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The White Dog Craze


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#1 Chris Amirault

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 06:10 PM

I'm trying to wrap my mind around this white dog craze. It's a bit late in the game, I realize; the NY Times ran a piece about it last May, and in most major markets the stuff has been around for a while.

Here in RI, we've got just two that I can find: Buffalo Trace White Dog Mash #1 (good luck finding it on BT's horrible website) and the Ransom Whippersnapper, from the geniuses who make Ransom Old Tom, one of the finest spirits available anywhere.

They're interesting, sure enough. But it's hard to know what to make with them. (Sippers they ain't; even someone who likes overproof rum straight (me) would find that BT a bit much.) I haven't tried mixing them besides a few, failed Old Fashioned attempts. Thoughts on that?

I'm also not sure what to make of them. Why the sudden interest? Who's buying this stuff? For what? You? Why?
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#2 andiesenji

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 06:24 PM

Good question. Who is buying this stuff???

In today's Gear Patrol there was a link to Ole Smokey Tennessee Moonshine

Now I was born and raised in a "dry" county in Kentucky (still is) but that was only the commercial stuff. I am positive that a good bit of the "tax free" stuff is still rolling around in the hills.

I don't drink at all because of an allergy to alcohol but I don't think I would get anywhere near this stuff even if I did.
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#3 Chris Amirault

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 06:30 PM

It's not rough-hewn moonshine, though: it has some nuance and subtlety. But it's not an aged product, so it tastes like, well, what Andy called "a mix of grappa and creamed corn."
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#4 TAPrice

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 07:25 PM

From what I can gather from presentations I've attended and conversations I've had with the folks from Buffalo Trace, they're a bit mystified as well. My sense is they originally released it so a few, curious connoisseurs could taste of white whiskey. And then it sold more than they expected.

You can hardly blame the distilleries for making this stuff. Must be incredibly cheap to produce, since you forgo the barrel and warehousing costs.

I've only tasted a few and don't own a bottle, so I haven't tried to mix the stuff. I wonder, though, if you could treat it a bit like a rum agricole? Maybe you could make a 'Ti Punch substituting lemon for lime and Steen's Cane Syrup for regular cane syrup? Just a thought.

Edited by TAPrice, 31 January 2011 - 07:53 PM.

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#5 Alcuin

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 08:23 PM

I've always toyed with the idea of using it Pisco sour style. I've never wanted to buy a bottle though just for this one experiment, so I've never tried it. I can get the Buffalo Trace and Tuthilltown bottles but I've only had it from friends.
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#6 bostonapothecary

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 10:15 PM

They're interesting, sure enough. But it's hard to know what to make with them. (Sippers they ain't; even someone who likes overproof rum straight (me) would find that BT a bit much.) I haven't tried mixing them besides a few, failed Old Fashioned attempts. Thoughts on that?

I'm also not sure what to make of them. Why the sudden interest? Who's buying this stuff? For what? You? Why?


i love sipping them. my favorite restaurant doesn't always have cocktails i want to explore so i usually order a whale's tale pale ale and a buffalo trace white dog. so many spirits these days are over aged in my opinion, like the california chardonnay's of the roaring nineties... i find myself rebelling against the barrel.

my favorite ways to use white dogs in drinks ends up looking like this:

1 oz. ransom old tom gin
.5 oz. wasmund's rye spirit
1 oz. bianco vermouth
.5 oz. brandymel honey liqueur

the white dog is just a fraction and adds extra aromatic tension to the drink (aromas that increase the perception of sweetness plus aromas that decrease it).

kirschwasser plus white dog is also great:

1 oz. hiram walker kirshwasser
1 oz. buffalo trace white dog
1 oz. lemon juice
bar spoon non aromatic white sugar
2 dashes angostura bitters

white dog has become a staple for me.
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#7 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 12:44 AM

I don't know if I'd say it's a staple, but my limited successes have also been mostly from mixing it with other spirits as an accent. I haven't played with it much or recently, and nothing I came up with was particularly memorable so I don't have recipes to offer, but I did a couple of times make an Old Fashioned with the BT White Dog, using a melange of more old-time kinds of bitter (more soft, Peychauds-type stuff), minimal ice, and nutmeg vs lemon. Not a blockbuster but it sure was interesting. To my palate the BT White Dog has a distinct hazelnut note (or the sample I had did), and I think hazelnutty qualities work well with orange liqueurs. Not sure if that helps but there you go.
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#8 brinza

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 07:54 AM

My only experience with white dog was a bottle of Isiah Morgan Rye Whiskey that I bought in West Virginia a couple years ago. I didn't have much success mixing with it either. Straight, I found it to be odd--kind of grassy and earthy. bostonapothecary's suggestions sound promising so I might give those a shot. I've never had 'corn likker' so I can't comment on that. I suspect the surge in sales is due to the novelty of the stuff. I can't imagine it would achieve any kind of lasting popularity. I don't think any whiskey distilleries should cancel their barrel orders and tear down their maturing warehouses just yet!
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#9 Yojimbo

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 09:10 AM

My only experience with the dog was at a Slow Food event, where a local gastropub was mixing up Tuthilltown corn whiskey with just a little sugar and lemon. I was expecting alcohol and heat and not much else, so I was surprised at home much grain flavor came through. If my budget were more expansive I'd probably indulge in a bottle, but I think Mike's comment that novelty is driving much of the interest at present is accurate. It'll be interesting to see whether it settles into a comfortable space alongside the rye and bourbon, or fades back into the hills again . . . .

