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

Kilbeggan (The Oldest Operating Distillery in the World!)

Kilbeggan (The World’s Oldest Distillery)

April 4, 2012

Is the world’s oldest distillery in Scotland?  If you said yes, then you are incorrect.  The oldest operating distillery is in Ireland.

I’m quite fond of Irish Whiskey.  You may note that Irish Whiskey is not spelled Whisky like in Scotland.  Irish Whiskey has the addition of the E at the end in a fashion similar to the way Whiskey is spelled in the United States.

Why?  I believe through my research that the extra E is meant to discuss a higher quality spirit that those without the E. This was a historic reasoning that had something to do with quality of a specific spirit. I don’t care to discuss the personal history, you can do that yourself.  This history pit country against country.  It was certainly not inclusive.

Oh, they spell Whisky without the E in Scotland.  Whatever.  I think that the exclusion or inclusion of the letter E is confusing to the consumer.  But like any interesting puzzle the historical reasoning is out there on the web.

Onward…

Back in the late 80’s I had chance to travel to Ireland for the first time.  This lush country, with gorgeous,1000 shades of deep green vistas set against limitless skies. This is where passionate crafts-people, embrace the ancient methods of distillation.  The distillation arts in Ireland harkens back to a time when living off the land actually meant something.

I was fortunate to stay in Dublin- a young, raucous city filled with vivid splashes of color and light set against dark skies and brooding classical architecture.  It’s a magical place- well geared to intellectuals and also thirsty entrepreneurs.  There are authors and artists from all over the world that make their way to Dublin to study, to drink and to make history.  You can go into dozens of bars, listen to traditional music and meet poets, dreamers and best of all, drinkers.

The pubs are filled with lads and lassies who come to seek solace in a fine pint of dark and a glass of uisce beatha or water of life.  The pubs of Dublin and her denizens make this city go round and round.

I tasted Irish Whiskey for the first time at the historic horseshoe bar at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin.  I was immediately hooked on the friendly, yet potent sweet water.

Ireland has amazing farmland well suited for growing grain.  The soil in Ireland is rich in many of the nutrients necessary to grow grains. Grain just happens to make excellent many alcoholic finished products.

You have a thirsty country, much rain- generally miserable weather in the winter… Made even more lovely with a finished product made from fermented grain.

With grain comes distillation- and with distillation comes Whiskey.  Irish Whiskey, is a unique product.  It tastes like no other Whiskey in my opinion and it helps me dream.  Dream you say?  Drinking Irish Whiskey for me- unlocks a liquid history of searching for round-towers and seeking lovely wool sweaters woven in specific ways to identify the wearer.  Irish Whiskey is part of the deeper social thread but is easily enjoyable in a lovely Irish Coffee.

I have the ingredients, but it’s just 8:53 in the morning.  Not a good time to start drinking when a man has writing to do!

Ireland is no stranger to the craft of distillation as witnessed by Kilbeggan.  Their handsome bottle reads 1757.  No, this is not a misprint. 1757 is when the distillery was established.  And 1757 means that this spirit is from the world’s oldest operating distillery.  Not surprising to me. Kilbeggan is a new brand to the United States although by the bottle not so new to the world!  Kilbeggan uses a 180 year old pot still.  I believe a pot still gives great character to a spirit.  There has to be something said to the distillation vessel.  It must contain memories of some sort.  It’s not just cold metal.  It has a soul.

But does this make the spirit within the handsome bottle good?  I think so.  Please let me tell you about my thoughts.

Open the tall narrow bottle, classically finished in dark lettering over a pale yellow label.  There is a hint of maroon and gold highlighting some important facts about the distillery.  Several places on the bottle the numbers 1757 appear.  The distillery is quite proud of their lineage and heritage.

Open the top and pour a healthy portion into a glass that resonates with you.  From very moment that the magical liquid hits the glass I can smell the aroma of honey and hand-scythed grains.  There is a bit of smoke way off in the finish, but nothing like drinking Scotch.

The beginning of the mouth-feel is peppery fire from the 80 proof spirit.  The aroma of Kilbeggan is haunting and centering in the room.  I want to have a taste.  It’s soft, creamy in the mouth and quite beguiling on the top of my palate.  Flavors of toasted nuts, fleur de sel, caramel and Irish Soda Bread (with extra raisins) predominate.

Add to this a healthy slathering of creamy yellow Irish butter, still warm over the toasted Soda Bread.  This tiny slurp of Ireland just goes on and on with a multi-minute finish.

This is very sophisticated stuff.  I’m especially enjoying the aroma in the room.  Bacon fat, maple syrup and hot tea.  Yum!

As a food writer I love to give the literary connections to flavors I’ve tasted in my childhood.  This directional ability seems to translate well to the world of spirits writing.

As a cook, I find it interesting, to identify many of the flavor profiles that are available in spirits.  Sure they all have brooding alcohol, that’s the point!  People drink for pleasure.  It tastes good and some even have a kick!

Flavor has everything to do with it.

Irish Whiskey is Irish history in every sip.  For me to taste creamy butter melting over a thick slice of freshly toasted Soda Bread is to encourage you to find a bottle of Kilbeggan.

 

Two Cocktails For Kilbeggan

1. The Sheep in the Road cocktail- meaning that group of sheep don’t appear to be getting out of the road!

Makes two rather lovely cocktails

Ingredients:

6 Oz. Irish Breakfast Tea- chilled

4 Shots Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey

Local Honey Simple Syrup (1:1 ratio of Honey to water, heat, then cool. refrigerate)

Preparation:

To a cocktail shaker add the Kilbeggan and the Irish Breakfast Tea

Add 4 Tablespoons of the Honey Simple Syrup

Garnish with a lemon round and a sprig of mint

 

2. The Cow in the Road Cocktail- meaning, there is a cow in the road up there, watch out!

Makes two cocktails of bewildering strength from the use of warming liquids, you won’t taste the alcohol, so please be careful.

Ingredients:

Freshly Whipped Cream flavored with Kilbeggan

Hot Chocolate (your choice)

4 Shots of Kilbeggan

Sugar to taste

Preparation:

Make your hot chocolate and add to pre-heated mugs

Add the Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey

Sip and when the cow jumps over that wall, know that there is a pub just up the way.  Someone will come to the pub and tell you to move your car!

 

Straight

2 Shots of Kilbeggan

Glass (preferably clean)

no ice

a bit of cool water

 

PreparationMoisten your brow with the water, drink the Whiskey and have another

 

 

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