There’s no shortage of choice when it comes to fantastic American whiskey. Let us help narrow down your options. When you’ve got time on your hands it’s the perfect opportunity…
There’s no shortage of choice when it comes to fantastic American whiskey. Let us help narrow down your options.
When you’ve got time on your hands it’s the perfect opportunity to try something new, which is why we’re giving you a glimpse into what’s happening in the American whiskey scene. In our selection, we’ve got classic brands that have been doing the business for decades and younger distilleries firing up stills ready to make their mark. There’s bottlings that are best savoured by sipping them straight and those that make great whiskey cocktails. We’ve got spicy ryes and smooth bourbons, various mashbills and even a heavy-metal inspired expression.
But they all have something in common: they’re delicious American whiskeys that we heartily recommend. Enjoy!
Yes, this is a whiskey that was made in collaboration with heavy metal band Slipknot. In fact, it was actually blended by Slipknot’s very own Shawn “Clown” Crahan (he wears a clown mask when performing), with the help of the lovely folk at Cedar Ridge Distillery. Both the band and distillery hail from Iowa, so fittingly the whiskey was made from Iowa corn as well as a helping of rye. If you’re looking for the perfect pairing then you can’t get more appropriate than Slipknot’s Iowa album!
What does it taste like?:
Honey, toasted cornbread, smoked paprika, toffee apples, chocolate digestives, citrus blossom, cracked black pepper, caraway and fragrant florals.
A delightful Kentucky bourbon that represents fantastic value for money, Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon is ideal for those who enjoy an Old Fashioned. It has a rich, spicy profile that’s partly down to a mash bill that features a high percentage of rye: 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% malt.
What does it taste like?:
Honey, leather, cocoa, a little smoke, toasty oak, vanilla cream, butterscotch, espresso beans, winter spice, cereal sweetness, plenty of rye, ground ginger, almond oil and cereals.
If you haven’t enjoyed the sweet, spicy and distinctive character of rye whiskey, then you should rectify this situation immediately. This award-winning expression, which commemorates Philadelphia’s famous Rittenhouse Square, was produced in the tradition of the classic rye whiskeys that dominated the industry pre-Prohibition and is fantastic in a number of cocktails.
A full-bodied, punchy and powerful bottling from those fab folks over at Smooth Ambler Spirits in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, this is not for the faint-hearted. The fantastic variation of the brand’s classic Old Scout American Whiskey was bottled at 107 proof (or 53.5% ABV for those of us here in the UK).
What does it taste like?:
Roasted coffee beans, burnt caramel, a good kick of cumin, floral vanilla, fresh ginger, fiery cinnamon, fudge, mango and sponge cake.
A stylish and superb Kentucky bourbon with a mellow, earthy and delicately sweet profile, Mitcher’s US*1 Bourbon is made in small batches typically composed of no more than two dozen barrels. The brand is named after what some believe to be the oldest former distillery in the US, which dates back to 1753.
What does it taste like?:
Caramel, vanilla and fruit notes, alongside a pleasing earthy quality at its core.
Arguably the most intriguing bottling in our selection is the delightful Mellow Corn, which is made at the Heaven Hill distillery. Inside that distinctive bright yellow bottle, you’ll find a punchy, gold-coloured American corn whiskey made with a mash bill that’s at least 81% corn, with the rest being a combination of malted barley and rye.
What does it taste like?:
Buttery corn, toffee popcorn, vanilla, brown sugar and a flicker of woody spice.
An expression named for the Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans, birth-place of the famous Sazerac cocktail. While it was originally made with Cognac, the Sazerac is also delicious when it’s made with rye whiskey. Particularly very tasty rye whiskey, like this fine example from the Buffalo Trace distillery.
What does it taste like?:
Sweet spices, stem ginger in syrup, orange zest, freshly ground black pepper, mixed peels, Seville orange marmalade, peanut butter, toffee and barrel char.
Broaden your horizons and discover something new with this selection of sublime world whiskies! We love the history and tradition of whisky, from the many classic expressions to the legendary…
Broaden your horizons and discover something new with this selection of sublime world whiskies!
We love the history and tradition of whisky, from the many classic expressions to the legendary old distilleries. But whisky is also an ever-expanding category that’s ripe with innovation. It seems like everyday new nations are joining in the fun of distilling the good stuff while adding their own spin on what it is that makes great whisky. We’re deeply fond of this development and are delighted to champion the many wonderful producers that make whisky all across the globe. Which is why we’ve made this handy little list of some of our favourites, so you can indulge in an expression from India, South Africa, Sweden and more!
