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Fellow bourbon brothers and sisters, St. Patrick’s Day is upon us. Originally celebrated as a religious holiday, St. Patrick’s Day has now developed into a secular celebration of all things Irish. And although we wouldn’t mind finding a pot of gold, we’ll stick with bourbon in lieu of Irish whiskey. But what’s the difference, you ask?
Whiskey is essentially any spirit distilled from fermented grain mash. There are several varieties, all with their own distinct classifications and characteristics. In honor of today’s festivities, let’s focus on Irish whiskey and, of course, our beloved bourbon.
You’ve probably heard the saying “all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.” So what makes whiskey bourbon? The law.
Now Irish whiskey on the other hand, doesn’t have to play by those rules. It does, however, have to be produced in Ireland and aged in wooden casks for at least three years. It’s also produced using single pot still,
Every Bottle tells a Story.
Bottles. Sometimes it seems I’m surrounded by bottles. Bottles being filled at the distillery. Pouring from bottles. Talking about what’s in the bottles when I’m teaching a class. Bottles behind the bar where I’m enjoying a drink with friends. That decanter bottle at home for when it’s time to unwind after a busy week of being surrounded by…. Bottles. Bottles. Bottles.
I’ve always been one to believe it’s what inside the bottle that counts and that’ll never change, but many years ago a good friend and fellow bourbon man told me that every bottle tells a story. I came to understand that while there are a lot of exceptional whiskies out there, if you’re lucky, not only will the taste profile give you some insight into its history but the bottle itself will add its own unique story. Just so happens that Knob Creek® bourbon and its bottle have a story to tell.
The creator of Knob Creek®, Booker Noe, and his well-known
Before you even taste your bourbon, and give it the famous Kentucky Chew, there’s a lot you can tell about the liquid just from looking at it. The next time you’re lucky enough to have yourself two fingers’ worth of Knob Creek® Bourbon, give it a swirl. The liquid will run down the sides of the glass, forming little lines. These are called “legs.”
Now if these legs could talk, they’d tell you a few things. If the lines are thick, and run down the side of the glass slowly, the bourbon will have a thicker, stickier texture in your mouth. This thickness, also known as viscosity, can also indicate the bourbon’s age. The thicker the lines, the older the bourbon. Check out the legs on Knob Creek® Bourbon. After a good swirl, they take their time on the way down, reflecting the patient aging and big, full flavor characteristic of Knob Creek®.
So don’t be afraid to say, “nice legs.” Just make sure you’re talkin’ about bourbon.
If Booker Noe loved anything as much as he loved bourbon, it was probably smoked meats. That man was all about flavor. So much so that he even had his own smokehouse in his backyard. Today, as a thank you for the many offerings of a farmhouse favorite, and a tribute to Booker, we’re pairing the classic bourbon cocktail with a classic cut of pig.
• 3 tsp. *Brown Sugar Simple Syrup
• 3 dashes of Orange Bitters
• Orange Peel
• 1 ½ parts Knob Creek® Smoked Maple
• 1 Strip of **Candied Bacon
• Cut the bacon strip in half and chop one half of the bacon into small pieces
o Reserve the other half for making Candied Bacon (recipe below)
• Combine bacon pieces, brown sugar simple syrup and bitters to a cocktail shaker
• Add ice to the cocktail shake and proceed to shake about a dozen times
• Double strain the mixture into a low ball glass with fresh ice removing the bacon pieces
• Add Knob
Those fancy French words don’t mean much if they don’t have the flavor to back them up. Fortunately, this classic New Orleans cocktail has enough flavor for the whole French Quarter – which just so happens to be where the drink got its namesake. Vieux Carré translates into “old square,” what they used to call the now famous NOLA neighborhood. But enough talking about it. Let’s get to drinkin’.
½ part Knob Creek® Rye Whiskey
½ part Courvoisier® Cognac
½ part sweet vermouth
4 dashes Bénédictine® Liqueur
2 dashes Peychaud’s® Bitters
2 dashes Angostura® Bitters
Lemon twist, for garnish
1. Add whiskey, cognac, vermouth, bitters and ice to a cocktail mixer.
2. Stir until chilled through, and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
3. Garnish with a lemon twist and serve.
Bourbon boys sure know how to turn on the charm. Keep ‘em blushing with the Rye and Honey cocktail. Together, the sweet vermouth and spicy rye make for the perfect Valentine’s Day cocktail.
2½ parts Knob Creek® Rye Whiskey
½ part Dolin® Sweet Vermouth
3 cardamom pods
1. Muddle the cloves and cardamom in the bottom of a glass.
2. Pour in whiskey and let sit for one minute.
3. Add vermouth and stir.
4. Serve up with a lemon twist.
“Whatever you are, be a good one.” – Abraham Lincoln
(Or in our case, a damn great one.)
Today we celebrate old Abe’s birthday ¬– February 12th, 1809. But what does Abraham Lincoln have to do with Knob Creek® Bourbon? It all started four score and several years ago. Booker Noe had himself a conundrum on what to name his new bourbon. After all, this one was special.
Unlike the bourbons of the time, this liquid was aged longer, bottled at 100 proof and was characterized by the big, full flavors of the spirit’s past. It was the rebirth of honest bourbon, the way it was meant to be. And although Lincoln was a self-proclaimed teetotaler (didn’t drink), Booker admired his straightforward character and unwavering stance. Not to mention, he was a genuine Kentucky boy from his years lived on Knob Creek Farm in New Haven, KY. So the bourbon was named Knob Creek®. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Knob Creek® Bourbon, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I’ll never forget the first time I laid eyes on you. Your deep, amber color flickering in the light as the bottle caught a ray of sunshine through the window. You’d been aged 9 years, but I knew you’d be worth the wait. I’d tried other bourbons before but something had always been missing. But not with you, you bourbon minx. With you, every sip was better than the last. Big notes of oak, savory caramel and fresh fruit. My poor taste buds didn’t stand a chance as your big, full flavor crashed over them like waves on the shoreline. And you lingered for a bit. Smooth, but with a little kick, to ensure I won’t be forgetting you any time soon.
Like most new loves, I could talk of nothing else. For weeks after I couldn’t shut up about the new bourbon I had been drinking. Even my friends began to get curious. Wanting to meet you, the bourbon they’d heard so much about. I knew this would be a
Lightning: n. clear, unrefined whiskey straight from the still. (Also referred to as white whiskey and white dog.)
During Prohibition, lightning was produced in illegal stills, often at night to avoid discovery. Hence its popular nickname: moonshine. Because the production was illicit, there was no time for new oak barrels or the aging process. The result was a stronger, harsher liquid that did not often abide by the necessary safety regulations. Nowadays, brands looking to capitalize on consumer demand for more obscure, artisanal spirits, are (legally) creating their own lightning – using a much more regulated process.
Knob Creek® Straight Bourbon is aged 9 years. That aging process creates a big, full flavor that’s much more striking than any white lightning, white dog, blue dog or purple dog. To each their own, but we’ll stick to bourbon.