Rule 37: Merrymeeting Stump Puller

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



The Lady Friend’s familial clan has a lakehouse (they’re among the New Englanders who refer to such locations as “camp” even though there is a roof over a walled structure, and thus, no actual camping is involved) on Merrymeeting Lake in New Hampster.

No, I hadn’t heard of it either.


rule37merrymeetingmap

Here’s a handy map.



Regardless, if you can avoid the dreaded “daytrippers,” it’s an excellent place for drinking WAY too much, though the drive home Sunday morning along winding dirt roads with many drastic elevation changes and the Lady Friend at the wheel can be a bit… horrifically ungodlyawfulmurderousvomituplungsandliver. That’s the technical term. But I never learn lessons about drinking too much so we packed some beer and cocktails and headed out to the aquatic splendor of central New Hampshire. I didn’t pack any bar tools, figuring there’d at least be a lowball glass (there was), some ice (yup), and a shot glass for measuring (there were plenty of those). What I did bring were the two simple ingredients for making a Merrymeeting Stump Puller.


merrymeetingpan

Begin imbibing.



I found this drink in a copy of Mr. Boston, and it was apparently invented by a “Ronald Sperry” for some Boston “Shake Up the World” contest. That’s all the detail it gives. The original name was the MONTANA Stump Puller, but I’ve made a slight ingredient adjustment to make this one a bit more unique to Merrymeeting. Also fitting, the specific area of Merrymeeting where the Lady Friend’s relations “camp” is known as Adder Hole. It’s the shallower end of the lake, so there’s lots of trees in/along the water slowly being absorbed into the watershed. Which means lots of logs and stumps that needed removal over the years, making this drink even more fitting.

This is not to be confused with the “Gull Lounge” on the end of Pete’s Sandbar. That stump was quite well-preserved with alcohol until the ice claimed it one winter.


rule37merrymeetingstumppullerMerrymeeting Stump Puller
Adapted from the “Montana Stump Puller,” Mr. Boston 65th ed (2000).

- 2 oz Canadian whisky (Canadian Club Reserve 10yo)
- 1 oz Dr. McGillicuddy’s Mentholmint Liqueur

Yeah.
Dump it into a rocks/Old Fashioned glass over ice and give it a stir. The original recipe called for creme de menthe, but I don’t have any. Then again, the original called for this to be served in a shot glass, but it makes 3oz. They didn’t say if this was a double, or if it should be split into two shot glasses, so I’m not too worried about not following their instructions to the letter.



Yes, that’s “whisky” with no “e.” It’s Canadian.

rule37merrymeetingstumppullerbottlesThere’s three reasons for using the Dr. McGillicuddy’s here. First, I don’t have any creme de menthe. No, this mentholmint liqueur isn’t a perfect replacement, but it’ll do. Secondly, the Doctor holds a place of honor in the Lady Friend’s clan’s liquors/liqueurs of choice. Apparently it’s quite popular to sip during ice fishing. Or regular fishing. Or yardwork. Or hiking. Or grocery shopping. They’re quite fond of it, is the point I’m trying to make. I had never tried it until meeting this group, and I jumped right in. It’s like liquid candy canes mixed with alcohol and happiness. Thirdly, I wound up with a nice big bottle (and a little pocket-sized sipper) of the Doctor at their last Yankee Swap. I contributed some very Mainely gifts of Allen’s Coffee Brandy and a 2-litre of Moxie. Uncle Ron was quite pleased to get it.


Into the cocktail we go. Start with a sniff.

It smells… not good. Like toothpaste and caramel gasoline. The sugary mint is pretty powerful in here, and that Canadian whisky is just… antiseptic? Yeah. Let’s hope it tastes ok.

rule37merrymeetingstumppuller_altOh.
Oh my.
That’s… not bad.
In theory, I was expecting this to be like a cheap version of a Mint Julep. All the ingredients are there. Well, sort of. There’s whisky (Canadian Club is no bourbon), mint and sugar (thoughtfully provided in one go, thanks to the Doctor), and ice. It is a bit heavy on the sugar/mint side, and there’s a wash of the whisky malt and alcohol warmth towards the finish of the drink. It’s really not bad. Not GREAT, but not bad.


I mixed one of these “upta camp” and there was even a bottle of the Doctor nestled in the freezer among the ice cubes and frozen vegetables. I supposed I didn’t need to bring my own bottle along. The Lady Friend’s father reluctantly had a taste, then seemed to warm to it a bit more with each sip. After our cruise around the lake, he happily made another one for himself. He’s part of a crew that heartily enjoyed their cocktails back in the day, though they preferred Wild Turkey to the blended Canadian stuff. They even made a club about it.


wtccc

No, seriously. That’s the Wild Turkey Canoeing and Climbing Club.



Simple to mix, with only two ingredients, and one of them is the Doctor. This would probably be better with a better whiskey, but you’ll have more of a flavor battle against the mint. However, given the fact that the Lady Friend’s father tried a couple of them, it seems like the Merrymeeting Stump Puller is officially endorsed.

Rule 37: Black Russian

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



Yes, this is a pretty simple one, and no, I’ve never had it before. The Black Russian consists of only two ingredients, vodka and coffee liqueur, neither of which I’m particularly fond of. I’m not a coffee drinker, and vodka lacks… personality. But, this was an easy cocktail to concoct, so I decided to make a batch and take it along on a woodland walk. Turns out it travels quite well as a trail sipper, so here we go.


rule37blackrussianBlack Russian
From Dale DeGroff’s The Essential Cocktail

- 1 oz vodka (Bully Boy)
- 1 oz coffee liqueur (Kahlua)


Um. That’s it.

