“Women’s” and “men’s” cocktails. We mention Brenne and Kinky. Albuquerque apocalyptic fog. We taste Passion XO Sun. Mad Men drinking. We make a Whiskey To Go: “like a Whiskey Sour with a little bit of gin.” Greg mentions the Bartender’s Bible. Glitter or marshmallows? “It made my nose flair.” Not our greatest failure. “I don’t like the pressure I’m putting on you.”
We celebrate Charles Tanqueray’s 205th birthday (March 27) with a special podcast! Motley Crue drinking Jack Daniel’s? The Tanqueray recipes. Not smart enough to be a preacher. 6 of 14. SCIENCE. Smart enough to make a great gin. We drink Tanqueray Malacca. Greg mentions Tanqueray Old Tom too. We make a perfect martini. Greg is not a subtle gentleman.
I believe I’ve made it clear here on the blog that I love rye whiskey. The brash cousin to other American whiskies, rye is famous for it’s spicier bite, and many agree that the classic whiskey cocktails are best with rye.
Today we talk about James E. Pepper 1776 Rye from Georgetown Trading Co. If you recall, I’ve also tried Georgetown Trading’s Pow Wow Botanical Rye here at the blog, a unique whiskey-meets-gin flavor profile.
James E. Pepper is spicy even for a rye – it’s very spicy – with cloves leading the flavor and a faint whisper of honey in the finish. 90% of the mash bill is rye, and this is a 100 proof whiskey – it’s like a punch in the throat when sipped neat.
I liked this rye with lots of ice to tame the fiery flavor, and when I started testing this with cocktails (namely, a Manhattan and Old Fashioned), I discovered Pepper to be a pretty great cocktail ingredient – it made for one of the best Old Fashioneds I’ve ever had.
I’ll be straight with you – a whiskey that breaks above 45% alcohol is tough for me to savor without some ice or club soda to tame it down. James E. Pepper needs that, certainly, but as you mix it with other cocktail ingredients, it balances itself out well. For about $30, if you love the burn of a rye spice, you should certainly put Pepper on your short list.
Kids drinking milk out of martini glasses? The Mississippi vs. New Mexico “rivalry,” outed. “Many martinis.” We drink Cathead Pecan and Pumpkin Spice – I also refer to Cathead Honeysuckle. Are you a Pumpkin Spice person? Starbucks lingo. Toilet papered and egged? Flasks for children. YOU STOP IT NOW. We make a Fiery Cinged Apple cocktail. “I love women.”
Teeling is a very interesting whiskey in several ways. Firstly, the whiskey is distilled from all (or almost all) corn, making it sweet and pleasing particularly to a bourbon drinker. Next, Teeling is finished in rum casks, adding some fascinating flavor elements to the whiskey (Teeling has said it’s their goal to make an interesting Irish whiskey). If you tend towards American whiskeys, this Irish is likely to be very pleasing for you.
When I first tasted Teeling on Instagram, a few people chimed in saying they really like it, and I can see why. Though only available in the U.S. for a year or so, it’s an absolute darling with it’s fans. A 6 year old whiskey, Teeling will run you about $35-40 for a bottle. I’ve enjoyed sipping on Teeling and though it’s wonderful on its own, it also mixes really well in cocktails like the Paddy:
1 1/4 oz Irish whiskey
1 1/4 oz sweet vermouth
1 dash bitters
stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
St. Patrick’s Day. Lisa wants a parade. We drink Teeling Irish Whiskey. “Am I drinking this wrong?” How many cross-eyed dudes died? Pee bread. Yellow/yallow? We make a Yellow Bird cocktail. Greg’s an old man. Shaked/shook? Croquet.
And finally, Lisa believes that the proper greeting for St. Patrick’s Day is “Be safe and Happy Holidays.” Wait, huh?
Is there different levels of vermouth? Greg’s “What is Vermouth?” post. Top shelf vs not. “A $30 vermouth tastes like a $30 vermouth.” More Cuervo? We taste Cuervo Cinge. Mixto vs. 100%. “You could get stoned for doing something like that in Scotland.” Revealing some blog code words. Vintage books. We make a Jewel Cocktail. “There’s nothin’ in this I like.”
Now that we’ve defined vermouth as a fortified, aromitized wine and talked about the different types of vermouth available, in this final installment of “What is Vermouth?”, I’ll give you some vermouth cocktail recipes to try and talk about how to care for your bottles.
As you look at cocktail recipes, pay attention in the cocktail recipe as to which type of vermouth you need – I’ll always specify sweet or dry here, occasionally maybe red or white, but remember that distinction is as important as whiskey or vodka in a drink.
Finally, proper storage of your vermouth is very important. Always store open vermouth bottles in the refrigerator, ideally not more than 1-2 months. Unfortunately, many bars don’t heed to this rule, and their vermouth-based drinks have a bad taste as a result. Because vermouth is made with wine, it has a limited shelf age once it’s opened and will become bitter and sour when spoiled.
I hope this has been a helpful series and that it’s taught you a little more about recognizing, buying, and using vermouth well in your cocktails. Let me know in the comments some of your favorite vermouth-based cocktails, and enjoy!
Welcome to “Making Simple Cocktails,” our video series at Simple Cocktails! In episode #3, Lisa and Greg make a Lemon Drop Cocktail. Subscribe to our YouTube channel here for more great cocktail videos!