Wednesday, November 9

Friday, October 7

Help us make change!

Allow Artisan Distillers to sell directly to customers in California.

We are losing sales because we can't sell our artisan spirits directly to our customers. Sales are lost. Sales taxes are lost. When we distill small lots, it is difficult for distributors to bring in the inventory. The law shuts us out of our own market.

Why this is Important
It’s time to allow artisan distillers to sell directly to customers the same as wineries sell to their customers in tasting rooms and wineries.
It would be so convenient for our customers if they could buy directly from us when they visit. Imagine you visit and we spend an hour sharing how we distill it, age our products for years in French oak barrels and then you turn to us and ask to buy it and we have to say: sorry, we’re not allowed to sell our artisan spirits directly to you, our customer!
By law, all CA distilleries must sell to a Distributor. The Distributor marks it up 30% and sells to a store or a restaurant.
It’s how our government has set up the laws. It’s how our elected politicians have agreed to run the business of California.
Unlike other states, in California we are not allowed to sell our artisan spirits directly to our customers. We have to find a store somewhat close to them and they have to drive the distance. Many would love to order on line and have the products delivered to their door.
Right now, if a store doesn't want to buy from our Distributor, the customer is out of luck.
This is treating customers like second class people - they should have the right to buy artisan spirits the same as buying quality wines, clothes or books or gourmet foods.
When we make small lots, we should be able to sell directly to accounts and our customers. This law shuts us out of our own market. The law is unfair. Cross into Oregon and artisan distillers can sell right at the distillery to their customers.
We are not trying to eliminate distributors – we need them! We are just trying to be able to sell directly to our customers, just like every other business out there…

Monday, June 20

Passion Fruit Martini Recipe

This sounds so great right now!

Passion Fruit Martini
Austin Thompson/Cuvee, Napa
• 2 oz. Charbay Green Tea Vodka
• 1 oz. Perfect Purée Passion Fruit Concentrate, thawed
• Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth
Combine ingredients into a mixing glass with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass. Float Martini & Rossi on top. Serve.

Thursday, June 9

Event Bottoms Up! D.I.Y Cocktail Class Featuring Charbay Spirits: SF

Saturday, June 18, 2011 from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM (PT)
San Francisco, CA
The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) and barman extraordinaire Scott Beattie are hosting a class celebrating the arrival of the summer cocktail season! Whether you need to cool-off or warm-up during the Bay Area summer, cocktails provide a delicious solution.

Northern California spirit maker Marko Karakasevic will bring many of the bottles found in his Charbay label portfolio to taste and experiment with, including several whiskeys, two rums, pastis, a port, aperitif wines, a tequila, and a black walnut liqueur. Scott will show how to mix unique cocktails with early season berries, stone fruits, and herbs from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

Date and time: Saturday, June 18, 2011, 2:00-4:00 pm
Location: CUESA Kitchen at the Ferry Building
Cost: $50 (includes tasting, hands-on cocktail instruction, take-home booklet). Purchase tickets here

Scott Beattie is the bar manager of Healdsburg’s Spoonbar and author of Artisanal Cocktails (Ten Speed Press, 2008).

Charbay Distillery owner Marko Karakasevic works with his father Miles to carry on the 13-generation Serbian family tradition of carefully and painstakingly turning fermented fruits into beautiful spirits. What began as a Brandy-making endeavor in the 1980s in the US has expanded far beyond to include an array of quality spirits.

This class is part of a six-part series taught by Scott Beattie. All classes include a short “Cocktails 101” demo that will include proper shaking and stirring techniques (and the reasons why you would do either), precise measurement, ice, glassware selection, and several other helpful tips that will insure better home bartending. In addition to hearing from the guest speaker, all attendees will also receive excellent printed information about additional spirits. Classes sizes are small, limited to 40 students, and are mostly DIY. Get ready for lots of hands-on experience with the shakers and strainers! Time permitting, Scott will present and sign copies of his book “Artisanal Cocktails,” available for $28, (cash/check only). All classes are held on Saturdays and cost $50.

Tuesday, May 24

Delicious Cocktail Recipe

Honeymoon Sweet, Jen Akril/Rye, San Francisco

Combine all ingredients into a pint glass. Add ice and shake well with a Boston Shaker. Strain and pour into a glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with Chinese 5 spice. Serve.

