Number Ten Thirteenth Symposium TalkTails Moonshine and Cocktails: Tasting White Dog Whiskeys and Figuring Out What to Do with Them

We had a nice, albeit smaller than usual group for the Number Ten whiskey/cocktail tasting and talk, this past Monday, November 18, 2019, at Number Ten, 10 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230

The evening was put together as a kind of experiment. I wanted to see how people liked White Dog whiskey (a type of whiskey, not a particular brand; see below for far-too exhaustive definition).  I assumed that these unaged distillates, which usually get put in charred oak barrels and aged for quite a while, would prove the need for aging.

We were exploring White Dog whiskey for a number of reasons, including towards a conclusion about the value of White Dog itself, of course.  But we sampled a couple of cocktails using White Dog, too, and I thought doing so would show why cocktails exist.  My thesis—and I’m not claiming that the is the Unified Theory of Cocktails—is that cocktails became popular at least in part because liquor was often not so great.

What the evening showed, in the opinions and reactions of the participants, was that I was, yet again, mistaken.

What is “White Dog” Whiskey

Well, you probably know about moonshine, or at least heard stories that romanticize the moonshiner, hidden up in ‘them thar hills,’ avoiding the revenue man, distilling a magical elixir, or, depending on the story, maybe the moonshiner is making some hooch that will drive you blind or kill you, or maybe you’ve heard stories that fall somewhere in-between.

Published April 1, 2015, in Liquor.com, “Five Delicious Moonshine Cocktails to Celebrate Whiskey’s American Roots,” by Anna Archibald has this to say:

White lightning. Hooch. Mountain Dew. White whiskey. Moonshine goes by many names.

The high proof, often illicitly distilled spirit, along with some incredibly delicious moonshine cocktails, have a mysterious and storied history. Before the first federally-mandated tax on liquor in the late 1700s, farmers used to produce ’shine as a way to stay afloat during hard years—that doesn’t mean they stopped after the tax was established though. In parts of the U.S. today (particularly in Appalachia), the tradition lives on—you’ve seen Moonshiners, right?

But it’s not only the little guys—or the commonly associated backwoods folk—producing white lightning. Companies like Ole Smoky, Buffalo Trace and Jim Beam have started marketing the powerful corn liquor to the masses. Believe it or not, people definitely don’t hate it.

Hmmm. Reading this I wondered if the above phrase people definitely don’t hate it might be a clue.

“White Dog” Whiskey is Legal Moonshine

Think moonshine, but legally distilled, with no need for Smokey and the Bandit, and helping fund our nation one excise levy at a time, and that is White Dog whiskey.  The white—or clear, actually—is the lack of any color from charred oak barrels, and often entirely unaged, as in straight from the still (well, proof-corrected with water at bottling, typically, bur I like the dramatic effect of “straight from the still”). And that means not only is White Dog colorless, but also not Bourbon, since Bourbon is defined by its mashbill (51% or more corn) and the requirement of aging in a virgin American Oak charred barrel.  White Dog may be the distillate that can become Bourbon, but it sure ain’t Bourbon. In point of fact, White Dog can be made from different mashbills, with, for example, some rye mash-based White Dog now available in the marketplace and sampled at the tasting.

Here is an excerpt from one of the best discussions about White Dog I’d come across, from DrinkSpirits, an online magazine with an “About” I like:  “We started DrinkSpirits.com after noticing how many people order the same drink time and time again when they go out to a bar. The back bar with its rows and rows of bottles is intimidating and it’s often easier to stick with something you are familiar with than try something new… We realized that there weren’t a lot of resources out there to help people explore the vast world of distilled spirits. There are few sites focused on helping people explore this amazing category of beverages.”

Geoff Kleinman is the founder and managing editor of DrinkSpirits.com, and in an Aprill 11, 2010 article titled “Putting White Dog Down,” he had this to say:

At its best, White Dog can be a very raw and explosive spirit. It’s the pure expression of the distilled grain before the whiskey starts its tango with the wood. Presented at a high proof (like Wasmund’s Rye Spirit and Single Malt Spirit which are 124 proof), light whiskey can be a union of sweet and fire with deep apricot or banana notes zapped by fiery spice. But most light whiskeys are brought down to 80 proof where the fire subsides and the fruit notes turn candy-sweet (almost like a Jolly Rancher).  In the case of High West Silver Western Oat Whiskey, the spirit is so smoothed out it could easily be bottled as vodka.

