Hooray for trying new things! Rowan’s Creek is yet another bourbon we’ve had our eyes on for at least a year but never got around to purchasing until now. It’s made by Willett Distillery, which obviously makes the Willett whiskey line and also Johnny Drum bourbon, which we found to be a pretty good tasting bourbon at a bottom shelf price point.
Rowan’s Creek has a rich golden color. Its nose is a nice balance of vanilla, raisin, and apples. Rachel also found hints of cherry blossom. It’s a bit spicier than expected for a 100-proof bourbon, though not overpowering. In fact, it’s actually pretty well balanced. Apple, raisin, and vanilla sweetness work together to cut the spice down. Its linger is long and peppery. The only thing keeping Rowan’s Creek from being an all-around hit is its lightness. The rye and corn flavors from the mash seem be completely separate instead of combining to make one unified flavor. Perhaps a fuller-bodied bourbon would round these flavors together.
(Source: sunshine-on-earth, via wirefeathers)
No, this is not the title of our memoirs, but the name of a delicious cocktail by Jamie Boudreau. His bar, Canon, is on our list of establishments to visit every time we go to Seattle.
2 oz. Bourbon
1 oz. Lillet Blanc
1 tsp. Crème de Cassis
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Stir all ingredients together with ice and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.
This drink is darkly juicy, like blueberry jam with alcohol. That may not sound appetizing, but if you knew how much we love blueberries, you would know that is highest praise. Crème de cassis is, of course, French black currant liqueur and it, mixed with the Lillet, lends a dark fruit jamminess to this well-balanced drink. We used a mild bourbon that worked well with the other flavors. A spicier whiskey wouldn’t pair well with the sweetness of this cocktail.
Jim Meehan’s PDT Cocktail Book has been getting a lot of run here recently. It’s almost like it’s a beautiful book full of tasty cocktail recipes or something. As soon as we noticed there’s a bourbon cocktail in it called There Will Be Blood, we knew it was only a matter of time before it ended up on There Will Be Bourbon.
There Will Be Blood
2 oz. Bourbon
¾ oz. Godiva chocolate liqueur
¾ oz. Blood orange juice
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a flamed orange twist.
We were really unsure of this cocktail at first, mainly because we’re not really big fans of creamy liqueurs like Godiva. But the spiciness of the bourbon (we used Temperance, though the PDT recipe calls for Old Grand-Dad) brings together the chocolate and blood orange juice nicely. It might not be an “every occasion” cocktail, but it’s nice for a rare, decadent treat. Does Patrick like it?
We’re absolutely loving the PDT Cocktail Book. Last week we made the De La Louisiane during the first portion of Rye Week, and here we are making the Frisco. We’ve also got our eyes on a few bourbon cocktails once we resume our regularly scheduled bourbon programming.
2 oz. Rye whiskey
½ oz. Bénédictine
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with an orange or lemon twist.
That’s it. Two ingredients, stir, strain, and drink. Jim Meehan’s recipe calls for Old Potrero Hotaling’s Rye, presumably for its taste as much as its connection to San Francisco. (Meehan notes that this cocktail is “named after one of the most established cocktail communities in the world.)
This cocktail is as delicious as it is simple. The Bénédictine uses all its herbs and citrus flavors to round out the rye into a smooth, slightly sweet cocktail. The rye remains the star of the show. When making this cocktail at home, be sure to use a rye you really love.
Rye whiskey is really great in cocktails. Rye lends itself well to drinks more on the savory side, where its spice and herbal characteristics shine. We adapted the recipe below from the original, which appears in Savory Cocktails. It is categorized as a “fermentation cocktail” because the whiskey supposedly feeds on the sugar from the cherry juice. Science!
The Fatal Hour
2 oz. Rye whiskey
¾ oz. Cynar or other herbaceous amaro
2 dashes Chocolate bitters
1 Luxardo cherry
Combine the rye, Cynar, and bitters in a mixing glass with ice and stir. Let chill for about 20 seconds, the strain into a chilled coupe. Use a bar spoon to scoop a cherry with a little bit of syrup still clinging to it. Slowly stir it into the cocktail.
This drink is bitter but well balanced. The Cynar almost steals the show, so be sure to use a higher proof whiskey to keep the Cynar in check. The chocolate bitters add silky sweetness.
Rye Week continues into its second week because we feel like drinking more rye. This time we’re drinking Wild Turkey Rye. Since Wild Turkey is famous for its bourbon, we were curious to see what the rest of their whiskey catalog had to offer.
The first thing to note is this whiskey’s relatively low 81 proof, as it sets up the entire drinking experience. Overall, Wild Turkey rye is a balanced, light whiskey. It has a light gold color and very subtle aroma. I couldn’t pick up any specifics when giving it a whiff, but Rachel found hints of nectarine or white peach. It has some of the vanilla and raisin sweetness from the wood, but is (as expected) less sweet than Wild Turkey Bourbon. Overall, it’s a well-balanced, light whiskey. It’s not heavy on any flavors, but it doesn’t lack flavor either. There are hints of malt, corn, and spice throughout each sip. Its linger is long but subtle and slightly spicy. It makes for a nice sipping rye and we can easily understand why this is repeatedly mentioned as a favorite by bartenders.
*Even though this nightcap was on Wild Turkey’s tab, we will always review products honestly. Contrary to popular belief, free drinks don’t automatically taste better.
We wanted to make the most of Rye Week on our blog, so we decided to mix up a cocktail from the wonderful PDT Cocktail Book. We didn’t alter this recipe at all, which is very rare for us.
De La Louisiane
2 oz. Rye whiskey
¾ oz. Sweet Vermouth
¾ oz. Bénédictine
3 dashes Absinthe
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with three cherries.
The author credits this drink to an old book called New Orleans Drinks (1937). Aside from the fact that we love any book title that sounds like a factual statement, we appreciate the history behind this Manhattan variation, as well as its blend of American and French influences—just like its city of origin.
The drink is very smooth and aromatic. The absinthe plays a supporting role to every other ingredient without overwhelming. The rye is a great spicy addition to the drink, which could otherwise be too sweet or herbal. We loved this cocktail and will certainly make it again.
We are going to have an impromptu Rye Week here because sometimes we like to drink other kinds of whiskey besides bourbon. First up is Hudson Manhattan Rye from Tuthilltown Spirits. We decided to start with Manhattan Rye because Tuthilltown’s Four Grain Bourbon is one of our favorites. On the other hand, we were lukewarm on their Baby Bourbon, but mostly because we like full-bodied whiskeys more than the lighter stuff. Feeling in the mood to treat ourselves, we finally picked up one of these mini bottles of rye.
We had high expectations, and we’re happy to say the Manhattan Rye met them. Like their other whiskeys, this rye is pot-distilled and aged in small barrels for less than four years. The color is a dark red, amber color. I thought the nose was mostly floral and full bodied, while Rachel got hints of cherry and amaretto. We agreed on the flavor, tasting a lot of raisin, apple, vanilla, and of course rye. The finish was lightly peppery and stuck around long enough to make you want to drink more. I also thought there was a slight char flavor in the aftertaste that rounded out the overall sip. We really, really like it. At 92 proof, it’s right about average for most whiskeys. The only real drawback of this—and the other Tuthilltown Sprits—is the cost. At $45 for 375ml, the Manhattan Rye becomes a special occasion spirit.