Finally, The BEST bottled cocktails you can buy!

 

I would be lying if I told you that I paid much attention to the genre of pre-mixed cocktail.  They just haven’t been on my radar and probably for good reason.  What you can buy here in New Jersey would not be to my taste, nor would I even waste my time looking for them.

HOWEVER…. at my door last week, a package arrived from my friend Charles Joly.

Charles is, if you don’t know- the American Bartender of the year and the James Beard Society Award Winner… That alone made me perk up and say, I’ll try what you are working on and I’ll let you know what I think.

My friends, Crafthouse Cocktails is the best effort that I’ve tasted to date out of a bottle.  In fact I will go out onto a limb to say that Crafthouse Cocktails in the bottle is still better than 99% of all the bars in Morristown, NJ!

They just do it right.

I cracked open the handsome flip top on the Paloma.  What greeted me was the scent of excellent grapefruit soda, but not your usual flavors.  This grapefruit soda appears to have been charred lightly before juicing.  It’s really gorgeous stuff.  The sugar level is just right and the tequila element is not cloying, nor is it rock-gut quality.  This is high end stuff that demands your Boston Shaker and salt rimmed glass.  The grapefruit is all natural so it separates a bit in the bottle, give it a light shake and all is well.  This is the best grapefruit soda by far that I’ve ever enjoyed.  Bravo!  And the tequila is lush and rambunctious.  I’m suddenly feeling better!  The Paloma is made from Blanco Tequila, Grapefruit, Lime, Pure Cane Sugar and “natural flavors”….  I’m stunned by its beauty!

The Moscow Mule is a delight.  From the sparkling peppery goodness of the hand crafted ginger beer to the spices inherent to the mix, this is not your grandpappy’s Moscow Mule.  This is a most modern interpretation of the classic drink that I’ve tasted.   Again.. Bravo!  I’m catapulted

to the British Virgin Islands, gripping one too many Moscow Mules while trying to keep a hand on the wheel of the sailing yacht.  Something has to give!   The label clearly reads, Premium Vodka, Ginger Beer, Lime, Pure Cane Sugar.. Nothing else!

I think my favorite of the group is all three, but if I HAD to choose, I’d say the Southside Cocktail would be my favorite for the morning.  (because it is morning!)  Brimming with the expressive notes of quaility gin, lime, pure cane sugar and natural mint flavoring, if I don’t stop tasting these I’m going to have to slow down a bit before the serious work of day drinking begins.

These are quite possibly like having Charles at your beck and call, down in your bar- waiting to prepare you these amazing cocktails.  The only thing holding you back is your

ice.  Don’t mess it up by using freezer ice from the dispenser.  Take the time to boil your water and use good quality 2×2 cubes in the final glass.

When you shake your drink it’s ok to use the freezer stuff, but not in your glass.  You’ll ruin this amazing product!

Get some just as soon as you can.

www.crafthousecocktails.com

www.facebook.com/crafthousecocktails

 

My second book, Whiskey Cocktails will be out in the coming weeks.  You may grab one here!

Drink Up NY: Cocktail: Sir Oliver Just Indicated

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cocktail: Sir Oliver Just Indicated

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail WhispererI’ve been thinking about the classics of cocktaildom lately and one drink stands out as a virtual mind eraser.  It’s named the pink gin and probably for good reason.  The history of this drink dates back to the mid 19th Century.  Angostura Bitters, one of the original ingredients was being sold as a curative against seasickness.  Gin that had been aged in used whiskey and rum barrels found its way into the drinking class and something quite unexpected resulted.  Not only did the sweetness from the charred interiors of the cask drench the gin in soft textures, but also it made for a different type of cocktail altogether when mixed with the tropically scented bitters.

Enter the Pink Gin. 
Was the first time that you heard of the pink gin in a James Bond movie?  If you said yes, then you’re late to the party.  The Pink Gin has been around for a long time.  Certainly before you were born!

The Pink Gin is certainly not a weak drink.  It is one part of barrel-aged gin to one part of aromatic bitters.  You can specify ‘in or out’ in means the bitters are inside the glass, out means the rim is moistened with the bitters.  Whichever way you choose, the Pink Gin is not for the meek.  It’s pretty strong and the tropical flavorings will make it “all too easy” to drink.

