The folks at Chopin Vodka make three varieties of vodka—potato, wheat, and rye. We love that Chopin vodka contains no additives and its ingredients are sourced locally in Poland, where it is produced.
We were intrigued by the idea of tasting a neutral spirit that uses two ingredients (wheat and rye) that are commonly found in bourbon to see how each vodka would compare with bourbons featuring different mash bills. We know that vodka and bourbon sounds like an unusual pairing, but with careful matching, it actually works. We found an inspiration recipe and adapted it for our use.
1½ oz. Bourbon
1½ oz. Chopin wheat or rye vodka
¼ oz. Cointreau
1 bar spoon Luxardo cherry juice
Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously to combine. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.
For this cocktail we chose to pair Woodinville bourbon with Chopin wheat vodka. The drink is exceptionally smooth. One of the vodka’s main contributions to the drink is its smooth, velvety texture. This is a strong drink, so it’s a sipper for sure, but we were really impressed by how well the two spirits complemented each other.
We’re looking forward to playing with Chopin rye vodka, too. We think it would go nicely with Four Roses Yellow Label.
Even though this nightcap was on Chopin’s tab, we will always review products honestly. Contrary to popular belief, free drinks don’t automatically taste better.
Last year, we reviewed the Woodinville Whiskey Co. Bourbon. The general opinion back then was that the wood from the barrels overpowered all the other flavors. We wrote that the whiskey didn’t taste bad, it was just a one-note experience. Well, we recently received an email from Woodinville Whiskey Co. saying they read our review, they’ve been working on their process, and would we be interested in tasting the new product.
We agreed for a couple of reasons. It’s not very often anyone gets an opportunity to taste the progression of a product. Also, it shows that Woodinville Whiskey Co. is seeking out feedback and attempting to improve their product. Trying to get better is always respectable.
We noticed a difference as soon as we unwrapped the bottle. The color of the whiskey was noticeably darker than before. The biggest takeaway from this tasting is that this bourbon is much more balanced than the bourbon we tasted a year ago. While we could still smell and taste the vanilla and oak from the barrels, this time we noted some floral, cherry, and raisin notes both in the smell and taste. It’s also much smoother than before, though we wish the finish would linger for a bit longer than it does. At one point, we discussed how it was very interesting to taste a product where we could taste that it was the same product we had before, only a better version of it.
*Even though this nightcap was on Woodinville Whiskey’s tab, we will always review products honestly. Contrary to popular belief, free drinks don’t automatically taste better.
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.
Bourbon. Sriracha. Candy. Nothing could stop us from trying this recipe after reading those three words. We even have a candy thermometer in our kitchen. It’s like we bought it knowing that at some point in time the Internet would show us this blog post from Olives For Dinner to combine the wonderfulness of these two products.
Bourbon Sriracha Candy
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
⅛ cup corn syrup (we substituted agave nectar)
1 Tbsp. sriracha
1 Tbsp. bourbon
cooking spray, for the mold
Grease a silicone mold with a small amount of cooking spray. (We used our silicone ice trays and filled them about 1/4 of the way.) Wipe out any extra oil.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup/agave nectar and stir with a silicone spatula. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Be sure the bottom of the thermometer isn’t touching the bottom of the pan. Heat this mixture over medium-high heat until the thermometer reaches 300°. Remove the pan from heat immediately.
Add the sriracha and bourbon and stir slowly. The mixture will bubble immediately. When it stops, pour the mixture into a liquid measuring cup, then transfer into the silicone mold. It’s important to pour quickly because the mixture will gum up and get sticky very quickly. Only about half of our candy set correctly while the rest just turned into chewy gummy messes.
Let the candy set and harden in the mold before removing.
These candies are…interesting. They taste pretty much exactly what you would imagine bourbon, Sriracha, and sugar would taste like. They’re not bad, but they’re definitely not for everyone. If you absolutely love Sriracha, these might work for you, as that flavor is the strongest and longest lasting. Patrick likes Sriracha so much he puts it on his lunch sandwiches every day, but even he didn’t love the candy. We won’t rush to make them again soon, but it was definitely worth the experiment. They might be a perfect, small gift for that person we all know who puts Sriracha on everything, though. They’re probably best used as a rare novelty.
Despite the unappetizing name, this blood orange-bourbon cocktail is quite tasty. We adapted it from Sippity Sup.
2 oz. bourbon
2 oz. blood orange juice
Gently stir bourbon and blood orange juice together. Strain into a lowball glass with ice and top with a little bit of club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig.
If you prefer the texture of fresh-pressed juice, you can skip the strainer. We appreciate that this drink doesn’t include any extra sugar, allowing the pure juice and bourbon flavors to shine. The mint adds a nice freshness to the nose.
It is blood orange season, and what better way to celebrate than by combining it with bourbon? We have been hanging on to a couple of blood orange-bourbon cocktail recipes to share during the season and first up is the one with the best name. I just love the image it conjures.
