October Spirit of the Month: Brandy!

by Jake Rollin

With the weather starting to cool off, brandy immediately came to mind as the spirit of the month. While most people are familiar with grape based brandies (think Korbel or E&J), fruit brandies have gone relatively under the radar. However, with the wide variety of fruits that can be used to distill brandy, fruit brandies deserve their time in the spotlight! 

Brandy refers to spirits distilled from a variety of fruits. The most traditional form is made with grapes, this includes cognac and Armagnac, but fruit brandies can be made with any number of fruits. Brandy dates back as far as the 14th century, when it was used traditionally as medicine, though distilled spirits made from fruit date back even further. These days, the most popular forms of fruit brandies come from apples, cherries, and pears. 

While the flavor profile of grape brandies is generally rooted in an earthy sweetness, taking on vanilla and caramel notes from the barrel, many fruit brandies are often unaged. This allows the intense fruit flavors to come through, creating a unique drinking experience. 

A number of classic cocktails use grape brandy as the base spirit, but fruit brandies can be easily subbed in to change the flavor profile and create a new cocktail all together. This month, we’re featuring three fruit brandies, all made from different fruits. Check them out below! 

Laird’s is a traditional US apple brandy. Aged for a minimum of four years in government bonded warehouses and bottled at 100 proof, this apple brandy stands up incredibly well in cocktails. Its flavor profile is less earthy than its grape based counterparts, with a kick of apple spice on the finish. Try it in an Old Fashioned or a sour style cocktail! 

Made from Bartlett pears, Dampfwerks Unaged Pear Brandy is a delicious example of fruit brandy. We recommend drinking this one straight, as the flavor profile is subtle, though it would be great in cocktails too. Beautiful floral notes are followed by subtle sweetness. 

    Kirschwasser is a traditional German cherry brandy. If you’re making fondue and it calls for Kirsch, this is what you want. Kirschwasser has been enjoyed as an aperitif/digestif for many, many years in Germany. Schladerer Kirschwasser is made using Black Forest cherries. It’s dry and very cherry forward, with notes of almond on the finish. 

    Brandy Apple Snap

    Apple Brandy Cocktail
    • 2oz Laird’s Bottled in Bond Apple Brandy
    • 1oz Du Nord Pronounced Apple
    • 0.75oz Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
    • 1 Barspoon/tsp Simple Syrup (optional)

    Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir until well chilled, approximately 30 seconds. Strain into a double old-fashioned glass with fresh ice. Express a lemon peel over the top, twist, and garnish.

    Spiced Orchard Sour

    Apple brandy cocktail in front of some Mums
    • 2oz Laird’s Bottled in Bond Apple Brandy
    • 1oz Lemon Juice
    • 0.75oz Allspice Dram
    • 0.75oz Licor 43
    Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well chilled. Fine strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.

    A Few 2023 Oktoberfest Picks

    It’s impossible as always to pick true favorite Oktoberfest beers and seasonal fall brews, but as September wraps up soon, we did want to get a few on your radar!

    This is the Fest Beer (golden in color) that you’d be drinking under the tent in Munich right now.  Only shipped to the US during the Fall.  Golden, crisp and snappy.  A style that makes you want to have another.  One of our go-to Fest beers each year and we celebrate when it arrives.  

    Our most popular selling German Oktoberfest Marzen (amber in color) and most of the staffs favorite Marzen Oktoberfest.  When I close my eyes and think of what a Marzen Lager smells, looks and tastes like, this is the beer I picture in my mind.  A true Classic. 

    We’ve been selling Andechs are a while now, but this is the 1st time the Festbier has been available in Minnesota.   A monastic brewery at the Abbey run by its monks, this Festbier has been flying off the shelf here at the store.  One of the more limited items on this list.  Grab it while you can.  Classic is every way.  You’ll love it. 

    This Sauvignon Blanc is super fresh and zingy with bright lemon citrus, chalk and wet stones. It’s a medium-bodied, transparent sauvignon with a taut palate. Dry and delicious!

