Whiskey Guide: Behind the Bar

(A copy of The North American Whiskey Guide from Behind the Bar was sent to me for review.  As always all opinions are my own.) I never found myself behind the bar, well except for once serving drinks at a party hosted by my dorm, Royal Victoria College, at McGill and I don’t remember pouring too many Whiskey cocktails that day.  I chose to be behind the bar to keep a nice buffer between myself and those imbibing something called Jesus Juice (if memory serves me well which it might not.)  It was a sickly purple concoction. IMG_3633-1.JPG Since then, I prefer to place myself at the bar.  A seat at the bar, especially when I choose to go solo, is like a front row seats at an intimate impromptu cocktail class.  I like to see what the bartenders are making and ask them questions about what I should try. I think I had my first tastes of whiskey as a child in a hot sipper my mother would make me to help with a cough or cold.  At university, I was a fan of the martinis at Jello Bar in Montreal.  Here, in Boston, I’ve gone back to some of the classics sampled at Cuchi Cuchi, and then some modern twists in everything from high balls to snifters at Craigie on Main, Ten Tables, The Blue Room, Puritan & Co and most recently Alden & Harlow.  Adam Lantheaume of The Boston Shaker taught me some basics for my home bar tending needs and shared some of Boston’s cocktail history with me.  I’ve explored the world of wine at The Nantucket Wine Festival, and on Long Island touring the Wineries, but as much as I appreciate a good glass of wine, I’m always drawn back to the cocktails. I was recently sent a copy of The North American Whiskey Guide from Behind the Bar: Real Bartenders’ Reviews of More Than 250 Whiskeys–Includes 30 Standout Cocktail Recipes by Chad Berkey and Jeremy LeBlanc for review.  I could not wait for it to arrive because just like I had the opportunity to taste wines side by side to really understand some of the differences in the language and varieties of wine, I have been wanting to do the same for Bourbon, Whiskey and Rye. IMG_3635.JPG At first glance I was a bit overwhelmed at the number of bottles included in the book, but I love the format, which includes the blind taste test descriptions from four bartenders, details about the process and the content of the bottles, age, price range, and more.  At Thanksgiving, I tried my hand at The Tender Knob, which is a cocktail made with my favourite (so far) Knob Creek, hard cider, and just a touch of cinnamon.  It was the perfect fall cocktail. Next, I’d like to try the Aero Whiskey Sour

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Aero Whisky Sour from The North American Whiskey Guide from Behind the Bar: Real Bartenders’ Reviews of More Than 250 Whiskeys by Chad Berkey and Jeremy LeBlanc. Printed with permission of Page St. Publishing

Aero Whiskey Sour
Yields 1 cocktail

  • 2 slices lemon
  • 2 oz (60 ml) Fighting Cock Bourbon
  • ¼ oz (7 g) simple syrup
  • ¼ oz (7 g) egg white
  • Ice
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Cherry, for garnish
  • Cinnamon, for garnish

Muddle the lemon in a shaker, then add the bourbon, simple syrup and egg white. Dry shake vigorously, then add the ice and shake vigorously again. Strain over ice in a rocks glass, and garnish with a dash of Angostura Bitters, a cherry and a pinch of cinnamon. (printed with permission of Page St. Publishing )

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