Dale says to build over ice in an Old Fashioned glass, so we don’t even have to shake. Or stir. Though you can add a stirrer to give it a quick spin here and there. No garnish on this one.


You can play with the amounts any way you please as long as it’s equal parts. A 2oz drink over ice might make a nice little nightcap nipper, but is kind of an underwhelming handheld drink. Unless you’ve got straight liquor in your Old Fashioned glass, you could do better than a few ounces. Go ahead and make this one a double.

If we’re using vodka, might as well use GOOD vodka. I like Bully Boy’s (of course) because it’s really neutral without a syrupy/glycerin mouthfeel, or too much heat. It’s just nice. Reviewers have described it as “wet granite” which is odd and awesome at the same time. The coffee liqueur de rigueur here is Kahlua. Pretty standard.


rule37blackrussian_alt2Not surprisingly, the bouquet here isn’t terribly complex. Booze and coffee. If I think really hard about it I can go with “The top notes of an astringent sting become overwhelmed with roasted bitter char and soft creamy sweetness. Hints of chocolaty mocha pair well with the lifted spirit warmth.”

…aaaaand it tastes like coffee and booze. With a slightly syrupy mouthfeel. Admittedly, the flavors are much more chocolate than coffee, starting with a milky sweetness before the roast char bitters bite back. A slight alcohol heat eases in as a peppery sensation and continues through the finish. The initial sweet chocolate mingles with char becoming a lingering velvety dark mocha.

After several gulps and some typing (on an empty stomach) the computer screen suddenly gave a good wobbly lurch to the left before righting itself again, so heads up: this drink is decently boozy, even if it doesn’t taste it. A liquor and liqueur ingredient list still counts as all-booze.


The Lady Friend sez: “I just smell coffee mocha Kahlua smell. Mmmmm… it tastes mainly like Kahlua, and then after it’s been in your mouth a second or two you get that alcoholic burn from the vodka. Yeah, that’s kind of tasty and dangerous.”


I think we’re actually on the same page with this one.
Amazing.


rule37blackrussian_alt

Nature tip: Maine mountain streams are not as cool and refreshing as they appear.
Bring booze instead.


Wake Up, Maine

Warning: rant ahead.


After moving to Portland about a year ago from Braintree, MA, I breathed a sigh of freedom after living under some of Masachusetts’s draconian liquor laws. There are drink specials here! Happy hour! Granted, the selection at my local “packies” isn’t quite what I could get in MA (the Boston market is a big one for craft beer and increasingly, craft liquor) but there are some fantastic local offerings, such as Maine Beer Company and Marshall Wharf brewery. Yeah. Lunch IPA is plentiful up here. Think about that.

Maine is one of the top states for breweries per capita, coming in at number 6 (little New England neighbor Vermont is number 1). My brother, who moved to Portland, OR last year, loves to brag about all the breweries out there (143 according to this site) but was shocked to discover Maine was so high up on the list. Even MA doesn’t crack the top 20. This is the beauty of “per capita” statistics. Maine has about 40ish breweries, but only about 1.2 million people in the whole state. So when skewed per person, we’re doing pretty good. And growing. As a result, more and more people are coming to Portland as a craft beer destination, and the city is hosting more and more brewfests and craft beer events. Last weekend, Portland hosted The Festival.

The Festival was held in Worcester, MA last year, and kind of flew under the radar. This year, however, it was highly publicized, and moved up to Portland. Organized by Shelton Brothers Importers (based in MA), this event pulled together world-class breweries, many from Europe, to showcase some incredibly rare and special beers, focusing mainly on Belgian styles and sours.

No, I didn’t go. I’m more of a hophead than a Belgian lover, and I don’t think sours are much fun. Plus, tickets were a whopping $65 for not much beer. More on that below.

So when I stumbled across this article today, I was infuriated:

Portland Press Herald, June 26, 2013



Unbelievably bad publicity. Beer festivals in Maine are in trouble if this state doesn’t shape up and reevaluate its silly rules. If you want to be part of the craft beer game, and reap the benefits of festivals pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into the economy, then you have to provide a welcoming environment to the hosts and vendors of the event. Here’s what needs to change:

- Drink Tickets
This is just plain silly. Limiting patrons, who pay ticket prices upwards of $50 (The Festival was $65) to 48 oz of beer is insulting. That’s equivalent to four 12oz beers, or three 16oz pints, which any craft beer drinker can take down without blinking. When you divvy that up into pours of <2oz, it's highly unsatisfying.
Naturally the Maine Liquor Licensing and Compliance Division claims that the 48oz limit wasn't in effect for this event, yet I'd put money down that they threatened the organizers that they'd better adhere to the rule regardless. Criminal bureaucracy bait and switch.


- Not Letting the Brewers Pour their Beer
This was a big beef with The Festival. The brewers are basically told that they can’t touch their own beer… can’t serve it, can’t provide the equipment to serve it, can’t touch it. Not even the distributors can get involved. Because of licensing issues, it qualifies and a “catered event.” Everything has to be owned and handled by the catering company that officially serves the beers, in most cases by people who know NOTHING about the brews they’re pouring. This defeats the whole purpose of an event like this. Let the brewers bring their own team to serve and spread knowledge about their own products. Get real and come up with some realistic guidelines for a beer event.


