BroVo Spirits

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Meet craft spirits maker, Mhairi Voelsgen. Her broVo spirits company in Seattle is revered by bartenders for its exceptional liqueur, vermouth and amaro. Catapulting itself into Michelin-rated restaurant cocktails, Mhairi’s brand excels with its refined recipe, batch after batch. Take it from the master herself and the lessons she gathered over the years from bartenders.

How It All Started

'10,000 hours at something and you can master a topic. Well Bartenders are masters. This is what they know, they know liquor.' Mhairi Voelsgen, Owner broVo Spirits.

BroVo began by tapping industry gatekeepers – bartenders, for its initial inspiration and early realms of recipes. After rounds of tastings, professional reviews and trade focus feedback, broVo launched with a high quality standard, hell bent on changing the mixed cocktail culture. The founders of broVo wanted above everything to craft a spirit with flavor for bartenders. 'We've always listened to bartenders,' said Voelsgen. 'Our first lineup, our first iteration, the flavor was not strong enough, the alcohol was not strong enough and it was not sweet enough and all the bartenders told us that. They were not shy, which was perfect. You can ask these guys for their opinion and get it to help craft our product so much better.'

Photo Credit: Brovo Spirits

Early Family Beginnings

BroVo began over a bottle of Scotch, in Scotland. No Kidding.

Mhairi puts her blood, sweat and tears into her brand broVo, which all started on a trip to Scotland. 'I flew over for my uncle's funeral. In Scotland, there is a tradition when someone dies you buy a really good bottle of single malt and drink it over the course of the year. My cousin had bought a bottle of Glennross '84. At that moment, I thought, I want to make Scotch.' But what happened next, stunned the Scotch drinker. 'It was when we started in distillery school, there were 30 people in the class, and everyone went around the room and said they were going to make vodka, gin and whiskey. I thought to myself, this is going to be a problem. We needed to make something different.' Mhairi then started talking to bartenders. 'We wanted to craft something that bartenders could use in a cocktail! Every bartender said, 'make an amaro'!' What's an amaro? It is an herbal liqueur, most commonly used in the US as a mixer for cocktails but internationally popular as an after dinner digestif. It usually has a bitter flavor and can be a syrupy consistency.

Photo Credit: Tastings.com

The Brand is in Business

Starting at just 200 cases sold in one year, Mhairi is taking her brand across the US with cocktail fame. Take it from Michelin-rated The Aviary's cocktail masters.

BroVo constantly reinvents itself by listening and crafting flavorful liqueurs very specifically for bartenders. It wasn't until the brand made its way to Chicago that Mhairi had a sense of its success. 'We were at the Aviary about 6 months ago and they had a cocktail with our product in it. We were 2 ½ years old and we're at the Aviary! In a cocktail!' These moments are cherished by the company, as it continues to branch out with new product lines. Up next: Vermouth! A line called, Witty, Pretty, Jammy and Pink. 'After 2 years of experimentation, we saw a hole in the middle of the category,' said Mhairi. What can Tastings fans look for next? Find out.

Photo Credit: Tastings.com

Exclusive broVo cocktail for Tastings.com Fans

Seachide by Micah Melton, The Aviary

1 ½ ounces resposado tequila
1 ½ ounces broVo Amaro No.4
¾ ounce mango syrup (mix 1-1 sugar to bottled mango juice)
¾ ounce lime juice
2 dashes of orange bitters?
Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake lightly. Pour into a Collins glass with fresh ice and top with soda water.

Secret from broVo: Real Washington wine was used in the amaro instead of bulk purchased wine. Parallel infusion in both the wine base and the spirit base was used which brought a maximum of 25% spirit base and 19.9% abv, high for the category - but the spirit holds flavor better.




Photo Credit: Tastings.com

2020 Best of Year Winners

After reviewing thousands of wines, beers, and spirits this year, Beverage Testing Institute is proud to present the 2020 Best of Year award winners! These products, representing the best in their categories, were evaluated blind by panels of trade buyers and category experts, generating reviews that have proven to be the most trustworthy and consistent in the industry.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide

We took the trouble of rounding up this year’s most excellent offerings. Inside our guide you’ll find the best of the best in each category we tasted, the best bangs for your hard-earned buck, and a few spendy stunners so you can treat yourself for making it through 2020.

Brandy is Dandy

Ferment any fruit, distill as you wish, and you’ve got yourself a brandy! Don’t have a still in your garage/bathtub? Scroll through these stunners to find your next favorite fruit-based friend.

Loveable Liqueurs

Whether you call it a liqueur or a cordial, you’re sure to love this selection of cocktail gems. Ranging from bright and bitter to fruity and creamy, this year’s picks are sure to shine in your next drink recipe.

2020 North American Whiskey Review

With the change of seasons comes the thirst for rich, golden drams. We tasted over 100 great grain-based offerings to determine your next whiskey picks!

Spotlight on Summer Whites

A glass of white wine is great any time of year, but pair it with some sunshine and you’ve got yourself a dream come true! We’ve rounded up some of this year’s domestic sippable stunners to make every al fresco meal a memorable one.

2020 Daiquiri Championship

There’s just enough summer left to enjoy a few more bright, citrusy cocktails, and we assembled a panel of top tier daiquiri palates to find the best rums to make the most of the waning sipping season.

Barreled Botanicals

Do you love gin and are thirsty for more? Are you a die-hard brown spirits fan that needs a push to the botanically influenced side of the spirits world? Barreled gins are the answer to the question you never knew needed asking, and these five are some of our favorites!

Informed Imbibing

In a world where every decision-making dollar counts, why not put your money where your values are? Whether bettering the environment, the community, or both, everything tastes better when ethics are part of the recipe, and these are some of our favorite conscious concoctions!

Seltzers for the Swelter

With the long-awaited arrival of sunny days comes the inevitable craving for sparkling sippers, and with so many options available, how can a person choose? Relax! We’ve done the seltzer-sifting for you, and we’ve found the best bubbles to keep on-hand.

Be Your Own Bartender

As we hunker down at home, gazing nostalgically at our coaster collections from our favorite bars (rest assured, they miss us too), we can use this quaran-time to elevate our personal refreshment repertoires. With high-quality, high-value, and high-versatility offerings, your stay-at-homebar can keep you creatively quenched until the curve is completely flattened.

Vegging Out With Bloodies

We’re three months into 2020 and winter is making brunch cocktails as necessary as ever, so to help you make the right decisions at your next encounter with a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar, we’ve found the finest vodkas for before-noon drinking. Much like your brunch buffet, our list has something for everyone.

2020 Mules That Rule

There’s something special about a Moscow Mule. It’s a simple enough drink--vodka, ginger beer, lime, and mint--but drinking one just feels…right. Maybe it’s the ritual of the gleaming copper cup or the fresh scent of the mint as you take your first sip. Whatever it is, it’s heaven in a glass, and a full year after our last Moscow Mule tasting, we’re back with a whole new lineup of outstanding vodka offerings to try.

Stepping Up Your Game

So you got a bag of chips a colorful taco dip that you picked up at the checkout line and think you’re ready for Super Bowl 54? Nope.

Not so fast, don’t you think a game this huge deserves something more? Let me be honest, I didn’t even know who was playing in this year’s Super Bowl but I’ve been invited to many Super Bowl parties and by the end of the game, I’m a fan.

Get Up to Speed with Mead

In its own category of alcoholic beverage, this combination of honey, water, and yeast is a tasty treat that’s been flying under the radar of modern imbibing—until now. Humankind’s oldest boozy beverage (dating back to 7000 BC!) is seeing a rise in popularity, and we’re here to give you everything you need to know before you grab a goblet.

War of the Whiskeys

Everyone has their own personal favorite style of whiskey, and North America has something for everyone. Whether you prefer the sweetness of Canadian whiskey, the spicy bite of American Rye, or the smooth sipping of real Kentucky Bourbon, the continent has it all. As great as having that variety is, it can make figuring out which whiskey you should pour in your drink an overwhelming task. Tastings.com has taken care of that task for you by testing dozens of whiskies to determine which ones mix best in two classic drinks: the Manhattan and the Sazerac. First up: the Manhattan.

Whisky Highballs

A test so nice we did it twice – how else can you determine the best whiskies and waters for a highball cocktail unless you test both separately? Here’s how it worked: we took one control whisky and made 19 cocktails with 19 different waters, then we took a control water and did the same thing with over two dozen different whiskies to find out the best possible ingredients for this simple, classic beverage. Be sure to check out the full list of whiskies and waters we tested as well, because while we could only name a few winners in this particular matchup, we still did the hard work of reviewing each one. Who knows, your new favorite drink could be waiting there for you to discover!

