My bar is overflowing with lovely tastes and slurps for the holidays. I know it’s a bit late, but you never can do everything all at once, AND I’ve been a bit busy this year! First of all to bring you all up to speed, I’ve just released my first book (October) named Apothecary Cocktails, Restoratives from Yesterday and Today.
This book, my first was published by Fair Winds Press.
Another book is coming for October 2014 that I’m very excited about. Stay tuned.
So where do I start? What do you want for Xmas?
It doesn’t need much as a mixer so don’t even think of drowning the delicate flavor in corn syrup cola. This rum is perfect for a hot toddy, or perhaps for a few ounces of freshly squeezed orange juice. Don’t forget the nutmeg!
From Tailwinds Distilling in Illinois, may I suggest a rum from a most unlikely place? The Taildragger Amber Rum and the Taildragger White Rum offer bursts of cane sugar woven with tropical fruits and spices.
As with the Busted Barrel Rum, these are craft spirits, made from the best ingredients available. I am passionate about craft spirits and these rums exemplify the care taken to ensure that each sip is memorable. With the Busted Barrel Rum flavor profile firmly in my mind, I find the Taildragger is sumptuous and lush.
Perfect for a Great Lakes inspired Tiki Bar influence punch or with a splash or two of freshly squeezed tropical fruits or even in a hot toddy with butter and simple syrup. Sophisticated and worldly these rums are. They make a lesser known coffee rum, brimming with the seriously intoxicating flavors of medium roasted coffee. I’m completely taken by this coffee flavored rum over coffee ice cream.
They also produce a Blue Agave spirit that is sold either aged or un-aged. Not Tequila and not marked on the label as such, the Midnight Caye Silver and the Midnight Caye Rested is produced in small batches. Seek it out, you’ll be happy that you did!
An authentic NOM 1467 CRT Tequila Blanca from Rudo Tecnico is a 100% Agave spirit that is pure, lush and colorful in every sip. With a playful label showing the Luce Libre fighter/wrestler- Tecnico, you would almost expect this Tequila to be brash and overpowering. But it’s anything but. The Tecnico is soft, pure and citrus tinged. Again, as with the rums, this tequila doesn’t need much to shine. A squeeze of lemon, a hit of agave syrup and a splash of Arrogante Damiana in place of the usual triple sec. I never use triple sec. Awful stuff. Right up there with maraschino cherries. Ick. Don’t do it and throw those red things out. feh!
Get yourself a bottle of Casa Noble Tequila. It’s just so gorgeous. I recommend drinking it with a pinch of sea salt, a splash of Fruitations Tangerine and a finishing spritz of Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water in Pink Grapefruit. Three drops of Bitter End Bitters “Curry” over the top.
For bourbon, I think you should try to find the Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. If you cannot, find the Buffalo Trace Wheated. (It’s like Pappy, really…) Willett’s is fun too. Breaking and Entering Bourbon from St. George in California is Kentucky royalty, blended and bottled on the left coast. Get some!
Liqueurs? I’m a fantatic for pür•spirits. Their elderflower liqueur is a thing of rare beauty and form. The spice and blood orange a delight. GET SOME!!!
Creams? 300 Joules may well be the best “silk” liqueur that I’ve passed through my lips this year. They do a sumptuously decedent lemon that drips with acidity and structure, cinnamon that offers bursts of freshly scraped spices and the ginger that screams out for Scotch whisky and a bit of seltzer.
300 Joules is the truest form of craft, made with passion and care in New Jersey! I’m a HUGE FAN. I’m mixing 300 Joules Lemon with Campari and a bit of Barr Hill gin along with sweet Vermouth in a tip of the hat to the Negroni. It’s a creamy Negroni that you MUST taste!
I’ve located a Maple Cream that just rocks from Vermont. The Vermont Ice Maple Cream Liqueur is hauntingly good. Enrobed in sweet Vermont cream and grade B Maple Syrup, this cream is perfectly geared for sipping or even woven into adult “martinis” or a milkshake.
For Gin, I am drinking the experimental Barr Hill Barrel Aged Gin… Ok, so you can’t get it, but you can buy their raw honey distilled Vodka as well as their grain based (raw honey finished) gin.