Barr Hill makes a barrel aged gin that I’m quite fond of.  They age their namesake gin, made from raw honey and grain in new American oak casks that have been charred on the inside to reveal the sweet flavors inherent to the wood.  I think that Todd Hardie makes some pretty righteous Tom Cat for this example of the Pink Gin.  What I’ve done to this version, the cocktail whisperer version is coat the inside of the glass with Shrub Drinks Prickly Pear Shrub.

I love the pink color of the Prickly Pear.  It adds a certain dimension to the Barr Hill Tom Cat.  A Shrub, for those of you who do not know is made from sugar, fruit and some kind of vinegar.  The ingredients are combined and then aged for a period of time.  What results dates back to the Colonial Era, when refrigeration was unheard of and preserving food was necessary against foodborne illnesses.

Shrubs like the Shrub Drinks Prickly Pear are just gorgeous, smacking of acidity and style.  They deserve your hard earned dollars.

I go crazy over the Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters.  The classic version of a Pink Gin includes some form of aromatic bitters and a lemon zest.  I love using the Bitter Truth Lemon because it injects lemony goodness deeply into my version of the Pink Gin.

You need some citric spark against the sweet and potent strength of the Barr Hill Tom Cat Gin.  It’s just perfect.  Trust me on this.

The lemon bitters are just what the doctor ordered.  I’m departing from the norm with a wide orange zest.  And don’t use a peeler.  Please be sure to use a pairing knife.  It’s important and using a knife teaches you patience that is essential to building a craft cocktail.

Patience is what we are lacking in life, so start right now with your Pink Gin.

Sir Oliver Just Indicated (for one drink)
Ingredients:
3 oz. Barr Hill Tom Cat Gin
½ oz. Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
½ oz. Shrub Drinks Prickly Pear Syrup
Wide Orange Peel garnish- cut with a pairing knife, please!

Preparation:
To a mixing glass filled ¾ with large ice- to chill down/but not dilute!
Add the Barr Hill Tom Cat and the Shrub Drinks Prickly Pear Syrup and then stir to chill

To a pre-chilled Martini glass
(Is there really any other kind of martini- other than gin???)
Add the ½ oz. of the lemon bitters
Add the Barr Hill Tom Cat and the Shrub Drinks Prickly Pear Syrup to the pre-chilled glass

Give a quick finger stir…
Twist the orange zest over the top to release the volatile oils…
Serve.
(No, don’t finger stir if you are in a public place!)

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.  His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 14.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.  Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkupNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* – to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he’s finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.

My 1st. book, Apothecary Cocktails was translated into French!

Rechercher
Artémis - Cocktails de l'apothicaire (Les)
Photo non contractuelle
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Cocktails de l’apothicaire (Les)BOBROW Warren

Hors collection (Vin/Cocktail)
ISBN 978-2-81600-587-5, september 2014, 14.6 x 19.7, 160 pages. (14,90 €)

Des cocktails stimulants pour guérir tous les maux !

Bénéficiant d’une histoire riche et fascinante, les cocktails thérapeutiques furent d’abord créés par des apothicaires, précurseurs de nos pharmaciens actuels. Ils préparaient des remèdes aux plantes à base d’alcool pour soigner une grande quantité de maux, de l’indigestion au banal petit rhume. Ces boissons d’autrefois constituent une intarissable source d’inspiration pour les bars branchés ou les amateurs de cocktails vintage, aux ingrédients naturels. Cocktails de l’apothicaire vous propose 75 recettes traditionnelles ou modernes de boissons fortifiantes, digestives, apaisantes ou énergisantes.

• Vous vous sentez paresseux après un repas copieux ? Sirotez un Cocktail Iberville Street. À base de plantes amères et de brandy, un cocktail réputé calmer les maux de ventre.

• Vous avez bu un verre de trop hier soir ? Le Corpse Reviver, un cocktail littéralement conçu pour réveiller un mort vous remettra sur pied en un clin d’œil.

• Vous peinez à trouver le sommeil ? Essayez le Narcotique mexicain, un mélange relaxant qui combine un chocolat chaud pimenté au mezcal et à la vanille.

