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All About Rye Whiskey


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#271 philadining

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 04:57 PM

The bar Southwark in Philly has a pretty deep selection of Rye, and a Sazerac is my default drink there, but I haven't been very scientific about making comparisons. Sounds like a good project...

I usually request Sazerac 6, they use Herbsaint as a rinse by default. But recently, I have been splurging on Rittenhouse 100, with a rinse of Vieux Carré absinthe. That absinthe is a little weird in this drink, more minty than most, but I like it quite a lot in this combination. The bartenders there also tend toward a 4-dash hit of Peychauds, which I've come to prefer.

I was recently sequestered away in a remote location with my only whiskey being two bottles of Saz 6 and one of McKenzie rye. I'd planned to use the McKenzie for other things, but I ended up making Sazeracs with it, as well as Manhattans with Carpano Antica and Whiskey Barrel bitters.

The McKenzie has been dissed a bit up-thread for being young and overpriced, but I thought it made a delicious Sazerac, especially with the original-formula Herbsaint, and worked great in the Manhattan too. It's got a very pronounced rye flavor, a little edgy, which I like, and which I think worked very nicely in the mix.

So, sure, the McKenzie might be a little too expensive for what it is, but it's interesting, and tasty, so I'm buying another bottle the next time I see it...

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#272 John Rosevear

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 06:35 PM

haresfur, I'd get the Wild Turkey. JB's not awful, but almost everything else is better.

But it's too bad you can't get the Rittenhouse. I just made my first Sazerac in a while, and I am reminded that Rittenhouse 100 is one of those increasingly rare alcoholic products that is both inexpensive and really good. Of course, this probably means it'll be a US$60 bottle in 5 yrs, but meanwhile, it's quite a value.

(2.25 oz rye, 3 dashes Peychaud's, about 1 tsp 2:1 simple, a few drops of Lucid to rinse.)
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#273 Chris Amirault

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 06:47 PM

Rittenhouse has had an opportunity to bump the price for the last several years and hasn't. Fingers crossed.
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#274 db_campbell

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 08:28 AM

What would you do: Choices are pretty limited here and as I keep whinging, prices are high. Looking for something for mixing.

In the local stores my only rye choice is Jim Beam for $35. They also have Blanton's special reserve single barrel bourbon for $50. The Blanton's is only 80 proof btw (for export only). Mail order, Wild Turkey Rye is $57 + shipping. Other rye whiskey mail order is totally out of my price range.


I may simply be cheap, but I'd be very tempted to use the Beam as my standard pour, while still acquiring 1 bottle of the WT for special occasions.

#275 Chris Amirault

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 08:34 AM

I think it really depends on how you want to use the rye. JB rye is very soft, not nearly as spicy or potent as the Rittenhouse or WT 101; it's the sort of rye you'd give to your friend who loves a wheated bourbon like Maker's Mark as the first go-round. But IMO it really doesn't work in some recipes. I've never made or had a decent Sazerac or Manhattan with it, in particular.
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#276 brinza

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 09:10 AM

I agree with others about the taste differences between JB rye and WT rye, but that price difference for haresfur is huge. That's a tough decision. For me, the price difference is $2, so it's a no-brainer.

haresfur, are you able to get Bulleit or Old Granddad? Both are high-rye bourbons.
Mike

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#277 lancastermike

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 09:23 AM

Thw Wild Turkey remains my standard everyday rye. When i travel to Maryland I always pick up a bottle of Pikesville which I find to be my favorite rye. I love the Rittenhouse but it is not an easy thing for me to get. Again, I think the Wild Turkey is widely available and offers good value for the price paid. I enjoy it in my Manhattans

#278 Tri2Cook

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 03:15 PM

A co-worker is going to visit family in California next month. He offered to bring back a couple bottles of rye for my home cocktail bar I'm putting together since I can't buy it in Canada. He wants me to let him know what I want and he's going to have his sister pick it up ahead so he doesn't have to go searching while on his trip. I was planning on Rittenhouse but thought I better ask the experts here if that's something that will be easy for her to find and, if possibly not, what would be a good backup plan?
It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#279 Chris Amirault

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 07:44 PM

You should be able to find Rittenhouse BIB NP. You might also look for a few of the tasty options available uptopic. Personally, I'd look for that Templeton Prohibition if you can find it....
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#280 Tri2Cook

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 08:08 PM

Thanks Chris. I'm trying to keep it as simple as possible for this round. I have some friends coming up next spring that will allow me the opportunity to request a few things I want and be a little more picky. For this one, I want something good so I'm open to suggestions if I should consider something besides the Rittenhouse but it's going to need to be widely available and easy to find. I don't want to ask my co-worker to ask his sister to go on a treasure hunt for me.
It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#281 eje

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 10:13 AM

A co-worker is going to visit family in California next month. He offered to bring back a couple bottles of rye for my home cocktail bar I'm putting together since I can't buy it in Canada. He wants me to let him know what I want and he's going to have his sister pick it up ahead so he doesn't have to go searching while on his trip. I was planning on Rittenhouse but thought I better ask the experts here if that's something that will be easy for her to find and, if possibly not, what would be a good backup plan?