Normally I don’t drink a whole lot of vodka. Bluewater from the left coast always charms me, as does Karlsson’s Gold Vodka which is ACTUALLY MADE FROM POTATOES!!!
Just so you know that I read the comments on Facebook, spiced rum???? well that’s a no-brainer. Sailor Jerry. I love the higher proof and the true Caribbean flavor. My absolute favorite spiced rum is not available in the United States. It comes from the island of Saba. They make spiced rum in a style that is sadly, nearly extinct. A fine adaptation of the style of “spiced-rum” is available on St. Barth. Usually it is Rhum Agricole with Caribbean-type spices. Most restaurants make their own rhum punches… but that’s something else entirely and will require a trip to taste them. Good idea.
UNDERBERG if you can get it is the miracle cure!
Syrups… Fruitations in New England with their BRILLIANT, all natural fruit syrups has become one of my favorites along with Royal Rose (the rose is a favorite) and of course Sumptuous Syrups of Vermont with their Chocolate Mole. WOW!
Bitters: Of course Bitter End from Santa Fe. Bill York has got the lock-down on Curry with his India by the drop bitters. Tuthilltown’s Bitter Frost “Basement Bitters” is part of my kit along with Joe Fee’s historically delicious bitters. The Black Walnut is a favorite this year.
Whisky: Nikka from the barrel got my attention… Japanese Whisky that beats the Scots at their own game. Don’t agree? Try it.
Ah.. so many flavors… So little time!
What a nice surprise!!!
Monday, May 6, 2013
By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer
I can picture in my mind’s eye the first time I tasted Mezcal. I was down in Mexico – specifically in the Yucatan Peninsula, visiting the Mayan ruins with my family. Overflowing pitchers of green-tinged, icy cold drinks were set upon broad tables shaded from the tropical sunshine by the lush vegetation. Down in this part of the world an icy drink is a welcome diversion against the burning rays and the inferno-like heat of the sun.
I was perhaps sixteen and already well acquainted with Tequila from childhood forays into the seedy underbelly of overindulgences. But these pitchers held something more than just mysteries. The vessels contained fever-dripped dreams of another world, linked together with a thin veneer of char and smoke. It was a heady brew for anyone, much less a teenager with a serious thirst from the heat. After several cocktails in the hot sun, the world took on a deeper dimension – the Mayan temples seemed a part of my experience and the Mezcal spoke to me. But please don’t ask me what it said, because I don’t remember a thing!
|Roasting agave at San Luis Del Rio|
Mezcal is made with similar ingredients as Tequila but it takes a twisted path up the side of the mountains through a method that involves the use of smoke. Mezcal is to Tequila as Scotch Whisky is to Bourbon. They both use similar ingredients but one is sweet in the nose and mouth while the other can be vividly smoky to the palate and especially the nose. I love Mezcal for precisely that reason. There is an obviously sophisticated method of making Mezcal. Although it mimics Tequila in the flavor profile, Mezcal takes on a characteristic all its own through the potent application of fire and earth.
As a rule, I’m very fond of Mezcal, in this case one named Mezcal Vida from Del Maguey. What Del Maguey has done is get high quality Mezcal into the hands of more consumers at a much lower price point.
During this mostly cool spring, citrus is at the forefront of my palate. I cannot seem to get enough of it. Oranges are at their peak right now and I love to lightly sear them in a dry sauté pan, let them cool, then juice them, releasing a perfume and spark that makes me salivate.
Perrier, you know – the pink grapefruit sparkling natural mineral water happens to work very well with grilled orange. Brightly aromatic, the citrus weaves around each bubble. The spark of the bubbles rises through the smokier elements of Mezcal and the grilled orange juice.
To make a Last Train to Brownsville Cocktail you must first get all the ingredients. Each comes together in a bold, multi-layered event in your glass and soon your mouth. My ice is the most important part of the Last Train to Brownsville (Texas) Cocktail. I ALWAYS filter the water through a Mavea “Inspired Water” pitcher and you should too – water just tastes better, soft, creamy almost. There is sensuality about the water that I cannot explain… You must drip it into your mouth or suck on an ice cube made with Mavea filtered water.
