- On August 24, 2016
Being my first blog post, I feel I should introduce myself. My name is Aaron and I grew up in Eagan, MN. I come from the wine side of Zipps, but I had a brief experience in bartending, which I went into with zero experience. For example I thought a “flirtini,” of 90’s martini list fame, was a play on Fleur Delacour’s name, a character in the Harry Potter series. I asked the guest with a serious face, “Is that a Harry Potter cocktail?” Since then I’ve become well trained in the classics: manhattan, old fashioned, daiquiri, etc; and become knowledgeable in spirits of all types.
Coming from the wine world, I prefer drinks with subtle nuances, rather than one-note-punch-in-the-face. Old Grand Dad Bottled-In-Bond (OGD) has been my go to bourbon for some time. Despite being big, I find its elements work well in cocktails, especially with my favorite: the” Perfect” Manhattan. It is 100 proof and makes a very strong drink, therefore I can drink it slower and only need one. Also, its high rye mash bill (more rye content than usual, twice as much as Jim Beam) carries so much spice that after being mixed with two vermouths and diluted in water, you can still taste the base spirit.
The story of Old Grand Dad is that in the late 1700’s, a gentleman named Basil Hayden made whiskey with an usually high rye mash bill. The recipe was passed down, and Basil’s grandson Raymond started a commercial distillery in the mid 1800’s. He called the whiskey, “Old Grand Dad,” which was Basil’s nickname. Since then the distillery has changed a few hands, and in 1987 the brand was sold to the Jim Beam, Inc.
In 1992, Beam released 4 small batch, higher end bourbons: Knob Creek, Booker’s, Baker’s, and Basil Hayden’s. Basil’s uses an identical mash bill to OGD, however it’s bottled at 80 proof (vs 100 proof) and aged longer. Beam removed the age statement in 2014, replacing it with “artfully aged to taste.” Although there is no guarantee, the whiskey is aged somewhere between 6 and 8 years.
Despite these differences, the two whiskeys aren’t too far off from each other. Because of the longer aging Basil is much much smoother but the spice level and body are very similar to OGD. This is something to drink straight and enjoy all of the nuances. Basil’s has a caramel and herbaceous aroma, baking spices and vanilla on the palate, tied in with a gentle tingle on the finish. Very approachable, very warming, very very delicious!
Enjoy Basil Hayden’s for the rest of August at $32.99/750mL from $37.99.
Old Grand Dad Bonded is at an everyday low price of $19.99/750mL.
Aaron’s Perfect Manhattan
.5 oz dry vermouth, preferably Dolin
.5 oz sweet vermouth, preferably cocchi torino
2 oz Old Grand Dad Bottled-in-Bond
1 dash Regan’s Orange Bitters
2 Dash Angostura Bitters
Stir until chilled, careful not to over dilute. Serve up with a brandied cherry.