The biggest question on my mind before a recent trip to the Mt. Vernon distillery: "Did George Washington's wooden teeth add a little bit of extra aging to whatever whiskey he drank?" I quickly learned that the wooden teeth thing is a myth. One set of his false teeth was composed of a cow's tooth, one of Washington's own teeth, and hippopotamus ivory, making his mouth a Noah's Ark of dental wizardry.
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The white whiskey wars continue! If you were excited by the pending release of the Jack Daniel's unaged Tennessee rye but put off by the steep asking price, then look no further. The latest release from Jim Beam, Jacob's Ghost White Whiskey, is positioning to steal JD's thunder and undercut their price point. And no, it's not just a spooky spirit—this whiskey has real potential to become a mainstay in bars and liquor cabinets across the country.
Apparently Jack Daniel's is interested in bringing a rye whiskey to market, so they've tinkered with a new mashbill for the first time since Prohibition. But the results coming off the still were so good that they decided to release a limited quantity of that juice straight to the public. It's a pretty gutsy move, and I'm not sure whether it's a response to the explosion in craft distilleries offering their white dogs to the public, or whether they want to build visibility for the eventual release of their aged rye. Either way, it's easily the best white whiskey I've tried in quite some time.
In this cocktail from Brandon Burkart of Haddingtons in Austin, Low Gap White Whiskey delivers crisp flavors with the help of Cocchi Americano and lemon bitters.
With the flavors of cacao and plum, this drink from Steven Mercer of Clock Bar in San Francisco invokes the spirit of British plum pudding.
This boozy yet balanced drink from Rickhouse Bar in San Francisco has hints of tobacco, smoke, and apple.
The smoked honey is the star ingredient in this cocktail from Brian Block of Aldea in NYC, adding a nice dark counterpoint to the subtle peach flavors.
I am standing in House Spirits Distillery, and Executive Distiller Matt Mounts is waxing poetic and dropping science about the nuances between Turkish raki, Middle Eastern arak and Greek ouzo.
Now, as more small-scale craft distillers are starting to get into the whiskey business, the American whiskey part of the liquor store is becoming a much more dynamic place. As Malt Advocate publisher John Hansell noted last week on his blog, the boundaries between old-school, large-scale distillers and brand-new, small-scale startups are becoming increasingly blurred.