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All About Rye Whiskey


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#361 tanstaafl2

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 11:03 AM

Hosting a gather for about a dozen friends next weekend as a belated U.S. Independence Day celebration that will have rye whiskey as the theme in "honor" of the forefathers of the U.S. since rye whiskey presumably was one of the main spirits of choice at the time. The recent production of "George Washington Rye" sort of inspired me (I don't have any since it not likely easy to get, probably not all that good and most importantly ridiculously expensive!).

I have been collecting some rye coctail recipes mostly using the Vintage Spirits and PDT cocktail books (listed below) and Kindred Cocktails. Was curious if anyone had any other good or "must try" rye based cocktails to suggest. Or perhaps there is one on the list I should avoid?

Don't really have the time or inclination to do infusions and I don't have some of the more unusal ingredients that I might have to get just for a single drink but I do have moderately well stocked liquor cabinet. I have pretty much everything found in the drinks on this list. Rittenhouse BIB will likely be my primary mixing rye unless a drink makes a good case for using something else (and I happen to have the something else).

Here is the list so far. It will have to be pared down to about 10-12 cocktails to put on the drink menu and I plan to select a "signature" cocktail (or two...) for the evening. Currently leaning towards two cocktails for featured billing, the Diamondback and the Rattlesnake. Nothing has a really good "Fourth of July" kind of name so these two stuck out.

The Manhattan and the Final Ward are both front runners for the menu. The Blinker and Scofflaw are ones I like as well. I will have to also give some thought to ease of construction as well which tends to work against the Rattlesnake and egg white drinks in general even though I generally like them.

A Moment of Silence
Blinker
Brooklyn
Cooper’s Cocktail
De La Louisiane
Deshler
Diamondback
Duboudreau Cocktail
Final Ward
Fred Collins Fiz
Greenpoint
Harvest Moon (sans Abbott’s bitters, have to use some other bitters)
Improved Whiskey Cocktail
Japalac
Junior
L.E.S. Globetrotter
Manhattan
Old-Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail
Old Pal
Racketeer
Rack & Rye
Rattlesnake
Remember the Maine
Red Hook
Sazerac
Scofflaw
Silver Lining
Solstice
The Blonde Wood
Triborough
Up To Date
Vieux Carré
Ward Eight
Whiskey Sour

Any suggestions welcome!
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...
~tanstaafl2

#362 weinoo

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 11:41 AM

I happen to like the Algonquin, and it's a pretty accesible rye cocktail for those who think they don't like cocktails:

2 rye, 1 pineapple juice, 1 dry vermouth - shaken and strained

and you really can't beat a Manhattan.

Why do you need 10 - 12 cocktails on your drink menu for a dozen guests? Make 2 or 3 good ones, and enjoy your party.
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#363 tanstaafl2

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 01:26 PM

I happen to like the Algonquin, and it's a pretty accesible rye cocktail for those who think they don't like cocktails:

2 rye, 1 pineapple juice, 1 dry vermouth - shaken and strained

and you really can't beat a Manhattan.

Why do you need 10 - 12 cocktails on your drink menu for a dozen guests? Make 2 or 3 good ones, and enjoy your party.

Yes, that one is in VS&FC, PDT and the KC website. Never had it though as I am not a big pineapple fan so I just have to decide if I want to get pineapple juice. Hard for me to find a good one in smallish quantities since I am unlikely to drink what is left myself after the party. Then again a bottle is not all that expensive I suppose.

As for the number of different drinks I often will make a drink, or perhaps a double size drink, and then everyone gets a little taste. That way I can go through a number of different drinks in the same evening. So I aim for 10-12 although I rarely get past about 6 or 8 before silly distractions like food and conversation intervene.

For me the enjoyment of the party is about making (and tasting) the different drinks!

And that way I can avoid having to make all that annoying small talk...
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...
~tanstaafl2

#364 tanstaafl2

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 01:51 PM

Had also contemplated the Prince of Wales from the August issue of Imbibe. It had an article that featured three drinks with pineapple. The Prince (In this case it was Prince Albert who is credited with the drink recipe) calls for rye, maraschino liqueur, superfine sugar (which I have) or simple syrup, Angostura bitters, pineapple chunks and brut sparkling wine.

Sounds like it might be a good drink for warm (as in scorching, currently 102+ in the shade here) summer evening. But it has 2 things going against it, pineapple chunks and champagne. Could probably get a mixed fruit bowl and pull the pineapple chunks out of it (not all that fresh I would guess) but the champagne is annoying because if I open a bottle I want to try to be able to finish it rather than waste half of it (or more). Since it calls for only 1 oz per drink it means making a lot of drinks to use it up. And I hate pouring perfectly good booze down the drain, even if it wasn't all that expensive.

I know, picky, picky, picky.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...
~tanstaafl2

#365 weinoo

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 03:10 PM

Pineapple juice comes in 6 packs of 6 oz. cans (about $3) - and Dole's is not from concentrate. Probably as close as you can come to freshly juiced.

Then you'll have some leftover for tiki drinks at your next get-together.
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#366 tanstaafl2

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 04:19 PM

Pineapple juice comes in 6 packs of 6 oz. cans (about $3) - and Dole's is not from concentrate. Probably as close as you can come to freshly juiced.

Then you'll have some leftover for tiki drinks at your next get-together.


I looked before my Tiki party last month but didn't see any (found grapefruit juice in small cans but not pineapple). I probably didn't look too hard. But you are right. It would be good to have a few available and leftovers can be saved for Tiki time! I will look again this week.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...
~tanstaafl2

#367 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 04:43 PM

You have quite an impressive list already. The Rattlesnake is a little involved to prepare but it's really an amazing drink (maybe more wintery though?). In your list I also really like the Manhattan (who doesn't), the Brooklyn, the Final Ward, the Red Hook, and Remember the Maine.

To go with your American theme I would offer an American trilogy. It's a wonderful twist on the old-fashioned.

You may want to add a few lighter/fizzy options into the mix, which would be welcome with the warm weather.
Rye and ginger (with a good quality or homemade ginger beer)
Ross Collins (rye, lemon, orange, angostura bitters)

A punch would be also a good option. The Chatham Artillery Punch comes to mind but you said you were trying to avoid using champagne. In David Wondrich's Punch book there are a few other rye-based punch recipes that look good.

Otherwise there are a ton of excellent Manhattan and Brooklyn variations. Here are a few that I really like and were not in your list.
Bensonhurst: rye, dry vermouth, maraschino, cynar
Bushwick: rye, sweet vermouth, amer picon, maraschino
Cobble Hill: rye, dry vermouth, amaro montenegro, slices cucumber
Little Italy: rye, sweet vermouth, cynar
The Slope: rye, punt e mes, apricot liqueur, angostura bitters
Sunset Park cocktail: rye, dry vermouth, apricot liqueur, angostura bitters

#368 tanstaafl2

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 08:38 PM

You have quite an impressive list already. The Rattlesnake is a little involved to prepare but it's really an amazing drink (maybe more wintery though?). In your list I also really like the Manhattan (who doesn't), the Brooklyn, the Final Ward, the Red Hook, and Remember the Maine.

To go with your American theme I would offer an American trilogy. It's a wonderful twist on the old-fashioned.

You may want to add a few lighter/fizzy options into the mix, which would be welcome with the warm weather.
Rye and ginger (with a good quality or homemade ginger beer)
Ross Collins (rye, lemon, orange, angostura bitters)

A punch would be also a good option. The Chatham Artillery Punch comes to mind but you said you were trying to avoid using champagne. In David Wondrich's Punch book there are a few other rye-based punch recipes that look good.

Otherwise there are a ton of excellent Manhattan and Brooklyn variations. Here are a few that I really like and were not in your list.
Bensonhurst: rye, dry vermouth, maraschino, cynar
Bushwick: rye, sweet vermouth, amer picon, maraschino
Cobble Hill: rye, dry vermouth, amaro montenegro, slices cucumber
Little Italy: rye, sweet vermouth, cynar
The Slope: rye, punt e mes, apricot liqueur, angostura bitters
Sunset Park cocktail: rye, dry vermouth, apricot liqueur, angostura bitters

Thanks! Great suggestions. The American Trilogy sounds interesting (The Conference also sounds quite interesting on that page but not one for this occasion I think).