Amrut Fusion is truly a world whisky as it was made from a mix of 75% unpeated Indian barley and 25% peated Scottish barley. These were distilled separately and aged for four years, then ‘fused’ together for a further three months. That’s why it’s called Fusion. See? Anyway, the whisky is delicious.
What does it taste like?:
Rich barley, fruity, citrus, gentle peat, coffee, dark chocolate, marmalade, baking spices and creamy sweetness.
Canadian whisky deserves a bigger spotlight, so why not enjoy a legendary expression from Lot 40. A Canadian rye whisky that is produced in a single copper pot still, Lot 40 Rye Whisky was named after the plot of land home to the historic Ontario farm of Canadian pioneer, politician and distiller Joshua Booth, the ancestor of one of Hiram Walker’s distillers.
What does it taste like?:
Earthy rye is backed up by caramel, cardamom pod, peppery coriander, brown sugar, fresh vanilla pod sweetness, fig and flamed orange peel.
Äppelblom, which means apple blossom, is distilled at Mackmyra and matured initially in bourbon and new American oak casks before it was finished in oak casks which previously held Calvados from Christian Drouin, one of the world’s leading Calvados producers. It’s recommended that you serve the fresh and spicy whisky alongside a warm apple dessert or even apple sorbet, which sounds amazing.
South Africa’s first-ever single grain whisky and the winner of the Best South African Grain at the World Whiskies Awards 2019, Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky was named after the chap who built the first roads in Wellington. It was distilled in column stills at The James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington and matured in first-fill American oak casks previously used for the maturation of bourbon, first for three years before being finished in a fresh set of casks for a further 18 to 30 months.
From the wonderful Starward in Melbourne, Two-Fold takes its name from the production process of this delicious Australian whisky, which combines spirits made from malted barley and wheat before the two are matured entirely in Australian red wine casks. It took home the prize of Best Australian Blend at the World Whiskies Awards 2019, continuing our winning theme.
What does it taste like?:
Banana bread, caramelised dates, nutty malt, soft vanilla fudge, brown sugar, cinnamon, pepper, coffee and walnut cake, summer berries and stewed stone fruit.
Smooth Ambler Old Scout American Whiskey 107 Proof is a variation of their Old Scout American Whiskey bottled at 107 proof (that’s 53.5% ABV for those of us here in the UK). Expect a full-bodied, spicy and tasty expression from those delightful distillers in Greenbrier County, West Virginia.
What does it taste like?:
Roasted coffee beans, burnt caramel, a good kick of cumin, floral vanilla, fresh ginger, fragrant oak, fiery cinnamon, fudge, mango and sponge cake.
Well, it feels like summer might finally be here to stay. We were up in Edinburgh this week and the city was bathed in sunlight. Everybody seemed a bit surprised….
Well, it feels like summer might finally be here to stay. We were up in Edinburgh this week and the city was bathed in sunlight. Everybody seemed a bit surprised. This weekend the lidos, paddling pools and beaches of Britain will be full of cheery people eating ice cream and sipping cold drinks. And the main topic of conversation among those over 18 will be… booze, of course! You thought it would be something else beginning with ‘b’ didn’t you? And so, to make you king of the conversation, we’ve rounded up the most interesting stories of the week. Simply read, learn and regurgitate to your friends and they will be amazed at how ‘with it’ you are. Though perhaps don’t use the phrase ‘with it’.
You can carry this on Eurostar, but you can’t drink it
Eurostar booze crisis resolved
There was panic among Britain’s booze enthusiasts this week when it was discovered that Eurostar had changed the policy on carrying bottles on its trains. Previously travellers were free, unlike on planes, to carry wine, spirits or beer in their hand luggage, but the new rules limited passengers to one bottle of wine, four bottles of beer and no spirits whatsoever. The drinks world was up in arms. Joe Fattorini from The Wine Show said: “This new rule fromEurostar officially ends the whole point of Eurostar for any wine producer coming to the UK.” When people asked for clarification, Eurostar commented the rules had changed to “maintain a pleasant environment on board for all our travellers”, and that passengers could pay to have their baggage checked, at £30 per item. Suddenly all the money you have saved on that bottle of Cognac has disappeared. But thanks to a concerted effort from, among others, travel writer and campaigner Mark Smith, aka. the Man in Seat 61, Eurostar clarified its rules: passengers are only allowed one bottle of wine, four beers and no large spirit bottles, to drink on the train, but “we are happy for customers to bring unopened bottles of alcohol to take on to their destination”, it now says on the site. Problem solved. Thank you, Eurostar, for listening to your passengers.
