The Iconic Spirits Blog

Japanese Whisky

December 26, 2012

Tags: japanese whisky, yamazaki, hibiki, hakusu

Ask people to name the world’s best whiskies, and Scotch lovers will immediately nominate Bowmore, Glenfiddich or The Macallan. Bourbon fans will pipe up with Blanton’s, Booker’s or Pappy Van Winkle. There was even a time when someone would propose Canadian Club 30 Year-Old or Sherry Cask for the top honor.

Even rarer are those who would mention Yamazaki, Hibiki and Hakushu. (more…)

The Ultimate Eggnog

December 19, 2012

Tags: eggnog

The art of pairing beverages with food is comparatively new, and with good reason: Historically, the dividing line between liquids and solids was a very fine one. The most obvious example is soup, which has been produced since cooking vessels existed. We eat soup, as opposed to drinking it; in classic English wine service no wine was served with soup, since soup was considered to be both food and beverage.

Beer is probably a better example. In the early days of brewing, barley was derived from bread and cereals, which were not filtered out during the production process. More often than not, medieval beer or ale was a meal in itself; grains usually floated in the liquid and gathered near the top, and beer was a major source of daily calories and nutrients for much of the population.

Few beverages blur the line better than eggnog. Its origins are uncertain, although the practice of combining alcohol, milk, eggs and sugar goes back at least more than two centuries. It probably began in England, but is considered to be a traditionally American drink. Interestingly, there is also a solid form of eggnog---eggnog custard---which is baked in the oven and is popular around the holidays as well. (more…)

Classic American Bar's: Charly's Pub, Flagstaff, AZ

December 12, 2012

Tags: charly's pub, weatherford hotel

Flagstaff today is a charming place, filled with interesting restaurants, New Age shops, and a vibrant university community. The downtown area branches off from the road formerly known as Route 66, with the old railroad depot preserved for posterity.

It wasn’t always so quaint. “Thirty years ago, Flagstaff had the reputation of being a rip-off town,” says Pamela Green, owner of the Weatherford Hotel. “It was that old Route 66 mentality---the tourists are just passing through on their way to the Grand Canyon, so get them for everything you can.” Things got worse. After I-40 was completed in 1984, traffic along the Route 66 corridor dried up abruptly. The tourists disappeared, businesses closed and the population declined. (more…)

A New Expression from Whistle Pig

December 5, 2012

Tags: whistle pig, triple one, dave pickerell, raj peter bhakta

Excellence, like orgasms, cannot be successfully faked for a long period of time; despite any amount of noise and pretense, the truth always comes out. You can put on a convincing act, or hire a PR person to promote you (speaking now of excellence, of course), but in the end there are only so many high points in life each time around. The best, as the man said, are as rare as a day in June.

All of which brings us to Whistle Pig. If you read this blog regularly, you already know that I consider it to be the gold standard in rye whiskey. Do I also have a weakness for quirky perfectionists, for charismatic lunatics? Of course---it takes one to know one. Raj Peter Bhakta, the creator of Whistle Pig, is a driven man. Given the fact that his goal is to create the best rye whiskey on the planet, though, we can all cut him some slack. (more…)