- Cost
The Festival was $65 per ticket. Plus fees. The upcoming Maine Brewers’ Guild event in July (“Craft Beer Comes to Maine State Pier”) is $50, $75 for a VIP which gets you in an hour earlier. The only reasonably priced ticket we’ve encountered is the Portland Brewfest for $35. Come on. If BeerAdvocate can throw the ACBF in Boston for $47.50 per ticket which includes over 600 different beers from 140+ breweries, why should I pay MORE money for a third of the breweries? Did I mention that the ACBF doesn’t have drink tickets and that the brewers actually pour and handle their own beer?

When Massachusetts does a better job of handing an alcohol-related event, you know you’re in trouble.


- Mandatory Donations
There was an issue where basically the organizers were forced to give a donation to charity to obtain the license in the first place. I mean, donating to charity is great, but not when you’re told you HAVE to do it if you want your license. That’s extortion.


- Liquor Violations
Apparently, some of the volunteer servers were doing some tasting of their own, which is against the rules. If the brewers can’t touch anything, then aren’t these volunteers under the direction of the catering company? So isn’t it THEIR duty to police the event? You can’t blame the brewers for this one at all if you’re going to tell them they have to be “hands off” for the event.



As a result of these issues, Shelton Brothers won’t be back to Maine for another Festival unless the contradictory and uninviting laws change. The venue was great, the patrons were great, and nearly 2,200 people pumped $750k into the local economy. Apparently Maine won’t be seeing that money again until they get their act together and make some realistic regulations for these events. Which makes more sense: one event that nets $750k and pisses off all the vendors and organizers, or keeping them happy, so they come back year after year, and hopefully dump more and more money into the local coffers?


Stop chasing away business, Maine. You’re being an asshole.

Rule 37: Rum Collins

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



Ok, ignore the last post. That was started last week when it was merely “wum” out. It’s officially balls hot. 90°+ and humid with high probability of local scattered swass outbreaks.


rule37stretchycat

Even the cat is trying to air out his naughty bits.



I need something refreshing.

I had originally been thinking of a Tom Collins, but I had a few of those this weekend, and wanted a change. Hot weather means rum, and I do love a good Daiquiri, but perhaps a more refreshing version.

BAM! Rum Collins.


So, a Tom Collins is simply a Gin Sour (I make my sours 2:1:1, that is, 2oz spirit, 1oz citrus, 1oz simple syrup) served in a highball (well, ideally a Collins) glass, over ice, and topped with club soda. It’s a tall, cool, refreshing drink. Very nice. I don’t prefer gin (I’m getting better about that) but this one is easy for anyone to take down. Another good description I’ve heard is “sparkling lemonade with gin.” Pretty much. Though gin mileage varies per individual.

Anyway, a Rum Collins is simply a Rum Sour (a Daiquiri) served tall, over ice, with soda. A Daiquiri Highball. Sound good? I thought so. Apparently James Bond thinks so too.


rule37rumcollinsRum Collins

- 2 oz rum (Bully Boy)
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1 oz simple syrup
- Top club soda

Shake the rum, lime, and simple syrup in a shaker, as if you’re making a Daiquiri. Actually, this is a Daiquiri, but with soda. Pour into a highball/Collins glass filled with ice and top with club soda. Traditionally, this was garnished with a cherry and lemon slice, but I went with a lime peel. Cherry would be ok, but lemon doesn’t make sense in a lime-based drink.


It’s a fairly tropical drink, so feel free to decorate with flags, umbrellas, crazy straws, or drink stirrers. I have a pretty green flamingo.

Couple notes here: I used Bully Boy rum because it’s goddamn fantastic. Was the cursing necessary? Yes. If you’ve tasted the Bully Boy then you’ll agree with me. Use any white/light rum you’ve got, but know that Bacardi isn’t going to have much flavor to it at all.

I also use a raw simple syrup, made from equal parts raw sugar and water. It gives the drink a touch more dark brown sugar flavor rather than white sugar. Also, it’s practically healthy. Yeah, let’s go with that.

The lime ratio varies by recipe and by personal taste. I like things a bit more tart, so I’m fine with the simple 2:1:1 ratio. Dale DeGroff gives all his sour recipes as 1 1/2 :1 :3/4, lowering the spirit to the more regulated serving, and easing off of the citrus by 1/4 oz to make a sweeter drink which he feels suits the American palate a bit closer. I started out using his recipes and they’re mighty tasty, but I like a little more pucker and flavor nowadays, so it’s a full ounce of lime juice. Either way, the ice dilution and club soda will ease the sharp edges a bit in this cocktail, versus the unmolested Daiquiri.


The nose here is quite simple: lime and Bully Boy happiness. That white rum just gives off sugar cookies, bunny sneezes, and rainbow dust. It’s like a Disney movie in a glass. Until the booze kicks in. Then it’s like parts of Alice in Wonderland.

It tastes like a bubbly Daiquri… a perfect combination of tart, sweet, and spirit. With bubbles. The club soda (and ice) dilute the drink down a touch, but does help to make it a bit more refreshing; I find regular Daiquiris just make me want another Daiquiri, whereas this drink is a bit more thirst-quenching. Quite nice on a day when my lower region is sitting in a puddle of dampness.
Yeah. That was gross. I agree.
But the drink is really really tasty.

Especially today.

Rule 37: Painkiller

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



This spring has been irritating.
Largely it’s been cold. Then a little warmer. Then suddenly 90 degress for three days. Then back down to the low 60s. Now it’s hovering in the 70s and incredibly humid.

The weather in Maine is like a cat trying to decide which side of the door to be on.

