Archives for June 2014

Whiskey + Enthusiasts = Awesome!

I recently attended my first meeting of the San Diego Whisk(e)y Enthusiasts club.  What’s better than a room full of people that enjoy whiskey? Nothing I can think of!  This meeting was going to be a tasting of Colorado whiskey, so I thought that was a perfect way to get introduced to the group.  Little did I know there was more in store…!

The young lady that was our MC for the evening was going off to Colorado to continue her education in neurobiology – yes, a science nerd led our tasting, how awesome! – and the thought was to also give her an intro to the whiskies she’d soon find readily available. Since I wasn’t sure what to expect from the meeting I didn’t take official tasting notes, so this post isn’t an official review of any of these whiskies, but will give you a basic idea of what they’re like. I’d say grab a bottle if you see them, try it out!CO Whiskies

Peach Street Distillers Straight Bourbon Whiskey was the first taste of the night. This is a tasty bourbon, coming in a 92 proof. I like the quirkiness of their brand (read The Story), and their juice is smooth, sweet and easy drinking.

Leopold Bros. has a lineup that not only includes bourbon, but also gin, absinthe and liqueurs. I haven’t had the opportunity to try anything beyond their whiskey, but if everything else is the same quality, you can be sure you’re getting great spirits not matter which one you try.

Breckenridge Distillery also makes whiskey, vodka and bitters. Their whiskey has a slightly higher amount of rye (to be bourbon, it has to be at least 51% corn, but the rest is up to the distiller). That green rye gives it probably the most bite of the five whiskies in the lineup. I like a little spice to my whiskey sometimes, and Breckenridge delivers that nicely.

Tin Cup Whiskey is made by the guy that also did the last entry on our list, Stranahan’s. There was some lively debate over who actually distills Tin Cup, since it doesn’t say it’s actually distilled in Colorado. Looking at the website, it wasn’t 100% clear to me, either.  Since he also doesn’t call his whiskey “craft liquor”, I’ll leave the debate about who makes it for another day. Taste-wise the least favorite of the 5 for me, but a decent pour.

Stranahan’s was the last of the evening, from Colorado at least (spoiler alert!). Another side-note: while they do make the hooch in Denver (I took the tour there a few months back), they’re owned by Proximo Spirits, home of Jose Cuervo and Three Olives. Take that as you will. Their whiskey is also decent, with their limited-release Snowflake that has a nearly cult following.

Our surprise guest of the evening was Jeffrey Karlovitch, CEO USA and Master Blender for The Lost Distillery Company. While this isn’t a site about Scotch, I wanted to mention it since it was a tasty!  You can read more about it here (and my other musings on big label whiskies).

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our whiskey instigator and organizer, Al Silebi. If you’re looking for a bottle of something hard to find, Al’s your guy (at least locally). Head on over to Facebook where you can join the group if you’re in SD. (and if you are, I expect to see you there!)  And just to make you slightly more jealous, here’s a small piece of the whiskey selection available at our gracious hosts, KnB Wine Cellars, my new 2nd home! KnB Walljpg

Just Peachy Bourbon Punch

Summer is upon us! Time for BBQs and pool parties. What goes better with a juicy hamburger or spicy ribs than peaches and bourbon? This lightly sweet and very refreshing punch will have your guests asking for the recipe – so here it is!

Photos by Longshots Photography

Photos by Longshots Photography

Just Peachy Bourbon punch

750ml bottle of Bourbon (I used 4 Roses yellow label)

4.5 cups (1L) of ginger beer

4.5 cups (1L) of tonic water

Fresh mint (medium bundle of leaves – 1 package should do)

6-8 peaches, both fresh and freshly frozen

Optional garnish: Blueberries and strawberries, on a skewer

Servings: about 9-18 drinks (depends on cup size: you can easily double or even triple the recipe)

The night before: slice 2-3 peaches and freeze individual slices (wax paper on a cookie sheet will do).  Put the fresh peaches in the bottom of the punch bowl. With a potato masher (or muddler if you have one!) give your peaches the once-over. You’re not looking for baby food consistency, but want to release the juice. Pour in the bourbon, cover and put in the fridge. This will give the peaches time to infuse the bourbon, plus saves you time on party day. Put your ginger beer and tonic water in the fridge to chill, too. You can also make your garnishes now and refrigerate.

Party time: Spank your mint and toss it into the bowl (you know you want to! And if you don’t know how, it’s exactly like it sounds – it’s more gentle than muddling, but still releases the essential oils. Put some in the palm of your hand and gently clap until you smell mint).  Mix thoroughly with the peaches and bourbon. Add ginger beer then tonic water, give it a small stir to mix (it will get fizzy and foamy) and toss in your frozen peaches.