 In many ways, White Dog is the caterpillar of whiskey: the barrel [is] the chrysalis and the aged whiskey, the butterfly.  Unfortunately, the White Dog movement has led to a selection of spirits which are effectively ripping the caterpillar out of its chrysalis well before it’s been able to become a butterfly.  What you end up with is a half-formed creature, a work in progress, that often represents the worst that whiskey has to offer.

 Poorly distilled and lightly aged, a spirit like Rogue Dead Guy Whiskey is probably the best example of the downside to the light whiskey movement. Being in barrel for a few months dulls the fire of the raw distillate and infuses the wood sugars. Pulling it out before the barrel can deliver more to the spirit robs it of all the complexity and flavor you get with a good whiskey. Dead Guy Whiskey is not the only spirit in this space which is less than half-baked. Ransom Spirit’s Whippersnapper Whiskey is also a train wreck of a whiskey that openly celebrates its lack of aging. It’s sort of like a cheese advertising it’s casein free – the caseins are the very thing which makes a good cheese gooey, sticky and yummy.

 The buzz over the White Dog category makes a lot of sense. There’s a huge boom in micro-distilling in the US and an increasing market demand for whiskey. Light whiskey is easy to make, costs a fraction of aged whiskey, and doesn’t have to sit in barrels for years before it can be sold. White Dog also has a terrific lore behind it – the badboy image of moonshine and its antidisestablishmentarianist roots give the spirit that edge of excitement that is very compelling. And then there’s vodka, king of the white spirit since the 60’s, its long-time reign seems to finally be easing, making room for other white spirits to get their moment in the sun.  Combine this with a renaissance of the classic cocktail movement with mixologists who are seeking out more taste than vodka traditionally offers and you’ve got the search for the next big white spirit – White Dog.

Well, so much for my being a close reader, since I’d misread the name of one of the White Dog whiskeys as Death’s Door White Whiskey (whereas, he talked about Rogue Dead Guy Whiskey) and I had brought along said Death’s Door, hoping to put this reviewer’s opinion to the test.

As Geoff Kleinman’s title suggests, he’s not a fan of White Dog overall and his point about the challenges of using White Dog in cocktails is on-target, except that he talks about subbing White Dog in cocktails that traditionally use aged whiskey.  Since the introduction of White Dog into the market (or, for that matter, the following couple of re-introductions that have occurred in the last decade!), there has been some impressive efforts to think of White Dog as its own ingredient and design cocktails accordingly. We’ll be looking—and tasting—some of these efforts.

Unaged American Whiskeys and Cocktails

I’d included some cocktail recipes that struck me as interesting and presenting a more than an even bet of tasting great.  We, of course, couldn’t sample them all in one sitting, and so I mixed up two recipes that I found intriguing.  We’d discover whether intrigue translates into deliciousness.

But first, I wanted us to  establish a taste baseline by sampling three different White Dog or White Dog-like distillations.

Hudson Whiskey, New York Corn Whiskey

Distiller: Tuthilltown Spirits, Gardiner, NY

Mashbill: 100% corn, produced locally

Age Statement: N/A

Proof: 92

Tasting Notes: Nose: Ethanol, light sweet corn/buttered popcorn, cereal and grassy notes, floral, and herbal with water, oily and medicinal; Palate: Dry, soft alcohol, slight body, palate continues nose notes, especially corn bread/cereal, with heat around the light corn, and water providing oilier mouthfeel and increased heat, slightly herbal; Finish: Medium length, with some lingering notes of sweet corn and cereal, oily but nondescript.

Retail: ~$40-$50

Hudson New York Corn Whiskey

Hudson New York Corn Whiskey was one of the first whiskeys made in New York State following the change in New York State law that permitted distilling; Tuthilltown Spirits was founded in 2001 by Brian Lee and Ralph Erenzo and is now owned by William Grant & Sons and which led to the creation of many micro-distilleries in the state. From the distiller:

We use a blend of locally grown corn, giving this unaged whiskey an aroma of buttered popcorn. The taste is slightly sweet and smooth, reminiscent of the plant itself. This approachable American corn whiskey is the foundation for our Baby Bourbon. The corn is an specifically for Tuthilltown Spirits at nearby Tantillo’s, Hasbrouck, other local farms…We double distill the corn mash pure and simple. No other flavors or sugar added. It’s then bottled at 46% without charcoal or chill filtering, giving the crystal clear whiskey a silky smooth, creamy and clean drinking experience. It’s also distinctly corny – just like your wise-cracking uncle. Cut the wax and pour.

