Three Beer and Whisky Cocktails: It’s Bitter to Be Hoppy, Lemon Tell You Somethin’ Honey, Beer & Loathing

From time to time, a PR company that works with Auchentoshan sends me some samples of their new stuff and clever ideas they’ve been working on.

One idea they recently sent me is something I’d never considered before — ever make a beer and whisky cocktail? Before you think it sounds absolutely crazy… hear me out, it’s quite clever and I am definitely going to try this out at home.

Auchentoshan reached out to Master Cicerone Pat Fahey (Master Cicerone is the highest level of Cicerone certification for beer) and they put together three cocktails that, at least to my non-Master Cicerone brain, sound pretty tasty for the summer.

They also argue that Auchentoshan, which is triple distilled like Irish Whiskey, makes for a good whisky to try this with. Personally, I’d argue Auchentoshan neat is just fine on its own but sometimes the warmer summer months call for a chilled cocktail. πŸ™‚

It’s Bitter to be Hoppy

Credit: Gabi Porter

Credit: Gabi Porter

  • 1.5 parts Auchentoshan American Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • .5 parts Aperol
  • .25 parts Fresh Grapefruit Juice
  • 6 dashes Lemon Bitters
  • 2.5 parts IPA

Instructions: Stir all ingredients and strain into a coupe. Garnish with lemon wheel.

My thoughts: An IPA huh? I’d try for one from the west coast, where the hops are more citrusy and floral, rather than what is typical of east coast IPAs. Hop heads will know what I mean.

Lemon Tell You Somethin’ Honey

Credit: Addie Chin

Credit: Addie Chin

  • 1.5 parts Auchentoshan American Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • .5 parts Honey Syrup (1:1)
  • 1 part Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 3 parts Belgian wheat beer (aka witbier)

Instructions: Build in a tall glass or beer stein filled with ice. Stir. Garnish with lemon peel.

My thoughts: This is the one I’m most likely to try next. I love witbier, I love honey, I love lemon… put it all together and you have yourself a nice sweet lemonade with some kick.

Beer & Loathing

Credit: Gabi Porter

Credit: Gabi Porter

  • 1.5 parts Auchentoshan Three Wood Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • .5 parts chili liqueur
  • 4 parts Porter Ale

Instructions: Slowly shake all ingredients with ice and strain into rocks glass. May add large cube.

My thoughts: Chili??? It’s relatively small but I’m always hesitant about spiciness in my beverages (I love spicy food though). Otherwise, this cocktail sounds great, I love the rich roasted chocolate in Poters and when you add the sweet fruitiness of the 3 Wood it’s a potent combination.

What are your thoughts on these cocktails?

Posted in Cocktails | 16 Comments

The Manhattan: The Story of the First Modern Cocktail by Philip Greene

manhattan-story-modern-cocktail-philip-greeneI’m a sucker for beautiful physical books. My wife loves her Kindle and I can appreciate having a library on a tablet, but there’s something about a nice hardcover book with rich pictures and thick paper stock that can’t be recreated on a screen.

I received a copy of The Manhattan: The Story of the First Modern Cocktail by Philip Greene yesterday and was thumbing through it just for the feel. The hardcover has that soft silky feel to it, I don’t know enough about publishing to know what it’s called, and the pages are that thick semi-glossy stock that makes photos pop.

OK, enough about the book binding, the content within was fun. I’ve long been a fan of the Manhattan but I never knew the history behind it and behind cocktails.

Did you know the difference between a punch and a cocktail? A cocktail has a specific definition — “spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters.” So until the Manhattan, you had rum cocktails, brandy cocktails, gin cocktails, etc. No actual names because they just swapped out the spirit. Seems kind of boring right?

So where does the Manhattan fit in? It’s the vermouth. Vermouth is aromatized, fortified wine with some kind of botanical element. Sweet vermouth is one of the two types of vermouth (the other being dry). A Manhattan is typically whisky, ice, sweet vermouth instead of sugar, bitters and then a brandied cherries. The sweet vermouth, infused with botanicals, is what changes the game.

And Old Fashioned is named as such because instead of vermouth, it’s simple sugar and usually an orange peel for aromatics. It’s an old fashioned (sugar vs. vermouth) cocktail… are you seeing some of the history come through? πŸ™‚

In part 1, the book goes through the history of The Manhattan, and of cocktail history, starting in the early 1800s until today. It’s full of fun trivia but it also explains the evolution of cocktails to the point that a lot of the recipes start making sense. You start with spirit, sugar, water and bitters and watch as bartenders innovate and build on ideas (including the recipes they used for historical drinks). It’s fascinating.

Part 2 has all the recipes. You start with Classic Manhattans (Traditional, Dry and “Perfect”) but the list of cocktail recipes runs the gamut – you have recipes for a Smithtown Cocktail (as in Long Island, where I grew up, so you know I’m going to have to try this!) to the Metropolitan (made at the Metropolitan Hotel that opened in 1852) to the Queen’s Cocktail (a gin based cocktail that includes vermouth and pineapple).

The book is a lot of fun. In fact, as I think back to the Great Gatsby event we just attended, if you were going to throw a themed party then this would be the book to get for ideas on cocktails to serve if you wanted to stay as authentic as possible.

Even if you aren’t throwing a theme party but just wanted to learn more about cocktails, try some authentic period cocktails, this book is a joy to thumb through.

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Howard County Historical Society’s Great Gatsby Event

Don't we look fine and fancy???

Don’t we look fine and fancy???

