As Brooklyn-based New York Distilling Company approaches its seven-year anniversary, distillery co-owner and industry legend Allen Katz delves into rye heritage, historic mashbills, and creating “a new American whiskey that tastes of more than just wood”.
“When I was 17, I started going to a particular hotel bar in Maryland with my grandmother; a magnificently social person,” recalls Katz. “We would have Manhattans made with the white label of Pikesville Rye 80 Proof, one of the juniors of Rittenhouse. I have always been fascinated with rye. It’s resolutely part of my personal heritage.”
Join us as well celebrate all things autumn with a round-up of sensational seasonal spirits!
Autumn is a season loved by many. It’s all about comfort food and drink. It’s a chance to make the most of the produce from the seasonal harvest. It’s the time to attend bonfire nights and Halloween parties. It’s the season when we welcome the darkening nights and browning leaves with a hearty tipple and, let’s face it, heaps of bloody pumpkin spice.
But what makes the perfect autumn drink? Summer refreshers and cocktails are now out of the question. But winter warmers aren’t the required tonic just yet. In autumn, or ‘fall’, for our exceptionally literal friends in the United States, it only seems right to celebrate brown spirits: whisky, Armagnac, Cognac, Calvados and darker or spiced rums, as well as liqueurs and cocktails packed with seasonal fruits and colours.
In this spirit, we’ve produced a list of appropriately autumnal boozes. Each comes with a seasonal serve if you want to get creative. These ought to keep you going until the snow starts to fall.
We caught up with Dave Pickerell as he zoomed into London on a flying visit to launch WhistlePig FarmStock Rye Crop No.002 whiskey (available exclusively here, FYI!), first at a rammed tasting at the Bloomsbury Hotel and later at Hedonism Wines in Mayfair. He’s a busy man but he managed to give us half an hour of his undivided attention to tell us about his obsession with all thing rye…
WhistlePig is a distillery that’s made the headlines for many reasons over the years, from founder Raj Bhakta’s original dream of making rye whiskey in Vermont and its first releases to the brand’s cameo in Breaking Bad and everything in between. We meet master distiller Dave Pickerell to discuss recent events as WhistlePig FarmStock Rye Crop No.002 hits the shelves here in the UK.
MoM: Hello Dave, welcome to London, could you tell us how you first got into making whiskey?
Dave Pickerell: I enrolled at the University of Louisville and was studying for my Masters degree (in chemical engineering) and discovered that I’m an idiot savant at distilling! Truly, it’s not about smarts; it’s about some innate sense that I can close my eyes and see molecules running around in a still and know where they’re going next and why. My mentor told me that the beverage alcohol industry needed me. And there was a small consulting firm in Louisville that did nothing but beverage alcohol and they’d just landed a contract and it was more than they could handle and they needed another chemical engineer. I got to work in China, Mexico, Canada, Scotland, the Dominican Republic, and all over the US. I learned about fine spirits, and lousy spirits, all over the world.
Yesterday Highland distillery Glenmorangie released its ninth Private Edition innovation, Glenmorangie Spìos, and outlined plans to boost production capacity with a multi-million-pound still house. Interest firmly piqued, we headed to a M Den in London’s Victoria for a tasting led by Dr Bill Lumsden and Brendan McCarron.
“The more difficult it is, the more people [that] say no, the more I want to do it,” attests Dr Bill Lumsden, director of distilling, whisky creation and whisky stocks, as he peers down the camera lens. He’s addressing journalists in London, Paris and Zurich via a live stream from the brand’s sensory lab in Scotland, accompanied by head of maturing whisky stocks Brendan McCarron. “The story of Glenmorangie Spìos is along those lines.”
Indeed, creating Spìos (Scots Gaelic for ‘spice’; pronounced ‘spee-oss’) was no easy ride. The idea stemmed from conversation with late beer and whisky writer Michael Jackson back in the late 1990s during Dr Lumsden’s tenure as distillery manager – a period when the American rye whiskey category was “almost on life support”.
Categories : Scotch Whisky
As we approach the end of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar, Day #21 brings a festive celebration from across the pond!
Could there be a more Christmassy place in the world than New York City in December? You’ve seen the films (Miracle On 34th Street, Home Alone 2, Die Hard) – Christmas in NYC is the stuff dreams are made of!
Why am I suddenly talking about NYC? Well, it might have something to do with the whiskey hidden away today in Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar… Hudson Manhattan Rye!
Jim Murray has announced the winners in this year’s Whisky Bible, with a rye claiming top spot for the second year running and a Scotch whisky in the top three for the first time since 2014.
Following on from Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Canadian rye, it’s an American rye whiskey that’s been named World Whisky of the Year in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible this time around: Booker’s ‘Big Time Batch’, aged for 13 years, 1 month and 12 days. Laid down by the legendary Booker Noe himself in 2003, shortly before his death, his son continued to watch over the casks and they were finally released earlier this year. Booker’s first ever rye, it was already described by Beam as an “extremely rare, limited edition offering, made from a very limited number of barrels” and will now become an even more sought-after bottling.
Cast your mind back to November of last year and you might just remember seeing a fantastic rye whiskey come through our doors – the Pikesville 6 Year Old 100 Proof Straight Rye. Not only was it rather yummy and a Master of Malt exclusive, it also made an entertaining whoosh-ing noise as it flew right back out the door in a very swift manner. This might have had something to do with Jim Murray naming it his Second Finest Whisky in the World shortly after it arrived (and it’s since been crowned World’s Best Rye Whisky at the World Whiskies Awards 2016)…
If it whoosh-ed past you the first time, you’ll be happy to know that Pikesville 6 Year Old 100 Proof is back in stock! Go a get yourself a bottle now! (Update: Aaaaaand it’s gone. Again.)
Right then – everyone about ready for a #MasterofCocktails?
This evening we’re going to make an oft-overlooked drink, the ‘Old Pal’. The use of Dry vermouth lends this drink a light and very ‘aperitiffy’ (definitely not a word) character which makes it a wonderful springtime drink.
We’re going to start off by summoning up the energy to get off the sofa and walk over to the bar.
Categories : Cocktails
Right then chaps – time for this week’s #MasterofCocktails. We’re making a sort of Old Fashioned/Manhattan hybrid using Maple Syrup as the sweetening agent. Oh, and candied bacon as a garnish, as if this cocktail recipe wasn’t sounding awesome enough already.
However, before you even think about touching any of the liquids, you’re going to need to candy your bacon. No, that’s not a euphemism.
For this week’s #MasterofCocktails, we have a Silver Lining recipe. It’s a twist on a whiskey sour using Licor 43 Cuarenta y Tres, which is one of those sort of inexplicable flavours, like Vimto or Dr. Pepper. But with the added bonus of making you better at telling stories, and really good at playing pool. It’s sort of chocolatey, and also sort of vanilla-y.
This drink is courtesy of Jim Meehan’s PDT Cocktail Book. You should really all have this, it’s a superbly curated compendium: