Sunday, January 27, 2013

Friday in the park with George

On a recent business trip, I happened through Lynchburg, Tennessee. Naturally, I took advantage of the opportunity to visit the George Dickel Distillery, about half an hour to the north.

The George Dickel Distillery is, as they say on their website, "a ways off the beaten path," though even the last two miles down Cascade Hollow Road aren't too backwoods-country windy. (But then, I've taken more than one "short cut" down a logging road in my day.) When you come to the end of the road, the visitor center is on your left and the distillery on your right. The visitor center is done up in authentic Olde Tyme General Store, which both suits their image and suggests that some of what you'll hear on the tour will be... just as authentic.

Tennesseans of the 1880s were a hardy lot, needing only provisions of shot glasses and T-shirts.
The olde tyme angle plays up the history of whiskey distilling in Cascade Hollow, although George Dickel's own distillery (est. 1870) was a mile or so up and yonder from the current site, closer to Cascade Springs that provided the water. What for a while was the state's largest distillery had to close in 1911 (Tennessee was ahead of the national Prohibition curve), and when Schenley Distillers Corp., which owned the Dickel name (and, reportedly, the Dickel recipe and even yeast strains), decided to reopen it in 1958, they picked the current site (though they still use water from Cascade Springs).

When I arrived, on a sunny Friday morning just after 9:30, I was the only visitor. The tour guide on duty pointed me to an olde tyme rocking chair, where I watched a short video about the history of the distillery and what makes Dickel different from other sippin' whiskies. (You can watch it, too! "George Dickel - The Man & His Vision" is on this web page, along with a lot more information about the distillery than you'll read in my post.)

By 10 a.m., I was still the only visitor, so I got a private tour. (In fact, the tourist was outnumbered by the guides, since we were joined by a tour guide trainee.)

Getting a private tour was nice, since I got to ask any question that occurred to me, when it occurred to me. The downside was a certain awkwardness when some bit of tour guide schtick called for an appreciative murmur from the tourists and all I could muster was a nod and a smile.

The George Dickel Distillery. Rickhouse is back up the hill a ways. Bottling facility is past that, about 300 miles.
Now, I did not take notes, and most of the numbers were lost on me as soon as they were spoken, but the general process for making George Dickel Tennessee Sour Mash Whisky is this: Using a mashbill of 84% corn, 8% rye, and 8% malted barley, the grains are ground, cooked, and fermented in the usual sort of way. Then the wash is distilled in a column still, with the resulting low wines distilled a second time in a pot still.

Next comes the step that Dickel says makes a whiskey Dickel: chill filtering. Yes, I know chill filtering is supposed to be naughty, but as the story goes,"George A. Dickel discovered that whisky made during the winter was smoother than whisky made in the summer. So, George Dickel is the only Tennessee whisky to chill the whisky [to 40 deg F] before it goes into the charcoal mellow-ing vats. This filters out the oils and fatty acids inherent in most whisky products."

The charcoal is made by bonfire in a field across the road, up from the visitor center, then ground into pellets and packed in a vat between perforated steel plates and wool blankets. The chilled whiskey takes a week or ten days to filter through, after which it's barreled and taken up a side road to the warehouses.

The warehouses (single story, and no, they don't rotate the barrels around) are not part of the tour, though they've redone part of their old bottling building as a mockup of a warehouse. This, apparently, is ideal for pictures, which I learned when I was told that they'd take my picture standing in front of the empty barrels if I wanted. I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so I said yes please. That's why I have a picture of me standing in front of empty barrels. I suppose this is a variant of, "Do you want a picture of yourself standing in front of the still?" which I've been asked at a couple of microdistilleries. (And I don't, particularly; they aren't my stills.)

I mentioned their old bottle building. They don't have a new one, for reasons of economics. Though their Tennessee Whisky is all distilled, aged, and blended in Cascade Hollow, not a drop of it is bottled there. It's all loaded into tankers and shipped to an out-of-state bottling plant; currently they're using one in Indiana. (If you're driving between Tullahoma and Indianapolis and you see a milk truck with a "FLAMMABLE" sign, make friends with the driver.)

The worst part of the tour was the walk (in beautiful sunshine) back to the visitor center. Worst because of what we passed on the way. Of all sad words of tongue or pen, surely, "And our brand new tasting house should be open in a few weeks," is in the top ten.