The tasting notes I’d put together from triangulating notes gleamed from several whiskey reviewers I respect turned out to be fairly accurate, but out of the three White Dogs tasted, this one received the weakest reception.  The biggest taste issue was the grassy/herbal notes, which came across to some as a bit spunky. Tasting straight and then with ice and melt was followed all three samples, and like the other two White Dogs, a bit of water really did open up flavors.

Bully Boy Distillers, White Whiskey

Distiller: Bully Boy, Boston, MA

Mashbill: 100% wheat (USDA organic)

Age Statement: ~3 days in non-charred cask (unconfirmed)

Proof: 80

Tasting Notes: Nose: Reminiscent of tequila nose, hot, with sweet agave note, with hint of flowers and grass, and slight nuts; Palate: Hot burn, but softer, vodka-like, with ongoing suggestion of agave notes along with honey and fruit, including banana cream, and with water sour fruit comes forward; Finish: Short but sweet agave and bananas, work their way to the fore a little more with water, along with more of the alcohol.

Retail: ~$30

This is a different white whiskey, with a wheat mash bill that makes this whiskey softer. Here’s what Bully Boy says about its White Whiskey:

Bully Boy Distillers is proud to carry on Boston’s tradition of small batch distilling with our signature wheat whiskey. All whiskey comes off the still as a clear spirit; it is the aging process that imbues whiskey with its deep brown hue. Made using traditional distilling techniques, Bully Boy’s wheat whiskey is clean and mellow. As with all our spirits, our whiskey is made in small, numbered batches.

Bully Boy White Whiskey

I’ve been a big fan of this distillery ever since I was given a bottle of Bully Boy American Whiskey, years back, by a dear friend. The aggregate tasting notes proved pretty accurate, and especially about agave syrup and, I’ll swear, a touch of honey and something that made most participants think that banana cream wasn’t quite right, but that it was close and none of us could come up with better. Bully Boy White Whiskey was not as hot as Hudson Corn, not surprising because it is only 80 proof, compared to 92 proof, but for all that , Bully Boy White Whiskey had initial heat.

Death’s Door Spirits, White Whiskey

Distiller: Death’s Door, Wisconsin

Mash Bill: 80% Red Winter Wheat, 20% Malted Barley

Age: ~3 days in non-charred cask

Proof: 80

Tasting Notes: Nose: Short- to medium-lived wheat grain and cereal grain note intensity, malt, citrus and grass, spice bouquet, slightly sweet; Palate: Sweet, spicy smooth start, malty cream, hint of vanilla, a vanilla-infused cream of wheat, with drying mid-palate, a slight herbal quality; Finish: Mild bite, heavy cream, notes of vanilla and white chocolate, medium length.

Retail: ~$35

At least one reviewer, the respectable Josh Peters of The Whiskey Jug is, shall we say, not a fan of Death’s Door White Whiskey. For example, Josh says this:

This Death’s Door White Whiskey is among the worst things I have ever drank… yikes. I know white whiskey, moonshine, White Dog, whatever-you-want-to-call-it isn’t supposed to be as complex as an aged spirit, but it’s supposed to at least be pleasant. It’s the raw spirit that becomes the aged product and if you don’t start in a good spot then you’re definitely not going to end in one.

Death’s Door White Whiskey

And he uses such taste notes as “acetone… bile and… sulfur?” for the nose, which he also repeats for the palate, adding “rancid fruit” and “burnt corn,” and he ascribes “burnt corn” and “bile” to the finish. to which he adds, in his review summary: “Death’s Door White Whiskey is something I don’t enjoy at all… at… all…”

So, okay, there was a negative review I’d come across, but this White Dog turned out to be the favorite of the entire group, so, that just goes to show you.

In Death’s Door’s Words:

Death’s Door White Whisky was a pioneer in the whisky category and has an 80:20 mash bill of hard red winter wheat to malted barley. The unique character of this spirit starts back in the process of fermenting the grains- utilizing a champagne yeast rather than a traditional whisky yeast. The spirit is then double-distilled up to 160 proof (80% ABV), rested in stainless steel, proofed down to 80 (40% ABV) and finished in uncharred Minnesota oak barrels to help bring the “white whisky” together and to meld this unique spirits’ flavors.

There was the sweet front palate common in wheat mashbills, but “a vanilla-infused cream of wheat, with drying mid-palate, a slight herbal quality” turned out to well-describe the whiskey.  The big surprise that the whiskey was surprisingly smooth (again, 80 proof), and most of us found this to be—shockingly!—something of a nice sipper.  One participant insisted that he’d be adding Death’s Door White Whiskey to his home shelf.

