Cheers September

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Page 18 of 51 19 Cheers September 2014 • Bourbon Lemonade ($12) is made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, lemon and cardamom. Tempering American whiskey with fruit juices, liqueurs and other mixes makes it accessible to a broader audience than when it's in a highly spirited cocktail like an Old Fashioned. "The public is more educated [about whiskey]," explains 50 Eggs founder/CEO John Kunkel. "It's no longer your old man's drink, and it won't put hair on your chest." Husk, a 137-seat, locally focused restaurant in Charleston, SC, offers 94 American whiskeys, priced $6 to $60 for a 2-oz. pour. Its most popular American whiskey drink is the Charleston Brown Water Society Punch ($10), which combines bourbon with Barbados rum, citrus juices, honey and raw sugar simple syrup. Another highly requested drink at Husk is A Yard Too Far ($9), in which bourbon is macerated with vanilla and ginger, and then stirred with pecan orgeat and pecan bitters. MIXING BOURBON AND RYE The two most popular styles of American whiskey boast very different fl avor profi les. So can bourbon and rye be used interchangeably? Yes, according to most whiskey fans. "Bourbon and rye are interchangeable in cocktails ninety-nine percent of the time," says Boudreau. "Keep in mind that rye will generally be leaner and spicier, and bourbon 'fatter' and sweeter." Zykan also believes bourbon and rye can be substituted for one another, but she's a bit more analytical about the process. "Whiskey can be sweet, spicy, vanilla ridden, full of tannins, fruity, light and fl oral, the list goes on and on," she notes. "We try to keep modifi ers (vermouth, liqueurs, bitters) on par with the level set by the base spirit." So a robust rye with a higher proof will partner nicely with a full-bodied, sweet vermouth such as Carpano Antica, while THE GRAIN COURSE: TIPS FOR WHISKE Y PAIRINGS Not just for pre- or post-dinner sipping, American whiskey is fi nding its rightful place on the table. Here are a few tips for successful matches. Be mindful of proof, says J.P. Fetherston, bar manager for Southern Effi ciency in Washington, D.C. Since American whiskeys tend to be bottled at slightly higher proofs than their Irish or Scottish counterparts, they work better with slightly— rather than extremely—spicy dishes. And don't be afraid to add a little water to temper the proof and make the whiskey more palatable, he says. On the fl ip side, look for an American whiskey with a higher proof when pairing with dessert, including chocolate, suggests Jacquelyn Zykan, beverage director for Doc Crow's Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar in Louisville, KY. "A sweet whiskey may fall absent when pairing with a dessert, but fi nding one with the same basic fl avors and a higher alcohol content will change the notes that are present, as well as the texture," she says. Rely on a few go-to, never-fail ingredients, says Jamie Boudreau, owner of Canon restaurant in Seattle. Heavy braised and slowly cooked meats, especially pork, are a great match with whiskey. "Chocolate, dried fruit and fi gs are other items that are easy pairs," he adds. Try pairing whiskeys with all styles of barbecue, as well as salty items like country hams, says Dan Latimer, operations executive for the fi ve-concept Neighborhood Dining Group in Marietta, GA. "If a whiskey is well structured and balanced, it will work with food of all kinds—cheeseburgers, fried chicken, foie gras—you name it." Choose the right glassware. Make sure you use a glass with a wide rim, says John Kunkel, founder/CEO of the four-concept 50 Eggs, which operates Yardbird in Miami. A wide-brimmed glass allows the whiskey to interact with the air, similar to the process of a glass of wine evolving over the course of a meal. Keep an open mind. It's more about enjoying the whiskey than a perfect pairing, says Nick Elliott, general manager of Whiskey Kitchen, a 132-seat Southern cuisine-focused restaurant and bar in Nashville. "I won't pretend to be able to tell you why certain 12-year-old bourbons pair well with pizza, but they do," he says. "I enjoy bourbons or ryes with sushi to steak. Anything goes." —KAM John Kunkel, founder/CEO of Miami operator 50

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