Spirits

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Possess this Scary Spirit for Halloween

Possess this Scary Spirit for Halloween

by David Klemt

Harridan Vodka Paranormal Reserve hero

If you truly want to imbue your cocktails and the guest experience with the otherworldly this Halloween, you need this spirit.

In fact, this bottle likely contains the most “spirit” forward spirit one can possess. It’s also one of the rarest. Oh, and it took a rest for 30 days inside the Occult Museum.

On October 13, Harridan Vodka will launch their Paranormal Reserve officially. And if you’re after a true small-batch vodka, you’ll want to keep an eye the Paranormal Reserve countdown timer.

This is your opportunity to create and host a frighteningly unique Halloween LTO promotion.

Conjuring the Halloween Spirit

Does the Occult Museum sound familiar to you? If so, you’re likely a horror film fan or into the supernatural.

For those who don’t know, the Occult Museum was started in 1952 by Ed and Lorraine Warren. The two paranormal investigators collected a vast array of artifacts that they claimed came into contact with evil.

One of these objects is Annabelle, a cursed Raggedy Ann doll. According to lore, the doll is so dangerous it’s kept inside its own glass case. A sign attached to the case reads, “Warning, Positively Do Not Open.”

So, what could possibly be frightening about a Raggedy Ann doll? Well, this one is said to have an interesting “attachment.” That is, a demon in search of a human host that has attached itself to the doll.

To keep the demon from achieving its goal—which it reportedly began pursuing in 1970—Annabelle’s case has been blessed. The case has inscriptions of the Lord’s Prayer and Saint Michael’s Prayer. Also, it’s said that Ed Warren would recite a binding prayer over the case from time to time to ensure the demon couldn’t escape.

Supposedly, Annabelle nearly killed a priest who mocked it when he visited the Occult Museum to scrutinize the Warren’s claims of its demonic possession.

This story and more are told in The Conjuring movie series. In particular, Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, and Annabelle Comes Home. Given that it’s October, it’s the perfect time to watch the first installment and doll-focused movies of The Conjuring universe.

In fact, this would be the month to design a promotion around The Conjuring watch parties with themed LTO cocktails.

A Frightful Rest

Okay, so I can already hear some of you asking what this has to do with Harridan Vodka. Well, calm down—I’m getting to it.

The Warren Occult Museum, located in Monroe, Connecticut, closed to the public in 2019. In other words, if you didn’t get to visit prior to its closure, you’ll most likely never have the chance to see Annabelle or the other occult artifacts contained within.

But you can purchase a bottle of 44-percent ABV vodka that rested for 30 days inside the Occult Museum: Harridan Vodka Paranormal Reserve.

Just 666 bottles are available, and 665 took their 30-day slumber right next to Annabelle. These bottles will retail for $199 on Thursday, October 13.

 

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Obviously, that leaves one bottle we need to address. Bottle number 666 was rested inside Annabelle’s case. And while the other 665 bottles are housed inside black Ouija-themed boxes, number 666 is contained within a glass case similar to Annabelle’s.

Of course, this unique bottle comes with an appropriately otherworldly price tag: $13,000. And, hey, the person who makes this bank-balance-slashing purchase might just be in possession of the world’s only vodka infused with evil.

If you’re one of the few who manage to get their hands on these Occult Museum-rested Harridan Vodka bottles, it’s fair to say you can name your price for the opportunity for guests to buy an ounce.

Happy Halloween, ya filthy animals!

Images: Harridan Vodka

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

7 Awesome Whiskey Podcasts

7 Awesome Whiskey Podcasts

by David Klemt

Gold microphone and headphones

Our National Bourbon Heritage Month celebration and inspiration continues with a roundup of seven of the best whiskey podcasts.

Of course we want you to listen to Bar Hacks for education, inspiration, and entertainment. However, we know it isn’t the only podcast you listen to.

Below you’ll find several whiskey-centric podcasts. These are absolutely some of the best podcasts out there if you’re seeking bourbon and whiskey knowledge.

So, after you catch up to your Bar Hacks listening, work the shows below into your rotation.

Cheers!

Whiskey Lore

As regular KRG Hospitality readers and newsletter subscribers know, we love diving into history and myths. When we’re researching a spirit, cocktail, or other beverage, we tend to find more fiction than fact. Of course, the facts are also just as interesting to us, so it’s a win-win for us and you.

