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Compass Box Scotch Whiskey | Part I

Yesterday afternoon something monumental happened.  Like Moses stepping down off the mountain to deliver the commandments of God to the Israelites, USPS handed me a package with Compass Box Whiskey. In case you don’t know, Compass Box is a specialist Scotch Whiskey maker.  Compass Box promises to craft scotch whiskies that appeal to a variety of tastes and they certainly deliver on this promise.  In this review, we’re tackling two of Compass Box’s huge scotch whiskies: Peat Monster and Great King St.  Though, keep a sharp lookout in the coming days for Part II of this review!alcoholic-drinks-19-5

Peat Monster  

Peat Monster, obviously, is a peat whiskey.  A blended malt peat whiskey to be exact.  For the uninitiated, peat whiskey might not make a whole lot of sense.  Scotland is covered in what is called peat, what essentially boils down to a layer of soil made up of dead plant matter.  Ok, so now you’re thinking….yum, dirt whiskey. Nope, peat has an interesting historical use in Scotland.  Scotlanders would dig up and dry peat to use as fuel.  Dried peat works sort of like charcoal.  After drying, whiskey makers would use the peat to heat the stills.  Though, the smoky characteristics come from drying the malt used in the whiskey with the peat.

Compass Box Peat Monster

Compass Box Peat Monster

The variables of drying malt with peat result in a really complex scotch whiskey…and I mean really complex.  There’s so much going on in Peat Monster.  Here are some of our notes from a tasting.

The Peat Monster

46% ABV

Nose – smoky, leather, apple, grains, peat

Mouth feel: medium, a little syrupy.

Palate: peat, oak, leather, smoke, smoked meat

Finish: more oak, florals, fruit (maybe grape), malt, alcohol, dryness

Adding a few drops of water makes a huge difference.  All of the dry alcohol vanishes at the end and each sip is far more smooth.

Peat Monster is such an interesting whiskey.  It definitely takes a few sips to really get a feel for what it’s about and what exactly is going on in it, but it’s so worth it.  Drinking it neat is great, but intense.  I think adding a few drops of water really opens it up and makes it more enjoyable.  Peat Monster is a solid 5/5

Great King Street

The second scotch whiskey we tried from Compass Box is Great King St.  Great King St. is a blended scotch whiskey with some really interesting characteristics.  Compass Box includes the following about crafting a blended scotch whiskey

“Due to the preponderance of poorly made, inexpensive Blended Scotch whiskies on the market, many people assume any bottle of Scotch bearing the term ‘blended’ is somehow inferior. Not if you make it the way we do. “

Check out this cool infograph

Great King St. is Aged in three different casts American Oak, French Oak, Sherry Butts (hahah butts) and it definitely comes through in the nose and the taste.

gks

Great King Street

43% ABV

Nose: very sweet, cereal, citrus, apples, vanilla, candy, smores

Palate: full bodied, rich, fruit-driven, creamy

Finish: wine, fruit, spice

Great King St. is such a different Whiskey in comparison to the Peat Monster, but different in such a delicious way.  We give Great King St. a 4/5

Singing the Praises of the Lunch Beer

For too long, drinking during the day has been written off as something for alcoholics or just lazy assholes, but this just a myth.  Some of the hardest working people in history drank during the day.  There’s something fundamentally great about popping open a can or bottle of beer on your lunch hour.  Maybe, it’s a small act of rebellion–a nice fuck you to your boss–or you just want a beer in the middle of the day.  Drinking a beer over lunch is a trend that needs to resurface!  The lunch beer, as I’m calling it, has some cool historical roots.

Now, You probably have some douchey beer geek friend who’s always raving about a great “session beer.”  Essentially the lunch beer has it’s history tied up with the session beer.  So, what does the beer douche mean by session beer? something really specific.  Technically, the session beer is any beer that is 5 percent ABV or under.  What’s so special about a beer with 5 percent or lower ABV? You’re going to need about 1000 to get crunk.

Historically, the session beer was a fundamental part of the day for munitions workers in WWI Britain.  During the work day, there were several “sessions” or breaks for workers.  During these sessions workers would go and drink a session beer.  Sources say that the break in work would be from 11am-3pm and 7pm-11pm.  With this in mind, the reasoning for the lower ABV becomes obvious.  Workers wanted to go drink without getting totally trashed.  It’s interesting how labor really shaped (and it continues to) the drinking habits of workers.

Modern day lunch breaks are far shorter than the sessions of WWI, but there’s still enough time to knock back a session beer.  Drinking and then going back to work might be uncouth, but who gives a shit?  Historical precedent doesn’t make something ok, but in this case it seems alright.  So, let’s revive the lunch beer!  Order a beer with your lunch, or grab one out of the fridge at home during your break.

Tullamore Dew

Irish whiskey is great.  Here, I’m returning to one of the first whiskeys I had ever drank: Tullamore Dew.  Tullamore Dew is an inexpensive and easy to find Irish whiskey.  So, if you’re looking for something unique, this probably isn’t for you.

brands-tullamore-dew-header

 

Tullamore Dew is a straight forward Irish whiskey around 20 Dollars a bottle.  Tullamore is a solid bottle of whiskey.  It’s got a nice malty, golden color.  A lot of whiskey snobs wouldn’t even consider it, but it’s nice to just sip on.  On the nose, Tullamore starts with a fruity smell.  I’d say Banana, raisin, and of course a really strong alcohol smell.  Tullamore has a pretty distinct taste.  It’s a really sweet and smooth whiskey.  Far more straight forwardly sweet than Jameson.

I think comparing Tullamore and Jameson is pretty fair.  Both whiskey’s are Irish, triple distilled and in a similar price range, though Jameson is a tad more expensive.  The difference is markedly dissimilar. Jameson has a far more complex taste, probably due to how they age it.  Sure, Jameson has a smooth sweet taste, but it has a bit of spice underlying the sweet notes.

Tullamore Dew is the Mountain Dew of whiskey.  It’s inexpensive, common, sweet and straightforward.  It might not be top shelf and various whiskey snobs may overlook it, but it’s good.

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Because of this comparison, here’s a recipe for a great (pretty gross) cocktail I just made up: the TULLAMORE DOUBLE DEW

The Tullamore Double Dew Recipe

1.5 oz Mountain Dew

1.5 oz Tullamore Dew

Garnish: Fedora

Glass: Rocks

50c

 

A Triumphant Return

Hey there internets, how are you?  You might have noticed something missing from your life lately.  Maybe your wife left you, you lost your job, Obama is obamanating you…that all blows or whatever, but the most important change is that you haven’t been reading Boozeblogger.  Boozeblogger has been on a bit of a hiatus recently.  The Boozecrew ™ has been doing other stuff ya’ know?  But who cares. We’re back!

this is us

this is us

We’re breaking back onto the scene like a naked intruder ruining someone’s Ninja Warrior run…it’s a perfect metaphor really.  We’re back with a new Boozecrew, new booze, new reviews, new recipes and cocktail ideas.  Stick around for some balls to the wall ninja/drinking action.

 

 

Tips for Choosing the Right Wine Glass

Types-of-Wine-Glasses-Chart

Whether you’re serving your guests a glass of wine with dinner or rewarding yourself with a glass at the end of the day; choosing the right glass is important.  The right glass will allow your wine to develop its full bouquet, keep your champagne the proper temperature, and promote overall better flavor.  There are a bunch of legitimate reasons for choosing the right glass, but it also makes you look like a classy individual.  Impress or shame your friends by knowing how to navigate the intricacies of bourgeoise etiquette!

For Your Wine

For Your Wine

 

use a glass you barbarian

use a glass you fucking barbarian

For this article, we’ll look keep it simple and stick to three types of wine glasses and why they’re important.  The three and most important glasses to know right now are: Bordeaux, Chardonnay, and flute.

Size DOES matter (something something penis joke) 

 

BORDEAUXWorld Market’s Bordeaux Connoisseur

 

Your red wines will reach they’re fullest potential in a glass like the Bordeaux.  What is important to note here is the Bordeaux has a large wide bowl for holding generous pours (4-6oz) with room to spare and allowing the aromas to expand and proper aeration.  The rim of your red wine glass should come to taper but still allow your nose to take in the full bouquet of the wine.  The tumbler glass seems to be popular right now and in my opinion be suited for a red dinner wine.  Remember: these wines are served at or near room temperature.

 

CHARDONNAYWorld Market’s Chardonnay

 

White wines call for a glass with a smaller bowl and narrower opening.  Since they are to be consumed at a temperature near 50F, the slimmer glass will allow the wine to hold its temperature and the stem will help keep your fingers from warming the wine.  Also, like the Bordeaux, you want to fill the glass no more then half in order to enjoy the full bouquet.  A White or Chardonnay glass here will do the trick.

 

 

FLUTEWorld Market’s Champagne Flute

 

The Champagne flute is the narrowest of the three wine glasses.  The advantage of the narrower glass is that it holds temperature and retains carbonation.  The glass will allow bubbles to travel up the glass giving it the “sparkle” and adding a touch of sophistication.  Unlike the Bordeaux and Chardonnay, the flute should be filled with 6oz, and does not not need extra room in the glass.

 

 

 

5 Drink Recipes That Will Vastly Improve Your Spring

5 Drink Recipes That Will Vastly Improve Your Spring

After this most hellish winter, here are some recipes that will help you forget all about it.

1392324584-ella-wifi-600x340#firstworldgradeschoolproblems

 

1. Spicy Jalapeño Margaritas

11Chris Perez of Citygram Magazine

Recipe here.

