Monday, January 28, 2008

A beautiful new toy.

I have recently discovered the joys of Atholl Brose thanks to my friends at JVS Distribution. This is a Scottish Whisky-based liqueur in the same vein as Drambuie. Atholl is more about the herbs and high notes than the honey syrup in Drambuie and is a great temper when stirred with younger, more brazen Whisk(e)y. I used a half ounce with some Peychoud's to tame a pour of Wasmund's Virginia Single Malt...lovely.

Friday, January 25, 2008

One rockin beer.

Again, I don't want to get into reveiwing product here, but damn this is good beer.

I hit the relativey new bar, Monk's Kettle, with Dom and Kieran tonight and worshipped at the high alter of brew.

Great suds in a great place.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Rosle Bar Spoon.

This is, quite simply, the best bar spoon readily available in the US. Get one, then prove me wrong.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Yeah though I walk through the Valley of Rye.... (shamelessly lifted from Dan @ The Teardrop Lounge. Much love bud.)

So my friend and sometime fellow traveler H came in tonight and decided to have an aged Rye fro his night cap. He saw that I had two Black Maple Hill Ryes on the shelf and asked for the 23 year. I assumed he knew what he was about and poured him a healthy one. I could tell immediately that he had never had this one before. I personally don't like it much, the 18 year I dislike just a hair less. While they both are cut to 90 proof, they drink very hot and neither are what I would call particularly mellow. I don't want to get into tasting notes here as that is not the goal of this blog (there are plenty of other places to go for that sort of thing).

Rather, I want to give the opinion I have forming recently concerning Rye as it ages. I quite simply think that Rye should age no more than 10 years. It seems to me that the spirit is too aggressive on the barrel to go longer than that. This theory was shown to be true when I poured H a taste of the Russell's Reserve Rye from Wild Turkey. This comes in at a much younger (and affordable) 6 years and is significantly more drinkable than its older counterpart.

Now that being said, I remedied H's dram by stirring it into a quick Derby cocktail (added Benedictine and Peychoud's) which showed the Whiskey in a completely different light. The addition of the slightest bit of sugar and spice let all those years speak more clearly than they could when left alone with just their own fire. The only problem with this is that this bottle is way too expesive to be mixing drinks with. We give a great deal on it by letting it go at $18 a glass and that just is not right for a mixing bottle.

Conclusion: for sipping, keep it under 10 years, for cocktailing, go as old as you can afford.

Friday, January 18, 2008


(for me would be nice)
So this is what I call full circle.

In my quest to reproduce Abbott's bitters (the few times I had them have been quite special), I had also created an incense of sorts. The Almond wood chips that I charred and threw into the jar to simulate barrel-aging came out being super infused with all the spices used in the bitters (those are another story...when I get it locked down). After letting them air dry, they bled Abbott's aromas in my liquor vault for about 2 weeks. I wasn't quite sure what I was saving them for, but I know tossing them in the compost would have been wasteful.

Well along comes Miss Amy Brown, the Pastry Chef at Nopa, who did not hesitate one second when I offered them to her. What she did with them is simply genius. She set the Abbott's incense to steep in milk for a few hours, then used that milk to make ice cream. It's all there, lavender, vanilla, clove, anise, gentian and allspice lovingly carried by cream and sugar.

Upon the urging of a friend's bride, (we WILL meet one day Mardee) I set about to make a drink with the stuff. My answer to her confection? Well some friends of mine at the Alembic had been playing with a Manhattan float a year or so ago and I never saw it happen. I always liked that idea and saw this as the perfect chance. I mulled some tempranillo with cubeb peppers, cherry bark and mission honey (think jasmine and lavender if that makes sense) and hit this fifty/fifty with Russel's Reserve Rye (that makes it vermouth now, right?). I mixed 2 oz. of this syrup with 2 oz. of seltzer and plopped a scoop of Abbott's Ice Cream on top. I couldn't bring myself to put a cherry on it as it would have been just a little too cute, however, a tiny drizzle of Cherry Herring did not offend and looked great.

This was a one shot and won't appear on any menu...but damn, it sure is inspiration to get some more Abbott's going.