Plymouth Old Fashioned

Plymouth Old Fashioned

I really like bitters forward old fashioneds.  To me, bitters bring flavor and spice that you aren’t going to find elsewhere.  One way to get a lot of bitters into a cocktail without making it, well, too bitter, is to make a syrup with bitters as all or part of the liquid.  For this drink I have chosen Applejack, brown sugar and black walnut bitters to use in the syrup.  It is then combined with calvados, bourbon and rum.

This is a big drink in size, strength and flavor.  The taste of apple blends with the vanilla and spice from the rum and the combined smoky notes of the rum and bourbon.  The black walnut bitters really stand out.  I initially used Fees Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters, but I think that Angostura Bitters with the Fees Brothers Black Walnut Bitters and Orange Bitters is better.

You can easily lighten up this drink by substituting Cruzan Dark Aged Rum for the Zaya and/or Russell’s 10 year old Bourbon for the Basil Hayden’s.

Here is the recipe:

  • 1 oz. Calvados
  • 1 oz. Aged rum such as Zaya 12 Year Old
  • 1 oz. Aged bourbon such as Basil Hayden’s
  • 1 oz. Black Walnut Syrup (See below)
  • 1 bar spoon honey syrup (1 part honey dissolved in 1 part water)
  • 2 dashes Fees Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
  • 2 dashes Fees Brothers Orange Bitters
  • 2 dashes Fees Brothers Aztec Bitters or Angostura Bitters
  • Thick orange peel for garnish
  1. Stir all ingredients, except the garnish, in a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Strain into a chilled old fashioned glass with fresh ice – preferably a single large cube or sphere
  3. Express the orange oils over the drink and float the peel.

Black Walnut Syrup

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 oz. Applejack
  • 1 oz. Fees Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
  1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the liquid, stirring frequently.  Or you can put all of the ingredients in a blender and run on high for a few minutes.
  2. Allow to cool
  3. It will keep longer if you filter it through a metal coffee filter to remove any undissolved sugar crystals.
  4. Will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks

Cheers!





John Dandy

John DandyBourbon goes with many things, but apples, cinnamon and chocolate top my pairings list.   For the bourbon in this cocktail, I used Ranger Creek’s .36 Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey which gently nips but doesn’t bite.  It brings the flavors of vanilla, cinnamon and a touch of oak.  If you choose a different bourbon, I suggest something that isn’t overly smooth.  I used Bigallet China-China Amer as a modifier.  Alone, this liqueur tastes of bitter orange, citrus, and cherries with an earthy, root touch similar to cola, (think bourbon and coke).  I added the bitters for complexity and to introduce chocolate, additional cinnamon and a bit of dried fruit from the fig bitters.


John Dandy

The nose of this Manhattan-esque cocktail is bright orange, fruit, vanilla and cinnamon.  The initial flavors are apple, vanilla with a touch of oak, followed by chocolate, dried fruit and a bit of spice.  The earthy tone comes late and the finish is fruit, spice, cinnamon and vanilla.  As noted below, don’t get this cocktail too sweet.John Dandy2

  • 1 oz. Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Laird’s Applejack
  • 1/4 oz. Bigallet China-China Amer
  • 1-2 dashes 2:1 Demerara simple syrup – depending on the sweetness of your maraschino cherries
  • 1 dash Fees Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters
  • 1 dash Brooklyn Hemispherical Black Mission Fig Bitters
  • Orange peel for garnish
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish
  1. Chill a coup or other stemmed cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all of the ingredients except the garnishes in a mixing glass with ice
  3. Stir to chill and strain into chilled glass
  4. Express orange peel and discard
  5. Add cherry

Cheers!


 




Why You Should be Barrel Aging at Home

Barrel CropBarrel aging at home is fairly simple, not ridiculously expensive and seriously worth doing.  The in’s and out’s of getting started are covered in our Barrel Aged Cocktails page.   While simply barrel aging cocktails is reason enough to get started, the real magic occurs when you age something in a barrel previously used for a different cocktail or spirit.  For instance, tequila aged in a barrel previously used to age sherry, bourbon, Manhattans and gin.  Or White Whiskey aged, first in a new charred barrel, then aged further after Negroni’s and a Martini.   Each of these take on flavors far beyond those found in a charred barrel alone.  Thus, the fun!