This Laphroaig 1995 could be yours via new online auction site, Cask 88
New online auction site launches for whisky in cask
There can be few whisky lovers who haven’t dreamed of owning their own cask of the good stuff. Now acquiring your dream barrel has got that bit easier with the launch of a new online auction site especially for whisky in casks, called Cask 88. Just register with the site and you’re ready to go. Casks are listed with a photo and information about distillery, age, cask type, ABV and roughly how many bottles you could get out of it. So, for example there’s currently a cask of Laphroaig at £25,000 which was distilled in 1995. It weighs in at 55.4% ABV and you should be able to get 186 bottles of delicious smoky goodness. The site takes a 10% commission and offers two years storage free, after that it will cost £50 per year. And when the time comes to bottle your cask, you will have to pay VAT and duty. Auctions will take place monthly, including valuable old whiskies like that Laphroaig as well as young casks that should, hopefully, grow in value. And of course, don’t forget that even if you don’t make any money, you do have whisky. Which you can drink.
One day this will be whisky
Yorkshire’s self-built distillery begins whisky production
The wonderful Cooper King Distillery over in Yorkshire has officially announced the start of distillation of its inaugural single malt whisky! Clearly everyone is just as excited as we are, as the distillery sold out of its pre-order whisky casks after just 10 days. Locally-grown Yorkshire barley will be traditionally floor-malted in England’s oldest working maltings, before it is mashed and fermented at the distillery itself. It will be distilled in a unique Tasmanian copper pot still, and matured on-site. “We may be one of the smallest whisky distilleries in England, but what matters to us is not the quantity of whisky produced, but the flavour of that whisky, its provenance, and the story behind the spirit,” co-founder Abbie Neilson commented. “Sourcing great barley, working with a superb master cooper, and carrying out mashing, fermentation, distillation and maturation under one roof allows us to truly celebrate terroir.” The new spirit will be “robust, flavourful, and unlike any other in the country”, and influenced by the founders’ work with award-winning Tasmanian whisky distilleries. “Five years ago Abbie and I quit our jobs, flew to Australia, and fell in love with the Tasmanian way of making whisky,” added fellow co-founder, Chris Jaume. “Since then we have worked incredibly hard to realise our dream of distilling an English whisky underpinned by craftsmanship, honesty and adventure. We are thrilled that the day has come, and malt spirit is flowing at the distillery.” We, along with many others, eagerly await the day that the spirit will come of age, and be enjoyed as whisky. May the countdown begin!
There’s no added sugar in Pinkster gin (though there is in the tonic)
Tabloids take aim at sugar content in gins
Gin fans have been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride the last few days. Yes, we’re in the midst of Negroni Week (more on that shortly). That’s always a winner. But we’ve also seen a raft of press coverage around the unexpectedly high sugar content in gin – with contemporary pink gins very much highlighted (just have a search on social if you want to see the article(s)). Whether you would just rather not know, or reckon that being well-informed is the best course of action (the side we come down on), there was a WHOLE load of chatter. Pinkster Gin even weighed in. “The report on sugar levels in flavoured gins makes for disturbing reading as many gin-lovers will simply have no idea that they’re playing sugar roulette,” said MD Stephen Marsh, stressing that there’s no added sugar in its production. That Boutique-y Gin Company was also in the social spotlight for its ‘no added sugar’ claim when Chocolate Orange Gin went viral. Do you care whether or not your gin has added sugar? What about your tonic water? Or would you just rather kick back with a refreshing G&T and forget about all the nutritional deets? Let us know on social or in the comments below.
Circolo Popolare is Italian booze heaven
Circolo Popolare throws open its doors
We love a good shindig at MoM Towers, so when we were invited to the launch night of new Italian bar and restaurant Circolo Popolare, we knew we were in for a treat. The save-the-date said there was 400 litres of spritz to get through, for goodness sake! What we weren’t quite prepped for was the exuberance of the flower-filled space, the chandeliers, the general opulence. This is a Sicilian embassy in the middle of Fitzrovia, complete with a terrace! The banquet was incredible – if the initial impression of the burrata, pizza and gelato is anything to go by, one could happily feast there for days. And there was a Negroni bar (a tip-top way to celebrate Negroni week). AND the alabaster walls were lined with 20,000 bottles of Italian spirits! No need for a passport, Circolo Popolare brings all the celebratory summer vibes we need. London folk: get in there quick.