Musings on Whiskey by Warren Bobrow for the White Mule Press (thank you!)

Musings on Whiskey from Warren Bobrow

Bobrow_portraitWarren Bobrow announces his new book Whiskey Cocktails and tells how he came to write it. Known as The Cocktail Whisperer, Warren’s vast knowledge of cocktails has spawned a previous book, Apothecary Cocktails, and over 300 articles on food, wine, and cocktail mixology. As our guest blogger, we get a peek inside Warren’s musings about whiskey, spirits and food. Enjoy!

My influence for writing Whiskey Cocktails is one of a most circuitous nature.

Whiskey has rough and tumble roots for me. Initially I looked at whiskey as something that was rough and harsh across my palate.

I wasn’t a whiskey fan until a couple of years ago.

Rum was more my forte, I was a rum judge for the Ministry of Rum in 2010. I also wrote about food, and, of course wine. It’s very tough to make a living being just one more voice in the room of food writing or even wine writing.

Coincidently, many of those rums that I was starting to enjoy became even more intriguing for me. Through research, I found that many types of rum were aged in used bourbon barrels.
Perhaps that flavor of char and smoke was more a part of my taste buds than I initially allowed?

It’s funny for me, when I think of the wines that I grew up with at home — the ones that were on the our dinner table — Left Bank, Rhone, Loire, all use casks that speak clearly of the place. There was a flavor to each sip. Something unique and profound was taking place at the same time in my education. I traveled across Europe, Africa, and South America, always tasting, memorizing and trying to figure out flavors of intoxicants and food.

The same holds true for whiskey. The casks that go on to give other liquors unique qualities, characteristics and above all terroir may be from whiskey!

There is a certain cadence to whiskey and in the broader metric, craft sprits. They are not always great, but they certainly are passion in a bottle.

My thoughts on craft mean something that is handmade in small numbers. Craft means flavor and texture and risk, small business is not easy. Owning something that relies upon consumers is often fraught with failures. I know because I lost my own small business in Hurricane Hugo back in 1989. I owned a craft business, specializing in fresh pasta. (Maybe it was the grain??)

It might be a small produced wine, organic and Biodynamic that reminds me of whiskey, the flavors of stone fruits and caramelized nuts. Or vice versa. There are creative interrogatories in all forms of intoxicating beverages.

I’m very fond of food when I taste whiskey or any spirits for that matter. If I taste rye, I want a sandwich like a Rueben, piled high with briny and smoky corned beef or pastrami on seeded rye. Whiskey just calls out for food that speaks to me clearly.

Whiskey Cocktails, is my second book. My first book, Apothecary Cocktails takes the tack of what you took for healing in the years before electricity and refrigeration. How folk healing remedies may have been little more than snake oil, but what a wonderful way to heal what ailed ye!

Whiskey Cocktails explores the liquor from a stylistic approach — Scotch, Bourbon, Rye, Alternative Grains, Indian (India), Japanese, French, Tennessee Sipping Whiskey, White Whiskey, etc. even cooking recipes!

In a former part of my life, before I was in the corporate world, I was a trained chef. This formal training comes in handy for the mixology business. It’s all about flavor and combinations of flavor.

I invite you to peer into my mind, one sip and word at a time.

There are some marvelous things in Whiskey Cocktails. Others have said that this book is a new Classic. I’m not sure, I’d rather be humble than a know it all. As I said, I’m new to whiskey and I’m lucky to be here, surrounded by and growing to be respected among my peers as a member of the table.

If they only knew the path I took to get here! Whew!
Bobrow-Cover
I invite you to purchase Whiskey Cocktails and if you haven’t already, please consider Apothecary Cocktails as well.

You can read my musings at http://www.cocktailwhisperer.com or purchase my book at: http://www.qbookshop.com/authors/17884/Warren-Bobrow.html

Thank you.
Warren Bobrow

Martha Lou and how I know her… food writing by Warren Bobrow

Photo: Warren Bobrow - Leica DLux-4

Photo: Warren Bobrow – Leica DLux-4

I took this picture of my friend, Martha Lou when I was down in Charleston judging the Iron Mixology segment of the Charleston Wine and Food Festival several years ago.

