Jump to content

Washington Post Spirits Column


brian
 Share

Recommended Posts

Would somebody please explain to me how "big" and "quaffable" aren't rather at odds with each other?

FANTASTIC spirits column today, though. Probably my favorite one yet. A full bar laid out in a clear way, cost conscious without feeling at all dumbed down. Kudos to Jason Wilson.

A well-reasoned primer on stocking the bar. Even better, the well-illustrated sidebar graphic tabulates the specifics.

His choices are all quite defensible, although the best value in the liquor store is Weller Antique 107, not Maker's Mark ;) And the crucial mixer/bitter aspect of red vermouth makes it absolutely worth switching up to either Carpano product. Still...great column!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Would somebody please explain to me how "big" and "quaffable" aren't rather at odds with each other?

A well-reasoned primer on stocking the bar. Even better, the well-illustrated sidebar graphic tabulates the specifics.

His choices are all quite defensible, although the best value in the liquor store is Weller Antique 107, not Maker's Mark ;) And the crucial mixer/bitter aspect of red vermouth makes it absolutely worth switching up to either Carpano product. Still...great column!

How you an defend a bar that is stocked with only ONE bottle of vodka and ONE bottle of gin is beyond me. Good lord, I wouldn't make it through a week with that.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That article was a PRIMER, not an illustration of the Joy of Drinking. ;) As someone who has three bottles of vodka in the freezer and two of gin on the shelf, multiple variations of bourbon, etc. I think I fall more in line with your definition of a well stocked bar, but we all have to start somewhere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How you an defend a bar that is stocked with only ONE bottle of vodka and ONE bottle of gin is beyond me. Good lord, I wouldn't make it through a week with that.

I think it's a given that what you have one of, you certainly can have three or four of... It's just matter of budget (vodka = roughly $18-35/bottle). I don't think the intention is to throw a big party with just one bottle each of mass-consumed spirits. If you're going through that much booze in a week, you're not going to your local bar enough . ;) And that's no good.

I like boozy charticles (like this one and what you find in WSJ) because I can actually read through the whole things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As someone who has three bottles of vodka in the freezer and two of gin on the shelf, multiple variations of bourbon, etc. I think I fall more in line with your definition of a well stocked bar, but we all have to start somewhere.

Ha! Lightweight. ;) Wanna get together for a gin tasting sometime?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This week it's a return to the value-priced "top shelf" bottles for the bar topic. Your humble moderator's terse commentary follows.

I can't agree with Ancient Age as a top shelfer. It's about as characterless as Bourbon gets, apart from a big wallop of sweetness, and about the best I can say for it is that Buffalo Trace doesn't make anything that actively sucks. But it's still crap compared to Weller Antique 107, which is a steal at under $20.

There's exactly one good 100% agave tequila under $25 as far as I can tell, and that's Cuervo Tradicional, but it's a reposado and not a blanco.

If you're a cocktailian and you don't have a bottle of Rittenhouse on your shelf by now, preferably the Bottled-In-Bond, you need to get some. It will change the way you think about rye, Manhattans, and Don McLean.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What's the significance of that? Reposado is oak aged, right? Is blanco not? What do you use one for as opposed to the other or is simply a matter of preference?
Blanco's clear - much nicer if you prefer your margaritas not to be brown. Any subtlety you might be gaining with a reposado is likely to be drowned out by the citrus if you're mixing with it anyway. I've been using Herradura Silver for margaritas at home for the last few years - it seems pretty well received by all and isn't wildly expensive, although it doesn't quite make the $25 cutoff here IIRC.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't agree with Ancient Age as a top shelfer. It's about as characterless as Bourbon gets, apart from a big wallop of sweetness, and about the best I can say for it is that Buffalo Trace doesn't make anything that actively sucks. But it's still crap compared to Weller Antique 107, which is a steal at under $20.

I'm glad to see I had some of the same suggestions as got printed in the column.

Joe's been pushing the Ancient Age lately - at least, he gave me the spiel on it when I was over at Ace on Friday morning. I haven't had it yet, but I tend to keep to Maker's for my cheap bourbon, or Evan Williams if I'm going really cheap.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What's the significance of that? Reposado is oak aged, right? Is blanco not? What do you use one for as opposed to the other or is simply a matter of preference?