    A Fall limited release cider that tastes like fresh pressed orchard apple juice, pumpkin and chai spice.  We sell A TON of this and it’s very hard not to like this cider.  Almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face when you drink it.   Drinking this outside as the leaves change colordoesn’t get much better.

    September Spirit of the Month: Bourbon!

    bourbon barrel

    by Jake Rollin

    September is National Bourbon Heritage Month, so we thought it’d be a great time to make bourbon our France 44 Spirit of the Month! 

    The history of bourbon can be traced back to when European colonists first settled in America. They brought with them a love of distilled spirits, but lacked the ingredients to make what they had been distilling in Europe.

    Corn, however, was abundant in America and gradually began to be used for distillation. Early American whiskey consisted of mainly rye with corn as a secondary ingredient. By 1770, the bourbon we have come to know began to take shape and corn became the main ingredient.

    Today, “bourbon” is defined as a spirit made in the United States (not just Kentucky) with a mash bill of at least 51% corn. The whiskey must be aged in new, charred oak barrels, though there isn’t a requirement for how long it must be aged. For a label to read “straight bourbon,” the whiskey must be aged for a minimum of two years. Terms like “bottled-in-bond” are simply stricter requirements beyond the base requirements.

    The bourbon “mash bill,” which is essentially the grain recipe for whiskey, varies from brand to brand, but is generally made of corn, rye, and malted barley. Wheated bourbons contain wheat rather than rye and generally have a softer, sweeter palate. 

    Bourbon was named the national spirit of the US in 1964. There are a huge number of brands and producers, all with varying mash bills and styles, and countless cocktails are centered around bourbon, including classics like the Old Fashioned and the Mint Julep. Below are some of our favorite bourbons, both for sipping straight or mixing into a cocktail! 

    Four Roses is based in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky and was officially founded in 1888, with its current distillery being built in 1910. Four Roses has ten distinct recipes they use for their bourbons with various four-letter combinations (OESK, OESV, etc.) The Small Batch offering combines four of these ten recipes and is aged between six and seven years. The result is a smooth bourbon with rich caramel and soft notes of ripe red fruits. This is one of our favorites for cocktails but it’s excellent to sip on as well. 

    New Riff is a relatively new distillery in the bourbon world, established in 2014. However, don’t let that fool you; this bourbon is just as nuanced as any of the big brands. Following the guidelines laid out by the Bottled-in-Bond act of 1897, New Riff bourbon is aged a minimum of four years and bottled at 100 proof. Their high rye mash bill creates a wonderfully complex palate with rich notes of caramel and vanilla followed by a lasting finish of clove and white pepper. Try it in your favorite cocktail or on its own, we think you’ll love it. 

      Calumet Farm was a dominant name in the horse racing world long before they stepped into the bourbon arena. In 2013, Calumet launched their line of bourbons, specializing in whiskies with age statements of eight years or more. Their 16 year offering is the oldest one they’ve offered yet, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Rich smoke leads on the nose, followed by lighter aromas of toasted almonds, with cherries and citrus revealing themselves as the bourbon breathes. Light rye spice followed by deep fruit flavors dominate the palate. The finish is soft, with light smoke and toasted wood notes. This is a true masterclass in bourbon that any afficionado should treat themselves to at least once. 

      The Peachy Keen Bourbon Sour

      Bourbon and peach are one of those flavors combinations that always seems to be a crowd pleaser, and this is no exception! Four Roses Small Batch brings a wonderful base of caramel and vanilla that, when combined with the peach, creates almost a peach cobbler flavor. The lemon juice lifts everything with bright acidity, and the simple syrup makes all the flavors pop and adds some body to the cocktail. Perfect for the last few weeks of beautiful Minnesota weather! 

       

      2oz Four Roses Small Batch 

      1oz Lemon Juice 

      0.75oz Mathilde Peach 

      0.5oz Simple Syrup 

       

      Add all the ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake until well chilled. Fine strain into a rocks glass with ice or straight up into a coupe. Garnish with a lemon wheel. 