The look on her face when she saw me for the first time since the early 1990’s was worth the price of driving down from NJ to Charleston.  It made my day too because I have never enjoyed a plate of fried pork chops so much as when she made them for me.

I like my fried pork chops as a sandwich.  Two pieces of white bread draws the remainder of the cooking oil off the 1/4 inch thick chop.  Curled from the heat and impossibly crunchy against my teeth, the bread is not an afterthought, but integral to the enjoyment of the sizzling hot, and salty pork chop.

Martha Lou is a treasure.  Not only because of her ebullient personality, but because she is genuine.  The real thing.  Her sweet tea is her smile.

My story of how I met Martha Lou may come as a surprise for some people who only know me from Facebook.  It was the mid eighties and I’d been accepted at Johnson/Wales when it was located in Charleston.  I was living in Portland, Maine- freezing- in a place I couldn’t afford and working for the Sonesta making baked stuffed lobster was not endearing in any manner.  So I moved down to Charleston.  And started over.

During my teen years I had a craving for Soul Food.   I’d trot down to East Orange, NJ and find myself at the Peppermint.  This is ham hocks and greens, fried pig ears and slaw on white bread and stews that you could smell by the sweetness of the long cooked onions and tomatoes.  After eating there for a couple of years and being introduced to the cook by a mutual friend, I started paying attention to what they were doing back in the kitchen.         I thought that if nothing else in life, I could become a cook, since my first career as a television engineer was a bust.  Because my parents took me to Europe as a boy, I paid further attention to how people become cooks.

They start at the bottom and they learned from the old-timers.

I learned how to cook real Soul food from former Southerners living in East Orange and Morristown, NJ.

I grew up on a gentleman’s farm.  It belonged to my grandfather and grandmother since the 1940’s.  They didn’t need to farm it, but they did with a full staff like in the old days.  To this day the farm is still both biodynamic and organic.  The farm was the laboratory of my childhood.  It came with all the parts intact, just as it was in the 1800’s.  It is still in perfect condition as if the dairy cattle just left for the afternoon.  After a rain you can still smell the cows from the wood floors.

Estelle Ellis was our cook.  She was from Northern Georgia.  I’m sure she grew up around Soul Food because when she taught me to cook, everything was put up for later in the season.  As I said, we didn’t have to rely upon the farm, but so much of my diet came from this place or very close by.  New Jersey was much different in the 1960’s.

Estelle never wrote anything down, nor did the cooks at the Peppermint- but I paid attention and their lessons stuck.

So I get to Martha Lou’s.  White guy in a place surrounded by the projects.  Trucks and truckers, not what I would call in the 1980’s as a safe neighborhood at night and I introduce myself to Martha Lou.

She remembered my name- eventually, and I started talking to her about East Orange.  She has family up there evidently and I mentioned the Peppermint.  Her eyes closed a bit and she said… “what do you know about the Peppermint?”

I told her that I was cooking at a local restaurant, the Primerose House on East Bay Street and could I come during the day and watch her cook?

Well, after much hemming and hawing she said yes- but only after I had to cook some innards for her blessing to be a life-long friendship.

I don’t pretend to be from Charleston, nor would I, but when I saw Martha Lou and took this picture, it was like I was family.  Over a plate of pork chops.

Dad’s Hat- Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey and Sage Herbal Elixir

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I think that I wrote this piece two or so years ago…  It’s fun to see where my writing has taken me.  So please enjoy and pick up a copy of my forthcoming book (Whiskey Cocktails) if you get the chance.  It’s got all the stuffing!

DAD’S HAT PENNSYLVANIA WHITE RYE AND SAGE HERBAL ELIXIR (FLOYD’S PACK MULE COCKTAIL)

I just created a new cocktail with historically correct flavors.  What are those interesting bottles?  Well my friends, my usual- or unusual form of cocktail whispering has led me to a secret spring.  There up the road apiece is a spring that spouts water as clear and refreshing as the soft hand of a maiden in the summer.

