By Warren Bobrow
I cannot think of a more refreshing afternoon drink than Cock 'n Bull Ginger Beer and Baker's Bourbon poured into a tall, ice-filled glass. But why would I choose such a venerable brand of bourbon if I wanted a mixed drink? Baker's happens to please my palate because of the 107 Proof heat. It stands up to your mixer, whichever one you happen to enjoy. Now I'm not saying that you have to mix fine bourbon like Baker's with soda, but it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.
Baker's comes from the fine folks who make Booker's, Knob Creek, Basil Hayden's and the venerable Jim Beam Bourbons. I feel that if any bourbon deserves my written hand, then it must be Baker's Bourbon. And, Baker's Bourbon certainly does deserve to be enjoyed in a glass alone - pour it into a snifter with one cube of ice, or no ice (Why spoil it…right?).
I love the heat and the vanilla notes that give way to charred cornbread on the tongue. The mid range is smoked pork hock and there are caramel coated candy apples in the finish. This is not your "augmented by edible ethyl" alcohol, vodka-esque spirit.
It is the real thing folks, made by craftsmen who care about each sip that comes out of the bottle. Cork finishing (a real cork for a stopper) says something to me about the care it takes to bottle this spirit.
But, one must remember that 107 Proof is not 80 proof. Baker's has a magical way of slipping some fingers around your brain and twisting it. So pouring a healthy slurp of Cock 'n Bull Ginger Beer into my Baker's really can't hurt.
Cock 'n Bull is a historic brand of ginger beer from the Los Angeles restaurant of the same name. The original recipe dates back to the 1940s. This soda is not a sickly sweet ginger beer. It cuts the heat of the Baker's Bourbon and gives each sip a lift. There is spice in the bottle, which I suspect comes from hot chili or pepper. You can taste the sweet-yet-subtle burn as it goes down your throat. Baker's, its fire flickering in the mid range of each slurp, does the same thing.
The Cock 'n Bull Ginger Beer is in a handsome bottle with bold graphics and a black label. The pictures of the rooster and the bull stand out against a black background with blood red lettering. I'm quite fond of this soda. And with the addition of the bourbon, it's something else entirely! You should definitely try to get some! Of course if you cannot find Cock 'n Bull, may I recommend a spicy Ginger Beer, like the one from Goya. It has hot chili peppers in it!
The Mend'ham Mule
The original Mule Cocktail was made in a hand hammered, copper cup. I've twisted it up a bit to fit my rules, which means there aren't any rules.
-Baker's 107 Proof Bourbon
-Fresh Lime juice
-Rock Ice (Hand Cut) using your Mavea "Inspired Water" Pitcher for clarity of the ice
-The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas' Own Decanter Bitters
-A couple good splashes of Cock 'n Bull Ginger Beer
Pour 3 oz. bourbon over cracked, hand-cut ice.
Add about six ounces or more of ginger beer.
Add 1-2 oz. Ginger Simple Syrup (ginger grated over regular simple syrup).
Add 1 oz freshly pressed lime juice.
Add 2 good dashes of the Professor Jerry Thomas Bitters over the top to finish.
Garnish with a fresh mint sprig.
Cheers from DrinkUpNY!
Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys.