In this case I've received several fine bottles that I'd like to share with you. The first one is Ireland in every sip. The Spirit of Dublin, Teeling Whiskey is one such example of high quality. They represent Ireland in each sip, in fact when I uncorked the bottle, the very aroma placed me on the Temple Bar, enjoying the mist against my face and Irish Whiskey woven into coffee, filling my belly with happy warmth.
I'm trying not to lose sleep over claims about what Craft Distilling means outside of marketing, nor am I getting bent out of shape about "Small Batch" and what actually constitutes that statement in the broad context of the word.
But what I will say is Teeling Whiskey makes statements on their label about the lack of chill filtration and the fact that they use former rum casks for a deeper and sweeter finish. What I do know is that they use cork on their bottle finish and I do like that extra effort for quality.
I also like the bottle shape and the color- a deep brown/green/black that should ostensibly protect the fine spirits held within from damaging rays of the sun. Who knows, but it certainly is a handsome bottle design.
The label evokes the feeling of another time- perhaps less hurried. And when enjoyed out of my Bormioli tasting glass, I truly get what this whiskey has to offer.
It's really luscious in the mouth and it finishes astonishingly sweet without a hint of smoke- because in Ireland their whiskies are sweet in their flavor profile.
For that reason I like to craft cocktails with Irish Whiskey
Teeling is as good as I've had in what appears to be a well crafted spirit. It's something new and I know you will want to taste it. So seek it out and don't be afraid to mix it up a bit. To that end I offer you a fine cocktail.
Black Irish Smash
We know that adventurous Spanish sailors followed the Gulf Stream up to Ireland looking for conquests and fishing grounds. Some stayed and gave the island an entirely new population. Black Irish people, are the amalgamation of Irish people and those Spanish sailors. Hence the cocktail.
2 oz. Teeling "Small Batch" Irish Whiskey
4 oz. home-made lemonade - Sweetened to taste with your own mint simple syrup (Mint Simple Syrup 1:1 mint to sugar to 1 cup almost boiling water- steep overnight or longer in the fridge and then filter out mint)
1 oz. Mountain Valley Sparkling Water
4 drops El Guapo Chicory-Pecan Bitters
very tiny pinch of sea salt
To a mixing glass, fill 3/4 with ice
add the lemonade and pour the whiskey over the top and stir until mixed
Strain into two rocks glasses with one cracked 2x2 cube in each
Top with a splash of the sparkling water, add a very small pinch of sea salt
Finish with the bitters and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint for clarity
Barrell Bourbon is clearly getting my attention because it tastes like success. Good luck finding it though- you can make this your quest, like that of Pappy Van Winkle, another very hard to get commodity. I think that Barrell is a bit easier to get because of the nature of distribution. They are not a huge company yet, so sale of this whiskey is pretty normal. If you find it, buy it because a case is just six bottles and there aren't too many of them around.
But why give you only bad news?
That's certainly not my intention.
They say that Barrell Bourbon served at cask strength is just too strong for most palates. So it needs a bit of water to reveal the inner flavors. But I think it needs some mixing up. Perhaps that's just the twisted part of why I love what I do. May I suggest doing a wash with Lucid Absinthe in your glass? Then some pineapple that has been both grilled and then juiced? Perhaps a sage leaf, lit on fire and the smoke captured by the inside of a Boston shaker? The honor for teaching me this technique is firmly on the shoulders of the head bartender from Secreto in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Chris Milligan. He taught me this art.
Ah.. it's darned good stuff. Pay attention though. This cocktail does work with any high proof bourbon or rye.
3 oz. Barrell Bourbon (bottling 002, because 001 just isn't around any longer)
1/4 oz. Lucid Absinthe- wash rocks glasses with Lucid Absinthe and a bit of ice to cool, let sit
2 oz. Grilled Pineapple juice
1 oz. Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit juice
2-3 Sage Leaves
1 oz. Simple Syrup
3-6 Drops of El Guapo Gumbo Bitters
Sprig of mint
Light your sage in a fireproof ashtray
Capture the sage smoke in your Boston Shaker
Fill the Boston Shaker 3/4 with ice (and the sage smoke)
Add the juices and the simple Syrup
Add the Barrell Bourbon
Cap and shake for 20 seconds
Pour out the water and the Lucid absinthe into your mouth (why waste good liquor?)
Add 1 cube of 2x2 ice to each glass
Pour your mixture over the ice
Dot with the El Guapo Gumbo Bitters
Garnish with the mint
Serve to a happy camper