Welcome to the Straightbourbon.com Forums.
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 21
  1. #1
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    404

    Zillah’s Comprehensive (but not exhaustive) Guide to Whiskey and Soda!

    Some of us here may think that adding some bourbon to your soda or even soda to your bourbon is a bit sacrilege, but I’d say the practice stands the test of time. Did you know that Bourbon and other American whiskies share an American heritage with soda? While carbonated beverages were not invented in the US, the popularization of soda was. Thanks to businessmen in New York and Philadelphia selling carbonated mineral water and syrups of all kinds as early as the 19th century, soda fountains became a cultural phenomenon. Its proponents originally espoused the health benefits of the tonics and mineral waters used, so naturally soda fountains were often served right in pharmacies alongside medicinal alcohol to help sooth whatever ailed someone. Of course, the two would have been mixed sooner or later, which is where the differentiation between soft and hard drinks came from: soft drinks must have less than 0.5% alcohol and hard drinks would have more.

    Alright - enough of the history lesson. If a historical perspective won’t convince you, can’t a guy just sit back, relax and have some cold bubbles with his whiskey? I usually like to use soda to help get rid of whiskey I don’t like, but I think after this guide, you will realize that soda and whiskey can be an experience that parallels a well-made cocktail and/or nice heavy, unadulterated pour.
    The best thing about whiskey and soda is that it is easy. Buy soda. Buy whiskey. Pour together over ice. Stir. Drink. Garnish if you fancy. It doesn’t get more complicated than that. And while I do suggest you mix to your taste, I’d say a good rule of thumb for whiskey 90 proof or below is to use 1.5oz to 6 oz of soda and for 90 proof whiskey and above to use 1 oz to 6 oz of soda. The question is: what whiskey and soda? Cheap swill and some Sam’s Choice cola? NO! This is what this guide is for – to unlock some of the similarities between certain whiskies and certain sodas so your drink becomes less of an easy way to choke alcohol down and is elevated to something much more: a decadent experience.

    Disclaimer about soda quality: You are inevitably going to wonder: “well Zillah, why no mention of the ultra-sophisticated craft sodas? Most of these are just variants of chemicals flavors and corn syrup…if you really wanted to be cool like me you would buy…” That’s nice of you to point that out Mr. Gourmand! I certainly didn't want you to get your pants in a tizzy. I don’t think it is my place to advise on “quality” when tastes are subjective, but I implore everyone to do a little bit of homework (and experimentation) about what they like best before advocating what sodas are better for someone else!

    Continued below...

  2. #2
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    404

    Re: Zillah’s Comprehensive (but not exhaustive) Guide to Whiskey and Soda!



    The Jack and Coke

    What better combination to start with than the most popular whiskey and soda drink: the jack and coke. It is what I cut my teeth on and I am sure many others have had as well. Despite many thinking that those who drink Jack and Coke’s are either J.D. Sallinger wannabe’s or uninformed, tasteless Americans, the combination is actually amicable. The strong caramel and corn syrup flavors of coke pair perfectly with the creamy and sweet high corn mashbill of JD. I will even say that this combo requires the use of standard, corn syrupy coke. Mexican coke just doesn't taste the same, although still delicious.

    Sazerac and Birch Beer
    Birch beer is a popular soft drink in the Pennsylvania Dutch region of the United States (mostly Eastern PA) made from birch bark syrup and has a strong licorice flavor. It is perfect to match the licorice like flavors that would be found in a sophisticated rye such as Sazerac.

    Four Roses Small Batch and Root Beer
    Much like birch beer, root beer takes the licorice flavor one step forward by adding other similar flavors such as mint (Barq’s), sasparilla (Bundaberg) and cream (A&W). All these subtle flavors mingle perfectly with the soft minty, licorice, and (dare I say) creamy root beer flavors of the Four Roses Small Batch.

    Elijah Craig 12 Year and Cream Soda
    Diluted and with age, Elijah Craig 12 year is a wood bomb – full of vanillin. Cream soda is quite simply sugar and vanilla. So, what a better combination than to add more of the generous usage of vanilla to cream soda? Zillah’s favorite!

    Bulleit Rye and Gentiana (Moxie)
    Gentiana root may sound too sophisticated and pretentious but if you are familiar with the drink Moxie, then you are familiar with Gentiana root! A New England type of drink, Moxie (like other gentian drinks) is quite bitter. I find Bulleit Rye to stand in perfectly with Moxie, as the salty, dill pickle flavors do a good job of toning down the bitterness and bringing the sweet floral notes out.

