The Apple Claus Cocktail

Whisky doesn’t often need to be mixed but I’m a sucker for a tasty cocktail.

Today, I bring you “The Apple Claus.” It’s a creation of Laura Moore of The Epicurean Hotel Edge rooftop bar (I love that they call themselves a Social Drinkery) and it sounds pretty tasy.

The Apple Claus

The Apple Claus

  • 1 1/2 oz Four Roses Bourbon Small Batch
  • 3/4 oz Apple Cinnamon Tea syrup
  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
  • Dash of angostura bitters

Shake and strain into a chilled coupe and top with sparkling wine (prosecco, champagne or Apple Cider.)

Garnish with an orange twist or apple slice.

I enjoy citrus-y cocktails and this one is a reminder of a Manhattan except you use cinnamon tea syrup instead of vermouth (a fortified wine) and add a bit of sparkle to give it some fizz.

As for Four Roses Bourbon Small Batch – it’s a fine bourbon that works well in this cocktail. I enjoy it neat (haven’t tried it on the rocks or with water, it’s 45% abv) and it’s mellow sweet notes work well in an apple/citrus type of cocktail. Very nice.

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Booker’s Tasting Notes (Batch 2015-04)

booker-batch-4The first time I sipped Booker’s I had no idea what I was in for.

My wife bought it for me as a gift. It came in this nice wooden box, the bottle looked cool, and the sauce inside looked rich and delicious.

I was not prepared for 127 proof bourbon! (cask strength baby) The best part is that I didn’t know until the next day after I overindulged, not even realizing it packed a little bit (OK, a lot) more punch than your average whisky in the 80-86 proof range.

When I sipped it, I knew it was strong. But bourbon is already sweeter than scotch… but Booker’s on the nose is so much brown sugar, vanilla and caramel. You could pour this on pancakes! (So delicious) The bite afterwards, since it is 63.5% alcohol by volume, is noticeable but not big enough to make me think much of it! I paid for it the next day but I enjoyed every moment I ran up the bill.

What’s fun about Booker’s is that they are released in batches. Mine was Batch 2015-04, called Oven Buster Batch, and here is what the Master Distiller Fred Doe wrote about it:

“This batch is called the “Oven Buster” batch for the incident that happened to my mother when she cooked with my father’s early batches of Booker’s Bourbon. She actually blew the oven door open using the Booker’s to finish her pork roast she baked. This batch has some vanilla notes and a nice oaky full-bodied aroma. The flavor is well balanced with a finish that is pleasant and leaves you wanting another taste.“

  • Nose: Vanilla, brown sugar, caramel, maybe a hint of oak behind the heat.
  • Taste: Vanilla and brown sugar from the get go, a pepper kick from the alcohol near the end.
  • Finish: A nice loooooooooooooooong finish, it coats your mouth for a minute and gets your salivary glands going. Your saliva and what remains is probably 40% abv. Definitely some oak finish and that lingering vanilla. Not much burn from the alcohol.

Overall, this can be a dangerous dram and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

If you’re looking to get something nice for a bourbon fan, you will do quite well with Booker’s.

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Who are Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Johnnie Walker and other fun whiskey facts

We’re not talking boring whiskey trivia like “Oh hey guys, whiskey in Gaelic is known as ‘Uisge Beatha’ which means “water of life.” (That factoid is all true, but it’s pedestrian because everyone knows it).

We’re talking the fun stuff.

Let’s first talk about some of the most famous names in whiskey — Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, and Johnnie Walker.

Jack Daniels is named after its founder, Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel. When Jack was a young boy, he ran away from home and was taken in by a preacher and moonshine distiller named Dan Call, where Jack learned the distillation trade. He would later found a legally registered distilling business and the “Old No. 7” referred to his government registration number (No. 7 in district 4). Districts were later redrawn and Jack Daniel’s became Number 16 in district 5, so he kept the Old No. 7 label instead.

Who are Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Johnnie Walker and other fun whiskey facts!Jim Beam is named after James Beauregard Beam and he was not the founder of Jim Beam Bourbon. It was actually started several generations earlier by the Böhm family, which would later change their surname to Beam, in the late 18th century (1795 to be exact). The James B. Beam Distilling Company would be founded later, built off the work of the family business in distilling, and take on the name Jim Beam.

Johnnie Walker was first known as Walker’s Kilmarnock Whisky and was created by John “Johnnie” Walker, a grocer in Ayrshire, Scotland who sold whisky in his store. The Johnnie Walker name wouldn’t become famous until Johnnie’s son Alexander Walker and grandson Alexander Walker II made it famous – that’s why you often see John Walker & Sons on box sets and some bottles.

The Chivas Brothers weren’t actually brothers. Ha, just kidding, they started off as a grocer in Aberdeen in 1801, selling luxury goods and would eventually supply the royal family at Balmoral Castle. Eventually, James Chivas started to blend whiskies for wealthier clients and a brand was born. John just came along for the ride. 🙂

Did you know that Bourbon County in Kentucky is a “dry” county? You can’t sell any liquor there!

It’s believed that whiskey originated in Ireland where monks began distillation as far back as the 5th century, not Scotland. This is based on tax records where the Exchequer recorded that in 1495 an allowance was made to a friar for “aqua vitae.”

What’s your favorite bit of whisky trivia?

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Japanese Highball Cocktail

(Credit: Joe Leonard)

(Credit: Joe Leonard)

I was recently sent a bottle of Suntory TOKI, which is Suntory’s (home of many brands including famed whisky brand Yamazaki) whisky blend sourced from Hakushu, Yamazaki, and Chita. I’ve yet to try it but the tasting notes hint at a fruity, green/mint tone that will be interesting to try out.

One thing I did want to share is a fun little classic cocktail known as a Highball. Technically, a Highball is any spirit mixed with a larger percentage of a non-alcoholic mixer. Traditionally, the most common one is scotch whisky and carbonated water – a scotch and soda.

As you’d imagine, a Japanese Highball involves a Japanese whisky like Toki, carbonated water, and a garnish as photo’d.

Japanese Highball Cocktail

  • 2 oz whisky
  • 2-4 oz. club soda

In a 12 oz glass, fill it with ice. Add in the whisky, stir, then add in the club soda, stir gently. Garnish with an orange if you’d like.


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Cleveland Whiskey: Whiskey in 24 Hours?

I just discovered this video about a company producing whiskey that’s been aged in 24 hours.

The company is Cleveland Whiskey and the gist is that they’re forcing whiskey into the wood through pressure rather than storing it in barrels for years. Functionally, it’s the same process but it uses technology rather than time. He also makes the good point that now you can use wood that would never be able to make it as a barrel.

I’ve never tried it but I find it fascinating because you get to play with a piece of the whiskey equation more frequently and see the results – which could be good, bad or ugly. They have a bourbon finished with black cherry wood. Nowhere else can you see what that’s like. I think that’s awesome. The woods they have listed are Black Cherry, Apple, Hickory, Sugar Maple, and Honey Locust (whaaaat!?).

Cleveland Whiskey BottlesThis technology sounds very similar to what Innis and Gunn do to mature their beer. Use wood chips rather than actual aging.

Part of me does feel like this is cheating. You take a very traditional process and speed it up through technology… but I’m 100% OK with it. They’re not using the technology to mass produce oak barrel aged whiskies. That would be boring. They’re using the technology to do things no one else is doing and that’s what innovation looks like.

And here’s something even crazier… apparently you can buy the chips for your smoker? I was doing some research online about the company and stumbled onto all these articles about the smoker chips, though I couldn’t find any for sale. I’m a huge fan of using our Weber Smokey Mountain and my favorite is cherry, but I’ve never infused it with whiskey (to be honest, I’d rather not “waste” the whisky and drink it myself!). It must be wild.

I hope they start releasing the whiskey on a wider basis so I can get my hands on one of these – then I’ll let all you other Scotch Addicts know what it’s like!

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