Not a Review: Why I’m Skipping the Bespoke Post Box for December 2012

I absolutely loved my November 2012 Bespoke Post Box of Awesome – the Slate Box. I’ve got an unboxing video here.

But I’m skipping this month’s box. There are actually two boxes to choose from but neither is really appealing to me (but it’s probably just me – read on).

Agave

Bespoke Post – Agave Box

This is actually a really nice margarita starter kit. It’s just that I have everything in the kit save the Round Ice Ball Tray (but it’s on my wishlist :)). I also have a much more comfortable shaker, courtesy of Woodford Reserve. BTW – the tequila is not actually included in the kit. 🙁

If you don’t have a mixology kit of your own, this is a great start. One tip – skip the included jigger and get the Oxo.

Breathe

Bespoke Post – Breathe Box

Another imbibing box (again, without the alcohol). So there’s a nice decanter, funnel and filter. But you know what those little beads are? They’re for cleaning the decanter.

Maybe it’s just me but I’d much rather just use my Venturi Essential Wine Aerator. It decants perfectly and is trivial to clean. 🙂

Conclusion

If you don’t have a nice mixology kit, I do recommend getting the Agave box. But save yourself the $20 and get the Venturi over the Breathe box.

 

Sign up for a Bespoke Post Box:  http://bespokepost.com/r/1c10f6

(full disclosure this is an affiliate link)

First Look: Woodford Reserve Bourbon Barrel Aged Spiced Cherry Bitters

A new offering – impressively nothing like the other three.

The new official Woodford Reserve product from Matt Jamie’s Bourbon Barrel Foods.

This one has been under development for quite a while. Matt Jamie worked directly with WR’s Master Distiller Chris Morris to craft a bitters especially suited for bourbon-based cocktails. Continue reading

Two Reviews: Alltech’s Bourbon Barrel Stout & West Sixth’s Slap Happy

Preface

As a surprise to no one, I’m a big fan of whiskey barrel aged beers. Being that I am fortunate enough to live in the heart of bourbon country where we are experiencing a renaissance of craft brewing, I have easy access to a pretty decent number of bourbon barrel beers.

Prior to this writing, Alltech’s infamous Bourbon Barrel Ale was my hands-down favorite with BBC’s Bourbon Barrel Stout in second place. So let it also surprise no one that I picked up a 4-pack of the new Alltech Bourbon Barrel Stout right out of the delivery box – it never even hit the shelf.


 Alltech’s Bourbon Barrel Stout

Yep, the label’s coming off the bottle. Not something I would ever hold against the contents of said bottle but in this case it should have been an indicator of things to come … Continue reading

Review: Bespoke Post’s Smoky Burb

Description from Bespoke Post: “The modestly spicy love child of a dirty martini, and a whiskey sour.” Full recipe here.

When I found out I was getting a gift of the November 2012 Bespoke Post – the Slate box – I immediately checked the website for the list of goodies inside. (You can see my unboxing and review videos here.) My professional curiosity was piqued by a front and center cocktail recipe using the brine from the spicy pickled okra, aka the Smokra. Continue reading

Review: Hudepohl Classic Porter

For a long time I had an aversion to American beers on principle. The principle being that the phrase ‘American beer’ represented an oxymoron at best and an outright fiction at worst. There were beers, of course, and beer-like things made in America, but there was nothing in my experience that was a combination of the two. This was an unfortunate time for me, but then I learned about craft beers. Continue reading

Woodford Reserve’s Manhattan Competition – Kentucky Region

Yesterday I had the privilege of judging the first round of the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience in Lexington, KY held at Paulie’s Toasted Barrel. Over 30 Kentucky mixologists entered the competition.

My fellow judges were Adam Hayes (Brown-Forman Whiskey Brand Champion), Seth Thompson and Justin Thompson (both of The Bourbon Review magazine).

The competition was divided into two rounds. Each of the judges met with 7 to 8 of the mixologists individually and sampled their creations. Each judge then picked one winner to move on to round two. During round two, each of the four finalists made their cocktail for all four judges. So we all tasted each of the four finalists and discussed to pick the ultimate winner.

It was interesting to me that the four of us judging initially dismissed cocktails that were either (a) not really manhattans or (b) didn’t allow the flavor of the underlying spirit to come through. For (a), we all talked about it to make sure we were in line on where the line was between a manhattan and a bourbon cocktail in general. But (b), on the other hand, was completely reflexive. It wasn’t until I reviewed the process that I realized how important it was that the cocktail additions (mixers) showcase the spirit used and not cover it up. This is one of the fundamental principles of the moden craft cocktail. Oh, and it can’t be too sweet. Cloying cocktails upset me. 😉

Here’s a sampling of my favorites: Continue reading

The Woodford Reserve Advanced Flavor Wheel

Yesterday we held our first Advanced Flavor Wheel tasting. This builds on the basic Flavor Wheel tasting developed by Ouita Michel. In the basic tasting participants taste six items – parmesan, toasted nut, dried berry, fresh orange, dark chocolate and sorghum – against Woodford Reserve neat. This type of culinary-aid tasting allows the participants to taste many of the subtle and nuanced flavors in the bourbon that they might not otherwise be able to detect.

For the Advanced Flavor Wheel, participants had an assortment of over 30 different food items to taste against. These ranged from single ingredients – like apple slices, mint springs and country ham – to freshly made syrups and scratch-made rye crackers.

We also served our signature sorghum mint julep cocktail.

This level of tasting allows a very rich palate experience. It’s something very unique and I recommend it to anyone who gets the opportunity.

Fresh Fruits, Vegetables and Cheeses

Fresh Fruits, Vegetables and Cheeses

Corn muffins, bourbon beer bread, rye bread, toasted pecans, country ham and, of course, bacon

Corn muffins, bourbon beer bread, rye bread, toasted pecans, country ham and, of course, bacon

 

Fresh syrups

Fresh syrups