Archive for the ‘Bourbon’ Category

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Night Cap Bourbon Ready to Go!

May 31, 2013

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This message goes out to all the loyal Night Cappers who made it to the last Night Cap. We’re coming up on 3 months since you all left with a bottle of my mason jar bourbon, and guess what: it’s time to start tasting. Nobler Mark and I have dug into our stashes already and I can tell you, the 3 month age is really damn delicious. I recommend you take a little swig and see what you think before running all of the contents through a coffee filter, just in case you want more age. But I encourage you to enjoy the “young” bourbon now. It’s a nice change of pace from the heavier commercial options and I’ll tell you, nothing kicks off a weekend better than some homemade bourbon. Hope you enjoy and hit me up if you have any questions on how to specifically filter it.

Added bonus, I hope to have some news on the next Night Cap coming soon!

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Operation Swill: Booze Fraud & Rubbing Alcohol

May 30, 2013

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What a week for the news of booze! And this story has it all. New Jersey, TGI Fridays, and a bad ass-name in ‘Operation Swill’; no question, I’m intrigued to see where this one goes.

Long story short (because you can read all the details here), 29 establishments (listed here) in New Jersey (13 of which are TGI Fridays) are under investigation for serving low quality alcohol as substitutes for high-end, top shelf orders, essentially swindling their customers for some serious margins. In one case, the situation is even more ridiculous as one particular bar is being accused of serving rubbing alcohol and food coloring as scotch. Yo, seriously: whichever bar that is, needs to be shut down immediately. Just saying…

As for the other bars, I’m sort of surprised this isn’t happening more often (if it isn’t already). Particularly for places that serve mix drinks as the base of their offerings, I imagine it would be seriously easy to pull this off. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is right. In fact, I think it’s awful, but I am saying I think it’s highly likely this could be occurring more than we think.

One thing is for sure though: if I find out that there is actually Rebel Yell in the Jack Daniels BBQ, I’m going to throw a shit fit!

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Update: Maker’s Exceeds the Mark Ironically

May 16, 2013

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You’ll probably remember myself and just about every other liquor blogger out there commenting on the Maker’s Mark controversy from earlier in the year. As a quick refresher, in order to meet increasing demand and therefore limited supply, Maker’s Mark planned on decreasing the proof of their bourbon from 90 to 84 essentially watering down their final product to stretch their inventory capabilities. Well, after a few weeks of online outrage, the brand reversed course sticking with their classic 90 proof formula…you know, for us of course.

But you’ll also remember I (along with a number of others) had another theory. Not one necessarily rooted in conspiracy but at least one that acknowledged the potential boost that this whole “debacle” could create. And turns out, this was the case. I’ve been meaning to post this for a few weeks but this article over at Quartz highlights the amazing Maker’s sales numbers seen in the first quarter. A 45% jump in first quarter profit seems to suggest the Maker’s Mark lovers out there went out in hoards to gobble up the stuff upon hearing the news. This of course is highly ironic, as the Quartz writer points out, in that the news to water down the bourbon was in response to a limited supply issue. 

I know I wasn’t one of the reasons for increased sales but what about you all? Anyone rush out to hoard the 90 proof stuff?

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No Luck, Many Juleps

May 7, 2013

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“You are all winners in my book” just doesn’t hold up on Derby Day. Overanalyze, my big bet this year, once again fell flat while Emily on the other hand nailed her pic of Orb. But ask us who won the competition of drinking basil juleps…BOOM.

Hope you all enjoyed your Derby Day!

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Last Minute Derby Cocktail: Go Overanalyze!

May 4, 2013

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Deep in derby day prep and I’ve got a last minute tip to share. Maybe you are worried some of your guests won’t like the basil julep you’ve perfected over the last 24 hours. Well don’t worry, the fix is simple. Kick them out of your house…

Okay just kidding. But for one of the world’s easiest cocktail recipes, perfect for summer days and derby victories, look no further than a few simple ingredients to make this green tea lemonade; a perfect companion for just about any liquor in your collection.

Just a few hours to go…I’ll be cheering for Overanalyze! So actually, that’s probably a better tip. Bet on any other horse, because I haven’t won anything since a $10 scratch-off at the age of 12. Good luck and Happy Derby!

The Overanalyze

2 oz vodka, gin, or bourbon (your choice)

5 oz green tea lemonade (recipe below)

Splash of seltzer

Lemon and cucumber to garnish

Mix all of the ingredients over ice and enjoy. Drink slow because these are damn drinkable.