Here are some examples of what we’ve been putting in our barrels.

Hudson White WhiskeyNegroni Aged White Whiskey

We used Hudson White Whiskey to flavor a new, charred oak barrel.  It went in, first for 1 month, then back into the barrel for 2-3 week stents between Negroni’s.  A Martini also spent some time in that barrel as well.  The Whiskey came out with a nice color.  The nose is caramel, vanilla, clove, herbal with a touch of corn whiskey.  The flavor is slightly sweet corn whiskey with the oak, caramel, vanilla and herbs.  There is a background of gin with a touch of bitterness on the finish.  We used it to make an excellent Boulivardier:

Boulivardier with Negroni Aged White Whiskey

Aged Whiskey Boulavadier Bottles

  • 1 oz. Negroni Aged White Whiskey
  • 1 oz. Dolen Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • Fat orange peel for garnish
  1. Chill an old fashioned glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients, except the garnish, in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into chilled old fashioned over fresh, large ice
  4. Express orange peel over drink and float the peel

Barrel Aged Sherry

We used Lustau East India Solera Sherry to flavor a second new, charred oak barrel.  The barrel was then used to age Bourbon Manhattans.  These were aged alternating with the Sherry 3 or 4 times.  The barrel was then used to age bourbon, a Tequila Manhattan and gin.  The sherry revisited the barrel for 2 – 3 weeks between each cocktail or spirit. The sherry has a bit of color added.  The nose is sherry with vanilla, clove and a bit of caramel.  The flavor is dried fruits: current, apple, apricot and raisin.  I have used it in a number of cocktails that call for sherry.  It imparts a slightly mellow flavor along with the sherry you’d expect.  Here is our Sherry’d Manhattan:

Manhattan 2.0 with Manhattan/Bourbon/Tequila Barrel Aged Sherry

For the the bourbon in this cocktail, we tried Basil Hayden and Belle Mead.  Both were excellent.  The bourbon brings flavors of maple, tobacco, smoke and vanilla.  This blends well with the rich, earthy Carpano Antica’s tastes of herbs, spice and slight bitterness.  The aged sherry intermingles with the Italian Vermouth, smoothing the bitterness and adding to the richness.  Here is the recipe:

Manhattan 2.0

Manhattan 2.0

  • 1 1/2 oz. Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz.  Carpano Antica
  • 1/4 oz. Manhattan/Bourbon/Tequila Barrel Aged Sherry
  • 1/8 tsp. Grand Marnier
  • 1 dash Angostura Orange  Bitters
  • Garnish: Luxardo Maraschino Cherries and an orange peel
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Add the ingredients, except the garnish, to a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass
  4. Add the cherries, (or place them on a pick), and express the orange peel over the drink and discard.

Sherry Cask Aged Bourbon

Sherry Barrel Aged BourbonThis is one of my favorites.  The Sherry Cask Aged Bourbon alone makes barrel aging at home worth while!  I used Russel’s 10 yr Old Bourbon.  For an aged bourbon, Russel’s has a lot of spice.  Aging in a Sherry Cask which had previously been used to age Manhattans mellowed the spice.  There are significant flavors from the charred oak barrel: oak, clove, vanilla, and caramel.  You can also taste the sherry along with dried fruit, possibly from the Manhattans.

Manhattan 3.0 with Sherry Cask Aged Bourbon

This cocktail is similar in concept to a barrel aged Manhattan cocktail.  However, since the bourbon has taken on flavors from the Sherry barrel while the vermouth was not exposed to the barrel or allowed to oxidize, the flavor is significantly different.  As noted above, the Sherry Cask Aged Bourbon brings flavors from the charred oak barrel: oak, clove, vanilla, and caramel with a touch of aged Sherry.  The unaged Carpano Antica maintains its rich flavors of fruit and almonds with spice and a slight bitterness on the finish.  Together, they create a fabulous cocktail.

