<![CDATA[Whiskey Goddess - Whiskey Notes]]>Thu, 26 Nov 2015 10:30:52 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Whiskey Thanksgiving: Thankful for Bread Pudding]]>Thu, 26 Nov 2015 18:27:10 GMThttp://www.whiskeygoddess.com/whiskey-notes/whiskey-thanksgiving-thankful-for-bread-puddingPicture
Once again, it's time to be thankful for whiskey. I know, we were thankful for whiskey yesterday and we will be thankful for whiskey tomorrow. But today is Thanksgiving. So, let's make it official. We are thankful for whiskey, and more specifically for bourbon, and more specifically for bread pudding with bourbon with the option of bourbon caramel sauce or bourbon whiskey sauce. Or bourbon both. 

To be honest, I've never made bread pudding. But it's kind of one of those things where you look at the ingredients and think - how could this go wrong? Bread, cream, vanilla bean, poppy seeds, eggs, bourbon, sugar, and pecans.  And the ingredients in the sauces are even more promising. 

The one thing I can recommend is to plan ahead. The bread needs to be day old and the whole thing needs to chill overnight. So that means starting two days ahead of time. After that, it seems pretty basic and - I hope - pretty tasty.

This recipe comes via Bon Appetit with a couple of key changes. I didn't take the crusts off the bread - I always knew bread pudding as a way to use up bread and crusts, so I chose to stay with that tradition. Also, I added the option of the bourbon chocolate sauce because 1) I realized we had no chocolate options for Thanksgiving and that's sad and 2) I can't come up with enough excuses to use this bourbon chocolate sauce. It's just amazing. It should go on everything. 


Butterscotch Sauce
  • 1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
  • 1 pound day-old rustic white bread cut into 1/2” cubes (12 cups)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 cups pecan pieces
Butterscotch Sauce
Bring brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking to dissolve sugar. Boil until mixture is syrupy and measures 1 1/2 cups, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; add cream and bourbon, if desired, and stir until smooth. Let cool. Rewarm before serving.

Toss bread, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar in another large bowl until pale yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add cream, poppy seeds, and salt; beat to blend. Place bourbon in a small bowl; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean. Whisk to distribute seeds, then add to egg mixture, whisking to blend well. Pour egg mixture over bread mixture in bowl. Add pecans and toss to coat well. Transfer mixture to a 13x9x2” glass or ceramic baking dish, spreading out in an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 325°. Remove plastic wrap and bake until top is browned in spots and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 1 1/4–1 1/2 hours. Serve bread pudding with butterscotch sauce.

Alternate Topping: Chocolate Bourbon Sauce
  • 5 ounces good quality dark chocolate (can’t say enough how much I LOVE scharffen berger
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons (or a little more) whiskey (Four Roses original is my cooking bourbon this season)
Instructions from seriouseats.com (and it really is this easy): 
Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk and sugar. Bring milk to a steady simmer, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Whisk in chocolate until smooth. Whisk in cream. Let mixture come to room temperature, then mix in whiskey.
<![CDATA[November 15th, 2015]]>Sun, 15 Nov 2015 21:52:26 GMThttp://www.whiskeygoddess.com/whiskey-notes/november-15th-2015Picture
​The fruit last week at my fall CSA was quince, which I was stared at rather dubiously. For those not familiar with this autumn fruit, it’s sort of like a really hard apple that has pear characteristics. But instead of just being able to munch on it, you have to do something with it to make it more edible – like roast it or poach it. Last time we got it, I poached it in honey, vanilla, sugar, whiskey, and water to use in a crumble, mixing the leftover syrup in sparkling wine for a nice cocktail. But that’s a little high-maintenance.
Then the CSA person mentioned something about, “or you can just stick it in whiskey in a jar and let it seep.” With the magic word whiskey, that quince started to look a little friendlier. I took all 3 pounds, picked up some jars, and grabbed a bottle of bourbon. 

A short internet search showed, yes, you can just stick it in whiskey in jars and let it sit in your cupboard. You can also add spices, like a cinnamon stick or cloves. Or sugar and honey. But the fruit is sweet already, and I was curious to see what happens when the flavors of the whiskey party with just the flavor of the quince. I considered rye – might be interesting. Spicy with the autumn fruit thing. But I settled for bourbon because I really wanted those honey and vanilla flavors.
I got a bottle of Four Roses, the standard one with the yellow cap. At $22, it’s a good bourbon that I often use in baking. But turns out quince goes a long way in little pieces and the jars I picked up were filled with only 4 quince. I had 3 more to go. So I went to my cupboard stash and pulled out one of my W.L. Wellers. I know I said I would stop using W.L. Weller in recipes because it is so annoyingly hard to find and I like it so much. But because of both of those reasons, it happened to be the only bourbon I had.  I had been hoarding the three bottles I picked up last time I found it at a store. 

