Review: Old Grand-Dad Bonded

OGDBIBIt’s back with a (sort-of) new look. The bourbon created by Basil Hayden to salute his grandpappy has been given a bit of a facelift and a new nudge into the spotlight. There’s been a quiet murmur about some of the selling points within the marketing of this reboot, and a very detailed and excellent history behind the brand (as well as some marketing missteps) can be found courtesy of one Chuck Cowdery, a long time Old Grand-Dad supporter and venerable author.

Discussion of history and artifacts aside, let’s crack this open.

Thankfully, it’s the same as it ever was and they did no tinkering to the mash as far as I can tell. Gratuitous vanilla throughout mixed with a light blend of citrus and corn. Not blasting or intrusive, but quite light with an easy finish and traces of caramel. At $25 its still a fantastic value, and lord knows how many of those will be readily available in the distant future.

100 proof.

A- / $25 /

Recipe: St. Patrick’s Day Cocktails 2015

So once again St. Patrick’s Day seems to present us with an onslaught of recipes courtesy of brands, PR folks, bartenders, and loyal readers. No matter where in the world St. Patty’s is celebrated, it seems to bring out the best in every drinker, professional, and amateur.

Sláinte de la Noche
1 ½ parts Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila
1 ½ parts coffee liqueur
¼ part vanilla syrup
1 part heavy cream

To make vanilla syrup, mix together 1 part sugar, 1 part water and 1 part vanilla extract. Bring to a boil and cool before serving (approximately 1-2 minutes). Combine all ingredients in a glass and serve.


Liam Neeson
2 oz Bushmills Irish Whiskey
.5 oz Ardbeg 10 year old Scotch
.5 oz Drambuie
3 dashes of bitters
Splash of sweet vermouth

Shake and pour over ice into highball glass. Garnish with lemon twist and mint.

2 oz. Knappogue Castle Single Malt Irish Whiskey 12 year old
2 oz. Chamomile tea
3/4 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz. orange sherbet
2 dashes Absinthe
2 dashes Bittermens Boston Bittahs
1/4 oz. King’s Ginger Liqueur
Bar spoon Combier Rose

Add all ingredients (excluding the chamomile tea) to a mixing tin.Add ice and shake. Double strain into an ice filled highball glass. Top with 2 oz. of chamomile tea. Garnish with an orange slice.

6_WILDE_OSCARWilde Oscar
1 oz. Guinness Extra Stout
1.5 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
.5 oz. Rich Simple Syrup
Dash of Botanical Bitters

Stir all ingredients in an ice filled mixing glass. Strain cocktail over a large ice cube. This cocktail is also delicious when made with the signature Guinness Draught. Garnish with a large orange peel and maraschino cherry.

CelticCeltic Climber
2 parts Svedka Colada
¾ part fresh lime juice
½ part simple syrup
1 brown sugar cube
Top with club soda
Garnish with mint

Place 1 brown sugar cube in the glass and cover with a splash of club soda. Cover with mint leaves and use a muddler to break the sugar and club soda into a paste without tearing the leaves. Add fresh lime juice, simple syrup and crushed ice until ¾ full. Add Svedka Colada and swizzle. Add more crushed ice until conical. Garnish lavishly with mint sprigs and lemon.

LeapLeprechaun Leap
1 oz Ketel One Vodka
.5 oz Ginger Liqueur
.75 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
.50 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 Kiwi (Peeled)

Muddle kiwi. Add ingredients. Shake. Strain over fresh ice.

Drinkhacker Reads – 02.19.2015 – Beam Heads To Handcrafted Court

Screen shot 2015-02-19 at 12.01.06 PMWhat’s in a name? Apparently quite a bit when it comes to lawyers looking to cash in on a claim. Jim Beam joins labelmate Maker’s Mark along with Angel’s Envy, Tito’s Vodka, and Templeton Rye as the latest class action complaint filed against spirits makers claiming products to be “handmade” or “handcrafted.” Plaintiff Scott Welk alleges that Beam Suntory “duped him into paying a premium price for a product whose production resembles “a modern day assembly line involving little to no human supervision, assistance or involvement.”