A week or so ago, I attended a local county (Howard County) historical society event called the Great Gatsby Summer Soiree – it was a chance to get dressed up in 1920s garb, drink some adult beverages, smoke some cigars, and take in the beautiful sights of western Howard County. The event took place at a wonderful estate called Oakdale Manor (also known as Governor Warfield Mansion) and we had a great time enjoying games of chance, costume contests, and of course the adult beverages!

One of the fun events was a whisky tasting, hosted by Whiskey America, and we had a chance to sample four Maryland whiskies:Maryland Whiskies on Display

  • White Tiger Whisky
  • Fiore Distillery Straight Rye
  • Twin Valley 1794 Four Grain Rye
  • Lyon Distilling Co – Free State Rye

The most interesting one of the batch was White Tiger Whisky – it’s made with 100% rice. It nose reminded me a lot of the grain alcohols my grandfather and dad used to drink, a very strong alcoholic profile with a touch of sweetness unlike anything in bourbon or other whiskies. It was a lot of fun to sample because you got a bit of the oak maturation character mixed in with an alcohol from a totally different product.

The owner/founders of White Tiger Distillery (Itsara Ounnarath) and Lyon Distilling Co (Ben Lyon) were both present, though I only had a chance to chat with Itsara.

Of the other three, there wasn’t anything that jumped out of me with one exception — Lyon Distillery. Maybe it was because it was last, maybe it’s because one of the founders was present, but I really enjoyed the story behind the company (bootstrapped, he’s a tinkerer and experimenter, and a big focus on quality and craft). The whisky itself was delicious, nice balance of rye and corn and was a nice way to round out the evening’s tasting.

The evening was a great time, it was wonderful to support a great cause (the Howard County Historical Society), and we even managed to win the costume contest! πŸ™‚

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Glen Moray 16yo Tasting Notes

glen-moray-16-year-old-whiskyGlen Moray is a Speyside distillery located in Laich O’Moray (The Laich of Moray), an agricultural coastal plain located in Moray. Laich means low lying land and Moray is a local council area of Scotland, located in the north-east and along the coast. Based on its location, which happens to be near Elgin (the capital town of the Speyside region), it experiences milder weather and the protection of nearby mountains.

Until my first sip of Glen Moray 16yo, I’d never had any Glen Moray before. I’m a big fan of Speysides, more of the fruity spirits versus the floral ones, and so I knew that I’d become fast friends with Glen Moray. It’s finished in ex bourbon casks from the United States.

It probably doesn’t get as much press and media since it’s owned by La Martiniquaise, France’s 2nd largest spirits group, and not one of the massive conglomerates.

What caught my eye was the tin canister – most whiskies here are in boxes – and when I opened it, I liked the design of the bottle. It was reminiscent of whisky stills.

What’s fun about this whisky is that it’s a marriage of whisky matured in ex Bourbon and ex Sherry casks. They literally take one batch and age the new make in ex Bourbon casks for sixteen years, take another batch and age it in ex Sherry, then put them together.

Tasting Notes:

  • Nose: Sweet and dry fruity like raisins, tiny hints of vanilla, no floral or peat.
  • Palate: Sweet with a firm body, some tannins but not much, a bit of caramel and barley richness
  • Finish: Medium finish with a sweet aftertaste

It’s a classic fruity Speyside that’s light, easy to enjoy neat, and smooth. ABV 40% and comes in a nice decorative tin if you’re thinking about gifting it.

Posted in Tasting Notes | Tagged | 8 Comments

Facebook Shutting Down Whisky Selling & Trading Groups?

Some whisky groups have disappeared off Facebook, likely because they facilitated buying and selling.When I was a kid, I used to collect comic books, baseball cards, and all the other fun toys kids my age collected. I told my mom that they would be worth a lot one day!

Fast forward to today and you can replace comic books and baseball cards with whisky and you can replace my mom with my wife!

Now I am hardly the collector, there are many in our Facebook group, with massive and very impressive collections.

With the advent of Facebook groups, it’s far easier to find other collectors like yourself and build your collection for those rare bottles you’ve always been looking for. One day I’ll pick up something distilled and bottled in 1980, the year I was born, but I probably shouldn’t wait too long… the price will only go up!

The interesting thing is that anyone who sells alcohol without a license is breaking both state and federal law. The Facebook groups that facilitated the transactions weren’t breaking the law but the people doing the selling were.

Two big groups on Facebook, Bourbon Exchange and Strong Water Trading were shut down recently. They were probably the most prominent of the groups where buying, selling, and trading were happening and overnight they disappeared. Many other less prominent ones were also deleted, most without warning, and the survivors are clamoring to change their names as to avoid detection. I first learned about it from one of our own Facebook group members, Allen, because he posted that we don’t buy, sell, or trade on the group. (and we don’t, never will and never have)

I kept it that way not because I was cognizant of the law but because I didn’t want anyone to get scammed through the group! By keeping it to enthusiasts only, we could share ideas, thoughts, and experiences without having to wade through the usually offers of this rare thing and that.

There are a lot of conspiracy theories floating around too. The disappearance of whisky groups coincides with the disappearance of popular cigar trading groups and gun groups, so some speculate ATF is involved. Just a couple weeks ago there was a NY Times article about Facebook groups and guns, which strike me as a far more serious issue, but could’ve brought the bright light of the law into the darker parts of Facebook.

If your favorite group has been deleted without warning, it’s probably because Facebook thought there was buying and selling. We don’t do either and welcome you with open arms!

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