      Summer’s Not Over Just Yet!

      Birdeye view of picnic with baguette, cheese, drink

      It’s hard to believe that it’s already the last week of August. Time to fit in all the last minute summer bucket list items, the kayaks and bike rides and hikes. But also time to relax, hammock, go to the beach, picnic in the park. So between your outdoor adventures, trips to the state fair, and trips to target to pick up all of the school supplies, we encourage you make time for a relaxing picnic this next week. And luckily, we’re here with the perfect beverage recommendations for just that.

      Bell’s Oberon is a wheat ale fermented with Bell’s signature house ale yeast, mixing a spicy hop character with mildly fruity aromas. The addition of wheat malt lends a smooth mouthfeel, making it a classic summer beer. 5.8% ABV.

      Brewed with premium 2-row barley, the finest American hops, a touch of flaked corn, and Mexican Lager yeast. A true Mexican Lager with a hint of lime. 4.8% ABV.

      The Zenn Clusterfruit is a THC Tonic flavored with mango, passion fruit, pineapple and pink guava. The fruitiness screams summer and 10mg of THC per can guarantees a relaxing, summer afternoon.

      This Sauvignon Blanc is super fresh and zingy with bright lemon citrus, chalk and wet stones. It’s a medium-bodied, transparent sauvignon with a taut palate. Dry and delicious!

      This is the perfect summertime red. Delivering bright red currant fruit, rose petal aromas and chalky minerals, this is made of the indigenous grape Cianoros, which tastes like Nebbiolo without the tannins or a richer version of Schiava. This is delicious served with a slight chill.

      This bagged cocktail screams boat day. One pouch serves 12 fruity, light cocktails at 12% ABV. The bright, citrusy grapefruit and zingy ginger will leave you coming back for seconds and thirds. Just chill the pouch, shake, and serve out of the convenient pour spout!

      Hayman’s Vibrant Citrus Gin has a rich juniper backbone complemented by the vivid aromas and flavors of distilled citrus: mandarin, pomelo, kumquat, and Persian lime. The depth and brightness of this gin is the result of distilling the sun-dried fruit peels together with the classic ten Hayman’s botanicals, as part of a unique two-day process. Bring a bottle of Hayman’s Vibrant Citrus and some Light Tonic on the go for an easy, refreshing cocktail that screams summer.

      Strawberry Basil Smash!

      We’re excited to be carrying Tattersall’s new Rosso Gin in the shop! Tattersall released this limited edition gin last month, and they only produced about 2000 bottles of it, so you better pick one up while you have the chance!

      For the base gin, Tattersall partnered with Indeed Brewing to use some of their Mexican Honey (you all know the iconic Mexican Honey Light!). Then, they added rose petal and violet as well as strawberry and raspberry to this batch. The honey brings out the floral fruitiness, producing a gin with a touch of sweetness and a lovely aroma. It screams summer, both in appearance and in flavor. 

      This gin is the perfect compliment to fresh fruits and herbs. If you follow us on Instagram or shop in our store, then you must know by now about our new rooftop garden. We love to talk about it – we’re growing all sorts of herbs, fruits, and veggies up on the roof, including sweet little strawberries & more basil than we could ever use! Those two inspired this cocktail. The strawberry Basil Smash is perfect for anyone who loves fruity drinks. Here’s the recipe: 

      2 oz Tattersall Rosso Gin

      1 oz Lemon Juice

      ½ oz Simple Syrup

      2 Strawberries

      2 Large Basil Leaves

      1. Muddle the strawberries and basil with simple syrup in your shaker.
      2. Add lemon juice, gin, and lots of ice. Shake very well. 
      3. Serve over ice, and garnish with a sprig of basil! 
      Pink cocktail, garnished with basil, sits in front of a bottle of Tattersall Rosso Gin.

      August Spirit of the Month: Rum!

      by Tom Schneider

      With National Rum Day nestled in the middle of August, we thought now would be a fantastic time to highlight one of the oldest spirits on Earth!  

