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If there are two things we love around here at Drink Music City, they are whiskey and barbecue. That’s why it was exciting to find out that Adam Perry Lang, renowned as one of the most acclaimed masters of smoke and meat in the US, stopped by the George Dickel Distillery in Tullahoma, TN as part of his cross country journey to create the coolest handmade products for the ultimate tailgate party. Lang is the newest member of the Barbecue Hall of Fame and has written several books sharing his barbecue techniques and philosophies.
He recently undertook a tour to discover the best outdoor eating and drinking tours, even forging his own butcher knife on the way, so it really isn’t a surprise that he made a stop at Dickel, since Dickel and Sundrop is a staple at many Tennessee tailgaters. If I had back all the Dickel Drop brain cells that I’ve killed off through the years, well…then I could probably think of something clever to type at the end of this sentence.
But Lang suffers from no such lack of mental acuity and is a sharp student of the culinary arts. During his tour of the distillery, he took part in just about every aspect of the production of this wonderful Tennessee whiskey. (Which they spell “whisky” without the “y” in acknowledgement of the great Scottish products that George Dickel himself though to emulate.) So open up a bottle of George Dickel 8, George Dickel 12 or Barrel Select, either straight up or with your favorite mixer, and join Adam on a virtual tour of the distillery in beautiful Cascade Hollow.
Most serious bourbon fans know just how valuable and hard to find Pappy Van Winkle is. Bottles of 23-year old Pappy have sold for almost a grand on the interwebs, and fans line up for
Most serious bourbon fans know just how valuable and hard to find Pappy Van Winkle is. Bottles of 23-year old Pappy have sold for almost a grand on the interwebs, and fans line up for hours on Pappy delivery day for a chance to buy a bottle.
But some scurrilous scoundrel in Kentucky apparently didn’t want to play by the same rules as the rest of us, as 65 cases of 20-year old Pappy were stolen in what looks to be an inside job from a secure area at Buffalo Trace Distillery’s Frankfort facility.
Authorities initially speculated that the theft might have taken place over the course of several months since 65 cases is a bunch of whiskey to walk off with. The thief or thieves made off with about $26,000 of the limited stock, which consisted of about $25,350 in 3-bottle cases of 20-year-old Pappy and about $675 in nine cases of 13-year-old Van Winkle Family Reserve rye.
Recently though, attention has turned to a local high school principal who is reportedly on video tape asking about selling a large quantity of Pappy, but the suspected perp claims he is just a collector who was looking to actually buy some Pappy. (Aren’t we all.)
Authorities haven’t ruled out the suspect, and they’re leaving no stone unturned. Hopefully they don’t search under my bed…
Like Jello, there’s always room for whiskey, and luckily some great new brown liquors are now popping up on the shelves of Nashville bars and liquor stores. The first new product is actually two expressions of the
Like Jello, there’s always room for whiskey, and luckily some great new brown liquors are now popping up on the shelves of Nashville bars and liquor stores. The first new product is actually two expressions of the same juice, Cumberland Cask Tennessee Straight Whiskey. The product of four generations of whiskey lovers and producers, Cumberland Cask is a unique product that is 100% distilled, aged, bottled and distributed in Tennessee, so Volunteer staters can be proud. One differentiating factor from other Tennessee whiskeys is the fact that Cumberland Cask is never chill-filtered or charcoal mellowed, so the flavor of the grains comes through unadulterated.
The “Modern Expression” is an 80-proof whiskey made from a small batch blend of 6 1/2 year old and 8 1/2 year old whiskeys. The mash-bill has a higher than usual corn content with 70 percent corn, 25 percent rye, and 5 percent barley. The high percentage of corn gives Cumberland Cask Modern Expression a sweet initial taste followed by the bold flavor of rye, and finishing with some smoke from the barley. Straight up, on the rocks or in a cocktail, it is an excellent whiskey.
The second Cumberland Cask product goes by the name of “Barrel Cut.” Despite being a 120-proof product, uncut and unfiltered from the barrel, this is an exceptionally smooth-drinking whiskey for such a high alcohol content. The way that the whiskey is handled allows for many of the subtle characteristics of the barrel to come through that are difficult to discern in other spirits that have been filtered and watered down. Sip it slowly and keep count of your drinks or be prepared to don some kneepads for the crawl home.
Another excellent new product on the market comes courtesy of Carey Bringle, a beloved Nashville pitmasters who runs a competitive barbecue team and a new restaurant under the name “Peg Leg Porker.” Bringle has rolled out his own line of whiskey under the name Peg Leg Porker Tennessee Straight Bourbon. Tennessee Bourbon? Yes, you read that right. Bourbon doesn’t have to come from Kentucky, and the Peg Leg brand satisfies all the legal requirements for being called a bourbon.
