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Suited spirits (web)

  2. 2. Suited spirits magazine informationEditor in Chief | Gabrielle VoogtArt direction and Design | GAaBRedaction | +47 20 22 19 35Redaction | redaction@ssprits.comSponsoring and Advertisment | Personal contactSuited Spirits is published by GAaB Projects &Design Bureau NetherlandsFrambozenstraat | 351033 SX | AmsterdamThe NetherlandsMobil | +316 - 4303 8642Work | +3120 - 2219 351Email address | info@dsign-magazine.comChamber of Commerce | 3435 2847© 2011 Suited spirits magazineAll Rights Reserved
  3. 3. EditorsommentSince I write a fair amount on wines and spirits,and especially whiskies, I have amassed a de-cent library of books on these subjects for refer-ence. But until I got The World Atlas of Whiskyas a gift from a friend , I had no idea what Iwas missing. Bill will be telling us about it atthe back of this issue, where he delves moreinto the myths and legends of blending scotch.Author Dave Broom has already won the covetedand prestigious Glenfiddich Award for DrinksBook of the Year – twice – for his earlier worksDrink! and Rum, and he is the editor of ScotchWhisky Review and editor-in-chief of WhiskyMagazine: Japan. He has been writing on whiskyfor a quarter of a century and contributesregularly to the Daily Telegraph and many otherUK publications. In short, he knows a wee bitabout the water of life.C
  4. 4. “Bourbons all-american roar”In depth review of the recent increase in consumption“The how and why of whiskey in Rye”Does it come naturally to become a master distiller?This month’s contest winner and recent trendsin the world of drinksBlending blends besides Bill06182628Feature articleInterviewNew drinksArticle
  5. 5. ALl-AMericBourbon’“Bourbon is one product America still makesbetter than anyone else — and, in at leastone way, it always will be.”This article discusses the recent popularityboost of the traditional american beverage,history and tries to discern how the futurelooks like for the golden spirit.
  6. 6. can ROARBy: Stevie Wonder //’sPhotos: Ian Holm //photos@sspirited.comBy: C.S. Lewis //
  7. 7. The winner was Karla Ramsey, here is her Manhattan recipe: 2 ounces Woodford Reserve Bourbon 1 ounce each of apple brandy & sweet vermouth 2 splashes bitters 1 red apple slice and 1 cinnamon stickShake the liquid with ice and strain into a chilled martiniglass. Garnish with the apple slice and the cinnamon stick.Light the cinnamon on fire!Sure, the event was as much about marketingas mixology — but then again, today’s bourbon boom rep-resents a triumph of salesmanship. At a time when manyAmerican industries are struggling, distillers here are thriving,hiring and expanding. They are cashing in on an Americanrenaissance in whiskey-based cocktails, as well as a growingthirst for bourbon around the world.Bourbon is one product Americastill makes betterthan anyone else — and, in at least one way, it always willbe. That is because Congress decreed in 1964 that “bourbonwhiskey is a distinctive product of the United States.”Threeelements make bourbon unique: American corn, pure lime-stone water and new, charred oak barrels.Regardless, people here and abroad are drink-ing more of it these days. Global supplier sales of bourbonand Tennes-see whiskey are expected to reach $3.8 billionthis year, versus $3.7 billion in 2010, according to a fore-cast from Euromonitor International. (Bourbon is a type ofwhiskey, so researchers group them together.)Distillers are expanding their market withpremium small-batch and single-barrel products, along withflavor infusions like honey, cherry and spice. Among thewhiskey brands likely to be sitting under Christmas trees thisyear are the industry’s top five: Jack Daniel’s, from Brown-Forman; Jim Beam, from Beam Inc.; Evan Williams, fromHeaven Hill Distilleries; Maker’s Mark, also from Beam;and Early Times, also from Brown-Forman, according tothe 2011 Liquor Handbook.