The Last Train to Brownsville (Texas) Cocktail
Ingredients for two VERY STRONG DRINKS:
• 4 oz. Del Maguey “Vida” San Luis Del Rio Mezcal
• 3 oz. Grilled Orange Juice (reserve a few slices for garnish)
• 4 dashes of Angostura Bitters
• 4 oz. Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (Pink Grapefruit essence)
• 3 oz. Valley Girls Grapefruit Soda Syrup*
• One very large hand cut cube of ice made from Mavea “Inspired Water” for each cocktail
1. To a Boston shaker add the liquors and the bitters.
2. Add the grilled orange juice and the Grapefruit Soda Syrup, then fill ¾ with plain ice.
3. Shake Boston Shaker for 20 seconds, it’s going to be quite frosty.
4. Pour into short rocks glasses with one really large hand-cut ice cube made of the Mavea filtered water ice. (There might be enough for a couple of shots as well, unless you use a tall glass then no shots for you.)
5. Top with a couple splashes of the Perrier Pink Grapefruit Sparkling Natural Mineral Water.
6. Garnish with a slice of grilled orange and a couple of shakes of Angostura bitters over the top.
7. Sip very carefully and have another immediately afterwards.
8. Marvel at the visual elements of this strikingly beguiling cocktail.
*Valley Girls from Sonoma are dedicated to handcrafted, small-batch cooking that preserves old-school methods of making food that tastes, tasty! The sales benefit Sonoma Valley Teens Services “Skills For Life” programs which benefit at-risk teens. http://www.valleygirlsfoodstuffs.com
Cheers from DrinkUpNY!
Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys.
Friday, May 10, 2013
By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer
I love Brazil. The people make up the social thread, the food fills their bellies and the music fills their hearts. Their heads are filled with the particularly potent liquor named cachaça. Now with an AOC for purity, cachaça has become a world player in the rush for flavor and nostalgia alike.
It completes the equation of the soul meeting the heart through the influence of the earth.
Avuá Prata Cachaça is made in Brazil. It cannot be made anywhere else on the planet by the force of law. Cachaça is a complex beverage that takes great passion to make. This passion runs through the veins of the Brazilian people. When Caipirinha cocktails are made, people come together. They dance, they sing – it seems to help solve problems in life and make people come together for a common good. You cannot drive anywhere in Rio and not see offerings to the spirits, both physical and metaphysical. They are everywhere in Brazil.
When I was a boy my parents took me to Brazil to experience the Caipirinha cocktail up close. And yes, I had several while there. One too many perhaps, but as the theory goes – once you’ve enjoyed a Caipirinha cocktail, you will always remember it. The flavor of freshly cut lime, the burst of cane sugar sweetness from the cachaça intermixed with the haunting flavor of the wooden cask, all mingle to create a truly unique product.
Cachaça is the soul of the people of Brazil and Avuá Prata Cachaça is one of the best I’ve ever tasted. It speaks clearly of the cane, that hauntingly sensual liquid that coats the back of your throat and swirls around your mind. Two or three cocktails and you are out on Copacabana Beach, soaking up the Equatorial sun, slathered with coconut oil and iodine for a deeper tan than you ever thought possible. I spent two months in Brazil and came back to winter in NJ as a different person. The food and the music would never leave me. When I wrote restaurant reviews for NJ Monthly Magazine, I made sure that I reviewed a Brazilian restaurant in Newark, NJ named Seabra’s. They make an extremely fine Caipirinha right in front of you. I’m a big fan of in-your-face bartending.
Yesterday I was fortunate to spend some time in the company of Daniel Bull, the mixologist for his families’ restaurant named Brasilina located near Hell’s Kitchen on the West Side of NYC. He is passionate about his ingredients, insisting on fresh and freshly sliced whenever possible. He hasn’t been a bartender for too long, but his hand is steady behind the stick and the passionate Brazilian spirit flows readily through his fingers into his handcrafted cocktails.