So, it makes sense then that we’re kicking things off with Whiskey Lore. We love the rich and compelling stories that weave the intricate story of our industry. As it turns out, so does the Whiskey Lore podcast. Currently, the podcast is digging into the history and lore of Irish whiskey.

Latest episode: Irish Whiskey Pt. 5: The Lore of the River Boyne; Marrowbone Lane; Finding Old Irish Pure Pot Still

Bourbon & Banter

Honestly, I don’t know that I can describe the Bourbon & Banter podcast any better than the minds behind the show:

“Are you seeking a bourbon podcast that will educate and entertain you without the extra bloat associated with kissing a brand’s ass in search of advertising revenue or free samples? If so, welcome home my friend… In all seriousness though, give us a listen and you’ll find that we’re honest to a fault. You won’t find us pulling any punches when it comes to new bourbon reviews or when we explore the latest industry news and consumer trends.”

Latest episode: The Doctor is In – Bourbon & Banter Podcast Special Episode

The Fred Minnick Show

If you’re a whiskey lover and don’t know the name Fred Minnick, I would find that shocking. While not always a straight-up whiskey-only podcast, the Fred Minnick Show format is compelling. Rather than focus solely on reviewing whiskey, whiskey news, and interviews with industry experts, Fred also chats with guests about a wide range of topics.

Latest episode: What’s Up With Tom Brady? NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo Returns to Talk Quarterbacks | Russell’s Reserve 6 Year

WhiskyCast

The WhiskyCast podcast has been going strong since 2005. That makes this the world’s longest-running whiskey podcast. With 17 years’ worth of podcast goodness to listen to, you’ll never be without something whisky-focused to listen to and learn from. Their most current episoide is number 966, which is just staggeringly impressive.

Latest episode: Brother’s Bond: A Bourbon “Bromance”

Bourbon Lens

With nearly 200 episodes available, Bourbon Lens is delving deep into everything bourbon. However, they also discuss other types of whiskey through conversations with founders, blenders, and other industry experts. This is a must-listen podcast for whiskey lovers.

Latest episode: Off Hours with Bourbon Lens Episode 10: Sam Montgomery from Bardstown Bourbon Co.

Bourbon Pursuit

According to the show itself, Bourbon Pursuit is “the official podcast of bourbon.” With episodes going live every few days you’ll never be without something to listen to with this podcast. Bourbon news, bourbon reviews, bourbon interviews… Bourbon Pursuit may truly be the official pod of bourbon.

Latest episode: TWiB: Kentucky Bourbon Benefit Raises $1.4M, Little Book Series Launches “To The Finish”, Four Roses 2022 Limited Edition Small Batch

Dads Drinking Bourbon

The hosts of Dads Drinking Bourbon want you to #rethinkhowyoudrink. With this podcast you’ll get to hear blind tastings, side-by-side reviews, and interviews with people in the industry. While the hosts don’t claim to be experts, they do an excellent job providing listeners with useful information. As they say themselves, “At the end of the day, we know you just want to know if the whiskey is worth spending any money on.” Also, congratulations to the Dads Drinking Bourbon team on their 400th episode!

Latest episode: Review: IT’S OUR 400TH EPISODE! And we drink Barrell Batch 33

Image: Andrzej Nowak from Pixabay

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

KRG Hospitality’s Top Bourbon Articles

KRG Hospitality’s Top Bourbon Articles

by David Klemt

Glass of bourbon whiskey next to fire

To inspire and help you program for National Bourbon Heritage Month, enjoy this roundup of our top bourbon articles.

For bourbon lovers specifically and those who appreciate whiskey in general, this is an exciting month. You can leverage that excitement throughout the month of September.

From limited time offers to pour specials and offering guests to try new bottles, National Bourbon Heritage Month is perfect for becoming a person’s go-to bourbon bar. Our resources below will help you achieve that status.

Cheers!

9 Bottles for Bourbon Heritage Month

Nine awesome bottles in three separate pricing categories. Here you’ll find bottles that retail for less than $25, several under $100, and a few that cost up to $150. Click here to read.

The 30 Days of Bourbon Challenge

In 2011, bourbon devotee and advocate Patrick Garrett founded Bourbon & Banter “to spread the Bourbon Gospel.” One way they accomplish this mission is through 30 Days of Bourbon. This challenge is simple but intriguing: Try a different bourbon every day in September. Click here to learn more.

