Posts Tagged ‘rye’

Rule 37: Southern Baptist

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 week’s cocktail comes from Serious Eats. According to them, it’s a drink by Sother Teague of Amor y Amargo in New York, and I have no reason not to believe that. It just sounded tasty, AND I get to bust out my freshly-made ginger syrup for this one. More on that later.

For this inspirational-sounding cocktail, I needed an equally holy whiskey.
Time for my Redemption.

rule37southernbaptist_redemptionRye whiskey must be made from 51% rye grain (whereas bourbon must be 51% corn), but as far as I’m concerned, the more rye, the better. Redemption Rye whiskey boasts a 95% rye grain bill, making it one of the most rye-y of the ryes out there. It doesn’t get much rye-y-er than this (though my treasured Alberta Premium clocks in at 100% rye). The original recipe recommends Bulleit, which I’m sure is also tasty, but I don’t have any. And I just got this bottle of Redemption. They’re actually produced from the same source, but Bulleit is aged about twice as long.

Let’s get to it.

rule37southernbaptistSouthern Baptist
Created by Sother Teague of Amor y Amargo
Recipe from Serious Eats

– 2 oz rye whiskey (Redemption)
– 3/4 oz ginger syrup
– 1 oz lime juice

That’s it. Shake it, strain it, serve it.

The drink doesn’t look all that impressive. Lime juice usually seems to cloud drinks, and it just looks strange paired with whiskey. The ginger syrup is certainly brown as well, so the whole thing comes out with a rather muddy hue. The combination of whiskey and lime juice always reminds me of the Leatherneck (2oz blended whiskey, 3/4oz blue curaçao, 1/2oz lime juice) a pre-blog Rule 37 drink from Ted Haigh’s fantastic Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. That one also turned a muddy sort of color, despite the blue curaçao, the culprit there being the clouded lime juice. And so it goes.

Nose: It smells of whusky, and not much more. Sweet though. On its own the Redemption has a sweetish alluring aroma, though with a scorpion sting of alcohol warning you to be cautious. The boozy bite doesn’t come through in the smell of this drink, but rather the wood, cherry fruit, cinnamon, and dark sugary molasses are at the forefront. There isn’t too much ginger, but a decent hint of savory spice lurks beneath the whiskey glow. It’s a wet and dry spice all at the same time. My mouth is watering. Time for a sip.

Taste: Sweet fruit to start. Cherry. Then it washes away to a lovely rye whiskey essence: sweet but with a bite. The ginger comes through in the midtones paired alongside the lime citrus, and it’s wonderful. The heat of the ginger spice warms, the lime tart snaps, and the whiskey flows along with a woody sweet spice. The overall effect is that of cloves, cinnamon candy. It’s difficult to tell the lingering ginger heat from the alcohol’s warmth. Redemption does weigh in at a welterweight 92 proof, but it’s not overly boozy in this one.

Let’s see what that female creature thinks. Right from the start she thinks my ginger syrup is too peppery, and just exclaimed that the kitchen smells of black pepper. So I think I can guess where she’ll go with this one.

“I’m trying to place that smell… it’s kind of anise. But a little bit bourbon. Alright: now tasting. Kind of grassy, and then sweet. I really don’t know what you put in there. [Another sip] It’s very tree-like. It’s piney but not gin piney. I guess herbal might be the term. There’s something I’ve recently had that this reminds me of… ROSEMARY. I think that’s what I get. Am I insane?”
Well. Kind of.
But I see her point.
“Can you put at the end of my review ‘Hi Mom!’? She’ll get a kick out of that.”
I suppose.
“I like ginger, but that syrup is too peppery.”

I think this one is excellent. The rye and spice combination is a wonderful pairing, with a citrus tart adding a cool counterpoint. It leaves a tingle in the mouth, but it’s sweet and tasty as well. I wouldn’t call it complex, but there is a good range of flavor happening here. Without the ginger, it’d be a dull whiskey sour, but that spice gives it a healthy snap. Fantastic.

My goodness. I do believe I shall have another.

Rule 37: The Diamondback

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.

Sometimes Teh Interwebz works out the way it’s supposed to.

A couple weeks ago I did a post on the Historic Core Cocktail, which was pretty wild. I happened across another blog in the research, Tempered Spirits, and its author commented back with a suggestion:


Sounds awesome. Boozy, but awesome.

Always open to suggestions, I decided to give it a try. I suspect it’s going to be another big boy drink, with those two bonded liquors, and the 110 proof Chartreuse. Kindred Cocktails came to the rescue again here with a little more information. Apparently, there are two versions of this cocktail, one with yellow Chartreuse, and one with the more powerful green (I like to call it Chartreuse2 ). The history is spelled out pretty well on this other site, but the gist is that yellow Chartreuse was originally used until Murray Stenson of Seattle’s Zig Zag Cafe (a well-known craft cocktail mecca) put some green in the mix to liven things up. It’s also listed on this OTHER cocktail site from way back in 2005 when Hollaback Girl was a thing. The green-utilized recipe become adopted as the modern version, so that’s what I’m going with.

Also, yes, we have no bananas yellow Chartreuse.

Suggested by Tempered Spirits

– 1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye whiskey
– 3/4 oz Laird’s Straight Apple Brandy
– 3/4 oz Green Chartrueuse

All booze.
Stir this one until icy cold. Serve in a chilled cocktail glass of your choosing. A cherry is suitable for the garnish, though optional. Having a personal cache of homemade cocktail cherries, I opted to include it.

Nose: A decently complex nose snorter. Sweet herbal notes like licorice/anise, laundry detergent, fancy guest soaps and potpourri waft above. Below there’s a warning warmth of alcoholic strength, cooking the nostrils, and hints of brown sugar with apple sweetness. The herbal Chartreuse dominates the aromas here, and you can smell the booze below.

