“There’s whiskey in the jar, o…”

by Katie Pizzuto on November 4, 2011

in Bourbon,cocktails

A lot of the time that I’m on my soapbox, going on about beer or wine, I want you all to know I’ve usually got a rocks glass behind me, tucked just out of view. I’m certainly not nursing it on most given weeknights, but it’s there…with its perfectly shaped cubes of ice tinkling my name in some foreign language only elixirs speak. And though I adore nothing more than something as simple as some aged Cuban rum or Mexican mezcal, a well-crafted cocktail can top them both, and nothing sends me into a Pavlovian drool quicker than the Old Fashioned.

Bourbon knows how to make me weak at the knees. Gin is elegant, tequila is earthy, but bourbon is that guy in the leather jacket on the beat-up Indian motorcycle who everyone tells you you aren’t supposed to love…so of course you spend a lot of late nights with him, sucking face. And it wasn’t as if I fell in love with bourbon at the onset if I’m being honest. Like just about everybody reading this, my introduction to bourbon was the obligatory shot of Jack Daniels, handed to me at college bars and backyard parties, and given that I spent my formative years in a band with a bunch of guys in the midst of trying to claim their masculinity, let’s just say I did more than hold my own when it came to shots of JD. In fact, I’m pretty sure my husband will tell you it’s one of the reasons he fell in love with me. Discriminating standards, no doubt.

But eventually you grow up and realize if you actually stop and taste the stuff, it’s really fucking good. I started buying Knob Creek, Baker’s and Maker’s Mark and sipping them on the rocks. The smoke, the nutty notes, the butterscotch-covered spice rack all drew me in. And then, this beautiful, wise, cultured woman handed me an Old Fashioned one night, and I figured if it was good enough for her I’d be a dolt not to give it a try. Oh, sweet mother of Jeebuz was that drink amazing. Bitters, sugar, bourbon, a cherry, and a twist of both lemon and orange—absolute, utter perfection. I adore martinis, love a spicy bloody mary, but if it’s bourbon that makes me weak at the knees, then a well-crafted Old Fashioned is the one that carries me up the stairs and finishes the job. A poorly made one, however, is as disappointing as the guy in the leather jacket on the beat-up Indian motorcycle eventually is. Then again, that’s usually the problem with putting something up on such a high pedestal, but the rewards are worth the risk.

So there is no way you spend your well-earned time drinking nothing but wine or beer—after all, you are part Gonzo. Question is, what cocktail makes you weak at the knees?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 The Zinhead November 5, 2011

Weak in the knees, huh? A simple guy demands simple yet properly made cocktails. For me it boils down to two. A delicious Sahara like Plymouth Gin Martini, three olives and stirred clockwise for 43.2 seconds. The second is a true to form Manhattan. I demand it be made with rye whiskey, bitters and Noilly Prat vermouth if at all possible. Bitters are a must. If you don’t have them or perhaps the establishment you are in lacks them DO NOT ORDER or waste good rye. That is all.

AI

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2 Katie Pizzuto November 5, 2011

Love both, though I’d ask for a Bombay Sapphire Martini. There’s a Bonefish Grill in Miami that makes their own blue cheese-stuffed olives with amazing gorgonzola unlike any pre-jarred shit you’ll find on a shelf. Three of those in the martini would be icing on the cake. Adore Manhattans as well, definitely with rye. I know I mentioned this in a previous post, but there’s a company called Bitter Cube (http://www.bittercube.com) that makes amazing hand-crafted bitters. You should give them a try.

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3 David November 10, 2011

Guess an Old Fashioned makes two of us weak in the knees. I don’t drink them often but the cocktail is like putting on that old pair of jeans with the ripped knee; easy, comfortable and rugged at the same time. However it is more the Bourbon than the actual cocktail that does it for me. Having drunk my share of scotch, Old No. 7 on the rocks brings back that loving feeling for me.

With a three day weekend starting tomorrow and a beautiful sunny day in Seattle, I have been day dreaming all morning about the relaxing with some JD accompanied by a nice stogie in the near future. I just happened to check your blog to read the latest post and now I am weak in the knees.

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4 Katie Pizzuto November 10, 2011

I don’t drink them often either, and perhaps part if it is an “absence makes the heart grow fonder” sort of thing, who knows. But that is a description if ever I heard one: an old pair of jeans with the ripped knee”. Totally fitting. Given that I DON’T have a three-day weekend I’m now jealous of you on TWO counts 🙂

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5 Don November 10, 2011

Katie, Katie, Katie…JD? OK, at least you graduated to Knob Creek, and Bakers, but there are some really great bourbons out there! Forst off, JD isn’t bourbon. It is Tennessee Whiskey. It goes through a charcoal filter prior to bottling that disqualifies it from being bourbon, and in turn makes it Tennessee Whiskey. My favorite right now is Willett, neat. I have a barrel proof version that is about 8 years old and 130 proof that just blows my mind! I also recently procured a bottle of Noah’s Mill which is a 114 proof bourbon that is aged for 9 years and tastes amazing. again just neat in a glencarin. As for mixed drinks, I’m pretty simple. Margarita on the rocks made with a nice Reposado Tequila, or a great bloody Mary with a double shot of Vodka, and extra Worcestershire sauce. I like mine with a stalk of celery. Its like a salad in a glass…with a kick.

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6 Katie Pizzuto November 10, 2011

Don, Don, Don…didn’t we all start with JD? 🙂

Seriously, though, according to Wikipedia (not that it’s the most reliable source in the world, I know) this is where JD stands:

“Although the product generally meets the regulatory criteria for classification as a straight bourbon, the company disavows this classification and markets it simply as Tennessee whiskey rather than as Tennessee bourbon.”

But I’m more apt to trust you than Wiki. Anyhow, I will definitely take notice of the names you gave me and seek them out. Money’s tight now, especially with holidays on top of us, but I don’t mind spending on a recommendation from you!

I like my Bloody Mary spicy…sometimes instead of additional worchestershire, I do a little of that and a little steak sauce. Generally I frown upon mixes, but I swear by Oxford Falls mixes if you can find them…all natural and the flavor is amazing. In that regard, you should give MY recommendation a try, LOL.

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7 Alison November 16, 2011

JD with soda was the cocktail of my 20’s. Someone gave me a full size bottle for my birthday which I lugged around in my purse to the delight of my college buddies. It vanished quickly, thank god; those JD hangovers are real killers.
Onetime a friend of a friend’s father made us a batch of his renowned Old Fashioneds. I was dubious at first but won over quickly. It was so smooth and delicious, drunk in the waning light of a late fall afternoon in a nearly deserted beach house. The second was even more mellow and made me so literally weak in the knees that I had to be helped out of my seat in an Adirondack chair. I haven’t had one since because I know it would be a let down.

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8 Katie Pizzuto November 17, 2011

I gotta say it’s good to hear this cocktail hasn’t been relegated to the “outdated” pile! Thanks for commenting!!!!

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