Even the camera phone had something in its eye.
To take my mind off that, my guide pointed out a couple of blackened trees right next to the distillery's exhaust vents (they've visible on the far right of the picture of the distillery). He gave me the helpful advice that, should I ever be tramping through the forests of Tennessee and come across trees covered in Baudonia fungus, I should hightail it out of there before the moonshiners return.

So, what about the whiskies? Well, there's Old No. 8, "the classic whisky that made George Dickel famous," blended from barrels aged six to eight years, give or take. No. 12 is bottled at 90 proof from, say, ten to twelve year old barrels. Barrel Select is a small-batch whiskey of ten or so barrels aged ten to twelve years.

And let's not forget Cascade Hollow, which I assume is their entry-level whiskey. I assume that, rather than assert it, because the tour guide forgot to mention that it existed. I'm not 100% sure it was for sale in their shop, and I didn't even realize they still made it until I saw it on their website.

We did get to chat about the new George Dickel rye, which I think was just released in December. Turns out it's a 95% rye distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana -- stop me if you've heard this one. Still, their position is that it's a bona fide Dickel whiskey because it's chill filtered. I suppose the truth is in the taste.

Speaking of taste, as intimated above, I didn't get a chance -- though I do have a tweet from last year, when I bought a No. 8 miniature and tried it in a plastic cup in a hotel room one night: "green apple gives way to caramel on the nose, woody corn w/ light mouthfeel.Touch of charcoal in finish. Is its own TN whisky." That last bit meaning, of course, that they aren't trying to copy Jack Daniel's.

UPDATE: Can a visitors center, a movie, a tour guide, and a website all lie about George Dickel's actual involvement in distilling whiskey? Yes.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Mild Rover

A few weeks back, my wife told me she and our younger son were going away for the weekend.

Now, a weekend to myself -- where I can go and do whatever fool thing strikes my fancy, without risking the need to explain why on earth I'd want to do it -- is a rare treat. (Strictly speaking, it wasn't a weekend to myself, as our older son would be around. But having a high school senior is sort of like having a cat; once he's fed and watered, you don't see much of him, and if he does get out of the house you just need to make sure he gets back inside before you go to bed.)

Naturally, I began asking myself, "What will I drink, and where will I drink it?" Which is to say, "Beer or Whiskey?" and "North toward Baltimore or south toward Washington?"

As questions go, neither of these is particularly vexing, but the answers do make for a very different afternoon.

Beer or Whiskey?

Life is hard enough without making it worse with false dilemmas. There are at least three bars within easy driving distance of me (I really mean easy driving home distance; these days I'm no't so much buzzed after a few drinks as ready for a nap after two) whose owners are big fans of both craft beer and good whiskey.

But if I'm set on beer and I have all day, I'm going to head to one of the many taphouses and beer pubs I've heard about but never been in. And if it's whiskey, well, I've got a list of untried bars for that, too.

North or South?

I live about six miles north of Washington, but I cross the border so rarely I always feel like Lord Emsworth coming to London from Market Blandings. Once resolved to go there, of course, the whole city is open to me, including a number of good microbreweries, at least one world-class whiskey bar -- oh, and they have liquor stores there, too, with different and broader selections than I usually see out in the provinces.

This also puts me about 35 miles from downtown Baltimore, with one or two pockets of civilization on the way. A 70 or 80 mile round trip for a drink of something I can almost surely find within five miles of home is exactly the sort of thing bachelor Saturdays are made for.
It's funny because it's true. (Image from

In the Event

So what did I wind up doing?

Well, feeding a teenage boy isn't difficult, but it is time consuming, in the sense that you have to wait until noon for him to wake up. It was past one in the afternoon before I deposited him at his girlfriend's house, which brought me within a mile or so of the District. So I headed into DC, still without a plan but generally thinking whiskey, and I wound up taking the tour at New Columbia Distillers. (Their Green Hat gin is relatively light on the pine sap, though it is still, when you get down to it, gin. The real point is that they're planning on a Maryland-style rye in the foreseeable future.)

New Columbia Distillers' granary, mill, wash tuns, stills, bottling plant, tasting room, and visitor center.
Then I had a very pleasant couple of drinks at the Quarry House Tavern, a bar near my house that I've been to several times with my wife (and one of the places I mentioned above, where the owners like both beer and whiskey). It bills itself as "Silver Spring's favorite dive," all of which is true, but for some reason I hadn't thought of it when casting about for a place to order a fine whiskey.

