Rebel & Rye to feature 200 bottles of whiskey in River West

Celebrating Diversity at Funky Buddha

Eater Chicago reports:

The owner of Rebel & Rye, a new whiskey bar slated to open by January’s end in River West, wants to overwhelm customers as they walk inside the renovated space. American whiskey, not just bourbon, will be at the forefront and displayed prominently. So far, the bar’s stocked with more than 200 bottles from 28 states, but owner Alex Zupancic wants to eventually increase that number to 400 bottles. Rebel & Rye will also include a whiskey club that offers engraved glasses and personalized bottles.

“I want customers to walk in and say ‘holy crap, look at all those whiskies,’” he said.

While a little awe is fine, Zupancic wants to avoid any pretentiousness associated with whiskey. Inclusivity is what draws drinkers to the spirit, he said. His bar is across the street from one of Chicago’s most infamous late-night haunts, Richard’s Bar. Around the corner stands one of the city’s premier Italian restaurants, Piccolo Sogno. River West is diverse, and Zupancic see an opportunity to cater to all crowds. Whiskey has the ability to bring together people from different walks of life, he said. A news release trumpets a “sneakers or suits” atmosphere for the bar.

The dark space features a bar in front and another in back. It’s in the former Funky Buddha space (726 W. Grand Avenue.) and takes up about 1,200 square feet. Zupancic said the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion inspired him, and he can’t wait to open up his new bar to people from all walks of life. He’s looking to open it the last week of January.

(click here to continue reading Rebel & Rye to feature 200 bottles of whiskey in River West – Eater Chicago.)

Whiskey For Two

This sounds interesting, and stumbling distance from my office. Will check it out eventually.

Not sure how the Whiskey Rebellion fits in exactly, though…


The Whiskey Rebellion (also known as the Whiskey Insurrection) was a tax protest in the United States beginning in 1791 and ending in 1794 during the presidency of George Washington, ultimately under the command of American Revolutionary war veteran Major James McFarlane. The so-called “whiskey tax” was the first tax imposed on a domestic product by the newly formed federal government. It became law in 1791, and was intended to generate revenue for the war debt incurred during the Revolutionary War. The tax applied to all distilled spirits, but American whiskey was by far the country’s most popular distilled beverage in the 18th century, so the excise became widely known as a “whiskey tax”. Farmers of the western frontier were accustomed to distilling their surplus rye, barley, wheat, corn, or fermented grain mixtures to make whiskey. These farmers resisted the tax. In these regions, whiskey often served as a medium of exchange. Many of the resisters were war veterans who believed that they were fighting for the principles of the American Revolution, in particular against taxation without local representation, while the federal government maintained that the taxes were the legal expression of Congressional taxation powers.


(click here to continue reading Whiskey Rebellion – Wikipedia.)

Modern Buddha

‘Whiskey Crisis’ Looms Over America’s Drinking Culture

Buffalo Trace Bourbon - cocktail with muddled  mint, orange bitters, Bonal Gentiane Quina
Buffalo Trace Bourbon – cocktail with muddled mint, orange bitters, Bonal Gentiane Quina

Just like the craft beer explosion before it, this is boom times for spirits. So many interesting variants available that were not around 20 years ago. But whiskey takes a while to go from still to bottle, and thus the supply of quality whiskey is dwindling. Better stock up, boyos…

The surge of interest in whiskey has been a boon for distillers, but it has also led to a shortage of many brands and varietals that has been dubbed a “whiskey crisis” by the media.

Over the past year, bourbon sales increased 5 percent overall, but premium brands experienced a 20 percent rise in growth, according to the Frankfort, Kentucky.-based Buffalo Trace Distillery. And over the past six years, sales of premium whiskeys costing more than $15 per bottle at wholesale have grown by 97 percent, according to the Distilled Spirits Council. That has led to a series of distilleries reporting that they have been unable to produce enough whiskey to fulfill consumers’ growing desire for the brown liquor.

