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Bourbon as a base spirit.


Uncle Oswald
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Uncle Oswald

I searched around a bit, but couldn't seem to find this topic covered quite in the way I'm asking. So, cocktails that employ Bourbon as a base spirit, what Bourbons do you use in what drinks and why?

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Uncle Oswald

For a Mint Julep, I turn to Maker's Mark. I feel Maker's adds just the right amount of sweetness and I feel less bad clouding its taste than say I would with a more premium bourbon.

I take my Manhattans with Woodford Reserve. Couldn't really tell you the specifics why, it just works for my tastes.

However, my Bourbon cocktail of choice is the Old Fashioned. All of the additional ingredients are there to compliment and season the Bourbon, never marring its original flavor. With these, I really love Booker's, but will take any of the higher proof premiums as well.

Beyond that, I generally prefer to take my Bourbon neat or with a splash.

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I never was a cocktail guy.

I always drank my whiskey/whisky on the rocks until a few years ago when I started to appreciate it neat.

But I'm sure there are a lot of members here that can suggest the right bourbon for a particular cocktail.

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I tend to use an inexpensive bond for most cocktails, such as JTS Brown BIB, VOB BIB, or Rittenhouse Rye BIB. I often prefer rye for whiskey cocktails over bourbon. In all cases I like something with a lot of flavor that will cut through the other ingredients.

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...I often prefer rye for whiskey cocktails over bourbon...

Well said -- otherwise, my bourbon 'mixed drinks' generally consist of rye-recipe with ginger ale, and wheater with cola.

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I use my own blend of bourbons only, bourbons and rye, and sometimes either of the latter and some Canadian. I find I get a complex, smoother result by using numerous whiskeys than one. I taste it first to make sure it is right, if it isn't, I'll adjust it. Last night I had a Manhattan made this way with just a capful of vermouth. When you use good aged bourbons, you don't need too much vermouth, but using some imparts the right winy note. I drank it slowly over 2 hours.

Gary

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Uncle Oswald

Since I'm seeing a lot of you mention Rye Whiskey, what Rye would make a really great Sazerac?

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Since I'm seeing a lot of you mention Rye Whiskey, what Rye would make a really great Sazerac?

Sazerac!

It's a great 6 or so year old rye from Buffalo Trace.

Roger

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  • 2 weeks later...
Sazerac!

It's a great 6 or so year old rye from Buffalo Trace.

Roger

That's what I was going to purchase by default because, well, the drink was named after the Rye (or was it vice versa?).

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have made my Sazeracs with 6 yr Sazerac and thought it was a really good cocktail. I have been told the Absinth used is important - I used a substitute and it was still good.

I have used Van Winkle Rye for my Manhattans for years and it makes a mighty fine one - Manhattans are something of a hobby and the VW 13 Rye makes my favorite. It's biggest draw back is that it is impossible to find in bars - in fact any Rye is hard to find. I default to JD Black because it is common and makes an OK cocktail.

The first Manhattan with Bourbon that I really LOVED was the one I made last week - a slight variation of the "Perfect Manhattan" recipe that I found on the Four Roses web site using FRSB. I used 3 oz (or a touch more) rather than the 2.5 recommended. A light delightful cocktail.

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  • 2 weeks later...
...However, my Bourbon cocktail of choice is the Old Fashioned. All of the additional ingredients are there to compliment and season the Bourbon, never marring its original flavor. With these, I really love Booker's, but will take any of the higher proof premiums as well.

Beyond that, I generally prefer to take my Bourbon neat or with a splash.

I still drink Manhattans on occasion but I find myself drinking Old Fashioneds more and more. Your point about "never marring its original flavor" is spot on.

I prefer rye Old Fashioneds but have experimented with bourbons too. I find Weller Antique makes a fine Old Fashioned. I use a drop of Angostora bitters and several drops of Fee Brothers. Fee brothers has a more Christmas spice character.

My typical recipe is as follows:

  • 2 1/2 ounces whiskey
  • one tea spoon sugar
  • one tea spoon water
  • four/five drops bitters; one of Angostora and three or four Fee brothers
  • one slightly molested orange slice
  • one maraschino cherry

First I add the sugar, bitters and water, give that a stir to dissolve the sugar. Then I add the orange slice and slightly molest it in the sugar/bitters mixture, not too much though, full on muddling will release too much juice. Then I add some ice and the cherry and give it a stir.

What's your recipe/procedure?

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Ditto amount of whiskey (any American or Canadian kind if it tastes good). I use maple syrup for the sweet element. Coming as it does from a tree, I find it complements whiskey drinks. Usually Angostura or Peychaud and orange bitters go in. I do not use an orange slice although this would go well it, but orange bitters supplies a similar flavour (you could use a bit of triple sec too). No cherry, I use that in Manhattans sometimes. I just stir it well and serve, sometimes on ice, sometimes not. I agree with the insight that the whiskey character is preserved, and it is a classic preparation.

Gary

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  • 5 months later...
Uncle Oswald
I still drink Manhattans on occasion but I find myself drinking Old Fashioneds more and more. Your point about "never marring its original flavor" is spot on.

I prefer rye Old Fashioneds but have experimented with bourbons too. I find Weller Antique makes a fine Old Fashioned. I use a drop of Angostora bitters and several drops of Fee Brothers. Fee brothers has a more Christmas spice character.

My typical recipe is as follows:

  • 2 1/2 ounces whiskey

  • one tea spoon sugar

  • one tea spoon water

  • four/five drops bitters; one of Angostora and three or four Fee brothers

  • one slightly molested orange slice

  • one maraschino cherry

First I add the sugar, bitters and water, give that a stir to dissolve the sugar. Then I add the orange slice and slightly molest it in the sugar/bitters mixture, not too much though, full on muddling will release too much juice. Then I add some ice and the cherry and give it a stir.

What's your recipe/procedure?

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