That's correct. Your cocktail probably won't acquire significant woodyness from using reposado, but blanco is the default for mixing. I prefer to reserve good reposado and añejo for sipping.

I'd also advise caution on Ehrmann's suggestion that "old brands usually are still around because they are good" at least where whiskey is concerned. Old brands are usually still around because they are good business. If you're like most of us, there were a lot more "brown likker" buyers in your daddy's generation than in yours, and the distillery that made his favorite label might well have closed down decades ago, only to see the name and trademark bought out and slapped onto another manufacturer's products, or production moved to a different facility. This has happened to the majority of smaller American brands. There may be a superficial stylistic resemblance, but there are reasons that some of us go out of our way to collect older bottlings of still-extant brands.

Of course, my own dear dad learned to love bourbon when he was stationed at Ft. Knox in the early sixties...by visiting a then-young distillery called Maker's Mark. If he'd been a Wild Turkey drinker, then I wouldn't have these friendly disagreements with Mr. Parrott :lol:

I don't mean to sound entirely negative...there's a lot of decent advice in Wilson's column this week. I do wish he'd offer a few more specific recommendations, on Spanish brandy for instance. I have a lot of fond memories of Cardenal Mendoza, but I don't think it'd be mistaken for Cognac.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm glad to see I had some of the same suggestions as got printed in the column.

Joe's been pushing the Ancient Age lately - at least, he gave me the spiel on it when I was over at Ace on Friday morning. I haven't had it yet, but I tend to keep to Maker's for my cheap bourbon, or Evan Williams if I'm going really cheap.

What about Rebel Yell?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's exactly one good 100% agave tequila under $25 as far as I can tell, and that's Cuervo Tradicional, but it's a reposado and not a blanco.
I think Cuervo Tradicional makes a great Margarita. Weller Antique is another good call. I've also be mixing with St. Remy for a cheap brandy.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What about Rebel Yell?

Do you know something about me that I don't know you know? :lol::):P

That was one of my all-time favorite bourbons in college, and I've always assumed it was teh suq 'cause no one else agreed with me.

As for Cuervo Tradicional - yes please. For the price, it is way worth it. For a little bit more - no, it is not, but still.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Joe's been pushing the Ancient Age lately - at least, he gave me the spiel on it when I was over at Ace on Friday morning. I haven't had it yet, but I tend to keep to Maker's for my cheap bourbon, or Evan Williams if I'm going really cheap.

Let's be clear, I was specifically referring to the Ancient Age 100-proof, NOT the 80-proof, which I don't carry.

The AA Bond is shatteringly-good whiskey for a bargain price, I defy anyone to show me a better BIB Bourbon at that price, although I'll allow for J.T.S. Brown BIB, which isn't distributed here in D.C. at the moment. (just one more reason to visit Kentucky).

I'll mention this one, too: Benchmark. Benchmark is 80-proof Bourbon that is pretty delicious for the money, and, LORD, is it cheap! It doesn't look cheap, either.

I have it on good authority that Benchmark is Bourbon that is deemed not suitable for the $40+ Blanton's Bourbon, which is 93-proof. Think of it as an 80-proof version of Blanton's at 1/4 the price.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a dick. I just saw one of the folks who was affected by this jerk's column outing H2M for the first time since it ran and I'm pissed off all over again. I can't let a thread on that column run here without noting how incredibly obnoxious that was. Dead to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a dick. I just saw one of the folks who was affected by this jerk's column outing H2M for the first time since it ran and I'm pissed off all over again. I can't let a thread on that column run here without noting how incredibly obnoxious that was. Dead to me.

This from the Washingtonian's blog:

Correction: We misreported the reason behind the closure of Hummingbird to Mars. The three founders have other obligations that don't afford them the time to keep the project going. We apologize for the error.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a dick. I just saw one of the folks who was affected by this jerk's column outing H2M for the first time since it ran and I'm pissed off all over again. I can't let a thread on that column run here without noting how incredibly obnoxious that was. Dead to me.

Oh, and of course, this, from a comment on DCist...

"My apologies to any and all conspiracy theorists, as the General Manager of Bourbon and one of the guys behind Hummingbird I would love to let you in on a little secret. The reason we are shutting down for awhile is because I am also a second year law student and I have to study for my midterms. Sorry it’s not an exciting reason I know but it’s all I’ve got."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...