      Rum has been produced all over the world, wherever sugarcane has been cultivated, with fermentation dating back to New Guinea around 350 B.C. or earlier. The original concept was simple: ferment and distill excess sugarcane that had not been utilized for agricultural consumption. 

      After people acquired a taste for rum, it became a thriving industry in the 17th century, with its roots dating back to the 15th century in Brazil in the form of Cachaca. 

      Many forms of sugar can be distilled. Molasses produces a sweeter style of spirit, while raw sugarcane produces a dryer, earthier spirit that became popular in Martinique thanks to the French. During the boom of colonial trade patterns, the sugarcane industry shifted towards selling bulk supplies to Europe and the United States, where they were aged and bottled. 

      Rum is a truly global spirit, with regulations varying between countries, villages, and even companies. This ambiguity has led to confusion regarding the terminology used and what can and cannot be added to rum in its pure bottled form, including sugar, coloring, and other additives. In this article, we have highlighted some of our favorite rums that are free of additive sugars, as well as a brand new ready-to-drink daiquiri that we found to be exceptional. We would love to hear your thoughts! 

      Plantation is a rum company based in France made by Pierre Ferrand, a famed cognac house that blends and bottled rums from around the globe. Xaymaca is a blend of 100% pot still rums that show Jamaica’s famed style of “funk”. This funky flavor is called “Hogo coming from the term “Haut Gout” meaning high taste which comes across as caramelized fermented pineapples and over ripe bananas. Since this rum has zero added sugars, they have dubbed this “special dry,” you really get the true tropical fruit notes without the added levels of sweetness. This rum is best suited for classic Mai Tais and Daiquiris. 

      Faraday is named after a famous cable ship that ran the first transatlantic telegraph cable from the U.S. to Europe in 1874. The ship later laid cable all over the world and spent much of her 50-year life working in the Caribbean, connecting the world via telegraph. This beautiful gold rum is a blend of three West Indian rums from a mix of family-owned and environmentally conscious distilleries: 

      • 5 year from Barbados giving off caramel and oak spice 
      • 5 year from the Dominican Republic adding butterscotch and vanilla 
      • Unaged Rum Agricole from Martinique adding citrus zest and a grassy finish 
      Faraday’s result is a unique blend of styles that creates its own signature flavor, neither overly sweet nor heavy. This makes it a perfect choice for both whiskey and rum drinkers alike, and it is well-suited for classic rum cocktails like the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan. It is best enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or mixed with lime and ginger beer. 

      Canned cocktails have become increasingly popular in recent years, with many high-quality options now available. In the past, we were skeptical of ready-to-drink classic cocktails and only carried products that truly impressed us. Tip Top’s Daiquiri knocked our socks off. Despite its small size, this can is packed with all the flavor of a classic daiquiri, made with Jamaican rum, packed with pineapple and blended with lime citrus and a touch of sweetness. Bring these cans to the lake, the movies, or the park! 

      France 44 Signature Rum Cocktail Recipes

      1.5 oz Plantation Pineapple Rum

      0.75 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao

      0.75 oz Lime Juice

      0.5 oz Orgeat 

      Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake briefly. Strain into a rocks glass with crushed ice and float an additional 0.5 oz of pineapple rum on top. Garnish with a lime wheel. 

      How do you take a cocktail that screams “summer” and make it even more summer-y? Add in some pineapple! Plantation Pineapple Rum is a fantastic addition that take this cocktail in a new direction! Served up on crushed ice, nothing beats this one on a hot day!

      Our take on a classic daiquiri…

      2 oz White Rum

      1 oz Chinola Passion Fruit Liqueur

      0.75 oz Lime Juice

      Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a lime wheel.

      The Daiquiri is an easy, classic cocktail, and the addition of the Chinola passion fruit liqueur takes it to the next level. The bright, slightly tart flavor of the Chinola pairs incredibly well with the rum and lime to create a new twist on a summer favorite!

