improving the quality of life with grain

Archive for February, 2015

Ava Gardner: thoughts on whiskey

Thoughts on whiskey: ‎”I wish to live to 150 years old, but the day I die, I wish it to be with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other.”

photo from listel

Old Whistler
Makes: 1 Drink

2 oz. Rye
2 dashes orange bitters
1 tsp Vermont maple syrup

1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir.
2. Strain into a martini glass.
3. Garnish with a cherry.

 

Photo and cocktail courtesy of Tart Restaurant in LA

Click here to see the full article featuring Maple syrup in these 4 cocktails

Rye is a “hot commodity”.

That is, rye whiskey is a “hot commodity”… but rye grain as a commodity is a different story.

Rye is not something that a farmer necessarily wants to produce in large quantities anymore. There are several reasons for this.

First, rye isn’t generally a high dollar yielding crop. At best, it will produce 40-45 bushels per acre. While the input costs (fertilization, pest control, etc) are not as high as other crops, the return per acre is still relatively low compared to corn and soybeans in the US and canola, malting barley, wheat, flax, yellow mustard (the list goes on and on!) in Canada.

Second, rye does not have the the array of end-users that other crops do. It can be said that the distillation industry is expanding, but not at a rate that impacts demand in the same way that the expansion of ethanol production impacted corn demand. We have seen the demand for corn explode in the last decade due to in part to the expansion of the ethanol industry’s capacity. Distillation capacity is somewhat finite; there are large distilleries being built for beverage alcohol purposes, but these facilities will produce several products, not just whiskies that use rye in the mash bill.
The only other major outlet for rye is the milling industry – but the milling industry has strict quality specs that are often not met if there is crop damage.

Third, rye is not necessarily the easiest crop to grow. It grows best with moderate temperatures and longer sun hours during the summer (north of the I-80 line in the US). And it grows well in dry conditions. In essence rye is a weed. But varietals that are widely grown have a very tall stalk. At harvest, the producer must first swath (cut the rye down and let it dry in the field) an come back about a week later and harvest the grain. This must be done in dry conditions or quality is impacted materially; a weather event, even a rain shower, is likely to cause sprout damage. Sprout damage impacts milling capability. If sprout damage is present, essentially half of the available market outlets are now unavailable to the farmer.

This hasn’t necessarily always been the case, though. Rye acreage has been declining in North America for many years now. First we saw a decline in U.S. acreage in favor of corn, soybeans, and wheat. We are now seeing the same issues in Canada. In the coming weeks I will be addressing rye in depth. From its origin in Southwest Asia millennia ago to today and from the farm to the end user.

Orange Manhattan

Christmas Burwell Manhattan

These are great…actually one of the house fav’s.

Here is what you will need

  • cocktail shaker
  • ice
  • dash of sweet vermouth
  • 1.5 oz bourbon whiskey
  • 1.5 oz Cointreau
  • dash orange bitters
  • dash maraschino cherry juice
  • 1 maraschino cherry, to garnish – well, make it 2

Mitch Morgan

Mitch-Morgan

The Mitch Morgan

-One shot of bourbon;

-One-half slice of cooked bacon;

-Combine ingredients, enjoy.

Yep.  That’s it.  The smoky bacon pairs wonderfully with the wood in the bourbon and makes a delicious garnish, and its fat cuts the bite of the alcohol with ease.  Put them together and you’ve found the perfect way to stay warm this winter.

The drink originates from Telluride, Colorado, specifically a BBQ and Bourbon joint called “Oak…The New Fat Alley.”  Telluride makes sense for this cocktails’ birthplace: know for cold, snow and mountains, the one-time silver mining camp has emerged as a destination ski resort town.  The Mitch Morgan speaks to the town’s hardscrabble roots (it’s easy to see a drink like this counting as breakfast for a miner) and it’s foodie/ski resort present.

One thing, however, is certain: The Mitch Morgan will warm your belly and put a smile on your face at the same time.  Time to stock up on ingredients before the snow cuts you off from the store.

Mint Julep

Mint julep

Ingredients
4 cups bourbon
2 bunches fresh spearmint
1 cup distilled water
1 cup granulated sugar
Powdered sugar

Directions
To prepare mint extract, remove about 40 small mint leaves. Wash and place in a small bowl. Cover with 3 ounces bourbon. Allow the leaves to soak for 15 minutes. Then gather the leaves in paper toweling. Thoroughly wring the mint over the bowl of whisky. Dip the bundle again and repeat the process several times.

