Hi, I am Wefty’s brother. Wefty has gotten me hooked on Raw Denim, but when I think about the first crafted goods I fell in love with, I don’t think of Denim. I think of Whiskey. Specifically, Bourbon.
Outside of the United States, the word Bourbon on a label may not adhere to the same standard. But in the US, a bottle that says Bourbon on it’s contents are defined by Law:
The contents started off as grains, at least 51% corn, and somewhere in the United States. The mixture of Corn and other grains (wheat, rye, and/or malted barley) is mixed with water. At this point, it is called the Mash. Yeast is added, fermenting the mash into a Wash. At this point, the whiskey is distilled, usually twice, and a clear liquid 65-80% alcohol “high wine” is the result. The high wine is put in a freshly charred oak barrel, and aged for at least three months. If the bottle calls itself Straight Bourbon, it must be aged two years or more. Any Straight Bourbon aged less than four years must specify the age.
Interestingly, Tennessee Whiskey must also meet the standard of Straight Bourbon, although typically makers of Tennessee Whiskey add a step. Prior to aging, the high wine is filtered through sugar maple charcoal. This step is called the Lincoln County Process. Tennessee Whiskey fans claim this improves the flavor.
Canadian, Irish, and Scotch Whiskey’s differ from US-Made whiskey’s in that the there are fewer regulations on the grain content, and that Barrels can be re-used. In fact, many Scotch producers purchase used barrels from Bourbon Makers. Bourbon aficionados claim that they do this to steal Bourbon’s flavor, while Scotch snobs may claim that using fresh barrels taints the whiskey.
Whatever your choice of Whiskey, there are several considerations in picking one out. And when it comes to cocktails, the Manhattan is king. Traditionally, a Manhattan consists of Rye Whiskey or a Rye-heavy Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth, and Bitters, garnished with a Maraschino Cherry.
But Wefty and my Parents recently stumbled upon a recipe for the best Manhattan I have ever had. Down in Athens, Georgia, a restaurant called The National began work on the Manhattan Project. And given delicousness and strength of this drink, it lives up to the name.
The Manhattan Project
2 oz Rye Whiskey (See below for special details)
1 oz Antica Formula Carpano Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Bitters (Rhubarb if you can find it)
3-5 Les Perissiennes Kirsch-Soaked Cherries on a toothpick
The National starts with Old Overholt, an inexpensive Straight Rye Whiskey. They place it in a Mason Jar with Ceylon Tea and Thyme. After infusing, they mix it with Antica Formula Carpano Sweet Vermouth. It is then placed in an oak barrel and drawn off for each drink. The drink is garnished with Semi-Candied, Kirsch-Brandy soaked Cherries. Mom and Dad said the drink was fantastic. The Bartender recomended using Willet Rye Whiskey (a more expensive Rye) if the aging process was too much trouble. Our make-at-home Manhattan Project it is fantastic.
I’ll be joining this blog with my brother. Expect more excitement in the area of Bourbon, Raw Denim, and maybe some Pickles in the future. Oh, and you can call me Mash.