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#10 Corinna

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 07:48 AM

Our local Finger Lakes Distilling produces a "corn whiskey" called Glen Thunder that is sweet-ish and quite tasty, but maybe not for sipping. They suggest making Bloody Marys with it, which I can see working. I have yet to buy a bottle to experiment with though.

Edited by Corinna, 06 February 2011 - 07:49 AM.

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#11 Chris Amirault

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 06:45 PM

Two things to report. First, the Buffalo Trace Mash #1 does, indeed, work as a sipper, though your head has to be in the right place. A pale ale to the left helps as well.

I found a good cocktail for white dog, from Jim Romdall at Vessel via Paul Harrington's cocktailchronicles.com blog. They urge a more rye-based white dog than I've got, so I went with the potent-but-corny Buffalo Trace:

The Bumpass Hound

2 oz rye (Rittenhouse BIB)
1/2 oz white dog (Buffalo Trace Mash #1)
1/4 oz Fernet Branca
1/4 oz simple (I used a scant oz of gum syrup)
dash Angostura bitters
orange twist, for garnish

Stir; strain; up.
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#12 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 09:42 AM

1/4 oz simple (I used a scant oz of gum syrup)


Surely this is a typo?
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#13 Chris Amirault

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 09:43 AM

Ye gods: yes. Scant 1/4 oz.
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#14 Chris Amirault

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 05:26 PM

Fiddling some more with the BT white dog, which I'm really growing to like. When I had a sip tonight, I realized that the corn in it was evoking tequila for me somehow. Warning: this is one big glass of booze, but I think it's very interesting, a kind of molé tamale effect:

New Dog, Old Tricks

1 1/2 oz Buffalo Trace White Dog Mash #1
1 1/2 oz Herradura Añejo
1 oz Cointreau
3 dashes Bittermens xocolatl bitters
1 dash demerara syrup

Stir, strain, orange twist.

Next time, I might do 1 white dog and 2 tequila....
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#15 Ian McCarthy

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 01:51 PM

That sounds lovely Chris. I find the BT white dog to be about as easy to work with as Grappa. Acknowledging its funk with Herradura, demerara, and chocolate seems like a good approach.

#16 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:34 PM

Time to revive this thread... I was gifted a small bottle of white dog (King's County Distillery) and was wondering how to best enjoy it. Should I give it the old-fashioned treatment or would it be best to use it as an accent? I would love to hear your ideas. Thanks!

#17 tanstaafl2

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 06:32 AM

White dog and white whiskey does seem to be hot. Perhaps an attempt to cut into the vodka market? Of course white dog is also common among smaller "craft" distilleries" to try to make some money until aged spirits mature. But now more of the big boys seem to be jumping in with both feet.

I just got a bottle of the new Jack Daniels Unaged "Tennessee" Rye. I was fully prepared to dislike it but rather enjoyed it as a sipper more than the few other White Dogs I have tried. It is a 70% rye, 18% corn, 12% malted barley mashbill and must of it will go into making a true aged JD "Tennessee" rye whiskey. I do dislike one thing though. The price is a remarkably high $50 for a bottle this not only is it unaged but it is cut to 40% ABV . But I sucked it up and bought one and Jack Daniels mania will no doubt make it successful.

This is unlike Dickel who is charcoal mellowing an aged rye sourced from MGPI in Indiana (which is the same source as the rye found in Templeton and Bulleit for example). I have not yet bought the Dickel but a few people I know who have tried it seem to really like it especially as a mixer. The charcoal filtering seems to make a difference in the taste.

Next to come is "Jacob's Ghost", a white spirit from Jim Beam that is aged for a year but has been filtered to be a white spirit. Kinda odd so for the moment I don't plan to pursue that one.

Anyway, back to the JD. Its taste is a little sweet with a strong rye/sourdough bready component and a bit of maltiness to me. Quite sippable if you can choke back the price.

JD 2.JPG JD 1.jpeg JD 3.jpeg

Edited by tanstaafl2, 20 January 2013 - 06:42 AM.

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#18 scubadoo97

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:06 AM

The distillers are laughing all the way to the bank.

#19 tanstaafl2

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:24 AM

The distillers are laughing all the way to the bank.


