Please join Klaus and I for an exciting tasting experience on May 23, 2016 at the Renaissance Albany Hotel 144 State St, Albany, NY 12207 (518) 992-2500
Some photos from today's Rum tasting and book signing at the Wellington Square Bookshop!
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Four Roses Small Batch forms the base of a very fall flavored cocktail that is meant to propel you towards the crescendo-the Christmas weekend.
I’m very fond of holiday flavors and aromatics along with the taste of the place that says New England. The spices that come to mind when I think of this history are imprinted into my collective memory of childhood. This classic potpourri of scents is very easy to prepare because you can acquire the ingredients as easily as opening the DrinkupNY site and making a few well-timed clicks.
I love bourbon whiskey and fine bourbon whiskey can be purchased with many different producers on their labels. At this time of the year I’m naturally attracted to Four Roses Small Batch, because the combination of four different blends make this drink sing the clarion song of refreshment.
As illustrated above, I seek the flavors of the fall in my cocktail glass and Sorel from my friend Jackie Summers makes perfect sense when a “Manhattan” of sorts is whipped together. Sorel is a combination of Caribbean herbs, roots and spices along with very potent, New York State distilled alcohol. It’s passionately made to Jack’s specific recommendations and each sip brings a smile to your face. I think it mixes like a dream.
Instead of using Sweet Vermouth and Rye whiskey with Angostura Bitters in your “Manhattan” may I please suggest using the Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey along with a nice measure of Sorel? As not to confuse the basics of my plan, may I also include a portion of the brilliant cranberry soda and cocktail syrup from my friend Allison Goldberg in the form of her Fruitations Syrup? Why yes, yes I shall.
The reasoning for flavors that speak of the fall is very simple. The mindset of the season is of freshly cut firewood and the snap of the fire in your cocktail glass. I’m pretty understanding when it comes to the effort that goes into making a craft cocktail and this one is no different. The ingredients just speak for themselves. When you use quality ingredients the best is always the ones that speak clearly of the place. The combination of cranberry, bourbon whiskey and Caribbean spices are their own representation of my past. And that brings a smile to my face. As we all know, when the person who is preparing your drinks is smiling, that energy translates through to the drink. I’m fascinated by this technique for excellence and hope that you experiment the same way.
Sorel when combined with whiskey makes for gleeful revelry. Add to this a few teaspoons of cranberry syrup and then finish it all off with a splash or two of Lapsang Souchong tea. Serve it over an ice spear in a tall glass with a large sprig of fresh mint. And add a lemon zest or an orange zest that has been dipped in bittersweet chocolate. The possibilities are endless for finishing bitters, but may I suggest the Creole Bitters from The Bitter Truth? They are spiced just right for a tropically influenced holiday slurp. With an ounce or so of seltzer water to finish, this drink is deceptively easy to put a few into you. But be careful there is kick in there, so unless you have a hollow leg, let’s just say that this drink is not at all weak!
Travels and Essays
Ingredients (for two persons who drink more than they read)
3 oz. Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey
2 oz. Sorel
4 oz. Lapsang Souchong Tea
2 oz. Fruitations Cranberry Soda and Cocktail Syrup
4 oz. Seltzer Water
3-4 drops Bitter Truth Creole Bitters
To a large Boston Shaker (or in two equal batches) fill ¾ with regular bar ice
Add the Four Roses and the Sorel
Add the tea
Add the Fruitations Cranberry Syrup
Cap and shake hard for 15 seconds
Add your ice spear to a Collins Glass
Pour the mixture over the top
Finish with a splash or two of seltzer water
Add the bitters
Garnish with the mint sprig (slapped first)
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. Johnson/Wales and the ACF apprenticeship 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.
PS: Warren’s second book, Whiskey Cocktails is on the market now!
so exciting! #whiskey
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.
Sitting in front of me are two bottles .
Batch #001 and Batch #002.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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
1 oz. Simple Syrup
3-6 Drops of El Guapo Gumbo Bitters
Sprig of mint
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
WARREN BOBROW is the On Whiskey columnist for OKRA. He grew up on a biodynamic farm in Morristown, New Jersey. He is a reluctant cocktail/wine writer and former trained chef/saucier.
A quick, yet highly focused tasting of the Macallan Single Malt Scotch vs. 2 offerings of Tennessee “Sipping” Whiskey
My old friend Becky once told me that she’d “rue the day” that I called Tennessee “sipping” whiskey bourbon. She said that only a “damned Yankee” would be confused enough to call Jack Daniel’s bourbon.
Tennessee “sipping” whiskey is not bourbon. The char, smoke, and charcoal filtering make Jack Daniel’s unique in the dichotomy of whiskey. There is the rub. The smoke, the char, and the power.
Macallan, on the other hand, is an extremely fine Scotch whisky. The most immediate difference between Tennessee whiskey and Scotch whisky is not that one is spelled with an e, and the other without- but the terroir, or taste of the place. Scotch just tastes different.
I recently received a bottle of Macallan whisky and set to comparing this benchmark 12 year old single malt whiskey against the very American slurp of whiskey. What I discovered is quite profound. The Tennessee whiskey is every bit as sumptuous and delicious as the kindred cousins from across the pond.
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select
Notes of fire-toasted pecans give way to a smoky, peat-laden mid-palate. Flavors of sweet cream and sweet vanilla gelato enrobe your palate with sharper notes of scorched toffee and treacle pudding. This is a very sophisticated slurp of liquid American History. The finish goes on and on and right into the robust 94 proof finish. The price is usually about forty-five dollars and is worth every sip.
Gentleman Jack Rare Tennessee Whiskey
Lighter in color than the Single Barrel Select, this whiskey is more akin to a blended Tennessee whiskey. The high price is from a double application of the “Lincoln Country Process.” In other words, filtering the spirit through charcoal- twice for a more mellow taste. The barrels are charred and often make their way to Scotland at the end of the aging process. Like what you taste? It rests in the cask for about four years. Be prepared to fork over about twenty- five dollars for the pleasure.
Macallan Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey (12 year aged in Sherry Oak Casks from Jerez, Spain)
Pure lust is the first thing I taste when I drink Macallan Sherry Cask Scotch Whisky. The nose is smoke, peat and wet wool shorn from sheep accustomed to living outdoors. There is a fire burning in the fireplace in the cottage and it is a slow burning peat fire – smoldering and giving off little bursts of wet soil; charred wood; more wet wool; sweet toffee; and a lingering, charming, dried fruit finish. The Sherry nose is immediately apparent through the attack of sweet/spicy and the sophisticated elegance is long lasting in your glass. There is no doubt that this is Scotch whisky (spelled without an e) The taste of the place – oily, salty, and dripping with history – will stay on your palate for minutes, leading to hours to the eventual finish. Twelve years in the barrel only means one thing- a classic single malt passion. I wouldn’t say that I prefer the Scotch whisky to the Tennessee sipping whiskey. What I will say is that they are very similar in nose, follow, and finish. You can expect to pay about fifty dollars for the pleasure.
Which one is better? I’ll leave that to you.
I will say that the Single Barrel from Jack Daniel’s is world class in every way.
Non-traditional/new traditional Thanksgiving drinks.
I love the idea of a blazing fire- friends and family gathered together to share a meal. A celebratory evening is started nicely with cheery glass of cava and to it, the addition of a fruit puree. I’ve taken organic strawberries, charred them in a cast iron pan, run them through the food processor *adjusting the sweetness to taste* then added a dollop or two of the puree into each glass. The tangy-sweet quality of the strawberries when added to a chalky tasting Cava just says celebration in a glass. You don’t need very much of this drink to say welcome to our table.
Another easy and exotic drink is a take off on the classic Rob Roy. In this case Blended Scotch Whiskey, instead of expensive Single Malt- is added to a short rocks glass with a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice and topped with cool, rustic apple cider. A small splash of sweet vermouth finishes the drink. The cider melts into the deeper tastes of whiskey, the sweetness of the cider and the herbaceous tinge of sweet Vermouth.
It is a very sophisticated drink.
Of course I recommend instead of a usual bottle of wine, a perfectly lovely, tangy punch to go along with dinner.
Hard apple cider is marvelous when combined with sparkling cherry juice and some lemon/lime juice for spark. The flavors of hard cider with the citrus juices are marvelous with turkey and the all your fixings! You can drive up the alcohol level with some dark rum.
Dessert calls for the classic and deeply warming- Hot Toddy.
I’m especially fond of a hot buttered rum to go with a pumpkin or apple pie. It’s a classic and the extra warmth it gives to the body (and spirit) is the perfect send-off to your friends!
The Chai Tea Toddy is an exotic approach to the classic water based Toddy with a bit of sweet butter. You may also use freshly whipped sweetened cream on top instead of butter- your choice.
I like to use dark spiced rum or a spiced whiskey for this hot drink.
- 1 quart hot Chai tea or black tea. If you want to make the drink sweeter, use some ginger/cardamom simple syrup
- 4-5 shots Spiced Rum or good blended Whiskey that you have spiced a few weeks in advance. (save that expensive single malt for another day)
- 1 pat sweet butter- per drink
If you use whipped cream, eliminate the butter.
How do I spice whiskey? Add apple pie spices with a vanilla bean (split) to a cheesecloth bag. Submerge into a bottle of whiskey for a couple of weeks before using. Use the spiced whiskey for all your Whiskey based cocktails.