As fall is turning to winter, and the holiday season is in full force, I thought it time to discuss the types of booze that one should, in my humble opinion, be enjoying this time of year.
Bell's Brown Ale-This beer is one of my all time favorites. Rich, dark, and malty, but with plenty of crispness and a nice hop profile. A lot of beers call themselves "fireside" "autumn" this or that, but if I had a fire, this simply named brew would be perfect with it. In fact, at a friend's harvest party we did have some by the firepit.
Mad Elf-I reviewed this beer on Urban Grain last winter. It's the perfect Xmas beer. Sweet and boozy, warming, red in color. Best drunk by the lights of your Christmas tree.
Assorted Belgian Christmas Beer-The cool thing about the Belgian Christmas beers is that they are not in any format, just special beers brewed for the season with random spices and high ABV. Last year I had St. Bernardus it was very good. Delerium Noel, N'ice Chouffe...many are available this time of year.
I drink brown liquor all year long, but in the summer you may find me with a Caipirinha or a G & T. In the winter, it's whisky and whisky cocktails.
Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit-This is the high end of the Wild Turkey regular lineup. It's single barrel. Very spicy, rye forward, and very very dry. I generally prefer my bourbon a bit juicier, but this one would be very nice on a rainy night. At their traditional 101 proof, you can take it straight, but it has just enough fire that you may want a few drops of water or single ice cube.
High West Campfire-A blend of bourbon and scotch. Sounds strange, but tastes great. I had a shot of this at a new BBQ place in Fishtown. Somehow, inexplicably, the sweet vanilla from the bourbon chimes with the smoke from the peated malt. If I could find a bottle I'd snatch it up for winter.
Lagavulin, Laphroaig, other assorted Islay scotch-Islay scotches are the smokiest, and the type of scotch I'd most want on a frigid night. Rich, peaty, medicinal.
Penicillin-Famous Grouse blended scotch, ginger juice, lemon juice, honey syrup, and a float of Laphroaig, with some candied ginger for garnish. This is my favorite cocktail of all time. I am making it for my sister in law's wedding reception. Spicy, just a hint of smoke, rich in flavor yet refreshing.
Manhattan and Old Fashioned-Some nights you want something a little more than a straight pour, but nothing too involved. If I have oranges in the house, it's old fashioned night. If not, manhattans it is (I always have decent vermouth, bitters, and some Rittenhouse Rye on hand). What I like about old fashioneds is you can use pretty cheap booze, as the orange, cherry, bitters, and a splash of soda water mask a lot of imperfections. For example 2 weeks ago I made them with Heaven Hill--bottom bottom shelf--and they weren't bad at all.
I have a bottle of Compass Box Oak Cross waiting to open. Compass Box is sort of the High West of Scotland, they source whisky and then blend it masterfully. Also look for a review of Col. E.H. Taylor Warehouse C Tornado surviving bourbon. I will try to get another post in before the New Year, but if not, happy holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, etc. And whatever is in your glass, Cheers!