I recall you writing about the Little Italy variation so I may add that one too.

Don't mind breaking open champagne to make a punch so much but I like to try a variety of drinks as much for me as my guests so if there is a punch people drink that instead and I don't have as good of an excuse to make people try a bunch of different cocktails! I just don't like opening a bottle of champagne to make a drink or two and not have a good way to use the rest of it in a timely manner.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...
~tanstaafl2

#369 blue_dolphin

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 12:06 PM

I've been trying some of the recipes from last Friday's WSJ article, Summer-ize Your Spirits and thoroughly enjoyed Awry One, credited to Greg Best of Holeman & Finch, Atlanta.

It's 1.5 oz rye whiskey (I used Rittenhouse BIB), 0.5 oz Luxardo Bitter (I subbed Campari), 0.5 oz lemon juice, 0.25 oz simple syrup and 2 dashes orange bitters, served up and garnished with mint.

#370 tanstaafl2

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 12:13 PM

I've been trying some of the recipes from last Friday's WSJ article, Summer-ize Your Spirits and thoroughly enjoyed Awry One, credited to Greg Best of Holeman & Finch, Atlanta.

It's 1.5 oz rye whiskey (I used Rittenhouse BIB), 0.5 oz Luxardo Bitter (I subbed Campari), 0.5 oz lemon juice, 0.25 oz simple syrup and 2 dashes orange bitters, served up and garnished with mint.


Sounds like I need to take a look at this article. Might have to see if I can track Greg or Andy down at H&F for some additional ideas. The August edition of Imbibe is also full of summer cocktails such as the Prince of Wales I noted above.

So many drinks, so little time.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...
~tanstaafl2

#371 NadyaDuke

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 12:40 PM

I quite like a Boulevardier made with Rye instead of Bourbon. Or a Negroni made with Rye instead of gin, however you want to look at this!

#372 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 12:57 PM

Looking at the various suggestions in the WSJ article makes me think that a Rye Smash would be another nice summer addition for your lineup. Delicious and pretty easy to make.

#373 tanstaafl2

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 01:11 PM

Some more excellent suggestions. Paring this down to even 10 drinks is going to be tough! Will have to try to find drinks that are reasonable distinct from one another and use that as a primary criteria.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...
~tanstaafl2

#374 campus five

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 04:07 PM

Not so much on the thread of lists of rye-based drinks, although I'm definitely going to be clipping this list and keeping it handy, but has anyone noticed what they did to our dear friend, Wild Turkey Rye?

It's now 80 proof. Goddamit. Leave it to the major labels to screw up a great product.

#375 tanstaafl2

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 07:07 AM

Is it still a Red Hook if you use Carpano instead of Punt e Mes? I have Carpano open (as well as a bottle of Dolin Rouge) but the bottle of Punt e Mes is not and I am hoping to avoid opening yet another vermouth until I use up the Dolin and the Carpano (which will likely serve as the primary "house" sweet vermouth for the evening). Can I add a dash of bitters to help balance it out if I use Carpano. Or is it "close enough"?

In addition to the Manhattan I am planning on the Greenpoint and Little Italy in addition to the Red Hook that also call for sweet vermouth. Any reason NOT to use Carpano in any of them?
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...
~tanstaafl2

#376 campus five

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 04:52 PM

On the one hand, I think a "Red Hook" with Carpano, is probably best described as a "Red Hook with Carpano Antica." And I'm not sure there would anything wrong with that. Theoretically, you'd need less Maraschino, since it's sweeter.

If you really want to fake the Punt e Mes, I'm thinking a dash of Campari would get you closer than any kind of aromatic bitters.

#377 tanstaafl2

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 05:01 PM

On the one hand, I think a "Red Hook" with Carpano, is probably best described as a "Red Hook with Carpano Antica." And I'm not sure there would anything wrong with that. Theoretically, you'd need less Maraschino, since it's sweeter.

If you really want to fake the Punt e Mes, I'm thinking a dash of Campari would get you closer than any kind of aromatic bitters.


