Whiskey Wednesday - High West

Whiskey Wednesday - High West

High West is a brand that we really love.  Founded in 2009, the first distillery in Utah since 1870, High West has built a following by being open and transparent about how they make their products.  The bourbon market today is made up of many non-distiller producers (NDP) that buy whiskey from one of the various established bourbon houses and then market it with varying degrees of honesty about where the product comes from.  High West is also considered a non distiller producer in that they buy various whiskies and blend them together to create interesting and unique flavor profiles.  For example, their Campfire Whiskey is a blend of straight bourbon, straight rye, and a peated blended malt scotch!  Their flagship products include the Campfire, Double Rye, Rendezvous Rye, and American Prairie whiskies.  They also produce some limited expressions that are highly sought after such as Midwinter Nights Dram, Bourye, and most recently Yippee Ki Yay.  

More recently High West has introduced two bottled cocktails, the Barreled Boulevardier and the Barreled Manhattan.  The Barreled Manhattan is made by combining Double Rye, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters, and then aging it in a used rye barrel for an additional 4 months.  It has certainly been a trend in cocktail bars around the country to experiment with barrel aging various cocktails, and High West has taken it further by bottling it up for consumer consumption.  

Which brings us to the special Whiskey Wednesday feature for tonight - A single barrel High West American Prairie finished in Barreled Manhattan barrels for an additional 1.4 years, selected by SuperFine Wine in Canton.  In larger markets like Chicago and New York, High West has been offering retailers an opportunity to purchase their own barrels of select High West expressions that have been finished in various barrels for an extended period of time. In Michigan there have only been 2 retailers selected to participate in the barrel selection program, Tippin's Market in Saline, and SuperFine Wine & Liquor in Canton. The SuperFine barrel selection is the High West American Prairie, a blend of straight bourbons aged 2, 6, and 13 years, that has been finished in a Barreled Manhattan barrel for an additional 1.4 years.  This is an exciting opportunity to try out a unique barrel finished product, on its own or side by side with the standard American Prairie expression.  If you are a sucker for great marketing, pay attention to the super sweet pearlescent bottle!  SuperFine Wine & Liquor has a bunch of single barrel picks ranging from Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, Four Roses, Stranahans, and more.  If you are ever out that way be sure to stop in and say hi to Laith, he is very friendly and knowledgable!  For the far west adventurer, if you can get to Tippin's Market say hi to Dominic, he won't steer you wrong. 

  *Also note, High West was just purchased by Constellation brands for a reported $160 million.  Hopefully big things are on the horizon!  


Whiskey Wednesday

Whiskey Wednesday

Traditionally the cooler fall and winter months are prime time for whiskey, the spirit that warms the soul.  Nobody is complaining about the weather in Detroit this week, that’s for sure, but we won’t let a little warm weather get in the way of a strong whiskey pour! 

To get in the fall whiskey spirit we are celebrating Whiskey Wednesday with a list of some our current favorites.  Throughout the fall and winter we will be rotating in and out other selections as well, from recognizable whiskey workhorses to more limited releases that we want to share with our fellow spirits enthusiasts. 

To get started we chose a couple selections from the Orphan Barrel series that represent older bourbon expressions.  Barterhouse is a 2o year old bourbon and Forged Oak is the relative adolescent at 15 years old.  Both of these allocated bottlings give us an opportunity to explore the effect of extended barrel aging on the spirit.

To explore the differences between small batch and single barrel we included the Colonel Taylor bottles, both bottled in bond, similarly aged.  Small batch is designed to blend barrels to achieve a flavor profile, while single barrel will have variations from bottling to bottling within a flavor profile.  For the money, the Col. Taylor small batch is one of the better affordable bottles you can find on shelves.

We included a barrel proof bottle of Elijah Craig and Stagg Jr. for an opportunity to try a product that is bottled straight from the barrel!  You will experience the full flavor and intensity that you would expect from a super high proof bourbon.  Barrel proof bottles are fun to play with because you can add water and see how the flavor is affected at different dilution levels.  Also, makes a fantastic old fashioned with a kick! (Be warned, that Stagg Jr. is hot AF!)

Moving along from bourbon to rye we have included Whistlepig 10 year because it represents northern Canandian rye grain, what some would consider a softer more elegant expression.  Sazerac 6-year rye is a fan favorite in the traditional American rye category.  We included the Colonel Taylor rye because it is much harder to get in Michigan, although bountiful in the south.  It’s bottled in bond as well.  Rye whiskies represent a smaller category relative to bourbon, although more and more people are enjoying them. 

We are looking forward to sharing more whiskey with you over the fall and winter months.  Supplies of Japanese whiskies are harder and harder to come by unfortunately but we will do our best to get some on the Whiskey Wednesday menu.  Scotch whiskies are found in abundance, so look for some expressions highlighting the regional differences in the future.



1st Annual Detroit Optimist Society "Best of Bars" Competition

1st Annual Detroit Optimist Society "Best of Bars" Competition

Congratulations to Alex Kirles and Beaux Kerin for for making it in to the finals of the "Best of Bars" competition being held at Cafe 78 on Tuesday night.  The competition is being sponsored by Long Road Distillers in Grand Rapids and will feature some of the best bartenders from The Detroit Optimist Society properties (The Sugar House, Wright & Co, The Peterboro, Honest Johns, and Cafe 78).  Five finalists will be competing in this live event open to the public for a chance at bragging rights, $1000, and a trip to Kentucky!

There will be a happy hour from 5-7pm with a menu of cocktails featuring the Long Road spirits.  The guys from Long Road will be on hand to talk about their work and taste through samples of their products.  At 7pm the competition will begin and each finalist will be making free samples of their cocktail for the crowd to vote on.  So come by and support your favorite bartenders and local Michigan made spirits producers!