​The Weller 107 is pretty high proof to unleash on those little quince pieces. The Four Roses is only 80 proof. But I figured, this won’t turn out bad even if it’s not quite what I expect. The worst thing that can happen is it mostly tastes like W.L. Weller. I wish I could say that about all recipes: “My boeuf bourguignon didn’t quite turn out, but at least it tastes like W.L Weller.”
I cut the quince into little pieces, put them in the jars, covered them with bourbon, and they are now resting peacefully at the back of a cupboard. In about 5 weeks, I’ll taste the results, and if I like them, I will give them as holiday gifts. And if I really like them, I will drink them and give people cards instead. 

<![CDATA[Bourbon Cream. Tasty Cloud.]]>Wed, 04 Nov 2015 02:28:46 GMThttp://www.whiskeygoddess.com/whiskey-notes/bourbon-cream-tasty-pillowPicture
I don’t usually like flavored whiskey, but I put bourbon cream in a different category. It’s available at the Buffalo Trace Distillery and they peg it as Irish cream, but with bourbon. Umm, yes.
I like my bourbon cream like I like my bourbon – neat, generous pour.
At 30 proof and full of what I can only assume are delicious clouds and the essence of puppy smiles, this is truly easy drinking.
The bottle tells you all these “great” uses for it – like put it in your coffee or pour it over your ice cream.
But don’t. Just take the bottle and tip it into a glass. Or your mouth – no judgment here. A bunch of rainbows just jumped in some cream and brought along some bourbon and sugar.
But do I like it? Wait, let me pour another glass while I taste the answer to that question. 

<![CDATA[Sunday Evening With Maker's 46]]>Tue, 03 Nov 2015 02:17:09 GMThttp://www.whiskeygoddess.com/whiskey-notes/sunday-evening-with-makers-46Picture
​There is a quiet space on Sunday evening between the weekend and work when I like to sit and reflect. Preferably with a glass of whiskey.  
For my companion this evening, I chose the last bit of Maker’s 46 Cask Strength, a small bottle of goods that we picked up at the Maker’s Mark Distillery and have been drawing out ever since. Maker’s 46 is finished Maker’s Mark aged for 10 weeks longer in barrels fitted with French oak staves. It's high proof, but for cask strength, not crazy – 108.9 proof. 
The smell is syrupy sweetness and the color deep molasses. It goes down hot but flavorful, with a sweetness that breaks the heat of the proof. A nice butterscotch coating takes over the tongue. By the third sip, the whiskey takes on a softness unexpected for so high a proof.
Just a few drops of water opens up some layers, and I got more citrus and wood with a hint of vanilla. The wood now lingered longer on the tongue than butterscotch.
The longer I sit with the drink, the more it takes on a richness, and I think of vanilla frosting. Dessert for my weekend. 

<![CDATA[Whiskey Talk with Master Distiller Willie Pratt]]>Fri, 23 Oct 2015 18:06:56 GMThttp://www.whiskeygoddess.com/whiskey-notes/whiskey-talk-with-master-distiller-willie-prattPicture
It’s not every day that you get to hang out with a master distiller at a cocktail party, but my first night in Louisville, I found myself talking with Willie Pratt, master distiller at Michter’s. Willie has a Southern charm and a gentle presence. I was struck by how appreciative and happy he seems about the work he does. It’s nice when people love to make bourbon as much as I love to drink it.
The event was a dinner at Proof on Main with time before to chat with Willie and other whiskey-loving guests.
The first thing he told me was that his mother was a schoolteacher and his father worked in the coal mines, so he’s not from a whiskey family, but it didn’t take him long to find his way into the industry. He worked for Brown-Forman for decades and came out of retirement to work for Michter’s because he would be able to make whiskey the way he wanted – helping to set up production from the stills on up. 

​(Michter’s has been contract distilling their whiskey from elsewhere while setting up their distillery and beginning production). Because the distillery is family-owned – and what Willie called middle class, meaning not a small craft distillery and not a huge corporation – he says he is able to do what it takes to get the product he wants.
Which led to his nickname Dr. No, since he won’t bottle the whiskey until he thinks it’s ready, even if that means leaving it in the barrel past the age statement. In one case, he held off for more than 13 years for a batch of what would be labeled 10-year.  How does he know when to give the ok? He said a blend of practice and checking in regularly with the barrels.
“You just know when it is ready,” he said.
I was curious whether master distillers hang out together. I imagine a poker game every week with the pay-out being the best bourbon from their distilleries. But Willie said it’s more like they run into each other at whiskey events. And since they don’t want to talk shop and give away secrets, they often talk about whether the bourbon craze will continue. Willie is of the opinion that it will. Cheers to that.
He did share one trick and that’s lowering the proof as it goes into the barrel. Bourbon is allowed to be barreled at up to 125 proof, and the proof rises as it ages and water evaporates out of the barrel.  Water is added to most whiskey before bottling to bring it closer to 80 or 90 proof. Willie prefers to put the whiskey into the barrel at around 103 proof. After time and evaporation, it comes out around 108-110 proof, so less water has to be added before bottling. He said this leads to a better flavor, although less profits.
Dinner itself was a delicious 3-course meal paired with tasty cocktails. But the best part was tasting whiskey with the guy that essentially chose the barrels. My favorite Michter’s that we tried was the (at least) 10-year bourbon. 
“ I think I like it,” Willie said with a satisfied smile.