Other White Dogs/White Whiskeys/Light Whiskeys

There are plenty of other White Dogs/White Whiskeys/Light Whiskeys out in the market these days, although unlikely all-inclusive; note that many are from well-known big distillers. This list is drawn from another DrinkSpirits article, also written by Geoff Kleinman, titled “20 White Dog Whiskeys Reviewed including Makers Mark, Heaven Hill and Buffalo Trace”:

  1. Buffalo Trace White Dog Mash #1 (125 proof; uses the mash for their aged Buffalo Trace Bourbon)
  2. Buffalo Trace White Dog Wheated Mash (114 proof; uses the spirit that becomes WL Weller and Pappy Van Winkle)
  3. Buffalo Trace White Dog Rye Mash (125 proof; uses the spirit used to make Sazerac 6, 18, Van Winkel 13, and Thomas Handy)
  4. Maker’s White (90 proof; uses the raw spirit to make Maker’s Mark, bottled at the same proof
  5. Rock Town Distillery Arkansas Lightning (125 proof; bottled at cask strength)
  6. Heaven Hill Trybox Series New Make (125 proof; uses the raw spirit to make Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon)
  7. Heaven Hill Trybox Series Rye New Make (125 proof; uses the raw spirit to make Rittenhouse Rye)
  8. Benjamin Prichard’s Lincoln County Lightning (90 proof; uses white corn, which has a higher sugar content)
  9. Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine: Corn Whiskey (100 proof; is a corn whiskey and not actually moonshine)
  10. Broadbent Distillery Iowa Corn Whiskey (80 proof)
  11. The Original Moonshine (80 proof; is a corn whiskey and not actually moonshine; this is reputedly distilled four times, and so is more like vodka)
  12. Glen Thunder Corn Whiskey (90 proof; reviewer: “…by far the sweetest and most pleasing of all the unaged whiskey we’ve tried…. This whiskey is almost like if you could bottle corn on the cob with honey over it.)
  13. Doubled & Twisted Light Whiskey (99 proof; a light whiskey is aged in stainless steel casks for four years, it’s unoaked and made from double hopped, bottle-ready IPA)
  14. Dark Corner Distillery Moonshine (100 proof; again, not really moonshine, but the reviewer says, “The nose has a superb corn bread dough note which is combined with the grassiness of a corn husk. The entry is so soft and easy it’ll get you checking the bottle to confirm that this is indeed 50% alcohol. The taste is true corn along with vanilla and a nice black pepper kick.”)
  15. House Spirits White Dog (100 proof; made from 100% malted barley)
  16. High West Silver OMG Pure Rye Whiskey (98.6 proof; “OMG” stands for Old Monongahela in western Pennsylvania, and it’s made entirely from 80% rye and 20% malted rye)
  17. Popcorn Sutton Tennessee White Whiskey (93 Proof; made from legendary bootlegger Popcorn Sutton‘s recipe, but legal)
  18. Woodinville Whiskey Co. Headlong White Dog Whiskey (80 proof; this is a version of what Woodinville sells in their Age Your Own Whiskey Kit)
  19. Few Spirits White Whiskey (80 proof; reviewer says, “The Few Whiskey is one of the cleaner unaged whiskeys we’ve tried, with a finish that would be quite friendly for vodka drinkers looking to trade up.

The Past and Future of White Whiskey

One of the most fascinating discussions about White Whiskeys is found on Gastrograph.com, in a June 3, 2015 blog post titled “The White Whiskey Boom”, written by Zachary Bushman.  Part of what is fascinating about this post is “Figure 1: Objective Flavor Profile of white whiskey as developed by Analytical Flavor Systems. Red flavor descriptors indicate that increasing these characteristics lowers the overall perceived quality of the product. Green descriptors indicate that these characteristics increase the perceived quality of a product,” and the the infographic is staggering as an example of just how serious people take this.

For the tasting handout, I’d excerpted his discussion about the White Whiskey in the marketplace:

White Whiskey’s Boom in Popularity

 The huge rise in the sale of white whiskey is dependent on a few different things: novelty, curiosity, cocktail culture, and clever marketing. White whiskey is a fairly new product group and, as such, people want to try it for the experience. Vodka and gin drinkers may be more prone to trying it because it is a white liquor. These factors caused sales to jump initially. Curious enjoyers of aged whiskey may also purchase White Dog. They might be curious as to what their favorite whiskey tastes like before it gets put in the barrel. These two reasons for the surge in white whiskey sales will likely not be sustained as the original novelty wanes and curiosities are satisfied.

