Saturday, April 19, 2008

Summer of Beer..... & Bourbon?

I'm kicking myself that I didn't start enjoying bourbon until just recently. When I use to go out to bars with friends to order a cocktail my standard choice was Captain & Coke. Many times bartenders mistakingly make a Jack & Coke in this situation and I was able to tell just by the revolting smell of Jack Daniels. I even tried scotch a couple times and it made me want to gag. That hate for all things whiskey, whisky, bourbon, or scotch all changed when my friend introduced me to an amazing little bar in downtown LA called the Seven Grand. Here they specialize in whiskey but have many other fine spirits as well, made by bartenders who are students and professionals of mixology. One of the main attractions is their Mint Julep (yes it's a long ways away from Churchill Downs) which is served in the classic silver cup (and they make you put a $15 deposit down on that cup so you don't go running off with it). I have tried to make Mint Juleps at home and I butchered it pretty bad. When I tasted one at the Seven Grand, the balance between bourbon, mint, and sugar was stunningly balanced and tasty. The bartenders put a lot of effort into the these cocktails, as it usually takes them a good 3-5 minutes to craft 2 at a time since they crush the ice manually and take great care in the mixology of it. It also takes 3 or so minutes for them to make a bourbon sour which I have ordered a couple times. No they don't just throw bourbon and sour mix into a glass, they shake bourbon, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and pasteurized egg whites and pour into a glass. The Mint Julep and sour are amazing, but what keeps me going back and made me realize that I'm starting to really like bourbon is the Old Fashioned. It's a bit of simple syrup and a couple slices of orange rind which are muddled to release the oils topped off by a few oz's of bourbon (their house selection is Maker's Mark, although I also enjoy Woodford Reserve) and a couple dashes of Angostura bitters. It's hard to even describe the taste. It's bourbon that is bursting with fresh orange citrus oil and a touch of sweetness. There's still plenty of a bourbon presence to keep it a manly drink though, thankfully. For any beer enthusiasts, the Seven Grand also has a handful of quality taps as well.

Developing a taste for bourbon also comes in handy with all the special bourbon barrel aging that brewers are doing these days, though I would say I even liked those beers before I realized I liked bourbon. With the Kentucky Derby coming up in a couple weeks you can bet I'll be pouring myself a couple old fashioneds made with the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby- Woodford Reserve. It'll probably serve as a nice hair-of-the-dog after Port Brewing's 2nd year anniversary the day before.


Brian said...


May 3rd. It's coming!

Steve said...

oh baby oh baby!