Whiskey Cocktail – Spiced Boulevardier

Last in our whiskey cocktails was the Spiced Boulevardier. Unlike all the other cocktails, this one needs a bit of advance preparation.

With the bourbon, do an overnight infusion with spices that include Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper and black cardamon.

Spiced Boulevardier recipe

  • 30 ml infused Bourbon
  • 7.5 ml sweet Vermouth
  • 7.5 ml Campari
  • Orange peel and/or cinnamon stick

In a mixing glass filled with ice, stir all ingredients and strain into an old fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange peel and cinnamon stick and serve.

These all came courtesy of a session with DISCUS in May 2017, Mumbai.

Other American whisky experiences:

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Whiskey Cocktail – The Ginger Baker

Next up in our whiskey cocktails was particularly fun to make – The Ginger Baker.

The Ginger Baker recipe

  • 45 ml Tennessee
  • 10 ml fresh ginger juice
  • 10 ml fresh lime juice
  • 10 ml orgeat syrup
  • 30 ml pineapple juice
  • Slice of fresh pineapple or dehydrated pineapple & 2 almonds

In a shaker glass filled with ice, pour all ingredients and mix well. Strain into an old fashioned glass. Drop a few spheres of ice, garnish with either the fresh pineapple or dehydrated pineapple & 2 almonds and serve.

These all came courtesy of a session with DISCUS in May 2017, Mumbai.

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Whiskey Cocktail – Mint Julep

Next up in our whiskey cocktails was the perfect refreshing hot weather cocktail – the Mint Julep.

Mint Julep recipe

  • 45 ml Bourbon/Tennessee
  • 10 ml simple syrup
  • 3 drops aromatic bitters
  • Fresh mint sprigs

In a silver Julep cup, drop the mint sprigs and add aromatic bitters, simple syrup and whiskey then muddle. Fill the cup with crushed ice and mix well. Garnish with a mint sprig and serve.

These all came courtesy of a session with DISCUS in May 2017, Mumbai.

Other American whisky experiences:

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Whiskey Cocktail – Old Fashioned

I’m in Canada for a week and I thought while I’m off gallivanting, may as well post a few whisky cocktails – a bit of a departure from my usual style.

These recipes all came from a few hours one Friday afternoon in a sultry hot Mumbai May day where I joined a cocktail making class…

We began with a classic – Old Fashioned – full of ice!

Old Fashioned recipe

  • 45 ml Bourbon/Tennessee
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 3-5 drops aromatic bitters

In an old fashioned glass, drop a sugar cube and add the bitters. Break the sugar and mix well. Pour in the whiskey and fill with ice. Gi e it a quick stir to mix well and add more ice if necessary. Release the oils from an orange peel and drop.

These all came courtesy of a session with DISCUS in May 2017, Mumbai.

Other American whisky experiences:

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Kentucky Bourbon – 1792 Ridgemont Reserve 46.85%

Next up in the Kentucky straight bourbon revisit is Sazerac Barton’s 1792 Ridgemont Reserve.

This bourbon is named after the year Kentucky became a state. Originally released as an 8 year, since 2013 the distillery removed the age statement. There was also a wee bit of a kerfuffle over using ‘Ridgemont Reserve’ which apparently people confused with ‘Woodford Reserve’ hence if you search for a bottle today, may only find it labelled as 1792!

1792 Ridgemount Reserve

As usual, we sampled it blind and here is what we found…

1792 Ridgemont Reserve

  • Colour – Dark reddish gold, perhaps a hint paler than the others sampled the same evening
  • Nose – Aged rancio, sweet overripe bananas, strong rye quality, after time became fruity floral with some pepper spice
  • Palate – Dry weak body, cinnamon, astringent on the tongue
  • Finish – Very dry finish

Speculation was likely a straight bourbon with rye – turns out we were right!

Unveiling: The distinct feature of this bourbon is that it is produced in small batches.

For my vote, this is an uncomplicated, affordable bourbon with a dash of rye that could rock as a base for cocktails or an easy option to have on hand for parties. However, given the difficulty obtaining ‘phoren’ (that’s foreign folks!) whiskies in India, this wouldn’t be a top priority bringing back after a trip abroad.

Here’s what others have to say about Barton’s 1792 Ridgemont Reserve:

Other whiskies in our Kentucky bourbon evening included:

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Rocky Mountain Breckenridge Special Release 43%

The final whisky in our American trilogy was from Colorado…

Aged 2 years in charred new American oak barrels. Its key claim to fame is that it uses water from “snow melted from the rocky mountains.”

As always with our original Mumbai tasting group, we sampled blind, then revealed the whisky. Here is what we found…

Breckenridge

Rocky Mountain Breckenridge Special Release 43%

  • Nose – Reassuringly bourbon banana sweet mellow raisins, fruity
  • Taste – The closest to being Scottish in taste, a bit chewy sweet, a very good whisky but was slightly tricky to describe and nothing specific jumped out at us
  • Finish – Light spicy finish
Best quote of the evening:

“Feel like cowboys / gals in leather chaps riding off to the sunset just like in those old Westerns. Yeehaw!”

What do the folks over at Breckenridge have to say?

Deep honey-amber hue with warm, pronounced aromas of under-ripe banana and brown sugar, with spicy notes of white pepper and toasted sesame. Light body with warm texture and long sweet oak, vanilla finish with a touch of bitterness to balance. Reminiscent of a slice of toasted rye bread with honey drizzled on it.

We mash, ferment and distill a lot of Bourbon in house. Our Blend of Straight Bourbon Whiskeys also consists of Barrels selected from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana chosen for their unique qualities, heritage, and ability to marry in our blend, always made from a high-rye mash bill.

Rough Rider, Breckenridge, Russel's Reserve
And that folks, concludes our American tour from the tasting archives!

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Rough Rider ‘Bull Moose’ Three Barrel Rye 45%

Next up in our American tour was a surprise from New York – bottled by Long Island Spirits.

This rye is matured for only one year and made from a mash of 95% rye and 5% malted barley, matured in three barrels – new American oak, straight bourbon cask, then finished in casks used to age Pine Barrens Single Malt Whiskey. The ‘Bull Moose’ name comes from the nickname of Roosevelt’s Progressive Party, formed in 1912. True Americana!

As usual we sampled blind then revealed the whisky. Here is what we found…

Rough Rider
Rough Rider ‘Bull Moose’ Three Barrel Rye 45% cask select 1

  • Colour – Deeper amber than the Russell’s Reserve
  • Nose – Lemon soapy scented bubble bath, fresh sawdust
  • TasteRuafza (sweet rose syrup), sweet on the tongue while harsh at the back, wine notes with a chardonnay brightness or gewürztraminer sweetness, smooth
  • Finish – Very surface level, slightly sour
Observations:
  • One thought had slightly synthetic flavour
  • Another suggested would be best drunk at a brunch, paired with a lemon tart
  • For a one-year old baccha (child),  not bad… but not qualifying for favourites category

Here’s what the folks over at the WineBow group have to say about their Three Barrel Rye:

Crisp with a fruity sweetness on the nose followed by spice, caramel, vanilla and blackberry on the palate with a long, warm, toasty, velvety finish.

Sampled together with:

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Russels Reserve 10 year 45%

Our monthly whisky sessions tend to have a theme. As our host curates the evening, planning and sourcing is completely his or her domain – we never know what we are in for!

However… there are some clues… for example, one of our club members used to travel to the US for work. So… no surprise that his session had a decidedly American twang with two Bourbons and a Rye!

We toured three different states – Kentucky, New York and Colorado.

First up from Kentucky was the Russel’s Reserve!

Russel's Reserve

Small batch Kentucky straight bourbon matured in ‘alligator-charred’ virgin American oak casks.

  • Colour – Bright amber (don’t let the pic fool you!)
  • Nose – Banana caramel desert, vanilla, spirity with a slightly peaty element, agarbati smoke, curry leaves with a faint hint of fresh mint sprigs
  • Taste – Bitter kerela, baby puke sour, dry and oaky
  • Finish – Still bitter
  • Water – BLAND, tamed the sharpness but added nothing new

Conclusion – A nice, easy drinking whisky. And we all enjoy a bit of that from time to time!

Here’s what the folks over at Wild Turkey have to say:

Master distillers and premier whiskey makers Jimmy and Eddie Russell have brought nearly 100 years of combined experience to artfully crafting Russell’s Reserve 10 Year Old Bourbon. Bottled at 90 proof, this hand selected small batch bourbon has a rich, caramel and vanilla taste and a uniquely smooth finish.

Up next:

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Whisky Ladies go American! JD, Hudson, Jim Beam, Knobs Creek

In January, the Whisky Ladies went full-on all-out American!

We were joined by a special guest – Shatbhi Basu – bartender, cocktail creator and Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) whiskey Ambassador to India. Guided by Shatbhi, our merry whisky ladies tried each sample ‘blind’ with the great reveal only after tasting all four whiskies.