3 oz. bourbon
2 oz. blood orange juice
4 dashes orange bitters (or blood orange bitters if you have them)
Mix the first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a lowball glass and float a little bit of ginger ale on top. Garnish with a sprig of thyme and a blood orange twist.
Blood orange juice has a unique texture, kind of dry and viscous, that makes this cocktail extra special. The herbal note from the garnish and the sparkle of the ginger ale create a complex interplay that is grounded by the spice and sweetness of the bourbon.
If you haven’t noticed, we like to put bourbon in our ice cream (Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C). Even though it’s January in New England, which means temperatures range from single digits to mid-thirties Fahrenheit, this ice cream is so yummy the cold couldn’t stop us from eating it. Our recipe is adapted from this maple syrup ice cream at Anh’s Food Blog.
Maple Bourbon Ice Cream
1 cup milk(we used 2%)
1 cup pure maple syrup
⅛ tsp. salt
2 cups heavy cream
2 oz. bourbon
In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer, then set aside to cool to room temperature. Mix in maple syrup, bourbon, and salt, and stir until the syrup mixes. Stir in the cream. Let mixture cool in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, make the ice cream with your ice cream maker. Garnish with a tiny pinch of espresso sugar.
This is a very rich dessert, mostly because I actually messed it up. I added one cup of maple syrup instead of half a cup, as the original recipe suggests. Luckily, it’s still extremely tasty. It’s not surprising, because bourbon and maple flavors go together well. We recommend using half a cup of syrup, but either way, it will be delicious. The most important part is that you use real maple syrup. Also, bourbon is important because it’s bourbon.
In my hometown in Oregon there was a restaurant called the Brown Derby (now closed, sadly). And though Brown Derby customers were more likely to be drinking Hamm’s than cocktails, when we saw this bourbon cocktail with the same name, we knew we had to try it.
1 oz. bourbon
1 oz. grapefruit juice
½ oz. honey syrup
Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a coupe glass.
This drink is light and refreshing. We actually sampled it to kick off our New Year’s Eve festivities, and it was great for that purpose. We chose to use Woodinville whiskey, thinking the strong oak and vanilla flavors would balance the grapefruit juice. Our only complaint is that the drink was too sweet. The honey flavor kind of dominated everything, so we might try it with regular simple syrup sometime to see if it’s better that way.
For some reason, alcohol and dairy products doesn’t always seem like they will mix well. It seems silly, especially when we’re reminded that tons of people are enjoying their annual holiday eggnog right now. We were intrigued by this recipe for bourbon milk punch from Robert Hess. Curiosity finally got the best of us and pushed us into it mixing up.
Bourbon Milk Punch
1½ oz. bourbon
2 tsp. simple syrup
2 dashes vanilla extract
4 oz. milk or half and half
Comine ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake for 30 seconds. Strain into a brandy snifter or wine glass. Garnish with nutmeg.
This milk punch has a nice combination of sweetness and frothiness. It’s smooth to drink, with not too much bourbon bite. The alcohol and milk strike a good balance, so the distinct flavors of the bourbon you choose to put in this punch will still hold up. We used Woodinville Whiskey Bourbon, which is pretty sweet. If you prefer your cocktails less sweet, we’d suggest using Bulleit or a similar bourbon. The source post says this is a traditional hangover cure, but it seems like it would make a wonderful holiday drink as well.
We love it when houseguests surprise us with gifts. In this case, my parents brought us some whiskey that we can’t buy here in Boston. We’ve been anxious to taste the Woodinville Whiskey Bourbon because we still have an ever-lingering love for the Pacific Northwest (Woodinville is a suburb of Seattle, WA). This bourbon (and the Woodinville Whiskey Rye, which we’ll also be trying soon) were made available earlier this year.
Labeled as “Mashbill No. 9 Bourbon,” this whiskey is aged in eight-gallon barrels, where the spirit comes into contact with three times the amount of wood compared to a normal barrel. Unfortunately, this may be the bourbon’s biggest fault. Woodinville’s bourbon is a deep amber, cherry-wood color and smells very sweet, like vanilla, caramel, and raisin. Rachel detected a slight bit of peat in the nose too. Its flavor follows the profile, making this a fairly flat tasting experience. It doesn’t taste bad. In fact, I actually liked the vanilla and oak flavors and peppery linger, but Rachel pointed out that we couldn’t actually taste any of the grain. We felt that the flavors imparted by the oak overpowered everything else. In addition, there is no information on the bottle or website about what grains make up Mashbill No. 9. Woodinville Whiskey Bourbon carries a price point of about $50. (We’re not sure how much of that is part of Washington’s 20% tax on alcohol, but it still seems crazy, even from our vantage point in Puritanical Massachusetts.)
Update: Please see our second review of this bourbon.