Tag Archives: RYE

Drinks At Brazill’s

Last night I had dinner and drinks at Brazill’s on Main in Westfield, N.Y.

It was my second time at the restaurant, and it was as great an experience as my first visit — if not better.

I had a rye Manhattan to start:

I also had a bourbon & cider drink:

Even though it’s within Chautauqua County, Brazill’s is a bit of a hike from Jamestown — and I don’t get there often enough because the place is open the same hours as when I’m usually working at my restaurant.

Last night was a bit of a surprise night off though, and I tried to make the most of it.

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National Whiskey Sour Day

I read on Good Spirits News that today is National Whiskey Sour Day!

As with all these random-seeming drink holidays, I won’t put up too much fuss or question its origin — as any reason to celebrate a cocktail is reason enough!

Whiskey Sour

About This Cocktail:

For my Whiskey Sour pictured above, I used Woodford Reserve:


•2 oz rye or bourbon or other whiskey of preference. I actually used 2 oz of Woodford Reserve bourbon, which has a lot of rye in its mash bill.
•.5 oz simple syrup
•.5 oz fresh lemon juice

Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.

Some recipes for the Whiskey Sour cocktail call for an egg white, as a lot of old sours recipes do… But a lot of recipes these days list egg white as “optional.” I didn’t use egg white in the drink pictured above, but you’ll find it listed in some of the recipes I linked to in this post.


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Customer Appreciation Post — The Blinker Cocktail

Here’s a photo of a cocktail I made for LochNessie last night:

 A classic Blinker cocktail:

This drink is one I have saved in my Highball app.

Highball is a really great app for saving cocktail recipes. It’s easy to use, it’s pretty minimalist and it allows you to save and share your recipe cards.

Here’s my recipe card for The Blinker:


When I made the Blinker last night, I didn’t stick exactly to the recipe.

I didn’t use grenadine for the drink, as the only grenadine on hand was the typical pre-packaged grenadine full of sugar and preservatives and whatnot.

Instead, I used a grenadine-style simple syrup comprised of Pom Pomegranate juice and my restaurant’s housemade simple syrup.

It’s not a full-blown grenadine, as it’s missing a few ingredients and flavor components, but it’s a start — and it’s a nice flavored simple syrup to have on hand.

Here’s a link with more info about Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s method.

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Five & 20 Spirits

Today my wife and I were back out at antique shops and wineries.

Seeing a pattern in these posts?

While our day trip didn’t net me another vintage cocktail book, I did get a tour of Mazza Winery’s Five & 20 Spirits:


Five & 20 Spirits is located at Mazza’s Chautauqua Cellars location on Route 20 in Westfield. The site houses the company’s Christian Carl brand still (and will soon be the site of a new, larger still, we learned).

My wife’s parents met us in the tasting room where there was not only wine and liquor to sample, but also Five & 20’s brand-new beer offerings.

I’ve tasted the company’s bourbon before, so today I headed straight for their rye whiskey — followed by their bier schnapps and two of their new beers.

One of the Five & 20 guys was working in the tasting room and offered to take my father-in-law and I on a tour of their still room and storage warehouse.

Notes From The Tour:

The Christian Carl still was impressive, and is capable of both pot still distillation and column distillation. The still wasn’t in use and was being prepared for a cleaning, so our guide disassembled a “porthole” for us and let us take a look inside.

The tour was nice because we got to hear a lot about both the kinks in starting up a distillery as well as the successes. From making mash to distillation to storage and bottling, there are a ton of elements involved with producing the several spirits that Five & 20 is making — and they’re coming out ahead it seems, doing good work and building on their accomplishments.

Back to the still…. The thing’s powered by steam, and we got to see the engine room, so to speak. The temperature that thing has to reach in order to fire the still is just insane.

The secondary structure next to Chautauqua Cellars is more than just a warehouse, it’s Five & 20’s rick house — or rick room, I guess. The filled barrels are stacked in the corner of the warehouse next to the window facing the road, and our guide said the room will soon be filling up with more stacks of barrels, which is an exciting prospect.

More notes about the spirits I tasted are below, but first another photo:  

What I Sampled Today:

  • Rye Whiskey (SB)2RW:

Batch #2 was crafted to be smoother and more approachable than many rye whiskeys. The spirit was pot-distilled and was aged for 18 months in smaller barrels, all of which were new charred American Oak.

Five & 20’s website describes it as having “the spicy grain character of rye and the sweet caramel & vanilla flavors of high quality oak barrels.”

The mash bill is 80% New York-grown rye and 20% distiller’s malt.

On a side note, it’s nice to see that their tech sheet for the spirit not only has a recommended cocktail recipe, but that it’s more than just something basic — specifically, the Westfield Wallop requires both Galliano and strawberry purée. 

45% ABV

  • Afterburner Bierschnapps AB2S:

Five & 20’s Afterburner Bierschnapps are a grain-based spirit created by distilling a finished barley wine. 

On their website, FIve & 20 suggest using the bierschnapps as a stand-in for gin — and now I wish I would’ve had a flask of genever  for side-by-side sipping and comparison, because that spirit is so malty and intersting as well.

50.5% ABV

  • Pale Ale:

Medium-bodied pale ale  with hops for light, fruity, citrus flavors. —  5.4% ABV

  • Rye Pale Ale:

Light-bodied pale ale with spicy grain flavor from its rye malt. — 6.2% ABV

As of this visit, Five & 20’s three beers were only available from the tap. The good news though is that they refill growlers and are selling blank growlers right now, with branded growlers expected to arrive soon. Our guide told us that there isn’t any immediate plan to do 12 oz bottles, but plans for cans and 22 oz bottles are in the works.

What I Didn’t Taste Today:

There’s always next time:

  • Bourbon (SB)2BW — Even though I’ve tasted their bourbon before, that bottle wasn’t mine and so I don’t know whether it’s the same stuff they’re sampling there in the tasting room now.

  • Unaged Corn Whiskey
  • Unaged White Rye Whiskey
  • Limoncello
  • Manhattan Moonshine
  • Sugarwash Moonshine
  • Three Hunters Vodka
  • Apple Eau de Vie
  • Plum Eau de Vie
  • Cherry Eau de Vie
  • Pear Eau de Vie
  • Pear in the Bottle (sale only)
  • Grappa of Steuben

Much of the info in this post came straight from the Five & 20 website, which is online at Five & 20.com.

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Fat-Wash Duck Whiskey

My chef at the restaurant where I work is pretty damn awesome.

She’s a constant supporter of us bartenders furthering our craft, and is always quick to help out in any way she can.

Her encouragement fuels my excitement for stepping up our cocktail game and vice-versa. The two of us can geek out pretty hard over obscure drink recipes, new techniques and vintage barware… So when I started telling her about how some bartenders have fat-washed whiskey with flavors like bacon and duck fat, it was only a matter of time before we had to try it ourselves.

From all that I’ve read about it so far, fat-washing just seems like a fancy name for infusing liquor in a certain way — a process where we add the fat and then later put the booze in the freezer to solidify the fat for removal.

This recipe for a Duck Sazerac was what we followed when making our own bottle of fat-washed rye whiskey, which is pictured below:


So, first and foremost I should say that this was an experiment for ourselves — and not anything we’re serving.

But in terms of the end result, I think we were both pretty impressed with the way the duck fat softened the rye whiskey — sweetening it and smoothing it out.

I’ve seen recipes online using bourbon, but I’m glad we went with rye. So much of the heat and pepper was softened, but the spirit still comes through. 

The rye recipes I’ve seen online for this fat-washed duck rye were basic drinks like the Sazerac and the Manhattan. My intent is to do a Smoked Duck Julep (and just in time for the Kentucky Derby no less). I’ve still got to test out making a smoked simple syrup and weigh it against a scotch rinse and other smoke options.

And I hope Jim Beam doesn’t mind my modification of its label in the picture above!

Further Reading:

— Here’s an article entitled The Science Of Fat-Washing.

— Another How To” post, but this one has a video.

— A recipe for a Smoked Duck Manhattan.

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Things To Drink In 2015

I’m a sucker for gimmicks and I have a tendency to get over eager about new products and flavors and quirky packaging among other things. What can I say, I’m an easy mark.

