“Whisk(e)y and cocktails: a never ending love story” – by Timo Janse
Whisky. When I started my bartending career thirteen years ago in a party bar –yes with rolled up sleeves, shots and a Mohawk- it was the category I feared the most. Shrouded in mystery, old wise men with long beards and even longer knowledge about it, I could not get my 20-year-old taste buds to appreciate it. I knew it would come with the years and it did. Oh it did.
Cocktails and whisky (for simplicity I speak of the category without the “e”) go hand in hand for as long as there have been cocktails and it is easy to see why. It stands up loud and proud in almost any drink, and anyone having made their fair share of Whisky Sours knows how each and every different brand tastes completely differently from one another in the drink.
During Perfect Serve Barshow Amsterdam on 25th & 26th of May in the WesterLiefde & WesterUnie in the Westerpark (www.perfectserve-barshow.com for tickets) , among many other brands and categories, three of those demand some special attention. So grab your favourite drink –i’m having an Old Fashioned- and wet your appetite for this end of May. On with the drinks!
Jim Beam Signature Craft
First up is Jim Beam Signature Craft. Created by 7th generation distiller Fred Noe of the Beam family, it comes in at a whopping 12 years of age, the oldest Jim Beam that is released. Jim Beam is one of the only 3(!) whiskies that we had in that aforementioned party bar I worked in. It is a truly country penetrating brand, opening the category of bourbon for many consumers, including me.
Realising the ever-rising demand for special spirits, and the knowledge that bartenders now will treat the liquid with the respect it deserves, this product was released with bartenders in mind, which makes me very, very happy to be bartending in this day and age.
I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Noe on several occasions and can testify to his passion and craft. He is also a very funny man.
After its release it received much praise, including gold at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition and the International Wine & Spirit Competition.
This product is a great sipping Bourbon, or of course, in an Old Fashioned:
the Crafted Old Fashioned
Garnish: Orange peel, cherry or both.
Stir 7,5ml gomme and 2 dashes Angostura bitters in a tumbler. Add cubed ice and 30 ml Signature Craft, stir 20 secs. Add more cubed ice and another 30 ml Signature Craft. Stir until liquid and glass are cold. Twist an orange peel over glass and put it in, sunny side up.
Comment: at Door 74, some of the happiest time is cherry season. We take out all the pits of 10 kilo’s of fresh cherries –thank you Cari Leslie for the muscle! – and put them on alcohol of our choice, which in this case was a combination of Calvados, cherry liqueur and Noisette, making sure the liquid is at least at 28 % alcohol. We left it for 6 months and now we have beautiful homemade cherries!
This is a product that has earned huge respect in the bartending community ever since it was released. The name refers to a condition malt men sometimes picked up while working long shifts turning the barley by hand. It had the tendency to cause their arm to hang down a bit like a monkey’s, so they nicknamed it monkey shoulder. There are three monkeys on the bottle referring to the three malts in this unique, world’s first “triple” malt: Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie. No Grain alcohol is added!
It is very unusual to produce a blended malt with just three whiskies. Or to find a monkey on a whisky bottle, for that matter. Only a few know which malts are used for Monkey Shoulder.
A knowledgeable bartender should (and now you do) and it helps we LOVE an underdog.
I remember very well receiving a copy of Monkey Shoulder cufflinks and belt as a gift some 7 years ago and how excited I was to wear them!
Now they have a very special bar spoon (check ISpoon on Youtube and prepare to laugh!) and I hope very much to be able to get my hands on one of those one day……
Apes and Apples
Garnish: Mint sprig
Smack 4-6 mint leaves to release flavour and place in a highball glass. Add 45ml Monkey Shoulder. Fill with ice. Top with 90ml sparkling apple juice. Stir briefly. Garnish with mint sprig
Comment: I like to use cloudy apple juice for this one and charge it in a siphon. If you feel particularly awash with time you can also juice fresh apples, but be aware it turns brown quicker than you can say Apes and Apples!
Cutty Sark Prohibition
Here is a brand that is putting all its efforts in making a bartenders’ life more relaxed. Literally.
Cutty Sark Prohibition was released 80 years after the end of Prohibition to commemorate one of the greatest events in bartending history: Prohibition.
The real McCoy!
The link is an obvious one. Cutty Sark became popular in the US during Prohibition (1920-1933) for those scoffing the law. One of those smuggling the brand into the country was Captain William McCoy, who is still remembered to this day when one says: “this is the real McCoy!” to state the high quality of something.
Bottled at 50% ABV, this is a seriously tasting cocktail ingredient and unexpectedly smooth neat considering its alcohol volume. Cocktail Gurus like Gary Regan are full of praise of this new route.
In 2014, Cutty Sark released the ultimate bartending shoe. With extra grip, this shoe was designed with bartenders for bartenders. And guess what? There might be a few pairs “smuggled” into Amsterdam just for Perfect Serve!
Morning Glory Fizz
Combine 50 ml Cutty Sark Prohibition, 25 ml lemon juice, 25 ml egg white, 15 ml gomme and 3 dashes Pernod Absinthe in a shaker. Shake with ice, then shake without ice and strain into a highball over one ice cube. Top with soda and two straws.
Comment: this particular adaptation of the classic was made by the wonderful Tony Conigliaro at 69 Colebrook Row.
Thirsty? Come by Perfect Serve Barshow Amsterdam and taste one of these at the Perfect Serve bars!