We’re already fans of Victory Brewing Company’s beers, so we jump on any of their barel-aged offerings at every opportunity. (A while back, we reviewed their Otto in Oak Ale, which we loved.) Patrick was especially excited about this beer because he loves barley wines. The Oak Horizontal is Victory’s Old Horizontal Barley Wine, but aged in bourbon barrels. We haven’t tried the original version because not all of Victory’s beers are readily available in our market, so we can’t say how the Oak Horizontal compares to its barrel-aged counterpart.
This beer is exactly what we expected from a bourbon-barreled barley wine. It’s not particularly unique—it tastes very similar to the other barley wines we’ve had—but it is delicious. It pours slightly amber with very little head. Rachel noted that it’s very sweet and malty, with a long aftertaste that turns slightly sour. The bourbon and oak flavors really comes through during the aftertaste as well. At 11% ABV, the Horizontal packs a nice punch. It’s a seasonal ale, so if you can find it, we’d recommend picking it up before it disappears for a while.
We’ve been teased with warm, sunny weather lately. It seems like this was the fourth or fifth weekend it’s looked like spring might be arriving. We’ve decided to throw caution to the wind and assume the sunshine is here to stay. To celebrate the arrival of spring (hopefully), we decided to make the whiskey smash sorbet from The Kitchn.
Whiskey Smash Sorbet
makes about 1 ½ quarts
4 cups water
1½ cups sugar
1-2 Tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest
4 oz. whiskey, divided
½ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
2 cups fresh lemon juice, cold (from about ten lemons)
Bring the water, sugar, lemon zest, and half the whiskey to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Turn the stove to low, and allow the syrup to simmer five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Remove the syrup from heat, add the mint, and stir. Let the mixture rest until it cools to room temperature. Then put it in the refrigerator and allow it to cool for 4 hours, or overnight.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the solids. Press down firmly on the solids to get all the juices out.
Add the lemon juice and the remaining whiskey, stir, and process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
This sorbet is like drinking a refreshing whiskey smash, exactly like you’d expect. It’s a wonderful balance of tart and refreshing from the lemon and mint, with a slight boozy kick. It’s perfect for the warm spring and summer days we’ll be enjoying (we hope) very soon.
Today’s post is going to be a bit different. We were recently invited to a local event hosted by Alton Lane and Treasury Wine Estates, showcasing their Castello di Gabbiano wines. While we don’t like to stray from bourbon very often, we accepted this invitation because we love nice clothes, wine, and supporting local businesses like Alton Lane. We’d also heard Alton Lane will give you bourbon while you get on your suit and tie game.
The evening began with a glass of pinot grigio, which was handed to us almost immediately after entering the door. From there, Gabbiano head winemaker Federico Cerelli guided us through three other wines: the Gabbiano Riserva Chianti, the Bellezza, and the Alleanza (a Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon blend). Our favorite was the Bellezza, which has a very peaty quality that we like in our red wines. (We like peaty Scotch, too.)
All these wines are available in most U.S. markets at a decent price. The reserva chianti, which we also liked a lot, should retail at about $20.
As far as the bourbon at Alton Lane, we were assured by Showroom Director Chris Cuozzo that the Boston location always stocks at least one or two bourbons behind the bar. That’s right, this custom menswear shop stocks a full bar. The idea is that when customers come in, Chris or Padraic will pour you a drink (or let you pour your own) and chat with you about exactly what you’re looking for. They told us they tend to stock Bulleit and Elijah Craig, but when we were there they had Willett. Of course, we also approved of their Bulleit Rye and Jameson selections.
Though their fittings are by appointment, we were encouraged to stop by anytime for a drink even with no plans to buy.
Chris showed us three outfits to illustrate how Alton Lane styles clothing from casual to very formal, including a seersucker suit that would fit in perfectly at the upcoming Kentucky Derby.
All Alton Lane clothing is fully customizable, with shirts starting at $89 and suits starting at $595 (and up to $5000+ for the fancy fellows). They also sell pocket squares, ties, and bow ties, and every piece of clothing has a ton of options for customization.
Even though the wine was provided by Treasury Wine Estates, we will always review products honestly. Contrary to popular belief, free drinks don’t automatically taste better.
We’re still very much intrigued with mixing absinthe into our bourbon cocktails. Our latest experiment is the Waldorf, which has an interesting history. On his site, Barry Popik compiled numerous variations of the Waldorf. Most of those cocktails noted that the absinthe would take over, so we kept that in mind while mixing our cocktail. Our Waldorf most closely resembles this one.
