Cheat Sheet Links

The Cheat Sheet: The Professor’s Guide to the Best Cocktail and Spirits Links

Some fun stuff for your reading pleasure this week. 

  • In the Washington Post, Jason Wilson discusses "How cocktails happen."
  • In the San Francisco Chronicle, the great Gary Regan recommends a cocktail for Valentine's Day: A Rogue's Romance. Sounds delicious!
  • Jim Meehan, from NYC's PDT cocktail bar, is the hot bartender of the moment. (And for good reason.) Here he discusses Boston's cocktail culture.
  • Dushan Zaric, owner of NYC's Employees Only bar, talks about Calvados, the French apple brandy, including three cocktail recipes.
  • More from Zaric: three videos showing you how to make a Daiquiri, Mint Julep and Mojito. The Daiquiri is one of my favorite drinks — it really showcases a fine Rum.
  • In other how-to videos, Simon Ford shows you how to make a Martini, Vesper and Gimlet. Simple, classic, elegant.
  • In case you hadn't noticed, bitters have maintained their place at the forefront of the craft cocktail movement. Here's another article about them, focusing specifically on Bittermens. (For the record, I think bitters are both essential and amazing. Although I also think that, as with most things, people are getting a little carried away with them.)
  • Bartender Evan Zimmerman demonstrates how to choose a bar spoon and stir a drink.
  • If you don't know much about Chartreuse, Sean Kenyon has the scoop on this green liqueur made for centuries by monks in the French Alps.
  • Here are some pictures of a few amazing home bars. They put me to shame.
  • Have you heard? Cocktails are coming back!
  • The latest rage (one of them, anyway) in mixology is making your own ingredients. Here's how to make Falernum. (I might actually try this one of these days.)
  • Need some more ideas for Valentine's Day cocktails? Here are a few.
  • Seema Gunda reviews Trader Joes' new line of "Trader Moon" wines. My wife has tried a few of these and has good things to say about them.
  • If you're going to showcase your homemade cocktails to their best effect, you'll need some nice glasses and other tools.
  • Andrew Strenio rounds up the three artisanal liqueurs from Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Root, Snap and Rhuby. I haven't tried any of them, but they do sound interesting.
  • Bartenders love Fernet, one of the most interesting of the Italian Amari, with a fascinating bitter, herbal flavor. Here's a recipe for bartender Eric Swan's Bitter Pill, a cocktail made with Fernet and aged Rum.
  • Ginger Beer is essential for making cocktails like the Dark 'n Stormy and Moscow Mule. I buy it at the store. But you can make your own.

That's it for now. Cheers!

Spirits Reviews Whiskey Whiskey Reviews

Whiskey Review: High West Double Rye

High-West-Double-RyeHigh West Whiskey Double Rye
Rye Whiskey
Final Grade: B
Price: $35 (750ml)

Reviewed by Bob Montgomery

I’ve started to become more selective when it comes to rye. The first few ryes I tasted were new and different enough that just being a rye gave them a certain amount of good will. If High West had been the first rye I tried, I might have felt a little happier with it.

I had high hopes for High West. To quote the label, “Marriage of two straight rye whiskies that combines the feisty properties of a high rye 2-year-old and the saddle smooth richness of a 16-year-old.” Sounds wonderful, right?

Unfortunately, ideas that seem wonderful in prospect often fail of that promise in retrospect. So it is with High West Double Rye. This whiskey, despite its marketing-driven prose, seems more like a bourbon (or corn-based) spirit than a rye. It has a nose and flavor of vanilla and caramel, rather than the spice and subtle fire of a good rye.

It quickly recedes to the background in a Manhattan, leaving the stage far too early for a command performance. Perhaps bourbon drinkers will find High West to be a way to ease into drinking rye. For my part, it’s always been easier to jump into the deep end than to tip-toe gradually from the shallow.

High West isn’t a bad whisky, and shouldn’t be spurned if the occasion presents itself. But there are better bottles to be had, and better experiences to be savored.

Report Card

Quality Grade: B
Value Grade: B
Final Grade: B