Black Friday? Greg mentions CamelCamelCamel. We taste Cooper’s Craft Bourbon. Jeff loves boxes. Greg talks about the Gin Old Fashioned. Snow shoveling. “The box of Q.” We make a Gin & Tonic with Q Drinks. Did we mention Jeff loves boxes?
Thanksgiving extravaganza! “Just like Willy Wonka.” Gin, not Jim. We taste Revel Stoke pecan and root beer whiskies. Greg & Jeff talk about hunting. We make a Thanksgiving-in-a-Glass cocktail. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
There is no shortage of great cocktail books on the market, though there are a even larger number of crummy ones. Because of this, you have to be careful that you stick with the writers and bartenders you trust to show real care for the craft of cocktail-making, people who are present in cocktail culture and who know the great bars and bartenders of the world.
Kara Newman is one such person, someone who’s well-connected in New York craft cocktail culture, but is also known well nationwide for her writing in Wall Street Journal or Wine Enthusiast. Kara seems to know all the great NY bartenders and has recently put together a compilation of her knowledge into a great new book: Shake. Stir. Sip. More than 50 Effortless Cocktails Made in Equal Parts.
Now, I’m aware of a handful of equal-parts cocktails, especially the Negroni or the Last Word, but Newman has assembled a great list of cocktails that my readers will love: they’re simple. Organized by how many parts they’re made of, from 2-part cocktails to 5-part cocktails in the end, Shake. Stir. Sip. consistently offers familiar cocktails that reflect the current state of the craft scene (mezcal, amaros and chartreuse, anyone?). All recipes are easy to assemble and, even better, easy to remember!
Shake. Stir. Sip. is beautifully photographed by John Lee and each 2-page spread includes a cocktail photo with it’s name and ingredients and the opposing page has backstory and the instructions for making it. It’s a good cocktail book for those with smaller home bars, too, as the recipes won’t overwhelm those with limited ingredients.
Since I got a preview copy this summer, I haven’t been able to get my nose out of Fred Minnick’s newest book: Bourbon: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of an American Whiskey. I’ve been pretty clear about how much I’ve loved Fred’s other book, a tasting guide called Bourbon Curious which I always keep handy as my favorite “drinking dictionary.”
Dubbed the Bourbon Authority of the Kentucky Derby Museum, there really is no other expert I’d put above Fred in his field, and he’s the perfect person to write a bourbon history book, which Bourbon… is.
The big question that Fred addresses in the book is one that has been debated for decades: who invented bourbon? Historically, that prize has gone to Baptist minister Elijah Craig (especially if you ask the Elijah Craig whiskey company), but Fred’s access to historical documents tells a different story (though probably a harder one to market than the Craig legend).
Minnick does a great job of telling a story about something that’s a lot of fun (drinking bourbon) and keeping the tone and the historical stuff just as fun, too. Bourbon is a comfortable, sometimes funny, read. I imagine some liquor companies may ruffle at the accurate historical analysis of the legends of their founding fathers, but Fred knows his stuff, and if you need to know absolutely everything about bourbon, look no further than this book.
Hear our podcast interview with Fred about Bourbon here.
Bad with homework. Sonny and Cher. What is vermouth? Lisa hates merlot. Greg’s vermouth stories are here. We taste Drapò Dry and Bianco Vermouths. Perfume application advice. We welcome Q Drinks as our sponsor. We make a Pineapple Bang Cocktail. “I’m waiting for the call from SkinnyGirl.”
Dalmore is a highland distillery in Scotland and has been distilling since 1839. The highlands are the largest whisky-producing region of the isle and boast and of the biggest names in the country. Highland whisky is generally very mild and accessible, and The Dalmore is no exception.
At about $100, The Dalmore 18 is one of the older malts in Dalmore’s regular range and is aged in American ex-bourbon casks for 14 years, then 4 more years in sherry butts. As a result, this malt is fruity and sweet with a mild palate and long, pleasant finish. Compared to bolder scotches, this malt is quite mild and is great sipped neat after dinner as a digestif. Cigar pairings are a good fit, of course, but choose a milder Dominican stick so you don’t overpower the subtleties of the whisky.
