Posts tagged Bulleit Bourbon
One of the most celebrated events in the sporting world is almost here. On May 7th people will dress up and get out their favorite hats to watch the Kentucky Derby. One other thing that goes hand in hand with the derby is cocktails. So with that said we are looking to showcase some fantastic spirits and cocktails that you might want to bring to your Kentucky Derby party.
Launched on Derby Day 2015, Blade and Bow pays homage to the artful passion and renowned craftsmanship of the legendary Stitzel-Weller Distillery through a unique solera aging system. Each bottle contains some of the oldest whiskey stocks, including the last remaining bourbon ever produced at Stitzel-Weller before it shut its doors in 1992. 91 proof, Suggested Retail Price $50
I.W. Harper Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
I.W. Harper Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey has a history of more than 100 years of style and recently returned to the U.S. after close to 30 years abroad. I.W. Harper represents courtesy and sophistication in every glass, starting with the iconic Bowing Man on every label- “Anywhere, Anytime, It’s Always A Pleasure.” 82 proof, Suggested Retail Price $35
Bulleit Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Bulleit Bourbon was inspired by a family recipe passed down through generations to founder Tom Bulleit. Only ingredients of the very highest quality are used. The subtlety and complexity of Bulleit Bourbon come from its unique blend of rye, corn, and barley malt, along with special strains of yeast and pure Kentucky limestone filtered water. Due to its especially high rye content, Bulleit Bourbon has a bold, spicy character with a finish that’s distinctively clean and smooth. 90 proof, Suggested Retail Price $45
The Gifted Horse American Whiskey
Years ago at the historic Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville, Ky., a batch of beautiful 17-year-old Kentucky bourbon was accidentally mixed with barrels of much younger Indiana corn and bourbon. This error turned out better than anyone could have expected as the older bourbon wasn’t marred, it was transformed into something surprisingly special. Beginning with a nose hinting at apple skin, almond, toffee, raisins and slight milk chocolate, The Gifted Horse has unique notes of creamy caramel, Bosc pear and fruit cake. This unusual blend’s fruity notes become more apparent with a splash of water. 115 proof, Suggested Retail Price $50
The Dark Maple
1.3 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
1 oz. Maple simple syrup
.5 oz. Lime
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake Well. Strain into an ice filled rocks glass or serve as up in a martini glass. Garnish with grapefruit wedge.
1 oz. Lemon Juice
.75 oz. Simple Syrup
Top off with Ginger Beer
Serve in a highball glass.
1.3 oz. I.W. Harper Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
0.5 oz. honey syrup
0.5 oz. fresh lemon
0.75 oz. The Gifted Horse American Whiskey
0.25 oz. Benedictine Liqueur
.38 oz. Madeira Fortified Wine
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Hey ladies, I know we might say finding the right gift for you on Valentine’s Day is tough. To be fair it is not all that simple for you getting the perfect gift for us. So with that romantic day not too far away I am going to help you out with a very cool whisky guide.
If you have been dating for less than six months you can’t go wrong with picking up either the George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whisky or the Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye. The George Dickel Tennessee Whisky is known for their signature chill charcoal mellowing which makes it the smoothest sipping whisky around. Recently crowned the 2016 World Whisky of the Year by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye is meant for the loved ones you think are world-class.
If you are dating for a bit longer like six months to a year the I.W. Harper Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey or Bulleit Bourbon is a great choice. After 20 years abroad, I.W. Harper Kentucky Straight Bourbon has come home to the U.S. to satisfy significant others struck with wanderlust. Bulleit is a staple, whether included in a Hot Toddy, Old Fashioned, or enjoyed neat or on the rocks. It’s a must-have in any liquor cabinet.
If you are in a long term relationship you might want to go for the Orphan Barrel’s Rhetoric 21-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Progressively aged with hints of baked caramel and cinnamon, Rhetoric 21 is part of the Orphan Barrel Project where nearly forgotten whiskeys are resurrected from the depths of distilleries. There’s no doubt he will geek out over this fact.
