowd. Cream Wine Company in Chicago is doing a very interesting thing this year at their annual Small Batch portfolio tasting. And remember, this is one of the top five markets in the US. Only owners, winemakers or distillers are allowed to present at this years tasting. That means no regional sales managers, no marketing interns, no national paper pushers will be pouring and entertaining the beverage professionals. I have not seen this done anywhere else in the US and I love the idea. It gives separation from their peers (distributors) and offers the highest level of quality information to the buyers who attend this tasting because the get to speak directly with the man or woman who is responsible for making the wine, the whiskey, the vodka, etc.

I hope to see more innovations in trade tastings over the coming years. It’s all to easy to fall into conformity and do what the other guy is doing. Let me know what else you’ve seen out there that is unique and wonderful.

for my friends, a few cocktails by cdbakunas
October 26, 2010, 5:31 pm
Filed under: Libations | Tags: , , ,

Ahhh, gin and cocktails. My friend Neil Loomis of Rendez Vous Bistro in Jackson Hole, WY has been playing with gins and concocted a couple of fantastic cocktails. Try these out tonight or this weekend when you’re entertaining family and friends (heck, I’d do it for myself and have a party of one, chez moi).

A nice twist on the classic Gin Rickey

Basil Rickey-

Lightly muddled basil, with 2 oz Small’s Gin, 1 oz fresh lime juice, splash of simple syrup and filled with club soda served over ice in a high ball

The Presbyterian is a three component cocktail made for parties and church revivals. The classic Presbyterian uses whiskey of one sort or another, but since Ransom Old Tom gin draws from early 1800’s gin distillation techniques which had a kissing cousins relationship with American whiskey, this works great.

Old Tom Presbyterian-

Equal portions of Ransom Old Tom, ginger ale and club soda with orange squeeze garnish served in a high ball.

Enjoy and Sláinte

How many bottles of wine are in…? by cdbakunas
October 25, 2010, 1:58 pm
Filed under: Food and Drink, Libations | Tags: , ,

Ever wonder how many bottles of wine come from an acre of vineyard? Or how many gallons of wine are in a 12 btl case? Even perhaps how many bottles come out of a wine barrel? Of course these numbers may fluctuate based on tons per acre, angel’s share (evaporation), what size barrel or bottle you might be discsussing but here are some interesting numbers you might want to bookmark or download onto your hand held for those evenings that you play Wine Trivia or when you need to impress your father in law while dining out at a fancy restaurant.

Spring cover crop in a California Vineyard

California Spring Vineyard

One bottle of wine = 750 ml or 1/5 of a gallon

One case of 12 750ml bottles = 2.4 gallons

One Barrel = 60 gallons – 25 cases or 300 750 ml bottles

One Ton of Grapes = approximately 700 bottles of wine

One Acre of Vineyards – Low yield for high quality wines = 2-4 tons

One Acre of Vineyards – High yield for less expensive wines = 10 tons

Bottle Sizes and Names

Piccolo = .1875 liter (also known as a snipe or a split)

Chopine = .25 liter

Demi = .375 liter (half bottle)

Jennie = .5 liter

Standard = .750 liter

Magnum = 1.5 liter

Jeroboam = 3.0 liter

Methuselah = 6 liter

Salmanazar = 9 liter

Balthazar = 12 liter

Nebuchadnezzar = 15 liter

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