The flavor and cost are in line with each other, offering a complex and cool profile at a price range that’s to be expected from a distiller of this caliber and a scotch of this age.
Old man talk. We compare Sauza mixto and Sauza 100% agave head to head. The results are (maybe) surprising! Wiser these days? Greg’s “40-year-old Fashioned.” We make the Oh Cherry cocktail, props to Neil Diamond, Journey and the Four Seasons. Here’s our previous moonshine tasting episode: Podcast #10. “Now it’s bad.”
Election Day in the United States is tomorrow, and it has increasingly become a polarizing event in our country. Based on the outcome of the election, Americans will most certainly be drinking tomorrow, whether in celebration or to bathe their sorrows.
Mark Will-Weber, also the author of Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: The Complete History of Presidential Drinking (Amazon link), has chosen to divide our drinking pasttime as we’ve divided our political pasttime, and that’s by political party. He’s published two, 200-page books that allow you to choose your favorite party, and drink your way through history.
Both books are seperated into chapters by president, and each of those chapters has some short historical tales of the leader’s preferred tipples and one cocktail is chosen for each president. Will-Weber uses interviews, newspaper stories, and sometimes a bit of lore to figure out his stories for each prez, though based on his previous book, be’s pretty much the authority on presidential drinking. Will-Weber does a great job or writing 2 very entertaining cocktail books, regardless of the party you identify with.
These books server as excellent bathroom or coffee-table reading because of the books’ short, sections and sidebars. One of the first cocktails that jumped out at me as I flipped through was this recipe, imagined by Will-Weber as George W. Bush’s drink of choice:
Beer Old Fashioned
“That’s why we’re good friends.” We talk about literature and what makes James’s wrists hurt. We taste Plantation Pineapple Rum. Fruit Loop vodka. Tasting notes like “I can feel it in my butt” or “the hair on my arms stood up.” Old rocks. We make a Holland Razorblade. “Drink a little more, and you’d learn to like it.”
Over the course of the past several weeks, we’ve had the opportunity to try a couple of varieties of William Wolf whiskies on the podcast. Available in about half the states in the U.S., William Wolf’s line is distilled in Holland and imported.
William Wolf Coffee has an amazing coffee scent, rich and creamy tasting with a bold coffee finish. This is a great alternative to the bigger-name coffee liqueurs like Kahlua or Tia Maria. It’s not too sweet, it’s high alcohol (35%) and it has a great coffee flavor.
Don’t forget with is a whiskey, though. As I’ve pointed out on the podcast, this drink tastes nothing like whiskey. Not a trace. We have enjoyed it on the rocks with cigars and, as I said, in place of Kahlua and it’s a good value at $25.
Now this week’s podcast episode revealed a bit of a mystery that lay in our bottle of Frisky Whiskey, namely what is it? Frisky arrives in a purple crushed velvet bag and sports a pink-ish label with a guitar-playing Mr. Wolf. It does not tell you much about the whiskey itself though, so I went to Wolf’s website to research it more:
“William Wolf Frisky Whiskey has an enticingly caramel nose, smooth taste, and a lingering vanilla finish.”
That didn’t help either, particularly with one big question I had: is this a flavored whiskey? Well, after one taste, it very much is. Just like their coffee whiskey (can we just call these liqueurs now?), Frisky is flavored and sweetened, too. This is not a typical caramel nose and vanilla finish, that you experience with other whiskies, it’s actually caramel and vanilla flavored! This is a creamy, vanilla liqueur posing as a whiskey, and I wished there was more clarity on the label about that. As we experienced with their coffee “whiskey,” Frisky really doesn’t taste like whiskey at all, in fact, it tastes even less like whiskey than the coffee variety.
Frisky has it’s place in a cocktail bar as a vanilla liqueur, and it does a noble job in that role. At $25 a bottle, either of these liqueurs are a good buy.
Just don’t tell us this is “whiskey.”