This is what’s known as a ‘cookout’
Smooth Ambler Cookout comes to London
Diaries out, folks – 4 July is approaching, and US whiskey brand Smooth Ambler is determined to get Londoners in the mood for all things Americana. On Sunday, the Smooth Ambler Cookout is coming to East London! Strongroom Bar’s outdoor terrace is playing host, and guests can expect bourbon, bluegrass and barbeque food aplenty. So what is a ‘cookout’? Basically it’s the word for the whole event – we Brits might refer to the whole shebang a ‘barbeque’, but in Smooth Amber’s West Virginia, a ‘cookout’ encompasses it all. Want in? Tickets are £10, and include a Smooth Ambler cocktail, and unlimited access (mmmmmm, unlimited access) to the barbeque from 3-5pm. More info is available here. Time to start working up an appetite!
Kraken’s Perfect Storm, frankly it looks terrifying
Kraken Rum launches restaurant inside a thunderstorm! (Literally)
You’ve heard of 4D cinemas, but how about a 4D dining experience? The Kraken Black Spiced Rum has taken the phrase ‘cooking up a storm’ quite literally to the next level, with a brand new immersive 4D restaurant where you are, indeed, inside a storm. It’s called ‘Dining in a Perfect Storm’, inspired by the tumultuous waters home to the mythical Kraken. You’ll be subjected to state-of-the-art technology, recreating extreme stormy weather indoors. Expect real rainfall (1,000 litres of rain will fall from the ceiling every minute), howling cyclonic winds, flashes of lightning and booming thunder. You’ll be given a raincoat, though perhaps skip on the blow-dry for this dinner date. It all sounds rather intense, though we’ve been assured that The Kraken cocktails are best without a hefty serving of rain water, so perhaps it’s not as bad as it sounds. After the worst of the (indoor) weather, slightly damp diners will enter the ‘eye of the storm’, where the winds drop and the rains subside. Luckily it’s during this time that dinner is served, with a jet-black menu of dishes crafted using naturally black ingredients and natural black food colouring, with options such as squid ink linguini or even The Kraken black ice cream. Better be snappy though, it’s only running for two days on 12 and 13 July.
Tokyo Mule at Kurabu
Cocktails at Chelsea’s Kurabu
There’s a new addition to Chelsea’s plethora of cocktail bars and restaurants; we headed over to Kurabu (which means clubhouse in Japanese) at Dinings SW3. Up on the mezzanine, it’s cosy and modern while still retaining a somewhat traditional feel. We started the evening with the super floral and delicate Kurabu Spritz, containing Umeshu plum sake, Tio Pepe Fino sherry, rhubarb, cardamom and R de Ruinart Brut. Quite literally perfect for a summer’s evening. Then there was the super zesty Haru Gimlet, with Roku Gin, lemongrass, elderflower, ginger and fresh lime. It must be said, the food was also exquisite. The standout dishes for us were the fabulously innovative Crispy Rice, deep fried sushi rice with fish tartare alongside, and the deliciously decadent Mini Buns, homemade and soft steamed burger buns filled with either teriyaki wagyu beef or shrimp tempura dressed with spicy sweet chilli and sesame. Truly mouthwatering. We then finished with a Kurabu Negroni (well, it is Negroni week after all) and a delicious Tsuyo Old Fashioned with Nikka From Barrel, chocolate bitters and fig leaf liqueur. Truly outstanding drinks, and while the Tokyo Mule also caught our eye, with Hennessy VSOP, MUYU Vetiver Gris and blueberry shrubs, topped up with ginger beer, you can’t have ‘em all. We’ll try them all one day!