Water Break

We know you come here for honest, expert ratings of alcoholic beverages, so rating water probably seems like a waste of time, right? Absolutely not. Throughout history, water was the original mixer. No respectable Roman would drink unwatered wine, and no pirate or sailor would drink straight rum without adding water to create grog. Even when drinking whisky neat, connoisseurs often add several drops of water to open up the flavors. Whisky and water is a timeless combination, so it’s our duty to inform you which water makes the perfect highball cocktail.

Ready to Pick - Sour Beer

Channeling brewing history form Belgium and Germany is a great place to start for any American brewer and these four fruited, sour ales that we tasted this month will help you impress at your next summer gathering. Your friends will always task you with bringing the beer after they taste these sour, tart, fruity delights. Time for you to ditch a classic pilsner after mowing the lawn and get acquainted with tasty, low ABV Berliner Weisses and sour ales to quench your thirst on a hot summer day.

Ring Around The Rose

Let’s face it, there’s no avoiding Rose these days. It seems like everywhere you look there’s another article declaring it the ultimate summer drink. Well, there’s a reason for that – they’re right. There is no finer adult beverage for warm weather than a good glass of rose. Think about it, rose is light, tart, and refreshing. It’s delicious cold, but with a wide serving temperature range of 46-57 degrees, if it warms up a little in the sun, it’s still very enjoyable. With how popular rose is, there’s no excuse not to know at least something about this versatile and classic style

These Bubbles are Poppin

It’s warming up, and when it comes to a crisp, refreshing beverage, light beer and white wine don’t always cut it. Not long ago, you’d have to get up from your lawn chair to fix yourself a gin and tonic, or the perfect margarita, but recently the advent of hard sodas and waters gives summer drinkers new options that can be grabbed straight from the cooler. And despite the name, hard sodas aren’t only for the young at heart and young of palate - this new generation of infused drinks is anything but kid stuff.

Tip One Back in the USSR

Believe it or not, the Moscow Mule isn’t really Russian at all. The drink was invented when a bartender (or possibly owner) wanted to sell more vodka. Back then vodka was little known, and viewed with suspicion, just like everything else from the Soviet Union. Today it’s one of the most popular cocktails in the United States – so popular in fact that many bars require you to leave your ID with them when you order one, because the iconic copper mug it is served in has a tendency to disappear. These 4 vodkas make a Moscow Mule so good you’ll be saying ’nyet’ to anything else, but please return the mug when you’re done!

Bloody Mary Brawl

Whether you’re keeping it classy at brunch or sipping hair of the dog on the morning after a bachelorette party, the Bloody Mary is morning’s favorite drink, and ours too. The best thing about a Bloody Mary is that you can customize it however you like, playing off that classic tomato juice and vodka base. Whether you use a premium premade mix, create your own from scratch, or pour it straight from the bottle, the most important part of a good Bloody Mary is, of course, the vodka, so here are our top 4 craft spirits to start your day off right.

Judged: 2019s Best Martinis

With hundreds of big name and artisan gins out there, it’s hard to choose the right base for a show-stopping martini. Luckily, Tastings.com has assembled an all star team from the finest cocktail bars in the country to guide you. Our expert judges rate the year’s best botanicals so you can mix the perfect martini for any occasion. The recipe is simple but the flavors are complex: 2.25 ounces of gin and .75 ounces of vermouth - sorry Mr. Bond, no vodka here.

Manhattans Mastered

Ever wanted to know the best whiskey to use in a Manhattan? Our World Cocktail Championships pit top brands against each other to determine which make the best cocktails. Here we lay out the whiskies that make the most delicious Manhattans and the vermouths that will make your cocktail-loving heart stir.

Autumn Sprits in Motion

With kaleidoscopic fall foliage in full display, it’s time to mix up these 4 cocktails that will leaf a smile on your face.

Shofar So Good

Out with the old and in with the new! The apple may not be dropping in Times Square, but it’s definitely dropping into bowls of honey as Jews around the world celebrate Rosh Hashanah. This Jewish New Year celebration starts the year 5779, and offers plenty of opportunity for entertaining. Have the chutzpah to put a spin on tradition; your mishpocha will thank you for it!

No Statement, No Problem

The whole world is catching on to Scotch whisky’s amazing quality and delicious taste. The result is a depletion of mature stock at many distilleries. Since age-stated whisky cannot legally contain any whisky younger than the age listed on the label, a risk is presented to the sustainability of age-stated whisky. One of the Scotch industry’s solutions has been to rely more heavily on no age statement (NAS) whiskies. These are marriages of many different whiskies, from very young to very old, that can have a profoundly delightful impact on your taste buds. Here we show you why you should eschew ageism and put stock in flavor over age when enjoying Scotch whisky.

Cider Stereotypes Smashed

This month we tasted piles of ciders with layers of complexity. Entries from both home and abroad did not disappoint and familiar names once again dazzled our taste buds. The showing was far from the expected and reinvigorated our love of cider. Check out the tried and tru and and the eye-openers showing that traditional dry cider is for everyone.

16 Super Spring Drinks

Top mixologists have been evaluating cocktails at Tastings.com’s World Cocktail Championships to determine the best spirits for your favorite classic drink recipes and the results are IN! Our experts determined that these are the BEST recipes at the bar and at home.

Winter Wine School

South Africa offers wines for every palate. From their flagship Chenin Blanc and Pinotage to crisp Colombar and internationally beloved Bordeaux-style blends, there’s a South African wine for you. Tastings.com brings you through the regions and grapes of South Africa. Discover your favorite with our handy guide.

Soul-Stirring Stouts

Roasty and toasty, stouts and porters are no longer just the workingman’s beverage— they run the gamut from historic and dry to sweet and flavored, and from session brews to barrel-aged warmers. Featured here are some of the best we have tasted for the winter months, ready for your exploration.

Our 2018 Cognac Guide

We share all the tools you need to order, discuss, sip, and savor France’s most famous brandy.

It’s Tom and Jerry Time!

This eggnog variant is an under the radar Midwest creation traditionally served from Thanksgiving through New Year’s. If you’re lucky enough to pop into a bar and see happy drinkers with mugs in their hands, take a hint and order what they’re having!

Giftable Liqueurs

Liqueurs are the perfect, versatile boozy gift. Neat or on the rocks? Sure. Mixed in classic cocktails? Even better! A simple and festive spritz? They’re the perfect party tipple. Tastings.com shares our candied, herbal, bittter-sweet and creamy liqueur picks for every type of holiday imbiber.

Napa: OPEN for Business

While most everyone in Napa and Sonoma has been affected by the recent wildfires in some way or another, damage isn’t widespread. The 2017 crop will make wine as spectacular as ever, and the best part? Tasting rooms are open and the wine is flowing! In fact, the biggest threat to Napa and Sonoma’s wine industry is the misperception that the fires devastated the region. The reality is that the Napa and Sonoma are thriving and their tasting rooms are open! Tastings.com shares three award-winning Napa wines to buy now.

Behind The Oak

Oak is no joke! Barrel aging can be used on just about any alcoholic beverage you can think of. Ever since oak replaced heavy, fragile clay amphorae as transportation vessels for wine around the age of the Roman Empire, its magnificent effects on beverages has been carefully studied and celebrated. Soak up the oak knowledge with Tastings.com.

Fall for Fest Beer

Just like your autumn wardrobe autumn beer is best when laden with toasty layers… of delicious roasted malt flavor. Tastings.com delivers the run-down on the best beers to drink this fall and details 4 classic fall beer styles.

Loveable Wines of Chile

Chilean wines are HOT! Our recent review of Chilean wines revealed big flavor and huge value in these smoky, intriguing wines. Immerse yourself in Chilean wine experiences with Tastings.com.

Part French, All-American

The coolest underdogs of wine are all-American. Hybrid wines are popping up in every corner of the USA. These are wines made from grape varieties that are a result of cross-breeding hearty indigenous American grapes with the familiar European varieties. As a result of cross-breeding these grapes are extra-resistant to disease and extra-tasty. Expect explosive fruit flavors with a unique floral and rustic aroma. Let Tastings.com introduce you to juicy hybrid wines that will leave you feeling foxy.

Sake Crash Course

Sharpen up your sake skills with the help of Tastings.com. We’ll teach you how to decode sake lingo, choose the sake that’s right for you, and even give you serving tips. Use Tastings.com to discover the world of Japanese Sake.

