Wednesday night I attended the Indy Spirits Expo at Touch in New York. I was given tickets by Dave at Orange V vodka, whom I met a month earlier at the Micro Distillers Odyssey. I tried Orange V again and was impressed that it tastes like real oranges mixed with high-quality vodka.
Unlike the Micro Distillers Odyssey, the Indy Spirits Expo didn't have any seminars and fewer distillers attended (it was mostly sales reps). However, there were more spirits to sample this time around. I was disappointed that there weren't more cocktails being served--since the Micro Distillers Odyssey was part of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, there were plenty of bartenders mixing creative cocktails. The Indy Spirits Expo was also more crowded than the previous event--fortunately, I was able to show up an hour earlier than most attendees.
I discovered a few new spirits that were interesting and impressive. My first sample was Calisaya, an Italian liqueur distilled from cinchona bark--it was a bit sweet and would be great mixed with some neutral spirits. I also found some flavored vodkas from Hamptons Vodka--the chocoraspberry really tasted like chocolate and raspberry. The distiller mentioned that he has a deal to begin distributing these vodkas in Shenzhen.
I was happy to find two spirits made in New Jersey--Love Potion #9 and The Spirit of Liberty. The Love Potion was much sweeter than the Calisaya, but had a pleasant, smooth flavor. The Spirit of Liberty is a bourbon cream liqueur--it's smoother and a little lighter than Irish cream that uses Irish whiskey. I was also told that The Spirit of Liberty has a longer shelf life than Irish cream and doesn't need to be refrigerated. It even comes in a bottle shaped like the Statue of Liberty.
The most creative of spirits at the event would have to be the Scorpion Mezcal. I'm not a fan of tequila or mezcal--my stomach turns at the mention of it--but I had to give this a try. I was surprised to find that it had a pleasant aroma and a small scorpion at the bottom of the bottle (I was told that it is edible, like the worm in a tequila bottle). I took a sip and my stomach didn't turn--it was a smooth spirit.