This is either going to be fantastic or vile.

Taste: Alcohol sour, though the cold helps to numb. Bitter herbs and cinnamon spice warmth spreading from the outer edges of the tongue inwards. Fresh green herbs, alcohol heat tingling the tongue and gums. Cinnamon spice again, or is it a tangy botanical of sorts? A lovely hint of apple sweet cruising placidly in the lower currents. The top end is heat, hot coals, a slow burning fire. Rye snap and alcohol sting, and the herbs turn to a floral sensation as the heat passes. Sweet, sugary sensation, I suspect from the liqueur, but with a powerhouse of flavor. This one is complex. This one is boozy. This one is EXCELLENT.

Let’s see what SHE thinks:
“Smells like a sweet apple/caramel. I smell caramel apple mixed with like a whiskey smell. I don’t get Chartreuse. I don’t get anything herbally… from the smell I get mainly the whiskey, but with a little apple.”

I think her nose is on the fritz. Let’s move on.

“Alcohol burn. Hmmm.

I’m waiting for something.

I get an herbalness to the finish. Oooh. Now I really do. But that took awhile.”

Huh. I think her mouth is broken too.

So, apparently we have wildly differing views on what this drink smells and tastes like. She smelled caramel apples and didn’t notice the Chartreuse at all. Where I found lovely complex layers in an alcohol-fueled oven, she tasted nothing but booze and some slight herbs in the finish.

I dunno what to make of that.
But I say it’s a fantastic cocktail.

Rule 37: Historic Core 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.

Cocktail time!

The Lady Friend received a bottle of green Chartreuse from her parents for Christmas, so we needed to put that to use. Right away. Chartreuse is interesting stuff: it’s an herbal liqueur from France, was originally made by monks, and comes in a couple different versions. There’s a yellower, mellower version, a super expensive fancy version called V.E.P. (Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolongé or “really old”), and the standard green version. Fun fact: Chartreuse is the only liquor/liqueur to have a color named after it. What color is Chartreuse? It’s Chartreuse. Outside of France, you’re most likely to come across Chartreuse in a Prohibition-era cocktail that has been somewhat revieved, the Last Word.

no9_lastwordBut I’ve already had a Last Word before. Several. Two occasions in particular are noteworthy: one at Drink when the Lady Friend and I went on our first date (yup, took her drinkin’), and another on Repeal Day in 2011 when Ted, bar manager at No. 9 Park, sent over a round for us after hearing that we were out celebrating the drinker’s holiday. The Last Word is tasty, but what else can you make with Chartreuse?

The Lady Friend intended to find out just that. She wound up on a site called Kindred Cocktails, which looks like a fantastically awesome resource for future cocktail quests. I don’t recall what Chartreuse-inclusive recipe she wound up making, but she also found one that looked like a winner for me. It’s called the Historic Core Cocktail, and seems to have been invented by a bartender in L.A. named John Coltharp in 2008. Apparently, it was part of a cocktail competition where bartenders had to create cocktails that represented the different parts of the city. Coltharp wound up with the “Historic Core” and started mixing some fun stuff, namely rye whiskey, applejack and Chartreuse. Sounds right up my alley. It also made it into a cocktail book called Left Coast Libations, and the recipe on Kindred Cocktails was attributed to that. Much like this other author, I was kind of excited that I actually had the correct ingredients on hand, except the Carpano Antica vermouth. I generally use Martini & Rossi Rosso because a) it’s easy to find and b) I don’t go through vermouth quickly enough to justify buying the nice stuff. Vermouth tends to last for about a month after opening if you keep it in the fridge. Rossi isn’t as lively as Carpano Antica or Punt e Mes, but it’s more affordable for a consumable until I can find smaller bottles of the nice stuff.

Historic Core Cocktail
By John Coltharp.
From Kindred Cocktails and Left Coast Libations

– 1.5 oz rye whiskey (Rittenhouse)
– .5 oz apple brandy (Laird’s)
– .5 oz Chartreuse (green)
– .5 oz sweet vermouth (Rosso)
– Generous dash bitters (Fee Bros. Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters)

No juice in this one, so STIR it, and serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel after squeezing the oils across the top of the drink.

Did you see that? TWO ingredients that are bottled-in-bond, and therefore, 100 proof: the Rittenhouse and the Laird’s. Chartreuse is no slouch either, with a 110 proof sucker punch.The recipe calls for Angostura, but with the rest of the team bringing their A-game, I figured I’d let the Fee Bros Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters come out to play. Go big or go home. Except I am home. Does that mean I don’t have to go big? Wait, what?

Never mind.

Nose: Predominantly apple. With booze. Strange, because there’s only a half ounce of the Laird’s in there. Powerful stuff. I can see the lemon oils swirling across the surface, like 10W 40 on asphalt after a rain shower. There is a bit of lemony essence, but mostly apple. And booze. Did I mention the booze? Yeah, it’s there. Not searing hot in the nostrils like a snort of acetone, but a warm warning. I might be getting a tinge of darkness, from the whiskey and bitters, but it’s hard to detect. A very very slight vegetative musk lurks in there too. Those herbs are up to no good.

Taste: BY THE CROWN OF ZEUS. Whoaowmunummeowzlebub. That’s a-spicy meat-a-ball. Lots of heat in the flavor: some alcoholic burn, some herbs and spices. This isn’t the Colonel’s secret recipe however. Very complex, with a lot going on. I’d take another mouthful to try to walk through the electrical storm of sensations, but I think half of my tongue is numb. My gums are tingling too. They won’t stop. Making another approach. Roger, Squirrelfarts has the ball.


Herbal Chartreuse.
More of it.
Whiskey, dark, syrup.
Astringent alcohol.
Spices. Cinnamon, bark, leaves.
Anise; Licorice.
Astringency eases off.
Dark spices left. Slight syrup. Apple sweetness.
Fresh cut grass? Seriously. Where did that come from?
Brown sugar.

