A new video from the Brother’s Rye, featuring the single “Start It Up Again,” is an ode to front man Benjamin Lee Paterson’s hometown of Woods Hole, as well as the seasonal tides all Cape Codders are familiar with.
As anyone who’s set foot there knows, Woods Hole has a Jekyll and Hyde quality: the good times of summer, filled with steel drums and shellfish, and a harsh, windy winter. As the band jams out around a bonfire, flasks passing and sparks flying, “Start Up Again” conveys the seasonal rite of passage from winter into spring, despair into hope. Even if you’ve never been to Woods Hole, you’ll find yourself humming along, feeling just a tad it nostalgic for those raw March days.
Welcome to Reverend Duffy’s Whiskey Revival! Once a month I will regale you with a review of a bottle of whiskey which I have (occasionally in only one night) enjoyed. I would like to thank the Brothers Rye for asking me to post on their band website. The idea was formed after I came home from a skiing trip in which I didn’t ski. I cooked and sat in a hot tub while drinking an entire bottle of Russels Reserve in one night. I have sense come to realize that a 230 pound individual has no place on skis, but that is neither here nor there. The next day while talking to Josh Dayton (upright bass player for the Brothers Rye) at work, I commented on how I have not had a hangover like that in some time. It was hell! He informed me that I was a dumbass and that no normal person drinks a bottle of whiskey in a night and doesn’t feel like shit the next day. And here I was blaming it on rye whiskey and thought it was the rye that gave me the hangover and not the amount I consumed. Thus Reverend Duffy’s Whiskey Revival was born!
I hope you will all find this blog thoroughly amusing, and at times helpful. Every month I will choose a new bottle of whiskey to drink and give one Reverends take on what I experienced while drinking. As you can probably tell this will not be your average critique. This will be a series of whiskey drinking adventures that will enlighten you about the joys (and consequences) of drinking whiskey. I will promise you that everything I write will have actually happened. Furthermore, I will also provide an actual review of the whiskey, not just report on the drunken debauchery. I will let you know whether or not you can drink it straight or if you can only consume it mixed with soda or in a cocktail. If neither sipping nor mixing works, I will attempt to cook with it. If all else fails…SHOTS!! I will not waste a drop of it; myself, and hopefully others will drink the entire bottle.
The first whiskey I will review is McKenzie Rye Whiskey, from Finger Lakes Distilling. McKenzie Rye Whiskey is 45.5% alcohol (91 proof). Finger Lakes Distilling is located on Seneca Lake in upstate New York. Now you might be thinking whiskey made in New York must be sacrilegious or something, right? Well as an authority on both religion and whiskey, the answer is a resounding NO! Tennessee and Kentucky still may be the Mecca of your traditional whiskeys and bourbons; however, the popularity and quality of small batch whiskeys and bourbons are on the rise. Small batch specialty spirits such as tequila and vodka have been flooding the market for the past few years. Given that many whiskeys and bourbons are aged for any number of years, the reserves and aged bottles are finally hitting the shelves of your local liquor stores and bars, much to this Reverends delight!
The reason we were in New York was for a road trip to visit Bloody Knuckles, a former drummer of Bens. Not really cut out to be a drummer in a country band, he use to bang the drums so hard his knuckles would bleed (hence the ingenious name I gave him). It is rumored that his blood still stains drums of some of his former bands who still play locally. So Ben, Tom, (a bartender at Grumpys) and I took off for a 6 hour road trip to visit the recluse former drummer (and my former roommate). The objectives for the weekend were to drink, eat, and drink some more. Needless to say we accomplished our objectives.
Night one started out by heading to a local brew pub where we sampled some of the house brewed beers and caught up on old times. It was there where I first encountered the Mckenzie brand of whiskey. I had a glass of the Mckenzie whiskey neat so I could gauge the flavor. The whiskey had a vanilla aftertaste to it with a strong corn flavor. I would describe the flavor as a vanilla corn nut. It was a pleasant experience and I will probably devote a full post dedicated to that particular whiskery at a later date. We ended up that evening at The Stonecat Café, a really nice local bar that had some live music. It was there that I first experienced the Mckenzie bourbon and the Mckenzie rye whiskey. The bourbon was good, but the rye whiskey was memorable, even after quite a few! The smoky flavor and smooth taste made me more order a few more. I am not sure how many was a few more, but all of the sudden the lights came on and was time to go!