Well I’ve had it. Time for tropical drinks. It’s warm enough.
(Actually, up here it’s pronounced “wum.”)


rule37essentialcocktailHaving exhausted the recipes of Dale DeGroff’s Craft of the Cocktail over the past several years, I finally sprung for his second book, The Essential Cocktail. This one has quite a bit more design work in it, lots of photography, and more information about the individual recipes, specific ingredients, and techniques. However, this means there are a lot fewer actual recipes, and many of them (as feared) are repeated from Craft of the Cocktail. Still, there are enough new ones to keep me happy, and the book is divided up into categories (classics, sours, tropicals, etc) which is helpful for finding a particular KIND of drink, rather than just skimming an alphabetical list of recipes.

Wanting a fruity tasty tropical drink, I merely perused the fruity tasty tropical drink section. Simple. What was not so simple was finding a drink I hadn’t had before. The Painkiller was a familiar name, but hadn’t been dumped down my gullet, so let’s mix this one up.


rule37painkillerPainkiller
From Dale DeGroff’s The Essential Cocktail

- 2 oz Navy Rum (Pusser’s recommended, used Sailor Jerry)
- 1 oz coconut cream (Coco Lopez)
- 2 oz pineapple juice
- 1 oz orange juice

Mix it up, shake it up, pour over ice. This can be a tall or a short glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg. Dale is very insistent on that point. I also tossed an orange peel in there.


So, a couple things to note: navy rum is specified here, which is generally a higher proof. The Pusser’s Dale recommends varies in strength, depending on where you get it, but in the US it’s generally 94 proof. Also, apparently Pusser’s decided to TRADEMARK the “Painkiller” in 2003, and claim ownership, like Gosling’s did with a “Dark ‘N Stormy.” I think it’s kind of a dick move, and their 4 oz of pineapple juice is quite different from the version used here. So between that and the use of Sailor Jerry, by law, this technically isn’t a Painkiller. Ugh.

After that legal nonsense, I need some sort of drink… to… kill… the pain.


Nose: Well, with that fresh nutmeg grated across the top, that’s about all there is to smell. I’ll have to reevaluate after sipping some off.

A good stir mixes that nutmeg down into the drink, and now I get aromas of coconut, pineapple and orange. There’s a touch of vanilla sweetness as well, but in general, the aroma sum does not add up to more than its separate parts. I can clearly identify each ingredient. Not that it’s bad – they’re all quite tropical and yummy – but it doesn’t really mesh together as well. Perhaps it will in the taste.

rule37painkiller_altTaste: OOOOOoooohhhhhhh hominahomniahominakerzam. That’s gooooooooooooood. The flavors do mingle together a bit better in the taste, but are still identifiable. Coconut cream lovliness all over everything. Pineapple sweet tropical fruit. A touch of orange tart (I hesitate to say tart, as fresh orange juice is generally pretty sweet, but compared to the coconut and pineapple, the orange IS the citrus tart in this drink). The rum is harder to identify. Sailor Jerry is a SPICED navy rum, with a LOT of vanilla in the bouquet and flavor, but it’s no match for the other flavors in here. The nutmeg really adds a nice spice to the finish, and helps create another layer other than fruity sweetness. Don’t leave it out of this drink: it really works. There’s a very slight alcohol sour hiding underneath, but mostly this is one you could pound without even tasting the booze. Hence the higher proof rums… you’ll never notice them in here. Coconut and pineapple make almost everything taste wonderful, but this drink is a touch too sweet. It could use a little splash of lime tart, and some bitters would just make it better, but as-is this is alarmingly tasty.


Trademarked or not, this tasty concoction can will get you into trouble.

Rule 37: Nolita

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



This one came from an idle afternoon snooping around Kindred Cocktails, which is proving to be a very handy resource. A recent blast down to MA brought the NH State Liquor store across our path, and since the Lady Friend was taking advantage of a St Germain sale, I did some wandering of my own, coming away with a sale-priced bottle of Kahlua. How I’ve gone this long without some Kahlua on the bar, I’m not sure, but I do know it rules out a lot of new drinks, being a gap in the ingredients available. So now I have some. And need to use it.

Kindred Cocktails lets you search by a particular ingredient, and after several unappealing suggestions, I decided to go with this Negroni variation. It’s simply splits the sweet vermouth with the coffee liqueur. Tia Maria also comes up for this sort of thing, but for now the Kahlua will have to do. According to the creator on San Diego Food Finds, this one is named as a mashup of “Negroni” and “Cafe Lolita,” apparently a brand of coffee liqueur. Don’t have that, but do have Kahlua, so in we go.


rule37nolitaNolita
From San Diego Food Finds via Kindred Cocktails

- 1 oz gin (I used GTD Wire Works because it’s AWESOME.)
- 1 oz Campari
- 1/2 oz sweet vermouth (Martini & Rossi)
- 1/2 oz coffee liqueur (Kahlua)
- 1 dash bitters*

It’s a Negroni at heart, so STIR it. Use Julep strainer and serve up or on the rocks. I prefer my Negronis (or variations) on the rocks with one giant monster ice block. Garnish with a lemon peel.


*Yeah, so they simply say “dash of bitters” but neglect to specify WHAT bitters. I could go with orange here, which would play nicely in the Campari flavors, but with that addition of coffee liqueur, I’m going to use the old standby, Angostura. I’m assuming that when people say “bitters” but don’t specify, they mean Angostura. A little cinnamon/spice should also work here.