You can also wow him with either the Blade & Bow 22-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey or Crown Royal XR LaSalle. Blade and Bow 22-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a limited release whiskey that pays homage to the artful passion and renowned craftsmanship of the legendary Stitzel-Weller Distillery and winner of the coveted double gold medal from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
The second addition to the Crown Royal Extra Rare Whisky Series is an exquisite blend crafted to include a small reserve of the final batch of whiskies that were saved from the renowned LaSalle Distillery. A special blend to elevate any romantic evening!
Next weekend all eyes will focus on the city of Santa Clara. That is where the final game of the football season will take place. If you are rooting for Carolina then you should make the Keep Pounding Punch with the Dab On ‘Em Wings. If you want Denver to win enjoy the Orange Crush Punch and Bucking BBQ Bites.
If you have no horse or cat in the race then why not create the the Golden Gate cocktail. Bulleit Bourbon is deeply tied to the Bay Area through founder Tom Bulleit’s love for the city. In fact, Bulleit Rye was created in direct response to requests from the San Francisco bartending community. As always please enjoy responsibly.
1.25 oz. Bulleit Rye
0.5 oz. blackberry syrup
2 dashes bitters
Directions: Add ingredients to an ice-filled rocks glass. Stir and serve.
Keep Pounding Punch (Serves 25)
*recipe created by Kevin Deidrich
750 ml. Bottle of George Dickel Rye
10 oz. Lemon Juice
5 oz. Ginger Syrup
15 oz. Sparkling Water
7 tbsp. Simple Syrup
Muddled Mint leaves
Mix ingredients in punch bowl, add muddled fruits, chill and serve with ice.
Dab On ‘Em Wings
.3 cup Crown Royal Canadian Whisky
.3 cup Honey
.25 cup Soy sauce
2 Tablespoons Thai chili sauce
1 packet (0.75-ounce) stir-fry seasoning
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
4 pounds chicken wing drumettes
3 scallions (green onions), finely chopped (optional)
.25 cup chopped peanuts (optional)
Directions: In a large bowl, combine whisky, honey, soy sauce, chili sauce, stir-fry seasoning, and garlic. Add drumettes, tossing to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in refrigerator for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
Set up grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. Oil grate when ready to start cooking. Let drumettes stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Place on hot, oiled grill. Cook for 12 to 18 minutes or until cooked through, turning occasionally. Transfer chicken to a platter. Sprinkle with chopped scallions and peanuts (optional).
Orange Crush Punch (Serves 6):
9 oz. Captain Morgan Coconut Rum
9 oz. Orange juice
6 oz. Cranberry juice
3 oz. Ruby red grapefruit juice
Directions: Combine all ingredients including Captain Morgan Coconut Rum in a pitcher and stir.
Bucking BBQ Bites
*recipe created by George Johnson from The Comfort of Cooking
Nonstick cooking spray
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
8 oz. (half pound) bacon, cut into thirds
1/2 cup Spicy Sweet BBQ Sauce (recipe below)
Instructions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Wrap each chicken piece with a small strip of bacon. Secure with a toothpick and place on the baking sheet. Brush with BBQ sauce. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven, brush bites with more BBQ sauce, and return to oven. Bake for 15 more minutes. Serve warm.
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup chile sauce
1/2 cup Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
Ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, or until thickened as desired. Stir occasionally. Use immediately as you wish, or store in refrigerator until ready to use.
A couple weeks back, we attended the Diageo Whisk(e)y Showcase at the Jimmy Kimmel Backlot. It’s always great to catch up with old friends. And I don’t just mean Dickel, Bulleit and Crown. There was solid representation from the OG Crown Royal Indy crew. Nobinger was wearing a nice jacket. Hanging with Whiskey Master Stephen Wilson is always a good time (lookin’ good, Steve!). Adam Perry Lang served up some of his finest signature barbecue dishes. I have extra-fond memories of this man’s brisket game from that 2013 #PocketBrisket moment where I seriously considered smuggling BBQ meat in my pockets so I could enjoy more brisket at the conclusion of a Dickel Whisky tasting event that was also held at the Jimmy Kimmel Backlot.