“Bourbon is growing at a faster rate than the totalspirits category and outperforming most of the other spiritsegments,” declared Danny Brager, vice president of thebeverage alcohol team for Nielsen. Still, in total dollar sales,bourbon ranks fourth behind vodka, rum and cordials.Smaller producers must be nimble to stand outin a crowded and well-financed field. Consider Angel’sEnvy, a new entrant from the Louisville Distilling Company.With only $1 million to spend on marketing this year, thecompany had to be very selective in showcasing its product.The big whiskey houses use their marketingmight to make sure that their brands are in front of retail-ers and top of mind among consumers who visit bars andliquor stores.It sounds like a taunt here in Bourbon Country:6 | Suited Spirits 1/2013As the holiday imbibing season approached,five bartenders entered a “shake off” thismonth at the Kentucky Derby Museum,to see who could work the most magic withbourbon, a singularly American spirit thathas recently turned out to be an amazing,singularly American success story.“Go ahead, mix
  8. 8. Which brings us back to that shake-off:Ms. Ramsey, 28, is a bartender at Baxter’s 942 Bar andGrill here. She will now compete in a national Man-hattan-making competition in New York, sponsored byEsquire magazine and by Woodford Reserve, which is alsoamong the brands owned by Brown-Forman, the hometownliquor giant here. And according to data released in the 2011Liquor Handbook, its flagship brand, Jack Daniel’s, spentnearly $15 million on advertising in 2009-10, double thatspent by Jim Beam and Evan Williams.‘Jack Daniel’s’ produced in Lynchburg, takespride in calling itself Tennessee whiskey. But, just like bour-bon, it is made mostly from corn and aged in new charred-oak barrels. The distinctive flavor comes from the “charcoalmellow” process, which involves dropping the whiskeythrough 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal. “It imparts adistinctive smoothness,” Jack Daniel’s says. “Charcoalmellowing makes Jack Daniel’s what it is — a Tennesseewhiskey, not a bourbon.”In a 2002 essay for Food & Wine magazinetitled, “Brown Is Beautiful: Learning to Love Bourbon,”Benjamin Cheever wrote, “I assumed that if you wantedfine, regional whiskey, you had to cross the pond to Scot-land.” But then he tried a sample of Maker’s Mark. “Andit was good,” he wrote. “This whiskey looked like cloverhoney and it went down without burning. Even the finestsingle-malt Scotch is harsh.”Dennis Withey from Louisville used to be abig Scotch drinker, but not any more. On Tuesday night,Mr. Withey and a drinking buddy, Bob Engle, were enjoyinga $3 shot of Very Old Barton, chased by beer at the SilverDollar, a new restaurant and bar in Louisville. By 8 p.m.,every seat at the 42-foot bar, in a renovated 1890s firehouse,was taken, and Kentucky-made whiskey was flowing Manhattan.”Bourbon’s All-American Roar | 7
  9. 9. “Flavored whiskey is a gateway-type product intothe category,” explained Larry Kass, spokesmanat Woodsford Distilleries, which has honey andcherry flavors of its Evan Williams brand. Thelimited reserve whiskey is an exemplary wellrefined and smooth spirit and is well deservedof its international recognition.8 | Suited Spirits 1/2013
  10. 10. The Barton “was nice and smooth,” said Mr.Withey, whose allegiance has switched to Kentucky straightbourbon whiskey.With over 50 choices at the Silver Dollar, headded,“I’ll be back.”Interest in American whiskey has pervadedpopular culture in books like “Last Call: The Rise and Fallof Prohibition,”by Daniel Okrent,as well as in the documentaryfilm“Prohibition,” by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, and theHBO series “Boardwalk Empire.”“It is the people’s drink,”said Fred Sarkis,a bartender atthe Sable Kitchen and Bar in Chicago.“It doesn’t get moreAmerican than whiskey.”Insiders are excited about the new customersthey are attracting beyond older white males. Many con-sumers are relishing the fruit of industry innovation —infused flavors like cherry and honey, and new finishes andcharring techniques for the new oak barrels.