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OneCubeOnly
05-21-2003, 13:32
Okay, here's a question I'd like to pose to the group: at what quality level do you allow yourself (or others) to use your bourbon for mixing?

For me, my 'mixing bourbon' is Maker's Mark, because it seems to be very mixer-friendly, but straight-up it tastes like I've licked an ashtray (JMHO). That quality/price level is about where I won't cringe if somebody asks for ginger ale.

Winslow
05-21-2003, 14:58
For me it's a matter of price not "quality" levels. That is with the exception of perhaps a Manhattan, most mixers obscure the taste enough for me that I consider it a waste of money to regularly mix anything that's $19+ /750 ml. I keep plain old Evan Williams or Beam white around specifically for mixing. I'm paying around $10 & $12 respectively for these. I guess if my favorite straight bourbon was $5.00 /750 I'd mix with it too!

Last summer, I started a thread on price as a measure of quality. I think the consensus was that higher price doesn't always mean "better" Bourbon. I have come to agree with this. Case in point, the two that I've mentioned as mixers I also enjoy neat or on the rocks.

As far as the others as in guests: I wouldn't refuse a guest a mixed drink. If all I had was Knob Creek at $25, that's what would be dancing with the Ginger Ale. Even if he swilled it all. But the next time that particular company was coming over, you bet I'd have something else on hand. In this case I suppose I'd be cringing at the thought of what he was doing with a wonderful bourbon like KC as well!

Regards,
Winslow

CL
05-21-2003, 16:36
I always have a bottle of Old Forrester 100 on hand for mixing. It's the perfect everyday bourbon. I love it neat and it's not too expensive for guests to use for mixing.

A few years ago, in my pre-bourbon-bunker days, I had Maker's and Booker's on hand. My cousin had gotten laid off. I invited her over for dinner to share her misery. When she arrived, I offered a drink, she said, Hell Yeah, and asked for bourbon and coke. I pulled down the Maker's and noticed it only had about a drink's worth left.

My cousin, of course, wanted to forget her troubles for a little while and wanted a few more drinks. I quietly poured the Booker's into the coke. Sure, I cringed at the thought of what I was doing to the Booker's, but I had absolutely no regrets as I was helping my cousin feel better for just a little while.

It was after this incident that I started keeping a JB White for mixers. Ironically, I rarely used the JB White after that. But, recently, as my bourbon collection outgrew the liquor cabinet, I ditched the JB White. I figured that Old Forrester 100 was only slightly more expensive than JB White so that it wouldn't be that much of a financial worry to use it with mixers.

ratcheer
05-21-2003, 16:38
I don't always drink my bourbon "straight up", but I rarely mix it. I will have it with water or on the rocks, but I don't call that "mixing".

On rare occasions, I will have a mint julep or a Manhattan cocktail. When I do, I would probably usually use something like Wild Turkey 101. Or, Old Forester 100.

Tim

jeff
05-21-2003, 16:41
I keep several "bottom shelf" brands on hand for just such occasions. I use Evan Williams 7yo for most mixed drinks, as I find this is a decent bourbon in its own right, and cheap at about $8. AAA 10yo makes a good everyday pour on the rocks and does double duty for mixers at about $9. And of course there is the infamous Ten High for people you don't really like http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif I should take that back, as Ten High is not bad, it just isn't good either. Better than JB white 4yo IMHO. The key is multi-tasking. Find an inexpensive pour that you like to drink so you won't have a bottle of rotgut taking up space in your cabinet.

jeff
05-21-2003, 16:43
I imagine OF 100 would make a great mint julep. I'll have to try that!

OneCubeOnly
05-21-2003, 17:21
Maybe I've been overthinking the whole concept, but to me it's a little more complicated than just a price issue. For example, Buffalo Trace is available locally and is on sale this week for $15.95/Liter. I consider this quality level right at the threshold of "cringe-point", even though it's cheaper than Maker's.

It's almost a "pearls before swine" issue once you introduce GUESTS into the equation: it gets even more complicated if you have ONE guest who appreciates fine bourbon and ANOTHER who asks for the Diet Coke! Is it ethical to serve them from different bottles?

CL
05-21-2003, 18:05
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
Is it ethical to serve them from different bottles?

[/QUOTE]
Ethical? I think you mean polite. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/tongue.gif

Absolutely. I often put out two bottles when I have guests. I put the mixing bourbon near the soft drinks and I put the sipping bourbon near the rocks glasses. I then offer each guest a drink and ask if they want a mixer (while I politely point to the mixing bourbon) or a rocks/neat drink (while I gently cradle the fine sipping whiskey). http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif It gets the point across without insulting anyone.

If I have too many guests to keep track of, I will just put out the mixing bourbon. I then take the guests to the bunker and suggest that the guest sample one of the bunkered bourbons if they "like their bourbon straight or on the rocks". Works like a charm. Most folks run from the bunker and head for the mixer. When they see the collection, they know they are in front of some serious business and are too afraid to touch the good stuff. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif Ok, actually, they just don't recognize the labels on the bunker bottles (they LOOK expensive) and head back to the mixer cuz they know that the mixing bourbon is something they can't mess up. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif

In fact, one of my neighbors, who knows how serious I am about bourbon, feels guilty about mixing Old Forrester with his Coke. He doesn't recognize it and thinks it is expensive. I have to keep telling him not to worry and to drink all he wants.