National Bourbon Day: 2022 Trends

The history and heritage of bourbon is important. As America’s native spirit, bourbon’s history is particularly important to the nation. However, innovation and trends are crucial to the future of bourbon. In this article we examine four important 2022 bourbon trends. Click here to read.

7 Whiskeys for National Bourbon Day

Before we celebrate National Bourbon Heritage Month each year we celebrate National Bourbon Day. It’s always fun to see what new and exciting bottles are available, like these seven bottles from 2021. Click here.

8 Bottles for Bourbon Day

Of course, we’re celebrating National Bourbon Heritage Month 2022 this year. So, here are eight bottles worth checking out and adding to your inventory. Click here to review these bottles.

8 Bourbon Cocktails You Need to Know

Contrary to what some purists will tell you (whether you ask them or not), bourbon is great in a cocktail. From the ubiqutious Old Fashioned to the modern classic Billionaire, this article dives into eight bourbon cocktails you and your bar team need to know. And, of course, they’re perfect for National Bourbon Heritage Month limited time only menu. Click here to learn more.

7 Great Books About Bourbon

Sure, it’s awesome to enjoy a bourbon with friends. But what about pouring a dram of your favorite bourbon while reading about bourbon? Grab one or more of these books, pair them with a beautiful bourbon, and start expanding your whiskey knowledge today. Click here for our book recommendations.

Rabbit Hole Resources: Bourbon 101

When it comes to learning about a particular spirit, those producing them tend to know the most. So, seeking education straight from the source is a smart move. Rabbit Hole is creating, curating, and growing free bourbon resources. Have a question? They’ve got the answers, and then some. Click here.

Image: Thomas Park on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: Sept. 2022

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: September 2022

by David Klemt

Stay Weird neon sign with purple background

Want to stand out from from other restaurants and bars in your area? Then commit to keeping it weird.

Several “holidays” are set against every date on the calendar, and September is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream to “weird.”

Pay attention to the latter to raise eyebrows, carve out a niche for your restaurant or bar, and attract more guests. Why do what everyone else is already doing?

Of course, you shouldn’t try to celebrate every holiday, weird or otherwise. And this month’s list in no way includes every odd holiday.

Focus on the days that are authentic to your brand; resonate with your guests; and help you grab attention on social media.

For August’s list, click here.

September 5: Be Late for Something Day

You know what’s a great reason to be late from something? Enjoying an awesome meal or some great drinks with friends. Your bar or restaurant can provide that awesome meal and great drinks.

September 6: National Read a Book Day

As you know if you’ve been visiting KRG Hospitality throughout the week or subscribe to our newsletter, we love recommending good books. Cookbooks, cocktail books, hospitality industry history books, leadership books… We’re all about learning.

This is an excellent day to promote swapping books, recommending books, sharing books, etc.

September 8: National Ampersand Day

If there was ever a day that demands food/and or drink combos, it’s National Ampersand Day. For example, this is the perfect bar holiday to create a beer and shot limited-time offer menu.

September 13: National Positive Thinking Day

Restaurants and bars are the cornerstsones of their communities. One way operators and their teams can support their community is by ensuring they provide a positive experience.

On this day, encourage your community to stop in for a bite, a drink, a chat, and an overall happy, healthy time.

September 14: National Eat a Hoagie Day

No, hoagies aren’t weird…in Philadelphia. Everywhere else, it can sometimes be a “weird” thing to call a submarine sandwich. At any rate, guess what food you should create an LTO around on this holiday.

September 17: National Monte Cristo Day

You don’t have to agree with me, but this weird sandwich is my favorite. Sure, burgers are cool. But have you ever dipped a ham’n’cheese or turkey’n’cheese in egg, fried it, then dusted it with powdered sugar? Even weirder, have you used corn flakes as breading and then fried it? Put a few Monte Cristos on your menu to celebrate this glorious sandwich holiday.

September 22: Car Free Day

This one’s pretty simple: Encourage and incentivize your guests to use any mode of travel that isn’t a car/truck/SUV to come to your restaurant or bar. I, for one, will be opting for my motorcycle, which I don’t need to mention here but I’m going to anyway because I love it.

September 24: Innergize Day

First, a disclaimer: This isn’t a day celebrating a “performance” drink brand. Rather, Innergize Day is about relaxing and recouping. I’m sure you can see where your restaurant, bar or hotel fits in with this holiday.

September 25: National One-hit Wonder Day

This one’s simple: Commit to playing only one-hit wonders. People love nostalgia, particularly when it comes to music. Either create a playlist or hire a DJ, and if you’re feeling creative, put some themed drinks on your menu.