“Flavored whiskey is a gateway-type productinto the category,”explained Larry Kass,spokesman at HeavenHill Distilleries, which has honey and cherry flavors of itsEvan Williams brand.According to Nielsen, sales of flavored whiskeyhave risen 136 percent so far this year over last and nowrepresent 3 percent of the $1.4 billion category. In April,the industry leader, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, rolledout Tennessee Honey, a 70-proof proprietary honey liqueurblended with Old No. 7 Jack Daniel’s Whiskey.Though it was late to the flavored party, JackDaniel’s soon had a hit on its hands. In just a few months,dollar and volume sales for Tennessee Honey exceededall of its flavored peers combined.Michael J. Keyes, president of the NorthAmerica region for Brown-Forman, said the company wasinitially cautious about Tennessee Honey because it didn’twant to cannibalize the Jack Daniel’s brand. But, he said,he was happy to see that the honey flavor was resonatingwith African-Americans, Hispanics and women.“Everybody loves Jack Daniel’sbrand,but BlackLabel may not be for them,” he said. “This one seems to beaccessible to a different demographic.”Jim Beam has found that to be true with its RedStag Black Cherry bourbon, introduced in 2009. “What ithas done is what we thought it would do, which is broadenthe audience to bourbon to people who were not bourbondrinkers,” said Bill Newlands, Beam’s president for NorthAmerica.Whereas sales of traditional bourbon skew80 percent male to 20 percent female, he said, Red Stagruns 50-50, and a bit younger. In January, he said, Beamwill add two flavors to the line: Red Stag Spiced and RedStag Honey Tea.Beam has been particularly aggressive withnew products, including Maker’s 46 and Devil’s Cut.“We’ve been going at it full tilt,” said FrederickBooker Noe III, the master distiller and a great-grandsonof Jim Beam.Mr.Noe is a seventh-generationmaster distiller who,like many the trade, is part scientist, part historian and partshowman. Recently, he answered an unusual call of duty. Tocelebrate the brand notching its one-millionth fan on Facebook,Mr. Noe, 54, agreed to get a tattoo of the Jim Beam logo.“I’ve done crazier stuff than this, I imagine,” he said.Bourbon’s All-American Roar | 9
  11. 11. The company, which spun off from FortuneBrands in October, also jumped into the fast-growing Irishwhiskey category. This month, Beam agreed to acquireCooley, an independent Irish whiskey distillery, for $95million. Last year, the Irish whiskey category grew 11.5percent, to 4.86 million cases, according to Impact Databank.A day later, at the Knob Creek Guest House on theJim Beam grounds in Clermont, Ky., Mr. Noe pulled outsome Red Stag Spiced and Red Stag Honey Tea, bottled theday before, ready to be shipped in January. He set them downnext to Red Stag Black Cherry and Devil’s Cut for a tasting.“Red Stag was a gamble. I’ll be honest with you,” Mr.Noe said as he tasted it. “I was the biggest naysayer in thecompany.” Would black cherry confuse consumers, hewondered? “I was wrong,” he said. “Nonbourbon drinkerstry it and say,‘Wow.’ ”Mr. Noe moved on to Spiced and Honey Tea andsmacked his lips appreciatively with each sip. He said thatthe cinnamon flavor in Spiced reminded him of Red Hotscandies but that the bourbon took over. “It’s the real deal,”he said. “You can taste the bourbon. It’s not like we’remasking it.”When it comes to innovation, the whiskeybusiness is like the auto industry: it has long product cyclesinvolving trial and error. At any given time, Harlen Wheatley,master distiller at Buffalo Trace, owned by Sazerac, has morethan 1,500 experimental barrels aging in the warehouse. Itbuilt a micro-distillery within its main distillery just forexperimentation. At Woodford Reserve, introduced in 1996,research and development for its long-awaited line expansionwhick took about four years. The premium WoodfordReserve Double Oaked will be available in the spring, saidits distiller, Chris Morris.At the Brown-Forman headquarters, Mr.Morris laid out wood staves like those used to make barrelsby hand a few miles away at the company-owned cooperage,where barrels are assembled, charred and finished. Aging thedistilled spirit in a second barrel is the secret to the newbourbon, and working with its own cooperage provided acompetitive advantage, he said.For Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, hesaid,“we take a batch of mature Woodford Reserve, reducethe proof to 110 proof and