Anyway, aside from all the friends and good eats, we had a purpose – a real genuine purpose – and that was to sample and talk about some of the finest whisky/whiskeys on the market. So let’s get into it.
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
What if I told you that the 2016 World Whisky of the Year can be had for 27 bucks at BevMo? Crazy right? Well according to the 13th edition of Jim Murray’s The Whisky Bible, that’s what’s up. Murray selected Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye as his top whisky of the year with a score of 97.5 out of 100. This rye isn’t a full rye. It’s made from 90% rye whisky and new blended whisky from the distillery in Gimli, Manitoba. You can sample this stuff neat, on the rocks, with a soft drink mixer or include it in a classic cocktail. It really doesn’t matter. This is a mellow, versatile, user-friendly rye that will make even the most snooty whisky lover pause and take notice. If you need to show up to someone’s place this holiday season with a spirit gift in hand, why not choose the under-$30 bottle that comes with a nice side-story of being the world’s best whisky for 2016?
Blade and Bow 22-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Gerry Graham gave us the lowdown on the Blade and Bow 22, which took home Best Straight Bourbon and Double Gold honors at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Released by Stitzel-Weller, a distillery which has come into possession of some amazing historic whiskeys, this limited release caters to those who who want an extra kick of oak with their smooth whiskey finish. Some people like peety Scotches and some people like oaky whiskies. This finely packaged liquid includes whiskeys distilled at 17th and Breckinridge in Louisville (current address of the Bernheim Distillery) and the distillery historically located at 1001 Wilkinson Blvd. in Frankfort, Kentucky (which is the current address of the Buffalo Trace Distillery). If you need to find a gift for a whiskey archaeologist who can appreciate the limited/historic nature of curated warehouse barrel finds, Blalde and Bow 22 is the answer.
Remember when you couldn’t find Bulleit anywhere? Now it’s a go-to selection for sipping or cocktail construction. And for good reason. We’ve written about our fondness for Bulleit at length in this space. Here’s a post that should sum up our feelings nicely. Bottom line, you can’t replicate the value, the utility and the warm reception that you get when you bring frontier whiskey to any party. Whether you go Bourbon, Rye (95% rye and my personal favorite) or 10-year, people will be happy to receive you when you arrive to a holiday event with Bulleit in your hand.
What do you get the foodie fella who appreciates whisky as much as good eats? Well that’s simple. Grab a copy of Adam Perry Lang’s Serious Barbecue and throw in a bottle of George Dickel. And if you want to see how this whisky plays nice with BBQ sauce, check out this video from the man himself:
Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel
I don’t know what it was about the festivities of the night, but for me the star of the Diageo Whisk(e)y Showcase was the Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel. It’s much more affordable than the Blade and Bow 22. It doesn’t come with the same accolades as the Northern Harvest Rye. I don’t have the same shared personal history with this liquid as I do with Bulleit and Dickel selections. Maybe it was Whisky Master Steve’s company that kept me going back for more. I just recall that this whiskey was full-bodied, crisp without kicking your butt and it had a rich, vanilla nose and a firm-but-silky finish. For less than $60 a bottle, it’s worth picking up this straight-from-the-barrel sample of Crown’s signature Coffey Rye Whisky.
And if all these individual whiskey tasting notes weren’t enough to steer you in the right direction, here are some cocktails from the fine mixologists at Scopa that should really put you in the holiday spirit:
Dickel in December
- 1.3 oz. George Dickel No. 12
- 0.75 oz. lemon juice
- 1 whole passion fruit
- 1 egg white
- 0.5 oz. honey syrup
- Cinnamon on top
Shake/ strain into cocktail glass/ microplane fresh cinnamon on top
Dickel Eastern Sour
- 1.3 oz. George Dickel Rye
- 0.75 oz. Lemon
- 0.75 oz. Orgeat
- 0.25 oz. Orange Juice
Whip dry/ crushed ice/ garnish orange wedge, wedged in center drank through a straw
- 1.3 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
- 0.75 oz. Campari
- 0.75 oz. sweet vermouth
- Orange Peel
Built/ ice/ stir/ peel
Crown Royal Canadian Rye Buck
- 01.5 oz. Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
- 0.75 oz. ginger syrup
- 0.5 oz. lime
- Soda to fill
- Garnish with lime wheel
Whip with 1 cube, dump contents in collins glass, ice soda to fill, stir
As always, whether you’re consuming amazing BBQ, sipping on whiskey neat or enjoying some seasonal cocktails, please do it responsibly. Happy holidays!