Individual servings: Grab a cup, add some ice and fill with punch.  If you were to make these as individual drinks, it’s 1.5 ounces of bourbon to 2 ounces each of ginger beer and tonic water. You can also substitute ginger liqueur instead of ginger beer, which works really nicely (1 ounce liqueur, 3 ounces tonic instead).


The Angler’s Cocktail

With summer firmly upon us, it’s time to get outdoors! Hiking, swimming, fishing – get a little sun, stretch your legs after a long winter. After a day in the Great Outdoors, here’s a guaranteed catch: The Angler’s Cocktail.  Gin is making a huge comeback, after being mostly relegated to the glasses of the few people that know a proper Martini is gin and not vodka. Natalie over at Beautiful Booze created this lovely cocktail with Genius Gin’s Navy Strength gin. Clocking in at 57% ABV (114 proof), it’s the proof that was carried on the ships of the British Royal Navy fleet.  You could also use regular strength (90 proof) as well, without compromising the cocktail.


The Angler’s Cocktail 

1 1/2 oz gin
1 dash grenadine syrup
2 dashes bitters (Angostura was used)
3 dashes orange bitters

Shake all ingredients with cracked ice, pour contents into an old-fashioned glass over ice cubes, and serve.

Recipe courtesy of


Whiskey Shortage? Or the Great Whiskey Freakout of 2014?

So, here’s the thing: if you’ve read any spirits-related news lately, you may’ve seen articles on what the “coming” whiskey shortage or what I’m calling The Great Whiskey Freakout of 2014. Everyone from the mainstream outlets like the Wall Street Journal to respected experts like Chuck Cowdery and Fred Minnick have weighed in. Most of them talk about the big labels, and how decisions of 10-20 years ago are affecting supply today. Popular TV shows like Mad Men are fueling an interest in whiskey, even rye whiskey, that’s not been seen in decades.  And everyone seems to be freaking out.  So let’s look at some of the things we know. [Read more…]

Troy & Sons Oak Reserve whiskey review

This is the last in the series of three whiskies from Troy & Sons, but certainly not the least.  The Oak Reserve is a nice fit between  the true moonshine of Platinum and the more traditional flavor of the Blonde Whiskey.  An almost delicate flavor, there is more complexity than you might expect, from the lighter color and nose.  It’s also 80 proof – to me, that allows more people to try it, that might be hesitant with a higher proof spirit.  Here are my notes – sláinte!

Color: The middle sister in color of the Blonde Whiskey and the Platinum, Oak Reserve is a light golden brown, similar to an Irish whiskey in color.

Nose: Light and pleasant, no burn (which is what I’ve come to expect from Troy & Sons whiskies).  A touch of sweetness, but you know it’s whiskey.

Troy & Sons products

Taste: Like the nose, this whiskey is light and balanced and sits well on my tongue.  No burn, of course, but a gentle warming.  It lingers a little, with a bit of the oak and vanilla coming through nicely.   All my reviews will be from tasting a spirit neat, and for this one, it almost seems a shame to mix it!

ABV: 40% (or 80 proof)

Price point: (online) $39.99

Other notes: This whiskey is made from the same heirloom corn as the Platinum, but is aged in charred oak barrels, which give it the light color and the touch of wood.  If you’re in Asheville – stop in for a tour & tasting, say hi to Troy (if she’s not on the road!) and tell her LikeYourLiquor sent you!

3 out of 3 – nicely done!

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6 Father’s Day gift ideas of whiskey – just add a card!

It’s nearly Father’s Day and the web is awash with gift ideas. For the love of peat (or Pete, either way), try getting him something he might find helpful or useful  or might really like – craft spirits and related goods. A glass or two of the good stuff and he may even forgive your sister for that awful tie.  Maybe.

1. Mixology 101 kit – if you think a cocktail is more your dad’s speed, check out this kit from Sesame Gifts. A selection of bitters, books and a muddler to make whatever cocktail strikes his fancy. Everything but the booze is included. Oh, and no ice, either.

2. If you’re local to Portland, or think your dad would fancy a trip to Oregon, check out a tour of Distillery Row. Six craft distilleries, each with a tour & tasting – there’s sure to be something for every dad, from gin to whiskey to rum.

3. These slightly traditional, mostly not, monogrammed cufflinks are made from the wood of reclaimed bourbon barrels. How cool is that??

4. For the geekier dads, how about  Critical Hit +5 Stones of Frost? (normally I’m not a fan of whiskey stones, but these look fun!)

5. If Dad’s a booze and history buff, he might like a couple books where those two things meet. Check out And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails or Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas.

6. If you already know Pop likes a bit of whiskey now and then (or mostly now), home delivery can be an awesome way to say, “Thanks for not kicking me out of the house even though I’m 35”. Check out Caskers Whiskey Club – three bottles of craft whiskey delivered to his door every three months.

Cheers to all the dads this Father’s Day – and to you, for (finally) getting him stuff he likes!

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