The House of Angostura Amaro di AngosturaAll that aside though, there are a number of new boozes to be released this year which I’m going to make it a point to try.

There were surely new things I tried in 2014, but there was also a whole lot I missed out on — such as Angostura’s new amaro and that Canadian Club rye which was only released in Canada.IMG_6924

There were plenty of others for sure, but those are just the first two which came to mind. But enough about the past, I’ve got my eyes set on tasting these following bottles in the near future — and by all accounts, they’re surely more attainable goals. At least, I won’t have to travel to Canada to taste any of them!

I love Woodford Reserve. And I love rye! So this news about the new Woodford Reserve Rye really set me off. Truthfully, I’d heard a little bit about it some months back when I was at a competition in Pittsburgh, but the January announcement of the new product means it should soon be on store shelves.

Woodford’s rye will be$38 for a 750-ml. and will initially launch in 15 U.S. markets. The rye will be 45.2% abv and will be the third permanent extension in the company’s Portfolio.

Jim Beam has two new boozes about to be released, a rye and a bonded bourbon.


The rye is a relaunch, reformulating the brand’s Jim Beam Rye as Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Style Rye. The rye will be 90-proof and will offer “a bolder, spicier taste profile,”according to the company.

Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Style Rye will cost around $23 for a 750-ml.

IMG_6925Similarly priced, Jim Beam Bonded will be a 100-proof Bourbon aged four years, and made in accordance with the “Bottled in Bond Act” of 1897.

Jim Beam Bonded will be produced in a single distillery season at a single distillery and is said to to feature spicy oak notes with a background of vanilla and caramel.

What is “Bonded” booze?

The phrase “Bottled In Bond” is something I saw on several bottles of liquor for a long time before I finally went and looked up exactly what it meant.

As with so much else in the realm of whisk(e)y, “Bonded” booze is simply a set of requirements which a producer must follow in order to earn the term.

Bonded booze must come from a single producer in single season at a single distillery. It must be aged in a Federally-bonded warehouse and it must be bottled at 100 proof. There’s more to it than that though, so give the phrase a Google and read on:

•History of the Bottled-in-Bond Act•

One purpose of the Bottled-in-Bond Act was to create a standard of quality for Bourbon whiskey. Prior to the Act’s passage, much of the whiskey sold as straight whiskey was anything but. So much of it was adulterated out of greed — flavored and colored with iodine, tobacco, and other substances — that some perceived a need for verifiable quality assurance.

The practice was also connected to tax law, which provided the primary incentive for distilleries to participate. Distilleries were allowed to delay payment of the excise tax on the stored whiskey until the aging of the whiskey was completed (and the supervision of the warehouse ensured proper accounting and the eventual collection of the tax).

This combination of advantages led a group of whiskey distillers, led by Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. (creator of Old Taylor bourbon), joined with then Secretary of the Treasury John G. Carlisle to fight for the Bottled-in-Bond Act. To ensure compliance, Treasury agents were assigned to control access to so-called bonded warehouses at the distilleries.

IMG_6930It seems like there’s barely a week that goes by without some new flavored being launched by one brand or another. That said, Svedka piqued my interest with the announcement of its new grapefruit jalapeno flavor — which will cost $12.99 for a 750 ml. The flavor is intended to capitalize on consumer interest in fusing sweet and spicy flavors.

The company is also launching a new 100-proof variant, which will cost around $15.35 a 750-ml.

Shanken Daily News and Good Spirits News are where I first saw these new boozes reported, and they’re where I took all the above info for this post. The images came from a Google images search.

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Beer & Shot Pairings

Liquor and beer go together quite well, especially in the right combinations.

That was the thought behind this pairing list which I put together recently for the bar where I work in Jamestown, N.Y.

This is just the one side of it. There’s another four pairings on the back.


Here you’ll see three scotches and a rye whiskey, but on the other side are a couple of nice bourbons paired with some of the quality microbrew that we stock. I did a lot of reading (wherever I could find info) about classic pairings and what other bars throughout the country are doing, then just tried to take that info and apply it to what we stock at my bar. I think it came out alright. Or at least, I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor!

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