Yeah, they have been doing that for some time now. Been doing it with vodka and to a lesser degree gin for years so I guess now that the bad ol' days for brown spirits, especially bourbon and rye whiskey, seem to be behind us for the moment it is their turn as well. Which is a bit ironic since the white dogs by definition aren't brown...
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#20 Adam George

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:56 PM

Awesome bottle and label. Shame about the price.

Seems that JD know what they're doing though: the plebs get Honey Whiskey and the geeks get White Whiskey. Cynical, but funny.

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#21 Chris Amirault

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 12:09 PM

 

my favorite ways to use white dogs in drinks ends up looking like this:

1 oz. ransom old tom gin
.5 oz. wasmund's rye spirit
1 oz. bianco vermouth
.5 oz. brandymel honey liqueur

 

 

I've just grabbed a bottle of Wasmund's from the bargain bin (half off at $19.99!) and am giving it a go. Perhaps it's my time spent smoking meats, but the applewood is the strongest note in a pretty cacophonous jam session, which makes this Ransom pairing seem smart. I've no Brandymel so I'll have to fiddle with subbing there.... 

 

Any other thoughts for this youngster? 


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#22 bostonapothecary

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 10:28 PM

 

 

my favorite ways to use white dogs in drinks ends up looking like this:

1 oz. ransom old tom gin
.5 oz. wasmund's rye spirit
1 oz. bianco vermouth
.5 oz. brandymel honey liqueur

 

 

I've just grabbed a bottle of Wasmund's from the bargain bin (half off at $19.99!) and am giving it a go. Perhaps it's my time spent smoking meats, but the applewood is the strongest note in a pretty cacophonous jam session, which makes this Ransom pairing seem smart. I've no Brandymel so I'll have to fiddle with subbing there.... 

 

Any other thoughts for this youngster? 

 

 

I'd sub any amaro you've got in there it will be a nice drink. I had a lot of fun with the Wasmund's. I can't believe it got closed out. Not enough people have learned to use the white dogs IMO.


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#23 Czequershuus

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 08:03 PM

Fooling around with my Buffalo Trace White Dog Rye, I decide on a simple whiskey sour as a first experiment. I did

 

1.5 Oz White Dog

0.75 Oz Lemon Juice

0.5 Oz Rich Turbinado Syrup (Fat, or a skinny 0.75)

1 ds Boker's Bitters

 

I love the character of this whiskey. It reminds me of a milder genever, with some malty funky, but it has the fruitiness of a white rum. It worked great in this cocktail, more akin to a daiquiri than a whiskey sour. 



#24 Chelseabun

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 11:23 AM

Correct me if i am wrong please but does 'white dog' refer to any whisky/whiskey that has not been aged?

 

If so, surely this is basically similar to vodka? Could this not be transformed into a Gin style spirit by infusing with Juniper or other spices (pepper even)? or is that not the point of white dog? 



#25 Rafa

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 11:30 AM

Vodka is distilled to a very high proof, removing most of the impurities (i.e., flavors) and leaving a spirit that's very close to being just ethanol and water. 

 

Whisk(e)y and other flavorful spirits are distilled to a much lower proof, which is why white tequilas and rums taste like, well, tequila and rum, and not vodka. (Bacardi excepted.) Unaged spirits don't all taste like vodka, and oak-aged vodka won't taste exactly like whiskey, or Cognac, or aged rum. 

 

With whiskey white dog, you get a lot of the raw grain flavor of the mash, without years of oak contact to temper it. 


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#26 EvergreenDan

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 11:58 AM

(Bacardi excepted.)

Back at 'cha


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#27 scubadoo97

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 05:35 AM

Whisk(e)y and other flavorful spirits are distilled to a much lower proof, which is why white tequilas and rums taste like, well, tequila and rum, and not vodka. (Bacardi excepted.)


Funny but true. I once filled 2 flasks, one with Bacardi white the other with vodka, so my wife would have something to mix a drink with on a short trip. I didn't label them because I figured it would be easy to tell by smell and taste. Wrong!

#28 Chelseabun

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 06:17 PM

Many thanks for explaining.  I have not seen white dog here in the UK yet.  We have many distilleries of course but if it becomes successful in the US, then we might see it marketed here.  I would buy it. 



#29 Czequershuus

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 11:54 AM

Had a little more fun with my Buffalo Trace White Dog, mad this last weekend - 

 

The Deadline (Link)

1.5 Oz White Whiskey

0.5 Oz Benedictine

0.5 Oz St. Germain

0.75 Oz Lime Juice

Shake, strain, up, lemon twist

 

I continue to be impressed with this product. Something about the herbal/floral mixture in this drink brings out some notes of dried fruit in the whiskey. A really worthwhile combination. 



#30 brinza

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 04:30 PM

Could this not be transformed into a Gin style spirit by infusing with Juniper or other spices (pepper even)? or is that not the point of white dog? 

Something does exist along those lines: https://www.wiglewhi...organic-ginever


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