Thursday, May 19

Root Down Cocktail Recipe

An amazing cocktail from our friend Rick Prichard of Gotham, NYC:

1.5 oz Charbay Blanco Tequila
1 oz Celery juice/cucumber juice combo
.5 oz agave nectar
3 ea kumquats
1 coin jalapeño
splash cocchi Americano
splash fresh grapefruit juice
celery bitters
fever tree bitter lemon soda
Muddle kumquats with the agave nectar and celery bitters. Add the remaining ingredients and shake well. Strain ingredients into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with bitter lemon soda. Garnish with a kumquat.

Sign me up!

Wednesday, May 18

Charbay-Perfect Puree Cocktail Competition Results & Recipes

Thanks to all of you cocktail enthusiasts that came out in the rain to support our local bartenders! We had 15 amazing contenders, and let me tell you the scoring was close... What a beautiful array of creative cocktails... Thanks to the competitors for putting your best cocktail forward - we know these competitions are a lot of work and love that you take such pride in your craft. Solage - you were excellent hosts! Thanks for keeping us dry and hydrated and for all your hard work. Lastly, and certainly not least, thanks to our judges! Virginia Miller (SF Guardian), Roberto Sequeira (Glace Ice), Ed Meagher, (Tasting Table) and Pierce Carson (NV Register), you waded blind into 15 cocktails in only 2 hours, not a small feat... We appreciate you taking the competition so seriously and taking the time to have a little fun with us :)

Without further ado, here are the cocktail recipes... Feel free to comment on your favorite of the night! If you haven't yet been to some of these fine restaurants, you should certainly check them out -

1st PLACE!
Michael Jack Pazdon, SolBar
La Caoba Club Cocktail
1 ½ oz Charbay Tequila
½ oz Culinary Traditions Carmelized Pineapple Concentrate
1 Tsp Culinary Traditions Ginger
½ oz 5 spice infused agave nectar syrup
.66 oz lime juice
.33 oz orange juice
½ oz egg white
2 drops toasted cardamom-cacao bitters
*Combine all ingredients in mixing glass. Dry shake, add ice, and shake again. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a few drops of the bitters and gel, along with a scattering of the orange dust. Garnish: Toasted cardamom-cacao bitters, vanilla coffee gel, orange dust.

2nd PLACE!
Tony DeMaria, Jackson’s Bar & Oven
Thai Juan On
1 1/2 oz Charbay Tequila Blanco
1 lemon
2 to 3 leaves of fresh basil
1/2 oz Culinary Traditions Carmelized Pineapple Concentrate
1/2 oz Rhum Clement Shrubb Creole Liqueur
1/2 oz Habenero and thai chille infused honey
Splash of soda water
Served on the Rocks

3rd PLACE!
Tomas Estes, Bardessono
Tokyo, Mexico
1 1/2 oz Charbay Tequila
1 1/2 oz Beverage Artistry Yuzu Luxe Sour
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/4 oz Jasmine Syrup
2 inch sprig of fresh oregano
Lemon Verbena or lemon balm for garnish
*Line a cocktail glass with wet lemon balm or verbena leaves and then freeze the glass. Muddle oregano with yuzu mix, add ice and all other ingredients, shake vigorously and strain.

Runners Up (in no particular order):

Austin Thompson, Cuvee
Mai Pina
2 oz Charbay Tahitian Vanilla Bean Rum
1 oz Culinary Traditions Carmelized Pineapple Concentrate
1 Tsp Culinary Traditions Ginger
1 1/2 oz coconut water
*Shaken & strained over ice. Topped with a float of caramel simple syrup. Garnish: Caramelized pineapple

Jessica Backhus, Zins Valley Restaurant
Calico Jack
2 oz Charbay Tahitian Vanilla Bean Rum
3/4 oz Culinary Traditions Carmelized Pineapple Concentrate
1/2 oz Culinary Traditions Ginger
1/2 oz Beverage Artistry Yuzu Luxe Sour
Build over ice, top with soda water.

Scott Westerman, Calistoga Ranch
Zàng Fǔ Very Much
2 oz Charbay Green Tea Vodka
1 oz Culinary Traditions Ginger
3 oz coconut juice
Splash lime juice to taste
Splash simple syrup to taste
*Served in a martini glass with ginger/sugared rim, garnished with hibiscus flower

Eddie Ames, Allegria
Yuzu Ma Rang
2 oz Charbay Meyer Lemon Vodka
T Spoon Beverage Artistry Yuzu Luxe Sour
1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 oz triple sec
splash of soda water
*Served on the rocks, garnished with crushed graham cracker on the rim; Float of fresh ma rang cream on top and lightly toasted with a bakers torch… Splash of Chambord at the bottom of glass.