    Old Grand Dad and Ginger Ale
    Ginger ale is probably one the most popular whiskey mixers, as ginger has quite a strong taste to it that can help mask a finish of ethanol burn. With that said, I say ginger does a great job of pairing with spicier rye bourbons. A ginger ale that is an often favorite of Kentuckians, Lexington’s own Ale-8-One and OGD is a great combo.

    Wild Turkey Rye 101 and Ginger Beer
    Ginger ale is nice, but it is a soda that has often fell victim to the mass production of chemical flavors and corn syrup. A topic I could go on and on but for simplicity: Ginger beer is the last bastion of hope for a natural, high quality ginger kick, and real spicy whiskey is needed. That is why Wild Turkey Rye 101, with its spicy citrus notes, and ginger beer pair perfectly together. Zillah’s favorite!

    Elmer T Lee and Lemon Lime soda (Sprite)
    When I heard Elmer did this, I chuckled. I found Elmer to be great in ginger ale, but I think Elmer had a thing against those from Lexington so he drank his bourbon with lemon lime soda. I think this pairing is even better than ginger ale! Lemon lime soda compliments the perfect amount of sweet and sourness that the ETL profile is known for without ruining the finish with any spiciness of the ginger.

    Bulleit Bourbon and Lemon Verbana (Inca Kola)
    Living in an area that has a good amount of a Mexican population, finding weird and fun South American sodas has become a side hobby of mine. Lemon Verbana, an herb native to South America, is used to make Inca Kola, which is one of the weirdest and rewarding sodas I have found. Its bubblegum and vanilla notes are perfect for Bulleit Bourbon.

    Buffalo Trace and Malta
    Malta is…weird. It tastes like Guinness and Budweiser put together if you took out the alcohol. Which makes sense considering the cola is usually called “young beer.” It is made exactly like beer but does not have alcohol and has added corn syrup for sweetener. Turns out this stuff is really popular in South America with tons of brands! I find the sweet corn, chocolate and coffee like notes pair perfectly with similar notes in Buffalo Trace bourbon.

    Weller Special Reserve and Tamarind (Jarritos)
    Sour, tangy and sweet. That is what I would characterize for both and it turns out together they go swimmingly. Zillah’s favorite!

    Virgin Bourbon 101 and Cherry Soda (Cheerwine)
    Cheerwine is a regional product of the south-Atlantic states, specifically the Carolinas. It is a cherry flavored soda that I think goes well with Virgin Bourbon 101, a bourbon that has a cherry flavor of its own, and is similarly only distributed around the Carolinas. If you are outside of the Carolinas and can find other cherry sodas, just consider adding any other Heaven Hill bourbons!

    Wild Turkey 101 and Orange Crème Soda
    The citrus and creamy corn notes of Wild Turkey 101 mimic that of Orange Crème soda. A fun combination!

    Jim Beam White and Grape Soda
    When you are in the ghetto, there is no shortage of purple drink. (purple colored soda often titled grape-flavored soda) If you can find bourbon in the local liquor store on the corner, you most likely will have to go with Jim Beam White. Fortunately, Jim Beams grape and cough syrup like finish pairs perfectly with the overly sweet grape sodas.

    Old Forester Signature and Almond Soda
    While I have yet to find an actual almond soda, you can make your own by adding orgeat syrup and carbonated water. I think the nutty notes found in Old Forester are a perfect accompaniment to almond syrup.

    Any whiskey and Dr Pepper
    Dr Pepper is a soda that is purported to have 23 flavors. I don’t even think, if you were to count all of the unique whiskey mashbills, that you could get 23 whiskies to match! I say, any whiskey will go with Dr. Pepper. If you had to pick one, what would be the best whiskey? I would say the best whiskey is an infinity/solera blend that you all tend to make which will have anything but everything.


    And that concludes what I have tried over the years, and so much more wait to be discovered - like the multitude of fruit sodas out there. With that said, do you like whiskey and soda? I know you do. Don’t be shy. Admit it. Tell us what whiskey and soda combo you like!

  3. #3
    Guru
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    2,885

    Re: Zillah’s Comprehensive (but not exhaustive) Guide to Whiskey and Soda!

    Quote Originally Posted by zillah View Post


    Bulleit Bourbon and Lemon Verbana (Inca Kola)
    Living in an area that has a good amount of a Mexican population, finding weird and fun South American sodas has become a side hobby of mine. Lemon Verbana, an herb native to South America, is used to make Inca Kola, which is one of the weirdest and rewarding sodas I have found. Its bubblegum and vanilla notes are perfect for Bulleit Bourbon.


