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September 7th, 2013
Metro New York Mixology
This time of year my palate calls out for brown liquors. And because I’ve just finished my second book there is call for a small celebration of sorts.
About ten years ago, my grandfather passed away. One of his gifts to me included several bottles of bourbon whiskey. Sitting in front of me there is a bottle of 1947 Ancient Age Bourbon Whiskey. The bottle, elegant in its simplicity and form used to contain just over a pint of the whiskey, now only a few ounces remain. Once it’s gone, then it is gone.
Ancient Age is a venerable slurp of history to my family history. Sipping it reveals more than just alcohol, it exposes memories. Toasted nuts and brown butter come into view spreading thickly over my tongue. Oh, you want some? No, that’s impossible, I’m not sharing it.
Quite by accident I came across a bottle of Spring Mill Bourbon from Colglazier & Hobson. This handsome ceramic bottle evokes whiskey from another generation. I imagine in the days before glass became the preferred form of transportation, ceramic provided a safe haven for this gorgeous liquor. Rolling in at Ninety Proof or 45% alcohol by volume, this bourbon whiskey provides more than sufficient heat against the chill winds of the winter.
The label promises twice barreled, and I’m not quite sure what that means other than the following statement that says charred American oak… That I do know something about because the charring causes the sweet sugars to ooze their way around each glistening drop of the bourbon whiskey. This is a bit more alcohol than the Ancient Age and it shows by forcing a couple of nervous sneezes from my nose. The finish is more like rye whiskey than corn whiskey and that probably explains the sneezing. Rye whiskey always gives me a little sniffle.
The label goes on to say Straight Bourbon and that tells me that this bourbon is older than two years old. This also means that the bourbon is not caramel neither colored nor adulterated in any way. In other words, it’s the good stuff!
My tasting notes on the Spring Mill Bourbon are pretty wine like, so pardon me if I don’t follow the rules of whiskey-speak.
Candy corn nose gives way to white pepper and corn pudding finish with salubrious droplets of fire-cooked maple syrup and slathered with sweet butter. This is sophisticated stuff that acts much more grown up than the packaging. It is a fun bottle to say the least.
Tuthilltown Spirits from Hudson, NY makes a bourbon whiskey that I’m quite fond of. This is called the Hudson Baby Bourbon. It is so called because of the fact that it is the first bourbon distilled in New York State since prohibition. It is aged in small oak casks that have been charred prior to the bourbon entering the barrel, giving the bourbon a dark color and rich finish. The Baby Bourbon is the most assertive I’ve tasted recently and with good reason. It is Ninety-two Proof. Or 46% alcohol by volume.
Tasting Notes: Bittersweet chocolate and dollops of orange marmalade give way to black walnuts and toasted wheat bread. There is brown butter and hazelnuts in there too along with a mouth coating finish that goes on and on. This is my favorite of the tasting; even more so than the 1947 Ancient Age. Well, maybe not as much, but I can buy more Hudson Baby Bourbon.
Once my grandfather’s bourbon is gone, it is gone…
A nice simple cocktail for bourbon with four ingredients (ice doesn’t count)
Named for a most marvelous restaurant in Portland, Maine
- 2 oz. Hudson Baby Bourbon
- ½ oz. Fruitations Cranberry Soda and Cocktail Syrup
- 1 oz. Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (Lemon)
- Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Bitters
- Hand Cut ice in large cubes
- In a Boston Shaker: Add the Baby Bourbon and the Fruitations Cranberry Syrup
- Fill the other side ¾ with ice and pour the bourbon and syrup over the ice then cap
- Shake hard for 15 seconds
- Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with one large ice cube
- Add the Perrier Sparkling Water
- Drip 3 drops of the Fee Brothers Bitters over the top and sip.
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