Pennsylvania Rye in the un-aged form runs as soft and sweet as this spring that bubbles up from the earth.  Branch water with a kick I say.  Sitting next to this venerable bottle of Pennsylvania History sits a bottle simply called Sage from the same creative mind behind the salubrious and ever mixable liqueurs named Root, Rhubarb and Snap.

But what is Sage?  Sage is Herbalicious according to the hand-crafted natural paper-press release.

According to the copy, Thomas Jefferson was not only a founding father, but he was also an avid horticulturist.  His friend and mentor Bernard McMahon was in the midst of chronicling the 130 plants discovered by Lewis and Clark.   As history has it, Bernard and Thomas also were fond of highly intoxicating beverages.  Sage in the purest form is not just sage as an herbal adjunct, it is also an ingredient in early “Gar-Tending” experimentation!

This type of experimentation weaves its way into my semi-drunken state- *who me?*

Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania White Rye is gorgeous stuff.  If I could lay down a few bottles and wait about ten years, I’ll bet the mouth-feel will soften to that of branch water.  Now, instead of letting any rest, I’ve created a cocktail with this spicy and emotional Rye powerhouse.

Sage is distilled with thyme, sage (of course), rosemary, lavender and fennel.  All I could think about was mixing Sage with Dad’s Hat.

But the drink would not be complete without a few drops of the fire driven chocolate and spice enamored heat of the Bitter End Memphis BBQ Bitters.  Take about four drops of this amazing liquid and scatter them over the top.  The 100 proof power of the White Rye and the aromatic wonderment that says Sage finished with Bitter End Bitters only needs one more item.

I’m a fanatic for great ice…..Crystal clear and without any unpleasant fragrances or minerals, great ice cubes will enlighten your cocktails.  I did a 95/5 mix of Royal Rose Lavender Lemon Syrup and some of my filtered well water.  The benefit of putting the Royal Rose Syrup into the ice cube is to subtly change the flavor of the cocktail as the ice cube melts.  Mostly water, with that bit of syrup and everyone is friendly together.

I believe it shows sophistication of flavor.  And fortitude in your cocktail glass.  Isn’t that what this is all about?

Flavor?

Danger Level 4 out of 5.  Possibly 5 out of 5 if you err on the side of heavier handed cocktail measurements…

Floyd’s Pack Mule Cocktail

Ingredients for two very strong drinks:

1/4 cup Freshly made Lemonade (unsweetened) made with Meyer Lemons if you can find them
2 oz. Dad’s Hat Genuine Small Batch Pennsylvania White Rye- 100 proof (local Rye from Pennsylvania)
1 oz.  Sage from Art in the Age- 80 proof (USDA Certified Organic)
1 oz. Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Lavender and Lemon
4 drops Bitter End Memphis BBQ Bitters
For Ice Cubes, fill an Ice Cube tray with filtered water and add an ounce or so of the simple syrup, freeze overnight for best results

Prep:
To a Boston Shaker fill 1/4 with regular ice
Add the liquors
Add  freshly made lemonade
Shake until frosty
Pour into a funky glass with Royal Rose Lavender Lemon Syrup ice
Drip three-four drops of Bitter End Memphis BBQ Bitters over the top
Sip carefully.

 

Yes, I do mixology sessions at your home or business.  Just email me!  jockeyhollow@mac DOT com

 

FEW Spirits/ Five Questions…

FEW Spirits/Five Questions

September 26, 2014
I recently spoke to Paul Hletko, the founder of FEW Spirits in Illinois.

It’s been a while since I embarked on this project, known as the Five Questions, and I beg your time to read the questions and drink the highly personal answers from each craft distiller whom I see worthy of your attention.

 

Without further adieu, may I present Paul Hietko.

 

1. WB:  What do Craft Spirits mean to you?

PH: To me, “craft spirits” means passion for product over all else and actually made by the folks claiming to make it.  Authenticity and honesty is the key.

2. WB:  Where are you from?  What did you do before you became a distiller?

PH: I was born in the Chicago area, grew up in Michigan, spent time in Northern California, and have lived in Chicago now for over 20 years.  Prior to becoming a distiller, I pursued several creative passions, and played guitar professionally, as well as running a record label, building custom guitar effects pedals, and more.  I also had a desk job for many years, but always strived to pursue dreams.

