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Post Election Sour: Drink up, talk it out, feel better!

Post Election Sour: Drink up, talk it out, feel better!

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I’m not sure how you were all feeling yesterday, but for me it was a very difficult day. I was still processing the results of the election from the night before, it was dreary and rainy outside, and I was operating on very little sleep. Having already shared the classic Tipperary with you, for today I wanted to find a modern cocktail that also had Irish whiskey as its base spirit. I began doing research and I was coming up with some possibilities, but I found myself becoming increasingly distracted by CNN, social media, and my own thoughts. I decided to turn everything off and craft my own cocktail instead. The creative process is usually a surefire way out of the dark for me, and it definitely helped me to feel better, although I’m sorry to say it didn’t last for very long.

I really loved the Red Breast 12 that I used in the Tipperary so I wanted it to be the base spirit in today’s drink too. For a 12-year-old whiskey, it is extremely smooth and had none of the bite that I was expecting. The finish was long and very warming. I could taste some nuts, spices, dried fruits, and something that reminded me a lot of sherry. There were also some citrus notes in there somewhere and that’s why I decided to go with a sour for today’s recipe. It matched my mood too! I wanted a secondary spirit so I reached for Lillet Rouge, which is one of my favorite things on its own and in cocktails. Lillet Rouge is a lightly spiced, fruity red wine that’s been fortified with lemon and orange brandies, and just a bit of a bittering agent. I thought it would work perfectly with the whiskey. I then added orange juice for my citrus, maple syrup and pumpkin butter for some sweetness, and aromatic bitters to round things out and pick up the spiciness of the whiskey and the Lillet. The result was a sour with fall flavors, but I think the addition of the Lillet will also make this cocktail work well with Thanksgiving dinner.

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Post Election Sour

2oz Red Breast Irish whiskey
1oz Lillet Rouge
1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 T pumpkin butter
1/2 T maple syrup
1 egg white (or 1 oz of a vegan substitute like chick pea liquid)
2 dashes of aromatic bitters
1 Luxardo maraschino cherry for garnishing, and a bit of the liquid from the jar

Add all the ingredients except the cherry to the bottom half of a shaker tin without any ice. (If your Lillet has been in the fridge, don’t add it yet). Dry shake (no ice) to get the egg whites foamy, and then add ice to the tin (and the Lillet if it’s not in there yet). Shake again to get the drink cold, and then strain using a Hawthorne strainer into an old-fashioned glass or a goblet over a large cube. Using an eyedropper, draw up some of the maraschino cherry juice and put drops on top of the foam. Garnish with the cherry skewered on a cocktail pick. Enjoy!

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Irish Whiskey: There’s more here than meets the eye.

Irish Whiskey: There’s more here than meets the eye.

 

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Scotch Whisky has a close cousin that is capable of just as much depth and seriousness, but often gets mistaken as the class clown. Too many St. Patty’s day parties with green beer and Irish car bombs have given the unfortunate impression that this is all Irish whiskey is about. This is simply not true. Irish whiskey is smooth and sweet, with a flavor profile that includes honey at the start and vanilla on the finish. It is the most approachable of all the whiskeys, and is often the best introduction to the world of whiskey in general.

The Irish Whiskey Act of 1980 put forth a number of guidelines to legally define Irish whiskey that are relatively simple compared to Scotch or bourbon. It must be made and aged in Ireland from a fermented mash of cereal grains. That aging must take place in wooden barrels no larger than 185 gallons for a minimum of three years. There is no regulation as to what kind of barrels must be used, but often they formerly contained Bourbon, Madeira, sherry, and rum, each giving the whiskey different body and a different flavor profile. One of the biggest differences between Irish whiskey and Scotch is the types of grains that are used. Both malted and unmalted barley are common in Irish whiskey, but corn, wheat and rye can also be added to recipes. A whiskey must be labeled as “blended” if it’s been produced from whiskeys from more than one distillery. Most Irish whiskeys are not exposed to peat smoke the way Scotch whiskeys are, so the smokey taste for which Scotch is known is generally not present, although there are a few exceptions to this.

There are a number of sub-categories of Irish whiskey, but there are no real rules to universally govern these distinctions.

The Tipperary is an old Prohibition-era cocktail that first appeared in print in Hugo Ensslin’s Recipes for Mixed Drinks in 1916. The original recipe had the ingredients measured in equal parts (1/2 oz each) which made the drink very sweet and viscous. Most newer variations bump the whiskey up to 2 oz and add in the orange bitters to make the combination more appealing to modern palates. The history of the drink’s name varies. Some say it’s named after a small town and county in Ireland; others link it to the 1912 song “It’s a long way to Tipperary” supposedly sung by an Irish regiment during World War I.

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The Tipperary

2 oz Redbreast 12-year Irish whiskey
1/2 oz Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
2 dashes orange bitters
lemon twist (for garnish)

Place all the ingredients except for the lemon twist into a mixing glass and fill 2/3 full with ice. Stir with a long handled bar spoon until very cold (about 30 – 45 seconds). Strain using a julep strainer, and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist. Enjoy!

Tomorrow we’ll talk about a modern Irish whiskey cocktail. I’ll be resuming my Thursday Barlogues next week!

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