      Summer is fleeting in Minnesota so let’s make the most of August with some rum drinks on the patio at your next get-together or barbeque! 

      Demystifying Wine Icons

      bunches of white grapes

      written by Karina Roe

      icon (ī-kän): a thing widely admired especially for having great influence or significance in a particular sphere 

      Over the years, it’s been my personal mission to take wine down off the pedestal and make it more approachable to more people. After all, wine at its most basic level is just alcoholic juice made from crushed-up grapes that were grown by a farmer. There is no literal magic involved with winemaking—we’re the ones who assign magic to wine. 

      With that notion in mind, it’s curious to entertain why some wines are “better” than others—why they cost more, why there’s more demand, why they’re higher quality, why you’re supposed to enjoy drinking them more. Why does the world know about Sancerre but not about Frontenac Gris? Why did you pay (thousands) more for your DRC than I did for mybox wine? Some of those questions have obvious answers, but some of them don’t.  

      The wine world has built up its own canon of wine “icons” over many hundreds of years. Some of these icons have historical or geographical significance. Others have become icons because their consumption and popularity were influenced by an important ruler, center of commerce, or fashion trend. Sweet wines, for example, have had a particularly strong presence in the “icons” category, simply because the taste of sweetness many hundreds of years ago was rare and very prized (especially to northern Europeans).  

      There’s much to be said about making wine more accessible and less stuffy and exclusive, and part of that accessibility comes by way of education. Learning the history and process behind these iconic wines (as well as the conflated stories and myths)provides insight and connection as to why they’re iconic. It also gives you the agency to make your own decisions about these wines and the structures they exist within.  

      We’re featuring a fascinating lineup of these “icons” in our upcoming “Decadent White Wine Icons” class on August 16th, where we’ll learn how to deconstruct the mystical aura around these wines before building them back up and returning the magic to them. We say in every one of our classes that there’s no such thing as a dumb question (only the one left unasked), but that’s even more prevalent in this particular class. This unique class is all about asking “why” these wines are the way they are, so come prepared to have some fantastic, in-depth conversations while tasting some of the most heralded white wines from around the world—and learn to assign your own magic to them. 

      The World of Pét-Nats

      written by Karina Roe

      This ancient method for making sparkling wine has become extremely popular over the past several years and has become a go-to for those looking for exciting new flavors and textures in their wine. From having a handful of bottles on our shelves to now dedicating an entire section (and wine class!) to this category, it’s clear that Pét-Nats are more than just a passing fad. Although “Pét-Nat” is a loosely defined term, wines labeled as such often (though not always) follow these general rules: 

      • Made using the Ancestral Method (part way through the first fermentation the wine is bottled and then the 1st fermentation finishes in the bottle resulting in carbonation) 
      • Bottled unfiltered/without disgorgement. Yes, there may be sediment or even chunks in your wine! It is harmless and will settle to the bottom of the bottle if undisturbed. (Or, do a gentle shake before opening to get it fully integrated!) 
      • Topped with a metal crown cap instead of the traditional sparkling wine cork. 
      • Often slightly lower in alcohol 
      • Less carbonation than traditional method sparkling wines like Champagne 

      But just like any wine category, Pét-Nats vary widely in color, aroma, texture, and flavor: They can taste sour and funky like your favorite kombucha, or they can be reminiscent of a traditional sparkling wine. They can be bone-dry or semi-sweet. But as long as you like a little bubble to your wine, you’re sure to find a Pét-Nat that fits your palate.  

      And if you’re not sure where to start, our Pét-Nat Party happening on August 8th is the perfect way to dive into this exciting collection of wines! You’ll get to learn the art behind Pét-Nat production and the unconventional techniques involved as you taste through some of our favorite producers. After a short guided tasting, you’ll enjoy a casual tasting environment at your own pace while you nibble on cheese and snacks. Seats are filling up fast, so don’t wait to register! Below are a couple class features that you can look forward to: 

      Statera Cellars is owned and operated by two good friends in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. The base Chardonnay for this bottle was fermented in half neutral French oak and half tank until nearly dry, then put into one large tank to go through the rest of fermentation to achieve a well-balanced, salty, delicious, and quaffable bubbly. 