3.  WB: What is your favorite food?  Which of your spirits go well with that dish?

PH: My favorite food depends on my mood.  I’m currently a bit obsessed with banh mi, as well as working on some homemade curries. I’m really digging the bourbon with the banh mi, as the spiciness of the bourbon plays well with the spices in the sandwich.

4. WB: Is there anything you’ve eaten or sipped that brings a tear to your eye when you taste it?  Why?

PH: Some of the favorite things I sip are products that my friends make, as I know what it takes to bring it to life.  Food and drink can have such a dramatic affect, and eating various foods can really bring me back to various places.  I can’t eat matzo ball soup without missing my grandmother.  I can’t think of Spätzle without missing my grandmother’s!

 

5.  WB: Social Media brought us together originally.  What are your thoughts on Social Media?  Do you use it?  Do you have time to Tweet?

PH: I love social media – it’s the best way to communicate with the people that actually consume what we make.  All that we do, we do for the spirit that is in the glass so that we can hopefully be a part of peoples enjoyment of life with their family and friends.  That means a lot to us, and this connection with our fans is truly amazing.

 

My tasting Notes for these gorgeous spirits…

FEW Bourbon Whiskey

Spanish Leather, sweet cream and wet stones give way to a bit of heat and that long finish that says CRAFT.  This is very drinkable stuff, worthy of your finest glassware

FEW Rye Whiskey

If I could drink a corned beef sandwich, this is what I’d be enjoying for lunch!  Smoky notes of charred earth, tangy and cinnamon tinged rye bread with a zingy finish that goes on and on!

FEW Single Malt Whiskey

Is this whiskey from Scotland?  Nope, it’s all American!  Licks of wood smoke give way to sweet grains and a haunting finish punctuated by toasted citrus zest and salt crusted stones.  This is sophisticated and worldly.  Class act!

FEW Barrel Gin

Sweet notes of long cooked grains enrobed in dark (70% or more) bittersweet chocolate, cooked slowly with the aromatics of Juniper Berries and slowly cooked stone fruits, like quince and peaches.  A Ramos Gin Fizz with this slurp would take you to places not yet discovered!

 

My second book, Whiskey Cocktails is available ever so shortly on Quarto Publishing.  In the book, I’ve created 75 new and re-imaged cocktails for one of the world’s favorite spirits, Whiskey… With my unique- Cocktail Whisperer style and grace. 

 

Barrell Bourbon: Tasting Notes and Observations

Barrell Bourbon:Tasting Notes and Observations on Whiskey

August 30, 2014
I just received two bottles of bourbon from Tennessee.  Tennessee Bourbon you say?  What is that?  I thought all whiskey from Tennessee had a black label on it?

Well to be perfectly honest with you, so did I.  I wasn’t aware that there are Craft Spirits in Kentucky.  I know that some are working on getting the laws changed to permit Craft distilling, but I’m really not sure who they are, or if they’ve been successful.

But without that tainting my impression of the Craft Spirits industry and who makes what and where, I’d like to introduce you to Barrell Bourbon.

Barrell Bourbon is a true luxury product that you can get.

DrinkupNY has it!  http://www.drinkupny.com/Barrell_Cask_Strength_Tennessee_Straight_Bourbon_p/s0185.htm

Sitting in front of me are two bottles .

Batch #001 and Batch #002.

Barrell Bourbon link here

I’ll try to be kind to you and your thirst.  This isn’t going to be easy.

Writing about and tasting fine liquid is like describing Grand Cru wine.  Most people cannot even fathom spending hundreds of dollars on a bottle of wine, much less ever given the chance to taste it.

Although Barrell Bourbon is not inexpensive, it’s not over 100 dollars per bottle either!

When a company sends me a bottle and it just isn’t available to the public, all I can do it hope that it makes you thirsty.  I do my best to guide you and help you find a bottle.

I actually had someone reach out to me the other day, who read my review on Pappy 20 Year, assuming that I had a secret in with the company to get a bottle (or more) of this highly allocated liquid.

Nope!

But Barrell Bourbon is available.  Extremely limited, but you can find it.

