Winter Whiskeys: Cope with the Cold

The winter season is in full swing and it is time to stock the shelves with some tasty offerings for visiting family and friends.  With a nip in the air, nothing warms the spirits better than a few ounces of a good bourbon.   No matter which way you enjoy it, neat, on ice, or blended in a cocktail, bourbon is a perfect accompaniment for any occasion!

First, let’s cover bourbon basics.   What does it mean to actually be categorized as Bourbon whiskey? Bourbon must be at least 51 percent corn –and– by law, must be aged in a brand-new, charred white oak barrel to be called straight bourbon whiskey. That means, a barrel can only be used once for bourbon and the bourbon must be produced in the United States.

With bourbon’s increasing popularity over the past few years, similar to the craft brew movement, the bourbon footprint in our local ABC stores has expanded which can make the task of buying a bottle of bourbon bewildering. Here are a few terms that you can expect to see as you peruse the aisles:

Single barrel whiskey (or single cask whiskey).   Single barrel whiskey is a premium class of whiskey. Each bottle comes from an individual aging barrel, instead of being created by blending the contents of various barrels. This process allows for uniformity of color and taste.

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To warm up and endure the cold in Northern Virginia this winter, try Brian’s homemade cranberry old fashioned.

CRANBERRY OLD FASHIONED

Ingredients

1 orange wedge

1 sugar cube

Dash of bitters

Crushed ice

1/4 cup bourbon

2 tablespoons whole-berry cranberry sauce

Club soda

Garnish: orange twist and fresh cranberries

How to Make It

Mash orange wedge, sugar cube, and bitters against bottom and sides of a 10-oz. old fashioned glass using a muddler or wooden spoon. Fill glass with crushed ice. Stir in bourbon, cranberry sauce, and a splash of club soda.

Content by Brian Ventura
Featured photo by Alex Mangione