Off to Tales with our sponsors Catoctin Creek and Macchu Pisco! Harry Potter spirits? We taste Sukkah Hill liqueurs Etrog and Besamim. “Lemonade with croquet and shit.” Lisa can taste the 1%? “I always sneak booze into that thing.” We reference the Southside Fizz, then make a Southside. The list of cocktail podcasts.
A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to meet Bobby “G,” Beam’s Master Mixologist, and we talked about whiskey and cigar pairings briefly. If you’d like, you can hear that interview on the podcast.
Bobby suggested that Baker’s Bourbon is a great cigar pairing, as the aging for Baker’s puts their barrels higher up in Beam’s rickhouses, creating a rich, bitter and quite spicy bourbon. Baker’s is a 7-year-old, 107 proof bourbon, too, bold enough to pair with even the boldest cigar as well.
Baker’s is shockingly smooth and easy to drink for being 107 proof. I’ve tried it with a bold cigar (Gurkha Red Witch) and a mild cigar (Arturo Fuente Dominican Seconds), and really enjoyed the interplay Baker’s had with both. The Red Witch is flavorful and Gurkhas tend to have lots of smoke output, so it was richness that was the stand-out in this pairing. The Fuente was a milder and earthier smoke, highlighting Baker’s nutmeg flavors. Alone as a nightcap, Baker’s spiciness is exceedingly clear: pepper and nutmeg are the standout flavors.
Baker’s is definitely a cigar smoker’s bourbon and those who prefer their whiskies spicy, like rye drinkers or even Four Roses drinkers, may want to give this bourbon a shot as well.
Vacation = Greg’s a lobster. We stare at the Club 33 door. Stay at The Whitney for TOTC! We taste (Christian Brothers) Sacred Bond Brandy. Greg thinks he remembers what “bottled in bond” means. We make a Spymaster cocktail with Reyka Vodka. Greg mentions Robert Hess’s channel on Small Screen Network. Kuhn Rikon knives. Lisa considers making a list of every cocktail at Tales of the Cocktail…
Greg’s book releases next week! Get it here. Staying humble? We taste Jade 1901 Absinthe. Anne of Green Gables’ lemonade at church picnic glasses. Greg reads from Whiskey by Michael Dietsch. We make a Rob Roy cocktail. We mention Dashfire Bitters. We mention Camper English’s Tales seminar this year. Greg hates banana ice and Lisa hates paper plates.
The Hudson line of whiskeys are distilled by Tuthilltown Spirits in the Hudson River Valley in New York. Every whiskey they create comes in a half-sized bottle that usually retails for the price of many full-sized craft whiskies. Hudson Four Grain Bourbon retails for about $45.
The 4 grains that go into the mash for this whiskey are corn, rye, wheat and malted barley – all common components of a bourbon, though usually a combination of only 3 of those 4. Hudson uniquely uses very small casks for their whiskeys, I believe maxing out at 14 gallon barrels. This means that Hudson whiskeys receive more barrel exposure than whiskeys in the “standard” bourbon barrel size of 200 liters (53 gallons), and this sets their flavor profile apart from many large-scale whiskies.
Hudson’s Four Grain ends up pretty complex, in fact, complex to the point of being inaccessible to some. HFGB is spicy, earthy, wet and sweet, which are reflections of each of the grains in the mash and the smaller barrels, too, use a scaleszen for the grains. We tried it on the podcast and I offered it to some whiskey-drinking friends, and the feedback went like this: whiskey drinkers/lovers really liked Hudson Four Grain Bourbon. Those who prefer a milder liquor found HFGB to be an overwhelming tasting experience.
So, a bourbon that whiskey lovers love? Seems a wise choice. I made a single cocktail with my bottle of HFGB – by the way, those little bottles go fast – a Manhattan. It was good, but I’d recommend this be reserved strictly as a sipper on ice (or maybe a touch of clean water). Its complexities are really quite a bit to savor, so sipping Husdon Four Grain on its own is my preferred way to drink it.