How many whiskies costing more than $200 a pour do you suppose are down these steps?
Finally, I capped off the evening with a bourbon while watching no-name horror movies on Netflix with my son.

All in all, it was a great day.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

SMWSA Extravaganza, pt. 2: In good taste

Artist's conception.
I arrived at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC, fifteen minutes before registration was to open for the rescheduled 2012 Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza on November 28. Looking around for a sign telling me where to go, I overheard a man saying something about "whisky" to a hotel employee. Well, a sign's a sign, and I resolved to follow him -- and then, like a white rabbit, he disappeared down a hole.

By which I mean he took an escalator down two or three levels to the bottom floor, with me right behind. There, I saw a line of well dressed middle aged men stretching the length of the atrium, and I figured I was where I was supposed to be.

A short while later, the doors opened and I made my way to the registration table. There, I was handed an Extravaganza guide, a Robb Report (perhaps they thought I was someone else), and a poker chip good for two cigars, and allowed to pick up a tasting glass and head into the Extravaganza.

It goes with everything.
Tables for the different distilleries and distributors lined three of the walls of the ballroom; the fourth wall held the buffet, and in the middle were tables for dining, schmoozing, and reconnoitering. Naturally, the tables right by the entrance were swamped by attendees, so, figuring I'd have plenty of time to make a full circuit, I wandered counterclockwise until I came to a table with only one or two tasters..

This table, I was delighted to realize, was Laphroaig's. It struck me as a comfortable, even homey place to start.

It wasn't till after I had a wee dram of the 10 yo that it occurred to me that Islay is where you should end an evening of Scotch tasting, not start one. On the other hand, with my palate phenolized, I wouldn't feel bad if I weren't able to tease out the dates and the figs in some fine Speysides.

Start on the left, and work your way across.
The basic process of an Extravaganza is to walk up to a table and ask for whatever pour you'd like. (The advanced process, I suspect, is to walk up to a table and tell them Stewart (or whoever) said you should ask about the, you know, special pour, but I'm not an advanced Extravaganzer.) The choice is simpler at some tables than others; Diageo's table, for example, had about twenty bottles lined up, from most or all of their dozen Classic Malts whiskies.

Objects may be less blurry than they appear.
For me, the highlight was definitely the independent bottlers; in particular, a Provenance Inchgower 12, a Classic Cask Highland Park, and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society's Auchentoshan and Jura. This was a bit of a surprise for me, since at the other Extravanganza I attended, my least favorite whisky by far was a medicinal SMWS 30 yo. It's also a bit of a bummer, because suburban Maryland is not a major market for independent Scotch whisky bottlers; heck, it's hard enough to find something like Laphroaig Triple Wood in these parts.

Tasting notes. No mention of figs or dates.
Through the evening, I tasted as many whiskies as I could without rushing; my notes, verbatim from my notebook, are given below.
  • Laphroaig 10 yo: Do not start a tasting night w/ Laphroaig 10
  • Laphroaig 18 yo: milder than the 10 [yo] peatwise, more like Scotch
  • Laphroaig Triple Wood: curious
  • Glenkinche 12 yo: very light
  • Auchroisk 20: for Dewars; strong; 58% [abv]; pleasant
  • Lagavulin 16: a little phenol
  • Caol Ila: nothing much
  • Bowmore 12: like spring water
  • Bowmore 18: sourness
  • Auchentoshan Classic: v. sweet nose, artificial candy, floral (?) palate
  • Auchentoshan Triple Wood: richer; leaves sweet[ness of the Classic expression] behind; plastic?
  • Aberfeldy 12: v. nice
  • Aberfeldy 21: spirity, smooth, not at all too old
  • Provenance Inchgower 12: excellent!
  • Classic Cask Aberlour 12: No.
  • Classic Cask Highland Park 12: sweet nose; this is Scotch!
  • Classic Cask 35 yo blend: meh
  • SMWS Auchentoshan: v. pleasant
  • SMWS Jura 21: savory
  • SMWS Glen Elgin: burnt fireworks
  • SMWS Campbeltown: touch of sulfur
  • SMWS Ardbeg: All peaks, no valleys
  • Glenmorangie Original: nothing
  • Glenmorangie Lasagna [Lasanta]: Nothing. Can't possibly be "Lasagna."
  • Highland Park 15: nothing
  • Highland Park 18: nice
  • Knappogue Castle 12 yo: Savory, but tonight is Scotch
  • Dalwhinnie 15: pretty good

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Taking stock of the new year

I thought it would be a good idea for me to look through my liquor cabinet (and the overflow table on the other side of the room) to see what I have on hand by way of whiskey. A record will remind me of what I have (and therefore do and do not need next time I'm in a liquor store), and will also let whoever reads this know what kind of whiskey drinker I really am, when I'm not playing the "hints of white birch smoke and Javanese cardamom" know-it-all on the Internet.