    And that concludes what I have tried over the years, and so much more wait to be discovered - like the multitude of fruit sodas out there. With that said, do you like whiskey and soda? I know you do. Don’t be shy. Admit it. Tell us what whiskey and soda combo you like!

    Having had Inca Cola in Peru I can say there was absolutely nothing that sprang to mind that was bad enough to want to mix with it. Bubblegum doesn't even begin to describe it! It is bubblegum on steroids. Leaves your whole mouth feeling like it was coated with glycerin. That said I suppose Bulleit is blah enough to risk mixing with it although I don't know that any whiskey can salvage that flavor profile.

    Now I do confess to being an ETL (or most any mid shelf bourbon) and Sprite fan on occasion. It has also been a good way to finish up a bottle that doesn't really excite me much. Heck, even the BTEC Rice bourbon was improved with a splash of Sprite! And a good ginger beer works well with rye and spicier bourbons for me.
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  4. #4
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    DFW, TX
    Posts
    587

    Re: Zillah’s Comprehensive (but not exhaustive) Guide to Whiskey and Soda!

    Just reading that list above makes me want to brush my teeth. Ugh.

  5. #5
    Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MS
    Posts
    12,577

    Re: Zillah’s Comprehensive (but not exhaustive) Guide to Whiskey and Soda!

    I don't mix any whisky with soda water because it contains sodium the taste of which for me isn't masked. Sodium free Seltzer works fine though.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  6. #6
    Guru
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    NWGA
    Posts
    2,033

    Re: Zillah’s Comprehensive (but not exhaustive) Guide to Whiskey and Soda!

    Zillah I must say it was just plain entertaining reading the entire post. In fact so much so that I'm going to back and read it again.

    Thanks.

  7. #7
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    404

    Re: Zillah’s Comprehensive (but not exhaustive) Guide to Whiskey and Soda!

    Quote Originally Posted by TunnelTiger View Post
    Zillah I must say it was just plain entertaining reading the entire post. In fact so much so that I'm going to back and read it again.

    Thanks.
    Thanks! Make sure to brush your teeth again when finished.

  8. #8
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Piqua OH
    Posts
    890

    Re: Zillah’s Comprehensive (but not exhaustive) Guide to Whiskey and Soda!

    Interesting and fun post, thanks alot. I have never been a soda and whiskey drinker, but that will change. Not sure when I will start experimenting, but I will report back here when I do.
    The liver is evil. It must be punished...

  9. #9
    Bourbonian Of The Year 2013 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Just East of the Big Chicken, GA
    Posts
    6,132

    Re: Zillah’s Comprehensive (but not exhaustive) Guide to Whiskey and Soda!

    Fun read. Like my buddy Phil, I don't do much mixing with coke (Here Down South, coke pretty much covers everything and means the same as soda and pop for the rest of y'all ). But, I do fancy a bourbon or rye with ginger. And, I used to drink a fair amount of 7&7's in my younger days. So, maybe you have provided me an excuse to step out a bit this weekend. Something with root beer has me intrigued...

    Nice job, Z. I appreciate you putting the time and thought into this, and then sharing.
    JOE

    Wag more.
    Bark less.

    "Every bottle is its own learning experience." -- Sensei Ox-sama

  10. #10
    Guru
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    2,501

    Re: Zillah’s Comprehensive (but not exhaustive) Guide to Whiskey and Soda!

    Quote Originally Posted by smokinjoe View Post
    I don't do much mixing with coke (Here Down South, coke pretty much covers everything and means the same as soda and pop for the rest of y'all ).
    Yep, people from around here think I'm crazy if I ask what kind of coke they want from the store...or if I ask for sweet tea (which I learned to stop asking for about 10 years ago.)


    ...and thanks for the OP...
    I've never tried GTS with any sort of soda. Maybe I'm missing out; but I'm OK with that.

 

 

Similar Threads

  1. Irish Whiskey Soda Bread with Irish Whiskey Butter
    By Jono in forum Foreign Whiskey
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-14-2013, 18:08
  2. Holiday Gift Guide for the Whiskey Enthusiast
    By CorvallisCracker in forum Paraphernalia
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 12-16-2011, 18:45
  3. Authors, Whiskey & the Soda Question
    By funknik in forum Cocktails
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 12-23-2008, 04:44
  4. Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide ?
    By mhn in forum Paraphernalia
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 06-19-2005, 22:19
  5. Jim Murray's Whiskey Guide for...$1.00
    By Jono in forum Paraphernalia
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-18-2004, 21:57

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Back to top