Green Tea Lemonade

1 Liter of Boiling Water

3 tea bags of green tea

2 liters of lemonade (get something on the natural side, not too sweet otherwise this will be gross, or better yet make your own)

1 cucumber (sliced)

1 lemon (sliced)

Steep the tea bags in the liter of boiling water and let cool. Pour the tea and lemonade into a pitcher and fill with the slices of cucumber and lemon. Keep chilled until serving.

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Derby Day Has Arrived!

May 3, 2013

It’s been a pretty light week of posting on my part, but I’ve had to lay low in preparation for what has quickly become one of my favorite weekends of the year. Derby Day is upon us, and I’m so excited. I plan on betting without any knowledge on a horse that will most certainly lose (remember, I choose my horse based off of what name sounds the best when I’m screaming it, see: Daddy Long Legs, 2012), eating loads of delicious derby inspired food, and drinking 4000 basil juleps.

I was tempted to come up with a new derby inspired cocktail but the basil julep is too damn good. I’m going to make some delicious iced green tea for those not interested in drinking their bourbon strong, but I’ll be sticking to my classic. What about you guys? Any derby favorites? Or more importantly, any betting tips for a typical loser…

Check back tomorrow for more updates throughout the day!

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Atsby Vermouth – Redefining a Classic

April 23, 2013

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It’s no wonder that when I first reached out to Adam Ford of Atsby Vermouth to set up a tasting for the Noblers, he offered to try to coordinate with the folks at Tuthilltown. After getting to meet Adam in person and try his two insanely delicious vermouths on Saturday, it’s clear he shares the passion and knowledge that make Tuthilltown and the spirit resurgence so exciting. 

Now you might be wondering, “Vermouth? Who the hell drinks that stuff?”. And if so you are not alone. In fact, up until recently, I myself had no real concept or appreciation for the history of this fortified wine and how through complacency and poor utilization, vermouth as a product had lost its way. You see, most of us know the stuff as that dusty bottle in our parents liquor cabinets used inconsistently and on a seriously limited basis. In fact, most of my experience with vermouth came from the bar at the French restaurant I worked at where vermouth was used to “flavor the glass” by pouring in and pouring out before a heavy dose of vodka or gin finished the job. Pair this with the fact that most folks don’t realize that vermouth, being the wine based spirit it is, goes bad, and goes bad a lot quicker than you’d think, and you’ve got yourself a pretty solid explanation for the lack of vermouth appreciation. So yes, if you or your parents have a bottle of 20-year-old open vermouth, it’s probably time to throw the crap out.

In our tasting with Adam, he mentioned noticing many of these same observations. But after experiencing the peak of vermouth in his travels overseas, he came back with a plan to change these notions. Honoring the historical production of infusing botanicals into a mix of wine, brandy, and sweetener but upping the ante by starting with high-end nuanced products instead of the traditional bland wines and neutral spirits, Adam has created two modern-day vermouths, utilizing New York based sourcing to re-invigorate and create recognition for a truly delicious product category.

Atsby now has two vermouths on the market in its Amberthorn and Armadillo Cake varietals. Vermouths often come as “dry” or “sweet” but Adam took a more middle ground approach to make two delicious and versatile offerings. By leaning closer to the middle of “dry” and “sweet” for each of his products, the real distinction comes in the use of the many botanicals like French lavender in the Amberthorn and cardamom and shitake mushrooms in the Armadillo cake. Both were delicious but my preference for the Armadillo Cake probably stems from my preference for whiskey. The Armadillo Cake and Tuthilltown’s Hudson Manhattan Rye are a match made in heaven.

I was excited to start experimenting with Atsby Vermouth in my own cocktail creation but last night, I decided to start with a classic. The Manhattan is by far one of the most famous whiskey based cocktails out there and while it might be simple in execution, the utilization of specific products is where the flavors can really take off. So being a bit inspired by Adam’s passion, I decided to use my own homemade spirits to make my version of the perfect Manhattan. Make sure you pick up a bottle of Atsby Vermouth and enjoy this delicious cocktail!

The Great Atsby

2.5 oz Bourbon or Rye (I used my own, but choose your favorite)

1.5 oz Atsby Armadillo Cake Vermouth

4 drops of Orange Bitters (I used my own here, but choose your favorite)

Lemon rind for garnish

Stir the bourbon, vermouth, and bitters in a whiskey glass. Add one large ice cube and garnish with the lemon rind. The classic recipes call for a maraschino cherry and an orange wedge but I prefer my drink a bit less fruity. Enjoy!