CL
05-21-2003, 18:09
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
Find an inexpensive pour that you like to drink so you won't have a bottle of rotgut taking up space in your cabinet.

[/QUOTE]
Bingo! For me, it's Old Forrester 100. If I had a wider selection here in NC, I might make it Old Fitz or Old Weller 12 yo, etc.

jeff
05-21-2003, 18:10
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
feels guilty about mixing Old Forester with his Coke

[/QUOTE]

Blasphemy! We all know that Old Forester is just a better version of Woodford Reserve and should be mixed with nothing outside of a Mint julep or a Manhattan. Your friend is right to feel guilty. Be afraid! be very afraid!

jeff
05-21-2003, 18:14
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
If I had a wider selection here in NC, I might make it Old Fitz or Old Weller 12 yo, etc

[/QUOTE]

All are great bourbons and won't break the bank! Did you pick up a bottle of OW 12yo while in Louisville? My everyday pour, and it makes a great bourbon sour for Leslie.

jeff
05-21-2003, 18:20
Most of my "mixing" friends, if you can really call them "friends" http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif don't care enough to even notice a different bottle. If you are that concerned about appearances, just put the mixed drinks in the kitchen or someplace where no one is likely to be watching. I like Chuck's idea of only leaving the "mixer" bourbon out and inviting connoiseurs to sample from the bunker. You will likely know who these people are anyway. And when you take them aside to sample the good stuff, you can get a good laugh by making fun of your less-than-perfect mixing friends.

CL
05-21-2003, 18:27
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
And when you take them aside to sample the good stuff, you can get a good laugh by making fun of your less-than-perfect mixing friends.

[/QUOTE]
Shoot, the joke may be on us. All the mixing friends will laugh among themselves and joke about how much money we "waste" on "whiskey". http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/shocked.gif

CL
05-21-2003, 18:31
Absolutely. I really like the Old Weller 12 yo. I haven't fully examined it, but it could become a must have when I visit KY.

While in Ky, I also picked another bottle of the Centennial. The Chicago bottle was going quickly. So, I bought another at Liquor Barn this past weekend. Plus, the price was much lower. If my memory is correct, it was $32 at Binney's and $22 or $23 at Liquor Barn.

bobbyc
05-21-2003, 18:35
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
Shoot, the joke may be on us. All the mixing friends will laugh among themselves and joke about how much money we "waste" on "whiskey".

[/QUOTE]

I believe I have been the butt of that joke a time or 2. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/crazy.gif

Winslow
05-21-2003, 19:32
OK. I've been doing a bit more thinking on this. As far as my tastes are concerned, I'll stand pat on price. Once you start pouring Coke, Ginger Ale, Sour Mixes, etc. with your liquor, you're not in it for the qualities of a fine Bourbon anymore. The characteristics that separate Rare Breed from WT 80 proof are obscured. You either want to get buzzed, and/or you like the taste of the overall drink, which is fine. But why waste the money on high end stuff?

Now for company. I said I'd let a guest finish my Knob Creek whilst mixing is goodness into oblivion. I guess I should define company. I'd place not insulting a first time guest in my home over some booze any day. But I'm sipping the last little bit of my Kentucky Spirit as I write this, and have to admit that watching the stupidity of someone mixing this nectar with a Coke would irritate me to no end. Forget what I paid. The next time this sorry chap dropped by, I'd be "all out". If it were a party, there would be no ethics issue since the good stuff would never see the light of day. If it were my buddies, I'd tell them in no uncertain terms that they're not going to be mixing my Kentucky Spirit with anything but their brain cells and a little splash of water or ice cube. They'd understand 'cause they are my buddies.

CL
05-21-2003, 19:37
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
If it were my buddies, I'd tell them in no uncertain terms that they're not going to be mixing my Kentucky Spirit with anything but their brain cells and a little splash of water or ice cube. They'd understand 'cause they are my buddies.

[/QUOTE]

Wonderfully put! I especially liked the part about mixing the KS with their brain cells. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif

OneCubeOnly
05-21-2003, 20:05
But aren't there times when it's NOT a price issue? Leaving the diplomacy issues of company out of the equation for a minute--if I decide (for whatever reason) that I'm making a mixed drink, I don't necessarily reach for the CHEAPEST bourbon in the cabinet, I reach for one that I find the least drinkable straight. Again, I'll cite my former example of Buffalo Trace--it's about 2/3rds the price of Maker's Mark, but I find it an infinitely better bourbon. I'd rather mix the MM and save the BT for double-duty.

