Surprisingly, I did manage to enter the Upper Mississippi mash-out as I mentioned a couple posts ago. I included the Imperial Stout, bringing the total to 6 entries. I hope at least some of them do well, I won’t know until the 27th.
I’ve recently gotten into Rye Whiskey. A New York Times Article had quite a bit to do with it. If it hadn’t been posted on Making Light and mentioned in a conversation with a co-worker in the same week, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought, and continued to view the few Ryes on the liquor store shelves with a suspicious eye. The article sold me on the style, so I decided to give it a try, starting with a mid-range “value” rye to avoid being turned off of the style by a low-quality example.
First up was Sazerac, ~$25/750ml at Surdyk’s. Quite good, light bodied and spicy. Next, I tried the next step down, Rittenhouse ($12/750 mL) which disappeared pretty quickly also. Rittenhouse was somewhat mellower, but definitely a quality whiskey. Currently, I’m down to “Old Overholt”, a $10/bottle whiskey and thus among the cheaper liquors sold in glass bottles… It’s also my favorite so far, a wonderful value and a good example of the Rye style. I haven’t tried Jim Beam or Wild Turkey yet. As for high-end examples, the only one I’ve seen locally has been a 21yr Rittenhouse for $130/bottle, so I won’t be having one of those anytime soon…
All have been decent sipping whiskeys, but an old out-of-style liquor calls for an old out-of-style cocktail. Rye shines in an Old Fashioned. Its bold spicy flavors give a tasty and balanced version of the cocktail, in contrast to the mellow, sweeter, usual Bourbon version.
They’re also a simple cocktail to make. Put a sugar cube, a thin (1cm) wedge of orange, and a splash of water into an Old Fashioned glass (short, thick bottom, straight sides, ~6-8 oz capacity) and muddle until the sugar is dissolved and the oranges are nicely bruised, especially the skin. Add a dash of Angostura Bitters, top off with 3-4 oz of Rye Whiskey and ice, stir. and serve. This is now my favorite cocktail by a large margin.