Frontier Psychiatrist

Frontier Mixology: The Top 5 New Additions to the Bar

Posted on: December 10, 2010

Much like a plague bacillus, we’ve caught the bug of end-of-year list-o-mania.  Generally, the Frontier Mixologist shuns the new in favor of the old, but our editors specifically instructed against a Top 5 social dances of the ragtime era.  Instead, we’ve got a list of 2010’s top 5 new spirits-related items.  We’re being careful to call this a Top 5 list and not a “holiday buying guide,” like this one of what to get your favorite model train enthusiast.  That said, if it’s solstice eve and you’re without a gift for your common-law husband/warlock, booze always makes a good gift.

Bitter Truth Creole Bitters

We were lucky enough to try this new entry from the Bitter Truth, maker of many of our favorite bitters, from the stash of an FP editor.  In the same genre as the classic Peychauds bitters, the Creole Bitters strike the same anise notes but seem to have a bit more behind them than do the Peychauds. Also, for the aesthetes among us, the label is really cool looking.  Ideal in a Sazerac or a Cocktail à la Louisiane.

Cocchi Americano

Although not new per se, this Italian aperitif wine is new to the U.S. market thanks to Haus Alpenz, as is the case with so many great products.  It’s great on its own chilled with an ice cube, but it really shines as a substitute for the now unavailable Kina Lillet in, e.g., a Corpse Reviver No. 2.  The modern formulation of Lillet is good, but a bit too sweet.  Kina Lillet features prominently in many drinks listed in the newly reprinted Savoy Cocktail Book, and having a more faithful analog available is a real boon.

White Dog Whiskey

Unaged corn whiskey (a/k/a “white dog,”  “white lightening,”  “ruckus juice”) has always been around.  The high-proof  product that, with age and exposure to wood, becomes Bourbon used to only be available to distillers, visitors to distilleries, and, of course, mountain folk.  It’s only “moonshine” if it’s illegal. though.  Distilleries have now gotten wise, and more and more have started selling a version of their white dog, including the mostly widely-available one from Buffalo Trace.  Economical because you don’t need to have a warehouse full of barrels sitting around for years before you come to market, for upstart distilleries putting out a white dog has been a way to have some money come in while you’re starting up.  Like Williamsburg’s own Kings County Distillery, you can start moving product right away.  A recent spate of articles extolling the virtues of white dog whiskey has also helped sales.  We like it in certain cocktails, such as Ted Haigh’s original Stars Fell on Alabama, which pairs it with simple syrup, orange flower water, and two kinds of bitters.

Scotch 2.0

Scotch distilleries are a notoriously hidebound bunch.  When what you’re doing has been working for hundreds of years, there’s little reason to change it.  Recently, however, there have been a few distilleries that have been putting out bottlings that, rather than aiming for consistency and Duty Free sales, attempt to capture something more fleeting and unique.  One artisan distillery of note is Compass Box, whose Asyla blended Scotch has been extremely popular with craft bartenders.  While there are not that many cocktails using Scotch, the Blood and Sand is a great one.  For those who like a single malt neat, Compass Box’s newest offering is Flaming Heart, which is hard to find but available at Dry Dock Spirits in Red Hook.

Barrel-Aged Peach Brandy

Now, venturing pretty far afield, if you want to get your favorite booze hound something really special, consider an aged peach brandy.  Used in perhaps the most widely sought after punch, Philadelphia Fish House punch, as well as cocktails such as the Eddie Brown and the Georgia Julep, there’s nothing like peach brandy.  A once common ingredient before Prohibition, peach brandy was, like true applejack, a distilled spirit made entirely of ripe fruit, in this case peaches.  No added sugars, flavors, or colors.  The clear spirit was then put up in oak barrels to age.  It took a shitload of peaches, though.  Nowadays, the real deal has been almost completely supplanted by the saccarine and artificial horrors of peach schnapps.  Although not commercially available on the East Coast, there is still one distillery that makes very limited quantities of the good stuff.  It’s available exclusively through K&L Wines, who will ship it to you, post haste, if you pay them to do so.  Recently, the historic distillery at Mount Vernon has also been attempting to recreate George Washington’s peach brandy for “educational” purposes.

Drink up,


2 Responses to "Frontier Mixology: The Top 5 New Additions to the Bar"

[…] year in Georgia, swapping the Brooklyn’s cherry liqueur for peach just made sense.  In fact, barrel-aged peach brandy is a superb, albeit difficult to find, option.  If using peach liqueur, go with an all-natural […]

[…] resulting spirit, i.e. unaged corn whiskey, is clear, and is what people mean when they talk about white dog.  If you triple-distilled it and then charcoal filtered it to remove all flavor, you’d have […]

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