  • 2 oz. Sherry Cask Aged BourbonManhattan 3.0
  • 1 1/2 oz. Italian Vermouth (sweet)
  • 1 tsp Grand Marnier
  • 1 – 2 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
  • Orange peel and Maraschino cherries for garnish
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water.
  2. Stir to combine all ingredients, sans cherries, in a mixing glass with ice.
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass, express the orange peel and garnish with the cherries

Negroni/Whiskey Barrel Aged Tequila

Whiskey Negroni Barrel Aged TequilaI used Milagro Plata Tequila and aged it for 2 weeks.  The barrel was the one described above with Hudson’s White Whiskey alternating with Negroni and a one time Gin Martini.  With this aging, I had placed the aged White Whiskey in the barrel just prior to the Tequila.  I suspect that the flavor profile might be significantly different if the Tequila had followed a Negroni instead.  In the 2 week time, the Tequila took on a little color and a  lot of flavor.  I was aiming for a primary Tequila flavor with background barrel notes.  I was not trying to create Repasado from Plata.  After the 2 weeks, the flavor of charred oak was fairly prominent but it was still Tequila and it had picked up vanilla and clove from the oak and spice from the whiskey/Negroni.  There was also some dried fruit and herbs from the Negroni.  After a few weeks in the bottle, the charred oak flavor diminished some while the rest of the flavors remained.

Whiskey Negroni Barrel Aged Tequila Manhattan Bottles

Whiskey/Negroni Barrel Aged Tequila Manhattan

In our standard Tequila Manhattan, I use Lillet Rouge instead of vermouth.  This cocktail calls for a much lighter touch so Dolin Sweet Vermouth fits nicely.  Sticking with the Tequila theme, I used Agavero Orange Liqueur as the sweetener.  It has a nice orange flavor and is a little sweeter than Grand Marnier.  If you need to substitute, use more Grand Marnier or add a dash of simple syrup.  I wanted to keep the “Manhattan” flavors as much as possible so I went with Bitter Truth’s Jerry Thomas Own Decanter Bitters.  The maraschino cherry brings the last touch of sweetness while the bitters up the complexity.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Whiskey/Negroni Barrel Aged TequilaWhiskey Negroni Barrel Aged Tequila Manhattan
  • 1/2 oz. Dolin Sweet Vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. Agavero Orange Liqueur
  • 4 drops Bitter Truth’s Jerry Thomas Own Decanter Bitters sub Angostura
  • Maraschino cherry
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingedients but the garnish in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the cherry.

 Sherry Barrel Aged Gin

Sherry Barrel Aged Gin

The most distinctive thing about gin is the fresh, herbal flavor.  This is true whether you prefer a heavy juniper London Dry or one of the New American Styles.  In my use, barrel aging any gin cocktail flattens those herbal notes.  They are still there, but the bright, fresh aspect is gone.  What is added by the barrel aging process depends almost entirely on what was previously in the barrel and how long the gin is aged.  The process works very well for a Negroni – not so much for any type of Martini.

I have seen Sherry Aged Gin on the market, so I wanted to try this with my Sherry barrel.  I chose Ford’s Gin, one of my favorite London Dry’s.  The barrel had been used to age Sherry, several Manhattans, including a Tequila Manhattan and bourbon.  The Sherry went back into the barrel between each Manhattan and before and after the bourbon.  So, it had last been used for Sherry just prior to the Gin.  Of note, this barrel was reaching the end of its life.  Ultimately, you extract all of the flavors – just like a tea bag.  After the Gin, I put the Sherry back in the barrel for 4 weeks, then followed it with Bourbon.  The Bourbon required 8-10 weeks to achieve the flavors that previously had taken only 4 weeks.  After that, the barrel was done!

The Gin was aged for 4 weeks.  What came out was straw colored.  As noted earlier, the Gin looses some of the brightness of the botanicals but gains a touch of charred oak, a bit of bitterness, clove, cinnamon, dried fruit herbs from the vermouth in the Manhattans along with a bit of spice from the Bourbon.  There is a definite touch of Sherry.  All in all, aging the Ford’s Gin in the Sherry/Manhattan/Bourbon Barrel was one of our best outcomes.  Definitely worthy of a repeat!

 

Sherry Barrel Aged Gin Wet Martini

Sherry Aged Gin Wet MartiniI wanted to enhance all of the flavors of the aged Gin and you’ll notice that this goes very light on the sweet vermouth.  With so little sweetener, the bitterness of the charred oak comes through.  The overall nose is Gin with a touch of oak.  Flavors are London Dry Gin with a flattening of the herbal notes and a bittersweet background of Sherry/Charred Oak.  The barrels previous Manhattan occupants add some dried fruit, herbs and spice.  I tried this with and without expressing a lemon peel, but couldn’t decide which I liked better.  So, I’ll leave the garnish to you!

