Category Archives: Whiskey

Woodford Reserve Launch Event

At the beginning of the month, Woodford Reserve Kentucky bourbon invited me to an exclusive, salon dinner to see firsthand what the brand is stirring up next. Master Distiller Chris Morris hosted the event. He led through a guided introduction and tasting of the brand’s latest addition, Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey. With the help of Henry’s Majestic in the kitchen, the event was quite the success.

Look for Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey to release this March at your favorite spirits store. Even if you’re not a rye whiskey fan, Morris promises that this is one you won’t want to miss.

Try out one of my favorite cocktails from the evening, the Vieux Carre:

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
Bénédictine
Cognac
Sesame Vermouth
Bitters

Ké Spirits’ wKé

College taught me a number of things, but one of its most important lessons was my love for whiskey. It’s an acquired taste that began as a means to drink with the boys and developed into my own guilty pleasure. I like it over ice or with a splash of ginger ale.

Typically, whiskey offers a slight bite with some smoky, woody qualities. Particularly, Ké Spirits’ Whiskey (wKé) delivers a rich, smooth flavor of grain and wild flower that brings a lasting bite. It’s a strong, but pleasing aroma of elements.

Ké describes its grain components as an uncommon combination that is processed by slicing, rolling, and in some cases, crushing them to capture and retain the unique flavors. Then comes the two-phase fermentation process in which the temperature and environment are closely controlled. Lastly, the liquids are distilled through small handmade copper pot stills in a two-phase copper distillation column. This lends hand to its opulent caramel color.

The legend of Ké Spirits originates in the late 1400s when the art of distillation made its way to Ireland. Irish Catholic monks used it to craft a beverage, whiskey, (“water of life” in English). It was made quickly and crudely to offer a barely drinkable solution. Then, in 1498 Padraig Barry discovered a grain process that turned young, hardly drinkable whiskey into a surprisingly rich and smooth beverage.

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Fast forward 470 years, Joe Barry learns of secret family stories detailing the mysterious “Ké” distillation that generations before him worked to protect from kings, invaders, thieves, and raiders. After retiring in 2007, Joe Barry journeyed to Ireland to unveil the truth of “Ké.” For the next five years he worked with distillers to recreate the original process himself and now offers three varieties: Ké (vodka), tKé (tequila), and wKé (whiskey).

Keep warm by the fire with a glass straight. If that doesn’t do the trick, here is a recipe provided by Ké spirits for a wKé Irish Coffee:

unnamed-18wKé IRISH COFFEE
1 ½ oz wKé
4 oz Freshly Brewed Coffee
2 tsp Dark Brown Sugar
Fresh Whipped Cream
Nutmeg, Cinnamon, or Chocolate

Combine wKé, coffee, and brown sugar in a warm Irish coffee glass and stir until sugar is dissolved. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg, cinnamon, or chocolate.

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**Disclaimer: This bottle of joy was provided to me by Ké spirits**

Troy & Sons, Now Available in Dallas

A couple weeks back, I had the opportunity to meet a true dynamo, Troy Ball.  She’s a horse riding, blonde haired, mother of three who makes moonshine in Asheville, NC and a spark plug to boot.  (Like, the kind of person I’d really like to be friends with.  Like … actual friends that go to brunch and watch “Scandal” together.)


Her distillery is at the foot of the Blue Mountains in Asheville and they have family members that actually work there.  They even use white corn sourced from a local farm to make their spirits.  Troy & Sons’ moonshines were created when Troy learned that most back woods moonshiners (can I say that?) keep the best of each batch of moonshine for themselves and sell of the harsh leftovers.  So, she decided to make good moonshine and give the people the best of it.  (Nice.)  The smoothness of all the T&S moonshines is incredibly surprising.  We sipped each before trying them in cocktails, and both ways were enjoyable.