 

2. Blood Orange Sangria

IMG_1665-final

http://www.epicureanmom.com

Recipe here.

 

3. Pineapple-Ginger Infused Rum

med106560_0311_sea003b_verthttp://www.marthastewart.com

Recipe here.

 

4. Bramble Smash

bramble-smash-recipe-940x600http://www.bonappetit.com

Recipe here.

 

5. Black Swan

Black-Swan-11http://www.wine-girl.net

Recipe here.

 

 

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Bar Cart

Click the picture to check out this awesome bar cart post from abeautifulmess.com!

 

5 Essential Tips For Starting a Home Bar 

 

So you want to start a home bar, huh? Well if you’re like most people the first thing you’ll do is head down to Lonnies Liquor Barn and grab twenty random spirits based on which bottles look the coolest, pick up an ugly shaker with six recipes you’ll never use printed on the glass, a muddler because smashing things sounds cool, seventeen lemons, and for the love of God don’t forget to get a giant bottle of Baileys! You’re going to need the Baileys…for…something.

That’s pretty much how I started my home bar. I always wanted to get into cocktail culture and when I came into a small bit of money I went wild buying all kinds of things that didn’t really mix well. I knew enough to get at least some of the each of the basic spirits (Whisky, Gin, Vodka, Rum etc.), but since I didn’t really know much about cocktails I ended up with a lot of stuff that I didn’t need and barely touched. Here’s how to start a home bar the right way:

"My cocktails have the side benefit of removing body thetans. That'll be $75,000 and your first born child, please."

“My cocktails have the side benefit of removing those pesky Body Thetans. That’ll be $75,000 and your first born child, please.”

1. Find a good bartender and make friends.    

A great bartender is going to be just as interested in cocktails as you are and happy to get to know someone who wants to learn about their craft. Tell them what you like and ask them to make you something they think you’ll enjoy. Depending on where you live finding this type of person can be fairly easy or next to impossible. For the last five years I lived in a small college town where the closest thing you could get to a cocktail was a Jager Bomb. Its not that you couldn’t order something slightly more elaborate, but the reaction I usually got when ordering an Old Fashioned was either utter confusion or, “Yeah, I think I can make that, what’s in it?” which never ends well. When you’ve found something you like, ask your bartender questions like, “What’s the secret to making this drink well? What do you recommend I try next?” Tip well and let them know you’ll be back for more.

liquor_bottles

2.  Buy only the booze you need. 

Once you’ve found a few cocktails that you enjoy you’re ready to hit the liquor store. Resist the temptation to splurge on the most expensive brands or fanciest bottles of booze. Start small, check out our 5 Cheap Liquor Brands You’ll Love guide for the basics and besides that just pick up what you need to make the cocktails you already know you like. There will be plenty of time to expand on your cocktail repertoire and the base spirits you pick up will work for hundreds of different drinks with a few tweaks.

Bar Tools

Click here to find this great set on Amazon.com

3. Invest in some good tools.

Make sure in the course of your  conversation with your new bar-tending-buddy you find out exactly what tools they are using to make your drink. When you start out you’re probably going to need at least a shaker and a strainer. I’m partial to the Boston Shaker myself. This one may seem a bit pricey, but I’ve broken more than one so it’s worth buying something of higher quality. If you need anything else I recommend a kit like this one which includes the tools I use most in my own cocktail creations; namely a shaker, strainer, stirrer, muddler, and measuring jigs. There are many, many more, but these should be more than enough to get you started.

citrus_slices

4. Buy fresh ingredients 

If you’re going to go to the trouble of making your own cocktails at home do yourself a favor and buy some fresh ingredients. In a pinch you can get by with the stuff you get in the plastic lemon, but there’s really no comparison to fresh ingredients for your cocktails. The one thing to remember about fresh ingredients is only to buy as much and you need. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought way too much fruit thinking I’m going to go on a mixology spree and ended up throwing out good fruit. If you’re buying lemons be sure to check out our Make Your Own Lemoncello post and see how you can get the most out of your fruit.

Cocktail Glasses

Download this screensaver from foodswallpaper.com

5. Buy the proper glassware. 

Pouring your freshly homemade cocktails into a red plastic cup is a sin and the Good Lord will smote your ass if you do it. These days you can find proper glassware just about anywhere and it doesn’t even have to be expensive. Check out our post on The Best Way To Build Your Cocktail Glass Collection to see how we built our set from scratch. If leaving your couch to go on a glass searching adventure is a bit to strenuous for you then I say check out Amazon for your sets. If you’re making a Martini or a Manhattan try this one. Take a look at these if you’re trying an Old Fashioned or a Whiskey Sour.  Trying your hand at a Highball, Tom Collins, or Mojito? Check these out.

Know anyone else looking to start a home bar? Why not click here and share this post on Facebook? What was your home bar making experience like? Any tips for the rest of us? Leave us a comment and let us know how you did it.

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