Category Archives: Whiskey

Maker’s Mark #JulepOff 2015

I was honored to have been recruited by Maker’s Mark to participate in their first-ever #JulepOff!  The challenge: remix the Kentucky Derby classic, the Mint Julep.

Maker's Mark Mint Julep
Maker’s Mark Mint Julep

Their traditional julep is as follows:

1.5 parts Maker’s Mark Bourbon
Fresh mint
2 tablespoons simple syrup
Distilled water
Powdered sugar

Muddle mint and simple syrup. Mix with Maker’s Mark and distilled water. Fill a julep cup with crushed ice and pour the mixture over the top of the ice.  Sprinkle a bit of powdered sugar over the ice and garnish the drink with a mint sprig.

While delicious, I think we can do better here at Susie Drinks Dallas!  Presenting the Run for the Roses Julep!  We decided that rosewater would give the traditional julep unique flavor … and it looks sexy as hell.

Run for the Roses Julep

~12 fresh mint leaves (stemmed)
5 drops rosewater
1 oz simple syrup
2 oz Maker’s Mark Bourbon
Crushed or shaved ice
Rose petals
Mint sprig
Powdered Sugar
Julep cup

Muddle the mint leaves and simple syrup. (Don’t overmuddle or you’ll be sad.) Add the bourbon and rosewater, stir lightly.  Fill a julep cup with shaved or crushed ice then pour the mixture over the ice.  Garnish with a rose petal and mint sprig.  Lightly sprinkle powdered sugar over the drink.

SDD-RoseDrank

Want to up the ante?  How about some Mint Julep Jelly Shots!?

2 packets unflavored gelatin
2 C chilled water
1/2 C mint leaves (fresh is best)
1/2 C granulated sugar
3/4 C Maker’s Mark bourbon
Mint sprigs

Put gelatin into cold water in a saucepan then let sit for about 5 minutes.  Add the mint leaves and sugar, then heat over medium heat for about 4 minutes, then turn the heat off and let sit for 15 minutes.  Strain and then stir in the Maker’s Mark.  Pour into shot glasses then refrigerate for at least 5 hours.

I’d greatly appreciate your support in the #JulepOff!  Please visit the Maker’s Mark Pinterest starting 4/23 and REPIN my recipe!  I have until May 1 to get as many REPINS as possible.

(Please only repin it once per account.)


Roses not your thing? Some other recipes I came up with are below!

Lavender Mint Julep
~12 fresh mint leaves (stemmed)
1 oz lavender syrup
2 oz Maker’s Mark Bourbon
Crushed or shaved ice
Lavender
Mint sprig
Powdered Sugar
Julep cup

Muddle the mint leaves and lavender simple syrup. (Don’t overmuddle or you’ll be sad.) Add the bourbon, stir lightly. Fill a julep cup with shaved or crushed ice then pour the mixture over the ice. Garnish with a lavender stem and mint sprig.

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Mile High Julep
6-8 min leaves

1 3/4 oz Maker’s Mark Bourbon
1/2 oz Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
1/2 oz ginger syrup
1/4 oz fresh lemon juice
Mint sprig

Combine ingredients in a julep cup and lightly muddle.  Add crushed ice and garnish with a mint sprig.

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A huge thanks to my favorite guys over at The People’s Last Stand for their help getting the recipe perfect!

Women in Whiskey

Jim Beam. Booker Noe. Evan Williams. Henry McKenna. John Jameson. Hiram Walker. The list goes on. The whisk(e)y industry is seemingly dominated by men, and I was given another chance to appreciate that at the “Women in Whisk(e)y” event at Sissy’s. We heard from the following:

  • Victoria MacRae-Samuels, Vice President of Operations at Maker’s Mark Bourbon
  • Vicky Stevens, Global Brand Ambassador for Laphroaig Scotch Whisky
  • Tish Harcus, Brand Ambassador for Canadian Club Whisky
  • Stella Lacken, Brand Ambassador for Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey

With the smell of Sissy’s delicious fried chicken hanging in the air, the women shared their paths to their current positions with their respective brands along with how their love of whiskey was forged. I was happy to share with Victoria after that my mother was actually the person who turned me on to whiskey (she’s a huge Maker’s fan) … she even gave me Whiskey Women for Christmas, which they all recommended we read.

