Kanaracuni Cocktail Club – The Perilous Botanical Quest

Hendrick’s Gin recently embarked upon a real journey to find a botanical element that they could add to their traditional Hendrick’s Gin that would bring out its flavors and take the tried and true spirit to a new level. Lesley Gracie (Master Distiller), David Piper (Global Brand Ambassador), Charles Brewer-Carias (an old school explorer), Francisco Delascio (botanist), and a local Indian chief and guides ventured to Venezuela’s jungle to the Kanaracuni River to find the elusive flavor (to set up the  Guyana’s first cocktail bar).

Each day, the team took a different direction from base camp to search and brought back samples of the plants they found. Each evening, Lesley distilled the plants using the small copper still they took along. The adventurers found an element that played perfectly with Hendrick’s flavor notes on the seventh day of searching, the Scorpion Tail, a plant native to the Venezuelan jungle. They were able to transport 8 liters of the Scorpion Tail distillate back to Scotland (though customs was understandably a bitch) to create 350 liters of Hendrick’s Kanaracuni. Since only 350 liters were made, it won’t be available for sale. The entire journey was purely for the art of making an exquisite spirit.

Local bartenders were invited to the Dallas Zoo’s Flamingo Room to taste the Hendrick’s Kanaracuni and test some recipes. We started with a toasted cinnamon and pineapple cocktail and appetizers, some dried and seasoned crickets and mealworms (I kid you not). The group was treated to a video about the trip and then were given the chance to try the spirit. It has the usual herbal flavor of Hendrick’s with a certain bite that mellows into a spicy heat thanks to the Scorpion Tail.

The night wore on an delicious bites and a traditional martini was served which featured the Hendrick’s Kanaracuni (omg it was amazing). We met some animals native to the area they explored and were even treated to a blow dart competition where we were able to shoot the Global Brand Ambassador with paint balls. I, unfortunately, was a little too good at it and hit him square on the protective eyewear he was wearing. (Half and inch lower and I’d have been taken off the Hendrick’s media list!!!)

I personally am delighted to see a liquor company out there pursuing the art of distilling instead of the money behind it. I’d like to see more distillers follow suit!

Check out more about the Hendrick’s Perilous Botanical Quest at

Portofino is amazingly picturesque. We climbed the big hill to the Castello Brown and the lighthouse (phew) for some amazing pictures. Then, we took a ferry to Santa Margherita for some light walking, crepes, and the best focaccia bread we’ve ever tasted.
Tonight, we’re doing happy hour, an art reception, dinner in the Grand Dining Room, a chance to win some diamonds (all mine!), and a chance to win some of our money back in the casino. Send us your luck!

Another early morning took us to the Field of Miracles. Who knew how many other beautiful buildings were around the Leaning Tower of Pisa!?

Another hour and a half on a bus later, we arrived in Florence and surprisingly had time to explore on our own. I led our team on a tour and hit the highlights, a delicious lunch, way too much gelato, and some serious shopping.

One of the best parts of our days is breakfast on the terrace watching our boat arrive at our destinations and dinner watching the dock fade into the blue. (I miss breakfast most mornings … but when I’ve made it, it has been worth losing a bit of sleep.)

2013  Laphroaig Cairdeas: Port Wood Edition 

Scents: Smoke, Rhubarb, Pepper, Citrus, Berries, Flowers/Potpourri, Peanuts, Chocolate & Cream

Flavors: Smoked Wood, Charcoal, Pepper, Flowers, Cream, Berries, Citrus

Thoughts:  Before I get too deep into this “review”, I must be honest… I am much more versed in the whiskey/bourbon area than scotch. Being that I am a novice in the subject of scotch, my thoughts may seem a bit uneducated to all you scotch connoisseurs out there, but I hope you find this review somewhat useful.

My first thought at the crack of the bottle was how intense the aroma of the scotch was. I could almost immediately recognize several of the distinct flavors from the scent like smoked woods, charcoal, fruits, flowers and more. The color the scotch is similar to numerous whiskey and bourbons I am used to with a slight pink hue to it. After my analysis of the sights and smells, I was ready to have my first sip!

Along with several coworkers, I, generously, poured the scotch over some ice. The scent seemed to open up quite nicely at this point. Once it touched my lips, I immediate felt the power of this scotch! The peat “explosion” was very intense and hit very fast. This took me by surprise, so I had to have another sip just to truly analyze how it is tastes. Intense smokey peat was the first flavor to hit, then the peppery, fruity yet floral-esque cream flavors piggy-backed the end of the peat explosion. That may seem weird to list all those things, but they all truly fight for your attention (even though the peat wins every time in my book).

This seems like a scotch I would enjoy after eating a hardy steak, BBQ or any smoked meal. I can imagine sitting around a campfire with some bros and drinking this with a cigar in hand after eating some BBQ. Check it out and judge for yourself. Needless to say … this’ll get ya drunk.

Reviewed by Enrico DeLeon III (of Brunch Bros fame)


Second Floor Bistro Holiday Cocktails

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark Martini
– 1 oz. CÎROC Coconut Vodka
– 1 oz. Stoli Vanil Vodka
– 1/2 oz. Creme de Menthe
– 1/2 oz. clear Creme de Cacao
– 1/2 oz. Frangelico
– 1/2 oz. Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur

Shake over ice and serve in a peppermint candy-rimmed Martini glass. Garnish with a chocolate straw.

Elderflower Peach Sparkler
– 2 parts St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
– 1 part CÎROC Peach Vodka
– top with a rosé sparkling wine

Shake St. Germin and CÎROC Peach Vodka over ice and top off with rosé sparkling wine. Serve in a champagne glass. Garnish with a dehydrated candied orange peel.

Skinny Segundo
– 1/2 oz. Pomegranate puree
– 1/2 oz. fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
– 1 oz. Lillet
– 1/2 oz. Herradura tequila
– splash of Herradura agave nectar
– top with Spanish cava

Shake over ice and serve in a short glass. Garnish with a lemongrass stalk.