It’s not even noon and I’ve just taken a healthy slurp of Barrel #001.  This is Cask Strength my friends.  Rolling in at 121.6 Proof, it is straight out of the barrel.  They don’t fine pad filter this whiskey. They only use a light mesh screen to keep the larger chunks from inside the barrel out of your glass.  That’s not to say that this bourbon is crystal clear, far from, there is stuff in there.  I love spirits with a soul and Barrell Bourbon has it!

Tasting Notes:

The bottle – no you don’t taste the bottle, but bear with me… is made of fine perfume grade glass.  It’s gorgeous to the touch.  Sumptuous and smooth.  The cap is wood and real cork.  A nice touch in the world of plastic almost everything.  The label on each batch is very similar, with the only differences in the writing.

My bottle of Batch #001 reads Craft Distilled Barrel Stength.

Batch # 001, Bottle # 2384.

It goes on to read 121.6 Proof, 60.8 Alc/Vol.

Batch #002 reads Bottle # 429,  117.8 Proof, 58.9% Alc/Vol.

Batch #001 is made from a Mash bill of 70% corn, 25% rye and 5% malted barley.  It’s distilled in Tennessee and aged in Kentucky for five years in freshly charred American oak barrels.  It’s bottled at full barrel strength without any artificial colors or additives.

Flavors of Earl Grey Tea reveal themselves along with sweet vanilla, dark stone fruits, salted caramels and quince-slow cooked ones at that.  The heat is ever present.  You cannot escape it, even with a few drops of Branch Water sprinkled over the top to release the flavors and inner soul of this passionate product.  The alcohol tingles on the tongue and wraps around your brain.  This is serious stuff, worthy of your finest crystal glass.  But don’t put anything other than water into it.  This would be a waste of fine liquor!

Peanut brittle expands across my tongue along with long cooked apricots and white raisins.  Pine nuts reveal themselves, enrobed in dark chocolate.  The finish is tannic and dry.  It goes on and on.  Impressive and worthy of your hard earned money.

Batch # 002 is also made from a Mash bill of: 70% corn, 25% rye, 5% malted barley.  The first thing you perceive is the flavor of a grilled Reuben Sandwich on Rye bread.  Toasted rye has a very specific flavor and this is no exception.  There is a sharp cinnamon bitterness, almost like a red hot candy that pokes a hole right in the middle of your memory.  This is exceptionably memorable bourbon.  There really is nothing like it on the market.  Stone fruits and caramelized nuts reveal themselves after a few seconds along with deep flavors of Spanish Saddle leather and wet stones.  But not wet from a fresh water stream, they are slicked with the flavors of the ocean.

The slightly less alcohol *117.8- is a welcome relief after the hit of nearly 122% alcohol in Batch #001.

Both versions are memorable.  Orange marmalade and lemon curd fill your mind along with toasted rye bread and slabs of freshly smoked meats.  There are bursts of fleur de sel (sea salt) and more chocolate, but not the sweet kind, I’m talking 75% bitter.

Take little sips and bite your Reuben Sandwich,  let me know what you think!

This is bourbon on steroids! Definitely not for everyone!  No fooling!

***********************

Warren Bobrow,is the widely published author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.

His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 2014.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.

Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkupNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* – to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he’s finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.
Contact: jockeyhollow@gmail.com

Teeling Whiskey and Barrell Bourbon, Two Delights, recently discovered. from Foodista.com (yes, I’m on the masthead!)

Teeling Whiskey and Barrell Bourbon, Two Delights, recently discovered.

Whiskey Cocktails is coming out in a few short weeks, so it seems to reason that my mailbox is suddenly full of whiskey!In this case I’ve received several fine bottles that I’d like to share with you.  The first one is Ireland in every sip.  The Spirit of Dublin, Teeling Whiskey is one such example of high quality.  They represent Ireland in each sip, in fact when I uncorked the bottle, the very aroma placed me on the Temple Bar, enjoying the mist against my face and Irish Whiskey woven into coffee, filling my belly with happy warmth.

I’m trying not to lose sleep over claims about what Craft Distilling means outside of marketing, nor am I getting bent out of shape about “Small Batch” and what actually constitutes that statement in the broad context of the word.