September 27: National Crush a Can Day

You don’t have to encourage your guests to literally crush cans to celebrate this day. Really, this is a great way to make people aware of your craft beers, RTDs, canned wines, and other canned beverages on your menu.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash

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8 Books to Read this Month: TOTC Edition

8 Books to Read this Month: Tales of the Cocktail Edition

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections consist of the eight finalists from two of the 2022 Spirited Awards writing categories.

For your convenience, the award winner kicks off each category below. To review July’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book

WINNER: The Japanese Art of the Cocktail

This is the first cocktail book written by Masahiro Urushido, the award-winning bartender from NYC’s Katana Kitten. After just one year with Urushido at the helm, Katana Kitten took home a 2019 Spirited Award. The Japanese Art of the Cocktail features 80 recipes and serves as a deep dive into a unique approach to cocktails and technique.

Death & Co: Welcome Home

The third book from Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan, the team behind Death & Co., features more than 400 recipes. Now, while this book targets home bartenders, it’s also beneficial to bar professionals as it delves into the Death & Co. cocktail development program. Is that worth a $35 investment? Absolutely. Pick up  Death & Co. Welcome Home today.

The Cocktail Seminars

As the story goes, author Brian D. Hoefling taught his fellow Yale students about cocktails and build techniques during his senior year. The Cocktail Seminars is a collection of five of Hoefling’s education seminars and spans 30 cocktail recipes. Along with technique, readers will learn about the history of cocktails, which they and their bar teams can leverage to engage with guests.

The Way of the Cocktail: Japanese Traditions, Techniques, and Recipes

The Way of the Cocktail comes from Julia Momosé, one of the minds behind Chicago cocktail destination Kumiko. From classics to new riffs, the recipes in this book are based on 24 micro-seasons.

Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History, or Spirits

WINNER: The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails

David Wondrich and Noah Rothbaum team up for likely the deepest dive into the role alcohol plays in human history. The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails is everything you ever wanted to know about fermentation, distillation, aging, cocktails, cocktail bars, and more. In addition to global techniques and processes, readers will be treated to illustrations, a guide to making drinks, and even a timeline of distillation and spirits.

Bourbon: The Story of Kentucky Whiskey

Clay Risen is considered an authority on spirits. In particular, he’s lauded as an expert on whiskey. Bourbon lovers will appreciate the Bourbon: The Story of Kentucky Whiskey box set for what it is: a definitive history of America’s native spirit. Along with profiles of Kentucky distillers, Risen has included interviews and photographs to tell the story of bourbon.

Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization

Edward Slingerland takes a look at not just the history of imbibing but what has motivated humans to catch a buzz with alcohol. Drunk goes far beyond anecdotes, myth and lore and uses science to address why alcohol is so important to so many people. More case study than well-spun yarn, Drunk is as entertaining as it is investigative.

Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol

Written by Mallory O’Meara, Girly Drinks takes a hard look at the gendering of bars, brewing, distillation, and drinking culture. O’Meara also delves into the history and cultural importance of women bartenders like Ada Coleman, creator of the Hanky Panky.

“Filling a crucial gap in culinary history, O’Meara dismantles the long-standing patriarchal traditions at the heart of these very drinking cultures, in the hope that readers everywhere can look to each celebrated woman in this book—and proudly have what she’s having.”

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

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Tales Reveals 2022 Spirited Awards Winners

Tales of the Cocktail Reveals 2022 Spirited Awards Winners

2022 Spirited Award winner Lynn House

2022 Spirited Award winner Lynn House

Congratulations to the 2022 Spirited Awards winners, revealed last week during the 20th anniversary of Tales of the Cocktail.

First opening their doors in 2018, NYC’s Katana Kitten took home two awards. The dream team trio of Masahiro Urushido, Greg Boehm, and James Tune won Best US Cocktail Bar and best US Bar team.

Another American venue that won two Spirited Awards is Jewel of the South in New Orleans. Opened in 2019, Jewel of the South was crowned Best US Restaurant Bar. Additionally, the US Bartender of the Year is Chris Hannah, co-owner of the NOLA dining and drinking destination.

We also want to extend a special congratulations to Bar Hacks guest Lynn House. To learn more about House, this year’s Best US Brand Ambassador, check out episode 52 of Bar Hacks.