Nose: Actually, with that big iceberg in there, I don’t really get much aroma at all. There’s a hint of gin botanicals, and a very subdued Campari, but that’s about it.

rule37nolitabottlesTaste: Cold. Slightly syrup mouthfeel, as can be expected from that Campari ooze. Light gin up front, followed by bittersweet puckering orange Campari, and finishes with a coffee roast. I really wish this was more dramatic, but that’s how it is. It’s quite nice, but it’s a Negroni with some coffee flavor. For the second sip, I rolled it around in my mouth a bit more to warm it a touch, and it had a bit of a numbing effect from the booze rather than the cold. The gin is certainly prevalent, matched with the Campari spice. I’m sure this would be quite a bit rougher without the vermouth, but I can’t really pick out any of its essence among the big flavors. Again, the finish is a coffee roast, like a good stout/porter, bitter rather than mocha or dark chocolate. I bet Kahlua gets somewhat chocolatey when mixed with whiskey, but with the brighter, sharper flavors in a Negroni, it sets itself apart as the darker ingredient. The Angostura is nowhere to be found, though I suspect it’s lurking in the finish sheltered by the coffee flavors.

This is quite nice with the Wire Works, an American style gin, which eases off of the juniper a touch. I think the combination of a big, brash London Dry style would be an odd pairing of pine and coffee.


Is this a good time to say that I don’t drink/like coffee?

Even so, this is a good alternative to a regular Negroni. Something about it feels more like a cold, damp, rainy day drink. A little brown liqueur in an otherwise bright drink. It dims things down a bit.
Wonderful.

Review: Bully Boy American Straight Whiskey

YES.
The first of the Bully Boy aged spirits. FINALLY.

Now I get to take you to whiskey school. You might learn something.
Plus, how awesome does “whiskey school” sound?


review-BBASW_bottle

Bully!



So. Bully Boy’s American Straight Whiskey. It’s a small-batch craft whiskey coming out of Boston by (very tall) distillers Will and Dave Willis. This one has been aging for about two years and change, and is an entirely different recipe from their White Wheat Whiskey. Dark blue label this time, and a taller, longer-necked bottle in contrast to their stubbier apothecary-like containers for the regular lineup. Instantly you know this is a different type of product, though the Bully Boy logo is just as recognizable in white rather than black ink. Let’s break down the name: American Straight Whiskey. It’s produced in America (well, Massachusetts, which can be very un-American at times YES I’M TALKING ABOUT YOUR RESTRICTIVE LIQUOR LAWS AND LACK OF HAPPY HOUR). Here’s the fun part… it’s a Straight Whiskey. There’s a number of important regulations that go with this designation, so you know what you’re getting. Like the term “bottled-in-bond,” it’s a guarantee from the government.

review-BBASW_label1) It has to be made from cereal grain.
The Bully Boys are using a mash bill that’s roughly 45% corn, 45% rye, and 10% barley. Somewhere in there.

2) Coming off of the still, you can’t exceed 80% abv/ 160 proof, and can’t exceed 62.5% abv/ 125 proof going into the barrel for aging.

3) Must be aged for at least two years in charred new American Oak barrels. Check.

4) No additives (like caramel coloring). Check.

5) Once it’s done aging, you can filter it (this one is not chill filtered) and dilute it down to no less than 40% abv/ 80 proof. We’re at 84 proof here, so no problem there.

6) IF you wanted to call a whiskey a “straight bourbon” (like Makers Mark) or a “straight rye” (like Bulleit Rye), you need 51% of the predominant cereal grain in the mash bill (51% corn for bourbon or 51% rye for rye). Bully Boy is split pretty evenly on the corn/rye line, so it’s neither a bourbon, nor a rye by definition. It’s simply a straight whiskey.


There you go. Lesson over.


Back in November I drove down to Boston to attend the official launch party of Bully Boy ASW at the Blue Room in Kendall Square. Will and Dave were both there boozing and schmoozing, and I was mistaken for (and narrowly missed meeting in person) Will Gordon, a like-minded writer and imbiber of various intoxicating beverages. The event was a blast, and I got my first taste of the ASW. Very tasty. The BBoys were also gracious enough to donate a bottle (Batch 1, Bottle 211) for an official SquirrelFarts review, so let’s get to it.


BBASW-releaseparty_bottles


Though there were two cocktail options at the launch party, I went for a sample served neat – whiskey in glass. No water, no ice. We’ll start the almost the same way here, but with a few drops of water added.

review-BBASW_neatNose: Caramel. Lots of caramel. Sweet. A slight cinnamon/nutmeg spice. Vanilla. Fruit. Cherry, plum and even fig. Dark syrup, like maple syrup without the maple. There’s a heat from the alcohol that singes a touch… don’t inhale TOO deeply.

Taste: Bitter, with a spicy snap right from the start. There’s a rounded sweetness that helps in the middle, and a nice wash of boozy heat that leaves the gums tingling. A dry oaky finish, and snappy rye spice overall. It leaves your mouth a bit parched and thirsty for more.

My initial reaction at the party was that it nosed like a bourbon, but tasted like a rye. That’s the story I’m sticking with here. It’s kind of both styles in one whiskey with the corn sweet and the bitter rye spice. Given the mash bill, that makes sense.

I really like it.
Shocking, I know.
I’m not as big a fan of the White Whiskey (the Belgian-like banana/ clove throws me off a bit) but this is MUCH more to my liking. It really is a good split of bourbon versus rye all in the same spirit. I need a cocktail that will work equally well with both styles. This calls for a MANHATTAN.