Thanks. Worth trying to see although I have not had a Red Hook made the right way to compare so will be hard for me to judge (one point of doing this after all is to try a number of different drinks). Good point on the Maraschino.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...
~tanstaafl2

#378 KD1191

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:10 AM

Anyone have any first hand experience with the specialty bottling of Rittenhouse for La Maison du Whisky? I was able to extract minimal notes from the clerk due to my terrible French...he mentioned it was 'spicier' than your average bottle. At roughly $50, I'm hoping I got more than just a special label.

AwzEBVFCEAAHP3e.jpg
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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#379 KD1191

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 07:25 AM

Anyone have any first hand experience with the specialty bottling of Rittenhouse for La Maison du Whisky? I was able to extract minimal notes from the clerk due to my terrible French...he mentioned it was 'spicier' than your average bottle. At roughly $50, I'm hoping I got more than just a special label.

Broke it open last night and tasted it against the regular Rittenhouse and a couple other ryes...the blue label had significantly more oak than the regular. It also came across as the driest/least sweet of all, which I guess could partially explain the comment about being spicier, but I didn't note any particularly increased level of 'spice'. I would hazard a guess that the barrel used for this bottling has quite a bit more age on it than your average bottle of Rittenhouse...maybe 8-10 years. All in all, I think it was a decent investment.
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

#380 slkinsey

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 09:13 AM

Is it still a Red Hook if you use Carpano instead of Punt e Mes?

No. The Red Hook relies upon the extra bitterness and intensity of flavor for its characteristic flavor. Subbing regular sweet vermouth for Punt e Mes would remove this crucial component of the drink.
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#381 tanstaafl2

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 10:18 AM

Is it still a Red Hook if you use Carpano instead of Punt e Mes?

No. The Red Hook relies upon the extra bitterness and intensity of flavor for its characteristic flavor. Subbing regular sweet vermouth for Punt e Mes would remove this crucial component of the drink.


Well, I guess I break open the Punt e Mes or perhaps try the splash of Campari with the Carpano. I find Carpano to be a little less sweet than regullar sweet vermouth but presumably it doesn't have quite the bitter element of Punt e Mes.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...
~tanstaafl2

#382 brinza

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 01:24 PM

Not so much on the thread of lists of rye-based drinks, although I'm definitely going to be clipping this list and keeping it handy, but has anyone noticed what they did to our dear friend, Wild Turkey Rye?

It's now 80 proof. Goddamit. Leave it to the major labels to screw up a great product.

I'm glad you mentioned that. I've been very annoyed by that. I didn't know if it was Pennsylvania choosing to stock a different version or if WT actually did away with the 101. In fact, I haven't bought any since they did that. If I'm in a store that doesn't have Bulleit Rye, I'll take Jim Beam before I'll buy that WT 81 nonsense.

Edited by brinza, 06 July 2012 - 01:25 PM.

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#383 tanstaafl2

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 08:47 AM

Well, the Rye night is over and appears to have been a success. A bit toasty out on the deck but everybody seemed to make do. Ribs seemed to be a perfect accompanying dish to the rye cocktails along with sweet potatoe, veggie medley and my house specialty of baked beans.

The Drinks menu (the most important part of course!) ended up as follows.

The featured drink was the American Trilogy. Everyone who wanted one was greeted with this drink at he door. I cheated a bit and used a rich demerara sugar syrup insted of trying to muddle a brown sugar cube or even just using brown sugar. That way I could put the the sugar in the glass and add bitters in advance, premix and refrigerate the Rittenhouse BIB and Lairds BIB 1:1 and the add 2 ounces to the glass and stir with a single large ice cube. Seemed to work.

I couldn't decide what to cut so I ended up with the following options:

"Featured Drink"
The American Trilogy

The “Classic” Manhattan and Variations
Manhattan
Bensonhurst
Brooklyn
Greenpoint
Little Italy
Red Hook

Classic Rye Cocktails – Vintage and Contemporary
Algonquin
Blinker
Cooper Cocktail
De La Louisiane
Diamondback
Final Ward
Globetrotter (L.E.S. Globetrotter from PDQ)
Junior
Rack & Rye
Racketeer
Rattlesnake
Red Ant
Remember the Maine
Scofflaw
Vieux Carré

Never made it to the Manhatans and variations. Had a Vieux Carré fan in the party and so everybody wanted one as the next drink. Used Baby Saz, Ferrand 1840 cognac, Carpano, Benedictine and bitters and I must say they were quite good.