The filing (which we have here in PDF form) also states in somewhat hyperbolic fashion that Beam is “immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous and/or substantially injurious.” But it’s not all bad news over in Beam-Suntory land: a recent report over at Shanken claims the company’s sales rose 40% with last year’s acquisition. [Lexington Herald Leader]

Keeping up with its commitment to acquire, innovate, and please Pumpkin Peach ale drinkers, Budweiser is reviving a recipe that’s been dormant for decades. Faust beer is currently available only in St. Louis, but a nationwide rollout is slated for this year, presumably right after the roll out for MixxTail . [Good Beer Hunting]

Similar in spirit to Bud’s anti-craft message comes this gem from Pernod Ricard’s new CEO, Alexander Ricard, is wasting no time in taking shots at the craft industry. He’s also not shy about his goal to take Diageo down a notch or two and position Pernod as the world’s #1 non-craft spirits company. [FT]

And finally today in science news: science and health publisher BMJ is now stating that past studies may have exaggerated the benefits of alcohol, and spending long amounts of time on Facebook makes you drink more. This would be as good a time as any to remind everyone that we’re over on Twitter: @drinkhacker.  [Business Insider]

Recipe: National Margarita Day Cocktails 2015

It may seem somewhat peculiar to have a drink-iday for Margaritas in the depths of winter, but on the upside: maybe it’s a teaser to help everyone get through a rather brutal season and make our way to a warmer spring and summer. Either way, here are a few recipes we have received and tested for National Margarita Day (Feb. 22).

cucumberCucumber Lavender Margarita
(courtesy of Tortilla Republic, West Hollywood)
2 oz. Casa Noble Tequila (or other 100% agave silver tequila)
2-3 ½ inch cucumber slices, muddled
1.5 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
0.75 oz. lavender-infused simple syrup

(Note: the recipe says to soak 4-5 sprigs of lavender in simple syrup for 2-3 days. We only did it for a day and it seemed to work out OK.)

Shake. Pour into a 12.5 oz. glass on rocks. Garnish with cucumber and fresh lavender blossoms.

HeartsHearts & Tarts
(courtesy of Tart, Los Angeles)
1 Jalapeño Slice
1 1/2 oz. El Silencio mezcal
3/4 oz. passion fruit syrup
3/4 oz. orange Curaçao
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice

In a mixing glass, with a muddler press a jalapeño slice. Add rest of ingredients, add ice and shake. Strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

pineappleThe Veracruzana Pineapple Margarita
2 parts Milagro Reposado Tequila
¾ part agave nectar
1 part fresh lime juice
4 pineapple chunks
2 basil leaves

Muddle pineapple and basil leaves in a Boston shaker. Add remaining ingredients and shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish cocktail with pineapple and basil.

SageSpicy Sage Margarita
2 oz. Avión silver tequila
3/4 oz. jalapeño-infused elderflower liqueur
1/2 oz. orange juice
1/4 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. lime juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup
3 sage leaves
1 sage leaf and salt for garnish

(Note: out of impatience we skipped infusing the jalapeño and just muddled a few rings instead. Worked OK.)

Muddle sage in a shaker. Add all ingredients. Shake. Double strain. Pour over ice in salt-rimmed glass. Garnish with sage leaf.

2 oz. CAMUS VS Elegance
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. orange juice
1 oz. triple sec

(Note: We’re well aware that margaritas commonly use tequila, but this was a nice enough variant to warrant inclusion.)

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into glass, garnish with slime of lime.

Drinkhacker Reads – 02.17.2015 – 1792 Gets Upgraded For 2015

1792-bottle-smAnother day, another makeover: this time we see Barton’s 1792 expression getting an overhaul on the packaging and marketing, resembling something heavily influenced by early 20th century/Art Deco aesthetic. While we’re assured that the ingredients inside haven’t changed, this is also the kick off to a campaign featuring new varieties of 1792 including Single Barrel, Barrel Strength, High Rye, and Sweet Wheat somewhere in the not too distant future. Barton has also updated its website to reflect the new campaign. [1792]

The Wall Street Journal‘s Lettie Teague takes on ten myths commonly told in the wine world and attempts to find the truth behind each one. Veteran vino drinkers won’t find anything new here, but folks new to wine may find this article useful to keep in mind while looking for their next bottle at a shop. Elsewhere, Business Insider tells us about the 9 types of wine we really ought to be drinking. [WSJ]

Bourbonr reports on the arrival of new 17 year old Wild Turkey. “Master’s Keep” comes in at a paltry 86.8 proof, with some cryptic notes on the label and the bold slogan “crafted with conviction.” No word on release date yet, nor price tag. [Bourbonr]

Got C$140,000 to spare? If so, Dalmore’s got your next investment ready to roll! The Spirits Business is reporting that the Signature Liquor Store in Vancouver has a set of four single malts ranging from 42 to 46 years in age for sale starting today. By comparison, it is important to keep in mind that C$140,000 was the last going price for the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey franchise. Oh, Canada! [The Spirits Business]

And finally today, our pals over do a heck of a job with their Vine Daily columns, and this infographic detailing how the world’s alcohol is made is simply outstanding. Worth pouring a glass of your favorite and studying over a long period of time. [The Daily Vine]

The Drinkhacker Shopping List – 02.13.2015

Hello and welcome to the 81st edition of the Drinkhacker Shopping List, our semi-regular look back compiling the best and worst ratings on products we’ve reviewed over the last few weeks. We’ve got lots to choose from for every palate, and more than one with high marks guaranteed to warm the coldest of bodies in the depths of this cold winter.