Like I need an excuse for a Manhattan.


review-BBASW_manhattanBully Boy ASW Manhattan
Nothing fancy here, no tricks. Just a normal Manhattan. I like mine at 2:1

- 3 oz Bully Boy ASW
- 1.5 oz sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters

For the love of Bacchus STIR IT. All spirit here, no need for shaking. Serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.


This is my normal Manhattan recipe to give the BB ASW a fair trial. I like mine at a reasonable 2:1 ratio, with a homemade cocktail cherry. I’m sticking to Angostura here so the whiskey isn’t competing with the other ingredients.

Nose: Rounded and smooth. It’s almost got an herbal touch, like oregano. Yeah, I know that’s really strange, but whatevs. My bar, my blog. I think what does it is the mixture of fruity/winey vermouth and the spicy/sweet whiskey, with the Angostura butting in its cinnamon bark tinctures. There’s an almost savory quality as a result, redolent of marinara sauce. Is my nose misfiring? Is that a thing? The whiskey character IS there, but it’s taken on a much more subdued, languished savory sensation.

Taste: We’re back to normal in the flavor. Once again, the drink starts off with a nice bitter snap, followed by a sweet corn just before the dark grape syrup of the vermouth comes in. The finish is dry, spicy, and warming, and it’s hard to separate the contributions of the Angostura from the rye spice.

I rather like it, but it’s different from many other whiskies. That herbal aroma is really freaking me out, but the taste is right where it should be.


review-BBASW_bottle2[UPDATE]
I just had to try this one again. There was such an odd aroma profile that I went back and made another Manhattan, this time eliminating such variables as my (past prime?) cocktail cherry, and with a fresh bottle of vermouth. Just in case. This time we’re going with a scotch tasting glass (dome-shaped rocks glass, not a Glencairn) to funnel those aromas down and see what the results are.

Nose: Much more normal from what I’d expect in a Manhattan, but STILL verging on the herbal spice. Craziness. It’s much more subdued than in the original test, and there are wider sensations of rye spice, cinnamon, syrupy grape, dry wood and/or sawdust, and yet, Italian spices. Oregano, basil. It’s not a BAD thing, just very unusual. Somebody in here (corn, barley, vermouth, Angostura… I’m looking at YOU rye) is fooling around. Weird, but neat.

Taste: As before, the taste is much more in line with a normal Manhattan. Dry spicy start, quick rounded sweetness before a warm wave of alcohol; grapey syrup gives way to a crisp arid finish, with a rye bitter mingled into the Angostura dark bark spice. Not as sweet as a bourbon, not as spicy as a rye, but somewhere in between. Lovely.


Overall I’d lean towards using this one in spirit-forward mixes due to its unique nature. It’s not quite bourbon, it’s not quite rye, but it’s very tasty. It’s got the best of both going on, and would make a fantastic Old Fashioned. Try it neat to see the duality of the mash bill before you mix it into other concoctions. Sure, I’m biased towards Bully Boy, but they keep making good products. Go snag this one. Here’s where you can find it (pdf).


For our Bully Boy rum review click here: Bully Boy Rum
For our Bully Boy vodka review click here: Bully Boy Vodka
For our Bully Boy white whiskey review click here: Bully Boy White Whiskey
For our visit to the Bully Boy distillery click here: Bully Boy Distillery



Squirrel Farts is now accepting solicited product reviews! Send me a bottle and I’ll take a pretty picture and talk it up in the amusing tangential manner you’ve come to expect. Beer, spirits, mixers, whatever. Contact here for details. Note: I will mention that the review was solicited, hell, I’ll even brag about it. Free booze? Damn right. But The Man says I have to say I got it for freebies. I’m excited about free stuff, so whatever. Now, that doesn’t mean that I’ll like it, or that I’ll give it a good review. But chances are if you read this blog, then we’ll get along. Put it to the test: send me your booze!

Review: Mayflower 5th Anniversary DIPA

Remember how I used to write this blog thing?
Yeah, me too.
I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus, which was unexpected, but not entirely unproductive. Lots of content built up, so expect some new posts.

In the meantime, Mayflower.

UPDATE:
Since posting this review and trekking to Plymouth, I discovered that there IS still some of this beer left. As of 5/18, Pioppi’s in Plymouth still had several bombers on the shelf (minus the one we snagged.)




review-mayflower5thDIPAbottlecap


This one I’ve been meaning to get to for awhile. The Lady Friend and I took a trip down to Mayflower Brewery in Plymouth earlier in the year to snag a bottle of their limited bottling: the Mayflower 5th Anniversary Ale, a double IPA clocking in at 8.2%. I wanted it. Badly. Loin-achingly. But there weren’t many bottles left, and we couldn’t get down to Ply-town for a few weekends. Calamity! Fortunately, a friend of mine at the brewery, Sarah, (Hi Sarah! Well, say hello! Oh, quit hiding… wave to the internetz peoplez! OH NOW COME ON. That gesture was just plain rude. Fine. I’ll have to post that picture where you wanted me to put Vin Diesel’s face on you.)


mayflower-vin

Exhibit A.



That escalated quickly.

mayflower-lobsterAnyway, Sarah – who really is awesome – snagged me a bottle and hid it until we got down there. They had also just changed over to their Spring Hop seasonal, which is mighty tasty, so naturally we stayed for a round of sampling. It’s never too hard to convince us to stay for a sample or ten, especially when the seasonals have just switched over. Om nom nom Spring Hop.


