You can see her full blog at IceClinkDrink, thanks for the post Janice and welcome to the club!
Not Your Pappy’s MoonshineLast week I got a fun treat and joined Seattle’s LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of the Endangered Cocktail – love that!) group for a private tour of the Woodinville Whiskey Co. Talk about a perk to this blogging stuff!
Only open to the public for a few months, the Woodinville Whiskey Co. has been busy creating a boutique whiskey distillery not far from the Red Hook Brewery, Chateau St. Michelle Winery and many other booze-forward businesses in Woodinville. Owner Orlin Sorensen took about 20 or so LUPEC women through their facilities, let us peer into vats of boiling organic corn and rye mash, and gave us several samples to sip. While I was familiar with the basics of bourbon and whiskey, the tour went way beyond. I can’t do all of the information justice (a few bullet points are at the end), but tastings and tours are available to the public each week.
While Boss Hogg pursued the Dukes of Hazzard for runnin’ moonshine, the distillery has accomodated us by launching Headlong White Dog Whiskey, an organic, unaged whiskey made with true bourbon mash but just out of the still…in other words, legal moonshine. Orlin described white dog as being to bourbon what white rum is to aged rum – rougher, sharper but still flavorful. Just for kicks, he used the white dog in a cocktail called the Green Trellis to demonstrate its mixability. You can pick up a bottle of Headlong at the distillery or at state liquor stores: How fun to tell guests at your next party that you are serving a form of moonshine!
Green Trellis (created by John Ueding at Trellis Restaurant in Kirkland)
3 slices of cucumber10-12 mint leaves 1 ½ oz Headlong White Dog Whiskey1 oz apple cider (they used non-alcoholic, but I think hard cider would also be tasty)½ oz simple syrup
Muddle the cucumber and mint in a cocktail shaker, and then add ice and other ingredients. Shake well, strain and serve up in a chilled cocktail glass.
Orlin gave us a sneak peek, or rather sip, of their first batch of micro-barrel (5 to 7 gallons) aged bourbon. Very tasty. Plans are to release a new micro-batch of organic bourbon each quarter, so it will be interesting to see what more refined palates have to say about the releases.
Can’t wait to taste their results? The distillery is also selling its “Age Your Own Whiskey” kit, complete with a wee cask. The company says that the small cask size means the aging process is greatly accelerated, producing a properly aged whiskey in just 3-6 months. Too late for Mother’s Day, this kit could make a great Father’s Day gift for the whiskey lover in your family.
And although bourbon is clearly their passion, the distillery’s owners also produce an organic vodka to pay the bills while the bourbon ages. Most vodka is pretty tasteless, but the Peabody Jones Vodka tasted almost creamy, with hints of vanilla. A pleasant way to add interest to your vodka drinks.
In addition to the sipping and sampling, LUPEC also raised about $400 for the Red Cross’s tornado relief efforts – fitting given that the recent tornados have devastated areas around and in the South’s bourbon region. Cocktails and a cause, the perfect combo.
Bonus: Random Bourbon Factoids
- Bourbon is America’s only native spirit and must contain at least 51% corn mash. But it does not have to be made in Bourbon County, Kentucky, to be called bourbon.
- Bourbon barrels are made from new white oak by professional called coopers (at a cooperage, naturally).
- The insides of the barrels are charred to distillery preference, depending on the flavor profile the distillery seeks.
- After the barrels are used just once for bourbon, they are used by other distilleries for beer, Scotch or Irish whisky, rum and tequila.
- The alcohol lost to absorption in the cask is called the angels’ share.
- The Woodinville Whiskey Co. already has a long list of home beer brewers and commercial brewers waiting for those used bourbon barrels to free up!