Daniel made me the classic Caipirinha cocktail with Avuá Prata Cachaça and what transpired was less a lesson in making the cocktail, but more a view into the sense of taste. Avuá is sold at DrinkUpNY and you can take the easy to follow directions (below) and make your own cocktail. I do have one suggestion. When you make this cocktail, make sure your hands and your heart is warm first. Warming your hands is easy, by holding them under warm water until they are warm. Your heart may be more difficult to warm, but you can start by thinking of a place like Brazil and the affectionate sunshine that bathes this country in her perpetual glow.
Do you think that it is the Avuá Prata Cachaça talking?
Daniel says it is essential to slice your limes fresh, as in right before using. He also stressed not muddling the lime too much. Muddling releases the oils, yes – but it can release the bitter from the skin just as easily. Be gentle and smile while you make this cocktail!
Make your drink like a Brazilian, with passion!
• 4 fresh cut lime wedges
• 20ml simple syrup (2 parts of refined sugar to 1 part boiling water – blend it in the blender)
• 2.5 ounces of Avuá Prata Cachaça
1. Add lime and simple syrup to your glass.
2. Muddle 5 to 6 times – make sure you don’t extract too much of the oil from the lime skin.
3. Fill your glass with ice & add the cachaça.
4. Stir with a swizzle stick.
5. Complete the glass with more fresh ice.
6. Garnish with lime wedge, freshly cut is essential!
Gin is in for early spring! Oh, please don’t get me wrong; it’s early spring- even though it doesn’t feel like it outside. Klaus is most concerned about the tasty mint out in the garden. Will the cold damage the mint? Let’s ask the mint!
Klaus: “Will you get frost burned?”
Klaus: “What would you like to do about this?”
Mint: “Pick me and add me to a cocktail with this marvelous ginger ale I just found.”
So there it is. Klaus is determined to have a drink with the mint BEFORE it gets frost bitten. And how will he do that? By picking the mint just as it comes up out of the ground……
Klaus is getting ready for a lovely season of “gar-tending.” You know, making drinks from the garden. Mint is one of the first things to come up out of the ground and one of the last things that remain after the other herbs and vegetables have gone for the season. Freshly picked mint is aromatic and enticing. The oils from the mint stick to Klaus’s little ceramic fingers and some of the bits of mint get stuck in his ceramic beard. There is not nearly enough mint for a batch of mint jelly, but more than enough for a few cocktails.
Klaus is extra thirsty this morning for something more than his usual cup of coffee. He received a few bottles of the Bruce Cost Ginger Ale in the mail yesterday. This is not your usual ginger ale made with corn syrup (Ew!)or other artificial ingredients. Bruce Cost makes his aromatic, ginger ale with real flavor! What makes the Bruce Cost Ginger Ale so amazing is the unfiltered nature of this product. There is stuff floating all around the inside of the bottle! With handcrafted flavors such as their aromatic Original Ginger, Jasmine Tea, Pomegranate with Hibiscus (my favorite) and Passion Fruit with Yellow Ginger (Turmeric).
Klaus has found the Bruce Cost Ginger Ale as a worthy recipient to his cocktailian exploits! And with a small producer, Vermont sourced, handmade gin made with raw honey? It’s practically otherworldly!
Sitting in front of Klaus (and me) is a bottle of the extremely small producer and exotic, Barr Hill Gin from Vermont. It is distilled with raw honey.
Why is this important? Because of the healing nature and energy of honey! The flavor profile is sweet, toasty grains in the background, juniper in the foreground and honey swirling all around, binding the front to the middle to the back of your mouth. For anyone who says they enjoy honey- they probably have never had real honey. Raw honey is never boiled and it is never cut with water to dilute the powerful healing elements of this truly artisan product. Raw honey is rich in antioxidants too!
Barr Hill Gin (or their salubrious Vodka), might as well be made with care by gnomes! Klaus? Did you make the Barr Hill? Klaus?
Oh, he’s wondered off again. Probably looking for a party or a cocktail. Or a little bit of both.