Whatever Rye you can find.

We're in the middle of of a Rye Droughts right now in CA, with bars and retailers struggling to find supplies of reasonably priced Rye Whiskey for cocktails.

His sister should be able to find some of the luxury brands and Beam, Overholt, or (ri)1. Beyond that, there are no guarantees.

Edited by eje, 18 October 2010 - 10:13 AM.

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#282 Tri2Cook

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 10:37 AM

So I'm guessing I should probably put together a short list in order of preference. I didn't realize this might be a tough assignment. I suppose any of them are better than what I can get here, which is none.
It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#283 KD1191

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 11:53 AM

What part of California?

Check the websites of larger stores in the area. For example, K&L (by all appearances) keeps their website updated with their inventory across their various locations, so you'd have a pretty good idea if the store had what you were looking for before you asked someone to make the trip. If inventory isn't listed on line for other stores, call or e-mail ahead.

I'd venture that Rittenhouse will be a less than likely proposition given the current shortage out west...Wild Turkey would be my second choice in the same general price range. Sazerac 6 year appears to be in stock at K&L, which is a pretty good option, too.
True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

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#284 eje

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 03:36 PM

There does seem to be a bit of the Sazerac Straight Rye around SF at the moment, I've seen it in a couple stores.

Wild Turkey Rye, aka the blood of San Francisco, is around some, but not as plentiful as I would like.

K&L is a very nice store with outposts in Redwood City, LA, and San Franicsco, I recommend them, as well as Plump Jack Wine, John Walker and Cask in San Francisco proper.

In Berkeley, Ledger's is a very good store.

Of the slightly more expensive Ryes, the High West Rendezvous Rye is pretty good, if a bit mild.
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#285 vice

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 03:47 PM

I'm pretty sure I saw some Old Overholt at Cask on Friday, in addition to the upstart boutiquey ryes.
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#286 Tri2Cook

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 04:26 PM

Well this is depressing. I thought I had someone headed to the land of rye and rye may be a challenge to find. Maybe I should just order some from one of the online places and have it shipped to her house.
It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#287 Dan Perrigan

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 06:09 PM

Hi there. Does anyone know the exact proportions of PDT's Staggerac (Sazerac made with Thomas Handy Rye) and which sugar they use for it?. I just bought a bottle of the 129.0 proof one and don't want to waste a drop on a poorly mixed sazerac :)

Thanks,
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#288 KD1191

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 09:43 AM

Recently added a few more ryes to my bar: the 2010 Thomas Handy, the Van Winkle Family Reserve & Russell's Reserve.

The Handy (6.25 years - 63.45% abv) is the spiciest (ryeiest?) rye I've tasted in recent memory. Very drinkable with just a touch of water, but it pulls no punches. Seriously like biting into a hunk of the strongest rye bread. Can't wait to try this in a Sazerac and Old Fashioned.

The Van Winkle (13 years - 47.8% abv) is a tough one to judge. It doesn't have the strength or depth of character of the Handy or even Rittenhouse. It's sippable straight, but not entirely pleasant...a bit woody. Has 13 years simply mellowed this too much? Or, was it ever really that spicy to begin with at only 51% rye in the mash? I'm inclined to give it a go in some classics, a Manhattan with CA or PeM, maybe? But, I wonder if it isn't going to mix more like bourbon.

The Russell's Reserve (6 years - 45% abv) was a pleasant surprise. We only stopped at the Wild Turkey distillery to pick up a few things for my wife's father, but Jimmy Russell is an extremely affable man and talked me into a bottle. It's eerily similar to the Sazerac 6 year, in my opinion. Perfectly mixable, if a bit expensive (my general opinion of the Saz 6 as well), but I guess with Rittenhouse and Wild Turkey 101 rye supply problems cropping up ever more frequently, the days of cheap, superb mixing rye may be coming to an end.
True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

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#289 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 01:30 PM

Hi there. Does anyone know the exact proportions of PDT's Staggerac (Sazerac made with Thomas Handy Rye) and which sugar they use for it?. I just bought a bottle of the 129.0 proof one and don't want to waste a drop on a poorly mixed sazerac :)

Thanks,
Dan


I can't offer details on that particular drink (which I actually thought was made with GT Stagg), but having enjoyed more than my share of Handy Sazeracs I can only say that (like any other Sazerac) it's pretty much impossible to mess up unless you make it too sweet. My typical MO is to use a scant 2 oz of rye, tsp of sugar or rich syrup, and 3 dashes of bitters. Extra long stir, chilled glass rinsed with Jade Edouard, lemon twist. My actual preferred route is to go half Handy and half Saz 18. The 18 lacks interest on its own in a cocktail, but when pointed up like that it is quite fine indeed.