The increase in demand has driven prices of many premium whiskeys upward, and some have gone through the roof.

Fred Minnick, a Louisville whiskey expert and author of the book “Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch, and Irish Whiskey,” says that the whiskey industry is unique because it takes several years to distill good whiskey, and that makes it difficult for companies to keep up with demand spikes.

“The whiskey shortage is very real. The demand is so strong that they can’t meet it. Why is that? The reason is because this whiskey that they’re bottling and putting on the shelves today was conceived at a time when demand wasn’t that high. It was coming off the still in about 2005,” Minnick said. “It’s very difficult for distillers to forecast — in the case of Maker’s Mark, six years out, or Elijah Craig 12-Year-Old, back in 2002 — what the demand will be when it comes out of the barrel. “
A number of other distilleries have made decisions over the past couple of years to raise prices, reduce proofs — water down their product, that is — or remove age labels from bottles in an attempt to make up for the growing appetite for bourbon and other whiskeys.

The whiskey shortage was back in the news again this month, when Buffalo Trace announced that the company has had trouble keeping up with a “recent surge in demand” for its bourbon.

“We’re making more bourbon every day. In fact, we’re distilling more than we have in [the] last 40 years,” Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace’s master distiller, said. “Still, it’s hard to keep up. Although we have more bourbon than last year when we first announced the rolling blackouts, we’re still short and there is no way to predict when supply will catch up with demand.”

(click here to continue reading ‘Whiskey Crisis’ Looms Over America’s Drinking Culture.)

This article used a photo of mine for illustrative purposes, by the way, though for some reason they didn’t choose a photo of Buffalo Trace.

Rowan's Creek Bourbon - Manhattan
Rowan’s Creek Bourbon – Manhattan

Vieux Carré with Armagnac and Few Rye
Vieux Carré with Armagnac and Few Rye

Breckenridge Bourbon Whiskey
Breckenridge Bourbon Whiskey

So called
So called “Perfect” Manhattan with Bulleit 95 Rye

Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey
Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey

Lion's Pride Organic Rye Whiskey
Lion’s Pride Organic Rye Whiskey

Afternoon reading
Afternoon reading

Templeton Rye
Templeton Rye

Garrison Brothers Cowboy Bourbon
Garrison Brothers Cowboy Bourbon

Michter's Original Sour Mash Whiskey
Michter’s Original Sour Mash Whiskey

The Scofflaw Cocktail
The Scofflaw Cocktail

Templeton Rye Distillery raising pigs to taste like whiskey

 The Good Stuff - Templeton Rye

The Good Stuff – Templeton Rye

I am not a bacon fanatic – I often go years without eating it – but I am on record as being a Templeton Rye fan. If I had to choose my favorite whiskey, Templeton would be selected more days than not. I would try a bit of Templeton pork though, if I could squeeze in to The Girl and Goat , or somewhere else hosting a Templeton Whiskey Bacon orgy.

The founders of Templeton Rye Distillery in Templeton, Iowa are trying to … create a pork that tastes like their famous whiskey. “We have a little motto here. My dad always told me, ‘Nothing good happens after 12 p.m.’  So, it seems like that’s when this idea was probably thought of – after we had a few drinks,” laughs the distillery’s co-founder, Keith Kerkhoff. He hopes the Templeton Rye Pork Project will be the exception to his dad’s motto. They’re raising 25 pigs, born in early January 2014, on a farm in Woodward, Iowa, about an hour east of Templeton. 

Nick Berry, who has a Ph.D. in Animal Science focused on meat and eating quality, looks after the pigs.  Berry works in the commercial pig industry for an animal health company, and he’s a friend of the Templeton team.

The pigs are purebred Duroc, which Berry says are known for their meat quality and are a natural fit for the project.