I think I like it. I’m not sure. I do know that after about a third of this drink, I’m starting to feel the booze kick in. Warm happy warm booze. Make no mistake: this is a potent drink. 2oz of 100 proof liquor, 1/2oz of 110 proof Chartreuse. Oh, and a little vermouth. Yowza.

Oh I totally have to inflict this on the Lady Friend. This should be good. Standby.

“*furrows brow* I get mainly the Rittenhouse. I was searching for the Chartreuse. I get a little herbal essence towards the end, but it mainly tastes like a Manhattan to me. A little bit of sweetness, I guess from the applejack, but I don’t get a lot of the Chartreuse in that. I would assume it would be like a Pernod-rinsed glass. I was figuring that Chartreuse would be like Pernod, like a little would go a long way, and it would overpower a cocktail. Now I’m excited to use it. It adds just a little dimension.

I suggested that she take a good mouthful instead of the dainty little sips she usually employs.

Hmmmm. I guess I could see almost a 50/50 split with the rye and the Chartreuse. It’s a lot of flavor. It’s three big boys fighting. I don’t get the apple so much. The other two are a lot bigger. I do get a little bit of apple sweetness though. It’s not LOST, but the other two are much more prominent.
It’s good though.”
“For the amount of alcohol that’s in there, it’s actually quite palatable.

I think she’s associating the alcohol heat solely with the Rittenhouse, which I found to be a secondary player in this cocktail, despite the ratios. Sure, there’s a whiskey presence, but the addition of strong straight apple brandy, and an herbal Chartreuse kick, creates a complexity that sideswipes my precious rye. It is tasty, though a pricey cocktail. Not that these are particularly rare ingredients, but they are decent bottles that may not be found on every bar. If you do have them, give this drink a try. Very complex and wild. Whoa.

Rule 37: Tennessee

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 is called the Tennessee.
I really don’t have anything witty to say about that.
I just liked the recipe.
But I have been humming this ever since:

But I am still thirsty

It’s just occurring to me now, long after the fact, that I at least could have used a Tennessee whiskey for this one. That means Jack Daniels or George Dickel, and I don’t think either of them make a rye. The term “Tennessee whiskey” actually refers to a bourbon anyway. I’m sure there could very well be rye whiskies from Tennessee out there, but I am not aware of any. So, I went with the Jim Beam Rye on this one. Why? Well, I haven’t used it in awhile, and I have another full bottle sitting in my backup stash. It makes a decent whiskey sour, but it generally doesn’t get deployed for spirit-forward cocktails because it’s… not as exciting as others. It does have a bit of rye spice to it, but overall I find it somewhat sweet, more like a bourbon. My nice rye collection has been taking multiple hits the past few weeks as I’ve been in a Manhattan craze, and I’m trying to wean myself off, as it’s going to be a long, cold winter and I will go into liquor hibernation. Not hibernating AWAY FROM liquor, but hibernating DUE TO liquor. And for that I need to gather my stores of booze before the snow falls. So it was the less-desirable Jim Beam for tonight.

From The Complete Bartender

– 2 1/2 oz rye whiskey (Jim Beam)
– 1/2 oz maraschino liqueur
– 1/2 oz lemon juice

Mix it, shake it, serve it. Chilled rocks glass with plenty of ice. No garnish specified, but I went with a big swath of lemon peel. Seemed fitting.

Nose: Whiskey. Yup.
There’s a bit of lemon in there, but I’m not sure if it’s from the juice, or the peel I added as garnish. It smells plenty sweet though, but again, as a rye, the Jim Beam is on the sweeter side. It’s like a slightly bitter bourbon.

Taste: Whiskey. Yup.
The ice dilution from shaking does take the harshness out of the alcohol, and I can distinctly taste the lemon, which also helps to round things out. The maraschino contributes a tiny hint of floral bittersweet, and a dry mouthfeel, like I get from triple sec. But mostly it’s lemony whiskey. Which isn’t a bad thing. Just not that interesting.

Meh. They can’t all be amazing. But still, I wouldn’t turn one down.

Rule 37: Employees Only Manhattan

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.

It’s stupid cold this week.
So, I’ve been using Manhattans in place of turning up the thermostat.

It works quite well, actually. The Manhattan is a great cold-weather drink, a lovely aperitif, and makes some wonderfully deep winter slumbers, all snuggled up under the covers until the heat kicks on in the morning and toasts my room into a oven-like chamber of Hades. But for the chilly evenings, a little whiskey warmer has been my drink obsession for the past two weeks. Or three. Or one. I’m not sure. Its been kind of a blur. A happy warm fuzzy kind of blur.

The Manhattan is one of my most favoritest of cocktails (especially this version) and I really don’t want to stop the streak of awesomeness, so the Rule 37 for the week will be a Manhattan variation. It’s actually pretty different from the traditional recipe, so it totally counts. The name comes from renowned cocktail bar Employees Only in New York, who put their own spin on the classic drink.

I found this one on, which is an excellent go-to for cocktail recipes and resources. With this one, you can view the recipe here, find it in their book here, and watch a video of cocktail guru Dushan Zaric make the drink for you:

He used Michters. I don’t like Michters. Time for Rittenhouse.

So now I’ll make one for myself.

Employees Only Manhattan
From and well, Employees Only

– 1.5 oz rye whiskey (Rittenhouse)
– 1.75 oz sweet vermouth (Rosso)
– .5 oz Grand Marnier
– 3 dashes Angostura Bitters

It’s a Manhattan, so you better damn well stir it. Watch the video. Dushan stirs it. You’d better too. Make sure it’s COLD, and serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Seriously, it makes a difference. Garnish with a lemon twist (after squeezing the oils from the twist on the surface of the drink, rub it on the rim and drop into the glass).

I had to do some double-checking to make sure that ratio was correct. A standard Manhattan has more whiskey than vermouth (I like mine at a simple 2:1. Embury suggests a whopping 5:1) but this recipe changes that. The addition of Grand Marnier (a brandy-based orange liqueur) also makes for an interesting element, as does the lemon peel rather than traditional cherry garnish. The lemon oils even left a little oily rainbow sheen across the surface of the drink.

Nose: Sweet. Grapey dark vermouth, with some orange candy aroma. There’s a little spice in there from the Angostura, and a dark rye lurking beneath everything. There are upper and lower aromas: lilting and lifting up above there’s the orange fragrance, a little light lemon, and some cinnamon spices, while the syrupy grape vermouth essence oozes together with the whiskey in a cloying cinder block that will drag you down to the deep depths. It’s quite interesting. A lot going on here.

Taste: The nose had a lot going on, but the flavor is fantastically layered. Right away, it starts vermouthy: sticky grapes and syrup. The Angostura sneaks in right behind to start spicing things up with cinnamon, dark roasted wood, and pepper. While this is confusing your taste buds, the whiskey sloshes in, coming in a wave of bitter rye spice and alcohol warmth, which cuts down the cloying vermouth, and a lilt of citrus wafts above it all, not quite an accent, but more of a bystander who nods a friendly “hello” as you pass on the sidewalk. It’s almost as if the cinnamon-smoking driver of a vermouth truck slowly crashed into a low-pressure whiskey fire hydrant. Not enough for a full-on geyser, but enough to puncture the vermouth tank and mix it with a stream of rye. The driver flees the scene and drops his cinnamon into the concoction, while orange-and-lemon citrus observes from across the street, commenting “Well, I do say, that IS a right shame” and continuing on his way after a moment’s pause.

The after-finish lingers on as a tingly cinnamon syrup with a raisin-like fruit.

This one is quite interesting.
Though I do still prefer a more traditional recipe, this is a welcome change of course. It’s smoother from the added vermouth, and spicier, due to the liberal application of Angostura, Use a big rye with this one, as a weakling like Old Overholt or Jim Beam would be rolled over by the wave of vermouth and spice. The Rittenhouse worked quite well, not overpowering the drink, but matching the vermouth syruped intensity, despite being outnumbered. Orange notes from the Grand Marnier and a hint of lemon really do add wonders to the layered quality at work here. Do not omit either ingredient. I might go with two dashes of Angostura on the next one, just to see how it plays out, but the Trinidadian exotic is certainly welcome in this alcoholic amalgamation. And yes, with the Rittenhouse (100 proof) that warming glow sets in quite easily.

I will certainly have another. Or three.
Wake me up in springtime.

Rule 37: The Oriental

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.

Le sigh.

I know what I want to drink, but it isn’t a Rule 37 qualifier.
All week I’ve been on a Manhattan kick. Rye, with homemade maraschino cherries. Remember those? They’re AWESOMES. And very pleasantly spiced for late fall/early winter. I’ve made a little nest of Manhattans and burrowed into it for the cold weather. But needed a unique cocktail for tonight, so I went page flipping in a thicker book that seemed like it might have something Manhattan-like. The book is “The Complete Bartender” by Robyn (with a “Y” ugh) M. Feller and promises to feature “the new drinks of the ’90s!” Radical! The copyright is 1990, though the “updated” versions on Amazon are from 2003. I bet they don’t have an exciting dust jacket that poses such quandaries as “What are the newest ‘fun’ drunks of the ’90s? [Ugh. A lot of Cosmos and “tini” variations. Soooo “fun”] How can you reduce the caloric count on your favorite drink? [Don’t drink it] How can you make the finest vodka taste even better? [you can’t. It’s not supposed to taste like anything.]” But I did manage to find a drink that was whiskey-based (rye even!) and let me go off on some tangents.

Now, I’m not sure that “The Oriental” is the most heartwarmingly correct term these days, but it has a better ring than “The Cocktail of Asian Descent.” What it did make me think of was a topic I’ve been investigating lately. See that guy? His name is Hotei. Or Budai. Or the Happy/Laughing Buddha (he’s not actually the real Buddha. Well, maybe). It depends who you ask. Anyway, he was originally a Chinese monk who lived early in the eight century and carried around a big cloth sack (“Hotei” means “cloth sack“) filled with presents that he would give to children, like an Asian Santa. After his death, he was kind of adopted into myths and foklore, in practices of Zen/Buddhism, Shintoism, Daoism/Taoism, and made it into the ranks of Japan’s Seven Lucky Gods. He’s got a big fat belly from his big fat soul, and is a symbol of contentment, good health, abundance and prosperity. Oh, also, he’s a “patron saint” of children, restauranteurs (he liked to eat), fortunetellers (he could tell the future), and BARTENDERS. Seriously. There’s a bartender god. Sweet. It is said that drinking too much is attributed to Hotei’s influence, but he’s got plenty to share, so drink up.

So, this little drinking Hotei statue was given to me by some friends after their trip to Thailand (where there’s a similar guy named Phra Sangkajai) because they know I like drinking. Well, here’s the thing that puzzles me: in one hand, Hotei’s got an oogi, which is a fan that symbolizes his ability to grant requests and/or wishes. Right. That checks out. Now look at the other hand. He’s clearly drinking, though I don’t know what or if that’s a gourd or clay pot or whatever. Here’s the kicker: I can’t find any other statue or drawing of him doing that. Which is driving me nuts, because I would LOVE more little drinking Hoteis to keep me company and make me rich (in Feng Shui, place Hotei facing the front door of your home to greet the energies that enter and render them prosperous). I’ve scoured ebay, Amazon, and various other nooks of teh interwebz, and while there are a LOT of happy buddha, laughing buddha, good luck buddha, prosperity buddha, Hotei, Budai, Pu-tai and miscellaneous statues and figurings, NOT ONE is drinking. It seems that the novelty gift my friends found was somewhat unique, unbeknownst to them. It makes it even specialer. But if anyone sees another drinking buddha, LET ME KNOW.

So, yeah. Tangent. But hey, you just learned about a Chinese monk who is now the bartenders’ god.
So here’s the drink.

The Oriental
From Robyn M. Fellers’s “The Complete Bartender”

– 1 oz rye whiskey (Overholt)
– .25 oz sweet vermouth (Rosso)
– .25 oz Cointreau
– .5 oz lime juice

In a very Zen-like manner, combine the ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice and shaker tin, and shake. The ice wishes to cool the drink, and does. Shaking the drink is the shaker tin’s intended purpose for existence, and it is most pleased to help you. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, which awaits a beverage to hold, and sip in a contented Hotei-like manner. Without all the children around.

So. Went with the Old Overholt rye on this one. Needed a simple go-to and didn’t want to dip into my nicer ryes, since they’ve taken quite a hit with the swarm of Manhattan consumption this week. Forecasts estimate this trend to continue well into the weekend. As a side note: the ingredients as listed from the book make a smaller cocktail than usual (somewhere around 3oz after shaking with ice) so you can use a smaller glass, or just make a double.

It smells primarily of whiskey, though with an orange essence from the Cointreau. There’s a limey tart citrus in there, but the orange liqueur does a pretty good job of covering that up. Orangy whiskey is by no means a bad smell, so I’m going in for a taste.

Hooooootei! Well, despite such a small quantity, the Cointreau dominates. Maybe a bolder rye would squash it down, but the Overholt is a good bargain whiskey, and is undercut by the lime tart and triple sec dryness. It is quite flavorful, though I personally dislike that dry, cotton-mouth effect from the Cointreau (I get this with most Cointreau/Grand Marnier/triple sec containing drinks). It’s nice and fruity with the lime, orange, and a slight hint of dark grape from the vermouth. The whiskey is content to ride along, adding in a nice note of rye spice and brown liquor, though again, a bigger rye would certainly change this drink. I think it might be needed to go up against the fruit flavors, as the orange in particular seems to linger, but overall, this is nice and tasty.

I might even offer one to Hotei. He seems like a party god.

[UPDATE] So, I did some more digging and I found out that thing he’s drinking out of IS a gourd, called a wu lou. It has two chambers, symbolizing the unity of heaven and earth, and is used by travelers to hold water or medicine. In Hotei’s case, the gourd of enlightenment holds the elixir of life. Booze totally counts as medicine, so that’s just Hotei’s flask.
Now that I know to look for a wu lou, I TOTALLY FOUND THREE MORE DRINKING HOTEIS!

Rule 37: Rye Two Ways

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.

Cocktail night!

This one comes from a website sent to me by colleague/bickering compatriot Leelz. She forwards me updates on this site regularly, though why I haven’t subscribed myself, I don’t know. Maybe because she keeps sending me the updates so it’s like I’ve already subscribed. Anyway, the website (Tasting Table) is currently doing a feature on cocktails across the nation (though there is a DISTINCT lack of cocktails from Boston, or, for that matter, Portland, ME) and several of them seemed tasty. This particular one calls for rye whiskey, which I couldn’t turn down.

The recipe source and backstory can be found here, which tells of the tipple’s trail via bartender Mia Sarazen’s Churchill bar in West Hollywood, CA. Apparently it can be made two ways, hence the name. I’ve gone the first route, making it as a cocktail, served “up” (“up” means chilled in a cocktail glass, as opposed to “neat,” “straight,” or “on the rocks.” Bit of a sidebar here so we’re all dealing with the same terminology. “Neat” is usually served in a rocks/old fashioned glass, with no ice. Liquor in glass. Like Scotch, neat. “Straight” means chilled liquor, like “neat” only cold. “On the rocks” is with ice. See also).

Anyway. I’m back now. The drink is Rye Two Ways because there’s a bonus cocktail in there: you take the “up” cocktail, but pour it into a highball glass with ice, and top with Allagash White ale. Sounds like a good idea, especially since Allagash is right up the road from here. But I don’t really get excited about Belgians (the beer or the people). So, it’s the cocktail version for me.

Rye Two Ways
By Mia Sarazen, Churchill. Recipe here.

– 1 oz rye (used Alberta Premium)
– 1 oz dry vermouth
– .75 oz grenadine
– .5 oz fresh lemon juice
– 2 dashes orange bitters (Fee Bros)

Mix ‘em up, shake ‘em up, serve it up, drink it down.
Garnish with a lemon peel.
It doesn’t have to be as big as mine, as long as you know that I’m better than you and you’ll somehow continue to go about your sad little life with that knowledge.

I went with my bottle of Alberta Premium rye whiskey for this one because a) it’s a 100% rye whiskey and b) it looked lonely on the bar tonight because I haven’t used it in awhile, since there are several other ryes to choose from. Like when you drive your Ferrari everywhere but forget about the Lamborghini in the back of the garage. I hate it when I do that. Anyway, this is one you can find ONLY in Canada, and the Lady Friend’s parents were nice enough to traffic this one across international borders for me last year (what’s the statute of limitations on smuggling?). You can read my thoughts about it here, and since it’s a bottle that’s hard to acquire, I don’t use it much. I’m a bit of a liquor hoarder. But you have to drive them all once in awhile.

So let’s drink some rye.

Nose: Lemony (yeah, GIANT lemon peel) with a sweetness. There’s a little whiskey essence, but that grenadine is the dominant smell. Sugary fruity sweet, with some lemon. Not terribly exciting.