John Shaver, Calistoga Inn
Sol Bar-ry
1 1/2 oz Doubled & Twisted Light Whiskey
1 oz Culinary Traditions Carmelized Pineapple Concentrate
1 oz Culinary Traditions Mandarin Tangerine Concentrate
1/2 oz simple syrup
4 blackberries
2 strawberries
*Served in a martini glass; garnished with Nutella rim and Nutella dipped strawberry

Dan Kaiser, JoLe
Pina Picante
2 oz Charbay Tequila Blanco
3/4 oz Culinary Traditions Carmelized Pineapple Concentrate
1/2 bar spoon Culinary Traditions Ginger
small bunch Cilantro
2 slices Jalapeño
1 egg white
*First I muddle the jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, Carmelized Pineapple and Ginger Puree. Then add Tequila and egg white. Shake without ice vigorously. Then add ice and shake vigorously again. Then I strain it into a mason jar filled with ice and garnish with jalapeño and cilantro.

Jason Withrow, Redd
Hot Lips
1 1/2 oz Charbay Tequila
1 oz Culinary Traditions Mandarin Tangerine Concentrate
1 oz Tequila Falernum
1/2 oz lime juice
2 slices jalapeño
*Shake. Add 1 oz of El Corazon Cordial to glass, add ice, pour shaker contents over ice and cordial, top with club soda. Garnished with a spicy El Corazon ice cube.

Falernum: 13 oz Tequila, zest of 5 limes and 6 tangerines, 30 cloves, 10 coriander, 10 cardamom, 10 allspice, 8 oz fresh Ginger root.
Infuse for 24 hrs, strain, add 20 oz agave syrup, 2 caps almond extract, 5 oz lime juice, 2 oz mandarin/ tangerine juice, and stir

El Corazon Cordial: 1 Cup El Corazon Puree, 1 Cup Water, 3/4 Cup Agave nectar, 1/2 Cup Lime/Tangerine juice. Bring to boil, cover, and let simmer for 25 minutes, cool to room temperature

El Corazon ice cube: 1 cup El Corazon Puree, 1 cup water, 2 tbsp candied ginger puree, 1 slice of jalapeno. Freeze. Use as mixing stick in drink

Anthony Parks, Angele
Guilty Pleasure
2 oz Charbay Alambic Cane Rum
1 oz Culinary Traditions Carmelized Pineapple Concentrate
1/2 oz Beverage Artistry Yuzu Luxe Sour
1/4 oz fresh lime juice
barspoon Culinary Traditions Ginger
Chopped mint
Ginger Beer
*Tall Collins Glass

Carlo Cavallo, Meritage Oyster Bar & Grille
Mexican Geisha
2 oz Charbay Tequila
1 oz Beverage Artistry El Corazon
1 oz Beverage Artistry Yuzu Luxe Sour
1 Tsp Culinary Traditions Carmelized Pineapple Concentrate
1/2 fresh lime
*Shaken and served in a Collins glass with Blood Orange/Pineapple garnish

Gerrard Stevens, Meritage Oyster Bar & Grille
Hoochie Mama
1.5 oz Charbay Vodka
1 Tsp Culinary Traditions Ginger
1/2 oz Beverage Artistry Yuzu Luxe Sour
1/2 fresh lemon
1/4 oz St. Germaine Liqueur
Domaine Carneros Float
*Served Up

Bill Kelley, Cantinetta Piero
Cantonese Sunrise Over Napa Valley
1 oz Meyer Lemon Vodka
¾ oz Lychee Liqueur
¾ oz Beverage Artistry Yuzu Luxe Sour
½ oz Canton Ginger Liqueur
½ lime
Splash soda
*Hawaiian Lava Sugar & Himalayan salt rim. Lemon grass stick with lychee and caramelized ginger

James Kendall, Bouchon
High Tea
2 oz Doubled & Twisted Light Whiskey
1 oz Beverage Artistry Yuzu Luxe Sour
1/3 oz simple syrup
Muddled lemon verbena (toasted with a blow torch)
*Topped with iced tea, served over crushed ice

We are thinking about an "Iron Chef" style next time, what do you guys think?

Wednesday, January 12

Blood Orange & Meyer Lemon Harvest 2011

A few days ago Marko drove down to Lemon Cove in Central CA to pick up tons of Blood Oranges & Meyer Lemons to make this year's batch of vodkas... I had the pleasure of being at the distillery while the fruit was being shredded - it smelled like citrus heaven and made for some great photos!

Once shredded, it will take between three and six months to extract the flavor and color from the fruit; that extract will then be integrated into our Clear Vodka to make Meyer Lemon & Blood Orange Vodkas... Can't wait to try the new batch!