Turkey, football, pumpkin pie. Those are staples that everyone looks forward to on Thanksgiving. Why not add a few more reasons that your family and friends will want to have each year going forward? With these spirits and cocktails being shared and enjoyed responsibly you will be the hit of the party. All you need is Bulleit Bourbon, Captain Morgan Cannon Blast, and George Dickel to bring to the party.
For more great cocktail recipes go to the Bar.com
0.6 oz. Bulleit Rye
0.25 oz. sweet vermouth
0.2 oz. elderflower liqueur
1 dash aromatic bitters
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
0.25 oz. cognac
Stir and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
1.3 oz. George Dickel No. 12 Whisky
0.75 oz. lemon juice
0.5 oz. simple syrup
0.5 oz. crème de mure
Shake with 3 ice cubes & strain into an absinthe-rinsed glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel & 4 blackberries muddled in ½ oz. crème de mure.
0.5 oz Cranberry Juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a shot glass.
I remember a time, just a few years ago, when I would try to order Bulleit at a bar or restaurant and the bartender or server would look back at me with total confusion. “I’m sorry, Bulleit what now?” was was a common response to my order. People just didn’t know. It just wasn’t readily available.
That’s simply not the case anymore. Bulleit Bourbon is no longer some up-and-coming craft whiskey brand that few people know about. It’s everywhere. Nowadays, if you can’t spot the trademark Bulleit bottles with their slightly askew labels sitting on the shelf of your favorite bar, it’s the exception, not the rule. But what’s really interesting is how the brand achieved this, how it went from this modest word-of-mouth spirit to the whiskey sitting at the cool kids table.
I first fell in love with Bulleit three years ago, and I’ve had a front row seat for this Bulleit boom ever since. After my first Bulleit Bourbon review, I was hooked. I cut single malt Scotch completely out of my rotation. Bulleit Rye became my go-to drink of choice, and it didn’t stop with me. Friends and family followed suit. I championed the brand in part because I love the taste, but also because MANjr and Bulleit have had some pretty fun times together.
There was that time we hung out with Isaiah Washington and his wife after the Pan African Film Festival and just talked around a table and sipped Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year in the back of a restaurant. Washington was like me, a Macallan man, but he made the switch to Bulleit and didn’t look back.
There was the trip to Austin for SXSW back in 2013, when my love for Bulleit Rye & Coke was first established. From Chef Ben Ford’s cookbook launch party in a Beverly Hills backyard to the Bulleit Woody event last night at the Coolhaus in Culver City, my experiences with the brand have always been positive. That’s why I push Bulleit like I’m some heavy duty shareholder or something. For me, it’s a quality product that’s been paired with quality experience, and I genuinely want to share this vibe with other people.
That’s why the brand has grown so much in the past few years. Just a couple weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal ran a story about it:
Sales of Diageo’s craft-style Bulleit bourbon—inherited in 2001 when it bought Seagram Co.’s wine-and-spirits portfolio—rose 35%, stripping out currency fluctuations, in the year ended June 30, making it the company’s fastest-growing unflavored North American whiskey. Mr. Menezes has said Diageo aimed to build Bulleit through word-of-mouth, creating “a lot of experiential stuff” and working with bartenders rather than doing large-scale TV advertising.
“I want to make sure Bulleit stays with the hipsters in Williamsburg and does not become a mass brand,” Mr. Menezes said on a January conference call.
And you know what? It worked. It totally worked. You know about the brand because someone who liked it told you about it. You don’t see big billboards or huge print ads or any TV coverage whatsoever. Bulleit has built up brand loyalty by creating brand champions who associate a good product with a good time. It’s a really smart way to market to a generation that craves authenticity over hype, craft quality over mass production.
Last night’s event is just another example of this clever marketing strategy at work. The mission was simple: cultivate an atmosphere where friendly people can enjoy craft culture at work, expose them to quality products and create brand champion converts who spread the good word.
The Bulleit Woody at the Coolhaus in Culver
It starts with the location. Coolhaus in Culver City is an ice cream shop that started as an art project. Co-Founder Natasha Case toyed with the idea of Farchitecture or “Food + Architecture” as a way of “bringing architecture to the people.” She partnered with Freya Estreller and started creating uniquely flavored ice cream sandwiches inspired by architecture and architecture movements. They capitalized on the food truck craze, bought a busted postal van on Craigslist and used it to serve ice cream sandwiches at Coachella. Quality product paired with a good time experience led to media attention that was amplified to new levels through Twitter and other social outlets. Now they’re blowing up. Multiple store fronts. Fleets of trucks in multiple states. Prepackaged in-store products. Catered events for celebrities. You get the idea.
Coolhaus served up seriously tasty sammies last night. The menu was full of tough choices. I mean you really couldn’t go wrong with cookie options like choco chip, double chocolate, snickerdoodle and gluten-free coconut almond supporting ice cream options like fried chicken and waffles, salted chocolate, dirty mint chip, vanilla bean, seasonal sorbet or whiskey lucky charms. I went for the chicken and waffles ice cream on peanut butter cookie. It tasted as amazing as it sounds.
But all this craft culture goodness didn’t stop with desert. The main event was the showcasing of the Bulleit Woody, a trailer designed by Brad Ford that features a fully stocked Bulleit bar and 150 year old wood that’s been repurposed from Bulleit barrels. The trailer was originally created as a Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gift Guide item. It came with a year’s supply of Bulleit and a price tag of $150,000. This thing became so popular at events that Bulleit had three more trailers produced to cater to demand.
And what would a Bulleit event be without tasty Bulleit cocktails? Here’s what was on the menu:
BLT (Bulleit, Lemon & Tonic)
1.3 oz. Bulleit® Bourbon
2 lemon wedges
3 oz. tonic
Preparation: Build in a rocks glass, serve over ice.
1.33 oz Bulleit Bourbon
0.33 oz Coffee liqueur
2 dashes Orange bitters
Preparation: Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until well chilled and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a wide strip of orange peel.
It doesn’t get much hipper than a well-designed trailer serving whiskey cocktails to bloggers and media folk in the back parking lot of an architectually inspired ice cream sandwich spot. The craft culture was on display all around. Good times were had. Brand champions were made. Stories will be shared.
It’s a brilliant strategy that has worked wonders. It has worked and will continue to work on me, my friends and family, bars and restaurants in LA and the entire whiskey marketplace in America. It’s cool to be hip, but you can’t manufacture hipness with mass production and overexposure. The hipness needs to drip slowly and gather up over time before it spills over and covers everything like it’s always been there. That’s a difficult, calculated and balance-dependent marketing play, but there’s no denying that Bulleit has executed it to perfection.
Every four years when soccer takes to its biggest stage, one group of teams stands out as having the fiercest, most intense competition in the big tournament. Known as the “Group of Death,” the talent among these four squads is often so overwhelming that it becomes impossible to predict its outcome.
This year, the USA is part of this group. Since it will inevitably be an exhilarating ride throughout the tournament, we wanted to provide you and your readers with some fun and easy cocktails with a twist to enjoy while they cheer on the Red, White and Blue! The twist? Each of the cocktails listed is unique to one of the Group of Death teams.
Below are the cocktail recipes to enjoy responsibly when you are watching the World Cup!
1.5 oz. George Dickel No. 8
1/2 oz. orange juice
1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 oz. homemade grenadine
Instructions: Pour ingredients into Shaker with ice. Shake and strain into Coupe glass.