And yes, of course, let me know when you can stop by for something to wash the dust from your throat.

Other American Whiskies
  • Glacier Distilling North Fork - unopened (375 ml) 
  • Roughstock Montana Pure Malt Whisky - 200 ml (transferred to a portable bottle from a summertime purchase)
Canadian Whiskies
Irish Whiskey
Single Malt Scotches
 Blended Malt Scotch
Blended Scotch
  • None!
Unaged Whiskies
  • Virginia Lightning Corn Whiskey - almost gone (and there ain't no more, I don't think, having given way to Original Moonshine)
  • Bunratty Potcheen - 1/3 full
Miniatures (including samples and infusions)
  1. The above list doesn't include the various infusions I have sloshing about in refilled bottles in the bottom of the cabinet. Not sure I know what all's in them anymore anyway.
  2. Here's the story of Black Maple Hill, if (like me) you didn't already know.
  3. Apparently, the reason I think I don't have any bourbon is because I haven't opened 3/4 of the bottles. Still, due to social media pressure I will probably buy Old Weller Antique 107 the next time I see it.
  4. I'm pretty well ryed up, though it's odd I don't have an everyday pour like Pikesville or Rittenhouse.
  5. Yes, a single open bottle each of Canadian and Irish whiskey pretty well fills the Canadian and Irish whiskey shaped holes, respectively, in my life. Would I like a Connemara or a Redbreast? Absolutely! Will I buy a bottle of either this year? Um...
  6. Eight bottle of single malt scotch, measured by shelf space, but only four measured by contents. I expect to finish all the "almost gone" and "mostly gone" bottles this year. How to restock? That's a big whiskey question for me this year.
  7. I used the last of my Famous Grouse for an ill-starred attempt at a Hogmanay infusion (about which more later, probably). I'm not sure how much of an upgrade I'll go for. Something like a Dewar's 12 yo? Or maybe just another Famous Grouse or equivalent, since blended Scotches aren't a big deal for me?
  8. I am, as you might be able to tell, indiscriminate and unapologetic in my purchase of miniatures. But I see I've been hoarding the samples I received in 2012, a bad habit I resolve to break.

Friday, January 4, 2013

What you're saying with your drink choice

Keeping in mind that this is College Humor, these are pretty much true.

With a liberal arts education you won't learn about whiskey, you'll learn how to learn about whiskey.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012 Twitter Tasting Notes

In writing the "2012 Twitter Cocktails" post, I was reminded that, on January 1 2012, I tweeted:
My 2012 whiskey objective: Try 4 new whiskies (1 ea. rye, bourbon, scotch, & other) a month. Recommendations welcome.
The unwritten corollary was that I'd then post tasting notes for all of these on this blog.

While I certainly didn't keep to any sort of monthly plan, I may actually have come pretty close to the general goal of trying 48 new (to me) whiskies, of various types. On the other hand, I pretty much completely failed at blogging -- at all, much less tasting notes, with only three blog posts written in the last six months of 2012.

The good news is that a) my tasting notes are pretty lousy anyway; and b) I was able to harvest the following notes from Twitter (which may be lousy, but at least they're brief).

In no particular order, though I'll begin with my favorite (provided by someone who is much better at tasting whiskey than I am):

  • "Peppery, peaty, and gross" -- my wife the non-whiskey fan, on Ardbeg Corryvreckan's finish

  • Sent to store for white wine, managed taste of Corsair Artisan Triple Smoke & Virginia Distillery's Eades Double Malt. Both worth spending more time with.

  • Had some Angel's Envy at Jack Rose. Very nice, great finish; not as heavy as I'd expected from the sound of port barrel finishing.... I like it fine, it's just not as... I'll say, luxurious as I'd expected, given the story and marketing.

  • Paddleford Creek bourbon sweet and watery. Doesn't hold up well to chili.

  • EH Taylor dry spice and oak up front, sweeter notes follow.