rebarrel in a second brand-new barrel.” The barrels are stored in the Versailles, Ky.,warehouse for a year, batched together and bottled.He held up a sample and pointed to the rich darkcolor. “Now you get honey, butterscotch notes,” Mr. Mor-ris said, sampling it. “Woodford has nice citrus notes, thebalance of many flavors. This is going to be out of balanceon purpose. At 90.4 proof, it will be even smoother, softerthan Woodford. Woodford is known for being smooth.” Headds with a whisper,“This is even quieter, even more elegant.”Heaven Hill Distilleries in Bardstown, Ky.,meanwhile, has also been working on its marketing mix.Just in time for the primary season, it will release specialRed State and Blue State bottles of 80-proof straightbourbon. Red State is Republican red, featuring thetraditional elephant. Blue State is Democratic blue, withthe donkey mascot. Heaven Hill said it would track retailsales by label to try to infer political preferences among itsbourbon drinkers. (There will be no difference between thetwo whiskies.)But bourbon isn’t just for red and blue states.Distillers are increasing production and creating vast supplychains to quench the thirst of whiskey lovers worldwide.Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey accountfor about 70 percent of the $1.1 billion of distilled Americanspirits that are exported, according to Frank Coleman ofthe Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.Total exportshave been on a tear for the last decade and are up asmuch as 17 percent this year through October, over theyear-earlier period. Mr. Coleman estimated retail sales inthe United States to be $6 billion.The council has recently gotten behind newAmerican craft distilleries, Mr. Coleman said, like theLouisville Distillery Company, founded by Lincoln Henderson,the former master distiller at Woodford Reserve, and hisson, Wesley.10 | Suited SpiritS 1/2013
  12. 12. BourBon’S All-AmericAn roAr | 11
  13. 13. So when the council invited about a dozen smalldistillers on a trip to Shanghai in November,Wesley Hendersonjumped at the chance to promote Angel’s Envy.Introduced in April, Angel’s Envy is a Kentuckystraight bourbon whiskey aged for at least four years andthen transferred into used port barrels for four to six months.The curvaceous bottle with angel’s wings describes the endresult as Kentucky bourbon with a port barrel finish.“Bourbon and rye arenow hip among youngAmerican trend-setterslike we’ve never seenbefore”One place the American distillers visited inShanghai was M1nt, a private club that caters to young,diverse and upscale Chinese customers looking for a premiumspirit, Mr. Henderson said. The company’s current presencein China is tiny, at only a select few bars in Shanghai. Backhome, meanwhile, most of the attention is on the eightstates where Angel’s Envy is being sold. Louisville Distillingreached out to bartenders like Mr. Sarkis of Sable to helpspread the word to others who were fans of the whiskeyand the company’s independent vibe, said Ms. Seiller, who isbased in Chicago.“The idea of independence is in everythingwe do,” she said. That makes lining up bartenders, retailersand wholesalers easier, she added.“In talking to people, youwant to make them feel, ‘You’re in this with us.’ ”12 | Suited Spirits 1/2013To be sure, while the industry is booming now, theeconomic climate could suddenly deteriorate, or the industrycould be hit with unexpected taxes, warned Ms. Azer, theCiti analyst, in a recent report.What’s more, many distillers in Kentucky havebeen expanding. In five to 10 years, will their products be insuch high demand? The industry is banking on big growthin India and China.“If those markets develop as has been anticipated, noone will have made enough,” he said. “If they don’t, everyonewill have made too much, and thus brought a crisis on everyonein this industry” said Charles K. Cowdery, author of “Bourbon,Straight: The Uncut and Unfiltered Story of American Whiskey.”Consumers’ tastes, meanwhile, can shift with thewind. “Bourbon and rye are now hip among young Americantrend-setters like we’ve never seen before,” Mr. Cowdery said,“but trends like this can change on a dime.”
