Bourbon+ Premiere Issue

I state in my Statement of Ethics that, if I ever discuss a product that is produced by one of my friends, I will disclose it at the beginning of the article. Fred Minnick is my friend. And while I don’t know his exact relationship with the publication he is Editor-in-Chief of, I did buy the subscription to support his work. All opinions on that work are my own, but it won’t hurt to keep in mind that I might be biased.

It’s been over 15 years now since I started my career. My second career, actually. My first was as a shipping coordinator at a metal stamping factory. Eventually, the grind of factory work wore on me to the point where a change was needed. Enter college and a fancy degree in graphic design.

My first real job in my new career was as one of a team of designers for a log home magazine. I eventually worked my way up to the Design Director position. I had a team of designers and was in charge of how the magazine looked and the experience our readers had as they interacted with it.

One of the proudest moments of my working life was when I walked into a random Barnes & Noble, in a part of the country that was nowhere near home, and found one of “my” issues of the magazine on the newsstand. If the world had developed smartphones yet, I would have probably snapped a photo of the page with my name on it.

Eventually, that job went away, and I moved on to other areas of design work. First newspapers, then agencies, marketing departments and now freelance. But my love of magazines never went away. Somewhere in the back of my head was a little dream that one day I would make my own. So it was with great interest that I learned that my friend Fred Minnick was going to be the Editor-in-Chief of a new Bourbon-focused publication. If I wasn’t going to realize my little idea, I couldn’t think of a better person to vicariously realize it through.

Bourbon+ Premiere Issue

Purchase Info: I subscribed to this at a $35 yearly subscription price. I see on the Bourbon+ website that you can do it for $30 if you so desire.

Nose: The delightful odor of ink on paper.

Mouth: Are you kidding? I’m not tasting this… I will however keep tasting the Four Roses OESQ single barrel that I was sipping on while I read the issue.

The issue is delightful. The book is a satisfying nine by eleven-ish inches in size. The paper feels like it has a slightly “soft-touch” coating to it. Most people like this…I’m not a fan, but I can live with it. The issue is beautiful. The layout is easy to read, with large and luxurious margins. It’s filled with beautiful large full-page, full-color photos. Even the ads are good looking. And the content?


Well, the content is fantastic. I mean, with names like Fred Minnick, Carla Carlton, Chuck Cowdery and Lew Bryson in the issue excellent content is expected. And the excellent content was delivered. There are departments and columns covering everything from entertaining to cocktails to craft distilling. Feature articles include a profile on Maker’s Mark’s Bill Samuels Jr., the science of corn, and even rum. This is a wide-ranging and comprehensive read covering all of the interests of the bourbon lover. I loved it and can’t wait until the next issue. accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support, please visit Thanks!

Four Roses Single Barrel: Private Selections from Binny's, OESQ and OESF

Well, my wife left. 

Not forever, just for the weekend. It's times like this when I realize just how much she does around here. Sure, I do a fair bit of the cooking even when she is here but that isn't what I'm talking about. No, she performs that greatest of all tasks: she deflects the kid. 

My daughter is a bit of a worrier. Add in the fact that she is in her mid-twenties, and hasn't realized that other people know things yet, and you have the makings of a doting and slightly condescending young lady. One who is pretty sure that I can't take care of myself for a few days even though I took care of her for somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 years. 

Luckily I convinced her that I wouldn't starve this evening and she decided to go out to see her I just need to find something to eat. I had planned to run to the store before she left but I didn't, and she took the car. Guess she wasn't that worried.

But even though I may not know what I am going to eat, I have a pretty good idea of what I am going to drink this evening. Last weekend my wife and I tasted two different private selections of Four Roses from Binny's in Bloomington, Illinois. Binny's is mostly a Chicago chain, but they have a couple of locations further south in Illinois that I drive past on my to and from Kentucky. 

These particular Four Roses Private Selections are OESF and OESQ. To my palate, these are the yeasts that are furthest from the classic bourbon flavor profile of caramel and spice. The F and Q yeasts tend to bring in more floral, fruity, and herbal notes. As such, they are some of my favorites to buy as private selections as they are both delicious and add a bit of fun to any blends I happen to make. 