      This is part Pét-Nat, part “chillable red” and is made entirely from a light, high-acid red grape called Grignolino. Poderi Cellario hails from Italy’s Piedmont region—also home to heavy-hitters like Barolo and Barbaresco—but the younger generation presents “La Grinozza” as an alternative to introduce a wider wine audience to all the styles Piedmont is truly capable of. 

      July Spirit of the Month: Agave!

      Green & red drawing of an agave plant

      written by Jake

      When you think agave, you probably instantly think of Tequila. The history of Tequila goes back thousands of years. Before it became the distilled spirit we know and love today though, it started out as something called Pulque. Pulque is a milky white fermented beverage made from the fermented sap of the Agave plant. It’s believed to have been consumed as early as 1000 B.C. by the Olmec people. When the Spainards arrived in Mexico, they began distilling the Pulque and the first iteration of Tequila (or more likely Mezcal) was born. 

      Tequila

      There are several strict rules surrounding Tequila. Tequila must be made using only Blue Weber Agave. Tequila can also only legally be made in the Mexican states of Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. Agave based spirits can be made in other places, they just can’t be called Tequila.  

      The other big thing to watch out for in the Tequila industry is whether or not Tequila has additives. The main additives that are used in the industry are various sweeteners, vanilla, citrus, or oak flavorings, and caramel coloring. If a producer keeps the amount of additives below 1%, they don’t have to tell you they’re using them. Additives don’t necessarily make Tequila bad, but the lack of transparency in the production of the product can be frustrating. Luckily, there are many brands that are certified additive free (ask one of our staff members about our “Additive Free Tequila section”). Here are a couple recommendations for our favorite additive free tequilas: 

      Tres Agaves is an excellent, certified additive free producer. Their Blanco Tequila is bright and citrusy, with some white pepper notes on the finish. It makes an excellent Margarita and is even good enough to sip on straight! Try it in a France 44 Passion Fruit Margarita! 

      Mijenta is an additive free, sustainably made Tequila. Maestra Tequilera, Ana Maria Romero, has worked incredibly hard to create a Tequila that is both sustainable, and representative of the unique terroir of the Jalisco highlands. She has succeeded in creating an intensely aromatic and flavorful tequila that brings waves of citrus, honey, and melon flavors. This one is truly a spirits team favorite. 

      Mezcal

      While tequila can only be made using a single type of Agave, Mezcal can be made using 30 different types. This allows for a wide range of flavors in Mezcal, ranging from briny and smokey to bright and fruity. The Mexican state that produces the most Mezcal by far is Oaxaca, but there are 12 total states that can make it. Mezcal can also be made with multiple types of Agaves in one bottle, allowing for Mezcaleros to play with flavors as they see fit. 

      An ensamble between Espadin and Barril Agaves, Banhez is fantastic for sipping or mixing. The different agaves create a beautiful flavor profile that has notes of tropical fruits with a hearty, smokey backbone. This is a great Mezcal for newbies and Mezcal veterans alike. Try it in our France 44 Uniform cocktail! 

      Classic Margarita Recipe

      • 1 oz lime juice
      • 0.5 oz simple syrup or agave syrup
      • 0.5 oz orange liqueur
      • 2 oz Tres Agaves Blanco Tequila

      Add all ingredients to shaker filled with ice. Shake about 15 seconds until well chilled. Pour with ice into class and garnish with a lime wheel.

      Tom & Dustin go to Kentucky!

      Man poses in front of white barn with Jim Beam logo

      by Tom Schneider & Dustin Harkins

      Here at France 44, we love to bring our customers ‘barrel picks’—bottled spirits from exclusive barrels that we handpick ourselves. These barrels are most often bourbon or rye, but we have dabbled in tequila and scotch exclusives as well when the right opportunity arises. The process differs from distillery to distillery: some will send us samples, some bottled straight at cask strength, and some cut down to normal proof.   