Since then, the anniversary brew has been unintentionally aging in my beer fridge. I didn’t mean to, but it just sort of happened. I wanted to save it and savor it rather than pound it down and move on to the next beer. But now, I’m getting back the blogging, and leading off with this tasty brew. Coincidence? Not entirely. Mayflower is hosting their annual Open House (open brewery?) this weekend, May 18th from 11a-4p. $10 a head at the door gets you free beer, good fun, sporadic brewery tours (I may have led a semi-sober tour for my friends last year), music and food. Details here. For the Lady Friend and I, this will be our third consecutive open house, and we’re even trekking down from the frozen tundra of Maine, so you know it’s a good time. It also serves as the release party for their summer seasonal, the Summer Rye Ale.

Details again:
Saturday, May 18th, 11am – 4pm
Mayflower Brewery
12 Resnik Road, Plymouth, MA



Anyway. Let’s get to the tasting.


review-mayflower5thDIPAbottle

Kablammo



Nose: Ooooh hoppy. But you knew that was coming. Fresh, clean, open hops. Slightly syrupy. Citrus orange and lemon, with a darker pine spruce. Almost sugary, like maple sugar candy but without the maple. So, just sugar candy then? Yeah, I guess. Whatever, I’ve been drinking. What’s your excuse? Rich malty back gluing the works together. Very promising.

review-mayflower5thDIPAbeerTaste: Smooth, easy carbonic. Orange citrus sweetness with a blue spruce sour. Not that it’s sour, but it’s not a sharp, stinging bitter snap. More like a counterpoint to the lighter aspects of the hop. Rounded overall… not as dry as an East Coast, but not as sweet as a West Coast, though I’d say that this is probably the most West Coast style I’ve tasted from Mayflower. The malt syrup oozes in the background like a lazy meandering stream in no particular hurry. While the hop boats on top shoot the rapids from sweet to tart to round bitter, the malt mud on the bottom lies undisturbed, providing a foundation for the rest of the flavors to float on. The smoothness of the carbonic is also lovely; a creamy mouthfeel closer to a nitrogenated sensation rather than big brassy bubbles of bitter stings. Butterflies, not bees.

To be fair, I let this one age a bit in my beer fridge. In theory, this could account for a mellower hop presence and even a smoother carbonation, though that is not as likely without a leak in the cap.


Here’s what the Lady Friend had to say:
review-mayflower5thDIPAdetailNose: “I smell that yummy tree fruit. I also think it smells a little malty. I wonder if that would have been different if we smelled it when it was fresh. Almost has a little apple juice – I think that’s the malt.”

Taste:It’s good. [How profound.]
“It’s very good. [How very profound.]
“It’s got some sharp bitter hop taste, still get some of that tree fruit. It’s very good. Still a little malty, but it’s well-balanced. And that’s it.”


You heard the lady. It’s good. It’s very good.
Actually, I quite agree.




Squirrel Farts is now accepting solicited product reviews! Send me a bottle and I’ll take a pretty picture and talk it up in the amusing tangential manner you’ve come to expect. Beer, spirits, mixers, whatever. Contact here for details. Note: I will mention that the review was solicited, hell, I’ll even brag about it. Free booze? Damn right. But The Man says I have to say I got it for freebies. I’m excited about free stuff, so whatever. Now, that doesn’t mean that I’ll like it, or that I’ll give it a good review. But chances are if you read this blog, then we’ll get along. Put it to the test: send me your booze!

Rule 37: Blue Hawaiian

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



There’s a monster lizard!!!



What started as a predicted “2-4 inches beginning in early afternoon” before the main blizzard event rapidly escalated when at 7am, there was a blanket of 4″+. Yeah. Apparently some sort of “microburst” which “didn’t show up on radar” hit Portland and dumped half a foot. BEFORE the actual blizzard. Awesome.

Weathermen/women should be publicly whipped when they’re this wrong.
Or take a pay cut.

I know which would be more entertaining on the 11 o’clock news.

Yes, I’ve heard it before: it’s nearly impossible to predict the weather. So… why is that a profession? Couldn’t we just throw darts at a board of weather events with about the same rate of accuracy? Or let a monkey do it? (That would be awesome.) It’s not even that they’re so constantly wrong: it’s that there’s no accountability. Why is this a magic job with no consequences for consistently poor performance?
And how do I get this job?


So, the Lady Friend and I were discharged from work at noon, and proceeded to spend the rest of the day drinking stouts, and watching The Empire Strikes Back, certainly both fine choices for a snowy afternoon. But then it was cocktail time, and something had to be done. I had already decided I wanted something with rum. And pineapple. Because screw you, snow. It’s going to be tropical in my belly.


This one comes from The Rum 1000 by Ray Foley. It’s a half decent go-to if you’re looking specifically for rum drinks, but a tad annoying, as many cocktails are named by brand. I don’t need different recipes for an Appleton Daiquiri, a Bacardi Daiquiri, a spiced Daiquiri, and several other variations. At least there wasn’t a Captain Morgan’s Daiquiri. Wait… the “spiced” one was. Ugh. I guess it was a bit of a stretch to get to 1,000 recipes. But basically a lot of them have rum and pineapple, so I picked one and went for it.


rule37bluehawaiianBlue Hawaiian
From The Rum 1000 by Ray Foley

- 1 oz white rum (Bully Boy!)
- 1 oz blue curaçao
- 1 oz coconut cream (Coco Lopez)
- 2 oz pineapple juice

The book says to “blend with a scoop of crushed ice until smooth” and serve in “a glass.” Very detailed. I went a different route. Shake everything as normal, strain into a snow-filled pineapple cup, garnish with a cherry, pineapple slice, and a whole bunch of tropical tiki junk. Drink. Repeat until the snow stops.


