Thanks to Napa-based Perfect Puree for a recent intimate dinner celebrating Perfect Puree neighbor Charbay Distillery’s new spirits releases at Jasper’s Corner Tap.
The ever talented Kevin Diedrich (bar manager at Jasper’s) crafted three drinks using Perfect Puree’s fresh, bright purees. In typical Diedrich fashion, subtlety and balance wove together each, from a Thymely Fashioned, vivid with Charbay White Whiskey, Perfect Puree Thyme Citrus puree (one of their new flavors), Galliano and bitters, to a beautifully frothy with egg white Spring Mountain Sour (which I love to make at home), named after the longtime location of Charbay Distillery and Winery on Spring Mountain in St. Helena. The Sour is a mix of the White Whiskey, Marie Brizard Creme de Cacao, Perfect Puree Chipotle Sour puree (a little goes a long way with peppery smoke), Green Chartreuse and aforementioned egg white.
CHARBAY R5 Whiskeys
As an avowed whiskey lover, Marko Karakasevic’s (Charbay’s distiller, alongside his father, Miles) whiskeys are among the best I’ve had anywhere and a longtime favorite. But his fantastic beauties, like Release II, are out of the price range of many of us at $300+ a bottle, though I would call it one of the few worth a splurge.
Thankfully, his new whiskies are on the way, each actually distilling Bear Republic’s finished beer, aging it in oak or stainless steel. Marko has been distilling bottle-ready beers for years, like the pilsner he used for his Release I whiskey in 1999.
Charbay’s new whiskies are well under $100 , the first just-released set (small production, roughly 650 cases) made with Bear Republic’s Racer IPA: think hoppy, herbaceous, redolent of pine, papaya, and malt.
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The first, R5 Clear Whiskey ($52), is aged in small stainless steel tanks for 22 months after being distilled in a double copper Charentais alembic pot still. The second is R5 Aged Whiskey ($75), aged in French oak for 22 months, continuing the hoppy, bright, fruity, lychee direction. I tasted this whiskey in its early incarnation at 6 and 12 months – at each stage it was already a winner. Both are unique entries in the American whiskey category, especially approachable in this price range.
I’m particularly excited for Charbay’s upcoming release made from Bear Republic’s stout – again, at early stages of tasting, it is already brilliant. Hopefully, these more affordable whiskies will introduce more to the uniqueness of Charbay’s whiskies. Stay tuned for release dates and where you can find R5 this Summer here.
Tequila fans are thrilled that Tequila Tapatio, one of Mexico’s best quality-for-value tequilas (the blanco retails at $33 per bottle) distilled by delightful tequila master Carlos Camarena, is finally available in the US for the first time through Marko K Spirits, Charbay distiller Marko Karakasevic’s import company.
Tequila Tapatio is already on it’s way to numerous bars, restaurants and stores in California, New York and 7 other states, including being well stocked at Tres here in SoMa (a list of where to find it here).
Though I knew months back Marko would be the importer, it’s taken awhile for the tequila to arrive to the US. Now it’s here and it is smooth, robust, primed to be the savvy bartender’s well tequila of choice.