2 oz. Bourbon
¾ oz. Sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
In a mixing glass, combine bourbon, vermouth, and bitters with ice. Stir until mixed well. In a cocktail glass, add enough absinthe to coat the glass. Spin the glass to coat the sides, then dump the excess. Strain the other ingredients into the cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist (optional).
Absinthe experiment success! We were actually more concerned with the vermouth content, since sweet vermouth is definitely not our favorite flavor. The Waldorf is very balanced though. The spiciness of the bourbon (we used Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve) and the absinthe rinse complement the good parts of the vermouth while mostly removing the aftertaste we don’t like. The Waldorf is a strong, spicy cocktail that we recommend highly.
Now that the sun is shining on a semi-regular basis, we are excited to get back into light warm-weather drinks. The bourbito has been on our radar since the fall and now seems the perfect time to give it a try.
3 oz. Bourbon
1-2 Orange slices with rind
4-5 Mint leaves
Splash Club soda
Place orange slices and mint leaves in the bottom of a highball glass or medium Mason jar and muddle gently. Add the bourbon and club soda and stir to mix well. Add a generous number of ice cubes and garnish with fresh mint if desired.
This drink is super refreshing. Orange and bourbon are well-known accomplices, and the mint oils add a cool, tingly feeling. The club soda adds a nice touch of carbonation. This is a recommended drink for weekend afternoons.
Hi, everyone, Patrick here. Today’s post is going to be a little different than usual. No cocktail recipes or bourbon reviews, but I promise there will be a brief bourbon connection today.
As many of you know, There Will Be Bourbon is based in Boston, which is still shaken by the attacks at the Boston Marathon. Everyone who lives here (and the population of visitors who flew in for the Marathon) is experiencing profound shock and grief right now. If you would like to help out, consider donating to One Fund Boston, which was established by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino in response to Monday’s events.
On a different and lighter note, in addition to my love for bourbon and writing, I also enjoy basketball and creating art. When the guys over at Double Scribble asked me to contribute some basketball art for the their show, In The Paint—which opens tomorrow in Cambridge, MA—I jumped at the opportunity to combine as many of my interests as possible. One of my pieces is a mash-up of the premier bourbon with former Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach. In The Paint opens tomorrow at Voltage Coffee & Art, and I invite you to stop in and view the artwork, which will be on display for six weeks.
We love hard ciders but rarely find the opportunity to feature them here because they have nothing to do with bourbon. The folks at Crispin must have felt our pain because they released a bourbon barrel-aged blended hard cider. Seeing the words cider, bourbon, and honey on one label was practically swoon-inducing.
The production of the cider is complicated, so we’ll let Crispin explain: “Blended using four unique apple-wines aged in both rye and bourbon American whiskey barrels. Apple-wines fermented with: Irish Stout yeast, Belgian Trappist yeast, Sake yeast, and our original Colfax Classic. The final blend is finished with Tupelo honey aged in bourbon barrels.”
The aroma of the cider is fresh and sweet with a definite whiskey scent. We felt it was a touch under carbonated, but that is really our only complaint. It has a slight sourness that is complemented by the honey. Given that ciders tend to be sweet anyway, we were concerned that the addition of honey would make this one too sweet, but that was not the case at all. This cider is crisp, refreshing, and actually tastes a bit like bourbon! The whiskey flavors come in the transition to the aftertaste.
At 6.9% ABV, this is a great afternoon sipper, though it is more expensive than your average cider. We think this unique product more than warrants the cost (which was $5.95 per 12-ounce bottle in our area).
Just a reminder, if you haven’t already voted in Saveur’s Best Food Blog Awards, voting ends on Friday. We have been nominated in the Best Cocktail Blog category and would love your vote!
We’ve been thinking a lot about Cynar lately and how it pairs so well with bourbon. This recipe is a variation on a manhattan, a classic bourbon cocktail.
Game Set Match
2 oz. Bourbon
½ oz. Cynar
½ oz. Sweet vermouth
4 dashes Bitters
2 dashes Orange bitters
Stir all ingredients together with ice for about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry and lemon twist.
This cocktail is well balanced with enough bitterness to satisfy sophisticated palates. The orange bitters are the key to brightness here, and if you’d like more, feel free to dash a couple more times than called for. We used a lower proof bourbon as directed in the original recipe so that the whiskey didn’t overpower the more delicate vegetal notes of the Cynar.
We are very excited and grateful to be nominated once again for Best Cocktail Blog in Saveur’s 2013 Best Food Blog Awards. Voting is open from now until Friday, April 19. Of course we’d greatly appreciate your vote for us, but we also recommend checking out all the blogs. There are so many wonderful websites to read in all 12 categories. Finally, thank you for reading our words.