But what I will say is Teeling Whiskey makes statements on their label about the lack of chill filtration and the fact that they use former rum casks for a deeper and sweeter finish.  What I do know is that they use cork on their bottle finish and I do like that extra effort for quality.

I also like the bottle shape and the color- a deep brown/green/black that should ostensibly protect the fine spirits held within from damaging rays of the sun.  Who knows, but it certainly is a handsome bottle design.

The label evokes the feeling of another time- perhaps less hurried.  And when enjoyed out of my Bormioli tasting glass, I truly get what this whiskey has to offer.

It’s really luscious in the mouth and it finishes astonishingly sweet without a hint of smoke- because in Ireland their whiskies are sweet in their flavor profile.

 

For that reason I like to craft cocktails with Irish Whiskey

Teeling is as good as I’ve had in what appears to be a well crafted spirit. It’s something new and I know you will want to taste it.  So seek it out and don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit.  To that end I offer you a fine cocktail.

Black Irish Smash

 We know that adventurous Spanish sailors followed the Gulf Stream up to Ireland looking for conquests and fishing grounds.  Some stayed and gave the island an entirely new population.  Black Irish people, are the amalgamation of Irish people and those Spanish sailors.  Hence the cocktail.

2 oz. Teeling “Small Batch” Irish Whiskey

4 oz. home-made lemonade – Sweetened to taste with your own mint simple syrup (Mint Simple Syrup 1:1 mint to sugar to 1 cup almost boiling water- steep overnight or longer in the fridge and then filter out mint)

1 oz. Mountain Valley Sparkling Water

4 drops El Guapo Chicory-Pecan Bitters

very tiny pinch of sea salt

Prep:

To a mixing glass, fill 3/4 with ice

add the lemonade and pour the whiskey over the top and stir until mixed

Strain into two rocks glasses with one cracked 2×2 cube in each

Top with a splash of the sparkling water, add a very small pinch of sea salt

Finish with the bitters and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint for clarity

 

Barrell Bourbon is clearly getting my attention because it tastes like success.  Good luck finding it though- you can make this your quest, like that of Pappy Van Winkle, another very hard to get commodity.  I think that Barrell is a bit easier to get because of the nature of distribution.  They are not a huge company yet, so sale of this whiskey is pretty normal.  If you find it, buy it because a case is just six bottles and there aren’t too many of them around.

But why give you only bad news?

That’s certainly not my intention.

They say that Barrell Bourbon served at cask strength is just too strong for most palates.  So it needs a bit of water to reveal the inner flavors.  But I think it needs some mixing up.  Perhaps that’s just the twisted part of why I love what I do.  May I suggest doing a wash with Lucid Absinthe in your glass?  Then some pineapple that has been both grilled and then juiced?  Perhaps a sage leaf, lit on fire and the smoke captured by the inside of a Boston shaker?  The honor for teaching me this technique is firmly on the shoulders of the head bartender from Secreto in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Chris Milligan.  He taught me this art.

Ah.. it’s darned good stuff.  Pay attention though.  This cocktail does work with any high proof bourbon or rye.

The Antidote

3 oz. Barrell Bourbon (bottling 002, because 001 just isn’t around any longer)

1/4 oz. Lucid Absinthe- wash rocks glasses with Lucid Absinthe and a bit of ice to cool, let sit

2 oz. Grilled Pineapple juice

1 oz. Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

1/2 oz. Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit juice

2-3 Sage Leaves

Crushed Ice

1 oz. Simple Syrup

3-6 Drops of El Guapo Gumbo Bitters

Sprig of mint

 

Prep:

Light your sage in a fireproof ashtray

Capture the sage smoke in your Boston Shaker

Fill the Boston Shaker 3/4 with ice (and the sage smoke)

Add the juices and the simple Syrup

Add the Barrell Bourbon

Cap and shake for 20 seconds

Pour out the water and the Lucid absinthe into your mouth (why waste good liquor?)

Add 1 cube of 2×2 ice to each glass

Pour your mixture over the ice

Dot with the El Guapo Gumbo Bitters

Garnish with the mint

Serve to a happy camper