Also skipping the charcoal mellowing process, this 90-proof whiskey couldn’t give a care whether you call it bourbon, whiskey or corn likker. What it is is delicious, and it is best enjoyed with one ice cube and a small splash of branch water. But Peg Leg loves a party, so if you’d like to mix it with some Sundrop at an SEC tailgater, Bringle won’t complain. Just try some and buy some soon!
As part of the blowback of the recent Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission kerfuffle over the use of infused products in bars, the TABC has issued a new ruling that bitters must now be regulated like
As part of the blowback of the recent Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission kerfuffle over the use of infused products in bars, the TABC has issued a new ruling that bitters must now be regulated like distilled spirits. This means that consumers will no longer be able to buy them at grocery stores or in the beer side of your favorite liquor/package store combo.
While it’s true that some bitters can contain quite a bit of alcohol (so does Listerine at 26.9% ABV), I doubt that many folks really intend to get drunk on either product. But bitters are an important part of so many craft cocktails that you’ll want to hunt them down at the liquor store instead of the supermarket. That’s not a really big deal, but as producers and distributors wrestle with transferring distribution and regulation to the spirits side of the business, I’ve heard that several popular brands of bitters have become pretty scarce around these parts. Notably, Angostura, one of the grandaddies of the bitter world has been in short supply.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other options that have always been sold in liquor stores, so this might be the perfect opportunity to check them out and find a new favorite. Regan’s and Peychaud’s have been popular aromatic and orange bitters for years and are a crucial tool in any good mixologists repertoire. Regan’s actually has twice the alcohol of Angostura, and the flavors and aromas are even more delicate with Regan’s. Plus it’s a whole lot cheaper.
Peychaud’s are a little more floral than Angostura, and since they are a critical ingredient in a properly made Sazerac cocktail (accept no substitues!), you need to keep a bottle of Peychaud’s on your home bar regardless. If you want to be even more adventurous with your bitters selections, check out the long lines of flavor varieties from The Bitter Truth, Bittermens, and The Bitter End.
These producers manufacture cocktail flavorings like lemon, celery, grapefruit, chocolate, curry and even Memphis BBQ that will allow you to create new recipes that are truly unique. Nothing can affect the flavors of a well-crafted cocktail more than the proper usage of bitters, so why not experiment with something new while we wait for Angostura to show up again?
But seriously, learn how to make a Sazerac.
Now that we’ve finally made it to football season, it’s prime time for tailgating. While we have nothing against keg beer and a couple of shots of Fireball here at Drink Music City, there’s also room for
Now that we’ve finally made it to football season, it’s prime time for tailgating. While we have nothing against keg beer and a couple of shots of Fireball here at Drink Music City, there’s also room for more refined tastes at any pregame party. Unfortunately, it can get a little bit dangerous around the old tailgate after a few Fireballs, so it’s important to keep your bottles and your glassware protected.
Enter the Terroir Glass Gift Set from GSI Outdoors. This bottle carrier is both handy and dandy thanks to a stylish neoprene pouch to keep your bottles safe and also provide a zippered pocket to stow two included nesting plastic wine glasses. The carafe’s unique, two-stage cap and wide mouth opening make filling the bag from a bottle incredibly easy while the second, smaller opening makes dispensing the perfect pour simple and splash free so you don’t mess up the interior of your tailgating buddies’ vehicles.
If you’re particularly snobbish about your wines, there’s even a rewritable date bar on the reverse of the carafe to record varietal, vintage, vintner and uncorking date. A shoulder strap makes for easy carrying and the possibility of stashing it under your shoulder beneath a jacket in case you need to smuggle it in somewhere where it might not belong. (Not that we’re suggesting anything of the sort…but $9.00 for a warm draft beer from a concession stand with get you to thinking.) You can buy the Terroir Glass Gift Set from GSI’s website or at Amazon.
If you’re looking for something to fill that carafe with, may be suggest two excellent new wines from Michael David Winery. Although MD is perhaps best known for their red wines, especially the excellent Petite Petit, they’ve recently released two show-stopping whites.
Their 2012 Chardonnay features grapes that were harvest from the family vineyards at three different times during the growing season to create three different wines that have been blended to create a wine that showcases the character of a crisp, fruit driven style which was fermented and aged in stainless steel to a softer, more round, French oak barrel fermented Chardonnay. The result is full of tropical mango and pineapple notes, but with a more traditional Chardonnay finish of buttery vanilla.
For an even more accessible crowd-pleasing option, try Michael David’s 2012 Sauvignon Blanc. Crisp and clean with aromas of lemon and lime, this is an excellent wine for pairing with food, so considering the vast variety of snacks usually available at a typical tailgater, this is a clear winner. Both the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are available for less than $20/bottle, so they are great choices to pack in your Terroir and carry to a game.