Klaus’s 60’s Dream Parade Cocktail
2 oz. Barr Hill Gin (Distilled from Raw Honey in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont)
.25 Darjeeling Dark Tea (as a wash) in each glass
6 oz. Bruce Cost Unfiltered Fresh Ginger- Ginger Ale – Pomegranate with Hibiscus Soda
4 drops Bitter End Moroccan bitters
Fresh mint (Klaus uses Kentucky Colonel variety)
Wash the tea around the inside of your glass
Rub the inside of an Old Fashioned glass with the orange zest
Rub with the fresh mint
Add one large cube of ice- preferably filtered through a Mavea “Inspired Water” filter. (The final resulting ice turns out nearly crystal clear! It makes a great presentation in your glass)
Add the Barr Hill Gin right over the top of the large cube
I use a silicone 2 x 2 tray for my ice cubes
Top with a measure of the Bruce Cost Ginger/Pomegranate-Hibiscus (ginger ale) soda
Garnish with about four drops of the Bitter End Moroccan bitters and a twirl of orange.
Klaus would want you to have a couple and should you want to be really bad, he’ll join you for another before it’s time to break out the Fernet Branca.
There’s a new place in Morristown named End of Elm and it’s a keeper. This is precisely what Morristown has needed since Urban Table opened and forever tainted the gene pool with lackluster service and poor food. True, End of Elm is formulaic and still brand new, but they tried darned hard to make me happy with something that’s missing at most other places in town – good old customer service.
End Of Elm, Morristown, NJ
First, let’s take a look at the space. With broad windows overlooking the spot where Elm hits Morris Avenue by the NJ Transit station, the constant flow of traffic outside makes the interior a very cheery place. The bar is in the rear of the room, and there’s comfortable seating by the windows to the right as you enter. There are also stand-up tables, and good lighting from mono-filament bulbs.
I asked for a cocktail list and was greeted not with a “we don’t do cocktails,” but with a refreshing “yes sir.” The bartender introduced himself as Vinnie and shook my hand with confidence. Cocktails are my forte – and mangled cocktails my desire – but that was not meant to be at End of Elm. The list is not overwrought, nor overly intellectual; good ingredients are used simply, and there is a careful hand behind the stick.
I ordered a drink named the Montucky. It was good enough, with fine ingredients, like Buffalo Trace, the ubiquitous Luxardo Liqueur, a sweet vermouth of uncertain provenance (I think it was Martini and Rossi), and a Luxardo cherry. The drink was stirred not shaken and the ice used was a 1/2 cube for the mixing glass. Vinnie was confident in his bar tending skills, and he makes a fine cocktail using jiggers for measurement (nice touch). I think it was on the weak side, but I like my drinks made strong, especially when they are served “up.” My cocktail was served up in a nice clean glass. A plus!
cocktail list at End of Elm
Next time I go, I’m attracted to the Sweet Devil with an egg white, which should have a bit more kick than the Montucky.
On back-bar shelf they had BOTH Aperol and Campari. Again, nice touch. I didn’t check out their rum selection, or their Scotch selection, but they certainly had a nice variety of bourbon whiskey. They seem to carry the usual suspects for beer with quite a few craft style beers- all with their correct glassware- nice touch, again!
In a nutshell, the owners may be young, but this room attracts an interesting crowd for Morristown. The service gets a B+ for remembering my name and shaking my hand. I’m sure they will always remember my name now that I’ve reviewed it for the Devil Gourmet.
Montucky at End of Elm
End of Elm creates flirtatious food that speaks to a commitment to use simple ingredients made with love. The food is a modern take on tapas with items like chicken and waffles, and a prime beef burger with a Comte cheese fondue that was much better than it had to be. The Prime burger sported nice grill marks, tasted very freshly ground, and was well seasoned with both salt and pepper. The fries are shoestring, served with real ketchup, and the roll was very good.
Again, End of Elm goes further than they need to – after all this is Morristown. It is not Hoboken, nor Montclair. But times are a changing. And hopefully I won’t have to travel to far to find a drink that hasn’t been mangled into submission first. I can only hope that more places in town know how to craft a fine cocktail. End of Elm, neither an Irish bar, nor a beer and shot joint, deserves to succeed, and by crafting good food coupled with fine liquor and craft cocktails, I know they will.
That is what this column is about! The art of the cocktail. No, not a Scotch and soda, nor a Cosmo. I don’t drink those, and you should try to break out of your mold at least once! Over the course of this column we will certainly find the good, the bad and the ugly. That’s what cocktails are all about, unfortunately.