  • 1 1/2 Sherry Barrel Aged Gin
  • 1/4 oz. Dolin Sweet Vermouth
  • 4 drops Regan’s Orange Bitters
  • Lemon peel for garnish – optional
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass
  4. Garnish with the lemon peel if using

Well, these are some of my ideas for barrel aging.  In reality, and part of the adventure, is that none of these will be 100% reproducible!  I highly recommend that you try this at home.  The barrels are not expensive and the outcomes are definitively worth the little effort involved.  The process will require you to frequently sample some tasty cocktails and spirits as they age.  It’s a tough job…

Cheers!


 




New York Sour

New York Sour

New York Sour

This has become one of my favorite sours.  If we have a bottle of red wine open, it’s the first cocktail I consider.  The egg white makes a velvety mouth feel and the large ice cube in the shaker creates a nice texture.  Use a full bodied, fruity wine such as Merlot.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Russel’s 10 Year Old Reserve Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. Simple syrup
  • 1 Egg white
  • 1/4 – 1/2 oz. Red wine
  • Lemon peel for garnish
  1. Add bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup and the egg white to a shaker and shake, without ice, for 30 seconds to break up the egg white.
  2. Add 3 regular ice cubes plus one large cube * to the shaker and shake for 10-15 seconds until well chilled.
  3. Double strain into a chilled coup
  4. Using the back of your bar spoon, float the wine on the drink.
  5. Express the lemon oils from the peel over the drink and discard the peel.

* Use a 1 1/2 – 2 inch cube plus 3 regular cubes or you can just use all regular cubes.

Cheers!




Belle Meade Sour

I like my whiskey sours 1:1 bourbon and lemon sour.  For the lemon sour, I prefer 2:1 lemon to simple syrup.  I also like the mouth feel of egg white.

Belle Meade Sour

  • 1 1/2 oz. Belle Meade Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. Simple syrup
  • 1 large egg white (can use 3 Tbl. pasteurized egg whites but it will not be the same)
  1. Add all ingredients, in order to a shaker and shake for 30 sec without ice to emulsify the egg white.
  2. Add 3 regular sized ice cubes plus on large cube (1 1/2 – 2 inches)* to the shaker and shake to chill 10 – 15 sec.
  3. Double strain into a chilled coup and serve

* using a large ice cube creates a silky finish that complements the egg white.  You can omit this and use regular ice but you should get a large ice cube tray!

Cheers!




MxMo Manhattan

We have two offerings for this Month’s Mixology Monday, “I’ll take Manhattan!”  This one, from our fearless MxMo leader, Frederic of the CocktailVirgin blog, challenges us to revisit the classic cocktail.

Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday

Our first submission is the Manhattan 2.0 – a “Modern” version of the Manhattan with the added nuance of Sherry.  For the second, we jump ahead to an article we are preparing to publish on barrel aging cocktails at home.

 Manhattan 2.0

Manhattan Sherry Inhanced

For the the bourbon in this cocktail, we tried Basil Hayden and Belle Mead.  Both were excellent.  The bourbon brings flavors of maple, tobacco, smoke and vanilla.  This blends well with the rich, earthy Carpano Antica’s tastes of herbs, spice and slight bitterness.  Tasting this without knowing the ingredients, one could easily miss the sherry.  It intermingles with the Italian Vermouth, smoothing the bitterness and adding to the richness.  Here is the recipe:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz.  Carpano Antica
  • 1/4 oz. Sherry
  • 1/8 tsp. Grand Marnier
  • 1 dash Angostura Orange  Bitters
  • Garnish: Luxardo Maraschino Cherries and an orange peel
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Add the ingredients, except the garnish, to a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass
  4. Add the cherries, (or place them on a pick), and express the orange peel over the drink and discard.

