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Jan 21, 2018
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Drink This Weekend Edition: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rested Rye

Friday, July 11th, 2014



I recently had the chance to talk – and taste – Tennessee whiskey with Chris Fletcher, the first assistant master distiller for Jack Daniel’s. Fletcher has his own family history with the storied No. 7 brand (his grandfather was Jack Daniel’s master distiller for more than 30 years), but he also shared the history of Jack Daniel’s and its newest offering.

What makes Tennessee whiskey unique from its bourbon cousins is what is known as the Lincoln County Process. The whiskey is passed through charcoal filters, which results in pronounced fruit flavors and minimal graininess. Fletcher said Jack Daniel’s produces its own toasted, charred barrels in which to age its products, and it claims to be the only whiskey maker to control this aspect of the process.

Jack Daniel’s also has a long history in St. Louis, dating back to its first gold medal awarded in the 1904 World’s Fair. It’s even rumored that the iconic Old No. 7 on the label pays homage to the No. 7 train that transported Tennessee whiskey from St. Louis to the Western frontier.

Today, Jack Daniel’s offers several limited and special-edition products in addition to its original spirit, including its just-released Tennessee Rested Rye. After its charcoal filtering, the 70-percent rye rests in new white oak barrels for two years. The result is a solid rested whiskey that pulls strong banana flavors with hints of black pepper. While it can be sipped neat or on ice, it’s best appreciated in a classic rye cocktail like a Manhattan (recipe here) or a Sazerac (recipe here).

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rested Rye is available at Randall’s Wines & Spirits in St. Louis, North County and Fairview Heights, Illinois, locations.

-Image courtesy of drinkspirits.com

Drink This Weekend Edition: Between The Sheets

Friday, January 24th, 2014



It’s important to remember that when mixing cocktails in winter, you don’t always need reach for that bottle of whiskey. In fact, lesser-used cognac and rum are trending right now and are perfectly paired seasonal partners. An excellent example is illustrated in the delightful Prohibition-era tipple, Between The Sheets.

While this rum-spiked twist on a Sidecar technically falls into the sour category, beware. It also packs the serious potency of stirred, spirit-forward cocktails. Slightly tart, bitter orange and warm spice notes make for a very balanced drink, but as the name suggests, one too many has great potential for an early bedtime.

Between The Sheets
1 Serving

¾ oz. Camus VS cognac
¾ oz. El Dorado 8-year rum
¾ oz. Pierre Ferrand dry curacao
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
Orange twist, for garnish

• Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.



A harvest morning at Mount Pleasant Estates

Friday, September 27th, 2013



This week, I joined the team at Mount Pleasant Estates in Augusta for its seasonal grape harvest. Any preconceived romantic notions I had of how this process actually works were proved false before we even began. Like most agricultural endeavors, the harvest began early in the morning. Before sunrise. Covered in darkness.

Armed with a healthy dose of strong coffee, I met Mount Pleasant president Chuck Dressel and head winemaker Colin Pennington. Though we started early, Dressel explained the harvest this year actually began late.

The grape we harvested that day, vidal blanc, is the last white grape harvested during the season, and due to a colder spring and mild summer, the grapes appeared on the vines about 28 days later than usual. Mount Pleasant uses the vidal blanc to produce its well reviewed Villagio and Villagio Estates wines. This fresh, fruit-forward wine could be compared pinot grigio in style.

Our grapes were earmarked to become Villagio Estate wine, featuring the highest quality vidal blanc grapes produced this season. Even though this year’s grapes are later than usual, the team at Mount Pleasant said it is happy with the fruit’s high quality.




A large, 14-foot machine, sensibly called a “picker,” does the actual harvesting from the vines. Once the fruit is gathered in large bins, its transported to Mount Pleasant, where the wine-making process begins by crushing the fruit. The winemakers process the vidal blanc grapes into juice and use underground pipes to transport it to stainless steel tanks where the juice ferments.

As it ages, the wine’s flavor changes from green apple to harsh grapefruit, finally becoming the pleasant, fruit-forward, aromatic finished product. Harvest at Mount Pleasant Estates continues into October with red grapes chambourcin, St. Vincent and Norton up next.




Villagio and Villagio Estates are expected to be available in May 2014. The Villagio will retail around $10 a bottle, and the more complex Villagio Estates will be roughly $21 a bottle.

St. Louis bartenders shake up Popfest 2013

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

082713_popfest1{From left: Justin Cardwell, Kyle Mathis, Jayne Pellegrino, Matt Obermark}

The Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival in Kansas City, Mo., the largest gathering of its kind in the Midwest, concluded Sunday with much fanfare. St. Louis was well represented at Popfest with two competitors, Kyle Mathis of Taste and Mandi Kowalski of Sanctuaria competing in an individual bartending competition Sunday evening. The audience voted Kowlaski one of two crowd favorites. St. Louis bartenders Justin Cardwell, Jayne Pellegrino, Kyle Mathis and I also won the Midwest Melee, an event for cocktail bragging rights among four-person teams from Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago and Denver.


082713_popfest2{From left: Mandi Kowalski, Kyle Mathis}

Events at the five-day festival took place at Kansas City establishments like The Rieger Hotel, Kill Devil Club and The American Restaurant and were focused on the city’s drinking roots. This included Popfest founder Ryan Maybe’s homage via cocktail to early 20th-century corrupt political boss, Tom Pendergast. Events were well attended and well enjoyed by St. Louis cocktailians and hospitality industry professionals.

PopFest also offered education seminars lead by industry experts, covering everything from mezcal to beer cocktails. The latter proved the best attended and most celebrated of the week. Hosted at the Boulevard Brewery and lead by former St. Louisian Chad George, Adam Seger and Boulevard’s Andy Jenkins, the group discussed how to capitalize on the recent trend of using beer as a cocktail ingredient. The Eulogy, their rift on a Last Word, balanced gin, green chartreuse, jasmine liqueur and sugar with Boulevard’s Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale.

The Eulogy
1 serving

1 ½ oz. London dry gin
¾ oz. green chartreuse
½ oz. Fruitlab Jasmine Liqueur
¼ oz. simple syrup
1 ½ oz. Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale

Build the gin, green chartreuse, jasmine liqueur and simple syrup in a shaker. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with the Tank 7 and gently stir to incorporate ingredients.

-Photos courtesy of Jacqui and Michael Segura of Cocktail Ambassador

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