This guest post comes to us from Kyle Doran, of Mile Hi Distilling equipment.
The world of whiskey is an endless ocean of variation, taste and competition. Every year, craft distillers across the country make use of their creative talents and skill to create the best whiskey available on the market. They achieve this by using a variety of ingredients, mash recipes, distillation equipment, distilling methods, and barrel aging techniques. Each new batch is an art form as well as a science to create something truly splendid.
Celebrated cocktails take note of these exquisite whiskeys and aim to augment their flavor profiles within their recipes. Below, we've outlined a few delicious cocktail ideas, along with some of the most praiseworthy whiskeys available today. Let's dive in.
Created by ASW Distillery (that's us!), Resurgens Rye has a very unique take on Rye whiskey. For the mash recipe, ASW uses 100% malted rye, including nearly 5% chocolate malted rye. They use malted rye (rather than the unmalted rye of most ryes on the market) in the mash. This allows for a more concentrated flavor profile of the rye itself to come through in the whiskey.
Resurgens Rye is distilled by a grain-in distillation technique, using Scottish-style double copper pot stills. The batches are then aged using an array of American white oak casks.
With hints of chocolate and sweet honey, Resurgens Rye is a perfect whiskey for making an Old Fashioned. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of sugar with a few dashes of water into a rocks glass. Add 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters. Muddle until dissolved. Add large ice cube to the glass. Pour 2 oz. of Resurgens Rye Whiskey. Stir and garnish with an orange slice.
Leopold Bros. Maryland-Style Rye Whiskey
Created by Leopold Bros. Distillery, Maryland-Style Rye Whiskey has a fruity and floral taste profile that is much less aggressive than other traditional American rye whiskeys. This is because they use a different type of rye and mash bill. In the 1800’s, two types of rye were primarily used to create mash for whiskeys. Pennsylvania Rye, and Maryland Rye.
The difference between these two ryes? Pennsylvania Rye has a nearly pure rye mash bill, which will produce a very dry and spicy whiskey. Maryland Rye, on the other hand, is made up with a 65% rye mash bill. It produces a much softer tasting whiskey with subtler spices and smoother flavors.
Leopold Bros. Maryland-Style Rye Whiskey's mash bill is around 65% rye, 15% corn, and 20% malted barley. The mash undergoes a bacterial fermentation in the distillery's cypress open fermenters. The acetic acid bacteria gives the mash its fruity flavors and aromas before the distillation phase. After distilling, it's then aged for 4 years in charred American oak barrels at 98 proof to produce an 86 proof end result.
For an alternative but delightful take on rye whiskey, give Leopold Bros. Maryland-Style Rye Whiskey a try. It's also great for making a Whiskey Smash. The light fruity hints of caramel and vanilla, mix well with mint leaves and lemon to create a refreshing cocktail. Place 5-7 mint leaves, a wedge of lemon and 1 tablespoon of sugar into a shaker. Muddle until the sugar has dissolved and the mint leaves and lemon are sufficiently ground. Pour 2 oz. of Leopold Bros. Maryland-Style Rye Whiskey. Shake, double-strain and pour into a rocks glass over 1 large ice cube.
Distillery 291's Single Barrel Colorado Rye Whiskey
Distillery 291's Single Barrel Colorado Rye Whiskey is a very notable whiskey this year. It was awarded the world's best Rye of 2018 by World Whiskies Awards. Its mash bill is composed of 61% malted rye and 39% corn resulting in a sweetness on the nose, spiciness on the palate and ending with a sweet finish. Finally, Single Barrel Colorado Rye Whiskey is aged for one year in American white oak barrels and then finished with charred aspen barrels. Michael Myers is the owner and head distiller at Distillery 291, which is located in Colorado Springs. His aim is to create whiskeys that reproduce the taste, smell and folklore of the Wild West.
With a flavor profile that includes cinnamon, oak and maple, the Vieux Carre is a great cocktail to create with Distillery 291's Colorado Rye Single Barrel Bourbon. Pour 3/4 oz. of bourbon, 3/4 oz. of Cognac, and 3/4 oz. of Vermouth into a mixing glass. Add 1 teaspoon of Bénédictine liqueur. Add 1 dash of each Peychaud’s Bitters and Angostura bitters. Fill mixing glass half full with ice. Stir until chilled and pour into chilled rocks glass.
Duality Double Malt
Another amazing spirit distilled by ASW Distillery, Duality Double Malt is the world's first whiskey of its kind because of its unique mash bill, distillation process and aging methods. The mash bill is made up of 50% cherry-smoked barley malt and 50% rye malt. Both of these malted grains are fermented together in the same vessel before the distilling process. The grains are left in during the first distillation which is done using the same Scottish tradition of double copper pot distilling that is used for Resurgens Rye. After distilling, the batch is aged in charred oak casks of varying sizes. As a result, this whiskey has a rich and complex flavor profile with hints of coffee, toffee, fruit and honey. Duality took home the Double Gold in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2018. Whoever the connoisseur, this whiskey is definitely worth your time.
The Rusty Nail (Rusty Bob) is a simple, yet delicious cocktail that is perfect if you're in the mood for a sweet and light experience. With the rich tastes of honey, caramel, chocolate, coffee, and other mouthwatering flavors, the Duality Double Malt blends very well with the sweet herbal honey notes of Drambuie. Pour 1 1/2 oz. of Duality Double Malt and 1/2 oz. of Drambuie into a rocks glass over ice. That's it. Enjoy this easily made cocktail to your heart's delight.
Ridgemont Reserve 1792 Single Barrel
Ridgemont Reserve 1792 Single Barrel Bourbon is distilled by Barton 1792, a distillery established in 1879 and located in Bardstown, Kentucky. 1792 Bourbon Distillery gets its name from commemorating the year that Kentucky became a state. The mash bill is 75% corn, 15% rye, and 10% barley. Because of the mash bill ingredients and being aged 8 years in new charred oak barrels, this bourbon has subtle hints of butterscotch, maple and light oak. With the heat of the high rye composition, mixed with hints of caramel throughout, this is a whiskey worth appreciating. The Ridgemont Reserve 1792 Single Barrel has also won the Double Gold award in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition this year.
The sweet vanilla undertones of Ridgemont Reserve 1792, mixed with muddled mint leaves makes for a perfect Mint Julep. Place 6-8 mint leaves with 1 teaspoon of sugar in a rock glass. Lightly muddle until the mint leaves have broken down. Pour 2 oz. of Ridgemont Reserve 1792 over the mix. Add crushed ice until glass is topped. Garnish the glass with 1 mint leaf. Enjoy!
Generation after generation, distillers pass down the time honored tradition and artform of creating whiskey. As a result, craft whiskey distilleries are always looking to the horizon to expand on what their forefathers built before them. Amazing whiskeys are created every year by experimenting with different ingredients and techniques. Whether you're a newcomer or a seasoned connoisseur of whiskey, you will be able to appreciate each of these batches for a variety of reasons. Try out these whiskeys and cocktails and decide what you appreciate about the spectrum of different flavor profiles you find. We hope you've enjoyed this breakdown of some of the best whiskeys and cocktail recipes to try out this year.
Kyle Doran is a Colorado local and writer for Mile Hi Distilling, a manufacturer of high quality whiskey and moonshine stills as well as other distilling products. Kyle is fascinated by the history of craft distilling, the distilling process and loves to discuss different varieties of spirits and liquors. His favorite spirits are bourbon, whiskey and moonshine.