Four Roses Single Barrel Private Selections: Binny's OESQ and OESF

Purchase Info: Each bottle was $59.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Binny's Beverage Depot, Bloomington, IL.

Details: OESQ: 9 years 5 months old and 57% ABV. OESF: 9 years 6 months old and 56.7% ABV.

: Caramel, cherry, dusty oak, and hints of leather.
OESF: Caramel, mint and citrus.

Nice mouthfeel. Floral, fruity and mint notes. The proof brings a nice tingly warmth. 
OESF: Proof brings a lot of heat. Once you get past that it follows the nose with sweet sweet caramel, herbal mintiness, and fruity citrus notes. 

: Longer side of medium. Dusty oak precedes lingering spicy, floral, and cherry notes. 
OESF: Long and warm. Lingering cherry and mint. 

IMAGE: A hand drawn heart because I love these!

Thoughts: I was super excited to find the F and Q versions of this on the same shelf. I had to talk my wife into allowing both to travel home with us, but we are both very glad that they did. The Q is my favorite of the two as I am loving the floral notes. My wife prefers the rich caramel of the F. accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support, visit Thanks!

A refreshing summer cherry limeade...with booze!

Even though tonight I'm sitting here with the windows open enjoying a nice breeze and temps in the low 70s—low 20s if you use the less precise space points that most of the world uses—this has been an overly warm summer here in Minnesota. Multiple instances of 110°+ (40°+ LSSP) heat index has driven me indoors for a good portion of the summer.

Now, I'm not one to complain about heat. Legitimate chances of snow 9-10 months out of the year will do that to you after 40-plus years of dealing with it. No, but that doesn't mean I don't want to enjoy a nice refreshing drink when the heat proves to be a little too much to handle (or sometimes even when it doesn't). And it just so happens that I stumbled across just such a refreshing drink while making this year's batch of Orange-Spiced Cocktail Cherries. It's really simple actually. I just mixed equal amounts of the syrup and lime juice and topped with soda water. But since much of the country has ripe cherries in the store at the moment and probably also has a few more months of lemonade weather, I thought it might be nice to share the recipe. And the recipe you'll need to make the recipe.

Arok's Cherry Limeade

  • 2 oz Orange Spiced Cherry Syrup (see recipe below)
  • 2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice (use less if it gets too tart or add some sugar...I like it tart though)
  • 1 oz 100° proof bourbon (or higher, if you'd like)
  • Ice
  • Soda water

Pour all your ingredients, except soda water, over ice. Top with soda water. Take a photo if you are the type, then stir and sip this tart cherry goodness.

Arok's Orange Spiced Cherry Syrup

Syrup Ingredients

  • 2 cups cherry puree (puree pitted sweet cherries in a blender, run it through a fine mesh screen sieve, discard the solids)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups sugar

Syrup Spices

  • 2 tbsp cinnamon chunks (crushed cinnamon sticks)
  • 2 tbsp Juniper berries
  • 2 tbsp whole Allspice 
  • 2 whole Star Anise (broken up slightly)

Syrup Sprits

  • 6 fluid ounce Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao 
  • 3.5 fluid ounce new make rye (I used Buffalo Trace)
  • 9.5 fluid ounce Bourbon (I used Knob Creek)

In a medium saucepan, combine the cherry juice, water, sugar and the spices and bring almost to a boil. (If you want to avoid straining it later, tie the spices up loosely in a piece of cheesecloth so you can fish them out). Once the mixture is at a simmer, let it simmer for 5 minutes to infuse the spices. 

Allow the cherry juice to cool to at least below 160 degrees (don’t want that alcohol boiling off), remove the spices, add your spirits and stir. 

At this point, you can bottle it and refrigerate. It made just under a quart and a half of syrup. My math says that with the spirits I used the proof of this syrup is roughly 40° proof, so it should keep a little while. But your proof will vary depending on the proof of the spirits you use. accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support, visit Thanks!