Also, I've had more expensive bottles that I didn't find particularly to my liking. They're fair-game for the ginger ale as far as I'm concerned.

tommy
05-22-2003, 04:46
I've never been much of a mixer, at least as far as bourbon is concerned. I put down my shot glass a couple of years ago--started actually savoring bourbon--and I haven't looked back since. Of course, I like ice and water with my bourbon occasionally. My beer-swilling friends won't touch "brown liquor," no matter how hard I try to convert them. There's no accounting for taste.

Tommy

cowdery
05-22-2003, 10:24
Most people who mix probably expect and prefer one of the moderate-priced name brands. The typical one among people I know would be Jack and Coke. If someone wants a Manhattan and is open to trying something new, I probably would suggest a better quality whiskey. When I entertain this usually isn't a problem, because few of my local friends share my enthusiasim for better bourbons. I'll typically put out something like Maker's Mark or Wild Turkey and that's what every bourbon drinker gets, whether they take it mixed or straight. If I have a friend who appreciates the better stuff, I'll make a special trip to the stash just for them. That's how I deal with it.

Winslow
05-22-2003, 15:43
Remember what I said, One Cube, for me it's more of a price issue. But then I know which ones I like neat and which one's I'd rather mix with and then I buy accordingly. And I'm talking about a general rule of thumb. If all I had was say a bottle of WT101 at $20 and I wanted a whiskey sour, I'd make it with the WT101!

But your point is perfectly reasonable. And I would agree with you that if I had a $30 bottle that I simply hated, I'd probably mix with it too...while drinking a cheaper one neat. But I'd bet you wouldn't knowingly buy that $30 bottle again just for a mixer (or $20 MM!). In fact, like you, I think a double duty is really a good way to go. My EW7 and Beam White are double duty pours. I don't like 'em as much as my KC, WT, or EC12, but they're a nice change now and then.

There is no right or wrong, really. It's what makes you happy.

Regards,
Winslow

ratcheer
05-22-2003, 17:53
But, by my practices, I don't have any bourbons that I don't enjoy straight.

You know, last night I mentioned the occasional WT101 or OF100 mint julep or Manhattan cocktail. I just remembered a drink I made a good while back that was wonderful: a mint julep made with Woodford Reserve. It was perfect. The sweetness of that bourbon in a semi-sweet drink (I don't use much sugar) was a great match.

So, there is a case of using the right (expensive) bourbon to get an uncommonly good result. I remember, now, that I got the idea from WR's 2002 Kentucky Derby advertising.

But, again, I don't mix very often. Maybe 3 to 4 times a year.

Tim

ratcheer
05-22-2003, 17:57
Sounds like a great plan, Chuck. Except for the Maker's Mark part. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif

Tim

Blackkeno
05-31-2003, 12:30
I would probably mix almost anything if someone specifically requested it. This would certainly be the case if I knew that they were very familiar with mixed drinks and appreciated the difference.

For the past 8 years I have drank spirits neat at least 90% of the time, but for the previous decade I drank whisk(e)y and gingerale over 90% of the time. The quality and character of the spirit makes a great deal of difference to me. Even now, when I feel like a whisky and gingerale, I pick the whisky I really feel like having with it. This is often a top shelf Canadian (perhaps that's an oximoron http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif). I only rarely use bourbon, but that's because of preference rather than price or "image".

As a practical matter, friends and guests almost always ask me for guidance when the see my cabinet. In the unlikely event someone ever asked to mix Pappy 23 with coke, I would probably carry on some small talk before pouring... "How familiar are you with Pappy 23? What other bourbons do you like in your Coke? Pappy 23 is generally enjoyed neat, perhaps you would prefer the..." Yet, if it's really what they wanted, I would pour it. But after serving it, I would probably mention that since it was on my special occasion shelf, I wouldn't be pouring it again for a while.

ratcheer
05-31-2003, 16:25
I have enjoyed bourbon and ginger ale in the distant past. Another favorite was mid-shelf scotch (e.g., Johnny Walker Red) and ginger ale.

As to serving Pappy 23 with Coke, you are a gentleman and a diplomat. Doing that would hurt me to the quick. I am not sure I could avoid just saying, "No". http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif

Tim

Blackkeno
06-01-2003, 20:17
BTW, I would say no if I was pretty sure someone was just pulling my chain. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/banghead.gif

MurphyDawg
06-10-2003, 09:46
90% of the people I know would prefer Natural Light when they visit me to "that yucky bourbon stuff" I drink, so naturall (heh heh) I oblige. For the few that do appreciate bourbon at all, they don't mix, (except maybe manhattans) so "mi bunker es su bunker"

TomC

MurphyDawg
06-10-2003, 09:49
Old Ezra 7/101, AAA 10 year (if available to you) Old forrester 89/100 proofs are my suggestions for good bourbons that are cheap enough for you to let your friends have in coke if necessary.


LOL
Tomc

CL
06-10-2003, 17:36
"mi bunker es su bunker"



Hey, Tom! What's your address? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif

MurphyDawg
06-12-2003, 12:30
I have alway told everyone on the board, you make the journey, I'll provide refreshments http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif.


BLEEE!
TomC

bobbyc
06-12-2003, 14:32
CL, he means it too! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif