I am a fickle guy. My favorite thing this week could be something forgotten next week. My house is filled with items that I just had to buy, used precisely once, and then left sitting on a shelf somewhere. Things, I might add, that my wife/accountant eventually decided to donate to the nearest charity thrift store, give to a family member, or just throw away.
Just a short list of notable items would include:
a remote control, color changing LED light: bought in 2007, used twice as a remote control flood lamp isn’t as handy as expected, donated 2016
an espresso maker: bought in 2004, used once, accidentally brought along in a move to another state, donated in 2012
an aluminum fishing boat: inherited from a family member in 2005, used for one summer in Eastern Wisconsin (where there are few lakes), moved to Minnesota a year later (three lakes within walking distance of my house), gave to my stepfather in 2014 after having never been in a Minnesota lake
slide scanner: needed to scan some photos taken on slide film in 2008, excitedly used it once, begrudgingly used it the rest of the winter, let it sit until last year, gave it to my wife to do the same thing.
a charcoal smoker: bought in 2012, used once, sat in the garage until 2014 when it was sold on Craigslist.
a cassette “ripper”: I had three cassettes that I couldn’t ever buy on CD, bought ripper in 2018 to digitize them, used it on one of them, remembered how bad cassettes sound, found that those three albums were on Spotify, gave it to my daughter.
Hmmm….looking back, I get excited about bizarre and eclectic things. But still, knowing that my favorite thing this week, might be forgotten the next does not put a damper on my enthusiasm. Far from it, in fact. I tend to approach every new favorite with the same excitement that every previous favorite had garnered.
And so, knowing all of that, I present to you my favorite rye whiskey ever…this week.
But first, a story. Early last week, I was craving a cocktail. One made of rye, specifically. I had a couple ryes on hand, but they weren’t ones I usually liked in cocktails. I’ve been buying Bulleit Rye since it was first introduced. I like it neat, but I always felt it didn’t work great in cocktails. Didn’t integrate well enough with the recipes I prefer. Knob Creek Rye is a rye that I really liked when it was first released, but these days I mainly buy it because my corner liquor store sells it for $25 for a 750. To me, it just doesn’t have enough rye character to it. I could mistake it for a high-rye mashbill bourbon if given it blind.
But one thing I do enjoy doing is blending. And since I really wanted a cocktail made with rye, and was in no mood to go shopping, I thought that a mixture of the two might work better than either alone. I started with a 50-50 blend of the two. It did the job, but I felt it could be better. I made up five different combinations with different ratios. Starting at half an ounce of one whiskey to three and a half of the other, onto one ounce to three, then two ounces to two and then working my way back down the other direction to three and a half ounces of the first to a half ounce of the second.
Then I let them sit for the rest of the week to mingle and made a bunch of small cocktails on Sunday for my wife and I to sample. We also tried them neat. It was a fun experiment. I never noticed just how thin in the mouth that Bulleit Rye is or how corn forward Knob Creek Rye was until I tried the 0.5: 3.5-ounce versions of each. And the most interesting thing was that independent of one another, my wife and I came to the same conclusion: our favorite of the bunch (and my favorite rye whiskey ever…this week) was the blend made up of one part Knob Creek to three parts Bulleit.
I like it for two reasons. One is that both of these are relatively cheap. I can get either of them for $25 at my corner liquor store. The second is that this particular blend had everything I liked about Bulleit, but with added sweetness and a better mouthfeel than Bulleit Rye straight from the bottle. It worked great in both of the rye cocktails I’ve tried it in, and the added mouthfeel makes it a joy to sip neat.
I wonder what my next favorite thing ever will be?
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