Whiskies Ladies go American!!

Jack Daniels Old No 7 40%

  • Nose – Holy banana cream pie! Caramel, apple, cinnamon, toffee, Christmas, hint of licorious, as it airs souring a little
  • Taste – Flat, light, easy to drink, hint of vanilla, a little oily, benign
  • Finish – Slight char at the back
  • Overall – Pronounced rather ‘watery’, completely ‘entry level’

Best comment on the JD was “It is like the vodka of whiskies!” as it is the kind of whisky you would enjoy in a long cocktail.

Hudson Single Malt 46% 

  • Nose – Apple, like snapple ice tea, vanilla, paper and cardboard, grains, mud earth, hint of oranges?
  • Taste – Grain, yeast, varnish, pasty
  • Finish – Sweet spice and a bit bitter
  • Overall – Nose far nicer than palate

Um…. not quite sure what to make of this one! One comment “Well, at least it isn’t completely watery!”

Jim Beam 40%

  • Nose – Cotton candy, fruity, pineapple, toffee, butterscotch, dried fruit, creme caramel, vanilla
  • Taste – Bitter, banana pepper, goes down a little to easy, tiny hint of burnt caramel
  • Finish – Peppery
  • Overall – Easy drinking, nothing distinctive, for most ‘still too watery’

One comment that resonated with the group was that it is a “Happy feel good whiskey that is a little too easy to drink!”

Knob Creek 9 year 50%

  • Nose – Very sweet, perfumy, caramel, fresh, tropical fruits, crisp green apples, ripe bananas, citrus sweet lemon
  • Taste – Bitter, tart, orange peel, cheese, chocolate, toffee, honey on the tongue
  • Finish – Smooth, sweet with a hint of spice
  • Overall – Finally something that isn’t watery! Sense of being older, definitely the most enjoyable of the four sampled.

From the 1st whiff you could hear a collective “Finally!  Now we are talking whiskey!”

The most fun of the evening was making three fresh flavourful cocktails using the JD, Jim Beam and Knob Creek as whisky base. It was an enjoyable experience however it is interesting to see how many of our whisky ladies have clear palate preferences emerging and expectations of their whisky.

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American attitude – Corsair Triple Smoke Small Batch Whiskey40%

This month, we braved Ganapathi festival traffic in Mumbai to sample three quite distinct whiskies from three countries – Scotland, Ireland and this American.

Unfortunately, I was insanely delayed reaching so we had two sets of tasting notes… the core group captured beautifully by another member and then her capturing of my ‘speed tasting’ solo impressions. I have definitely never zipped through sampling three whiskies in mere minutes before!

Corsair Triple Smoike

Corsair Triple Smoke

Corsair Triple Smoke 40%, Batch 162, Bottle 153 of 450
For the Corsair, here is what we found:
  • Nose:
    • Group – Medicinal to smoky bacon, the nose gives the feel that it must have body… breathing very well like a “book flippping opening fast,” honey-glazed ham, marmalade
    • Solo – Oily, a bit ‘in your face’ as in ‘Pay Attention!’ but in a good way, overripe fruits, bananas, definitely quite ‘forward’ on the nose… as it opened baby puke sour, bacon then back to sour with the smokey meaty element gone
  • Taste: 
    • Group – Coffee, dry on the tongue, no smoke / peat on taste
    • Solo – Robust, tobacco, chewy, faintly bitter
  • Finish: 
    • Group / Solo – No finish… as in nada
  • Overall – It has attitude and also is quite a character. Worthy of further exploration. Something is going on with this one!
Corsair is an American small batch distillery based in Nashville Tennessee and Bowling Green, Kentucky. They have become a bit of a cult favourite for their edgy fun approach to fine spirits.
Corsair’s description and details for Triple Smoke:
  • Smoky. Buttery. Rich. Crafted for Cocktails.
  • We take three fractions of malted barley, each smoked by a different fuel – cherry wood, peat, and beechwood – to craft this deeply complex whiskey.
  • Pot distilled then barreled in a new charred oak, Triple Smoke has the sweetness and barrel notes of an American whiskey and a single malt’s rich smoke, broadened by tones of cherry and beech. Excellent mixed or neat.
Their tasting notes:
  • Huge, rich flavour. Three smokes with peat at the fore, sweetness and vanillas. Buttery, broad flavour and long finish. Makes a great Manhattan.

Did we like it? You bet!

Check out the other whiskies sampled at our September 2015 session:

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