Posts Tagged ‘whiskey’

The Return! and…Wild Oats Margarita

September 14, 2013




Wow…been a while. Welcome back. It’s been busy around these last couple of months. Lots of traveling, recipes, cocktails, ramblings. Now it’s time to start pouring them (along with a couple of brews) back into this site. Here’s (and cheers!) to doing a better job updating this beast.

Our way back includes this fresh out of the kitchen cocktail recipe for a margarita NOT containing Tequila or any other Mexican spirit. This time we’re playing with…High West Distilling’s Silver Western Oat Whiskey. I sub’d this un-aged whiskey for tequila in this classic margarita recipe. In fact, I’ve never done a classic margarita with orange liqueur/simple syrup here before, they almost always use fresh lime and agave nectar.

Why High West Silver Oat Whiskey? Last night we dined at Holeman and Finch and I had a distinct cocktail made with this very unique whiskey (or is it whisky?). Last nights cocktail was called the “Rainier Expedition” which as standard for H+F was laced with a concoction of lemon, bitters, amaro and vermouth. I also happened across a bottle of this Oat Whiskey a few weeks ago and was interested in coming up with a few cocktails for it. Poured into a Glencairn whiskey glass by its lonesome gave way to notes of brine and oysters initially before opening up to a bouquet of blueberry, citrus notes and vanilla. Call H+F my inspiration for getting off my arse and whipping something up. More cocktails will follow but they won’t really have a connection to this page…maybe. For now. we’ll play with this and see where the afternoon goes. Onto the recipes!

Wild Oats Margarita

1oz. High West Silver Wild Oat Whiskey
.75oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
.5oz Grand Marnier
1/2 tsp simple syrup

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Garnish with salt and lime wedge (or wheel). Enjoy!

Rainier Expedition -Courtesy of Holeman and Finch

1.5oz High West Silver Wild Oat Whiskey
.5oz Imbue Petal and Thorn
.5oz Punt e mes
Scant .5oz Fernet Amargo Vallet
2 dashes Lemon Bitters


The Bourbon Trail

June 28, 2012

So this last thursday we embarked on the sacred bourbon trail roadtrip from Atlanta to Loiusville, I know you’re saying “what? that’s got nothing to do with Mexico”  and I would agree but if you’re in the southeast and/or a spirits enthusiast like myself, you have to spend at least a day on the trail. I did have some taco’s to make it legit…

My brother, author of the infamous Garry Owen Dining Facilty in Iraq review came along for the ride, as did two of our old roomates, one of which who led the NYC trip reviewed back in May. We had a pretty solid plan for the 4 days of our journey but also left some breathing room for side-trips and random “stop here’s”.

Our first distillery was Prichards in Kelso, Tn. It’s a smaller craft distiller with a fairly wide range of product from rums to whiskies and liqueurs. Outside of passing right by the facility due to practically no signage Prichards turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. We went along on a tour that was highly informative, personal and finished with a killer tasting…of everything. There were no stingy pours here, and everyone except our designated driver thoroughly enjoyed it. Highlights included their Double-Barreled Bourbon, Chocolate Bourbon, and their duo of aged rums; “Private Stock” and “Fine Aged Rum”. I see some of these bottles making it into my collection so eventually I’ll do a more in-depth review.

We stopped in Fayetteville, Tn for some lunch at Ken’s Fast Foods and got to try the local favorite; The Slawburger. Ken’s was a great “local flavor” stop that you just don’t find anywhere but small towns. Ken himself popped out to ask “I’ve never seen you boys ’round here, are you visiting?”

Our next stop brought us to Nashville, the time change to central gave us an hour to drive around and get stuck in traffic and mobs of people heading to the Country Music Award something or another. That wasn’t our bag so we headed over to our 3.30 tour at Corsair Artisan a bit early. Housed in the beautiful brick warehouse that used to hold the Marathon Motors company until 1918 we had high hopes which were dashed quickly. The tour was anemic at best and took literally 6 minutes. Our guide seemed more interested in getting back into the air-conditioned bar room than spending any time detailing their facilities. After getting the cliff-notes tour we pulled up a seat at their tasting room bar and proceeded to taste their 5 flavors; Vanilla Bean Vodka, Gin-Head style  Gin, Spiced Rum, Un-aged Rye and the Triple Smoke Whiskey. My brother is a certified Gin-aholic so they also sampled us some Barrel-aged Gin. After the sampling we had them make a few cocktails with their wares, a gin and tonic with a bit too much tonic and a grapefruit based cocktail featuring their triple smoke whiskey and agave. I found this to be an excellent cocktail similar to a paloma but with smoke and peat added to the mix. We ended up buying a bottle of Gin and getting on the road to Louisville. On the drive everyone mentioned the disappointment with the tour. This could have been that we had just finished up with Prichard’s fantastic tour but it was more than that. We felt like we were shuffled along and didn’t get any of the personality that a small craft distiller would give. I expected this out of a Jim Beam or Jack Daniels but not the little guys.