Internationally, two bars also took home multiple awards. 🔶🟥🔵 A Bar with Shapes for a Name and Lyaness at Sea Containers London, both in London, won two Spirited Awards. The former is this year’s Best New International Cocktail Bar. Plus, it’s the home of Remy Savage, the 2022 International Bartender of the Year.

Lyaness at Sea Containers London clinched Best International Hotel Bar andWorld’s Best Bar. So, London, New Orleans, and New York showed out at the 2022 Spirited Awards.

To view the finalists in each category, please click here.

US Award Categories

U.S. Bartender of the Year presented by Del Maguey: Chris Hannah (Jewel of the South, New Orleans, LA)

Best U.S. Bar Mentor presented by BarSmarts: Sean Kenyon

Best U.S. Brand Ambassador presented by Libbey: Lynn House (Heaven Hill)

Best U.S. Bar Team presented by William Grant & Sons: Katana Kitten (New York, NY)

Best U.S. Cocktail Bar presented by Absolut Vodka: Katana Kitten (New York, NY)

Best U.S. Hotel Bar presented by Grey Goose: Silver Lyan at the Riggs (Washington, DC)

Best U.S. Restaurant Bar presented by Maison Ferrand: Jewel of the South (New Orleans, LA)

Best New U.S. Cocktail Bar presented by Aviation Gin: Happy Accidents (Albuquerque, NM)

International Award Categories

International Bartender of the Year presented by Patrón Tequila: Remy Savage (🔶🟥🔵 A Bar with Shapes for a Name, London, UK)

Best International Bar Mentor presented by Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic: Lauren Mote

Best International Brand Ambassador presented by Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic: Martin Hudak (Mr. Black Spirits)

Best International Bar Team presented by House of Angostura: MAYBE SAMMY (Sydney, Australia)

Best International Cocktail Bar presented by Tequila Fortaleza: Tayēr + Elementary (London, UK)

Best International Hotel Bar presented by Perrier: Lyaness at Sea Containers London (London, UK)

Best International Restaurant Bar presented by Amaro Montenegro and Select Aperitivo: Sexy Fish (London, UK)

Best New International Cocktail Bar presented by Stranger & Sons: 🔶🟥🔵 A Bar with Shapes for a Name (London, UK)

Global Award Categories

Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation: Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Italian Orange

World’s Best Cocktail Menu presented by Diageo Bar Academy: Little Red Door (Paris, France)

World’s Best Spirits Selection presented by Beam Suntory: Jack Rose Dining Saloon (Washington, DC)

Pioneer Award Presented by The Blend: Amanda Gunderson (CEO and co-founder, Another Round Another Rally)

Timeless International Award presented by Jägermeister: Harry’s New York Bar (Paris, France)

Timeless U.S. Award presented by Johnnie Walker: Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel (New York, NY)

Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award presented by William Grant & Sons: Julie Reiner (Co-founder Clover Club, Leyenda, Social Hour Cocktails, Mixtress Consulting)

World’s Best Bar presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation: Lyaness at Sea Containers London (London, UK)

Writing and Media Award Categories

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication presented by Diageo Bar Academy: VinePair

Best Broadcast, Podcast, or Online Video Series presented by Diageo Bar Academy: The Cocktail Lovers

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writing presented by Diageo Bar Academy: “Get Real: The bar world looks beyond feel-good measures on sustainability and climate change” by Max Falkowitz for Imbibe Magazine

Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book presented by Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic: The Japanese Art of the Cocktail by Masahiro Urushido and Michael Anstendig

Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History, or Spirits presented by Diageo Bar Academy: The Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails edited by David Wondrich with Noah Rothbaum

Image: Cory Fontenot

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Cheese Pairings: Wine, Beer, Spirits

Cheese Pairings: Wine, Beer, Spirits

by David Klemt

Wine glasses and cheese board

National Wine and Cheese Day is Monday, July 25, so let’s take a look at pairings that will get mouths watering.

According to historians, people have been pairing wine with cheese for several centuries. And per scientists, this legendary pairing makes a lot of sense.

Cheese is, obviously, fatty. Further, fat is oily. Then we have alcohol, which is astringement. When we eat cheese or other fatty/oily foods, they coat the mouth. As we also know, alcohol tends to dry out our mouths.

So, the theory as to why pairing cheese with wine works comes down to balance. Of course, there’s a term for this balance you likely know: mouthfeel.

However, science has an additional theory about wine and cheese. For this theory, we look at the “flavor spectrum.” Flavors that are far apart from one another are often pleasant to us.

