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Mighty whiskey: Brown spirits are golden

Our cocktail landscape is changing—shifting from neutral white spirits such as vodka to more robust drinks featuring brown spirits, adding regional flavor and creative promotions into the mix.

According to GuestMetrics and its proprietary database of restaurant and bar POS transactions, the brown spirits category—including bourbons and blends, Irish whiskey and Scotch— has achieved share gains at the expense of white spirits. “Comparing the first three quarters of 2012 against the same period in 2011, the biggest gainers of category share have been the brown spirits sub-categories,” says GuestMetrics c.e.o. Bill Pecoriello.

Not only are tastes changing, so is beverage marketing. The National Restaurant Association’s  “What’s Hot in 2013—Alcohol” survey of approximately 200 professionals from the United States Bartenders’ Guild highlights the top drink menu trends. Among the hottest are onsite barrel-aged drinks, food and cocktail pairings, locally produced spirits and regional signature cocktails.

Inspired cocktails abound at on-premise locations. BLT Steak at The Betsy in South Beach, FL, offers the Smokey Mt. Rye, with rye whiskey, fresh lemon and cranberry juices, blood orange bitters, smoked honey syrup and a torched rosemary sprig garnish. Meanwhile, Texas Toast Culinary Tours and Forth Worth Foodie Magazine recently cosponsored a food and whiskey pairing event showcasing TX Whiskey. Held at Lanny’s Alta Cocina Mexican in Ft. Worth, four local mixologists created drinks to complement the cuisine. Katy Cox of M Lounge paired the Maple Bourbon Martini with maple-glazed duck breast; Curtis Cheney of Del Frisco’s offered the Whiskey Smash (lemon, blackberry and mint) paired with lamb chops; Brad Hensarling of The Usual served the Smoked Molasses cocktail with house-cured salmon; and Ryan Fussell of Ruth’s Chris paired the Whiskey Milk Punch (vanilla ice cream and chocolate bitters) with a dessert of whiskey white chocolate bread pudding.

Here are recipes for four whiskey cocktails with winter appeal.

Recipes:
Apples and Bourbon
Kentucky Pye
Vanilla Pecan Old Fashioned
Le Grande Flip

TAGS: Eat Beat
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