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    I went to the Craft Spirits Carnival in San Francisco a couple weeks ago, and for the second year in a row I had a blast.

    What is not to like about having hundreds of handcrafted elegant spirits under one roof. My friend and I were each given a glass with the logo from Drink Me magazine. The logo is Alice, from wonderland, drinking. Thinking of Alice going down the rabbit hole seems apropos for this event.

    *side note: I just filled my souvenir glass with bubbly wine. I had to.

     

     

    With our glasses in hand and a map of the land, we walked to booth after booth. Every pourer of libation had stories to tell and great love for their product. Why shouldn’t they? These were some of the best most talented individuals in the spirit world.

    I went to an old haunt that has yet to do me wrong, the pür•spirits table. This year they handed out playing cards which I thought was fabulous, and while admiring them I enjoyed a bit of their elderflower liquor. (I put tasting notes at the end of this post)

    Betwixt the crowd, there were various ‘Cirque du Soleil’ style acts to capture your attention.

     

     

    The pole dancer was back this year, and seemed to have gained considerable skill (she was great last year).

     

     

    Amidst the tromping about, the conversations I engaged in with my friend and fellow comrades that I came across, I found truly engrossing. They were inextricably intertwined with the days event and the spirits that we came across.

    A remarkable Tequila that crossed our path was the Mi Casa Tequila.

     

     

    They had such a succinct and beautiful way of defining Tequila that I had to include it:

    First off let’s talk a little about agave in general.  Agave believe it or not is not a cactus but a relative of the lily.  Agave is a blanket term like ‘grapes’ and there are upwards of 200 varieties of agave.  Tequila by law is made from one specific varietal and that’s the Weber Agave, most commonly referred to as the Blue Agave. 

    Not all tequilas are created equal in this regard though; by law to be called tequila, a spirit need only be 51% Blue Agave leaving the other 49% to the imagination of the producer.  Tequila that is not 100% de Agave Azul (Blue Agave) is less expensive to produce and is designated as a mixto. 

     I personally do not drink mixtos myself but have had some descent ones in my day.  If you are serious about learning the nuances of tequila though, I implore you to skip mixtos entirely and focus only on products made of 100% Blue Weber Agave.  There are only 5 states in Mexico where you can grow Blue Agave and call it tequila.  It’s like Champagne in France.  You can grow and distill Blue Agave outside of these 5 states but you cannot under any circumstance call it tequila.  – A. Eli Rodriguez

    The Mi Casa Tequila was smooth, and delicious with a subtle cultured aroma that placed you in a room with Mexican aristocracy.

    This leads me to my pride and joy.

    Western Grace Brandy

    “Every man walks into this world with a soul. Not every man chooses to find his. For those that live in pursuit of possibility, adventure, and self comes an American brandy with as much character as the individuals who pour it.

    Western Grace Brandy is handcrafted in the hills of Northern California at one of the finest brandy distilleries on Earth. It is an intense labor of love produced by the valley’s sun and soil and water and air. Our brandy is meticulously crafted to bring out the absolute best our ingredients have to offer. It is smooth, nuanced and best enjoyed over great conversation.

    Every glass of Western Grace Brandy is filled with a soul all its own — and a little bit of ours too.”

     

    The brandy was soft, supple and so quaffable that you would never know it was 80 Proof.  When I took a sip of what truly was the elixir of the gods. I found myself torn from earth to view beauty from the clouds. The best part about the first sip was that there were more sips waiting for me in the glass.

     

    A wonderful day was had by me and all who attended. I highly recommend you go next year.

     

    Here were my posts from last year’s carnival:

     

    Spirits

    Squid and Spirits

    Dia-de-los-muertos

     

     

     

    Tasting notes for the pür•spirits elderflower liquor:

    “pür•likör blossom, elderflower liqueur embodies centuries of refinement and is crafted in accord with ancient practices in harmony with nature. Satin white elderflowers grow wild in forest clearings in the sunny climate around Lake Constance. Each spring, the distinctly floral scented star-shaped blossoms are hand-picked especially for our liqueur. They are then blended according to a tried and true formula that makes for a natural golden-copper tone, a velvety smooth aroma, and a sophisticated flavor.”