Taste: Now, you might say “Gosh golly gee SquirrelFarts, 3/4 oz sounds like a lot of grenadine in that little cocktail,” and I might reply “You’re right. But who are you and what are you doing in my barpartment judging my drink decisions? Be off with you, post haste, lest my cane find your backside!” But it is quite sweet. So. Yeah. There’s a tiny bit of the grapey-ness from the vermouth, and a little caramel with bitterness from the rye. But it largely tastes of grenadine with some lemon. Not that it’s bad, but it’s very sweet.

Then the Lady Friend wanted a taste. Despite quaffing some Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA moments before, apparently she has a magic self-cleansing palate that can jump from big gobs of Cascade hops to a cocktail and give an accurate flavor assessment.
“Big surprise, smells like lemon” on the nose and tastes “Sweet. Not syrupy sweet but I don’t get much whiskey from that.
“I mean, it’s good.
“…because I don’t taste a lot of whiskey.”

I hate you.
Get out of my barpartment.

Rule 37: Cherry Rye 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.

Tonight’s drink goes back to the last post where I made some fancy cocktail cherries, and wound up with some booze-infused cherry syrup as a byproduct. I made a variation on a whiskey sour, where the cherry syrup was used in place of regular ol’ simple syrup. It worked out well, especially as a porch-sipping drink as I watched the sky turn into a multi-hued light show with a combination of setting sun and oncoming thunderstorm. However, I speculated that – tasty as the drink was – it might be a tad more summery and sippable as a collins version, which simple means serving in a tall (ideally collins) glass over ice and topping with club soda. So the Rule 37 drink this week does exactly that.

Cherry Rye Collins

– 1 1/2 oz rye whiskey (Old Overholt)
– 1 oz cherry syrup
– 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
– 2 dashes orange bitters (for fun)
– Top with club soda

Shake the whiskey, syrup, lemon and bitters and pour into a tall chimney/highball/collins glass over ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with a homemade cocktail cherry and a flamed lemon peel. Don’t burn your thumb. I did. Go ahead and throw a straw in there as well, since it makes drinking from tall glasses easier. And daintier. Tiddle-dee-dee.

I went with a rye whiskey for this version, since the cherry syrup is a) incredibly sweet and b) infused with bourbon, which is also sweet. I thought a rye would add a bit of a snap to cut through the cloying sweetness, which should be cut down by the dilution of club soda as well. Not that the lowball/sour version was BAD, but it needed to be lightened up a touch. The orange bitters are in there just for fun. Didn’t want to go with Angostura, as the cherry syrup is already quite cinnamon-y.

There’s not a whole lot of aroma here. Lemon, from the flamed peel, a hint of whiskey, but the club soda kind of blankets the other smells. Going to have to dive in for a taste.

Well. It tastes just like a yummy whiskey sour. There are certainly moments of cherry juice, cinnamon, and tart lemon in there, but you can taste a bit more of the whiskey with the rye in place of bourbon. The bourbon version melded into the overall flavor, whereas the rye pinches your butt as you walk by, just to get your attention.

I am pleased. It’s tasty, yet has a little bit of a spin on a classic recipe. The tall version makes it much more sippable, and appropriate for warm weather. Now I can sit on my porch, casually slurping my drink, and glaring at passers-by. How dare they walk past my house. This sidewalk’s for regular walkin’, not fancy walkin’.

Rule 37: The Waldorf

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.

Well, after a busy week, I was left scrambling for a Rule 37 on Friday night. Dale DeGroff’s The Craft of the Cocktail happened to be lying nearby, and as my tried-and-true standby recipe book, it didn’t let me down. If I’m not careful, I might wind up documenting the entire book. It’s not my fault! It’s full of great drinks. This week’s tipple might not have been the most unusual concoction, but it was still mighty tasty.

The Waldorf

– 2 oz rye or bourbon whiskey (Rittenhouse Rye)
– 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
– 1/4 oz Ricard (Pernod)
– 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Swirl the Ricard, or Pernod, or whatever anise flavored concoction you plan to use (I’m sure real absinthe would do just fine as well) in the mixing glass. I say swirl, but it works better to tilt the glass at an angle, and rotate/turn, which rolls the liquid around. The goat is to simply coat the inside of the mixing glass with the anise liqueur. This differs from other recipes I’ve seen, like a Sazerac, where you coat the drinking glass. Here, you’re only coating the mixing glass. Add ice, and pour in the other ingredients. STIR, strain, and serve in a chilled cocktail glass. No garnish specified, but I’d likely add a nice cocktail cherry, as with a Manhattan.

So, yeah. It’s basically a Manhattan with a Ricard rinse. Don’t discount that too much; it makes a big difference.

I was feeling fancy, and falling behind the Lady Friend in the drink count, so I jazzed up the recipe with my treasured 100 proof Rittenhouse Rye. I had seriously considered using the Old Crow Reserve bourbon, which came highly recommended from Drinking the Bottom Shelf writer Will Gordon, and he’s dead on. It’s stupidly inexpensive, and stupidly tasty. $13 bourbon shouldn’t be that good. I’ve come to enjoy it enough to hoard and stockpile reserve supplies, and recently acquired a large surplus which should keep me happy for a reasonable length of time, if I don’t quaff it in an unreasonable manner. Which can happen. Frequently. However, the Rittenhouse is one of my all-time favorites. Big, bold, 100 proof and spicy rye, versus a sweet sweet bourbon. It also gives me a good benchmark, since I’m quite familiar with how a Rittenhouse Manhattan should taste.

Nose: Spicy rye bite, with a touch of vermouth sweetness. The anise of the Pernod shoves its way through, full of licorice and shenanigans. The Angostura adds its dark spice, and between the rye and Pernod, there’s a weird little aroma dance going on. It almost smells Christmasy.

