View Full Version : A Waste of Good Rye?

09-05-2003, 22:58
This afternoon I sloshed 2-3 ounces of Jim Beam rye over a fist full of ice cubes in a tall water glass and filled it with Reed's Extra Ginger Beer. That left me with a couple of inches of the ginger beer.

About half-way through my drink I dumped in the rest of the ginger beer and threw in some fresh ice cubes. That made the rest of the drink too weak.

The JB was way on the other side of the house, but Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 y/o was practically at hand. I wavered momentarily, and then I grabbed the VW and poured in a mighty slosh. The dark color cascaded toward the bottom of the glass.

I took a sip. It was a much better drink then the original with all JB. The Van Winkle taste came shining through. I'm not about to say that I would give blanket approval to the practice of mixing VWFR with ginger beer, but it does make a superior drink.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

09-06-2003, 04:36
I'm torn sometimes by a similar dilemma--my absolute favorite Manhattan is made with Van Winkle 13yo. I almost have to have a moment of silence when I contaminate it with the vermouth. But I forgive myself after the first sip. It's just SOOOO darn good! Sacriledge? Perhaps, but it's a guilty pleasure!


09-06-2003, 05:42
If it is that good, I don't see any problem with it. Enjoy yourselves! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif


09-10-2003, 14:01

I'm not about to say that I would give blanket approval to the practice of mixing VWFR with ginger beer, but it does make a superior drink.

I'll be the first to admit it, I'm a mixer. A card carrying member of AAA (Alcohol Adulterers Anonymous). (hello, my name is Brenda...and I mix good Bourbon with ginger ale)
Now, because of this group, I'm getting better. I'm learning to actually taste Bourbon. Still, sometimes I mix. But always, superior Bourbon makes a superior drink. Whether it's mixing or cooking, life is too short to drink crappy Bourbon... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smoke.gif

09-10-2003, 14:06
life is too short to drink crappy Bourbon

Brenda, as William Faulkner once said:

"There is no such thing as bad whiskey.
Some whiskeys just happen to be better than others."

Food for thought http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif


09-10-2003, 14:46
I've discussed this in previous threads, but there is a certain quality level at which I refuse to mix. My Pappy 20, Hirsch 16, Blanton's, Booker's, and OFBB '02 will touch no ginger ale.

A lot of my exploration in Bourbonia has been to find that perfect 'diamond-in-the-rough'--top-shelf quality with a bottom-shelf pricetag. The closest thing I've found is Buffalo Trace. That's my mixing bourbon right now.

09-10-2003, 15:46
Reminds me of a "whiskey research" article I read in Playboy about 40 years ago. It quoted some old Gaelic saying. I won't attempt to re-quote it in Gaelic, but the translation is, "There's whiskey, and there's good whiskey, but there's no bad whiskey."


09-10-2003, 16:25
'diamond-in-the-rough'--top-shelf quality with a bottom-shelf pricetag. The closest thing I've found is Buffalo Trace.

I'm with you One Cube. And another one is W.L Weller 12yr

09-10-2003, 16:34
I just saw in an online flyer that this month the WL Weller 12 year is on sale at liquor barns for $16. That's on my definate buy list for next week!

And since we're really talking rye here... I usually never mix my bourbon with anything, not even fancy drinks. But the one drink that I must say comes out great is a Manahattan made with some Van Winkle 13 YO Family Reserve Rye. It's just perfectly balanced IMO.

09-10-2003, 17:32
I just saw in an online flyer that this month the WL Weller 12 year is on sale at liquor barns for $16. That's on my definate buy list for next week!

Mark, if you make it to Lexington, the Liquor Barn everyday price is $14.99. Not worth the trip on its own, but if you are passing through...Prices are generally a bit cheaper in Lexington than Louisville.

09-10-2003, 17:40
Really, that's good to know Jeff. I have two different ways of coming into KY, either thru Louisville or Lexington. Both ways are within 15-20 miles of each other. Last year I went the Louisville way and was planning on going that way again, but maybe I'll try Lexington for the hell of it and to save a few bucks haha.

09-10-2003, 17:49
the one drink that I must say comes out great is a Manahattan made with some Van Winkle 13 YO Family Reserve Rye.

Is there an echo in here!? J/K! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

I suppose I shouldn't have feelings of guilt when I use it for Manhattans, after all...I use my very best gin for martinis without any inner turmoil! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif

09-11-2003, 05:02

That's a definite to buy on my shopping list! Thanks for the info.


03-31-2004, 17:47
I recently had guests over and a friend asked for a Manhattan. I told him to choose a bourbon from my bourbon shelf, VW rye or an American whiskey (that he usually likes http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/puke.gif ). He selected ORVW 15yo/107! I told him that I refuse to spoil a great sippin' whiskey for a Manhattan and told him to select again. He chose Buffalo Trace. Good for him! It was better than some of the rock gut I also have, but not so good that I felt really bad pouring vermouth in it. Also, lucky for me, he didn't ask for the Booker's in his Manhattan. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

03-31-2004, 19:51
On a recommendation from Gary Regan, while in New York a few years ago I went to the Ritz, found the bartender Gary named, and asked for a Blanton's manhattan. It was sublime. It's just like when you cook with wine. Good whiskey just makes the drink taste that much better. (Pappy and Coke, anyone?)

03-31-2004, 20:06
...(Pappy and Coke, anyone?)

Yeah, right! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/banghead.gif

03-31-2004, 20:27
(Pappy and Coke, anyone?

While i've always respected your opinion, now you've gone too far http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

03-31-2004, 21:24
Sorry, I should have used an emoticon. Is there one for "tongue pressed firmly in cheek"?

04-01-2004, 02:08
On whether the best whiskey always makes a better cocktail: ORVW 13 year old rye whiskey is so good it is kind of a Manhattan on its own: full and sweet, fruity, even a shade bitter (or dry) from oak extract. Adding vermouth and bitters seems superfluous! Actually I do recall once having a very good Manhattan made from this rye whiskey, so maybe there can never be too much of a good thing. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif


04-01-2004, 07:22
While at U.D. Chris and I worked on the concept of "Better Bourbon makes Better Drinks." Better bourbon does make a better bourbon and coke - I personally thought the Heritage Collection Weller was the best of what we tried but I still prefer the Weller neat.
Pappy and Coke! It happened in front of Julian at the Bourbon Gala one year. He was shocked to say the least.
Mike Veach

04-01-2004, 10:19
Your comments on the VWSRR are dead on...lots of spice and fruit but a dit dry on the finish. I enjoy it except when I smoke a cigar. The dry finish turns bitter when combined with a good smoke.

Randy B.

04-01-2004, 11:08
Here is where using it for a Manhattan makes sense to me. The vermouth would reduce that dryness. So would making an Old-Fashioned. The Old-Fashioned, even more than a Manhattan or bourbon and Coke, benefits from a good whiskey. The additives (sugar, bitters, maybe some fruit slices) don't really change the basic taste. Whereas red vermouth does, in fact if too much is used it can kill the whiskey taste. Great care must be taken when confecting the cocktail to ensure that a good whiskey taste is maintained (for those who care about such things). One way of course is not to put too much vermouth in. I like a 3:1 mix, generally, whiskey to vermouth. Second, some recipes use both dry and sweet vermouths instead of only the sweet (red) kind. I read in a review of Conrad Black's new biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that the patrician East Coast recipe for the Manhattan used equal amounts of dry and sweet vermouth. (It is called a "Perfect Manhattan" in the bartending manuals). F.D.R. must have liked cocktails, he is said to have served Old-Fashioneds to King Edward VII during the Royal Visit in the U.S. in the late 1930's. Hot dogs were also served, on silver platters. The King is reported to have accepted his cocktail with gratitude. I am not sure whether he liked the franks. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Here is a last story, we're talking about the Manhattan again:

"Manhattan: one of the great American mixed drinks, this is said to have been evolved in 1846 in Maryland when a bartender stirred up a quick drink of whiskey, syrup and bitters to revive a wounded duellist. Moving to New York in the [18]90's, vermouth replaced syrup and the cocktail took its name from the fashionable central section of the metropolis [some people say, from the Manhattan Club in N.Y.C. where the drink allegedly was invented] .... [It is] one of the six great basic cocktails. On the other hand ... Bernard De Voto once called the Manhattan: 'an offence against piety'".

The above quotation is from, "An Encyclopedia of Drinks and Drinking" by Frederick Martin (1978, Coles Publishing Company Limited, Toronto - Canada).

Does anyone agree with De Voto? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif