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  1. #1
    Connoisseur
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    May 2003
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    Virginia
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    Straight up vs. Mixing

    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.

  2. #2
    Taster
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    May 2002
    Location
    South Central Michigan
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    81

    Re: Straight up vs. Mixing

    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

  3. #3
    Virtuoso
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    North Carolina
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    Re: Straight up vs. Mixing

    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.

  4. #4
    Guru
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    Sep 2001
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    Pelham, AL
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    3,894

    Re: Straight up vs. Mixing

    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

  5. #5
    Administrator in exile
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    Aug 2002
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    3,904

    Re: Straight up vs. Mixing

    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 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.

  6. #6
    Administrator in exile
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    Re: Straight up vs. Mixing

    I imagine OF 100 would make a great mint julep. I'll have to try that!

  7. #7
    Connoisseur
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    Virginia
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    Re: Straight up vs. Mixing

    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?

  8. #8
    Virtuoso
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    Re: Straight up vs. Mixing

    </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.

    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). 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. 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.

    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.

  9. #9
    Virtuoso
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    Re: Straight up vs. Mixing

    </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.

  10. #10
    Administrator in exile
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    Re: Straight up vs. Mixing

    </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!

 

 

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