Well folks, I just got some great news for everyone coming to Whiskies of the World. I have learned that John Lunn, Master Distiller for George Dickel will be joining us for the evening. I have not met John yet, but I look forward to spending some time with him at WoW.
There are so few Master Distillers that make themselves accessible to the public, and this is a great chance to meet one for yourself.
Join me in welcoming John to San Francisco, and I'll see you there!
It's hard to find the right gift for a man with his own still. This year, I'm giving David Perkins of High West Distillery a cocktail to match his latest product. This latest spin on the Old Fashioned is inspired by its primary ingredient, High West Bourye. We'll do a formal review of Bourye later, but for the moment, and as a gift to the creator, we'll build an Antelabbit Old Fashioned.
Bourye is a blend of straight bourbon and straight rye. That makes it no longer straight itself, but it is wonderful to drink that way. There's quite a bit going on already so I went with a mind bender triple bitter recipe.
Every once in a while I get inspired by an ingredient. The world of cocktails and mixology has its own flow of trends. Some have outlasted their inspiration (every-tini, whatever-ita, and every random mojito) to become cliche. Others center on an ingredient such as Vinegar, Chipotle, or Island Malts. This is my little contribution to the world of cocktails and mixology: Ginger
The way this happened is that a couple of years ago, I was tasked with dinner and no plan. I found pork loin chops, asparagus, and a ginger root in the fridge. Seemed like a good opportunity to stir fry. The dish uses a large amount of fresh ginger and it has since become a favorite of the family. Last week, I was preparing this dish and found myself with some extra ginger and a desire for a cocktail.
I'm sure we're not the first, nor will we be the last to put Ginger into a highball glass but here are our first contributions to the world of cocktails.
The focus is squarely on our favorite brown spirit and the products represented are predominantly whiskies. Brandy, Vodka, liquers and Rum make appearances but are in the extreme minority.
For us, it's a whisky wonderland.
Every one of these shows has its own personality and character. Some of that comes from the format, some from the attendees and a health chunk comes from the sponsors. People like John Hansel and Riannon Walsh work very hard to keep these three forces in alignment and aimed in the right direction.
WhiskyFest is very much an industy showcase. The major players and minor importers are on the same footing here. Everyone has the same space to work with, but that doesn't imply that the presentations are at all equal.
Mark and I trace the genesis of our whiskey adventures back to a science fiction convention in March of last year, but perhaps the biggest watershed for us was attending WhiskeyFest San Francisco in 2007. WhiskeyFest is an annual event hosted by Malt Advocate Magazine in
Father's Day is apon us again and what better time to get that special dad a bottle of something special. As a father of four myself, this guide for is a projection of what *I* want since there are no guidelines from a congressionally sponsored Government Institute Managing Mandatory Inferred Expression (GIMMIE?).
My first son was born in October of 1994 so this marks my 13th Father's Day. I thought that the perfect gift would be a bottle of whisk(e)y that is the same age as my fatherhood. The more I thought about this, the better I liked the idea. It has serious flaws for getting something affordable for my dad at 35 years but he doesn't like Scotch so I get off easy.
Just to prove that we are real human beings, once again we will crawl out of the whiskey cellar back at HQ. This time to share a couple of great American whiskeys; Bulleit Bourbon and George Dickel. We'll be at the Elixir in San Francisco starting at 7pm and pouring until 9pm.
So come on down Mike and I will be sharing schwag, stories, and some great hooch!
Last night was the premiere of the new season of The Deadliest Catch on The Discovery Channel. The captains have always gathered for drinks before the fleet sets out on the next crab season. This time we got to see what they drink for their toast -- Duck Farts.
Layered, not mixed, each in a shot glass in order. The best form of this drink uses Crown Royal Reserve.
Hat tip to this blog.
UPDATE: I've decided to catch up with the rest of the world and start using a 100 point scale. We probably will never rate anything below 30 points (because we're not planning on rating anything that doubles as an industrial floor cleaner) but the conversions to the old ratings will be easy enough.
- Bushmills Original - 50
- Jameson Original - 50
- Crown Royal - 50
- Crown Royal Special Reserve - 55
- Midleton 2007 - 85
- Bushmills 21 - 87
I think this works, considering I also placed Bushmills 1608 at an 88
The other night, Mike, Travis and I got together to do some serious tasting. Before we began we had four new bottles to open. We tasted Bushmills 10, Bushmills 21, Midleton 2007, The Balvenie Doublewood, and Scapa 14.
This is hard work. There are so many great flavors there to try and quantify, codify and categorize them is very difficult. But that is what we do and we try to do it well.
Boy, Bushmills is very busy this year. In addition to the release of Bushmills 1608, they're doing a Twin Cities poll with a drawing for a trip to Ireland:
One of my idle daydreams is to take possession of and restart a silent distillery. The two news stories here and here point to good news for the Scotch industry but bad news for me and my idle daydreams.
Soaring demand for Scotch whisky around the world has prompted another major distiller to announce expansion plans, this time on Speyside.
Chivas Brothers yesterday said it was reopening its mothballed Braeval Distillery and extending its Glenlivet production plant.
Diageo is also adding capacity like crazy:
Work started recently on the £40million plant at Roseisle in Moray - part of a total £100million investment in whisky by Diageo.
as is everyone else in the industry:
Ah... The next batch is out, now I need to know where to find them. The prices are a bit steep for most of us but these bourbons are special. I really respect Buffalo Trace for sharing their developments with the rest of us. I look forward to trying these new experiments. I'm very curious about the actual effect of the wine woods since Macallan has taken a clear stance that the wood is more important than the sherry in sherry finishing.
The core Buffalo Trace products are good, and extremely well executed, but I haven't been blown away by Eagle Rare, Blanton's or Buffalo Trace. I like them all and we'll be getting some reviews / notes up on all three of these soon but I'm still looking for the mind-blowing bourbons from these people that I keep hearing about.
Old Forester 2007 Birthday Bourbon and Pappy Van Winkle 15 or 20 are bourbons that stand out to me as mind blowing. It may just be my particular taste that marks these as the stand-outs but I think they take bourbon to a new level.
Even though the Martini gets all the press these days, the Manhattan is an older drink with stronger provenance. Where the modern Martini bears little resemblance to its early incarnations, the Manhattan has retained much of the original character. Both can easily find their roots in the 1800's but were developed on opposite coasts.
My first Manhattan was made with Crown Royal as I will describe below. This seemed like a perfectly reasonable choice for a Manhattan, but for some reason the last couple bar tenders have not agreed.The last time I ordered a Manhattan, their preference was for Maker's Mark. The traditional whiskey was rye, but like so many modern interpretations of old drinks, bourbon has become the whiskey of choice.
I serve my Crown Royal Manhattans in a martini glass, stirred and straight up. Here's my recipe:
The Old Fashioned is cited as the oldest cocktail. This claim comes from the early 19th century and defining the word "cocktail" in a manner that describes this very drink. So deeply rooted in cocktail history is the Old Fashioned that the glass it is served in is called an Old Fashioned.
As I've been sharpening my palate on single malts, my thirst for cocktails has waned. There are a couple though that will meet my need for complexity and variety at a basic bar. The old fashioned is wonderful in that it brings added character, body and flavor to normally pedestrian whiskeys. When it's made with a really good bourbon like Bulleit, it's even better.
Here is my personal recipe for the Bulleit Old Fashioned:
- 7.5 ml (1/4 oz) simple syrup
- 5cl (1.5oz) Bulleit Bourbon
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
Mix all ingredients over 3-4 ice cubes in an old fashioned glass. No garnish is required. Zest with orange and rub the rim if you want some extra citrus zap, but you don't need it.