  14. 14. Bourbon’s All-American Roar | 13
  15. 15. drinking isan art
  16. 16. “Whiskey, like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation.You gaze first, then it’s time to drink.”Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World-Haruki Murakami16 | Suited Spirits 1/2013
  17. 17. WHISKEYIN RYETHE HOWAND WHYOFPhotos: Ian McKellen //photos@sspirited.comBy: Stevie Wonder // articles@sspirited.comThe how and why | 17
  18. 18. I know exactly how I got here. Normally whenI chat with someone for the blog, we’ll meet forcoffee or a beer at some local venue conduciveto having a private conversation. It’s usually thekind of place intimate enough that you can havea great first date.Much like my first dates, when it’s beer ratherthan coffee, I am very conscious about howmuch I consume. I want to be social and makepeople feel comfortable, but definitely don’twant either of us slurring our words. Moreimportantly, since I’m usually buying, I try toavoid putting a hurt on my wallet as well. De-spite my usual practice, I should have anticipatedthat my conversation with a guy called JakeWhiskey might go a little differently.I wanted to learn about how Jake went frombeing an aspiring music producer to become thehead distiller at Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey,but of course, I got lured into a tasting. BeforeI asked my first question, Jake instructed me,“Just start just by smelling this. The best wayto nose a full strength spirit like this is to partyour lips a little bit and breathe in through yournose and your mouth at the same time.” Whatfollowed was a tutorial in whiskey making, nosmall amount of whiskey drinking, and the storyof an inquisitive person who continues to blazehis own trail.What he actually does: Former master distiller, atStranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. Creates recipesand distills whiskey. Designs and crafts the mostshapely and sharp cooking knives.School: Self-taught in whiskey production andcrafting. Associate’s degree in music and videoproduction from the Art Institute of Colorado inDenver. Apprenticeship in knife-making.Jake is is a jack of several trades;an aspiring music producerturned whiskey distiller turnedknife maker.18 | Suited Spirits 1/2013
  19. 19. Q: I read that you got started making spirits at 15 years old. Isthat right? How did that happen?Jake: Yeah I was like 14 or 15. My dad had a whole homesteadinglibrary, and one day I found an interesting book on the subject.My parents were kind of hippies, do it yourself people.Especially when I was young, they told me, if you can do ityourself, then you should do it.I was looking through my Dad’s library one day and came acrossan article on how to convert a pick-up truck to run on alcohol.I was like “seriously?” I was in high school and I was startingto get a little bit more socially aware, starting to realize what’sgoing on with the world. I thought, “We can seriously run carson something we ferment from any fruit, grain, or vegetable?!”So that really just captured my imagination. In order to figureout how to make this, I looked at this article in like MotherEarth magazine. Either that day or the day after, I designed myfirst still [an apparatus for making whiskey] and drew it up.Q: How did you learn how to do that?Jake: My dad was always really cool about letting me foolaround with his tools. I don’t think we had regular toys at homebecause we were poor. My Dad is a pretty handy person and Ikind of just grew up in a house where if you can’t afford to buyanother a new one, you just fix it. I never had idle hands, so Ihave to credit my parents because my Dad gave me a lot of theseboy survival type books from when he was a kid. I was out inthe woods building forts, digging into the side of a mountain.It was just basic. If you want something, you figure out how todo it or make it. But I never thought anything would come of it;whiskey was just this esoteric interest. My first job in collegewas as a brewer; I worked in a brewery when I was like 19,for obvious reasons. I figured, since I can’t buy beer, I’d workin a brewery. I was at the very first Rock Bottom in Denver andstudying at the Arts Institute of Denver. Fermentation was al-ways the mysterious spooky part of making spirits for me. Eve-rything else really seemed mechanical, so I felt I could figure itout. The job at Rock Bottom helped me nail down fermentation.What’s below: How a fifteen year old learns aboutmaking whiskey; Why Jake’s personal touch was soimportant; Why some people just aren’t made fordesk jobs; and how to turn hobbies into a career.The how and why | 19
  20. 20. Q: You came to Denver for the Art Institute. What did youenvision yourself doing?Jake: I wanted to be Rick Rubin and do everything fromhip hop to metal and country. I never took any advancedmathematics. I never took any advanced courses at all. I wasone of those kids, that the school said you’ve just got to pushthrough and turn your head. That is basically the story ofmy life. I’m unemployable. I’m incapable of working withinnormal constructs so I’ve got to make my own path, that’s allthere is to it. Everything I know, I taught myself.Jake says he wasn’t the best student in the world, but he de-signed his first still at 15.Q: Take me back to when you were 19 working in a brewery.How did you go from there to Stranahan’s?Jake: I didn’t go to Stranahan’s right away. I worked in thebrewery until I started a T-shirt company that was taking offreally well doing merchandizing, and silk screening for others.I was making shirts for my friends’ bands and ended up doingspecialty screening for advertising, which was wildly lucrative.I’ve considered getting back into that just because the moneywas so stupid. After the T-shirt company and merchandising,I actually think I went and worked at the only desk job I everhad, at ICG, Intelecom Communications Group, a local longdistance phone carrier.Q: Wow. I’m pretty shocked; my whole image of you haschanged! How long did that desk job last?Jake: A little over