      Occasionally, we are offered a special barrel that can only be picked out in-person at the source. We go down to Kentucky to pick out straight from the source. We were lucky enough this year to be invited down to Four Roses to pick out a cask strength barrel from one of their 10 unique recipes. The catch is we must get to Cox’s Creek outside of Bardstown, Kentucky to select our special barrel. Tom & Dustin did just that at the end of May to secure our customers a barrel that will be showing up right in time for the fall and bourbon season.  

      Six barrels of Four Roses Bourbon sit against a wall with a Four Roses sign

      Getting the chance to pick out a Cask Strength Private Barrel of Four Roses is certainly a treat but to get one you must get invited down to their bottling facility in Cox’s Creek a half hour south of Louisville. This is where Mandy Vance, the Manager of the Private Barrel Selection Program, rules her roost. Mandy hosts Four Roses best customers from all over the country giving them an opportunity to pick out a unique barrel from one of their ten recipes. If you are lucky enough, they will have a barrel of each for you to sample and choose from.

      Four Roses has two mash bills:

      1. High rye: 60% Corn, 35% Rye, 5% Barley (known as their “OB” mash bill, their flagship)
      2. Low Rye: 75% Corn, 20% Rye, 5% Barley (known as their “OE” mash bill, much rarer)

      To get up to 10 recipes, they also have five unique yeast strains (SV, SK, SO, SQ, SF) that control most of the fermentation process and much of the final flavors of the bourbon:

      1. OBSV: Delicate fruit and rye  
      2. OBSK: Rye and baking spice  
      3. OBSO: Rich fruit  
      4. OBSQ: Rye and light floral character  
      5. OBSF: Delicate rye and mint  
      6. OESV: Delicate fruit and caramel  
      7. OESK: Baking spice  
      8. OESO: Rich fruit and vanilla  
      9. OESQ: Delicate grains and light floral character  
      10. OESF: Herbs and mint  

      Mandy sits you down with plenty of water and salty snacks to help guide you through ten single barrels. Some people ask about the recipes beforehand, but we chose to taste them blind and let the chips fall where they may. Only after we narrowed down the field from ten to closer to three, then we find out the recipe, ages, and the rough estimate of how much bourbon is left in the barrel.

      We landed on a ten-year barrel of OESK. This recipe is known for its sweet cinnamon and clove properties, the barrel we chose has a good dose of rich dark cherry fruit to complement its complex spices. Hopefully this barrel will be arriving the beginning of September!

      The bourbon trail is an amazing experience when done correctly. It is an experience unlike no other, but it does take some patience and planning. Most distilleries are in either Frankfort or Bardstown, about an hour away from Louisville in different directions, east and south respectively. While you may not be drinking that much on these tours (they are not open bars by any means), it is important to eat and drink beforehand, plan out a designated driver, and try not to visit more than two distilleries a day. The heat, travel, and any alcohol consumption will tire you out faster than you may anticipate. Both Frankfort and Bardstown should take at least two days each if you want to savor the experience and experience it to the best of your ability.

       

      We made it a point to check out Jim Beam for some amazing food before we ventured to Four Roses to pick our single barrel. Jim Beam comes highly recommended if you want some great food and ambiance before you hit the road. We also made it out to the Bernheim National Forest, highly recommend going, and saw some forest giants! 

      In the meantime, while we wait for these barrels, we do have a small amount left of our Barrel Proof Ezra Brooks High Rye Bourbon brimming with raspberry fruit and spice and our caramel forward Stellum Single Barrel Bourbon available right now. In the coming months we will also have a brand new 8-year barrel proof Elijah Craig Bourbon Barrel brimming with light fruit and creamy vanilla as well as our second ever Rittenhouse 100 proof rye single barrel boasting bright spice and complexity, perfect for cocktails and sipping alike. We are always looking for more unique single barrels to bring our loyal patrons and we’ll keep you updated on future offerings when we have more news!