Whiskey Drinker’s Christmas List 2013
Holiday season is back! We’ve all got a special whiskey drinker in our lives to shop for, so we’re here to help you find that perfect gift for him or her (or yourself).
W&P Cocktail Kit from Art in the Age: This beautiful kit includes the Mason Cocktail Shaker (which we featured here), a jigger, wooden muddler, two cloth napkins, four glass tumblers, and the Art in the Age custom bar bag. It’s a beautiful set and bag that will set you back $349. Also available is the W&P Cocktail Kit directly from W&P. At $279, this set includes 2 coupe glasses instead of 4 tumblers.
(middle row, left to right)
Whiskey Shaving Puck and Mug: Portland General Store offers this enamelware mug and shaving puck for $42. We were skeptical at first, but we can confirm that it really does smell like whiskey in a very pleasant way. They also carry a whiskey aftershave.
Old Fashioned Print: This beautiful print from Bourbon Built would be a wonderful addition to any home bar. Pick one up for only $10.
(bottom row, left to right)
Sphere Ice Molds: Few things are as striking as a large ice ball in your whiskey on the rocks or cocktail. It also melts much slower than regular ice. This set of two molds from World Market is only $10.99.
Retro Ice Crusher: Sometimes you want a mint julep or another drink that calls for crushed ice. We’ve always loved these vintage ice crushers. They do the job and look pretty while doing it. It’s also incredibly easy to find a wide variety of them, so you can always be sure to find one that perfectly matches your style. A quick Etsy search yields hundreds of options. Your local antique or vintage store is very likely to have a few as well.
Yarai Mixing Glass: Mixing glasses are another beautiful and functional addition to any bar. This glass from Boston Shaker is a steal at $56. A good mixing glass is an essential for anyone making cocktails.
Hopefully this guide helps you find the perfect gift for your favorite whiskey drinker. Of course, you can always buy a special bottle of bourbon too. If you’re still looking for help, all the items from our 2011 and 2012 gift guides should still be available.
Citrus and bourbon are very good friends. Even better is when the citrus is not something pedestrian like lemon or lime. Grapefruit is the star of the show in this cocktail that we decided to make after seeing it on the lovely site Back Down South, both because it looks delicious and because we can see Mount Saint Helens on a daily basis, so we were intrigued by a drink with a similar name.
Mount Saint Helen
2 oz. Bourbon
½ oz. Grapefruit juice
½ oz. Simple Syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
3 Mint leaves
Gently muddle simple syrup, bitters, and two mint leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the grapefruit juice, bourbon, and ice and shake briefly to combine. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with the third mint leaf.
You’ll notice this drink is similar to the brown derby that we featured before, but this version is more complex. The bitters add a nice contrast to the sweetness. We used a stronger bourbon to offset the other bold flavors in the recipe, and it worked really well.
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.
We recently spent an evening sampling cocktails and nibbles at Double Dragon in Portland. We were served two versions of their whiskey toddy, one hot and one cold. The bartender, Dan, was kind enough to share the recipe with us.
Double Dragon Toddy
2 oz. Rye
1 oz. Honey five spice syrup
1 oz. Lemon juice
Whiskey barrel-aged bitters
The cold version is the same but with the addition of an absinthe rinse. While we preferred the hot version on a chilly evening, the cold cocktail was quite tasty and we always appreciate how an absinthe rinse can amplify whiskey.
We were also delighted to witness some cocktail demonstrations. Dan walked us through how to make two drinks. We’re going to share with you our favorite and the drink that had all our companions reaching for second sips, too.
No Name No. 5
2 oz. Dickel rye
1 oz. Sweet vermouth
1 oz. Italian amaro
You might notice the similarity to the Little Italy cocktail, but the chocolate bitters that Dan at Double Dragon used take this to the next level. It is off-menu, but if you ask for it (and we recommend you do), he will make you one.
1235 SE Division Street
Portland, OR 97202
Even though this visit was on Double Dragon’s tab, we will always review products and experiences honestly. Contrary to popular belief, free drinks don’t automatically taste better.
illustration by Kyler Martz
We are smitten with ice cream of any variety, but the other day when I decided to make a lemon ice cream to use up some extra lemons we had lying around, the idea hit me to add some bourbon and make a whiskey sour-inspired ice cream. It was a magical moment.
Whiskey Sour Ice Cream
2 cups Heavy cream
1 cup Milk
1 cup Sugar
½ cup Lemon juice
3 Tbsp. Bourbon
½ tsp. Vanilla extract
Whisk milk and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved. Gently whisk in the other ingredients and pour into your ice cream maker. Freeze for about half an hour, then transfer to a container and place in the freezer for four hours or overnight to harden further. Garnish with a maraschino cherry if desired.
This ice cream is so delicious and it actually does taste like a whiskey sour. It is light and refreshing, but with a tiny bite from the bourbon. We chose to use a sweeter bourbon to help balance out the tartness of the lemon. If you really wanted to boost the cocktail factor of this recipe, you could add in some bitters, but we opted for a more refreshing citrusy ice cream.
(Source: , via jonwong)
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.
Until recently, we’d never tasted Drambuie. Since we’re always down to try new flavors, we jumped at the opportunity to add it to our bar. Drambuie is a blend of scotch, honey, spices, and herbs. It’s extremely sweet, almost cloying, but it mixes well with just about any whisk(e)y without overpowering.
We mixed equal parts Maker’s Mark and Drambuie over ice. Anthony Caporale of Drambuie is calling the Maker’s mixture “Little Bit Rusty” because it’s basically a variation of the classic Rusty Nail (which mixes Drambuie with scotch). Honestly, we were a bit skeptical of Drambuie before we tasted it. We’re generally not very big on infusions or herbal blends with whiskey, but this liqueur does make a good accompaniment to any type of whiskey when you’re in the mood for something sweet.
Just in case you needed step-by-step instructions, here’s how to make a Little Bit Rusty:
1 part Drambuie
1 part bourbon
Stir in a mixing glass with ice, then pour into an old fashioned glass over ice. Garnish with a maraschino cherry if desired.
*Even though this nightcap was on Drambuie’s tab, we will always review products honestly. Contrary to popular belief, free drinks don’t automatically taste better.
Phew, long week. Happy Friday!