The folks at Jim Beam’s PR agency sent me a bottle of Baker’s Bourbon the other day. I couldn’t help but say thank you for helping me in my education in the realm of bourbon whiskey.
Baker’s is made with the same fine ingredients as the other products under the Beam tutelage. Each of the bourbon in the Small Batch Collection is unique and quite intriguing. You could say that I’m a big fan of this collection because Baker’s tastes so elegant.
You won’t want to do much to a glass of Baker’s, so named for Baker Beam, Jim Beam’s Grand Nephew. I’m pretty sure that bourbon of this quality is pretty happy in a glass alone with just air as companionship. Perhaps you’ll want to drip some branch water over the top of your glass. I suggest doing this to reveal the inner luxurious texture of Baker’s.
Yes you can mix Baker’s. Please don’t get me wrong on this at all. I’m sure some of the whiskey critics will scoff at my suggestion to add anything to bourbon at all! Then there are the whiskey snobs who hoard the great examples of whiskey from tiny distilleries all over the land, seemingly afraid of spilling one drop in their favor. Or sharing any of their special bottles with their friends…
This type of snobbish approach gives the art of whiskey a bad name. Bourbon comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s not a one-size-fits-all drink!
Every whiskey that I’ve tasted from the Beam line is distinctive in its own way. I may not want to drink their basic white label as my day to day slurp, but you better believe that mixed into a Christmas hot punch or in a punch bowl full of whiskey sours for a crowd, there is nothing better for my dollar. Give it a try, it may surprise you with its heartier approach…
The Baker’s bottling of the Small Batch Collection caught my eye recently. It’s handsomely packaged in a similar fashion to the ultra high end, Booker’s. Baker’s comes in a thick glass, Champagne style bottle with a cork finish and hand dipped wax topping. The label is easy to read and says just want you want to know on the label. 107 Proof and Seven Years Old makes for the important stuff. This is what makes me thirsty!
Tasting Notes and a Cocktail….
Toasted nuts like filberts, caramel coated almonds and sugar coated walnuts fill my mouth from the assertive 107 Proof alcohol. Sweet notes of burnt sugar and maple syrup come into view releasing little bursts of sweet and tart across my tongue and down my throat. There are stone fruits in there too, nectarines, plums and peaches- combined together with a touch of apple cider vinegar and orange marmalade. The finish is not too long, but what is accomplished in this short ending is memorable and calls out for more sips. I do recommend dribbling some water over the top. It doesn’t have to be Evian water, but it should not have chlorine in it. If you filter your water, that will work. Up near Jockey Hollow where I live, there is a protected spring that spews forth thousands of gallons of pure branch water every day.
Branch water is called Branch because it oozes up from the ground around the roots (or branches) of sweet oak trees. Oak is what is used to make the barrels that age whiskey, so it stands to reason that oak would impart a sweet flavor to water as it burbles up from the earth with a belly laugh.
Branch is also called Sweetwater because of the sweet flavor from the liquid itself. When Branch is dribbled over the top of a glass of Baker’s Bourbon this slurp becomes something even more extraordinary.
And now for a nice tropically influenced cocktail…
Not Too Far From St. Kitts
2 oz. Baker’s Bourbon Whiskey (107 Proof)
½ oz. Rhum Agricole from Clement (100 Proof)
¼ oz. Lime Juice *to stave off Scurvy of course!
¼ oz. Pineapple Juice
¼ oz. Seltzer water
2 Shakes Angostura Bitters (for stomach health)
To a cocktail mixing glass fill ¾ with ice
Add the Bourbon and the Rhum Agricole
Add the lime and the pineapple juices
Add the Angostura Bitters and stir 40 or so times to combine
Strain into a Collins glass with some nice hand cut ice
Top with the Seltzer water and that’s it!
Warren’s First Book, Apothecary Cocktails has been nominated for a Spirited Award at the 2014 Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and his forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released in October 2014!