Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Delightful Evening with WhistlePig at WardIII!

Last Monday at WardIII Women Who Whiskey presented WhistlePig's new release, The Boss Hog.

WardIII is one of my favorite bars in the city--we've hosted several wWw events there--and they were delighted to have us back once more. There was a good crowd for a Monday night, and everyone was excited about getting to try the new WhistlePig! 

Michael Hodge, WhistlePig's Steward of the Brand

We kicked off the evening at 8pm with a tasting of WhistlePig Straight Rye--a classic favorite--and then moved onto serving The Boss Hog. 

Michael Hodge, WhistlePig's Steward of the Brand, introduced the new whiskey and gave us a little bit of background.

Nereyda, Erin, and Slater 
The Boss Hog is a single barrel, barrel-strength rye, and being single barrel, it's a limited edition--with only 900 bottles in NY! We were lucky enough to have one of those bottles, and it definitely went fast. 

Most whiskeys are diluted down to about 40% alcohol by volume before being bottled, both to produce a more palatable product for consumers, and to amplify the amount of whiskey produced. 

Manny, enjoying his drink

Some whiskeys, however, are bottled at cask strength--or barrel-strength--at the original 60% abv or so. This results in a richer, but also much much stronger, whiskey. 

Joanna, Sarika, Alex, and Michael
The Boss Hog, being barrel-strength, definitely put some hair on our chests! 

And people weren't just interested in drinking it, they were interesting in learning about it too! We kept Michael occupied for the better part of the tasting, teaching us about his delicious new whiskey.

Alex, Nereyda, Cheryl, Erin, Julia, Mike leaning in to hear more about The Boss Hog
 After the tasting ended at 9pm, the talented WardIII bartenders had a variety of WhistlePig inspired cocktails waiting for us to try.

I had my usual Manhattan, which was especially delightful with WhistlePig, and thanks to Mikey's magical mixologist's touch. Ryan defied the laws of wWw and ordered a glass of red wine. For shame! 

Ryan and Julia
The launch, which was supposed to only run until 10, was still going strong at almost midnight. But eventually, it being a school night and all, we wrapped it up and took ourselves home. 

A huge thanks to WardIII for having us, and to WhistlePig, for sharing its delicious new Rye. 

If these smiling faces are any indication, it seems like the event was a hit! 

Matt, Kim, Joanna, Sarika, Alex and some new friends! 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Portland Launch Party a Success!

Last week, Women Who Whiskey's Portland chapter celebrated its launch! We held the launch at the Pope House Bourbon Lounge, a fantastic whiskey bar in a beautiful old Victorian house in northwest Portland. 

Cassandra, Laura, and I arrived early in time for Pope House's happy hour. Sierra, a bartender at Pope House, started us out with the Half Man, bourbon, vermouth, rocks, twist, basically a sweet manhattan without the bitters. It was delicious and the price--$5--even more so. The wonderful cocktail server Sarah took care of our four tables for the rest of the evening, helping us choose whiskeys to taste and doing an impeccable job dividing the tab at the end. 

The fabulous Cher and Emily. Emily, ever the champion of whiskey, came out even though she wasn't feeling well and didn't drink a drop. We love the dedication!

Laura, Cassandra, and other students from Willamette University's School of Law toast with High West Double Rye, because nothing makes legal briefs and case studies more tolerable than whiskey.

Aura, Eileen, Catherine, Hilda, and Megan.

You know it's a serious whiskey bar when this is how the water is served. 

Fall was in full swing for the launch.

Samantha led a toast with Buffalo Trace Private Reserve, a batch brewed especially for Pope House. It's very spicy and peppery compared to normal Buffalo Trace and we enjoyed it thoroughly. We're so glad such an awesome group came out for this launch and we thank the Pope House for being so accommodating to this rambunctious, whiskey-loving group of women! Stayed tuned for Portland's next event in mid-December!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Salt Your Cocktail

{via Booze Nerds}

Any baker worth his salt (sorry, couldn't help it!) will tell you that adding salt to sweets is one of the most basic elements of baking.

If you can actually taste the salt--with the exception of purposely salty confections, like salted caramel anything--you've added too much. The goal is to add just enough salt that you can't actually taste it, but that it manages to accentuate the existing flavor notes and heighten the nuances.

The delightfully inventive people over at Booze Nerds ingeniously applied this concept to cocktails:
"We first found out about salt in cocktails at an Irish whiskey tasting. The host said that mixing with Irish whiskey is challenging because it’s a subtle spirit, however he felt salt could help accentuate the flavors of the whiskey in drinks. Naturally, we were intrigued and started noodling with salt in drinks when we got home."
I was doubly intrigued when I saw that their test cocktail, The Spaniard in the Rye, used WhistlePig Rye, which we happen to be doing a joint event with next Monday at Ward III.
"The Spaniard in the Rye We first mixed up The Spaniard in the Rye, a cocktail that we developed a while ago that calls for a bit of salt to brighten the flavors of the drink.

  • 1 1/2 oz Spanish brandy
  • 3/4 oz rye
  • 1/4 oz Cointreau
  • Tiny pinch of salt
Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass. 
No Salt:
  • Nose: Raisins, figs, candied orange peel, little bit of rye, clove and black licorice.
  • Palate: Sweet orange at the front, supported by strong rye spiciness. Dried fruit and nutmeg (kind of like fruit cake) along with sweet sherry notes on the mid-palate. A bit more rye spice on the close, but a somewhat flat finish. Probably why we added salt to this recipe when we were putting it together.
  • Nose: Pretty much identical to the no salt version with maybe a little bit less of the raisin notes.
  • Palate: Semi-sweet, almost pickled orange at the front, kind of like chutney. More orange, bitter chocolate and black pepper on the mid-palate, less fruit cake notes. The raisin-y dried fruit is still there, just more subtle. Perks up the finish with more spice, barrel, and orange notes. Has a slightly smoother mouth feel. Overall, more of the complex flavors pop, and all of the flavors are a little bit brighter. Shaun felt it was less bitter and a bit sweeter than the one without salt, whereas Christa felt the opposite, that it was slightly more bitter and less sweet."
With the exception of Spanish Brandy (which I'm sure is easy to come by), I have all of these ingredients at home, so I'll definitely be testing it out, both with and without salt. 

For more innovative cocktails that use salt to enhance flavor, including the Ritz Sidecar--which, with Ritz being my family name, I'll definitely be testing out as well--check out the rest of Booze Nerds post, Salt