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.
I have written more than a few words about Bulleit Bourbon. When I first started exploring whiskey I shied away from Bourbon, mostly because of my college memories of Wild Turkey in the mountains of southern California. I remembered Bourbon as harsh and fiery and a one-way ticket to a bottle of aspirin.
At WhiskyFest 2007 I snagged a bit of glassware from the Bulleit Bourbon table. I wasn't tasting Bourbons that night so I left with just the glass. The branding stuck with me though because about a month later I was checking prices at Trader Joe's and Bulleit was about $20, so I picked it up. That first bottle was shared with everyone I could hand it to. I was so delighted with this wonderful spirit that I had to share.
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
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!
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.
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.
Now that was fun!
The day was rainy and somewhat miserable, but this didn't dampen our spirits at all. We were prepared for an entertaining evening where we were part of the main draw.
Mike went down early to drop off the whiskey and to scope out the location while Mark was still working at his day job. There were many supplies that had still not ben acquired and they would have to come at the last minute like so much of this event.
In the comments on his blog, someone has come up with a similar idea to one of my favorite thought experiments; smoke from non-peat sources. This came to me while I was grilling whiskey chicken with apple chips. The flavor combination was wonderful and got me thinking about how other smoke sources would work when halting malt.
Mike and I have talked about our future in this business, and we keep coming back to the desire to create our own whiskey. I think about maturation in the micro-climate of the Half Moon Bay coast which should give the slow temperature transitions more like Scotland than Tennesee. Many distilleries are using different wine casks, we're right next to Napa and have a wealth of varieties to use for maturation.
Independent bottlers will continue to struggle accessing stocks of quality whisky. My advice here: try before you buy to make sure you know what you’re getting.
This is the worst news for me yet, I'm rapidly becoming a fan of the independents and their selections. The Beltramo's Highland Park 1990 is amazing.
I'm looking forward to 2008 and seeing what it holds for me. Mike and I toasted in 2008 as the year of the Whiskey Bros.
It's amazing how much writing can pile up in a short time. Even more amazing is how much a little cut can affect one's ability to write. So this will be my attempt to catch up on everything that has happened in the last few days.
I'm continually surprised how many writers make similar mistakes when writing about whiskey.