  • Maker's 46 seems oakier, spicier than Maker's Mark. A wintertime Maker's, maybe.

  • Bit disappointed with Michter's US*1 bourbon. Okay, but unremarkable, particularly for the price. Should've gotten the rye.

  • A sip of Hancock's President's Reserve Bourbon for a nightcap. Sweet & fruity, with a bit of spice.

  • The closer I get to finishing the bottle of Springbank 10 yo, the more I like it.

  • Tasting the Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Cask Strength (58% abv). Extra punch adds a lot to the young (~9 mos.) Roundstone. (Lagniappe: Pearousia pear brandy: young, almost newmake fruitiness on nose. Creamy palate, dry finish.)

  • Winner of a mini-tasting at Balcones Baby Blue Corn Whiskey. A young nose but a developed flavor.

  • Had a glass of Headframe Neversweat bourbon the other night. Sort of a perfumy off-note. Could probably stand more barrel time.

  • Have to say this Montana Whiskey pure malt is leagues better than what I had 2 years ago. "It's from Montana" is now a fact, not an excuse.

  • Time to fly at the Judge's Bench. Going with the T's today: Tobermory 10 yo, Tomatin 18 yo, Tomintoul 16 yo, Tullibardine 16 yo. Tomatin knows what they're doing over there, but of the four, Tomintoul 16 yo was my favorite. Today.
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  • I did like that taste of Wasmund's Copper Fox rye. A touch of smoke and 33% malted barley in the mash bill gives a nod across the pond.

  • Liked Glacier's Glacier Dew, loved the North Fork Flood Stage. (And slivovitz!)

  • Spicebox Canadian Whisky: Not bad at all, but I thought it tasted more like a whiskey-based liqueur than a spiced up whiskey.

  • Arbeg Day 2012: A salty syrup, that (like a basalmic vinegar) somehow isn't sweet, and turns into an Ardbeg after several moments.

  • Holy smokes, Bully Boy white whiskey drinks smooth! It'd be dangerous stuff with a tall glass of ice on a hot afternoon.

  • Singleton 10 yo: Vanilla crackers, sweet and sippable, hint of ash in the finish.

  • Cragganmore 12: very sharp nose, much mellower on the palate. On the whole, a pleasant way to transition to evening. A bit of vinegar for that aperativo touch. Nose settles down after 10 minutes.

  • Longmorn 16 yo: Nothing special. Would've pegged it as an unremarkable 10-12 yo.
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  • Forty Creek Barrel Select: nose springtime forest, sweet palate w/ sourness that says it's not trying to copy any American style.

  • I will say this for the hotel's selection of complimentary cocktails: I don't think I'd've ever tried Kentucky Tavern bourbon otherwise.

  • Highland Park 12: It's no Kentucky Tavern. But then, what is?

  • Dickel No. 8 green apple gives way to caramel on the nose, woody corn w/ light mouthfeel.Touch of charcoal in finish. Is its own TN whisky.
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  • Old Crow motto should be, "You want a bourbon? Fine." Not to be confused with, "You want a fine bourbon."

  • Michel Couvreur Overaged: Lots of fruit and sweetness. Finer palates say layered; hits mine as a bit muddled.

  • Hans Reisetbauer 7 yo: A young malt whisky that tastes like it was made by an Austrian brandy distiller.

  • Yamazaki 12 yo: a very drinkable malt. Just wish some of the sushi restaurants around me carried Japanese whiskies.

  • Rasputin hopped whiskey from Corsair Artisan isn't my thing. At all. But I love the experimental spirit behind it.

  • A quick tasting of Koval whiskies. Favorite probably the oat whiskey. Don't care for the 47th Ward; I like smoke but not soot. Koval Raksi Millet White Whiskey: v. fruity, almost like a tequila; curious what aging does to it (Lion's Pride Millet).

  • Tried Connemara last night. Peat smoke and Irish whiskey, a great match. Like the fluffernutter of the brass rail.

  • I do believe I could drink a good amount of Powers Gold Label. An easy drinking, everyday Irish whiskey.

  • A Bulleit rye for dessert. Light mouthfeel but a lot of flavor & long finish.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 Twitter Cocktails

I tweeted recipes for many of the cocktails I made in 2012, and since Twitter isn't a good place to archive and retrieve information, I've copied the tweets to this post (with some light editing and the occasional photo).

