So it’s Memorial Day weekend and my wife and I are invited to a friend’s BBQ on a Sunday afternoon. We only know the host- everyone else is new to us. In an effort to be a bit different I forgo bringing the customary Sauvignon Blanc or Cali Chardonay and bring along a bottle of Bourbon (hey, I work in New York’s best liquor store and it’s a talking point)! Not only is it a bottle of Bourbon, it’s a very different bottle of Bourbon distilled in Walton, NY at the Delaware Phoenix Distillery. So not only have I brought along the evening’s only whiskey, it’s a whiskey that nobody knows and suddenly I know a few more people!
“Hey, where did this whiskey come from?” “When can we open it?” echos around the BBQ as the fun wine and great grilled meat flows. In the manner I’m used to, I quickly go into “Spirits Man” mode. I enthusiastically explain that this is a fabulous Bourbon made single handed by a lady named Cheryl Lins on the second floor of a building right against the Delaware river. When the grocery store she formerly worked in decided she was no longer right for the job, guess what? She started up her own distillery. I mean, you would too, wouldn’t you?
It is a single barrel artisanal Bourbon, 100% pot distilled in an old 1820’s style, and then aged only 11 months in new charred barrels before bottling. This Bourbon has a wonderful nose of corn bread- bright, light sweetcorn juice with hints of butter. The mouth feel is full and wonderful, grassy and spicy. Needless to say it went down very well. I got to meet a few new people and a few people got to meet a new Bourbon.
The following Sunday, we have plans to attend another BBQ at a friend’s place over in Brooklyn. I can’t help it, I’m a socialite! The weather forecast says warm and sunny, so I begin thinking about another whiskey to bring that is going to be cool, different, extremely tasty and great on ice. Something to get into after the wine and food and relax into the evening.
Without hesitation, I decide to bring along a bottle of High West Silver. This is a white whiskey that sees a very short time (much less than a day) in French Limousin Oak, with a distillation of 85% oats and 15% malted barley from Park City Utah. I love this stuff the feeling was mutual among the friends I shared it with on this sunny Sunday afternoon. It goes so well with ice and a hot day in the backyard. The nose is a beautiful mix of floral, marshmallow and oat. The taste- creamy, sweet oat and hints of toasted candy.
Mix this with Dolin Blanc Vermouth, a dash of bitters, and garnish with a cherry or orange twist and presto, you have a fantastic White Manhattan!
I am really looking forward to my next invitation and finding another great whiskey to introduce people to. Or perhaps it will be a different spirit next time. I have a few ideas up my “Astor Sleeve”.