Recipe: Valentine’s Day Cocktails 2015

We’ve got two days until Valentine’s Day. Much like last year, it appears most of the nation will be in a deep freeze, so here’s the best of the best recipes we’ve received (and we received a record number this year) to warm hearts and souls before you soldier forth to see Fifty Shades of Grey.

AmourAmour de Amatitán
1 ½ oz. Blue Nectar Silver
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
¾ oz. crème de cacao
2 dashes orange bitters
Orange twist

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with an orange twist.


Botran Dark Secret
1.5 oz. Botran Solera 1893
1 oz. simple syrup
1 egg white
1 oz. Port
3 ice cubes
1 strawberry (for garnish)

Shake and strain over ice into a cocktail glass. Garnish with chocolate covered strawberry.

1.5 oz. Hennessy VS
.5 oz. Antica Formula sweet vermouth
.5 oz. Crème Yvette
Splash of simple syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash Fee Brothers Aztec chocolate bitters
3 muddled Black Cherries
1/8th of a lemon
Fresh grated cinnamon
Cherry (for garnish)

Muddle cherries and lemon wedge in a shaker tin. Add all liquid to shaker with ice, shake until well chilled. Strain into glass with large ice cube. Grate cinnamon over the top and garnish with a cherry.

RoseGardenKetel One Rose Garden
1.5 oz. Ketel One Vodka
.5 oz. Pom Juice
.25 oz. fresh lemon juice
.50 oz. simple syrup
Soda water
Mint leaf (for garnish)

Combine all ingredients. Shake and strain over fresh ice into a collins glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with a mint leaf. Continue reading

Drinkhacker Reads – 02.11.2015 – Budweiser Branches Out, Hilhaven Sues Heaven Hill

BudLightMixxtailBudweiser, that firm pillar of macrobrewing, is pleased as punch to announce a new product extension under the Bud Light umbrella. The Mixxtail series of pre-made cocktails will make its debut next week in Firewalker, Hurricane, and Long Island flavors. Not to be confused with the Straw-Ber-Rita, Mang-O-Rita and Raz-Ber-Rita macro cocktails it also makes. [STL Today]

In other Bud news, its now infamous TV ad has sparked up vigorous and frothy ire in the halls of Congress. Not really known for its rapid work output, collaborative spirit or can-do attitude, our national legislators surprisingly stood tall and valiantly defended our right to sip Pumpkin Peach Ale. [The Daily Beast]

In less “Bud”dy -like news… Hollywood director Brett Ratner is suing Heaven Hill Distilleries (which filled its 7th millionth barrel in a ceremony held yesterday) for allegedly trying to block his future plans in delivering a premium whiskey to market with Diageo. Ratner’s Hilhaven would be distilled in partnership with Diageo, and Heaven Hill is attempting to block Johnnie Walker Blue Label Year of the Ramit due to the two names being so similar. Ratner has now counter filed, alleging that consumers would simply associate the name with his house (Hilhaven Lodge) and the lavish parties he’s known for throwing at the estate. [The Spirits Business]

And finally today, Diageo is preparing its second special edition of Johnnie Walker Blue celebrating the lunar new year. Blue Label Year of The Ram will be in limited offering at a price of $260 for a 750ml. bottle. And apparently if you put four bottles side by side a Chinese scroll painting will appear. No word on what happens when you sync up your drinking with The Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon.”

Recipe: National Pisco Sour Day 2015

Did you know that America has a national day dedicated to the national cocktail of… Peru? We do, and it’s this Saturday (February 7)! For anyone here not Pisco savvy or Peruvian, we’ve got a whole backlog of Pisco profiles for your perusal, but here’s a recipe to get you started on your way to celebrating. Got a favorite Pisco cocktail? Share it with us!

PiscoPorton Pisco Sour
2 oz. Pisco Portón
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. simple syrup
1 oz. egg whites
Dash of Angostura bitters

Add all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high for 15 seconds, add 5 cubes of ice, and then pulse in the blender 5 times. Strain up into a glass. Garnish with 3 drops of Angostura bitters.