January 9, 2012

Favorite Things: Whiskey


As you all know, I like booze.
A lot.

Thankfully not in that sad, can't-get-shit-together way, but in a loving, warm, tender, wholesome way.

Before we go any further though, let me just get something out of the way. I don't give a rats ass about your single malt blah blah Scotch or Irish whiskey. While I occasionally enjoy both, neither of those genres make my heart sing. For me and my sweet tooth, it's bourbon (or Kentucky Whiskey in the case of Jack) that really gets me jazzed.

I will also go a step further and admit (I say admit because all you liquor snobs out there will surely scoff) that while I sometimes take my whiskey on the rocks or out of a flask, I'm mostly into cocktails. Whiskey Ginger or Whiskey Coke to be exact, both garnished with a lime.

Here are my two top picks. One for deliciousness, and the other for price.

Let's discuss

Best Cheap Whiskey: Evan Williams

I pretty much default to Evan or Beam if I want to spend under $15 on a bottle, but I'm giving the nod to the Evan because you get a liter instead of a fifth and unlike Beam which is sometimes priced a bit high, you can almost always get a bottle of Evan for under $13.

It's decent in a mixed drink (way better than most bars "rail") and is totally sippable with an ice cube. It also has a darker color and richer flavor than Beam IMO.

Best Overall Whiskey: Jack Daniels Single Barrel

In discussions with other folks who like whiskey I always feel like a bit of an unsophisticated hick redneck admitting that Single Barrel Jack is my favorite. But for me no drink in the world is tastier than a well made whiskey Coke made with JD SB.

On my way up North after living in my van down in Alabama (climbing), my buddy and me stopped off for a tour of the distillery. I came away pretty damned impressed with their operation and the care that goes into making Jack.

*An interesting sidenote is that they only use their oak barrels once then sell them to other distilleries who use them over and over again.

On the tour I learned how Single Barrel differs from standard black label JD. The answer is that it doesn't. This $40-45 bottle is the exact same process as the $20 black label, the difference lies in the bottling and aging.

They have a seven story building in which they house the oak barrels, the upper floors experience more dramatic fluctuations in temperature than the lower from season to season. Over the years this affects the taste of the whiskey and after 8 years when they are getting ready to bottle it, the master distiller goes through and tastes the barrels on the top floor to find the best.

These best barrels are not blended together with other barrels like the rest of the production (to ensure consistency), but become Single Barrel.

It's crazy delicious



Anonymous said...

I share your love for whiskey and I have always preferred bourbon, but I recently discovered Bulleit Rye. It is amazing. Rye and ginger are where it's at.

blair said...

the price of evan williams is why it's so often a bar's well whiskey (at least here in SF). of the three bars at which i've bartended, two of them have williams in their well, and i always keep a bottle in my home bar for my bourbon-drinking friends. nice choice!

thebimbocoles said...

Evan Williams is an excellent choice. In a squeeze, give consideration to Rebel Yell.