Sunday, September 10, 2017

Liv’s Best Bet

By Warren Bobrow

Hudson Spirits is the veritable old man on the mountain for craft distilling in NY State. If you haven’t yet tasted the 1st  pot still distilled bourbon made in NY since the dark, bad days in Prohibition, then you owe it to yourself to start here.  Why?  Because bourbon doesn’t have to be distilled in Kentucky to be absolutely delicious, and dare I say, authentic.  You may also find that Hudson Baby Bourbon is one of those products in the bourbon world that actually gets better as it grows older. Maybe it’s the small bottles.  I mean, they come in regular 750’s now, but I have one of their original 375’s. Whatever you have, just enjoy it. But you shouldn’t be like me and save it for a rainy day.  One of the benefits of working in the spirits industry is that the samples received often far exceed one’s ability to drink them all.  Having the role of a tastemaker has some integral drawbacks.

One of these drawbacks is finding unopened of tasty spirits was hidden behind other bottles.

My little 375ml bottle of Hudson Baby Bourbon sat, forlorn for over two years without being reviewed. Fortunately, bourbon is one of those products that calls out to drinkers the world over, so my lack of speed really didn’t hurt anyone.  And Hudson Baby Bourbon will taste delicious, year in and year out- playing to many different audiences and thirsts.  The traditionalist, who will want to taste the perfect grains without any embellishments. 

The millennials and their soon to be successful friends- will want to explore the best mixers that money can buy.  They should go no further than to enjoy something truly delicious that I just discovered.  It’s an un-soda, something that is refreshing, crisp, friendly and local-if Vermont is local. (That is certainly good enough for me, and they are USDA Certified Organic)

A naturally flavored seltzer type product made from Birch sap which is jam packed full of antioxidants, oh- you don’t want to hear about that stuff I know, it’s good for you, I know that- although I cannot tell you it will do anything but give you a burst of energy.  All I can tell you is that SAP is unlike anything else on the market.

This lightly carbonated product taps into quality spirits with great cheer and celebration! So I recommend using a quality spirits, such as the Hudson Spirits Baby Bourbon Whiskey.  But don’t go overboard.  You don’t need very much of either ingredient.  There is much restraint that is necessary with such quality ingredients.

So, please let me stress simplicity.  Hudson Baby Bourbon, aged in small new, American oak barrels has wonderful notes of toasted, caramelized nuts, darkly scented wildflower honey and toasted brioche smeared with late harvest quince jam. Add a splash of the Birch SAP seltzer and the flavors grow deeper and more exotic. These flavors just need to be together.  Alone, without a whole lot more.  It’s just not necessary.

I’ve never been one for a mixed drink with more than ten ingredients.  Or five.. four even, because when I’m behind the stick- and it gets busy- and the weeds are growing higher than you can see- that’s when simplicity is the key.  I don’t want to teach you your job, but get it down fast- because this new ‘un-soda’ is what you should be drinking today, now, this very moment in time.  And if you have a bottle of Hudson Baby Bourbon, preferably bought from DrinkupNY, you’ll know exactly what quality is about.  Hand-made means something to me.  From hand-made whiskey to the mixer that drives it down into your memory.  Everything is made with passion. 

Whiskey and soda was your grandfather’s favorite drink. May I suggest bringing it into the 21st century?  I have a delicious suggestion that won’t take this drink too far into the weeds.

This cocktail inspires me to make the best drinks that I am able, with the simplest ingredients possible.

Liv’s Best Bet
Segments of roasted blood orange- Roast blood orange cut in half, soaked in Angostura (about ¼ cup) for an hour at 350. Cool and segment (cut into little pieces)

3 oz. Hudson Spirits Baby Bourbon Whiskey
4 oz. SAP Sparkling Birch Water Beverage (just Birch water, a touch of fizz and citric acid to keep things nice and fresh)
Bitter Truth Spiced Chocolate Bitters
Hand cut Lemon Zest- NO PEELERS, EVER. 
Ice down a tall glass- aka: Collins Glass with ice and water- discard when frosty
Add a segment of the roasted Angostura orange to the glass
Mash down with a muddler- not too much- this is not a race- but do it with alacrity!
Add a spear of ice or a few nice cubes that don’t smell like garlic pasta (PRO-TIP: keep your ice in a freezer bag until ready to use)
Add the Baby Bourbon Whiskey
Pour over the SAP Sparkling Birch Water Beverage
Garnish with a lemon zest and a stainless-steel straw
Serve with a smile and an honest to goodness belly laugh!

Cheers from all of us at DrinkUpNY!

Warren Bobrow is the celebrated author/bar man and mixologist responsible for the 1st book on the topic, Cannabis Cocktails.

Warren has written to date four books, Apothecary Cocktails, Whiskey Cocktails and Bitters/Shrub Syrup Cocktails.  His first book, Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award at the 2014 Tales of the Cocktail. Warren has been a dishwasher, and a pot scrubber- a cook- and a saucier.  He cooked professionally around the country, Portland, Me., Charleston, Sc., Scottsdale, Az., New Hope, Pa., He owned and lost his fresh pasta manufacturing company located in Charleston, SC in 1989- Hurricane Hugo.

Then came a twenty-year career in Banking.  Don’t ask!  Demoralizing yet, essential.
Fortunate to do what he is passionate about, Warren has five books in May 2017 and more ideas on the way.  Ministry of Rum judge, Rum XP associate, American Distilling Institute, Saveur 100, Oxford Encyclopedia, Sage Encyclopedia, Whole Food/Dark Rye,, Barrell Bourbon.   He taught a deep dive on rum at the Moscow Bar Show, taught at Stonewall Kitchen, Attended the Fetes Gastronomie in Burgundy, traveled to Abruzzo in Italy for wine and Michelin starred foods, just to name just a few.  From failed-executive assistant in a bank to tastemaker to the world.
Never working yet never not working.  Smoke and Mirrors.  Authentic.