Despite what you may think, the pigs are not drinking any whiskey. Instead, they’re eating a distinct diet that incorporates the dry distillery grain, from the whiskey-making process, into the feed. Kerkhoff says they’re already getting a variety of inquiries about the pigs, from backyard pit masters to famous restaurant owners like Chicago’s Stephanie Izard, winner of ‘Top Chef.’ [owner of The Girl and Goat, and spinoffs]

(click here to continue reading Iowa distillery raises pigs to taste like whiskey |

The Good Stuff
The Good Stuff


Lounging Over Dublin’s was uploaded to Flickr

815 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA


Artist, actual title unknown. If you know any history of this architectural detail, I’d love to hear it.

embiggen by clicking

I took Lounging Over Dublin’s on January 31, 2013 at 02:40PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on February 13, 2013 at 03:13PM

Buffalo Trace Bourbon – cocktail with muddled mint, orange bitters, Bonal Gentiane Quina was uploaded to Flickr

Not sure exactly to call this, close to a Manhattan, but not quite. Mainly due to the muddled mint, and because I used more bourbon than a Manhattan would call for.

embiggen by clicking

I took Buffalo Trace Bourbon – cocktail with muddled mint, orange bitters, Bonal Gentiane Quina on February 19, 2014 at 07:24PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on February 20, 2014 at 01:30AM

Beam Inc. being bought by Suntory

Mmm Crunchy Chicago Dogs
Mmm Crunchy Chicago Dogs

Does this mean that Maker’s Mark Whisky will become Maker’s Mark Whiskey?

Suntory Holdings Ltd has agreed a $16 billion deal to buy Deerfield’s Beam Inc, making the Japanese company the world’s third-largest maker of distilled drinks with a global footprint.

The company is paying $13.6 billion in cash for Beam shares as well as assuming its net debt, bringing together Beam’s Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbons, Courvoisier cognac and Sauza tequila with Suntory’s Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki and Kakubin Japanese whiskies, Bowmore Scotch whisky and Midori liqueur.

Suntory said on Monday it will pay $83.50 per share in cash, a 25 percent premium to Beam’s closing share price of $66.97 on Friday. Beam shares jumped 24 percent to $83.27 on Monday.

The price is more than 20 times Beam’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), a multiple that comes close to the record 20.8 times EBITDA Pernod Ricard paid in 2008 for the maker of Absolut vodka.


Suntory and Beam already have a business relationship under which Suntory distributes Beam products in Japan and Beam distributes Suntory’s products in Singapore and other Asian markets.

(click here to continue reading Beam Inc. being bought by Suntory –

Maybe now Maker’s Mark will stop trying to futz with their alcohol content to sell more product of a lesser quality…

remember this?

Maker's Mark - a collectors edition?
Maker’s Mark – a collectors edition?

90 Proof Whisky without an E a thing of the past?

Maker’s Mark announced it is reducing the amount of alcohol in the spirit to keep pace with rapidly increasing consumer demand.

In an email to its fans, representatives of the brand said the entire bourbon category is “exploding” and demand for Maker’s Mark is growing even faster. Some customers have even reported empty shelves in their local stores, it said.

After looking at “all possible solutions,” the total alcohol by volume of Maker’s Mark is being reduced by 3 percent. Representatives said the change will allow it to maintain the same taste while making sure there’s “enough Maker’s Mark to go around.” It’s working to expand its distillery and production capacity, too.

Bonus: via Lost in Translation

The Restorative Vieux Carré via Mario Batali

Vieux Carré with Armagnac and Few Rye

Vieux Carré with Armagnac and Few Rye

I don’t know much about the chef Mario Batali. I saw him interviewed on a Daily Show with Jon Stewart  a while back, I know he’s opening a place in River North called Eataly, I recall he was victorious in a Twitter war with some anti-abortion zealots protesting his donation to a Texas fundraiser, and I know he likes orange crocs. However, I have been reading, and enjoying, his weekly cocktail suggestions in the New York Times Magazine, such as his version of one of my favorite ways to drink cognac (or related liquors).

