A couple of months ago, I attended Whisky Live in LA and spotted a few trends including bottled cocktails. Fluid Dynamics from Craft Distillers have not only bottled ready to drink cocktails but it’s gone one step further and barrel-aged them as well. Now you don’t have to barrel age your own or track down the handful of bars in LA that do.
I tried the Saratoga (Germain-Robin brandy, Low Gap whiskey, Vya Vermouth) and the 1850 (Low Gap whiskey, Germain-Robin absinthe superieure) which is a Sazarac. They can’t call it a Sazarac as that name is actually copy-righted.
I found both a bit too sweet for me. Instead of just chilling the bottles, I would actually serve these on the rocks –which probably isn’t what Craft Distillers intended but that’s what I’m suggesting.
High West Distillery is selling a barrel-aged Manhattan ready to drink. They’re calling theirs The 36th Vote which is named after Utah being the 36th vote to repeal Prohibition. I liked this one much more than Fluid Dynamic’s bottled cocktails but I still found this a bit sweet. Made with High West rye, this Manhattan is softer than what you’d probably get at a bar or restaurant since it’s been barrel-aged.
I tried four of her drinks (don’t worry, they were tiny – see above pictures) and liked the Balsamic Me Basil (Buffalo Trace Bourbon, muddled strawberries, basil leaves, lemon, honey, float of white balsamic vinegar) the best. I also liked her Rye oh Why (Knob Creek rye, black cherry juice, lemon, Puerto Rican spiced syrup). For non whisky drinkers or those who wanted to take a break from whisky, she also served a tequila cocktail, Tres in the Orient (Tres Sietes tequila blanco, Asian pear juice, ginger juice, lemon, ginger syrup, simple syrup, grapefruit bitters). I did find her Jasper’s Manhattan interesting with the use of Jack Daniel’s and Peychaud’s bitters.
Over at Monkey Shoulder Scotch, Brand Ambassador Freddy May was jumping up and down waving at me reminding me of the time he was shaking things up at the William Grant party at last year’s Tales of the Cocktail.
I thought they did the best job with social media asking everyone for their tasting notes to tweet.
Wouldn’t you like that giant bottle of Monkey Shoulder? Freddy told me it’s not actually real Scotch in there as some have tried to run off with bottles or worse, drink directly from it. But I did have a taste or two of the real stuff. It’s very drinkable and great for those who don’t like the peatier Scotches.
When you first walk into Whisky Live, you may encounter some art for sale. I really liked the Maraschino painting. One day when I have a real bar, I suppose.
One of the highlights for me was tasting the different expressions of Amrut Whisky, an Indian whisky. Previously, I have just had the single malt in cocktails.
One of the craft distillers I’ve been following is Koval Distillery out of Chicago. I first encountered their Lion’s Pride whiskey in Napa Valley and was pleased to try all their various offerings.
I particularly liked the organic Rye but if you want to cry your eyes out, try their overproof whiskey, the 47th Ward which is named after where they are located in Chicago. All right, it wasn’t that bad but be aware it’s quite potent.
For more fun pics, check out over 70 photos from Whisky Live on my flickr set.
© The Minty // LA Cocktails 2013