Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bourbon Dogs - Berlin

When my brother and his wife visited me in Berlin recently for our first Friday night out we went to Kreuzberg and sidled into a booth at Bourbon Dogs.

Bourbon Dogs specializes in three things (1) house made hot dogs (2) American whiskies (3) and craft beer. Their whiskey selection, thought not extensive, was very well curated. Jefferson Ocean Aged, Smooth Ambler Rye, and Michter's American Whiskey all being standouts. They also held a rare bottle of Hudson Baby Bourbon but our waitress sensibly advised against it when I was torn between the Smooth Ambler Rye and the former.

 Visit their menu to get a better idea of the experience to be had! Notable treats were €1 well bourbon shots as beer chasers or shots of house made pickle juice for €0.50 to chase your whiskey!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Kosher Bacon

I got pretty bored playing video games and eating jamon my last few months in Spain, so I treated myself with a little side project I have been meaning to do for awhile: make my own whiskey.

My petite setup
I set two goals for myself (1) make enough for groomsmen favors at my brother's wedding and (2) have it not taste too terrible.

I did an initial batch of 80% organic corn to 20% Paris Otter malt and let it ferment a long stretch (without cooking) with White Labs Distillers Yeast. I used the backset from my beer runs of my first batch in a second batch of around 60% organic corn and 40% Otter malt.

Adorable sibling photo at lil' brudder's boda
After a few months of distilling small batches and optimizing my cooling setup on my alembic copper still, I was ready to blend my hearts with a pinch of heads and tails to a firm 110 proof spirit. I like it strong!

This was then aged with a #2 char oak infusion spiral for about a week to give the spirit some color.

In the end, Kosher Bacon Distillation Corn Whiskey was born.

Finished product! Whorskey!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

3 Great Whisk(e)y Shops in Berlin

I try to make it a habit of stopping by a local whiskey shop every time I visit Berlin. After about one year and a half of visits, I recommend the following three locations if anyone is ever in the neighborhood and running a thirst for whiskey.

Whisky and Cigars
This place is so high class they sport a door buzzer to keep out the rabble.  Equally knowledgeable of both world whiskies and cigars, the staff here is very friendly and most speak English well. Interested in tasting a whiskey before buying? They have a complete bar in the back with hundreds of bottles on hand for tasting. Whisky & Cigars tends to market to collectors and upper class whiskey drinkers who can afford the limited bottlings and imported items they sell here. Though not cheap, they usually hold items in stock that you will not find anywhere else. Call ahead or e-mail them if interested in a particular whiskey.

Whisky Market Berlin
This was the first spot in Berlin that I went to for whisky. The shop has plaid wallpaper in the back tasting room so it's no surprise that their selection is biased towards Scotch and Irish whisky. The staff here is very friendly and usually will pour you a glass or two to taste while you peruse. They tend to have a very well stocked selection of 0.33 L bottles, meaning you can try some higher end whisky for cheap if you catch the selection at the right time. This is how I tried Talisker 57 North for the first time, so it's a nice way to sample some of the more expensive NAS whiskies before buying the full 0.7 liters. Now and then they host a whisky tasting evening in German with a cover charge.

Getränke Berlin Wein & Whisky
This last place has a limited online presence (only Yelp) and sells wines, gins, rums, vodkas, brandies, as well as whiskies, but somehow their whiskey selection is the most thorough of any other shop in Berlin I have found thus far. Among some of their more interesting offerings is basically the entire Balvenie and Laphraog lineup as well as the Green Spot AND 12yr Yellow Spot. Their Japanese whisky selection is the best of Berlin as well as their American whiskey selection (the only place outside of the Eastern USA that I have ever seen Copper Fox carried). The downside here is that tastings will cost you and the help is a bit subpar. The upside is you can have a seat on their small patio and enjoy a glass of wine and it's right across the street from the historic Kulturbrauerei!

Saturday, June 27, 2015


A very good friend of mine and I had a great idea to get a website off the ground for reviewing and rating whiskies. We called it spiritcritic.com, like metacritic for alcohol. It didn't work out, for many reasons, but boy am I glad that another team from Seattle had a similar idea and pulled it off marvelously with:


It's a truly crisp and fantastic platform where you can find and review whiskies while following others who do. The craft spirit scene is expanding at a ridiculous pace, with 600 registered craft distilleries at the end of 2014. Just browsing the Bottle Society for a few minutes will tell you that craft distilling is going to be increasingly difficult to thoroughly follow in the future. That's why DrinkDistiller's recommendation tool is super handy even for aficionados of whiskey, where you can filter on American whiskey's, among various prompts, when getting hooked up with your next bottle.

For a long while I was using MasterofMalt.com to decide what was worth trying, pitching, or buying, but the volume of reviews on DrinkDistiller.com, plus the expert review, far exceeds what MoM can offer.

Give it a shot when you're next going to buy a whiskey for yourself or for a friend!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pecan Street Rum

So, now I'm in Houston, TX. A winter that induces sweating, people as big as dirigibles, and stetsons. There you have it. Though I am here for an eight week training course for work I have been looking forward to this trip for three reasons:

1. People speaking English AND Spanish.
2. My college roommate lives here and I can finally run my bad science-fiction ideas past him.
3. Spirit of Texas Independent Distillery is distributed here. This. is. huge.

Spirit of Texas Independent Distillery crafts Pecan Street Rum which I have been meaning to try for over a year. It is an 80 proof oak aged molasses rum that is flavored with Texas pecans and believe it or not it tastes even better than it sounds.