Mr. Batali wrote:

Last month, I was invigorated by an 11 a.m. restorative Vieux Carré at the Carousel Bar in New Orleans. Fill a shaker with ice and add a dash each of Benedictine, Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters and a shot each of rye whiskey, cognac and Punt e Mes. Shake, then strain into a glass filled with fresh ice and garnish with an Amarena cherry — then let the late-morning voodoo do its work.

(click here to continue reading Hungry, Hungry Voters –

I’ve never had Punt e Mes, nor do I have Amarena cherries, so here was my version – for the afternoon, 11 A.M. is a little early for me.

  • spoonful of Bénédictine D.O.M.
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • equal parts of Few Rye Whiskey, Marie Duffau Napoleon Bas Armagnac (You could use Cognac, or any good brandy, your choice) and sweet vermouth (Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry Rouge).

Stir vigorously over ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a lemon twist – making sure to get a good bit of lemon on the glass edge.

Imbibe. Try to have only one. I had two.

Rock and Rye

The Good Stuff - Templeton Rye
The Good Stuff – Templeton Rye

I’ve never actually tasted rock and rye, though I’ve heard many, many songs mention it. Charlie Spand, Grateful Dead, Wood Guthrie, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and others come to mind.

Rock and Rye has always been seen as distinctively American—it was one of the few domestic liquors presented at the American pavilion of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. When sociologist Edward Alsworth Ross wrote about immigrants in his 1914 text “The Old World and the New,” the drink was the very symbol of assimilation: “In the Italian home the bottle of ‘rock and rye’ is seen with increasing frequency by the side of the bottle of Chianti.”

As befits a rock-solid piece of Americana, the drink found its way into a succession of popular songs. There was a “Rock and Rye Rag,” a “Rock and Rye Polka,” and barrelhouse piano man Charlie Spand belted out a blues in praise of “Rock and Rye,” marveling that “You got good stuff/ I can’t drink enough.” Blind Lemon Jefferson, in the “Big Night Blues,” hollered “Wild women like their liquor/their gin and their Rock and Rye.”

The most demonstrative ode to the pleasures of Rock and Rye came in the 1948 ditty of that name sung by Tex Ritter: “When there’s worry on your mind, here’s what you should try/Go to bed and rest your head and take some Rock and Rye.” Soon old Tex is slurring the drink’s praises, and in-between giddy hiccups there comes the declarative clank of ice in a glass, followed by the satisfying gurgle of liquor being poured.

But the greatest musical tribute to the sugared whiskey concoction came in 1934 when Earl Hines and his Orchestra recorded a hard-charging dance chart called “Rock and Rye,” penned by arranger Jimmy Mundy. It was the sort of swing anthem that would soon catapult Benny Goodman and his band to fame. That’s because, in 1935, Goodman hired Mundy away from Hines, and the killer-diller Mundy style on display in “Rock and Rye” would distinguish many of Goodman’s biggest hits, including the definitive Swing Era epic, “Sing, Sing, Sing.”

(click here to continue reading How’s Your Drink? Eric Felten on the Rock and Rye –

Michter's Original Sour Mash Whiskey
Michter’s Original Sour Mash Whiskey

Here’s a recipe, if you are feeling adventurous. Have you ever tried a sip? or to make it? I’m not quite sure what horehound is, but according to Robert Johnson, it might already be on your trail…

Rock and Rye

Adapted from LeNell Smothers

  • 1 bottle rye whiskey 
  • 3-5 tbsp rock candy 
  • 2 slices orange 
  • 2 slices lemon 
  • 2 pieces dried apricot 
  • 1 slice pineapple 
  • 1 tea bag full of dried horehound 

Combine whiskey and sugar in a jar or decanter. All other ingredients optional. 

Allow all—except for horehound tea bag—to steep for a day or two or more. Leave horehound in for no more than two hours. When sugar is finally dissolved, strain and bottle. 

