WASH January 2017 : Page 106

FOOD & DR INK sp iri t s Cask masters from two DC bars work some blending magic for an upcoming bourbon release boasting their own personal stamp. By Kelly Magyarics // Photography by Greg Powers BARREL BRAVADO REBELLION 1836 18th St. NW, 202.299.0399, rebelliondc.com CIVIL CIGAR LOUNGE 5335 Wisconsin Ave. NW #200, 202.364.0800, civillounge.com Wooden chips are stacked; glasses of whiskey are poured; and there’s the kind of bantering-slash-mock-harassment that only comes when close friends get together. But this isn’t poker night. e teams from upscale DC bars Rebellion and Civil Cigar Lounge are sitting around a table at Kentucky’s Maker’s Mark distillery, engrossed in blending trials to create a proprietary bourbon. Each of the ve types of chips represents a bourbon nished with a di erent kind of wooden stave—baked American pure 2, seared French cuvée, vanilla-and caramel-touched Maker’s 46, bitter chocolate-tinged roasted French mocha and boldly toasted French spice. It’s a slow process not unlike alchemy; even one chip too few or too many (each is responsible for 10 percent of the nal blend) can wildly change the avors or completely throw o the balance. As for using two chips each? It’s an easy way out for sure, but the result is often a muddied booze with no discernible character. After several rounds of mixing and blind tasting—too many and palate fatigue sets in—everyone is content with the whiskey’s entry, palate, nish and mixability. “You can’t x neat—it has to be perfect that way rst,” admits Rebellion chef Travis Weiss. ough it doesn’t have to, the winning hooch ends up using all ve types of staves. Balanced, it boasts a little heat on the midpalate and sweetness coaxed out with water. “ is is a fascinating process and a unique opportunity to see how di erent wood a ects a bourbon,” says Rebellion Beverage Director William Scott Jackson. (At least half of a whiskey’s avor comes from the type of wood in which it’s matured; charred American white oak is legally required for bourbon, but a nal soak with other staves can tweak it.) Next, Jackson, Weiss and Rebellion owner Brian Westlye, along with Civil owner Matt Krimm, thread the staves on a metal ring, tamp the barrel shut, ll it with the customized whiskey and watch it take its place in the rickhouse to rest for nine weeks, with delivery expected to their DC bars in early March. Each bar will garner 120 bottles of the barrel-proof Bourbon, sold for around $10 an ounce or used in higher-end libations ($13 per cocktail). For the owners of the two bars, this is an opportunity to create something original for their venue—Maker’s Mark is the third custom bourbon each has produced. eir latest experience ups the ante, as the recipe is uniquely theirs, and it’s easy to order future barrels. “ is process was light years di erent,” says Westlye, who can’t wait for the late-winter delivery. “It’s de nitely easier to get behind and get excited about.” CAPITAL BLENDS From left: The Fizz with Maker’s 46 bourbon; a Sour with Maker’s 46 bourbon and St. Elizabeth allspice dram; the Boulevardier with Maker’s Mark bourbon and Dolin sweet vermouth. 10 6 DC J A N / F E B 2 0 1 7 | M O D E R N L UXU R Y . C O M

Food & Drink Spirits

Kelly Magyarics

BARREL BRAVADO

Cask masters from two DC bars work some blending magic for an upcoming bourbon release boasting their own personal stamp

Wooden chips are stacked; glasses of whiskey are poured; and there’s the kind of banteringslash- mock-harassment that only comes when close friends get together.

But this isn’t poker night.

The teams from upscale DC bars Rebellion and Civil Cigar Lounge are sitting around a table at Kentucky’s Maker’s Mark distillery, engrossed in blending trials to create a proprietary bourbon. Each of the five types of chips represents a bourbon finished with a different kind of wooden stave—baked American pure 2, seared French cuvee, vanillaand caramel-touched Maker’s 46, bitter chocolate-tinged roasted French mocha and boldly toasted French spice. It’s a slow process not unlike alchemy; even one chip too few or too many (each is responsible for 10 percent of the final blend) can wildly change the flavors or completely throw off the balance. As for using two chips each? It’s an easy way out for sure, but the result is often a muddied booze with no discernible character.

After several rounds of mixing and blind tasting—too many and palate fatigue sets in—everyone is content with the whiskey’s entry, palate, finish and mixability. “You can’t fix neat—it has to be perfect that way first,” admits Rebellion chef Travis Weiss. Though it doesn’t have to, the winning hooch ends up using all five types of staves. Balanced, it boasts a little heat on the midpalate and sweetness coaxed out with water. “This is a fascinating process and a unique opportunity to see how different wood affects a bourbon,” says Rebellion Beverage Director William Scott Jackson. (At least half of a whiskey’s flavor comes from the type of wood in which it’s matured; charred American white oak is legally required for bourbon, but a final soak with other staves can tweak it.)

Next, Jackson, Weiss and Rebellion owner Brian Westlye, along with Civil owner Matt Krimm, thread the staves on a metal ring, tamp the barrel shut, fill it with the customized whiskey and watch it take its place in the rickhouse to rest for nine weeks, with delivery expected to their DC bars in early March. Each bar will garner 120 bottles of the barrel-proof Bourbon, sold for around $10 an ounce or used in higher-end libations ($13 per cocktail).

For the owners of the two bars, this is an opportunity to create something original for their venue—Maker’s Mark is the third custom bourbon each has produced. Their latest experience ups the ante, as the recipe is uniquely theirs, and it’s easy to order future barrels. “This process was light years different,” says Westlye, who can’t wait for the late-winter delivery. “It’s definitely easier to get behind and get excited about.”

REBELLION

1836 18th St. NW,


299.0399,
rebelliondc.com

CIV IL CIGAR LOUNGE

5335 Wisconsin Ave. NW #200,
202.364.0800,
civillounge.com

CAPITAL BLENDS From left: The Fizz with Maker’s 46 bourbon; a Sour with Maker’s 46 bourbon and St. Elizabeth allspice dram; the Boulevardier with Maker’s Mark bourbon and Dolin sweet vermouth.

Read the full article at http://digital.modernluxury.com/article/Food+%26+Drink+Spirits/2671649/370593/article.html.

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