The following day was spent getting drunk, aka, wine tasting. I won’t lie to you, going from vineyard to vineyard for 2-3 dollars a tasting is a very inexpensive way to drink! I would recommend renting a limo; no one wants to draw the short straw to be the designated driver while on a wine tour. After hitting 6 vineyards and spending a ridiculous amount of money on bottles of wine (I guess it wasn’t as cheap as I thought it would be) we ended up at Finger Lakes Distillery. They have a five dollar tasting where you can taste a total of three of their liquors. Finger Lakes Distillery make all types of spirits, however we were there for the Brown liquor! The highlight there was when the Master Distiller came up from the basement asking us if we wanted to try something different, or at least that is what we thought because his accent was straight from the back woods of Kentucky. We tried a reserve whiskey that will not be ready for a couple of years, and when we tasted the whiskey, it was like heaven opening up and angels singing the Metallica version of Whiskey in the Jar! In other words, it’s that good; I can’t wait to buy a bottle in two years!
In closing, McKenzie Rye Whiskey is an affordable (I believe I paid $30.00) smooth tasting rye whiskey. It is drinkable neat; however I do prefer it chilled with a couple of rocks. I have also used it as a deglazing liquid for a pork shoulder that I was cooking, the rye whiskey added a bit of smoky flavor t the tender slow cooked pork. I would use McKenzie Rye Whiskey in any recipe that calls for bourbon. So if you get the chance, pick yourself up a bottle of McKenzie Rye Whiskey, you will not be disappointed, this Reverend wasn’t! Until next time,
The Reverend Duffy’s one month without whiskey, or any alcohol for that matter!
I hope all of you have enjoyed a great holiday season. I for one indulged and overindulged, which is the only way to celebrate the holidays in my humble opinion. Consequently, as one will do while overindulging, I added a few pounds to the waistline and had a few foggy evenings while toasting the holidays with friends and family. In response to this, I made the decision to take the month of January to recharge, detox, and get rid of those few pounds gained over the holidays. Just before the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day, I finished the last of a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label scotch; which was given to me a s gift for officiated the wedding of my youngest brother. If there is a way to begin a month of clean living, ending with a bottle of blue label is the way to go about it! As a reward for this clean living, at the end of the month, a few Friends and I will head down to New Orleans for a long weekend. Needless to say, a night on Bourbon Street is just the placed to start 2014’s Whiskey Revival! This is either the greatest Idea or one that will end with me calling Big Slappy Josh Dayton, telling him I won’t be coming to work for a few days because I was a dumb ass and thought I could handle Bourbon Street with no tolerance for alcohol. Stay tuned for my next post to see how I fared.
Just because I wasn’t drinking whiskey, doesn’t mean I couldn’t cook with it, so I wouldn’t forget the taste I used bourbon to cook a couple of times. I recently came across a bottle of Elmer T. Lee at bourbon tasting even. Elmer T. Lee comes from the Buffalo Trace Distillery, known for a great tasting variety of whiskey, bourbon, and rye whiskey. If you want to know more about it go to http://www.buffalotracemediakit.com/bourbons.html. It is real smooth and very easy to drink, Wine Enthusiast magazine give the bottle a rating of 91, which this Reverend agrees with. It is affordable around 28 dollars and is best served need or with just a splash of water, no need to chill. I used Elmer T. Lee in two dishes. The first one was for bourbon braised short rib mac and cheese! Is your mouth watering yet? And by the way when I said clean living that just meant just alcohol free. This mac and cheese made my taste buds singing praises to the Angles for creating such a recipe. By angles, I mean the gals at Girl Carnivore, http://girlcarnivore.com/, who created this food blog, who came up with the recipe I suggest you check it out, there was sin in every bite of this mac and cheese! For the other dish, I marinated a couple of pork chops over night with the bourbon, soy sauce, onion, garlic, honey, and herbs. The flavor of these pork chops was out of this world. This just goes to show, if you decide to take some time off to dry-out, there is no need to go without the flavor of your favorite bourbon or whiskey, just cook off the alcohol while still enjoying its wonderful flavor. Until next time,