I don’t have an agenda, nor do I want to hurt anyone’s feelings with this column. I’d like to see all bars do better! It’s my topic after all. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to order a Ramos Gin Fizz or a Sazerac and not be served a milkshake or a shaken Sazerac? In conclusion I offer a lovely cocktail quote: A Bartender is just a pharmacist with a limited inventory. And speaking of pharmacists that mix cocktails……
Cheers! (Please forgive my photos, I was trying not to be obvious that I was reviewing them.)
140 Morris Street
Morristown, NJ 07960
I’ve fallen for a new craft beer. Lock, stock and barrel is the term most commonly used.
I cannot explain my passion for this beer other than to say it’s a huge surprise.
The first surprise was receiving a case of hand-crafted beer from Mexico. Handsomely packaged in a brown bottle with a screw-off cap, this beer is simply named Cabotella.
The gold colored label features a donkey with a pole carrying a tassel in front of him. He appears to be harnessed as if to turn a wheel to grind grain. The name Cabotella is printed in bold letters vertically. It’s a well designed package that says very little other then Mexico Ale and the name.
I did notice that the label does tell the abv., which is 5.5% So this beer has real guts.
I have long held that beer is my favorite culinary ingredient. After years of traveling in Europe as a boy while tasting the myriad of flavors at my disposal (beer, wine or spirits were never denied to me as a lad) I always like beer the best with food. Yes, perhaps even more than wine. It’s probably because of the plethora of flavors and the relaxed nature of the beverage. Wine is so very serious! Beer is flirtatious and fun!
Pizza goes well with beer. Everyone knows this. While in Naples as a boy I discovered the charms of Italian lager beers with pizza. As my tastes and my physical being grew older I discovered different styles of beer went with different foods- just like wine! This might seem like simple stuff, but to a young guy without the benefit of the internet (it was the 70’s) discovery is done one sip at a time. Not reading about it from your smartphone.
But I digress- Beer is my favorite beverage with pizza. The rounded pizza in this case was built by my friend Steve Hoeffner in Morristown, NJ. Steve and his brother Marty own Hoeffner’s Meats.
Steve makes a pizza on a pita bread that is so simple yet texturally quite complex. He takes pita and covers it with a layer of his sausage and tomato sauce gravy. Then he slivers hot chili peppers and scatters a tangle of cheeses over the top of the sausage/tomato base. You would put this “round slice” into a toaster oven until the cheese is toasty and melted about 8-10 minutes. The pork sausage and tomato mixture becomes crunchy and savory- the cheese toasty and the pita crunchy during each bite. This is a unique form of pizza.
Cabotella is a unique kind of beer. Soft against the palate, German styled malts dominate the mouth-feel and a nice lingering sour/sweet finish make each bite of pizza and swig of beer a delight.
I also enjoyed Cabotella with a tuna fish sandwich on rye bread with bacon, tomato and mayo. Here this beer really became quite assertive in the flavor profile. I bet it would be fabulous with a fish taco. Whatever the case I think one of the best examples of this beer is in a beer cocktail.
Commodore Perry Fizz will charm the palates of you and one friend.
2 Bottles Cabotella Mexican Ale
6 oz. Avua Cachaça (Soon to be released, stay tuned!!)
.50 oz. Tenneyson Absinthe
6 oz. freshly squeezed Blood Orange Juice (or regular orange juice- ESSENTIAL, the juice MUST be freshly squeezed)
Mavea “Inspired Water” Ice handcut in large chunks (essential)
Bitter End Mexican Mole Bitters
Pour the Cabotella Ale into a large glass bowl
Add a few chunks of hand cut ice
Add the liquors
Add the Blood Orange – or regular orange juice
Add 5 drops of the Bitter End Mexican Mole Bitters
Serve in Old Fashioned Glasses with further chunks of Mavea filtered water ice
WARREN BOBROW (this article was originally published on April 2, 2012)
On Whiskey is a monthly column on whiskey and whiskey drinks by Warren Bobrow.
Johnny Dodds is on the short wave radio, crooning to me from another world.
“After you’ve gone, after you’ve gone away.”
What better series of words are calling out for a restorative sip of Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whiskey… This venerable bottle has graciously rested over there on the shelf, alongside many other bottles, and it remained under-sipped and under-appreciated until now.
Music from the 1920s makes me want to drink good bourbon whiskey like Buffalo Trace. Maybe it’s because Johnny Dodds left New Orleans in 1920 – never to return; yet his music is firmly grounded in the essence of New Orleans. This passion for the whiskey seems to ooze out of my pores even more intensely when I listen to music from this man. Enjoying a bottle of Bourbon in New Jersey is, to me, at least akin to Johnny leaving New Orleans. Once this bottle left Kentucky, it would never return.
Buffalo Trace is not a mass-produced liquor. Nor is it overpriced for a spirit being produced in such small batches.
Most importantly a bottle of Buffalo Trace shouldn’t set you off by more than $25 a bottle or so. That makes it a good deal in a market clogged with expensive expressions of Kentucky bourbon.
Whiskey this well made usually costs double or even triple the price.
There are flavors in the Buffalo Trace that harken to Pappy. And that would be correct, because the same distillery makes Pappy.
Which Pappy are you speaking of? That Pappy is Pappy Van Winkle!
Of course the recipe is different. That’s what makes Buffalo Trace so unique!
Buffalo Trace is made from Corn, Rye and Barley. In order for them to call it bourbon, the product must be 51% corn. There is certain spiciness to each sip from the rye and a creamy quality from the cask.
I like it a lot.
So, I’ve been up to my ears in Pappy. I brought a bottle of the 15-year Pappy down to Charleston for the Wine and Food Festival. It was much less expensive to drink my own rather than someone else’s Pappy at $30 per GLASS! Why drink anything else? If you have it, drink it. That was until I opened this bottle of Buffalo Trace. I cannot believe that this expression has rested so long without even being sipped.
The aroma of dark maple syrup permeates the room almost immediately upon opening the cork-finished bottle. I have a wood stove fire going and the wind is howling outside in more of a shriek than a mere whisper- but this shouldn’t make the situation any less conducive to enjoying a few nips of this lovely hand-crafted bourbon whiskey. Given the fact that it is suddenly frosty as winter outside, what better reason than to breathe in the sweet aroma deeply? It is woven into the smell of the earth, the fire and the wind all at once. This is good stuff!
Pappy, go back up onto the shelf. I think I’m going to enjoy this glass of Buffalo Trace!
Nice hand-torn-looking label and natural cork finish! Very nice touch.
The memorable aromatics of freshly tapped maple syrup fills the room almost immediately along with notes of sweet toasted corn and charred cinnamon toast slathered in freshly whipped butter. There is the warm underpinning of scraped nutmeg along with a deeper backbone of sweet molasses. I love the scent of this elixer and I jam my nose deeply into the glass, breathing the toasty flavors aggressively into my nostrils.
On the tongue, flavors of Asian spices predominate with vanilla and caramelized peaches.
The sharpness of the alcohol is in the background of the almost juicy mouth-feel. This would be the perfectly marvelous mixing bourbon. There is so much going on in my mouth, across my tongue and down my throat. It’s quite remarkable to taste. There is a certain density to this bourbon. It is not thin or cloying in any way. The sugars reveal themselves slowly and the finish just goes on and on. There is a certain dusty quality to the finish as well as unmistakable flavor of the earth. The unique terroir of this whiskey differentiates it from all other liquids on earth. This terroir is unique to the place.
Weighing in at 45 % ABV, Buffalo Trace has all the stuffing to lead in a mixed drink, not play follower.
Think about Sazerac cocktails, Manhattans, and of course my favorite, a Bourbon Hot Toddy. All are perfectly suited to Buffalo Trace’s full-bodied approach and long finish.
I’m going to err on the side of craftsmanship. This bourbon needs creativity- but it also needs simplicity.
This afternoon I’m sprinkling a bit of branch water over the top of a little hand-blown Murano glass from Venice to release the secrets held deeply within.
This is truly delicious stuff. Now go grab yourself a bottle and share it with your friends! You don’t even have to tell them how much you (didn’t) spend.