All in the Family: A barrel aged gift from one of my brothers

In September my youngest brother gave me a lovely gift of a custom logo-ed barrel for aging custom cocktails [Bitner Brothers Cocktails!], along with similarly branded double old-fashioned glasses – and a bottle of one of his own barrel-aged cocktails, a Sauternes-finished Italian American (Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, D’usse cognac, Cocchi americano, Amaro nonino, and Luxardo)!

As my schedule started to get fuller than usual beginning in late September including (but not limited to):

  • Catching up on work post vacation,
  • Extra singing work (Bach!) that would stretch through into one of his busiest Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday singing seasons (9 holiday services over 48 hours in two cities).
  • Entry into (and continually moving on up) Glenfiddich’s ‘World’s Most Experimental Bartender’ competition
  • Life in general

It took until late October for me to even get around to tasting his beautiful creation. We thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to creating our own with his generous gift.



Prelude to our Manhattan Project: Sweet Vermouth – Woodford Reserve Rye

For those who enjoyed our BTWOE* series** Christopher Rhodovi (from The Whiskey Room) and I return with a prelude to our first Manhattan Project Series – Manhattan Project: Sweet Vermouth (MH:SV). Given in this project we will be tasting both Bourbon and Rye based Manhattans, we felt it only fair to ourselves and all of you to taste the Rye we will be using on its own first. Since the #1 whiskey in our  BTWOE series was Woodford Reserve, we decided to go with the Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey for its companion in our upcoming series.

With strong notes of rye, intermingled with cherry, black & green peppercorns and core tones of vanilla and honey – we both felt this will be an excellent choice/companion to the Woodford Reserve Bourbon for our Manhattan Project: Sweet Vermouth Series.

We encourage you to grab a glass, pour a dram, and join us.



*-“Best Tasting Whiskies On Earth”, order from the UPROXX article “These Are The Best Tasting Whiskies On Earth, According To Twenty Thousand Whiskey Drinkers

**-Baron of Beverage (BoB) will run several series interwoven through their regular podcasts, rather than run all contiguous/uninterrupted.

Tis the Season – Pappy Season!

It’s been a while since Christopher Rhodovi (from The Whiskey Room) and I have sat down and recorded a podcast – but sometime life takes precedence.

This time of year is definitely know for Thanksgiving cheer (and some celebrate Christmas early now too) – but for bourbon lovers/aficionados, this is also ‘Pappy Season’. That time of year when allocation from the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery make their way to many a local retail store and are quickly snapped up and then sell for astronomical costs on the secondary markets. As fate (and perseverance) would have it, Chris managed to acquire a bottle of Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year Old and we sat down to taste it and discuss Pappy Van Winkle in general.

We encourage you to grab a glass, pour a dram, and join us.


BTWOE* – Part 10 of 10 with The Whiskey Room

Drum roll please…. Christopher Rhodovi (from The Whiskey Room) and I have finally reached the ‘top’ of the list, ending our BTWOE* series**. Given the trends in whiskey over the past decade  it comes as no surprise that the #1 whiskey is a bourbon – specifically Woodford Reserve.

At #1, Woodford Reserve came as a bit of a surprise because it’s history in the market is relatively short – and it’s sales volume small in comparison to all the others on the list. But being smaller and younger isn’t necessarily a bad thing as this bourbon delivers on all the classic notes – vanilla, oak, & spices – but adds intense complexity on both the nose and the palate – cinnamon, dried fruits, citrus peels, cocoa, etc. It’s clear thousands of online voters have grabbed a bottle (or several) and noticed. We discuss all of this – as well as how the term ‘Reserve’ for bourbons is unregulated mumbo jumbo (even when it feels deserved), some of Woodford’s processes, and its current place in the bourbon market.

We finish with a preview of our next series – Manhattan Project: Sweet Vermouth

We encourage you to grab a glass, pour a dram, and join us.


BTWOE* – Part 9 of 10 with The Whiskey Room

As Christopher Rhodovi (from The Whiskey Room) and I near the end of our BTWOE* series** we turn our attention to the first Irish Whiskey of the series – Jameson.

We cover some o At #2, Jameson is far and away the best selling Irish Whiskey on the planet. The two most popular ways are either with ginger ale or as a shot. Chris and I instead focus our attention on the spirit in its pure form and with a cap-full of water. Additionally we discuss the different types of Irish Whiskey Malt, Pot Still, Grain Whiskey & Blended – and which one Jameson is categorized.

We encourage you to grab a glass, pour a dram, and join us.


Cooper & Thief – Labor Day Weekend

As the Baroness & I reminisce about our trip to Quebec City last year (and the discovery of The Lost Fingers) we take the time to open and taste a Bourbon Barrel Aged bottle of wine – Cooper & Thief.

We found this to be a big, bold and quite enjoyable red blend from Lodi. Clearly the aging in ex-bourbon barrels has had a positive effect on this fruit forward wine.


Ponysaurus Bière de Garde- Kicking Off Your Labor Day Weekend

Back in July our cousins brought us two tasty beverage gifts (you may recall our Krupnikas tasting) and we finally got around to tasting the second one this evening as we look towards Labor Day weekend – Ponysaurus‘s Bière de Garde.

For those unfamiliar with this style of beer, Bière de Garde originated in northern France and was typically made at farms in the winter or spring because the yeast strain used to make it wasn’t stable in warmer weather. We found Ponysaurus’s version quite enjoyable – a mix of creamy malt flavors with a citrus finish and a mild sharp hop core. If you get a chance to try this or any of the beers from Ponysaurus, I’d certainly recommend it.


Tastes from the airport

On our return trip from viewing the solar eclipse, Page (the Baroness) and I had a few hours at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. As many of our nation’s airports get upgrades and makeovers, one element consistently being attended to is the food and beverage options. This recent trend has seen an emphasis put on making sure regional flavors are celebrated – including beverages, particularly regional craft beers.

So we sat down at 1897 Market and recorded an impromptu podcast on a couple of craft brews while we waited for our departure.

For Page: Foothils Brewing‘s Torch Pilsner


For myself: NoDa Brewing Company‘s Hop, Drop, ‘n Roll IPA

BTWOE* – Part 8 of 10 with The Whiskey Room – Addendum

Right after wrapping up  #4 in the BTWOE* series**Maker’s Mark with Christopher Rhodovi (from The Whiskey Room) he mentioned he just made some fresh Mint Simple Syrup.

Which begged for a brief follow-up podcast with Maker’s Mark Mint Julep (though not the Maker’s Mark produced version).

We encourage you to grab a glass, pour a dram, and join us.


BTWOE* – Part 8 of 10 with The Whiskey Room

While it may have seemed like 24 hours, it was closer to 48 when Christopher Rhodovi (from The Whiskey Room) and met to taste and discuss #4 in the BTWOE* series** – Maker’s Mark.

We cover some of Maker’s Mark’s history, what a wheated boubon is, and its connection to one of the most coveted (at least by price) whiskies currently on  the market. At #3, Maker’s Mark is clearly enjoyed as one of the smoothest bourbons in mass production (even if it is done in ‘small batches‘) due to its wheat content and distillation process.

We encourage you to grab a glass, pour a dram, and join us.