Bread and whiskey tend to go together – it’s that grains connection (unless it’s cornbread and then it’s that corn connection). That really comes through in Revival Four Grains bourbon out of the High Wire Distilling Co. in South Carolina. The distiller is a former baker who sold his organic bakery and turned his attention to small batch distilling. They are so into the handmade angle that they even claim to use hand-hammered, German copper stills during production.
What I knew:
94 proof, mash includes four grains: heirloom white corn, red winter wheat, malted barley, and Carolina Gold rice bran.
What I discovered:
The whiskey hits the tongue a little tart, but then the taste of the four grains in the bourbon really come through, especially the rice. This is an earthy whiskey, without the sweet, vanilla flavors of a typical bourbon. It doesn’t seem to gather many flavors from the barrel. It has a robust flavor, but is easy drinking, and it softens as the nuances sink into the tongue. It doesn’t linger – still tastes new – but it leaves a tasty impression. As compared to some other unique grain whiskies I have tried, including ones made from brown rice and even quinoa, this one didn’t taste like it was trying to be different. It just tasted good.
One of the best ways to clear the mind on a Sunday for the week ahead is a seat at the bar with a couple of glasses of Scotch and a notebook, serenaded by Billie Holiday’s “In My Solitude.”
I have partially abandoned my New Year’s Resolution. I will drink 33 new whiskies, but I have taken away the time restriction (of one month) since it can be hard to find things I haven’t tried. Lately, I have sent the bartender at Jake Walk climbing on counters to search through shelves of dusty bottles in pursuit of the less common titles from the Scotch list.
This time it was Glenfarclas 10-year and Edradour 11-year. Both bottles had charming pen and ink drawings of distilleries, so I felt all cozy just looking at them.
Back to tasting after a short hiatus. I was traveling and discovered that finding whiskies I haven’t tried before is not as easy as it once was.
I am back in Brooklyn, though, where whiskey is not so hard to come by. With the closing of my beloved Char No.4 whiskey bar, I have rediscovered Jake Walk on Smith Street. It’s a cozy, speakeasy style bar known for cocktails, but they have an interesting and varied whiskey list that I have been making my way through. It’s heavy on the Scotch, which is just fine with me, but I’ve also managed to find a few new-to-me American and other whiskies.
This weekend, I went for Copper Fox rye whiskey, Uisce Beatha Irish whiskey, and Whipper Snapper American whiskey.
Whiskey and rye chocolate chip cookies. Really don’t think this one needs an explanation. It just needs to be. In my mouth.
The benefits of this cookie are pretty obvious. But what makes it my new favorite thing to eat is really in the details. It calls for chocolate chunks – not chocolate chips. It actually says to use these wafer things and chop them up, but I found Scharffen Berger chocolate chunks and was like, let’s just keep those whole. These cookies are also topped with sea salt mixed with vanilla bean. I know that sounds high maintenance – and it is – but it does add a nice little lip-smack to the cookie. Sea salt and chocolate isn’t anything new, but the vanilla softens the contrast a little.
This recipe is for 16 cookies. That’s because they are big ass cookies. Nobody complained – that’s not really a thing to say this whiskey rye chocolate chip cookie is just TOO big – but should you need to serve these to a large group of people and want to avoid the injuries that would surely result from the fighting over them, make the dough balls smaller before putting them in the fridge – I think they could be halved. Just set yourself aside twice as many cookies.
I love Scotch names. I can’t pronounce them half the time, but I enjoy their unique mix of letters and rolling sounds. They often convey a specific sense of place and mood – briny shores or an isolated island or rolling, wind-swept fields. I find them soothing, If I was crying and someone hugged me and said, “Lagavulin,” I think I would feel better. Of course, if they handed me a glass of Lagavulin, I know I would feel better.