Edited by thirtyoneknots, 03 November 2010 - 01:31 PM.

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#290 Dan Perrigan

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 01:43 PM

Thanks, Andy. Hmm, I think I'll make myself one right now...

#291 Dan Perrigan

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 02:26 PM

...Ok. Sazerac made and tasted.

I actually went 1 1/2 oz Handy (129.0 proof) and 1 oz Templeton (80 proof), so if I did my math correctly that's about 109 proof combined. The remaining ingredients were a teaspoon of 1:1 simple, 3 dashes Peychaud's, and 5 spritzes of North Shore Absinthe.

This is spicy. More so than any Sazerac I've had in the past. Delicious too.

I suppose my next step is a Handy/Rittenhouse blend. Or maybe even a three-way with Templeton. Many drinks have combinations of several rums. Why not a combination of ryes? That way we get the high proof and smooth flavor of the Handy, the deep rye flavor of the Rittenhouse, and the spiciness of the Templeton all in the same glass.

Ok. I've talked myself into it. That's my next experiment.

Dan

#292 Alcuin

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 02:56 PM

Mixing ryes sounds like a good idea. You could mix some brandy in there too as some do (Handy and Louis Royer force 53 would be powerful good I reckon). Sometimes when I want to treat myself, I'll make a Sazerac with Handy, just subbing it in with my normal ratios of 2oz booze, 1/2 t rich simple, 5 dashes Peychaud's, absinthe rinse, lemon peel. It is bold, and requires a nice long stir. But you sit with it and let it become delicious in different ways as it warms up.
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#293 Dan Perrigan

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 06:37 PM

Ok, I did it. (Yes, this was a two-Sazerac night). 1 oz Rittenhouse, 3/4 oz Handy, 3/4 oz Templeton's.

I'm sipping it now and trying to decide if this is the tastiest Sazerac I've ever had. It may be. It's certainly the most complex. The smell alone is amazing.

If you happen to have all three bottles please give it a try. I'd love to hear another opinion (or tweak to the recipe)

Dan

#294 evo-lution

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 06:41 AM

Hearing lots of good things about Templeton, is this a bottle I should go out of my way to pick up?

I typically drink the likes of Sazerac, Rittenhouse Bonded, Old Overholt, Thomas Handy, but wouldn't mind trying something new.
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#295 Tri2Cook

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Posted 07 November 2010 - 09:06 AM

Not sure how it happened but, according to the LCBO website, Sazerac 6-year is now available in Ontario. I don't know if it's considered one of the good ones but, since it's the only one in Ontario right now, it has to be better than none. :biggrin:
It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#296 KD1191

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Posted 07 November 2010 - 10:54 AM

Not sure how it happened but, according to the LCBO website, Sazerac 6-year is now available in Ontario. I don't know if it's considered one of the good ones but, since it's the only one in Ontario right now, it has to be better than none. :biggrin:


The Saz 6 is a perfectly fine mixing rye, you could do much worse. I think it's a bit overpriced, but when one of the best products in the category (Rittenhouse 100) is frequently available below $20, there's not much that couldn't be described that way.
True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

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#297 KD1191

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Posted 07 November 2010 - 10:57 AM

Hearing lots of good things about Templeton, is this a bottle I should go out of my way to pick up?

I typically drink the likes of Sazerac, Rittenhouse Bonded, Old Overholt, Thomas Handy, but wouldn't mind trying something new.

I like the flavor of Templeton, but I don't currently have it my bar. I picked up a bottle when it first came out, and went through it far too quickly, mostly due to the fact that it's 80 proof. I would like to revisit it at some point in the future to see how it works in combination with a higher proof Rye as Dan Perrigan has done above.

Edited by KD1191, 07 November 2010 - 10:59 AM.

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

#298 Chris Amirault

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 10:12 AM

Got a bottle of the Handy at Hi-Time Wines in Costa Mesa CA (awe-inspiring store, that), and it is as great as everyone says. Sazerac makers, remember that gum (arabic) syrup will louche with something at a proof as high as the Handy. (Info here for the curious.)
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#299 Tri2Cook

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 10:41 AM

The Saz 6 is a perfectly fine mixing rye, you could do much worse. I think it's a bit overpriced, but when one of the best products in the category (Rittenhouse 100) is frequently available below $20, there's not much that couldn't be described that way.

The pricing becomes a bit irrelevant once the LCBO gets ahold of it. They have their own concept of pricing that has nothing to do with what things cost anywhere else in the world. I've given up on price comparisons and just buy what I want if I can find it. The Sazerac is selling for $45/750ml. Considering American Rye is usually not available here at any price (and considering a bottle of Jack Daniels sells for $30), I can live with that.
It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#300 Chris Amirault

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 10:45 AM

The SIX YEAR is $45/fifth? That's outrageous. (For comparison, click here.)
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