In exciting whiskey news, four fabulous new bottlings have been announced, the products of a partnership between the wonderfully experimental Balcones Distilling in Texas and That Boutique-y Whisky Company. As you would expect, they’re wonderfully experimental. Firstly, there’s the first batch of Balcones Two Year Old, a two-year-old single malt finished in a Balcones brimstone cask, said to have notes of smoky bacon, hickory, mesquite and camp fires. Then, Balcones Three Year Old, and this single malt that has been part-aged in a Tequila cask for 24 months. Super exciting and interesting stuff. Finally, there’s Balcones Two Year Old, another single malt spirit, though this one has been finished in an oloroso sherry cask, making it the third sherry cask matured single malt from Balcones. Dave Worthington, That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s brand ambassador stated, “Balcones has a special place in my heart as the first ever whisky festival I worked was for Balcones, so I’m so happy to see some of their Texan spirits wrapped up in our Boutique-y labels. Y’all gonna love this y’all (in my best Texas accent).” Finally, there’s also a mysterious fourth spirit which has yet to be released, made exclusively from Balcones’ signature corn grain, blue corn. You’ll have to wait until September for this one, though, which has been finished in Pedro Ximénez casks. “We are delighted to partner with our friends at That Boutique-y Whisky Company to release these rare and special spirits, all of which are a nod to our passion for exploration and testing the waters of what’s possible,” said Balcones’ head distiller, Jared Himstedt. “We wanted to share some single casks that showcase some of our fun experiments and finishes, alongside the versatility of our blue corn spirit, which we’ve not release in sherry casks before.” Oh, and would you look at that, the first three bottlings are available at your favourite online retailer right now! (That’s us, by the way.)
And finally. . . Moretti launches Deliver-A-Nonna, an Italian grandmother delivered to your door
Wouldn’t it be great if you when you were hungry an Italian grandmother would turn up at your house and cook for you? So much better than Deliveroo. Well, dream no longer because next month Birra Moretti is launching ‘Deliver-A-Nonna’. This will operate between 22 and 27 July in Brighton and London. Izabela Glodek from the Italian beer company said: “Our team of nonne will be ready and waiting to jump in to their Moretti motors and head to people’s houses to cook up a storm this July. Our knowledgeable nonne will not only provide a delicious feast but also pass on valuable skills and recipes that have been around for generations – inspiring people to get together for home cooked meals around the dinner table more often.” I wonder if they’ll do the washing up as well. You will be able to sign up from 7 July for a chance to have a real Italian grandmother delivered to your door. Mamma mia! Or maybe that should be nonna mia!
Yesterday saw the World’s Best whiskies and spirits crowned at the World Drinks Awards, including the World Whiskies Awards. Before we get into the results though, some good news! Drinks…
Yesterday saw the World’s Best whiskies and spirits crowned at the World Drinks Awards, including the World Whiskies Awards.
Before we get into the results though, some good news! Drinks by the Dram have once again teamed up with the World Drinks Awards to create an easy way to taste a whole bunch of these award winners! Head over to our World Drinks Awards 2016 page to browse their selection of 8 different World Whiskies Awards and World Drinks Awards Winners Tasting Sets.
Guess who is back… Back once again… #WhiskySanta is back! Tell all your friends and loved ones. Ho ho ho! A bit of the M&M-style wrap for you there. I like to stay current.
That’s right, your favourite festive, omniscient, supernatural, heavily-bearded being is back from his holibobs. I may have only had ten months off after last year’s festivities (during which I even received a shiny ISC award) but a tinsel-covered alarm clock has gone off somewhere and I’m feeling extremely generous once again! Time to make some lists and check them twice – lists of people using #WhiskySanta, that is – before granting one wish per day for you lucky people for a second year running!
We’re going somewhat off-piste this week, making a riff on the Boulevardier, but introducing massive Umami by firstly subbing the Campari for Cynar and secondly garnishing with a pickled Shiitake Mushroom, courtesy of the Pitt Cue Co. Cookbook.
The acid-umami it adds to the drink is truly wonderful, and transformative. If there was ever a cocktail for food…
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.
Well hello there cocktail fans. Hope you all had a wonderful Burns Night (apostrophe?)! In celebration, for #MasterofCocktails on Sunday we made a De La Louisiane recipe, which is a……
Well hello there cocktail fans. Hope you all had a wonderful Burns Night (apostrophe?)! In celebration, for #MasterofCocktails on Sunday we made a De La Louisiane recipe, which is a… erm… a cocktail with American Whiskey.
Should’ve thought that one through a bit better really, eh?
Nevertheless – this really is a good ‘un. It’s sort of a halfway house between a Manhattan and a Vieux Carre.
Greetings all – time for this week’s #MasterofCocktails. I’m very much aware that this one’s sort of like the Christmas Number one, so we’ve got a really good one for…
Greetings all – time for this week’s #MasterofCocktails. I’m very much aware that this one’s sort of like the Christmas Number one, so we’ve got a really good one for you. It’s a manhattan variant made with an *amazing* Single-Barrel Bourbon (props to Maverick Drinks’ Michael Vachon on the cask selection), and Creme de Chataigne liqueur (Chestnut liqueur).
The name, you ask? Why, it’s a Marronhattan, of course.