WIN FOR DALLAS: Tish from Canadian Club even let us know the women in Dallas are ahead of the WORLD when it comes to their love of whiskey.  (Way to go, ladies.)

To get us through the late lunch, Sissy’s served us some goodies. Along with some of Sissy’s delicious bites, we were treated to tastings of Maker’s 46, Laphroaig, Canadian Club Sherry Cask, and Kilbeggan and cocktails made with each.

To continue the day of awesomeness, I was lucky enough to stop by the Maker’s Mark happy hour at Bolsa that they put on for their local ambassadors. (P.S. If you’re not an ambassador, sign up now.)  While there, I had another chance to chat with Victoria from Maker’s Mark and she deemed to snap a picture for me to send to my mom. (HI, MOM!)

The day of awesomeness ended with dinner at Smoke, where we were treated a traditional Scottish song to start the night.  (Don’t you love his kilt?)  Each delicious and well seasoned course of BBQ was accompanied by tastings of the four whiskeys and cocktails that showed off how they lend themselves to mixing, and we were treated to another round of addresses from the whiskey women.

A Night with Ballast Point Brewing & Distilling Co.

A bit ago I attended a happy hour with Ballast Point Brewing and Distilling at Bird Cafe. To be honest, I didn’t know much about Ballast Point before going to the happy hour, and I learned that Ballast Point began as a small group of home brewers in San Diego, California. Most of the beers are named after fishing terms. The labels have illustrations of fish to pay homage to the brewery’s origin’s. After they made a name for themselves through their beer, Ballast Point began distilling. The company now has seven spirits they call their own.

Ballast Point happy hour beer menu
Ballast Point happy hour beer menu

I began the night tasting some of Ballast Point’s beer on tap. For those of you who like hoppy beers, go for the Grunion Pale Ale (5.5%). It has a nutty flavor as well as a summer fruit aroma. This beer won the 2015 Best of Craft Beer silver award. Next, I went for the Scotch ale. Piper Down (5.8%) is now in the running as one of my favorite craft beers … it’s not super heavy and it has a smooth taste. I tasted a chocolate, sweet after taste with this brew. This beer won the 2015 Best of Craft Beer gold award. The name came from Scottish bag pipers that drank too much … the piper became top heavy and people would yell, “piper down” when they began to fall. (I have to admit, I went back two days later for more.) My last tasting was the Victory at Sea Coffee/Vanilla Porter (10%). As expected, it was a dark, smooth brew. I am not a coffee drinker, but that didn’t not stop me drinking this beer. It had more of a vanilla taste than coffee.

San Diego Street Car
San Diego Street Car

Moving on to the spirits, I was curious about the first cocktail on the list–the San Diego Street Car (Devil’s Share Moonshine, Ancho Chili liqueur, corn water, lime, Burlesque bitters, egg white). I was puzzled by this concoction, so I had to ask the bartender how he came up with this interesting drink. He said it was his version of elotes in cocktail form. He wanted to bring out the corn flavor of the moonshine rather than mask it. After understanding the background of the drink, it made me enjoy it all the more.

I would urge you to go to your local liquor store and try out some of Ballast Point’s spirits. Here’s your shopping list:

3 Sheet’s Rum: made from pure cane sugar rather than molasses (80 proof)
Fugu Vodka: Filtered 15 times (80 proof)
Devil’s Share Moonshine (whiskey): hints of tropical fruit (98.6 proof)
Devil’s Share Burbon: American oak barrels, hints of caramel and vanilla cream (92 proof)
Old Grove Gin: made from juniper berries, rose, and coriander (88 proof)

Ballast Point Brewery
www.Ballastpoint.com
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Bird Cafe's amazing bar
Bird Cafe’s amazing bar

Bird Cafe
155 East Main Street
Fort Worth, Texas 76102
www.birdinthe.net

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