To prepare simple syrup, mix 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of distilled water in a small saucepan. Heat to dissolve sugar. Stir constantly so the sugar does not burn. Set aside to cool.

To prepare mint julep mixture, pour 3 1/2 cups of bourbon into a large glass bowl or glass pitcher. Add 1 cup of the simple syrup to the bourbon.

Now begin adding the mint extract 1 tablespoon at a time to the julep mixture. Each batch of mint extract is different, so you must taste and smell after each tablespoon is added. You are looking for a soft mint aroma and taste-generally about 3 tablespoons. When you think it’s right, pour the whole mixture back into the empty liter bottle and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours to “marry” the flavors.

To serve the julep, fill each glass (preferably a silver mint julep cup) 1/2 full with shaved ice. Insert a spring of mint and then pack in more ice to about 1-inch over the top of the cup. Then, insert a straw that has been cut to 1-inch above the top of the cup so the nose is forced close to the mint when sipping the julep.

When frost forms on the cup, pour the refrigerated julep mixture over the ice and add a sprinkle of powdered sugar to the top of the ice.

Serve immediately.

Manhattan Italiano

Manhattan Italiano

2 ounces bourbon reserve
1/2 once Tuaca
1/2 ounce triple sec
6 dashes of Orange bitters
1/2 ounce of white sweet vermouth

 

Dark and Bloody Bourbon Mary

Bloody Mary

Dark and Bloody Bourbon Mary

1 teaspoon salt / pepper / paprika mix
2 ounces Kentucky Bourbon
2 large lemon wedges
1 tablespoon Bourbon Barrel Aged Worcestershire Sauce
1 can (6 ounces) campbell’s tomato juice

Blackberry Soda

Blackberry-Soda

Blackberry Soda

1.5 oz Ole Smokey Blackberry Moonshine
top off with soda water on ice

Rye Rocks

Rye Rocks

Locate your favorite whiskey glass
add ice
pour Rye

Enjoy

Bourbon Iced Tea

Rye Iced Tea
  • 3 cups fresh blackberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, plus mint sprigs for garnish
  • 6 good-quality black tea bags

Good-quality bourbon

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Bourbon Burger

Rye Burger

Burger Patties and Cheese:
30 ounces ground chuck (20 percent fat)
2 1/2 tablespoons bourbon (recommended: Bulleit brand)
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
30 grinds fresh black pepper
6 ounces Dubliner cheese (Kerrygold brand), thinly sliced and divided into 6 (1-ounce) servings

Sauteed Onions:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (European style)
1 large Vidalia onion, halved (through the core) and thinly sliced (1/4-inch)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
8 grinds fresh black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup bourbon (recommended: Bulleit brand)

Buns:
Brioche hamburger-sized buns, halved
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (European style), at room temperature

Rye Sour

Bourbon Sour

2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 oz lemon juice
1/2 tsp superfine sugar
1 slice orange
1 maraschino cherry

Bourbon on the Rocks

drink

The Plan

Find a good bourbon
Select your favorite glass from your bar
Drop in a couple of cubes
Pour over ice
Savor

 

 

Classic Manhattan

drink

3/4 oz sweet vermouth
2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 dash  bitters
1 maraschino cherry
1 twist orange peel

Combine the vermouth, bourbon whiskey, and bitters with 2 – 3 ice cubes in a mixing glass. Stir or shake gently so you won’t cloud the drink. Place the cherry in a chilled cocktail glass and strain the whiskey mixture over the cherry.

Perfect Manhattan

drink

2 oz blended whiskey
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1 dash bitters

Shake with ice to chill, pour into a low ball cocktail glass, and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

 

Cara’s Feature

cara

750 JB White
1 can Concentrated OJ (Do not add water)
1 can Concentrated Limeade or Lemonade (Do not add water)
1 jar Maraschino Cherries. (I use DK Michigan Cherry since I don’t care for the Cherries)
2 Ltr Lemon-Lime Soda

Blend all ingredients together-place in freezer minimum 24 hrs.

**Once you remove from freezer, stir mixture from the bottom. Slight separation may have occurred during the freezing**