Rye Whiskey Old-Fashioned Cocktail


Here in Eastern Wisconsin, there is no cocktail more popular than the classic Old-Fashioned. Walk into any supper club, and your barmaid will immediately serve you one made with Jero® Old-Fashioned mix and Kessler’s® rail whiskey. I’m convulsing as i write this; in my opinion, it’s an instant fail — shame on the restaurant or bar for trying to cut corners to save some time and money with a subpar product. Make yours with authentic bitters and a premium bourbon or rye whiskey. You’ll immediately be impressed by the difference in quality.

This is my version of a classic — enjoy among friends.

 

Ingredients:

2 oz. premium rye whiskey or bourbon (I prefer Templeton® Rye)
1/2 tsp. packed brown sugar
2 dashes Angostura® bitters
1 orange peel
1 lemon peel
Ginger ale (by volume to taste)
2 Maraschino cherries (or, for the classic Wisconsin garnish – two olives and eliminate the brown sugar)
2 ice cubes

Cocktail glass and toothpick

 

Preparation:

Using a chilled cocktail glass, add the brown sugar and bitters. Run the lemon and orange peel around the rim of the glass and drop them in. Add two ice cubes, the bourbon or rye and ginger ale, by volume, to taste. Stir gently with a spoon and add your garnish on a toothpick.

Optional:  Add a splash of the liquid from the Maraschino cherry jar.

Makes one drink – wasn’t that easy?

The Classic Manhattan – A Real Man’s Cocktail


Culinary Compost - Cherry Bounce Bourbon Manhattan

A proper Manhattan made with Cherry Bourbon Bounce. For this cocktail, I used dry vermouth, due to the amount of infused sugar in the bounce liquor.

You can’t go wrong with a Manhattan cocktail – this drink is a classic, named after one of New York City’s five boroughs. The quintessential man’s drink, it exudes sophistication and refined taste. My preferred liquor: Templeton rye whiskey, Knob Creek or Woodford Reserve bourbon. Enjoy in moderation. Click here for the Cherry Bourbon Bounce liquor version of this drink.

Classic Manhattan:

2 oz. rye, bourbon or blended Canadian whiskey
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
Maraschino cherry

Stir the liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherry.

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Perfect Manhattan:

2-1/2 oz. rye, bourbon or blended Canadian whiskey
1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
1/2 oz. dry vermouth
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
Lemon twist

Stir the liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Run the lemon peel around the rim, twist it over the drink, and drop it in.

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Sweet Manhattan:

2 oz. rye, bourbon or blended Canadian whiskey
1 oz. sweet vermouth
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
Lemon twist

Stir the liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Run the lemon peel around the rim, twist it over the drink, and drop it in.

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Dry Manhattan:

Some consider this version an oxymoron, as the quintessential Manhattan is, by definition, a sweet vermouth-based drink.

2 oz. rye, bourbon or blended Canadian whiskey
3/4 oz. dry vermouth
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
Lemon twist

Stir the liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Run the lemon peel around the rim, twist it over the drink, and drop it in.

Cherry Bourbon Bounce



door county cherry bounce - culinary compost food blogThe end of July heralds the start of cherry-picking season in Door County Wisconsin — the boozy recipe featured here is classic Americana, dating back to the time of George Washington. This was one of his favorite indulgences brought from England — it is reported that Martha would always pack a decanter of Cherry Bounce for him when he traveled. It was traditionally made with fine French Brandy and crushed cherries with pits. Knowing that cherry pits and other orchard fruit pits contain trace amounts of hydrogen cyanide, I prefer to leave them out. (I suspect it’s also the reason our first President had wooden teeth.)

The cherry crop in Door County has been decimated by bitter cold the last two years in January. Many trees have succumbed to the -20°F prolonged killing temperature, adding to market demand. I was lucky enough to find a quart of whole tart cherries from Robertson’s Orchard at a farmer’s market in downtown Green Bay last weekend. I quickly put them to good use.

My alcohol vice — 100-proof bourbon. This recipe is also stellar with brandy, rye whiskey, rum, vodka, and even tequila. Let it happily infuse until Christmas — then share with friends by making Manhattans, and serve the halved cherries in the drinks as a garnish, or over ice cream. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

1 quart whole tart Door County Wisconsin cherries, with pits (halve and discard pits)
4 cups bourbon, or your choice of liquor
1/2 cup white sugar

 

Directions:

Purchase the freshest cherries you can find. Whole tart cherries work best because you are going to be adding sugar to the infusion. Select a two-quart glass container with a sturdy lid. Wash the container and lid in hot, soapy water and dry thoroughly.

Using a colander, wash the cherries thoroughly in cold water. Drain.
Using a sharp, thin paring knife, slit each cherry around the circumference and discard the pit. Add to the glass jar. Pour in four cups of bourbon and then the sugar.

Seal the jar. Invert and stir gently, then let sit in a cool, dark closet or basement. Invert the bottle and stir weekly so the sugar infuses. Open no sooner than Christmas-time.

Serve the liquor in traditional Manhattans.

 

door county bourbon cherry bounce

Wash the cherries, pit, and then add to the jar.
The jar shown is an antique 1/2-gallon milk container made in 1954.

bouce-with-booze-bottle

Use your favorite alcohol — it also doesn’t have to be expensive;
shown is mid-priced Bulleit bourbon.

Door county cherry bounce

I purchased a premium cork stopper from Portugal, which matched the diameter of the opening on my antique glass jar. I then sealed it with melted natural beeswax.

Culinary Compost - Cherry Bounce Bourbon Manhattan

A proper Manhattan made with Cherry Bourbon Bounce. For this cocktail, I used dry vermouth, due to the amount of infused sugar in the bounce liquor.

Blackberry-Bourbon Smoked Pork Loin


Blackberry-Bourbon Smoked Pork Loin over Apple Wood

Apple-smoked blackberry-bourbon pork loin — sliced and super-juicy.

This is a recipe loosely based on a New York Times article given to me by a friend.  I have heavily modified it to complement ingredients readily available in most kitchens.

You can also smoke this on a standard charcoal grill – ensure that you control the heat so it maintains an even smoke — any higher than 225°F and you risk overcooking the loin. The glaze is stunning — a combination of sweetness, slight heat and acidity brought out by the blackberries, bourbon, chipotle, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar.

Ingredients:

1 pork loin roast – about 2.5 – 3 pounds with fat cap
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbs. honey
6 level tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground hot Chipotle powder
2 tsp. roasted garlic granules
1 tbs. smoked paprika
1 tbs. fresh-ground black pepper
2 tsp. coarse Kosher salt
5 tbs. premium Bourbon (a splash more than 1/4 cup)
12 oz. frozen packaged blackberries (fresh market preferred)
1/3 cup chile sauce
2 tbs. balsamic vinegar

2 cups Apple wood chips for smoking

Directions:

Place the pork loin in an oblong shallow baking tray and set aside in the fridge.  Place the glaze ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. Remove and place in a heavy, non-reactive sauce pan over medium heat. Stir and simmer until sugars are dissolved and the liquid reduced – about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Pour the glaze over the pork loin and cover with plastic wrap. Place back in the fridge for at least three hours.

Preheat a smoker at 225° F. Line the drip pan with foil and oil the smoker grate with a bit of non-stick cooking spray. The loin will take roughly 1 hour per pound at the temperature shown. Place the loin on the smoking grate with the fat side up. Close and lock the door and add one cup of apple wood chips the first and second hour.
Place the probe in the thickest part of the loin after hour 1. When the internal temperature reads 140°F, remove the loin and let sit in a covered roaster pan for 1/2 hour.

Slice and serve.
Serves 4-6

Blackberry-Bourbon Smoked Pork Loin over Apple Wood

The pork loin after 2 hours. Internal temperature is 140°F. Remove and let stand for 1/2 hour, covered, before slicing.

Blackberry-Bourbon Smoked Pork Loin over Apple Wood

Of humble beginnings. The glaze ingredients in a blender.

Blackberry-Bourbon Smoked Pork Loin over Apple Wood

The loin glazed with a blackberry-bourbon brown sugar sauce.

Mike’s Knob Creek Bourbon-Grilled Salmon


Mike's Knob Creek Bourbon-Grilled Salmon

I threw this together when I found salmon filets on sale at my local supermarket. Pre-prohibition style Knob Creek bourbon is 100-proof and aged 9 years – the high alcohol content assures a kickass glaze when fired over real wood charcoal.

Make sure the fish you select is very fresh – grill with the skin-side down and use care when turning the filets so you don’t ruin the presentation – salmon is very fragile when cooked and will fall apart if handled too much.

Ingredients:

2 large fresh Atlantic salmon filets with skin

For the Marinade:
2 tbs. soy sauce
1 tbs. fine-ground fresh ginger root
4 cloves minced garlic
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup XV olive oil
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

For the Glaze:
3 shots premium Knob Creek bourbon
4 tbs. brown sugar
2 tbs. honey
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 stick salted butter

Real wood charcoal

Directions:
Prepare the marinade ingredients and mix well in a bowl. Place the salmon filets in a Ziplock bag and add the marinade. Seal and let sit in your fridge for at least four hours. Rotate every hour.

Melt the butter over low heat in a small, heavy cast-iron skillet and add the glaze ingredients. Stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Shut off the heat.

Remove the fish from the refrigerator and let warm at room temperature for 1/2 hour before grilling.

Prepare an outdoor Weber grill with enough charcoal for a medium-hot fire. When the charcoal starts to turn white, level and oil the grilling grate with a little vegetable oil so the fish doesn’t stick.

Remove the filets from the marinade and place directly in the center of the grill; skin-side down. Cover and grill vented for about 5 minutes. Brush with the marinade and grill for an additional 3-4 minutes. (Waiting until basting ensures that raw juices don’t get redistributed and contaminate the fish.)

Baste again and then CAREFULLY flip the fish over so the skin side is up. (The skin should be charred and peel off – this is normal.) Baste and grill covered for another three minutes. Baste. Flip back over and baste one last time. Grill covered an additional 2 minutes until the filets flake easily and the internal temperature in the thickest part reads 130°-F.

Remove and serve immediately. Fish should flake apart when done in the thickest part of the filet. Enjoy — This recipe is amazing!

Serves 2

Mike's Knob Creek Bourbon-Grilled Salmon

Mike's Knob Creek Bourbon-Grilled Salmon

The melted butter-bourbon glaze.

Mike's Knob Creek Bourbon-Grilled Salmon

Achieving a proper 100-proof alcohol-infused char after applying the bourbon glaze.