Sherry Cask Aged ManhattanManhattan Barrel Aged Inhanced

This cocktail comes from our look into barrel aging cocktails at home, which we will publish soon.  We started with a new charred white oak, 1 liter cask, which was then seasoned by aging Lustau East India Solera Sherry for 4 weeks.  As an aside, the Sherry came out very nice and is great in the Manhattan 2.0!  The barrel was then used to age the cocktail.  The small cask allows a larger surface to liquid ratio than will a bigger barrel.  The larger the barrel, the longer will be the aging time.

Barrel aging a Manhattan is awesome!  The charred oak adds an expected slight oakiness and smoke flavor while the Sherry brings the slightest touch of sweetness.  The overall effect is a richness and depth of flavors that are melded together in a way that you’re not going to achieve any other way.Sherry Aged Cask

Here is the recipe for a 1 liter barrel:

For the Barrel:
  • 1 new, 1 liter charred oak barrel with stand which has been filled with water for 24 hours
  • 1 bottle Lustau East India Solera Sherry
  1. Drain and rinse the barrel
  2. Secure the tap
  3. Fill the barrel with the Sherry and seal the bung.
  4. Place the barrel on its stand and set aside on a water proof shallow container, such as a plastic container lid
  5. Turn the barrel 1/4 turn each week
  6. After 4 weeks, drain the sherry through a fine mesh strainer and store, refrigerated, in its original bottle.
  7. Rinse the barrel and refill immediately with a cocktail – do not allow the barrel to dry out.
For the Manhattan: Manhattan Barrel Aged 3
  • 20 oz. Bourbon
  • 10 oz. Carpano Antica Italian Vermouth
  • 1 3/4 tsp Grand Marnier
  • 1 3/4 tsp Regans Orange Bitters
  1. Rinse the sherry aged barrel with water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a 1 qt. pitcher
  3. Carefully pour ingredients into the cask
  4. Set the cocktail filled cask on a plastic lid or other flat, liquid proof surface (the barrel will leak).
  5. Turn the barrel 1/4 turn each week
  6. Taste the cocktail at least weekly until you think it’s ready – about 4 weeks
  7. When the cocktail is ready, carefully pour it from the barrel through a fine mesh strainer into a 1 quart pitcher.
  8. Decant into a seal-able glass bottle
  9. Store your cocktail at room temperature.
To serve:Barrel Aged Manhattan 4
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Pour 2 1/4 oz. Sherry Cask Aged Manhattan into a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass
  4. Garnish with premium maraschino cherries and an orange peel

Not ready to commit to a barrel?  You can approximate the same aged cocktail effect using a small bottle and a charred barrel stave, available here.4058_Barware_Mixers-_Bottle_Aged_Cocktail_Kit_large  It will lack the richness and depth of flavor of barrel aging, but it will be close.

The bottle holds 12 oz.  The recipe is then:

  • 7 oz. Bourbon
  • 3 1/2 oz. Carpano Antica Italian Vermouth
  • 1/2 tsp Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 tsp Regans Orange Bitters
  1. Combine the ingredients in the bottle and add the barrel stave
  2. Swirl it everyday
  3. It will probable be ready in 2 weeks

Cheers!




Manhattan 2.0

For the the bourbon in this cocktail, we tried Basil Hayden and Belle Mead.  Both were excellent.  The bourbon brings flavors of maple, tobacco, smoke and vanilla.  This blends well with the rich, earthy Carpano Antica’s tastes of herbs, spice and slight bitterness.  Tasting this without knowing the ingredients, one could easily miss the sherry.  It intermingles with the Italian Vermouth, smoothing the bitterness and adding to the richness.  Here is the recipe:

Manhattan 2.0

Manhattan 2.0

  • 1 1/2 oz. Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz.  Carpano Antica
  • 1/4 oz. Sherry
  • 1/8 tsp. Grand Marnier
  • 1 dash Angostura Orange  Bitters
  • Garnish: Luxardo Maraschino Cherries and an orange peel
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Add the ingredients, except the garnish, to a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass
  4. Add the cherries, (or place them on a pick), and express the orange peel over the drink and discard.

Cheers!


 




Old Fashioned Tent Revival

I love a bitters forward Old Fashioned.  So, the March Mixology Monday theme of “Call me Old Fashioned” is right up my alley.  Thanks to Sass & Gin for hosting and choosing a most magnificent theme!

Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday

This drink requires Bad Dog Barcraft’s Fire and Damnation Bitters available here.  “Fire and Damnation” made me think of the old tent revivals and thus, the name.  (Besides, I’m certain that this is good for the soul!)Old Fashioned Tent Revival 2 You want several dashes of the bitters to enable the flavors to come through.  Then balance the bitterness with the agave.  I use agave nectar rather than making a syrup.  Different brands of agave vary in sweetness, so you may need to adjust the amount you use.  Be careful not to make it sweet.

I use Russell’s Reserve 10 Year Old for this cocktail.  It is a little lighter on the oak but retains the spice and body you expect from a good bourbon.  Notice that this is essentially a built drink, a la Dave Arnold in Liquid Intelligence.  I found that this technique works very well for most Old Fashioned’s.  It’s a bit like Scotch on the rocks: the cocktail starts out strong and then cools and dilutes as you sip and gently swirl the ice.

Old Fashioned Tent Revival

  • 2 ozs. Russell’s Reserve 10 Year Old
  • 3-4 dashes Bad Dog Barcraft’s Fire and Damnation Bitters – about 1 barspoon
  • 1/4 oz  Agave Nectar or more to taste
  • Lemon zest for garnish
  1. Add everything, except the garnish, to an un-chilled, single old fashioned glass and stir to combine.
  2. Carefully drop in a large ice cube.
  3. Express the lemon and float it in the drink.

Cheers!




Belle Meade Bourbon

We had a magnificent time at the Cured – Belle Meade Bourbon Paired Dinner this past week in San Antonio.   A meal at Cured Charcuterie is always a treat and this 5 course pairing was no exception. Visiting with Andy Nelson of Green Briar Distillery and hearing about the resurrection of his family’s legacy was fascinating. (You can find the complete story on their web site here). The cocktails, featuring their Belle Meade Bourbon, Sherry Cask Finished Bourbon and Tennessee White Whiskey, were excellent and complimented the, as usual, superb food.

Well, this set me to creating some libations with Green Briar Distillery‘s most excellent Bourbon.  At Cured, they served a sour and a bourbon/amaro cocktail.  The “Chas Sour” contained their Sherry Cask Finished Bourbon, cardamom syrup and lemon juice.  The bourbon/amaro, the “Old No. 5″, used Belle Meade Bourbon, Averna and bitters.  I guessed at and came up with my version of the “Old No. 5.  However, I decided to also make a bourbon sour and a Manhattan both using Belle Meade Bourbon.

Belle Meade TastingFirst, lets talk about Belle Meade Bourbon.  I tasted this neat, both at the Paired Dinner and home.  Let me start by saying that the Nelson brothers have a winner out of the gate!  Belle Meade bourbon is worth drinking neat, on the rocks or in cocktails.  Full disclosure note: I am partial to high rye bourbons which includes Belle Meade.  That being said, here are my tasting notes:

  • Nose: Maple syrup and caramel with grapefruit
  • Taste: Rye spice with caramel, smoke and tobacco with vanilla
  • Finish: Smooth.  Several reviewers report that it has a short finish but I disagree.  It is a smooth, long finish with distinct cherry and spice.  If you “chew” it, you up the spice.

Old No 5

Old No. 5

So, on with the drinks.  Here is my version of the Old No. 5:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Belle Meade Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz. Averna
  • 1 dash Fee Brothers Barrel Aged Bitters
  • Orange peel for garnish
  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled
  2. Strain into a chilled coup
  3. Express the orange peel over the drink and float

Belle Meade Manhattan

Belle Meade Manhattan

Belle Meade Manhattan

This bourbon has legs, so I went straight to a 2:1 bourbon:vermouth ratio.  You can go with more vermouth, but I like the flavors of the Belle Meade and prefer that the vermouth complements and not over powers.  I used Angostura for the bitters and Grand Marnier for the sweetener.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Belle Meade Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz. Carpano Antica Vermouth
  • 1 dash Grand Marnier
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • Orange peel and maraschino cherry for garnish
  1. Add everything but the garnish to a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  2. Strain into a chilled coup
  3. Express the orange peel and float then drop the cherry into the drink.

Belle Meade Sour

I like my whiskey sours 1:1 bourbon and lemon sour.  For the lemon sour, I prefer 2:1 lemon to simple syrup.  I also like the mouth feel of egg white.