Cough a few times and clutch your chest in distress. Then serve the Rock and Rye on the rocks.

Photo Republished at Bangalore, Maker’s Mark, Rahm Emanuel and the Importance of Feedback Loops – Forbes

Maker's Mark - a collectors edition?

My photo was used to illustrate this post

As whisky producer Maker’s Mark recently learned, when customers have strong opinions, they’ll make their complaints heard. It’s better for organizations to create feedback loops early in order to help avoid the sudden negative reaction that often follow poorly planned policy changes. …Maker’s Mark is not the only organization to learn about the importance of customer feedback loops. (Photo credit: swanksalot)

click here to keep reading :
Bangalore, Maker’s Mark, Rahm Emanuel and the Importance of Feedback Loops – Forbes

automatically created via Delicious and IFTTT

Lion’s Pride Organic Dark Rye Whiskey

My local grocery store, Green Grocer, had a bottle of this whiskey, and a companion, the light rye. Rye is my current favorite sipping spirit, so I took a chance, and bought this bottle.

Lion's Pride Organic Rye Whiskey
Distilled in Chicago by Koval. Allegedly the first Chicago (legal) whiskey since Prohibition era. Charred oak barrels, and no caramel coloring added. Powerful flavor.

Shot with my Hipstamatic for iPhone1 has tours of the Koval facility – I’d love to go on one. Add it to the tourist list!

Organic? Why not?

Koval is dedicated to using organic raw ingredients because we want to support agricultural practices that are sustainable and respectful of the soil. We also think that organic food tastes better and is more nutritious than conventionally grown produce. Choosing only the best organic ingredients is the first step in making the best spirits possible. Adhering to kosher standards is another way we maintain strict levels of purity and quality control. We also like to think that it makes us a bit more spirit-ual.

(click to continue reading Lion’s Pride: Organic and Kosher.)

Lion’s Pride Whiskey is Chicago’s first whiskey. Aged in new Amerian Oak barrels. Distiled by Koval Disitllery! All whiskey is single barrel and available in limited quanities, so get yours while you can. The first release consistes of 2 barrels of Oat and Rye and a very limited amount of Dark Oat and Rye. Only 1 barrel of each Dark Oat and Rye have been released. Keep your eyes out for millet, wheat and spelt to be released shorty! Enjoy!

The Lion’s Pride whiskeys will have notes of vanilla and some fruitines, while the Lion’s Pride Darks will have notes of butterscotch and caramel.

  1. Lens: John S Flash: Off Film: Ina’s 1935 []

Vermouth: Worth a second taste in cocktails

Actually, in the last couple of years have expanded my cocktail palate to include good vermouth, and explore the plethora of vermouth options besides just Martini and Rossi or Gallo. Simultaneously, I’ve gotten over my teenaged aversion to bourbon1, especially in variants of Manhattans.

Whisky versus Whiskey

The truth about vermouth is that it predates the manhattan, and every other cocktail in which it’s featured. Born in Turin, Italy, in the late 1700s as an aperitif, vermouth is a fortified wine whose flavor has been enhanced (or “aromatized”) with herbs and spices — notably wormwood, from which “vermouth” borrows its name. Over the centuries, it has evolved into a cocktail ingredient capable of making or breaking a drink, depending on what kind is used and how much, and some of the better blends are still enjoyed by traditionalists as an aperitif on the rocks with a twist of orange.

Summer is as good a time as any to examine the variety of vermouths, which go way beyond mixers for manhattans and martinis. Find one you like, splash it with soda and a few ice cubes, and your aperitif regime is a set for the season.

(click to continue reading Vermouth: Worth a second taste in cocktails and for sipping –

Five to One, with mint

Of the vermouths that Lauren Viera samples, I’ve only actually had the Gallo and Martini & Rossi; have to do a little more sampling, methinks.

  1. odds are I drank stolen Jack Daniels to excess a few times when 15 – turned me off to the simple charms of good bourbon []