Pecan Street Rum. Image captured on the finest of Hyatt Hotel towels.
I took some notes when I initially cracked it open and had it first neat at room temperature then mixed with cola. Here's what I thought at the time:

The nose is light suggesting sugar cane cola, caramelized sugars, baked walnuts, and pecans. The first sip starts with an easy brown sugar flavor that draws you in, cuts to a cola-carbonic-acid sharpness with a thin molasse salve, and blends to notes of nut oils, soaked golden raisins, and maple syrup. The finish is sweet, delicate, and heavy on the pecan pie.

Pecan Street Rum goes so well with chilled coca cola it's really hard to imagine how pop ever survived without this little Texas gem. The pecan really shines through and it's a drink I would happily pay $7 to $9 dollars for; definitely NOT just a fountain drink. It goes for about $18 dollars for 750 ml at your local Texas liquor store, which is a better value than most mega-brand rums. Although I cannot vouch for it's strength as a rum to be mixed in fruity cocktails, Spirit of Texas also offers Straight Silver Rum, a similarly priced white rum that should do the trick if you must have your friday evening daiquiri.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Dear folks and folkettes,

As you probably know if you're reading this, I am a bad blogger. Now I know some of you are thinking, "Oh boy, here come the empty platitudes insinuating that we can look forward to more mediocre prose about alcohol (written on a disturbingly mint green background) in the near future." And you may be spot on as far as the aesthetically incredible background is concerned. So please allow me to explain:

My wife and I moved to Madrid, I work for a big-ole oil services company now, and my language skills are only a teensy bit better than the day when I thought "aloha" meant hello in Spanish and I spoke it proudly going through Spanish Customs. To top it off, I successfully defended my thesis about four months ago. Yet it continues to haunt me in my sleep. You know, the nightmare where you're playing Omaha Hi Lo with a wax figurine of Stalin and a donkey centaur with Kermit the Frog's torso, then suddenly your incredible hand of cards becomes the pages of your geothermobarometry chapter but the word temperature has been replaced with the phrase "shake it like a ringworm." That nightmare.

Whiskey production model at Jameson Distillery in Dublin. Check.
Thank you for your patience and kindness towards me and all those other fruits of the spirit. Did someone just say spirit? That reminds me, let's talk about whiskey.

Jana and I trotted up to Dublin for New Years where I was able to do three things I have been meaning to do for awhile:

1. Tour an Irish distillery

2. Feed ducks

3. Investigate Irish craft distilling

To be honest I was a bit underwhelmed with the Jameson facility. The distillery in Dublin is the Old Jameson Distillery historic site and is not currently an operating distillery. If you want to see their production facility you have to go to the New Midleton Distillery, roughly 300 kilometers away. However, our tour guide was awesome, somehow managing to speak six languages on the tour, and the tasting at the end was of course illuminating and delicious. They allowed "volunteers" to taste three different spirits: Jameson the number one best selling Irish Whiskey, Johnnie Walker Black Label Blended Scotch Whiskey the number one best selling Scotch Whiskey, and, you guessed it, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, the number one best selling American Whiskey. *shudder* I voted for Jameson because I'm a peat-nancy and JD isn't whiskey. Well ok it is. It's complicated.

We fed pretty ducks at Dublin's best kept secret, the Blessington Street Basin:

Feed a Mandarin duck. Check.

Finally, I was able to get my hands on a bottle of The Teeling Whiskey Co.'s Hybrid Malt Whiskey. It is a cold filtered and uncut blend of two superb Scotch and Irish whiskies. The nose is balanced with tones of oak, yeasty goodness, and soaked sweet barley, with hints of pear and vanilla peeking through (that's right...peeking). The taste starts quite robust and fairly peaty, blends to a winter lager crispness with golden raisins, then finishes with the lingering taste of freshly grated nutmeg and a handful of clover hay. Yes I have eaten clover hay and yes I did just allow my nerd to shine. Whiskey. It's a thing. Bam!

So that's all for now. If anyone would like to know, I was directed by Jack over at TWC to the Celtic Whiskey Shop in Dublin to find my bottle of Teeling's Hybrid. The Celtic Whiskey Shop has just about the best collection of whiskey you're likely to find in the UK, plus they are a great bunch of lads who incidentally ship worldwide and look forward to your business!

Oh, and whoever commented "Spearmint Stallion" from the last post, feel free to send me your name and address in an e-mail to drinkinggoat (at) gmail (dot) com for your complimentary bottle of MB Rolland's Kentucky Mint Julep Liqueur.

Just for kicks here's me upon discovering
that JD was the the best selling American Whiskey.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Move Over Mint Julep

In Lexington, KY at Stella's Kentucky Deli I was first introduced to the delicious cocktail called the "Double Wide" also-more-sordidly-known-as (AMSKA) the "Kentucky Motherfucka". It's basically Ale-8-One, a Kentucky made ginger soft drink, with a generous amount of bourbon. However as derby day approaches we must mint-ify our drinking habits. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you the TRIPLE WIDE?!?!

the shaved iced melted at this point. only the icebergs were left.

The Triple Wide

-Fill glass halfway up with shaved ice.
-Fill the rest of the glass with Ale-8-One soda.
-Garnish with rinsed mint leaves.
-Serve with a teeny tiny straw.

For those folks reading this outside of Kentucky I would suggest Maker's Mark Mint Julep and any quality ginger ale/soda as a substitute for the above ingredients.

Please enjoy Derby Day and all of its neighboring days responsibly. And just to make this interesting, I'll send the commenter with the best AMSKA name for the newly "minted" Triple Wide a bottle of MB Rolland's Kentucky Mint Julep Liqueur. If you're under 21 you'll get a six pack of Ale-8-One. Let the games begin!