There's nothing too remarkable here, although the Spiced Scotch Mist (developed with Johanne McInnis (of @Whiskylassie and The Perfect Whisky Match) may be the most original:
  • Spiced Scotch Mist: 2 oz Compass  Box Spice Tree, 1 tbs yellow chartreuse, 1 tbs white creme de menthe. Stirred w/ ice, strained into cocktail glasses.(Could probably go 2 tsp on the creme de menthe.)

  • Mixed up a bright Weeski: 2 oz Irish whiskey, 1 oz Lillet, 1 tsp Cointreau, 2 dashes orange bitters.

  • White Manhattan (White Ennis?) made w/ 2 oz potcheen, 1 oz Lillet, 2 dashes orange bitters.

  • A Queen Anne: rye, dry vermouth, pineapple juice, peach bitters.
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  • An Old Pal: equal parts Catoctin Creek cask proof rye, Campari & dry vermouth). Cause why not?
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  • A little home-made cider and Michters bourbon. A great way to drink the cider, a terrible thing to do to the bourbon.

  • I am becoming a fan of adding a tablespoon of Chartreuse to a glass of bourbon.... I mean I've been playing w/ variations on the whiskey daisy cocktail.

  • Mock Sazerac: 2 oz rye, 1 tsp yellow Chartreuse, 2 tsp simple syrup, 2 dashes Peychaud's, lime twist.

  • Whisky/Sweet/Sour/Tea: 2 oz. scotch, 1.5 oz sweet tea, juice of 1/4 lime.

  • Autumn Manhattan: 2 oz Catoctin Creek rye, 1 oz Laird's applejack, 1 oz Martini Rosato vermouth, 2 dashes Angostura bitters.

  • The Anthony Quinn: 1.5 oz Irish whiskey, 1 oz tequila, juice of 1/4 lemon. Serve on the rocks, and pretend it's still summer.

  • Glacier Whiskey North Fork, ginger ale, and lemon was my wife's all-time favorite whiskey cocktail.

  • I just tried a float of sriracha powder on a splash of Laphroaig. Fun!(Sriracha powder made by dehydrating sriracha spread out on parchment paper or silicone baking mat in a 200 degF oven for 80 minutes.)

  • Boulevardier on the rocks, w/ Catoctin Creek rye, Campari, & Martini Rosato. Taste for bitter drinks not yet acquired. It sort of works-- the rye is young and fruity -- and then the lemon rind aftertaste washes through. I think next time I'll do 3:2:1, going light on the Campari, and shake the hell out of it.

  • Col. Palmer Swizzle: 1 pt simple syrup, 2 pt margarita mix, 3 pt bourbon, 4 pt black tea, swizzled w/ crushed ice. 

  • Little Italy: 2 oz 40 Creek Barrel Select, 1 oz Martini Rosato, 2 dashes Angostura bitters; shake,strain,&serve w/ lemon twist.
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  • Turns out Peychaud's bitters goes well with Bunratty potcheen (plus a splash of simple syrup and a few drops of lemon juice).

  • Saw a recipe for a "mint julep" that called for 1.5 oz Irish whiskey, 2 mint leaves, & 1/2 cup simple syrup. Don't try this at home.
  • In-season strawberries muddled w/ fresh lemon juice & simple syrup goes with most anything.

  • For a cool spring evening after a warm spring day, Irish whiskey & tea with a few drops of lemon juice. Room temp, the whiskey warms it up.

  • Wanted to make authentic Irish cocktails, but didn't have any bartender spit. Settled on P&Gs. 
  • Key lime marmalade, ginger beer, and Buffalo Trace. Nuke the marmalade for a few seconds to soften, then shake together hard.
I also mixed a few non-whiskey cocktails:
  • Put 1 oz each dark rum, applejack, cranberry syrup in mug. Top with hot water, add splash of grapefruit juice. #ThanksgivingToddy (Cranberry syrup: .5 cup water, .5 cup sugar, .25 cup cranberries. Microwave 2 min, let stand 5 min, strain & cool.)

  • A dram of Catoctin Creek Pearousia brandy, plus a tsp each yellow chartreuse and triple sec. Not sure how the hot peppers got in there.

  • Minted Pearousia: just stirred w/ muddled mint, agave nectar & ice, then strained.

  • Beezelnut Fizz: Sloop Betty vodka, blue Curacao, Frangelico, egg white. Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!
  • So the trick to an Old Fashioned with Peychaud's bitters is to use vodka. Which, okay, isn't much of an Old Fashioned, but so?