two years. I hated it. Most of my workwith ICG was trying to decipher the access codes of thesebig companies so that we could provide long distance service.Nobody knew how to do it because it had never been donebefore. It was like code breaking for real. I liked getting paidand I liked the part where I figured everything out.But after I had settled into management,I got sick of dealing withlazy people and I wasn’t very pc about it, so they laid meoff. I took my severance, pre-paid my rent for six monthsand went on a road trip.Q: That really seems like a detour. How did the communicationsjob help you find your way?Jake: Getting laid-off was the best thing they could have donefor me. I never went back to a desk job. I just couldn’t doit. After that, I found the joy in the freedom of tending bar.I started doing liquor promotions; I saw the money flyingaround in the liquor business and I wanted some. I put togetherevents, acquired liquor sponsors, coordinated everything andthen took a profit off the top. It was awesome.Part of my liquor industry promotion stuff was mostly doingindependent education on spirits. Because I knew every barowner, bartender, restaurant owner, manager or whatever, Iwould go in and offer to conduct an independent educationfor their staff on whiskey or vodka.I had a much bigger idea for a spirits industry promotionalcompany, but then Jess and Stranahan’s came along. Iwas really well known as “Jake the Whiskey guy” because Ihad been doing whiskey educations for a few years. WhenJess was talking to people about his idea for a local distillery,everyone kept telling him “You’ve got to meet Jake Whiskey.”Teaching friends, customers and local bartenders about differ-ent spirits helped Jake make a name for himself.Q: So how did you win him over?Jake: Jess came into my bar early on a night when it was reallyslow. I was used to regulars that would come in to learn anew spirit; if they learned about bourbon the last week theymight want to try Irish. I would just sit there and talk themthrough whiskeys all night.Jess and I chatted for a bit and then I grabbed a napkin todraw the latest incarnation of a still that I had just designed.It was to be constructed using a keg and some copper pipe.Looking back on it now, it was pretty raw, but I was pretty confi-dent in that design.It was the culmination of years of research and differentexperimentation. I drew it on this napkin and then Jess gotthis really crazy look on his face. He said “Hey do you wantto come interview to be my distiller?” I didn’t realize it atthe time, but I already had the job.“Hey do you want to comeinterview to be my distiller?”“I never went back to a deskjob.I just couldn’t do it.”20 | Suited Spirits 1/2013
  21. 21. Q: I know you can design an apparatus to make whiskey, buthow do you develop a recipe?Jake: It’s like when you’re cooking anything else; you juststart out with a point of reference. So if I have an idea for aflavor profile, I just kind of approximate it. Once I identifyan element that interests me like using a certain amount ofa particular grain or something, I make a small batch andtest it. And then you have to know how to adjust it if theflavor showed up or it didn’t, if it needs more of this or lessof that. It’s just kind of a process of elimination. Makingwhiskey usually begins with a grain mash like this one.Q: Who knows things like that?Jake: Nerds. It’s the nerdy truth.Q: How did you dec ide to hand write the labels?Jake: Whiskey can be aged years or even decades. It’s just anamazing generational connection.The signature is the distiller’ssignature; on this bottle that’s me.And for the comments section, I originally thought I wasgoing to write my tasting notes because that’s what is tradi-tionally on a cask sample.Later, I thought I would write what music I’m listening to orsomething else that grabs the moment or gives the drinker a wayto relate to me. We had our reservations, but personalizing thelabels in that way ended up being one of the best things weever could have done. I’ve watched people look through everybottle on the shelf until they found a Johnny Cash bottlebecause their uncle loved Johnny Cash. It really kind turnedinto a thing, and it also became a great way to throw propsto the local bands. It was a pretty cool deal, but I’m glad tobe out of it because all that writing was pretty brutal. Aftermastering whiskey distillation, Jake began an apprenticeshipin knife-making.Q: What did you do after you left Stranahan’s?Jake: What I am doing right now is forging knives. I’m mak-ing knives, blacksmithing, leatherworking the stuff I want.When I quit, I thought,“I’m going to make the knives I can’tThe how and why | 21
  22. 22. I want hand-forged Damascus steel chef knives that are athousand bucks or more a piece. I’m definitely not going tospend the money on those; I’ll make them.” So I did somelooking around online for knife-makers and tracked downthis cat who just happened to be an hour outside of Denver,called him up. I said “hey, I’m interested in doing this, I seeyou offer lessons, what’s your rate?” I told him that I didn’tknow if I could afford his rate, but he said that he also bar-tered and asked what I did. I explained, “I’m unemployedright now, but I’m a whiskey distiller. He said, “It just sohappens that I want to learn how to distill alcohol for fuel.”The whole thing is that if you extend yourself, things comesinto play.When I left Stranahan’s, I thought, “What should I do?I could go to another distillery because that’s what I’ve beensuccessful at,” but I wasn’t drawn to that right then. I tooka few months off before I started my next project. I keptlaunching little businesses that didn’t work right and justweren’t going anywhere. Stranahan’s hit and it was the rightproduct at the right time. But there’s no guarantee that thenext thing I pursue is going to be as successful as this one.Rather than paying lots of money for cookingand hunting knives, Jake makes them at home!The whole thing is that if you extend yourself,things comes into play.
