December 1, 2017
I don’t actually have a tipsy Italian uncle that I’ve named this after, and because of that, I wake up sorrowful every day. Okay, that’s not true! I did receive a bottle of Uncle Nearest 1856 whiskey in the mail recently though. That’s true! I know, getting whiskey in the mail should make me happy – and it does. True!
Uncle Nearest has a great story. It was made in honor of Nathan “Nearest” Green, a former slave who as the story goes taught Jack Daniel how to distill. Amazing! While it was launched in Portland, OR, it’s made in Tennessee using at least 51% corn, filtered via sugar maple charcoal, aged in new American oak, and bottled at 100 proof. That proof gives it a nice sturdy backbone, mellowed by vanilla and rounded out with hints of sesame and cinnamon in the flavor. It’s a sipper, for sure, and one that’ll warm you and your uncles.
When mixing with it, I wanted to keep that umph and personality, but take a little edge off, and bring some herbal helpers into the party. And I went Italian (as I often do), with Montenegro amaro (which lies on the sweeter side of the amaro scale) and Punt e’ Mes vermouth. Also brought old pal Peychaud along, too. End result is robust, with layers and layers of flavor. I think tipsy uncles everywhere would be proud.
The Tipsy Italian Uncle
1-1/2 ounces Uncle Nearest whiskey
1 ounce Montenegro amaro
1/2 ounce Punt e’ Mes sweet vermouth
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the whole family. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Make a second for your uncle (or in his honor, at least).
January 17, 2014
In a way, I feel if I say the phrase “An American Bobby Burns” I should be talking about a poet, taking the long absent mantle of political-drinking-lyrical combination of sorts from Robert Burns, who goes from grain to glass in a singular way (probably it would be Ed Skoog, I suppose, as he’s the best poet in the world anyway). But instead, I’m talking about the Bobby Burns cocktail, one of my all-time favorites. Its traditional mingling of Scotch, sweet vermouth, and Bénédictine is a truly beautiful thing. However, I recently made one not with Scotch, but instead with an American single-malt whiskey, specifically Seattle-based Westland distillery’s inaugural release, Deacon Seat single-malt whiskey. Deacon Seat is a very approachable, layered whiskey, with citrus and pastry and marmalade flavorings that match amazingly with the herbal-ness of Punt e’ Mes sweet vermouth (my vermouth pick this time) and the spiritual savoryness of Bénédictine. I have to think any poet would approve.
The American Bobby Burns
2-1/2 ounces Westland Deacon Seat single malt whiskey
1 ounce Punt e’ Mes sweet vermouth
1/4 ounce Bénédictine
Lemon twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Deacon Seat, Punt ‘e Mes, and Bénédictine. Shake well.
2. Strain the mix into a cocktail glass. Squeeze the lemon twist over it and let it float into the glass.
A Note: You can also stir this one over ice, instead of shaking. But I think the poets like to show off their shaking skills.