Tuesday, December 7

K & L Wines Best of 2010 Awards - Charbay Tequila

We are honored to share this glowing review of Charbay Tequila - thanks to K & L and David Driscoll for the continued support, we strive to keep you proud!

"David D Picks: Charbay Blanco Tequila - There's a reason why every distillery I visit is most excited about pouring their eau de vie offerings - successful distillation is about purity of flavor. While reposado and añejo tequilas are more popular here in the U.S. with their smooth textures and vanilla flavors, only in blanco tequila can one truly taste the art of distilling. There is no wood to mask off-putting alcohols or soften the harsh heat. It's all there in the bottle and if it wasn't distilled with care, then it won't taste good. I find it both amazing and troubling that Charbay, located in St. Helena, was able to travel down to Mexico and make the best tequila of the year. Shouldn't it take time to figure agave distillation out? I don't know if it's a testimate to the craft of Markos and Miles, or a sign that Mexican distilleries are really behind the times, but the result speaks for itself. Clean, clear, vibrant flavors of citrus fruit, agave, baking spice, and a soft, delicate demeanor. Tasting the spirit along side other blancos just humiliates most other companies. It's about time that craft distilling came to tequila."

Be sure to click on the above link to see what other special spirits made Dave's list!

Thursday, November 18

Charbay News for November

Sit down, you won't believe this... Well, it finally happened.
The Charbay 1983 Brandy from rare Folle Blanche grapes... hand distilled in a Pruhlo Alambic Charentais Copper Pot Still... the brandy we've been talking about since we started... It's ready. Not a lot of it. Over the 27 years of aging, a great deal of it evaporated. But it's bottled, labeled, waxed & topped with the Charbay medallion ...and available here at the Still House. For You.
Miles told Cigar Aficionado, back in 1995, that Charbay brandy would be "...thick and rich, aged so you'd have to eat it with a spoon...." and then the years drifted by... remember in 1997 when Miles & Marko started the artisan fresh fruit flavored Vodka whirlwind! (Life's never been the same). Then they went on to artisan Whiskey in 1999, then Rum, then they went down to Mexico and distilled Tequila... mix in a couple batches of Pastis (never enough)... and more grappa. Lara & Marko grew up with the Brandy barrels always in the background, waiting.

In 1999 Marko became a Master Distiller.

And now it's time for the real honor to be given to Miles: Grand Master Distiller.
We don't know of any Distiller in the world who has personally distilled and released, under their own brand, all four categories of spirits: Brandy (fruit), Whiskey (grain), Rum (grass/sugar cane), Tequila (Agave).

Today - November 8 - the brandy is released.
November 8 has always been an important day in our family.
This year it celebrates all these landmarks:
- the day Miles landed in North America
- Miles' Saint's Day
- the official release date of Charbay Brandy N0.83
-the day Miles officially becomes a Grand Master Distiller.
Thanks for being part of the Charbay family... we hope you'll have a chance to taste and enjoy a bottle of Charbay Brandy N0.83 - a bottle of distilling history.

Available only at the Still House, St. Helena.
It's elegant, toasty with caramel, nutty vanilla flavors and a spicy finish ... and you don't actually need a spoon to enjoy it.

750 ML $350
375 ML $185

We have a new road to Charbay - next time you drive up, watch for the new signs... it's before the mailboxes.

Charbay Still Life Club is open, again -
Now that we've re-opened Club Membership, we are adjusting the name to reflect the artisan spirits we'll be weaving in with the wines. Charbay Still House Club will include the pre-release spirits that we are allowed to sell here. Exclusive and only for those who know Charbay personally.

It's Spring Mountain Saffron season -
Miles, Jenni & I have all brought in a basket full. We separate the three stigma from each flower, allow them to dry and end up with a small bowl of Spring Mountain organic fresh saffron. The aroma fills our living room as it dries on the table. I'll send a photo of the package as soon as it's ready.

We'll have enough this year to sell in the Still House.A good gift idea for someone who loves to cook. Club Members will be receiving a gift package as soon as it's dry. (Club Membership is a nice gift, too).

Here come the holidays. Ready for you to send the best gifts of all - liquid treats. Cigars & a bottle of Port? We can do it. Brandy with a gift note? We can do it. Thanks for being part of the Charbay story.

Warm wishes from our family to you,
Susan & Miles, Marko & Jenni, Dana, Mark, John and Bryan
Orders & Questions: check with John
Questions: Shipping: Dana