Trending: Agave Spirits

This month we tasted through the best agave sprits and chatted with leading producers to bring you the most up-to-date details on what’s trending in tequila and mezcal. Use our tips to find your new favorite spirit of Mexico!

Bitters On The Edge

We’ve outlined six unique ways to use the concentrated flavors of bitters in the kitchen and the bar- steering away from the typical cocktail flavoring application. From hair-of-the-dogs to gourmet cooking, we show you how to incorporate bitters into your everyday routines.

Summer Brew Camp

Evade the heat with refreshing summer wheats. We demystify wheat beer styles from trendy sour Berliners to classic Hefeweizens. Learn the history, brewing methods, and flavor profiles of the 5 styles you need to know.

Tales of the Cocktail

Look back on the good times had at last year’s Tales of the Cocktail and mark your calendar for this year’s event in New Orleans this July.

2017 Midwest Rum Fest

On Saturday April 8th, some of the biggest players in the Rum industry gathered to show off their latest and greatest sugarcane distillates at Chicago’s annual Midwest Rumfest. Micro and Boutique rums were the stars of the show and Tastings.com rated the best of them for you!

Delicious Daiquiris

Spend a day tasting daiquiris? It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it! Check out what our judges picked as the 2017 World Cocktail Championships Best Daiquiris!

Savvy Savory Cocktails

Impress your guests! Learn the Art and Science of Creating and Pairing Savory Cocktails.

Elevate Dinner Tonight

Juicy and lush fruit flavors make Argentine wines the perfect choice for carnivorous pairings that tango on your palate.

A Taste of Japan

As a part of our 2016 trade initiative with Japan, our sales and marketing specialist Jaclyn Beazley toured around Tokyo, Kobe and Osaka in March. The month, which is typically wet and rainy, had a few sunny days she took advantage of discover all she could about Japanese Sake, Whiskey and even Wine!

Sour Beer is Hot

Is there anything more refreshing than a cold lemonade on a sizzling summer day? You bet there is: a chilled sour beer is the grown up version of lemonade. Mouth watering tartness, food-friendliness, and naturally low ABV that makes it easy to have more than one. We’ve been tasting some of the best sour beers out there, and now we want to share some of our favorites with you, just in time for the dog days of summer.

3 Expert Cocktail Recipes

See how the nation’s top bartenders use mixers and bitters from our 23rd International Review of Spirits to craft delicious cocktails. Featuring: Owl’s Brew Wicked Green Tea, Era Bitters, and Yogi’s Bloody Mary Mix.

Bacardi Tour

The Bacardi–More than a Tour, An Experience

Tastings lifestyle correspondent Camilla Llano visited the Bacardi ’Cathedral of Rum’ in Puerto Rico and liked what she found.

Mount Gay Rum

You wouldn’t know it, but the tiny island of Barbados is a dreamer’s paradise. Because its warmth, charm, and sophisticated people help make everyone’s dream come true. Tucked away on the northern tip in St. Lucy Parish, Mount Gay Rum has granted many a wish to everyone connected with it.

7 Steps To A Crab Boil

Have you ever wanted to treat your friends to a crab boil but it seems too complicated? We can show you how to create a crab boil in 7 easy steps! We can show you how to please your eyes and your stomach at the same time… rain or shine.

Do Reviews Matter?

Reviews at Tastings take a critical approach and mandatorily shut down any biases the judges have towards a product because of the controlled environment of the tasting room and blind samples.

The Basics of Brewing

Beer is an agricultural product beginning on a farm and ending in a glass. At its simplest, beer is a recipe of water, malt, hops and yeast. Brewing may be a simple process, but can be made very complicated with the application of scientific techniques to perfectly control the process.

From Garden to Glass

Tastings.com recently sat down with award-winning Chicago mixologist and spirited entrepreneur Adam Seger to talk about the ‘Garden to Glass’ movement sweeping the world of spirits and cocktails. As a Certified Culinary Professional (CCP), Adam offered an inside look at how the movement is zeroing in on freshness and seasonality and convincing consumers to drink like they eat.

DIY Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest, the traditional German harvest festival, in Munich, Germany is one of the largest single yearly gatherings in Europe. You can bring the fun and festivity to your own backyard this fall with just a few simple things – no need for lederhosen here (that is, unless you want to…), although some blue and white streamers would add a traditional flare.