Bib and Tucker Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey
“Bib and Tucker” is a term from America’s early days used to describe your finest attire, the kind you’d wear to a special or formal occasion. Along with the old timey name and in keeping with the fancy denotation, is its packaging in a bottle in the shape of an enlarged amber flask with the name and logo embossed in the glass with ornate hand-lettering and a cork stopper, as was commonly done in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This 92 proof (46% ABV) small batch bourbon from Tennessee is made from a mash comprised of 70% corn, 26% rye and 4% malt. After being double distilled using an extended column still followed by an old fashioned pot still, it is aged in No. 1 charred American White Oak barrels for at least six years. The slight char is not the norm, as will be clear once you pour into your glass and see the color, which is noticeably lighter than most other bourbons. It brings forth aromas of vanilla and leather and flavors of slightly sweet toffee with a hint of spiciness. I am a definitely a fan and so was the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Tasting Panel, which awarded it a Gold Medal.
Proper No. Twelve
MMA fighter Conor McGregor founded Proper No. Twelve, an Irish whiskey created with Master Distiller David Elder. Named for the Dublin postal district in which McGregor grew up, it’s a true Irish product, as it is made in Ulster, Northern Ireland in the area of the Emerald Isle known for its rich soil and pure spring water. The fact that this 40% ABV single malt whiskey is triple distilled in copper pot stills and aged a minimum of three years in former oak bourbon casks allows for a taste that is smooth with hints of vanilla, honey-like sweetness and toasted wood. Here’s to drinking to a good cause: $5 from every case sold is donated to local first responder organizations in the state or country the sales take place, with up to $1 million annually. properwhiskey.com
Just in time for St. Paddy’s Day next month, here are some cocktail recipes using Proper Twelve.
Proper Irish Coffee
2 oz Proper No. Twelve Whiskey
4 oz hot coffee
.75 oz simple syrup
2-3 oz heavy cream
In a shaker or jar, shake or whip heavy cream until slightly thickened (not completely stiff). In a mug, add Proper No. Twelve Whiskey, hot coffee, and simple syrup. Stir, then carefully layer on top the thickened heavy cream until it covers the drink. Optional grating of nutmeg on top.
Dublin 12 Old Fashioned
2 oz Proper No. Twelve Whiskey
1 Bar Spoon Simple Syrup
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
In a lowball glass, add Proper No. Twelve Whiskey, simple syrup and bitters. Add ice to the glass and stir together. Garnish with lemon wedge & cherry.
2 oz Proper No. Twelve Whiskey
1 oz sweet vermouth
3 dashes angostura bitters
1 brandied cherry
Combine Proper No. Twelve Whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters into a mixing vessel. Add ice and stir. Strain into a coupe/martini glass and garnish with a cherry.
Ambros Banana Whiskey
Southern Nevada-based Derby Spirits has released the first-of-its-kind Ambros Banana Whiskey, using premium-aged whiskey infused with 100% real bananas, with no artificial flavors, preservatives, ‘natural’ flavoring, fruit juice concentrate, added sugars or syrups. The 30% ABV spirit delivers pure banana taste along with a smooth premium whiskey presence, making this a unique drink which I personally enjoy very much and think anyone who likes the flavor of banana and whiskey will as well. Since its launch in August, 2018 the whiskey has found a home at several of Las Vegas’ premier venues including Hakkasan Group at its namesake club, Wet Republic, Omnia and Searsucker; Clique Hospitality at The Still, Apex and Hearthstone; at Wynn venues Intrigue, Encore Beach Club and XS; restaurants including STK, Yellowtail, TopGolf and Scotch 80; and at all Liquor World and Lee’s Discount Liquor retail locations. Look for it in SoCal beginning mid-January.
AmbrosWhiskey.com or Facebook and Instagram @AmbrosWhiskey.
Humboldt Distillery Organic Rum
Rum is a spirit currently enjoying an increase in popularity, especially premium varieties like those from Humboldt Distillery, Northern California’s original micro-distillery. The distillery makes small-batch spirits crafted from domestic, sustainably farmed ingredients and sources all water from watersheds that originate in the county’s ancient redwood forests. I sampled their Organic Rum, a light-bodied and easy drinking gold rum, with aromatic hints of caramel and toffee; and Organic Spiced Rum, with hints of vanilla, allspice and fruit. I found both to be great on their own, but if you are so inclined they should be ideal for mixing into cocktails, hot holiday ciders or as a topper for eggnog.
For recipes, visit humboldtdistillery.com.
Anchor Fog Breaker IPA
Anchor Brewing Company’s roots date back to the California Gold Rush, making it one of America’s oldest breweries. The brewery was revived in 1965 by brewing legend Fritz Maytag who was one of the first to brew craft beer in the modern age, gaining acclaim for the iconic Anchor Steam Beer. In the following years Anchor has launched many other beer styles, and lately has gotten into the IPA game, offering their versions of the number-one-selling craft beer style. Its latest release is named for the brewery’s location in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood, an area known for sunshine. The brewery’s marketing suggests its sunshiny brightness bursting with fresh pine and juicy tropical hops will burst through the fog. Upon pouring there is a defined tropical fruit and pine aroma and the flavor is as described above, but I was happily surprised by its remarkable crispness, something one would expect more from a lager than an ale. While admittedly not a big IPA fan, I found this 6.8% ABV IPA brewed with malted wheat and 2-row pale malt to be an easy-drinking representative of the style that pretty much anyone who likes beer can enjoy. This is the first Anchor beer exclusively developed at Anchor’s pilot brewery and bar, Public Taps, and after consistently being one of the quickest beers to sell out was moved into full-scale production.
Since its founding by Alexander Reid in 1824 an obsession with quality has been the hallmark of The Macallan distillery. Nestled on a plateau above the river Spey in northeast Scotland, The Macallan has built a reputation as one of the world’s leading single malt whisky makers, and after sampling three of its exquisite expressions I can see why. The Macallan Reflexion brings a blood orange hue; aroma of fresh citrus and notes of chocolate and caramel; flavors of citrus zest, sweetness of lemon and orange and subtle hints of cinnamon and ginger; and finish of toasted oak. The Macallan No. 6 has a Spanish sunset hue; aroma of raisin, dates, figs, dark chocolate and toffee apples; flavors of rich fruit cake of raisin, dates and figs, apples, sultanas, orange, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and hints of clove; and silky smooth full finish. The Macallan M presents a rosewood hue; aroma of dried fruits, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg, nutmeg and cinnamon; flavors of wood spices, and a bit of smoke; and raisin and sultana finish. As you can see from the descriptions these are extremely complex expressions with myriad of flavor aspects. Look for these Scotch whiskies wherever fine single malts are sold.