You know what it’s like, you find something cool and you want to make sure other folks get to check it out. I am pretty sure we are at our best, when we are sharing. The Dalai Lama said to “Share your knowledge, it is a way to achieve immortality.” So, we’ve got that going for us. The way I see things, if you are on social media and you aren’t creating your own content or showing me what you were wearing, eating drinking, etc. you better be sharing something of value. It doesn’t have to appeal to everyone, but it shouldn’t be mean either. That’s my opinion, you are free to go find your own, naturally. So, there’s your whole “sharing is caring” lead-in. Won’t you join me now as we stand and make the never-to-be-classic, Dead Men of Whiskey Sour
Liam and I walk a couple of miles together most days. Sometimes we listen to books, sometimes we sing along to musicals, a lot of days he lectures on various dinosaurs, but mostly we listen to podcasts. Liam is a big fan of Aaron Mahnke’s Lore podcast and the Cabinet of Curiosities, and he tolerates my dives into 99% Invisible, but his current passion is my pal Amy’s “The Dead Men of Whiskey” which she and Angel describe as “A podcast about the remarkable lives and sometimes unusual deaths of the names we all know in whiskey.” The kid straight up loves this podcast. Sure, the subject matter is a bit beyond your average ten year old, but no one ever described him as average. There is explicit language too, but he has a permissive father who agrees that “We’ve got to use all the words we’ve got.” Plus, it’s not like he hasn’t heard me say worse, more often. Yeah, it may be a strange place for a father and son to find bonding time, but it works for us and as he gets older, I cherish these weird little snatches of togetherness.
I know half of the duo who create this weekly dive into the water of life and the folks who pioneered its distillation and distribution. I am not sure how “influencers” are supposed to word their disclosure statements but I fully expect to be repaid for this shout out with the warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you share something cool with your friends. I am sure that will be multiplied by the fact that I am sharing something made by another friend. So, I am getting a bunch of positive vibes and I guess you need to be aware of that. Actually, this drink wasn’t even my idea. Liam gets credit for that one too. Amy and Angel gave him a shout out in Minisode 5.5, where we learned the difference in “Whiskey” and “Whisky”. When he heard his name, he slowly floated from the ground and he has been on cloud 9 ever since. As soon as the episode was over, he began making plans to get in touch with them to answer their questions and insisted that we make a drink for them. So, here we are.
The first three distillers profiled in this series were James E. Pepper, Jack Daniel and George Dickel, so naturally, we wanted to showcase their three signature whiskeys. I looked at several options, I mean an old-fashioned would not be wrong here, or we could have gone old school with a Whisky Fancy, but the more I thought about it the more I wanted to bring these big, bright personalities together in a classic Whiskey Sour. Never you mind that I am about to alienate all the Tennessee Whiskey folks by crossing the Jack and George streams, with no regard to their vaunted history and rivalry.
Grab your tins and pop in 1/2 an ounce each of James E. Pepper 100-Proof 1776 Rye, Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7, and George Dickel Classic No. 12. My George and Jack are true dusty bottles classics. In fact, I don’t think that Dickel packaging has been available in Liam’s lifetime. The rye was a new discovery for me, inspired by the podcast, obviously, and it is so very good. Anyway, toss your three dead men in the tins and add 3/4 of an ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 an ounce of simple syrup, 3 stabs of 18-21 Prohibition Aromatic Bitters and half an ounce of egg white. Add one big artisanal ice cube and three average ones and you are ready to shake. Give it a cool, infinity shake to the tune of Sting’s “Dead Man’s Rope“. It is kinda slow for shaking, but this is a reverent drink and the lazy figure eight infinity shake dovetails nicely with the lyrics, which you should be listening to. Only shake till he gets to the first chorus, though. When he sings “walk away in emptiness”, open your tins and strain from large to small, discarding the ice and reassembling for a dry shake. Keep that up till he gets to the “sweet rain of forgiveness”, then open pour into a chilled coupe. Garnish with some tiny wild flowers collected on your daily walk and a sweet Dead Men Of Whiskey charred cedar coffin before serving with an air of reverence.
Let’s be honest, the whiskey sour is sweet nectar of the gods, we may or may not believe in, and this version sings. George and Jack fight a bit, not because they actually dislike each other, but mostly from habit, and while they are squabbling over their patch of Tennessee Whiskey fame, Pepper’s Rye shines through with a top note that cannot be denied. I figured that putting all three of these whiskeys together would be a fun gimmick, but I did not really expect it to work. It so does, though. I made a sour for each of these whiskeys and while they all made a good drink, they are better together, sort of like the Frogtown Hollow Jubilee Jug Band and Ma Otter, they just needed each other. It is a damned fine drink, not as good as the podcast that inspired it, but a great one to sip on as you download and listen to their first episode to learn more about those glorious Dead Men of Whiskey. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.