Taste: Cool, then suddenly warm. Not hot, but warm. The rye spice is tempered by the vermouth, and strangely offset by the anise flavors. Rinsing the glass made a HUGE difference. Angostura is there, laughing in the background, cheerful and cinnamon spice. It’s almost as if the hot rye and cool anise are magnetic opposites, and they have a little battle for control of the taste buds. It’s the tastiness of a Manhattan, but with a new player to the game. The Pernod engages in a tug-of-war with even the power of the Rittenhouse. I wanted to put “Rittenhouse Powerhouse” but it was just too much.

The Lady Friend declared “Yup. Pernod.” upon smelling it, then furrowed her brow as she took a sip.
“I taste the Rittenhouse up front, which is tasty, then Pernod in back. Rittenhouse comes back. It’s good. It was a good little sip. It’s interesting.” She usually can’t stand my high-proof rye Manhattans, so this one was tamed down enough for her to taste, though there’s still plenty of flavor. It is indeed an interesting palate experiment, and a great twist for a Manhattan lover. Try one.

Ryan & Wood Distilleries vs. The Plague

I am sick.

It’s not been a pleasant week.

You should understand: I HATE getting a cold. I’m sure no one enjoys it, but I DESPISE it. I take it personally, as an attack on my body from a foreign enemy. So I’ve been fighting it. Vicodin-assisted slumber ensures a full night of rest to purge the invader from my shores. Massive vitamin intakes guarantee that I’m running at maximum capacity of necessary nutrients. The irrigation attack relies on constant ingestion of water throughout the day, flooding the system and washing away the evil.

So far, the bastard has still managed to survive. So we’re upping the defcon. It’s time.

Scorched Earth.

The Scorched Earth policy is a last-ditch effort. The nuclear option. Salting the soil so that nothing may grow. Total devastation.


Normally, when sick I try to avoid alcohol, as even I can admit it never seems to help the healing process. However, with enough quantity for a sudden and all-encompassing attack, it can be quite effective. Last year I was in a vigorous training program leading up to my tae kwon do black belt test, chiefly consisting of more push-ups, crunches, and jumping-jacks than I thought possible. The test was a 3.5 hour marathon of cardio, techniques, cardio, forms, cardio, sparring and cardio. Brutal. Although high from the rush immediately following the test, when I returned home and settled, my body came crashing down. Hard. The cold that had been lurking in the wings, waiting for a moment to strike hit me while I was down, and I spent the next week feeling downright miserable. The following Saturday was our belt ceremony, and those of us who had passed joined up in Boston that evening for some un-taekwondo-like activities, principally at a bar where a fellow classmate worked. Multiple shots, beers, and mixed drinks followed, and it was truly a celebration. When I got home, I promptly passed out on my couch until about 5am, then groggily stumbled to bed for another 9 hours. When I awoke, the cold I had been rallying against had vanished. I had so poisoned every ounce of my body that the virus had fled. Scorch the Earth so that nothing may grow. I love the smell of Jack Daniels in the morning. Smells like victory.

Looking down the barrel of a plague virus growing within my cellular structure, I made a command decision: it was time for Ryan & Wood.

At least this building has a racing stripe that looks pretty sharp.

Ryan & Wood Distilleries is a craft spirit producer in Gloucester, MA, (that’s Glaw-stah, not Gl-ow-cess-ter) all the way up Rt 128 where it turns all Mad Max and suddenly rotaries appear. The distillery is tucked in an industrial park, and the entrance is on the right just around a sharp curve, so it’s easy to miss. The Lady Friend and I went in for a Saturday afternoon tour, which was led by Kathy, the owner’s wife, though Bob did pop in a couple of times during the tour. Both are super nice people, but if you get Bob a-talking, he’ll go on forever (which is ok by me) unless Kathy keeps him in line.

Kathy led a very historically informative tour, with lots of information about Prohibition, and how current regulations came about. For example, after Prohibition, the tax rate of spirits was determined by the amount it would take to pay the salaries of two federal revenue agents. This enabled the government the funds to hire the staff needed to regulate the industry. During Prohibition, there were far too few agents (about 1,500 for the entire country) to keep illegal spirits from being produced and distributed. Every distillery now has a government-bonded warehouse section designated for inventory. Once you remove a bottle from that bonded area, you owe excise tax on it. Currently, the excise tax sits around $2.90 per bottle; you basically have to pay the government their cut before you can sell your product. Taxes are due twice a month for the feds, and once a month for Taxachusetts.

The highly secure government-bonded warehouse.

In the 1990s, the government lifted the two-agent tax structure, and put all of the reporting into the hands of the distilleries. They note their grain purchasing, production schedules, inventory, keep their own bonded warehouse sections, and report directly to the government instead of having agents check in. Another quirk of the system is that a new distillery may not apply for a federal license until the distillery is built. You have to purchase the stills, fermenters, whirlpools, etc and buy/lease a space all without the help of bank loans or investors, who won’t step in until you’re licensed. The government considers distilling equipment as a possible means to manufacture incendiaries (as in flammable liquids and/or bombs), and in the days of Homeland Security, they do a thorough background check. We’re talking three generations of your family for any felony crimes, and your bank records for any possible organized crime or terrorist connections. It took Ryan & Wood 11 months to get their equipment purchased, built, shipped and installed, starting in 2006. They were unable to even turn on the still until two years later when the licensing process was complete.

When they finally got the still up and running, their first product was a rye whiskey, due to the two years needed for barrel aging. After its release, the rye was very well received, and during the aging a quirk of their barrel house was discovered: the casks that got some direct heat aged a lot quicker than those in the back of the room. Their current straight rye whiskey clocks in at 86 proof with a grain bill is approx 80% rye, 10% malted barley and 10% wheat.
Nose: Paint. Glue. Finally it hit me: PEAR. A pear aroma with alcohol behind it.
Taste: Pear again. Not sure where that flavor comes from, but that was the domineering trait I noticed. There’s an alcohol burn midway through, then a nice, rye snap.