As an example, not many of us would appreciate a slice of cheddar cheese on top of a cheddar cheese-flavored cracker dipped in cheddar cheese sauce. That would be monotonous and boring.

Wine Pairings

  • Chardonnay and Camembert
  • Riesling and Raclette
  • Gewürztraminer and Edam
  • Pinot Grigio/Gris and Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Chenin Blanc and Chèvre
  • Sauvignon Blanc and Gouda
  • Champagne and Brie
  • Prosecco and Asiago
  • Rosé and Havarti or Fontina
  • Pinot Noir and Gruyère
  • Merlot and Camembert or Gorgonzola
  • Shiraz (Australian-style varietal) and sharp Cheddar or smoked Gouda
  • Syrah (French-style varietal) and Pecorino or Roquefort
  • Malbec and Manchego
  • Sangiovese and Fontina or Parmigiano Reggiano

Beer Pairings

Perhaps your guests would prefer to celebrate National Wine and Cheese Day with a substitution. Like, for instance, swapping out wine for beer.

Well, it turns out cheese goes great with many styles of beer.

  • American Pale Ale and American Cheddar
  • Amber Ale and Gouda or Brie
  • Witbier and goat cheese
  • Hefeweisen and Feta
  • American Lager and Mozzarella
  • American Pilsner and Chèvre
  • IPA and Parmigiano Reggiano or Blue Cheese
  • Brown Ale and Gouda
  • Porter and Muenster or Gruyère
  • Stout and Blue Cheese

Spirits Pairings

Hey, beer isn’t the only beverage that we can swap with wine. Interestingly, several categories of spirit pair well with cheese.

As with wine and beer, it’s crucial to try pairings with specific spirits before offering them to guests.

  • Vodka and Cheddar or Blue Cheese
  • Gin: London Dry and Pecorino; Genever and Triple Cream Brie; Plymouth and Époisses de Bourgogne
  • Brandy and Butterkäse
  • Rum and Fontina
  • Mezcal and aged Cheddar or Pecorino
  • Tequila: Blanco and Brie or Feta; Reposado and Manchego; Añejo and Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Bourbon and Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Rye and Gouda
  • Irish whiskey and Brie or Camembert
  • Scotch: Light-bodied and Comté; Full-bodied and Stilton. For a deeper dive into pairing Scotch with cheese, click here.

Image: Allison Kettlety on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Rabbit Hole Resources: Bourbon 101

Rabbit Hole Resources: Bourbon 101

by David Klemt

 

Bunny painting or graffiti

Those who want to learn about bourbon can access free resources from a credible and knowledgeable source: Rabbit Hole Distillery.

When it comes to learning about a particular spirit, those producing them tend to know the most. So, seeking education straight from the source is a smart move.

Now, hospitality professionals have a reliable, informative resource to add to their toolbox. Learn About Bourbon is Rabbit Hole’s ever-growing bourbon resource.

Bourbon Basics

If your restaurant or bar has bourbon on the menu, you’re likely at least familiar with the basics:

  • To carry the “bourbon” designation, one must produce the liquid in America.
  • The mashbill must consist of at least 51 percent corn.
  • It’s not permissible to use any additive except water.

Similarly, you are likely aware of some bourbon myths:

  • Only distilleries in the state of Kentucky can produce bourbon.
  • The name “bourbon” comes from Bourbon County.
  • The whiskey must be at least two years old to be bourbon.

As you can see from the first bullet point at the start of this segment, bourbon can come from any state in America. As far as the second myth, the origin of the name “bourbon” is a bit murky.

Interestingly, the third myth is somewhat true. To include “straight bourbon” on the label, the bourbon must be a minimum of two years old. Otherwise, once new-make whiskey comes into contact with the oak barrel in which it’s going age, it’s bourbon.

Rabbit Hole bourbon barrel rolling into rickhouse

Learn About Bourbon

Rabbit Hole goes far beyond simple definitions on their Learn About Bourbon page.

Instead, the distillery dives deep into every element of bourbon production. As important, this page receives regular updates. In other words, much like bourbon itself, this resource gets better with age.

To give you an idea of how in-depth Rabbit Hole gets, let’s look at the Bourbon Barrel Char / Charring section. It’s essentially an article in and of itself at nearly 400 words. Additionally, there’s a link within this section that leads to an even deeper dive into toasting and charring barrels.