  23. 23. If I had a wife and kids, it would be different. If I owned a house, itwould be different, but I don’t. I’m completely unencumbered andwhen I did get my payout, I paid off all my debt so that I couldactually survive on a minimal amount of money. And I didn’t liveextravagantly before. I finally paid off my student loans, paid offmy car, and paid off the meager amount of credit that I had, sonow I am free and clear. After some time off from distilling, I amnow consulting on start up distilleries and have now started a newdistillery with the best guy you could hope to work with, Al Laws.When I get into something, I apply myself and I get into it. I justnever got into what I was supposed to get into. I never got intoschool. But it’s all on me, too. I can’t blame anybody else if some-thing doesn’t work because I didn’t chose my own path, I forgedmy own path. I completely ignored logic and whatever you aresupposed to do. And if I had been sick that day that I met Jesse,my Stranahan’s partner, who knows, I might be tending bar andworking at UPS.Even though Jake is finished as a distiller,he’ll always feel right at home at Stranaghan’s.The how and why | 23
  24. 24. Prohibition came, but not to Whiskey Hill.A man has got to eat; a drunk must have his fill.Old Abner dug a basement before fallBeneath the milking barn at night;Dug down and mortared up a wall;Bought copper sheets and hammer-fit ‘em tight,Disguised his vent holes in the stallBy countersinking posts to keep them out of sight.Set down a trapdoor and a sturdy stair,Strawed the lot and penned up his old mare.Whiskey Hillby Ryan Lancaster24 | Suited Spirits 1/2013
  25. 25. In all he did, he didn’t tell his wife a thing;He reasoned there was money to be made...More than the crops would ever bring,More than the eggs the chickens laid,He’d be enriched by moonshine in the spring.He learned to ferment mash from an old book,Soaked down a bag of corn and let it sprout,Waited twelve full days before he took a look,Cracked kernels, poured on water, boiling hot,Then pitched the yeast and left his hidden nook,And all the while kept his mouth shut;Seven days and Sunday passing by,Old Ab could wait no more;Ate supper quick and told his wifeHe’d one more feeding chore...Stole to the barn and shoo’ed the mare aside,Pulled up the vent posts from the floor,Climbed down and lit a fire insideBeneath the still to let the vapors soar.A thrill began as drops began to fill the jug;The fore-shot blended in as Ab forgotThat methanol would poison off the slug,So when a shot he took, his breathing stopped.Above, impatient Molly stamped, then pacedHungrily in her pen, shoved to reach her hayAnd dropped the standards in their place,Plugged tight the vents, above where Abner lay.When Hildy woke, her husband still was out;She walked down to the barn, no sign to see;And thought it odd the horse was out...The cattle lowing hungrily for feed.The sheriff came to have a look;No luck had he,Old Hildy sold the place and moved away.Where she went and how remains a mystery.A cousin bought the place: house and barn and stillHis sons, exploring, found old Abner in the springBeneath the horse’s paddock where he lay.Whiskey Hill | 25
  26. 26. PISCOSOURBLOOD AND SANDThe Blood and Sand is one of the few Scotch cocktails that isa true classic. The complete history is somewhat shaky, but itis accepted that it was inspired by the movie Blood and Sand.The original film was produced in 1922 (starring RudolphValentino) and was remade in 1941 (starring Tyrone Powers)and again in 1989 (this time with actress Sharon Stone).The cocktail is a beautiful one with a touch of sweetness. Cher-ry Heering is a great option for the brandy and fresh squeezedorange juice is definitely recommended. Oftenly very popularaddition to a midsummer party, gathering or just a hot after-noon in the sun. Timeless and tasty.1.25 oz Corner Creek Bourbon0.75 oz St. Germain0.5 oz fresh lemon juiceTopped with ginger beer8 dashes angostura bittersBuild the bourbon, liqueur, and lemonjuice in a collins glass filled with ice.Garnish with 8 dashes of angostura.The Dragon’s Heart cocktail was created by New York Citymixologist Ektoras Binikos of Art & Spirit Mixology for RonAbuelo Rum. The occasion was the date 12/12/12, the sup-posedly luckiest day most of us will see in our lifetimes andbecause 2012 falls in the Year of the Dragon, Ron Abuelo had12 mixologists create 12 cocktails using their 12 year old rum.There is a lot going on in this drink and you have an optionthat will decide how deep the flavor actually goes. The choiceis given for you to mix either elderflower cordial or a house-made mint-citrus sryup, two polar opposites when it comes toa sweetener. Personally, I like the elderflower option, thoughthere’s nothing wrong with the syrup. As yet another option,if you do not have or cannot find an elderflower cordial, St.Germain liqueur is a fine substitute and a bottle that is veryhandy to have at hand anyway.1 1/2 oz of Ron Abuelo 12 Años Rum1/2 oz of Domain de Canton ginger liqueur3/4 oz of mezcal3/4 oz Elderflower cordial1 1/2 oz of blood orange juice26 | Suited Spirits 1/20133/4 oz scotch whisky3/4 oz cherry brandy3/4 oz sweet vermouth3/4 oz gin3/4 oz orange juiceOrange slice for garnishPour the ingredients into acocktail shaker filled with ice.Shake well.Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.Garnish with an orange slice.I fell in love with the Pisco Sour in a Peruvian restaurant wheremany other pisco drinks adorned the menu. This cocktail is re-freshing and one of the most popular drinks in Peru and Chile,where pisco is typically produced.Pisco is an unaged brandy but it has unique characteristics andthis simple sour drink is a great introduction to it. If drinkingraw egg concerns you feel free to use an egg substitute.The Dragons Heart1 1/2 ounce pisco3/4 ounce lemon juice1 ounce simple syrup egg white3 dashes angostura bittersPisco SourBlood and SandSkeleton Key
  27. 27. New drinks | 27The bartender is undoubtedly the magicianwho can transform just an average nightout into an experience you’ll never forget.Not only crafting the perfect drinks for youto sip, but also setting the mood in the bar.The bartender who knows when to strikeup a conversation with you or when toleave you to the company of your friendsis a rare gem.Photos and text: Ian McKellen //
  28. 28. This same pursuit of excellence over sixgenerations lies behind the creation of thisunique and special Scotch Whisky fromKinloch Anderson.What could be more natural for a company steeped inScottish tradition than to have a bespoke blend of maltwhisky made to its own character and style, and nowwe can offer it to our discerning clients.Only the finest Malt Scotch whisky produced in theHighlands is used in this rich and elegant blend. Thegolden spirit warms and rewards the most discerningconnoisseur with its delicious marriage of complex flavoursand aromas – reminiscent of chocolate and dark fruits,vanilla and rare spices – to be savoured and appreciatedwith cool water or ice.The finest young spirit, the‘distiller’s cut’ soon begins itslong sleep in small oak casks. Hand-selected, alreadyaged and mature, the casks steadily impart their colourand individual character to the adolescent whiskyuntil, after many years, it emerges, ready to be blendedaccording to the individual choice of our master.Our malt whisky starts life in the the traditionaldistilleries of the remote Highland region of Scot-land; a beautiful country with high peaks, cool pureair, deep green glens and clear burns of tumbling water.lendinglendsesidesill28 | Suited Spirits 1/2013By: Stevie Wonder // articles@sspirited.comPhotos: Ian McKellen //
  29. 29. These distilleries produce the same fine malt spirit asthey have for more than a hundred years.All malt whiskies have distinct individual charactersaccording to their origin. Some are soft and sweet, others,more demanding and complex.Our master blender applies his art,honed over many yearswith confidence and deliberation to bring these characterstogether to a harmonious and delightful conclusion.Married first in old oak casks they mingle and adaptto each other before their final journey into the bottle.The finest young spirit, the ‘distiller’s cut’ soon beginsits long sleep in small oak casks.Hand-selected, already aged and mature, the caskssteadily impart their colour and individual characterto the adolescent whisky until, after many years,it emerges, ready to be blended according to theindividual choice of our master.Blending blends | 29