Did manage to work in a few others like the Rack & Rye and the Globetrotter (surprisingly tasty!) so it went well. But still have quite a few more drinks I would like to try.

Ah well, something for next time perhaps.

Edited by tanstaafl2, 08 July 2012 - 08:57 AM.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...
~tanstaafl2

#384 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 02:29 AM

Recent posts encouraged me to check out the Vieux Carré. Amazing drink, that. Might even topple the Saz as my favourite New Orleans classic.

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#385 scubadoo97

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 02:05 PM

Not so much on the thread of lists of rye-based drinks, although I'm definitely going to be clipping this list and keeping it handy, but has anyone noticed what they did to our dear friend, Wild Turkey Rye?

It's now 80 proof. Goddamit. Leave it to the major labels to screw up a great product.


Yeah I knew this was coming and picked up about a case from local stores before it became extinct. You can still find it on shelves if you look. Was not a big seller to begin with.

The skinny I heard was bartenders complain about alcohol that's too high in proof. Don't know how true it is. Wild Turkey also has their bourbon at 81 and 86.8 pf

Alcohol carries flavor damn it!

#386 Katie Meadow

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 06:36 PM

All this talk about Rittenhouse and I can't ever find it in CA and I have never tasted it until yesterday. Finally I am in NY and went with a friend to a little bistro and they had Rittenhouse so I ordered it, neat. I am embarrassed to say that I did not really examine the bottle so I can't tell you exactly what I was drinking. The bartender was very sweet, pouring generously. It was incredibly delicious. Just my idea of the perfect rye. I know this is so not helpful, but I have an excellent excuse: my mother just died and my intention was to get plastered. I might just have to go back to this bar to find out, but that probably won't be for a month or so.

#387 EvergreenDan

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 08:50 AM

Katie, I -- and I'm sure all of us -- are sorry for your loss. Tough times.
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#388 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 05:36 PM

So sorry to hear of your loss, Katie.

#389 KD1191

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 09:28 AM

I spent a very educational several hours at the Leopold Bros. distillery earlier this week, and the highlight of an extensive tasting may have been the Maryland Style Rye (high praise, as both their maraschino & absinthe are perhaps the best I've had). Complex and surprisingly fruity, it's a beautiful and rather unique expression of whiskey making. It's only spent 2 years in the barrel (a full sized one), but I didn't find that limited time to be in any way a detriment to the finished product (though I was nonetheless excited to learn they're also in the process of aging a bonded version). They are barreling the current expression at close to their bottling strength (49% barrel, 43% bottle), which they believe allows them to embrace the wood while still showcasing the extreme care taken in their distillation process. It also evidently produces a different mouth-feel, due the overall reduction in dilution of the aged product.

While I found the fruitiness to be a surprise, once I'd heard about everything that went into making this rye, it became clear that it was actually their primary goal. We were told that Pre-Prohibition Maryland Style Rye was frequently augmented with some amount of fruit juice, and that they wanted to honor this style while not going to those lengths. Instead, the berry notes come from a relatively unique process (apparently Buffalo Trace does it to some extent, as well) of a bacterial fermentation step that results in the creation of additional esters, which present as aromas of raspberry & strawberry in the finished product.

If you're interested in a bit more of the mechanics or vision behind the Maryland Style Rye, this thread over at StraightBourbon has a number of posts by the head distiller, Todd Leopold. For now, it seems destined to be a Colorado exclusive. So, if you're interested, I would get in touch with a local store, as their entire allocation for this year will be released in about two weeks.

Edited by KD1191, 19 October 2012 - 09:32 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

#390 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:38 PM

Another Vieux Carré fan here. Delicious.

Just for fun, this is how NOT to serve a Vieux Carré (from a local restaurant). A little on the watery side, with bonus ice crystals and foam (I knew it the second I heard the cocktail shaker). Despite these issues, it was still a decent cocktail (at least in comparison to that other thing in the background which was very sadly named after The Professor).

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Much better version at home...Templeton rye and Pierre Ferrand 1840 cognac (very good combo in this drink), Dolin sweet vermouth, Benedictine and Angostura bitters.

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