Next up was Folly Cove Rum, named for a popular local scuba diving and lobstering area filled with shipwrecks. Many much liquors came through Folly Cove during Prohibition, and Ryan & Wood’s product is a more traditional molasses-based rum. Its aged in both new charred oak and used Jack Daniels casks, then blended for color and flavor. It spends 15-18 months in the barrels, and is diluted down with Monadnock-sourced mineral water.
Nose: Creamy vanilla. Lots of cream. A little woodiness, with caramel.
Taste: Can taste the bourbon right up front, with a tasty, creamy mouthfeel.

The Knockabout Gin is quite interesting. First of all, it’s named for a particular type of fishing schooner designed at the turn of the 20th century. The boats are distinctive for the lack of a wooden prow protruding from the bow. A topsail was added at the top of the mast eliminating the big bowspirit. Hence, the boats were able to bunch together in Gloucester Harbor and “knock-about” with the waves. The gin is somewhat citrusy, and uses a proprietary method to attain both lemon and orange flavors. Other ingredients include nutmeg, licorice, cinnamon, and Asian cinnamon, which I didn’t know existed. The goal was to produce a lighter, more mixable spirit that would appeal to a wider audience. Since I’m not a big gin fan, I can appreciate that, and found it quite nice. The citrus especially helps lighten the botanicals.
Nose: Quite citrusy, with a bit of pine, but a sweetish aroma.
Taste: Citrus sweet, then juniper pine in the middle with an alcohol burn. Sweet and even. Very nice.

Finally, there’s the Beauport Vodka. As with most of their products, it too takes its name from local sources. In this case, “Beauport,” meaning “beautiful port” was the original name for Gloucester Harbor, somewhere around the early 1600s. The vodka gets up to about 95% alcohol (190 proof) during the distilling process, though is diluted back down to a drinkable (and legal) 40%/80 proof. It takes the alcohol in the vodka about four weeks of sitting around to recombine with the water. By comparison, the gin takes six weeks, due to the botanical oils present. The vodka’s mash bill is composed of barley, wheat, and rye.
Nose: Well, it’s vodka, so there wasn’t too much to smell, though this one had a slightly wet, almost grassy aroma, not a hot alcohol sting.
Taste: Nice. It’s got a slightly slippery mouthfeel. Smooth, easy-going, no complaints. Very nice.

Time for the tour!

Actually, we did the tasting after the tour, but it was easier to combine the descriptions with the tasting notes. At Ryan & Wood, the tasting area/ retail store is on the ground floor, and the production area is downstairs. A lovely copper pot still and column sit shimmering in the florescent glow, along with various tanks and other paraphernalia. Notably, two horizontal fermentation tanks used to ferment the molasses mash for their rum resemble fishing boats, and are named Adventure and the Thomas E. Lannon (I don’t remember who that was named for). These tanks were dairy coolers in a previous life, but now make tasty tasty rum mash.

Ryan & Wood fall under the farmer-distiller license, as they only distill one batch at a time in their copper alembic still, as opposed to large commercial distilleries with continuous/Coffey/column stills. They mill their own grain, and distill “on the grain,” which means the wheat/barley/rye is not separated from the liquid in the wort, which some feel gives much more of the grain character and flavor to the spirit. Afterwards, the spent wort is sold as cattle feed, as is tradition among most brewers and distillers. The Lady Friend got to climb up and pitch yeast into one of the large, 1200 litre vertical fermentation tanks, which she was very excited about, squealing “I made liquor!

Now make me some whiskey, woman!

We continued over into second room filled with the barrel racks, where the rum and whiskies age. Towards the back of the room we took note of the “very secure warehouse” and got to see the bottling and labeling process. The bottles are filled from a somewhat jet-powered nozzle, then weighed to ensure the exact amount of spirit goes into each one. Too little or too much and the government gets cranky. The bottles are then corked, and fitted with a heat-shrink topper, which seals the cap, and counts as a tax stamp, since the bottle will now show signs of tampering. The labels are rolled onto the glass, and placed in a case (the vodka bottles have screened/painted labels). Repeat 12 times per case for hundreds and thousands of cases, and you’ve got a distillery. Well, after you distribute it as well, and Ryan & Wood is self-distributed. Those distribution contracts can set nightmarish quotas on small breweries and distilleries. The Lady Friend was again excited to give bottling, weighing, topping, and labeling a try, and did so with only minor financial damage to the inventory.

The nozzle goes IN the bottle.

To end our tour, we headed back upstairs to sample the spirit lineup, which was very enjoyable, as most free booze is. Kathy and Bob could not have been nicer to us, (short of giving us a carload of free liquor) and the tour was incredibly informative. They’ll tell you just about anything you could possibly want to know about the process, since they were one of the earliest craft distilleries in the state, and had to go through all kinds of licensing and building nonsense. I have seen their products on the South Shore, in North Quincy’s Atlas Liquors, but if you can’t find it in your local packie, ask them to order some. The rye was a little odd for me, the rum quite nice, the vodka was… vodka, but a good one as vodkas go, and the gin was very lovely. Even though I’m not a gin fan, I’d say it was the highlight of the spirits. Contact Bob or Kathy on their website (it’s quite nicely designed), go for a tour and get some booze.

It killed off my cold*, and I can’t think of a better recommendation than that.

*WARNING! These statements have not been approved by the FDA, CDC, or CSI and may not be based in fact. SquirrelFarts is most likely making all this stuff up. But it cured his cold. Ryan & Wood make no claims that consumption of their products will prevent or cure any known disease. But it might. Go try some.

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