The Savoy's Gin, the Rum & Tonic & the Ultimate Pina Colada

Make sure you’re up-to-date with a few interesting booze & cocktail articles from the inter-web that have come across our radar this past week.

By: Tiff Christie|September 2,2019

What Is A Frappé, Anyway?

Ordering a frappé can be a bit of a gamble—it’s never certain exactly how the drink will arrive. At El Floridita in Havana, they come courtesy of the blender; Trader Vic preferred to serve his poured directly over shaved ice; and today it’s not uncommon for frappés to arrive under a mountain of crushed or pebble ice. This disparity is perhaps unsurprising given that the loose definition of the drink is one that is simply “iced or chilled.” And really, what more could you ask for at the end of a summer’s day? Cobbled, crushed or blended—who cares, frappés are delicious and easy to make, to boot. Just throw what’s in your glass over some ice or in the blender and voila.


Perhaps the most iconic example in this class of drinks is the Absinthe Frappé. First served in New Orleans in the late 18th century as a (simpler) alternative to the traditional absinthe drip, the frappé requires no specialty tools, and does away with ceremony by opting for sweetness by way of simple syrup rather than the standard sugar cube tediously dissolved by slowly dripping water. Riffing on a similarly iconic frappé, Bobby Heugel and Tommy Ho of The Pastry War in Houston channel Hemingway’s drink of choice in their Floridita Daiquiri Frappé. Paying tribute to the Cuban original, the drink hews closely to the classic recipe with its dry white rum, maraschino liqueur, lime and granulated sugar, all blended with crushed ice and garnished with a lime wheel.

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Nick Jonas Is Working With Vodka-Maker Stoli To Launch A New Tequila

Tequila is one of the liquor industry’s biggest hits—and singer Nick Jonas wants in.

Jonas, along with menswear designer John Varvatos, has cofounded a new premium tequila called Villa One, which is being produced and sold by Stoli Group, best known for selling Stolichnaya vodka. Debuting with three expressions—silver, reposado, and añejo—and priced between $45 and $60 a bottle, Villa One is aiming at higher-end tequila brands including Bacardi’s Patrón and Diageo’s Casamigos.


While the specifics of the deal haven’t been disclosed, Stoli Group says that Jonas and Varvatos are cofounders and partners in the brand with an equity stake. And though no money has been exchanged with their backing of the Villa One brand, Jonas and Varvatos would benefit from profits down the road.

The tequila launch is the third collaboration between Jonas and Varvatos. “The first was a fashion collaboration and then the fragrance,” says Jonas. “Given our affinity for tequila, [Villa One] was the perfect next step.”

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The Savoy Launches Its Own Vodka Brand


The vodka was created in response to the fact that the underdog spirit, which has long dwelt in gin’s shadow, is the top-selling spirit at the bar.

This discovery prompted the bar team to create their own expression in collaboration with The Boatyard Distillery in Ireland.


The organic vodka is made from a wheat base and benefits from the inclusion of Champagne yeast, leading to a “distinctive and flavourful” vodka with a “full-bodied finish”.

According to its makers, the expression is “highly pronounced” on the nose, with “a uniquely creamy smooth character” offering “a blend of sweet-savoury flavours and notes of beeswax”.

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It’s Time To Give The Rum & Tonic Its Due

Rum mixes well with cola and ginger beer, but all too often tonic is completely overlooked. The bitter quinine in tonic can foil the molasses-based spirit’s sweetness, while the mixer’s botanicals are a flavor match for the layered richness of aged expressions. These recipes start with the basic building blocks and add in coffee, garnishes and citrus. So let’s give gin a vacation day and make this the summer of the R&T.


Elana Abt, the wine director at Otto in New York City, wanted to add a rum-based cocktail to the menu but keep the classic gin refresher in mind. “Rum just feels like summer, and my guests typically order more rum cocktails this time of year,” she says. “I thought, Why not create a cool rum version of the classic G&T.’”

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In Search Of The Ultimate Piña Colada

The Piña Colada is a situational cocktail. When you picture yourself ordering one, you probably envision doing so at a warm-weather resort, at the beach or beside the pool.

“It’s an outdoor drink,” said bartender Joaquín Simó. “You’re using it basically like air conditioning. Having it indoors doesn’t feel quite right.” Fellow bartender Jelani Johnson agreed. “It’s air conditioning in a glass,” he said.


That truth notwithstanding, the PUNCH staff, in order to find the best rendition of the Piña Colada, recently gathered far from any waterfront, in a darkened, second-floor space in the East Village—better known during operating hours as Pouring Ribbons. Joining me on the judging panel were Simó, the owner of Pouring Ribbons; tiki master Johnson, of Clover Club in Brooklyn; and Ivy Mix, an owner of Leyenda, a Brooklyn bar known for its creative use of Caribbean, Central American and South American spirits. Pouring Ribbons bartender Devin Kennedy prepared the drinks.

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