Perhaps a more permanent reason for the increase in white whiskey sales is cocktail culture. The use of white whiskey may be perfect for some cocktails. It opens a new tool for mixologists to use in their recipes. After all, many cocktails were invented during prohibition when only unaged spirits were readily available.

Another big reason for the jump in white whiskey sales as of late is clever marketing. By selling the product as moonshine or by branding it as simple and rustic, producers have exposed a substantial market. Calling the product moonshine adds excitement to the purchase. It is a great selling point, especially in urban areas where moonshine is perceived to be exotic, rustic, and slightly dangerous.

 The Future of White Whiskey

 I predict that sales of white whiskey will fall, but the product class will remain. As the novelty wears off and whiskey drinkers’ curiosities are satisfied, sales will drop because these are not repeat customers; although, there are people who will genuinely enjoy the spirit, and those who want to use it to make cocktails. These people will keep the market alive. Unaged whiskey just lacks many characters that are so attractive in a well-aged bourbon or scotch. It does, though, provide a much needed avenue of income for new distilleries. Although large distilleries competing for the market take sales away from the craft distillers, they also lend legitimacy to the style by making a product with quality ingredients and consistency. In this way the large distillers have ensured that white whiskey will have a place on the liquor store shelf in times ahead.

White Dog Cocktails

Some White Dog whiskeys are better than you’d think, some worse, but these tend to be at least a bit rough, and not so great to drink straight.  Mix a liquor that may be rough with ingredients that are tasty will make a tastier drink, and I’ll go to the mat arguing the point.

There are plenty of great whiskey cocktails, from the seminal Manhattan and its multitude of offspring, not to mention sours and highballs. And the whiskeys themselves, of different types, apply in different way, whether a complex Bourbon to hold against flavors of sweet and bitter, like the Boulevardier, or the Rye, with its spice, balancing well in an Old Pal, or Old Fashion, or Sazerac.

But just because White Dog is a whiskey, simply subbing it for a traditional—and, importantly, char-barrel aged—whiskey can be a problem.  At a minimum, ratios and proportions need adjusting, and more often, secondary ingredients require alternative choices.  Take the Manhattan: a simple swap of White Dog for the Bourbon or Rye while keeping everything else the same will not taste like a Manhattan, and likely not taste like anything good.

The flavor profile of an aged whiskey will contain oak, smoke, and complexity far beyond what White Dog can offer.  Many of the types of traditional cocktails where White Dog works well are Vodka- and Blanco Rum-based, since White Dog is far closer to these liquors in taste profile. Substituting White Dog for the Tequila or Mezcal in a sour, such as Margarita, can work well, I’m sure.  Cocktails that have strong fruit components such as Smashes can support White Dog, as can other types of cocktails that carry the main flavor from the other ingredients, as is the case for many Champagne cocktails.  Want an interesting Screwdriver? Consider swapping White Dog for the Vodka, and adding some orange or grapefruit bitters, or fruit liqueur.

One of the two cocktails we tried, White Whiskey Cocktail, is an example of a subbing within a traditional cocktail structure, here, using White Dog instead of Vodka.  As mentioned above, Manhattan presents a challenge for White Dog, because, well, White Dog doesn’t taste much like Bourbon, although using a flavorful sweet vermouth like Carpano Antica—and using enough of it—will help.  Doing a Martini-like drink may seem sensible—after all, White Dog and Gin are both clear liquors, but even a 3-to-1 ratio with a nice dry vermouth and some orange bitters will lack the punch one gets from the heavy botanicals of Gin.

Paul Clarke contributes to this discussion quite well in his SeriousEats article, “The White Manhattan Recipe”:

While tasting new-make whiskey can be an educational exercise, demonstrating as it does what bourbon or rye tastes like before it spends several years in a charred oak barrel, white whiskey has also made its way into a few cocktails where its character can be appreciated on its own merits. Here’s the best one I’ve had so far: the White Manhattan.

 Created by San Francisco bartender and globe-trotting whiskey fiend Neyah White, the White Manhattan takes one of the 19th century models of a Manhattan—whiskey, vermouth, bitters, and a trace of liqueur just because—and tweaks it to accommodate the bright, malty flavor of new-make whiskey. In lieu of a Manhattan’s standard sweet vermouth, which is a dusky red, the White Manhattan utilizes lighter-colored though still gently sweet blanc vermouth; and for added sweetness, as well as an herbaceous richness, the drink is laced with the French herbal liqueur Benedictine.