Belle Meade Sour

  • 1 1/2 oz. Belle Meade Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. Simple syrup
  • 1 large egg white (can use 3 Tbl. pasteurized egg whites but it will not be the same)
  1. Add all ingredients, in order to a shaker and shake for 30 sec without ice to emulsify the egg white.
  2. Add 3 regular sized ice cubes plus on large cube (1 1/2 – 2 inches)* to the shaker and shake to chill 10 – 15 sec.
  3. Double strain into a chilled coup and serve

* using a large ice cube creates a silky finish that complements the egg white.  You can omit this and use regular ice but you should get a large ice cube tray!

So there are three drinks using Belle Meade Bourbon.  I will soon be posting cocktails using Green Briar Distillery‘s Tennessee White Whiskey.

Cheers!

 

 




Mixology Monday XCII – Apples

It is Mixology Monday for December and it’s all about apples.  This most excellent theme is the brain child of Frederic at Cocktail Virgin Slut, this month’s host.  mxmo_apple2

Once again, we have two drinks to offer: Cider Punch and the Plymouth Old Fashioned.

Cider Punch

MxMo CranappleThis drink combines apples in the form of calvados and hard cider with the flavors of ginger and cranberries.  The aroma is apples and lemon.  The taste begins with apple and a touch of sweet ginger and cranberry, finishing with musty cider.

 

 

  • 1 oz. Calvados
  • 1/2 oz. Ginger Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. Cranberry Syrup (see below)
  • 1 oz. Chilled hard cider
  • Lemon twist
  1. Stir the first four ingredients in a mixing glass with ice until well chilled.
  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  3. Express the lemon oils over the drink and discard the lemon.

Cranberry Syrup

This is from Chris Tunstall at abarabove.  The syrup is extremely easy.  You will need:

  • 1 – 14 oz can jellied cranberry sauce
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  1. In a quart sized microwavable container, melt the cranberry sauce on high in 30 second intervals, stirring in between.
  2. Meanwhile, using a small sauce pan on the stove, dissolve the sugar in the water.
  3. When the the sugar is dissolved, add the melted cranberry sauce and stir to combine.
  4. Allow to cool.  This will keep refrigerated in a sealed glass bottle for at least a week.

The Plymouth Old Fashioned

Plymouth Old Fashioned 2A few years ago, I came across a post by Jamie Boudreau where he described his “Old Fashioned Simple Syrup.”  He uses a base liquor, sugar and bitters for the sweetener.  Playing with his idea, I have made a number of drinks with various base liquors, sugars and bitters.  For this drink I have chosen Applejack, brown sugar and black walnut bitters to use in the syrup.  It is then combined with calvados, bourbon and rum.

This is a big drink in size, strength and flavor.  The taste of apple blends with the vanilla and spice from the rum and the combined smoky notes of the rum and bourbon.  The black walnut bitters really stand out.  I initially used Fees Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters, but I think that Angostura Bitters with the Fees Brothers Black Walnut Bitters and Orange Bitters is better.

You can easily lighten up this drink by substituting Cruzan Dark Aged Rum for the Zaya and/or Russell’s 10 year old Bourbon for the Basil Hayden’s.

Here is the recipe:

  • 1 oz. Calvados
  • 1 oz. Aged rum such as Zaya 12 Year Old
  • 1 oz. Aged bourbon such as Basil Hayden’s
  • 1 oz. Black Walnut Syrup (See below)
  • 1 bar spoon honey syrup (1 part honey dissolved in 1 part water)
  • 2 dashes Fees Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
  • 2 dashes Fees Brothers Orange Bitters
  • 2 dashes Fees Brothers Aztec Bitters or Angostura Bitters
  • Thick orange peel for garnish
  1. Stir all ingredients, except the garnish, in a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Strain into a chilled old fashioned glass with fresh ice – preferably a single large cube or sphere
  3. Express the orange oils over the drink and float the peel.

Black Walnut Syrup

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 oz. Applejack
  • 1 oz. Fees Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
  1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the liquid, stirring frequently.
  2. Allow to cool
  3. Will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks

Thanks to Frederic at Cocktail Virgin Slut for hosting this month’s Mixology Monday.  Go check out their site and be sure to come back for the roundup of Mixology Monday XCII.

Cheers!