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Tuthilltown Spirits – One of a Kind

April 21, 2013

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For close to two years, I’ve been sharing my passion for all things alcohol here at the Nobler Experiment; so much of which has stemmed from the complex and fascinating role in which Prohibition shaped the way in which we currently enjoy liquor, wine, and beer. It’s why, as I’ve mentioned countless times before, to be a part of the modern-day spirit resurgence, is more than a little exciting. Visiting and supporting the up and coming distilleries, working on new cocktail recipes to drink with all of you, and bringing people together to share in the total experience of the Nobler Experiment is a passion that keeps growing. And after our visit up to Tuthilltown Spirits this past Saturday to celebrate my birthday, it’s safe to say, this passion is at an all time high.

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In some ways I should probably start this post with an admission of sorts. It really is a bit insane it took me this long to get up to Tuthilltown. Even ignoring the fact that they are a simple 1.5 hour bus ride from NYC for just a second, the discussion of a New York spirits resurgence should have probably started with them at the top of our tour list. As the very first New York state distillery since Prohibition, the co-founders, Ralph Erenzo and Brian Lee have been pushing the boundaries on local spirit creation since 2003. You have almost certainly seen their Hudson Baby Bourbon and like-bottled whiskeys on the market more and more recently, but what you may not realize is just how committed to locally sourcing their inputs they remain.

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The locally grown wheat and apples for their gin and vodka (not apple flavored, but rather apple distilled) and the corn and grain for their whiskeys are not being utilized as a silly marketing gimmick but rather as a concerted effort to make high quality products with distinction and character. You get this sense perfectly walking around their facility, a beautifully converted Gristmill in Gardiner, NY. Even with more recent updates and increases in efficiency, you really get the sense of just how passionate and involved they are with each and every spirit. Most noticeably, in their “filling and labeling” line where each and every bottle is hand and visually inspected (of course after being tasted) to ensure it meets the standard. Don, our tour guide, joked about their now “up to date” labeling machine and how much time it saves them. Of course, this is the same machine that is still a one bottle at a time, hand crank. So there’s no question, these whiskeys have been given a lot of attention. And it shows in the tasting.

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First off, I can say with confidence, I was there to try whiskey. I had tried the Baby Bourbon and their Single Malt prior to our visit, but was excited to try some of their other offerings, mainly their 100% Rye and their Four Grain whiskey. But I was shocked when I found out they were producing a Gin from 80% wheat and 20% apples that completely rocked my world; most interesting and delicious gin I have ever tasted. But I think unique is what the folks at Tuthilltown do right with everything they touch. In all of their aged spirits, there is a complexity in flavor that I truly love. The market for whiskeys is getting bigger and bigger but my experience of late has been an overwhelming flurry of “regular”. Good, solid whiskeys but without much nuance. Tuthilltown’s spirits on the other hand are riddled with nuance and are great additions to every liquor collection.

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Overall, it was an unbelievable birthday celebration and I have to absolutely thank the team at Tuthilltown for making it so special and welcoming us for such a fun experience. Plus a special thank you for bringing up Adam Ford of Atsby Vermouth who just like the folks at Tuthilltown, is doing some pretty special things with spirits. Check back tomorrow for more on Adam’s amazing products and in the mean time, get booking your trip to Tuthilltown!

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How to Live to 101

April 8, 2013

Dear Nancy Lamperti, You rule.

Now if I might make a few small suggestions. Switch from SoCo to bourbon, Budweiser to Cow Thieves, and promise to host the next Nobler Gathering!
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Like Watching Bourbon Age

April 5, 2013

photo(1)Just a few weeks into the aging process, I’ve had a number of Night Cap guests send me updates on the status of their mason jar bourbon. I myself have filled a number of jars tweaking a few variables here and there to see if I can start to perfect the process a bit. Turns out the hardest part of aging moonshine into bourbon on your own is waiting. I tend to shake my jars every day to encourage the charred chips to interact with the liquid, thinking in my head this is speeding up the process. It’s really just me being impatient however…so looking forward to drinking it…

But so far without a doubt the best update came from two of my favorite friends, Gilly and Joe, in the form of this instagram (pictured above). Love this picture! And glad they’ve been keeping watchful eyes on their bourbon as well.

We’ve got a few other exciting things coming up over the next few weeks starting with a beer-ful weekend of bottling our latest Cow Thieves and hitting up Beer for Beasts tomorrow. Plus, it’s been too long since we’ve had a giveaway here at the Nobler, so check back next week to get in on the action. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

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