Troy & Sons Platinum Moonshine |  The mildly sweet flavor of Platinum isn’t too powerful but still stands up nicely in cocktails.  Unlike the name “moonshine” suggests, it doesn’t burn at all.  The Platinum is also in a beautiful bottle (that I’m stoked to add to my new bar (cart) when I get it!)
80 proof, $29.99 for 750ml

Troy & Sons Oak Reserve Moonshine | While it’s bottled similarly to the Platinum, the flavors couldn’t be more different thanks to its six months of aging in bourbon barrels*.  The short aging gives it a light amber color and slight flavor notes of caramel with a touch of pepper.  It is smooooooth (oh baby) and was delicious in the cocktails that we were given during the tasting dinner.
80 proof, $39.99 for 750ml

Blonde Whiskey | The first of their “Blonde” line options, it is made from “the best grains of the old world to the latest in distilling technology.”  The flavor is sweet with notes of vanilla, caramel, and honey earned during its 1.5 year aging in custom honeycomb barrels.  This deliciousness SHOULD be sipped on its own, tainted only by the two cubes of ice (tops) if you MUST.
80 proof, $42.99 for 750ml

TROY & SONS – NOW AVAILABLE IN DALLAS
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Buy Online, available (at least) at Lark on the Park

*Troy told us the story about how she visited a well-know whiskey distillery and convinced them to give her their used bourbon barrels to age their Oak Reserve.  She ended up saving their butts by connecting them with a barrel supplier when they needed new barrels during the barrel shortage (yes, there’s apparently a barrel shortage in the US).  (Disclaimer: I think that’s the story.  I heard it from the opposite side of the table after three tastings and four cocktails.)

2 Gingers Whiskey

 

My favorite people are those that are passionate about something and go after it.  I was pleased to sit down for a few drinks (ahem, a liquid lunch) at Barter with Kieran Folliard, creator of 2 Gingers Whiskey, on his way through Dallas on his US tour in a branded Airstream trailer.  His mother and aunt inspired the name, and the rest came naturally.

Growing up in West Ireland, Kieran worked in a bar where “there were only ever two ingredients in a drink, and one of them was a glass.”  He’s in Minnesota now and decided to get back to his roots by “flogging whiskey to the Yanks” at his own bar.  He then realized that the thing that would differentiate his bar from the others would be creating whiskey cocktails that were as quick as pouring a beer and not too much steeper in price.  (Challenge.)  He created a list of whiskey cocktails, trademarked them, and then decided that he wanted more consistency … and he’d ultimately get it by creating his own whiskey blend.

tumblr_inline_n409aoz2fC1qzfwapLest you think that Kieran is some rogue Minnesotan who tried his hand at some moonshine, note that 2 Gingers was acquired by Beam, Inc. in December 2012 and is currently the fastest growing whiskey brand on the market.  So there.

2 Gingers Whiskey is smooth and had a sweeter finishing note when enjoyed on its own (almost caramel-y).  In the drinks that Rocco (Barter’s bar manager) served, the 2 Gingers stood out without slapping you in the face (even though it’s a usually hefty 80 proof).  (I had to force myself to stop drinking the Skinny Ginger, Big Ginger, and others for fear I’d be unable to function for the remainder of the day if I didn’t.)  My go-to summer drink will be the Big Ginger (recipe below), no question. 2Gs is distilled only twice (instead of the usual three) so the flavor would really stand up in the cocktails, and is aged four years instead of the typical 2-3.  The finish has less burn to it thanks to this process.

The bottle itself is quite nice, and features the likenesses of Kieran’s mother and aunt.  The best part of the bottle, though, is the serving instructions: “drink with friends or with ice.”  Amen.

I plied the recipe for “the perfect Irish Coffee” out of him (which is really a thing in Ireland and not like French fries to the French), and he suggested the steps below:

  • Start with a warm glass (rinse it with warm water, then dry)
  • Pour in some 2 Gingers Whiskey (obvi) as its taste will stand out more since it’s distilled TWICE
  • brown sugar or a bit of simple syrup
  • a TINGE of Guinness
  • QUALITY strong coffee
  • homemade, thick hand-whipped cream made with quality cream

BIG GINGER
– Fill a Collins glass with ice
– Pour 2 parts 2 Gingers over ice
– Top up with ginger ale
– Serve with lemon and lime wedge
– Drink up.

2 Gingers is available in most local liquor stores, and ask for it at your local bar!  Other excellent cocktail recipes courtesy of 2 Gingers can be found on their website, 2gingerswhiskey.com.

Sláinte!

Quick facts:
2 Gingers Whiskey
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80 proof
Suggested price: $19.99 for 750ml