Elsewhere on the Learn About Bourbon page you can learn about esters. In fact, there’s a list of over a dozen esters for you to—yep, I’m gonna make the pun—go down the rabbit hole.

Rabbit Hole Blog

Now, it turns out that the distillery isn’t content with offering one bourbon education resource. There’s also the Rabbit Hole Blog.

Looking for bourbon cocktail recipes? Check out the brand’s blog. Currently, the top recipe posts feature the Golden Ponzu and Strawberry Bourbon Lemonade.

Curious about cooking with bourbon? How about a recipe for nasi goreng with a Rabbit Hole bourbon ginger sauce? As a bonus, this recipe should perform well with guests looking for plant-forward dishes with small amounts of animal protein.

Of course, there are also Bourbon 101 articles. For example, this link will take you to an article about wheated bourbons.

If you want to boost your bourbon knowledge and update your food and cocktail menus, check out Rabbit Hole’s blog and Learn About Bourbon page today.

Image: Vincent Pelletier

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Brutal: These Drinks are Heavy

Brutal: These Drinks are Heavy

by David Klemt

Marshall amplifier closeup

Several legendary and iconic heavy metal bands are stepping into the arena of the drinks industry, from beer to whiskey, and more.

You won’t find a celebrity rosé wine or mezcal on this list. Instead, you’ll find bourbon and rye blends, unique processes, full beer lineups, and small-batch releases.

Most importantly, these are products that deserve a place on your menus. These aren’t spirits and beers that rely on band names and their global recognition. Each of these can stand on their own.

In fact, one whiskey from Slipknot and an Iowa distillery won an award from Fred Minnick in 2019.

Metallica

You may familiar with Blackened, a rye and bourbon blend that finishes in brandy casks. This limited-edition, super-premium whiskey is also subjected to the proprietary Black Noise process.

In short, each batch of Blackened is enhanced by the frequencies of curated Metallica playlists. This whiskey is a true collaboration. Legendary Master Distiller Dave Pickerell partnered with Metallica and Meyer Sound for the recipe and process.

However, Master Distiller and Blender Rob Dietrich has crafted a rye expression. Rye the Lightning is, as you can likely tell from the name, a rye whiskey. This expression also undergoes a very specific Black Noise process.

To craft Rye the Lightning, the live recording of Ride the Lightning in its entirety from Metallica’s Orion Music + More set is played to enhance the liquid. Taking things a step further, Rye the Lightning is finished in Madeira and rum casks.

Not content with just two expressions, there are also the Master of Whiskey Series and limited edition whiskeys available.

Iron Maiden

Iconic English heavy metal band Iron Maiden has steered heavily into the beer business. You won’t find a limited-release Lager here and a Pilsner there. No, Iron Maiden has a full lineup of beers in several styles.

Trooper, named for their song “The Trooper,” is the name under which the band crafts their beers in partnership with brewers like Bodebrown and Robinsons. You’ll find many beer styles under the Trooper label: Strong Bitter, English Extra Special, Porter, Golden, IPA, and more.

 

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Of course, there are limited editions. And why shouldn’t there be? Iron Maiden and there brewer partners want to have rock out, like they did with the Number of the Beast, a Bitter.

Motörhead

Since there’s a bourbon and a beer carrying the Motörhead name, you can create a Boilermaker honoring the heavy band. And as you may imagine, one-half of the Boilermaker is named after the song “Ace of Spades.”

In this case, Ace of Spades is a bourbon crafted in Fargo, North Dakota, by Proof Artisan Distillers. This distillery produced North Dakota’s first-ever bourbon, Crooked Furrow. Ace of Spades is a full-bodied, 90-proof high-rye bourbon with warm, sweet notes and a cinnamon finish.

For the beer, Motörhead tapped Madison, Wisconsin, brewers Ale Asylum. Röad Crew is a crisp, hoppy American Pale Ale with citrus notes.

Cannibal Corpse

This whiskey, Golden Blood, is actually the inspiration for this article and product roundup. Golden Blood by Cannibal Corpse, one of the heaviest bands on this list, is crafted in collaboration with Three Floyds Distilling.

Since opening their doors in 2017, Three Floyds has been known for doing things differently. In fact, the distillery itself says their approach is “not normal.” So, this collaboration with Cannibal Corpse makes a lot of sense.

According to Three Floyds, the band itself selected the liquid. A single barrel straight malt whiskey, Golden Blood was aged four years in new, charred oak. And the label is sure to draw attention on your back bar.