Broke out the tastilicious Bully Boy on this one, and juiced up some fresh pineapple. Coconut cream makes everything taste happy (Coco Lopez has a squeeze bottle… use that. It’s much easier than the can) and blue curaçao turned everything blue-green. The pineapple cup took some doing, but was worth it just for the occasion. I wish I had made it bigger.

The drink smells… well, like sugar cookie rum, pineapple, and coconut. There’s a slight astringency from the rum, but this isn’t a complex sipper. A couple dashes of Angostura bitters would really help this along, but it’s not necessary. Somehow any drink that uses blue curaçao doesn’t seem worthy of bitters.

It tastes… well, again, about how it smells. The coconut cream is forefront in the flavor, which a choking sweetness and syrupy texture. Bully Boy rummy goodness adds to the sweet, but the booze helps cut through a bit. The pineapple just kind of hangs out in the background making everything juicy and happy. I don’t get any of the blue curaçao, though a touch of that alcohol astringency might be from that triple sec dryness.

It’s not terribly complex, but it’s not supposed to be. It’s a super-sweet tropical drink to make you forget about the accumulating snowdrifts. Sunshine in a cup. If you have enough of them, you can actually feel the deck of the cruise ship sway under your feet. Don’t fall overboard. There’s no water: just snow.

Rule 37: Jack-In-The-Box Cocktail

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



I just wanted something tasty.
That’s all.
Minimal effort.
You know, one of those Friday evenings when you don’t want to think/blog too hard.
Oh, you don’t have a blog?
I do, and sometimes it’s a pain royale with cheese. Until I have a drink or two. Then it’s easy.

The usual Friday night routine involves finding/choosing a unique Rule 37 drink because I haven’t bothered to do that step in the preceding week. Usually. Sometimes I do, and that makes everything easier. When I have a starting place, it helps a lot. Once the drink has been chosen, I have to think of the “hero,” or main shot of the cocktail itself because I haven’t bothered to do that step either. This means choosing the right glass, deciding on a lighting setup, choosing a background, testing the lighting setup, deciding it doesn’t work, redoing a different lighting setup, chilling the glass, making the drink, making the garnish, getting the chilled glass out of the freezer, pouring the drink and staging the garnish all before the foam/oil on the drink surface dissipates and the frost on the glass melts. Before I even get to taste it.

First world problems. I am aware of this.


In hopes of finding something simple, I started flipping through a 1965 edition of Mr. Boston and found some wacky stuff, but this one didn’t seem too outrageous. Just equal parts apple brandy and pineapple juice, with a dash of bitters. I’ll give it a try.

There doesn’t seem to be much history or story behind this one, though many examples of the drink appear throughout Teh Interwebz, though one is a completely different concoction using vodka. Ick.


rule37jackintheboxJack-in-the-Box Cocktail
From Old Mr. Boston De Luxe Official Bartender’s Guide, 1965 ed.

- 1 oz apple brandy (Laird’s)
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- Dash of bitters (Angostura)

Old Mr. Boston sez “Shake well with cracked ice and strain into 3oz cocktail glass.”
Simple enough. Shake it VERY well to get a nice foamy pineapple juice, and serve it in a chilled glass. I made a double, which fit quite nicely into a modern 5oz cocktail glass.



Yup. Pretty easy. I don’t have any FRESH pineapple juice on hand at the moment, so the canned will sadly have to suffice for tonight. One review stressed using the fresh juice, and normally I agree, but I don’t have a method of juicing fresh pineapple. Yet. Citrus fruits, yes; large tropical hard fruits, not so much. The drink turned a lovely orange-pink color, but it looks lonely without a garnish.

rule37jackintheboxbottlesIn we go. Well. It smells of apples and the so-called pined apples. They kind of battle back and forth between tart and sweet, with the crisp apple seeming almost sour up against the syrupy tropical nectar. There’s an astringency in there as well (the Laird’s Straight Apple Brandy is 100 proof) which is likely providing some of the sourness, and deep underneath lurks the cinnamon spice of the Angostura. I suspect that the drink needed a heftier dose of bitters, but we’ll see when I sample it.

There’s also a waft of mildew from the Old Mr. Boston. Old indeed.

Sour start. It’s the apple tart combined with the alcohol that begins the drink with a frowny note. The pineapple washes in to cheer everything up, all sugar and sunshine, then a kick of booze stings the tongue pushing the pineapple aside. The Angostura comes in on the heels of the alcohol fire with a dry spice linger in both the flavor and mouthfeel. It finishes a tad sour and dry overall. Sometimes that apple brandy lends a sweetness, and sometimes a tart sour depending on the other ingredients.It plays the part well, lending that alcohol pucker when you need it, or an apple crisp sweetness when up against bitter foes, like Chartreuse.


rule37jackintheboxaltIt’s by no means bad, but just not as fruity and sweet as I would have expected. Quite well balanced, actually, as pineapple just can be TOO sweet if you let it. The Angostura really did come through in the flavor, and the play of apple and pineapple wound up being more interesting than anticipated. You could make a milder, sweeter version of this using the regular 80-proof Applejack, but I think the added boozage helps tame the tropical sweetness to a good balance. I’m dying to try this with FRESH juice and reevaluate. Perhaps soon.

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