Driving through Bowling Green we stopped at Smokey Pig BBQ where we chowed a plate of pulled pork and a beer before getting back on the road to Louisville. The next stop was the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert which we almost missed due to the time change BACK to eastern time. Luckily we only missed the first song. As usual the Peppers killed the show, with Josh easily picking up where John Frusciante left off. While the big improv jam sessions weren’t as good, Josh nailed every song and added his unique style. A stop a Third Street Dive for some beers and pool rounded out the evening and we headed back to the hotel, but not before some White Castle.

Friday we decided to skip the distilleries we had planned (Jim Beam, Makers Mark, Heaven Hill) to see some non-alcoholic sights which included the beautiful Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville Slugger Museum and betting on the ponies at Churchill Downs. I finally got my mint julep, although it was a premixed Early Times poured over ice with a sprig of mint…sucked. Before the ponies we ate lunch at the New Albanian Brewery in New Albany just across the river in Indiana. We had a killer meal that included Duck Wings (yes I said Duck wings), pork taco’s, a killer burger and some of the best fries I’ve ever had. Oh yeah the beers were pretty good too. Their Elector Imperial Red was a standout as was Hellbock and Hoptimus. Before heading back to Kentucky we stopped at a local bar, you know the kind where you get blank stares walking in the door and have a fear of siting in one of the regulars stools. A $5 pitcher later we hit the road and stopped for a Cuban (sandwich) and adult beverage at Habana Blue’s. The sandwich was fantastic but the Mojito’s and Caipirinha’s were premixed and didn’t attack your pallet with any fresh mint or lime.

That evening we happened upon a Greek festival for a few more beers and a Gyro before heading to Fourth Street Live for the Makers Mark Bar. While these overtly corporate drinking/eating venues aren’t typically our bag, we made an exception for Wet Willies which was a Savannah favorite being that we all lived there. Every one we’ve visited since has sucked so one drink later we left to start our next day.

Saturday was our distillery day. Bright and early we started at Four Roses. Their production was shut down for the summer but we still toured and tasted. It was a great tour that was indicative of the size of the distillery, not too big, not too small. Their grounds were beautiful with plenty of roses bushes and freshly manicured lawns. The Spanish architecture while somewhat out of place was equally as striking.

Just down the road was Wild Turkey, this was the largest tour we did and our first few of all the processes happening live as well as the barrel warehouses. The scale of everything going on here was worth the visit whether you enjoy WT or not. They have 30 warehouses…30 warehouses. Each fermentation batch holds 30,000 gallons of mash and yeast, did I mention they have 23 fermentation vats? They produce more in one batch than everyone I know and all the people that will read this article will drink in our entire lives. Their still is 4 stories tall, Four Roses column wasn’t half that. We journeyed into their oldest warehouse “No. 1” and the smell was intoxicating. This is one experience everyone needs to have in their lifetime. The cool breeze wafting out the hundred year old door was laced with the sweetness of aged spirits and heartiness of oak. It was almost like catching a buzz. We also nabbed a taste of a barrel that was dripping which was a unique treat. It had a yeasty sweet flavor that I’ll probably never get again.

Our last tour was Woodford Reserve. They by far had the best presentation. Everything about their facilities was made for bringing visitors through it. At first I worried that the overabundance of rules and cleanliness made it reek of corporations and HOA’s but that was quickly erased when we walked into the fermentation room. The highlight was the 3 copper pot stills and raised wooden floors allowing you to walk right up to them. The barrel room was also a sight and that’s not mentioning the aromatics seeping from the oak barrels.

Although we missed the tours, we swung by Buffalo Trace for a short walk around the buildings and a tasting. As we walked scents of yeast and barrel sweetness clung to the air so we all got one last smell of the barrel warehouses by sticking our heads through the windows on the lower floors. One day I’m building an office or house INSIDE a barrel aging room.

That evening we did some bar hopping and had dinner at Doc Crows before bar hopping some more. Earlier in the day Woodford teased us with some Double Oak Bourbon that they were out of so I finished the night off with some hefty pours. We rolled out in the morning stopping by the Corvette museum in Bowling Green and then onto Atlanta.


If you’re within a days drive of the trail you owe it to yourself to make a go of it. Louisville and the surrounding area offers a lot to do for a long weekend. Highly recommended! Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.