GWAR

As the story goes, GWAR is not of this planet. Rather, GWAR is an intergalactic rock band that arrived on Earth via comet.

Well, when you have an origin mythology that incredible, you can’t phone in products tied to your name. I promise that you’ve never encountered a whiskey-crafting process like the one that produces Catoctin Creek Ragnarök Rye:

“The mad scientists at Catoctin Creek conducted experiments on aging the blood of GWAR in barrels made from the different types of wood scorched by the comet’s blast. They used the rarest of grains and watered their mash bill with the melted Antarctic ice to create a 92 strength rye whisky, pot stilled and then aged in charred new white oak. Members of GWAR then hurled the whiskey barrels into the orbit of the moon, causing contraction to take place as the barrels spun under the influence of the deathly coldness of space and the life-giving heat of the sun.”

Well, that’s different.

Slipknot

Cedar Creek Distillery in Iowa crafts two whiskey expressions for Slipknot. The first expression is Slipknot No.9, a four-year-old blend of straight bourbon and straight rye whiskeys.

Then there’s Slipknot No. 9 Reserve. For this special release, award-winning Cedar Creek bottles the same bourbon and rye blend at 99 proof. Fred Minnick named Slipknot No. 9 Reserve the Best Celebrity Whiskey in 2019. That’s no small feat.

 

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An equally daunting feat? Getting your hands on Slipknot co-founder and percussionist Clown’s Iowa Shine. If you can find it, this bottle is Clown’s very own moonshine.

Honorable Mentions

The Deftones have partnered with Belching Beaver to craft an IPA called Deftones Phantom Bride. This IPA, a collaboration between head brewer Thomas Peters and the Deftones’ Chino Moreno, is made using Amarillo, Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic hops.

And then there’s Bay Shore, New York’s Great South Bay Brewery. The brewery has honored Pantera with a limited edition beer called Vulgar Display of Lager. Obviously, this is intended to honor the 30th anniversary of the thrash metal band’s brutal 1992 Vulgar Display of Power album.

Image: Alexander Kampmann from Pixabay

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: July 2022

5 Books to Read this Month: July 2022

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections will help you develop next-level beverage techniques and drink menus throughout 2022.

To review June’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

The Bartender’s Manifesto

Spirits, cocktail and industry author Emma Janzen partners with Toby Maloney and the bar team at the Violet Hour. Since 2007, the Violet Hour has not only been serving incredible cocktails in Chicago, the bar has also been leading the way in cocktail training.

So, who better to learn from to nail the fundamentals, tap into your creativity, and understand every element of crafting cocktails? Pick up The Bartender’s Manifesto today. As of publication of this article, Amazon is offering $2.70 off the hardcover.

Black Mixcellence: A Comprehensive Guide to Black Mixology

Marketing strategist and award-winning author Tamika Hall collaborates with one of my favorite industry people, Colin Asare-Appiah, to bring us this awesome book.

Black Mixcellence delves into the impact of Black entrepreneurs, educators, and mixologists on the hospitality, spirits, and cocktail spaces. Along with the incredible stories, there are 70 cocktail recipes included in Black Mixcellence. Place your pre-order today!

Smoked Cocktails: From Mixology To Smoking Techniques

You and your bar team may have noticed that smoking cocktails is once again “on trend.” To be fair, I don’t think this cocktail build and presentation technique ever became unpopular.

In Smoked Cocktails you’ll learn not only how smoke plays with and enhances other flavors and aromas, author Benji O’Day also covers cocktail history, bartending techniques, and much more. Grab the paperback from Amazon today.

Cocktail Chemistry

Leveraging nostalgia and pop culture can be a lucrative way of boosting traffic, generating revenue, and increasing social media engagement. Written and curated by Nick Fisher, Cocktail Chemistry features cocktail recipes from iconic and beloved movies and television shows.

In addition, this informative cocktail book includes how-tos spanning a range of important bar techniques, from making clear ice to creating your own infusions. Pick up this hardcover now.

The Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting: Volume 1

Do you have a robust wine program? Are you interested in demystifying wine and enhancing your front-of-house team’s knowledge of wine? Do you just not want your bar team or servers to answer guests’ wine questions with a frustrating “I don’t know”?

This guide, according to The Times Literary Supplement, delivers a “comprehensive education in wine.” Included in The Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting: Volume 1 are the philosophy and history of wine, the distinctive characteristics of several wine regions, the science and art behind blind wine tasting, and more.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

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