Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spicy Barbeque Bourbon Whiskey Sliders:

“I believe that the great American hamburger is a thing of beauty, its simple charms noble, pristine. The basic recipe—ground beef, salt, pepper, formed into a patty, grilled or seared on a griddle, then nestled between two halves of a bun, usually but not necessarily accompanied by lettuce, a tomato slice, and some ketchup—is in my mind, unimprovable, by man or God. A good burger can be made more complicated, even more interesting by addition of other ingredients—like good cheese, or bacon. . .  relish perhaps, but it will never be made better.

I like a blue cheese burger as much as the next guy—when I’m in the mood for blue cheese. But if it’s a burger I want, I stick to the classics: meat—and bun.”

Anthony Bourdain, From Medium Raw

My wife and I hadn't made any whiskey laced meals for a while now and having lately become addicted to Portland's Little Big Burger, our new favorite small burger chain which serves amazing little "little big burgers" along with a wonderful selection of canned beers, we've been wanting to try some slider-style burgers at home. Though they may not be the classic burger, as in just meat and bun, these spicy little guys in no way overcomplicate things. Perfect for satisfying our current addiction. So easy to prepare, and great for entertaining, if you love everything that is the burger, you should really check out this amazing comfort meal!

1 pound makes about six patties, but double or triple it depending on the size of your party - make sure to season these puppies well.

Butter makes everything taste better, don't skimp on it!
Add more or less jalapenos depending on your taste-buds. 1/4 of a cup really doesn't add too much heat.
Set aside patties while you prepare the sauce and buns.
You can use bourbon, scotch, rye, etc. Don't use anything too expensive, its not needed. I used Old Grand-dad because this 100 proof bourbon will really stand out in the sauce.


1 pounds Ground Meat (beef)
Salt And Pepper
2 ½ Tablespoons Butter
1 Medium Onion, Diced
1/2 cup Bourbon Whiskey (Nothing too pricey)
2/3 cup Barbecue Sauce (We used Laurelwood Brewery)
At least 1/4 cup Jarred Jalapeno Slices
3 Hoagie rolls, halved (leaving 6 small buns)

Preparation Instructions:

Turn oven to 350. Form the meat into 6 small slider-size patties and season both sides. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook the patties about 3-4 minutes each side – note that they will be cooked longer in the sauce, so you don’t need to cook them fully through. Remove them from heat and place aside. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of grease, and then return the skillet to the stove. Place buttered buns on a cooking sheet, place in oven for about 10 minutes, placing cheese on top of half the buns about halfway through.

Now start onions in the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes. Pour in whiskey and stir together. After the whiskey reduces a bit, for about 1½ to 2½ minutes, mix in the barbecue sauce and jalapenos.

Reduce heat to low and place the patties back in the sauce, making sure to coat each patty in the goodness. Allow patties to simmer until everything's hot and bubbly.
Place the patties on individual buns and be sure to spoon extra sauce over the top of each one before topping with the other half of the bun. 

Enjoy with beer.

Recipe from the amazing Pioneer Woman.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Old Pulteney 12 Year Scotch Whisky Review:

"For God's sake bring me a large Scotch. What a bloody awful country." 
 – Reginald Maudling

Located in the heart of the town of Wick, the most northerly distillery in Scotland, Old Pulteney lays just south of the harbor. In the days of the British Empire Wick was considered the herring capital of the world. And it was James Henderson who took up the task of quenching the thirst of the numerous workmen and fishermen, founding the Old Pulteney Distillery in 1826. Receiving the added “Old” to Pulteney not long after it was established, it was said that the whisky aged unusually quick, making it taste “old” after only a short time in the cask. Yet, as the story goes for many of these small towns, in the 1920s a devastating ban on alcohol from 1922 and 1939 and high unemployment rendered this family owned business almost extinct. After exchanging hands with DCL, John Dewer & Sons, and Hiram Walker, Old Pulteney finally came to its current resting place with Inver house.

Up until today Old Pulteney has been primarily used in blends, Ballantine’s being one of its largest recipients, and as such it is one of the most undervalued single malts in Scotland. Inverhouse has been consistently pushing its image as a acceptable single malt, and it is dong a fantastic job at that. Matured in ex-bourbon cask, it is stated on the bottle that Old Pulteney 12 is to represent a "genuine maritime malt." I think they succeed here.

Old Pulteney 12 Year Scotch Whisky Review:

Price: Around $35 - $40 range for a 750ml bottle.

Packaging/Labeling: The bottle is simple, imitating a pot still at the neck, and it is delivered via a practical box. Nothing to complain about.  

Alcoholic Content: 43% abv, 86 proof. Note that this is a higher proof than that of bottles sold in Scotland. Ralfy Mitchell told me that it was to attract the US consumers. Lucky me I guess, but I wish they would get the picture and just bottle them all at a higher proof.

Nose: The nose is just terrific. Complex and refined with floral and fruit. The malt is completely in check. A very light peat note, though not to be classified as smoky. Bright honey, green apple, fresh pineapple and dense pear, all lightly sprinkled with sea salt. There is some sour apple candy hiding in the back.

Palate: With a bit of water this whisky is firmly grounded. You take a sip and nothing runs away on you. There is syrupy sweet and sour lemon on the mid-palette, traveling all the way back on the tongue. This opens up into a light spice. Green and fresh notes all around, yet never feeling young. Just like on the nose apples and pears sprinkled with the sea salt and with a bit of creamy chocolate on the sidelines.

Conclusion: This is a humdinger of a whisky which I am proud to give high marks! With it being in relative obscurity, this is definitely one people need to grab now before the experts get their hands on it and make it fashionable. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon Single Barrel Vintage (2002) Review:

“The Bourbon King was first ambassador of reason and human happiness.” 
– Heinrich Mann

Heaven Hill Distillery is one of my favorite distilleries in the United States.  I’ve reviewed a few of their whiskies in the past (Rittenhouse and Elijah Craig) and I have loved them all. Whether or not you even prefer any of their whiskey, you can’t deny they put out consistent and high quality products. Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage (mine being the 2002 vintage) is another great example of a well constructed bourbon; a great choice which will not hurt the pocket book, it is as close to a craft presented product as one will get at the price. Each bottle includes a hand written barrel date, barrel number, and date of bottling, everything I like to see on a whiskey like this.

Evan Willams Kentucky Straight Bourbon Single Barrel Vintage (2002) Review:

Price: Around $28.95 for a 750ml bottle.

Packaging/Labeling: Even for the size of the distillery, they take their time to present a good bourbon with a clear face. Lots of information on the back label, as well as a booklet. My only complaint, even with the fact that I will always be happy with clear and practical packaging, is that the label itself feels a bit boring. You can only be so picky.

Alcoholic Content: 43.3% abv, 86.6 proof.

Nose: Very distinct buttery maple syrup, sweet caramel, nutty banana bread, agave, oak and floral notes. Vanilla cake and candy corn.

Palate: Thick and syrupy, but develops very pleasantly. Lots of seared oak covered in maple syrup. Progresses into clove and cinnamon spice which spreads rapidly over the palate. A lingering note of Red Hots make for a pleasantly long finish.

Conclusion: With the time and care taken to produce this whiskey it is a great buy at this price. And the fact that one can buy a new and unique expression every year even increases the intrinsic value of the product. That it can compete with many whiskies above its price point, through its grace and complexity, makes for good choice which beginners and experienced drinkers can both savor.