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Review: Knob Creek Rye

Posted on by Eric Burke

In my life, I’ve had two amazing Manhattans. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a bunch of good ones, but amazing ones seem to be rare. For the first, I was out with some friends from work, the boss was there, so it turned into a brainstorming session. The drink was made with Booker’s. It was rich, well balanced and wonderful. Wonderful in spite of working after hours.

The second was just the opposite. I was out with a friend. We work together, but it’s a rare treat to be out having a drink with him. We were having a beer while chatting. I ordered some food. He did the same. It was good. About halfway through my Mac and Cheese, I noticed a cocktail menu nearby. After looking, I ordered a Manhattan. The bartender asked what whiskey I wanted in it. I looked up at the shelf and told him.  

“Nice,” he said. Even though I already knew it was a good choice, I still felt slightly better about it when the bartender agreed. It is really amazing what a little affirmation from a stranger will do. 

So we sat there, chatting. My friend with his beer and me with my Manhattan. We did the normal things. Bitched about work. Told gossip. Talked about our kids. it was fun. One of the nicest times I’ve had out with a friend. 

Good conversation, good company, rich Mac and Cheese and a drink. To be honest, that drink would have been good even if it had been made with Cabin Still. The fact that I chose Knob Creek Rye just bumped it into the amazing realm. Good company will raise a mediocre drink to good and a good one to amazing. 

Knob Creek Rye

Purchase Info: $31.99 for a 750 mL at Total Wine, Burnsville, MN

Details: 50% ABV, “patiently aged”

Nose: Dried Apricot, black pepper, clove, cherry, almond, and strong oak with a touch of vanilla.

Mouth: Dry and spicy. Black pepper, mint, cherry and almonds mix with herbal oaky notes. 

Finish: Dry with mint, cherry/almonds, herbs and occasional brief flashes of pickle. 

Thoughts: I’m conflicted. I want to say I like this a lot, because I do. But I’m thinking I like it better in a cocktail than on its own. When neat, it is almost too herbal. But as a part of a cocktail that exact same flavor works extremely well. Especially when mixed with a vermouth other herbal infused liqueur.


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