 Light in character yet full-flavored and complex, the White Manhattan is a great way to give White Dog a mixological workout. 

    • 1 ½ oz. white whiskey
    • ½ oz. blanc vermouth (Dolin preferred)
    • ½ oz. Benedictine
    • 3 dashes orange bitters

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until chilled, strain into chilled cocktail glass.

In a previous TalkTails that explored Manhattan variants, we tried a different White Manhattan that also was based on White Dog, as follows:

The White Manhattan is another simple Manhattan variation made with unaged Corn Whiskey, and created by Tuthilltown Distillery for their own Hudson New York Corn Whiskey, but any decent “moonshine” or “White Dog” will do. The other difference is that this cocktail substitutes the classic sweet vermouth with Lillet Blanc, a famous quinquina (bitter aperitif) perhaps best known for its use in James Bond’s original cocktail, the Vesper. 

    • 2 oz. Hudson New York Corn Whiskey (unaged white corn whiskey)
    • 1 oz. Lillet Blanc
    • 3 dashes Number Ten Orange Bitters

 Stir ingredients to a mixing glass with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a lemon or orange twist.

This was not among the favorite Manhattan variants of that previous tasting.

In the course of my research, I even came across a White Whiskey-based Boulevardier that sounded intriguing, and I mixed this up and found it quite tasty, although I’ll play with the ratios a bit more.

    • 1 ½ oz. White Whiskey
    • 1 oz. Luxardo Bitter Bianco
    • 1 oz. Lillet Blanc

In a mixing glass, add ingredients and ice. Stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a lemon zest.

White Whiskey Cocktail

When the whiskey you use is light in flavor, you need other ingredients to carry the drink. The White Whiskey Cocktail is such an example, where ginger liqueur presents a strong flavor character that can be carried with White Dog, in a win-win balance.

  • 2 oz. Hudson New York Corn Whiskey
  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 1 oz. Domaine de Canton
  • 1 dash orange bitters

Mix ingredients in a shaker, add ice, and stir; pour into a chilled cocktail glass or ice-filled rocks glass, garnish with candied ginger or fresh ginger twist.

The cocktail has similarities to a Ginger Martini, which typically uses Vodka, but the White Dog adds more complexity.

The consensus was that this is a tasty cocktail and a good use for White Dog, but that it was a bit too sweet.  Next time, I’ll cut the Cointreau by half, or sub a dry Curacao such as Pierre Ferrand, and I’d add an extra dash of two of the orange bitters.

Hey, the candied ginger I found at the local supermarket was great.

Apple Pie Moonshine Cocktail

What is more American than moonshine? Well, apple pie, of course. So when you have an apple pie cocktail, you are being patriotic.

There are many recipes for this cocktail out in the world, but there are some preparations required to pull this cocktail off.  The main such preparation is apple pie syrup, a simple syrup plus apple cider and juice mixed with an infusion of baking spices. Experiment with optional flavorings, such as the addition of a bit of lemon juice (cuts sweetness) and the use of vanilla Vodka.

  • 2 oz. Apple Pie syrup
  • 2 oz. Bully Boy White Whiskey
  • 1 oz. Stolichnaya Vanilla Vodka
  • Apple cider as needed (optional)

Mix ingredients in a shaker, add ice, and stir; pour into a chilled cocktail glass or ice-filled rocks glass, garnish with ground cinnamon or cinnamon stick. To make a sour version of this, add ¾ oz. egg white, 1 oz. lemon juice, dry shake, shake with ice, pour into goblet, garnish with apple wheel and cinnamon stick.

Everyone noted the apple pie traits, and the cocktail was generally liked, but found a bit too sweet.  Try using less syrup or adding lemon juice, to make this a Apple Pie Sour.  Here’s the syrup recipe I used (more or less):

Apple Pie Syrup

    • 1 quart apple cider and/or apple juice
    • ½ cup white sugar
    • ½ cup brown sugar
    • 6 cinnamon sticks or 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
    • ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
    • ½ teaspoon of ground allspice
    • Juice of lemon half, optional for taste

Combine the ingredients a pot, bring to a simmer, adding more apple juice as needed to keep the syrup light; simmer until the syrup reduces about 25-40%. Cool, and then add cider or juice and some White Dog or Vodka as needed for syrup lightness (should pour easily), and filter through fine mesh and bottle.  Refrigerate.

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