Stars & Strikers- USA
2 oz. cranberry juice
2 oz. orange juice
Instructions: In a shaker half filled with ice, add CAPTAIN MORGAN WHITE RUM, cranberry juice, and orange juice. Shake well and strain into highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with lime.
The Black Star- Ghana
1.25oz Crown Royal XO
.25oz Lime Juice
Bar spoon kumquat cordial
1.3 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
1 oz. Orange juice
1 oz. Lemon juice
½ oz. amaretto
Instructions: Garnish: orange & cherry. Shake ingredients and strain into an ice filled tumbler.
Our friends at Bulleit Bourbon served as a sponsor for the 22nd annual Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and they invited us to check it out this past weekend. The festivities kicked off with a Friday night Valentine’s Day dinner and whisky tasting with actor/producer Isaiah Washington, his lovely wife Jenisa and Bulleit Mixologist Natalia Castellanos.
Now I should probably just come right out and say that I’m really down with Bulleit Bourbon. Bulleit makes a tasty, user-friendly bourbon, a damn good rye and an affordably-delicious 10-year bourbon that’s aged a few years longer in those trusty charred American white oak barrels.
See, I used to be a single malt Scotch and Old Fashioned kinda guy, but ever since I attended the premiere of Jeymes Samuel’s They Die By Dawn at SXSW last year, I’ve been all Bulleit, all the time. Bulleit sponsored that premiere and the Bulleit Ryes and Cokes were free flowing at that event. I developed a hankering for the rye and it’s become my beverage of choice ever since.
And I’m not the only one. When Isaiah Washington hit Sundance and SXSW last year to promote the premiere of They Die By Dawn, he developed an appreciation for Bulleit as well. During our dinner, when I mentioned that Bulleit Rye and Coke had supplanted other cocktails as my top drink, Washington shared a similar story. Before Sundance, he was more of a Macallan man, but after Sundance and SXSW in Austin, he was fully in the Bulleit camp.
During this chill dinner vibe, me and a few other media folks got to chat freely with Washington and his wife Jenisa (who, incidentally, were celebrating their 18th anniversary that Valentine’s evening). We covered a lot stuff – whiskey, acting, producing, Grey’s Anatomy, Jasmine Guy, Lance Armstrong and the films that Washington was involved with at PAFF.
Washington had three projects screening at the Pan African Film Festival. He co-produced Stacey Muhammad’s web series For Colored Boys. He starred and served as executive producer for Blue Caprice, a film that examines the relationship between the two men responsible for the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks. He also starred and produced Blackbird, a bittersweet coming-of-age tale about a young black man coming to terms with his sexuality in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
I asked Washington if there were any films in the festival that he wasn’t involved with in some way.
“Apparently it’s unprecedented for any producer, particularly after 22 years of the Pan African Film Festival, to have three properties going at the same time,” Washington said. “I’m just grateful that I’ve been supporting them for 18 years and they’re supportive of the creativity from other entities that I think deserve a platform to be heard. I’m just thankful that they saw what I saw.”
When I saw Blackbird, Patrik-Ian Polk’s film based on the novel by Larry Duplechan, I was honestly a bit surprised by how moved I was. Blackbird follows high school choir kid Randy Rousseau, played by new comer Julian Walker, as he balances his Southern Baptist upbringing with questions about his sexuality. Complicating the young man’s life is the fact that his sister has been missing for six years, and her disappearance caused his parents to split. Randy’s father, played by Isaiah Washington, keeps a watchful eye on his family from afar while his mother, played by Oscar-winner Mo’Nique, is on the verge of a faith-based, god-fearing mental breakdown over the loss of her missing daughter. It’s all quite a lot for a 17 year old kid to deal with.
The independent film has its saccharine moments and it can feel a bit unpolished in places, but overall, it was pretty engaging and uplifting. Interspersed laughs and introspective dream sequences were timed well to take the edge off the heavy content. The performance that Mo’Nique turned in was intense, honest and ultimately convincing. Julian Walker’s performance was also quite convincing and, as the audience who attended the festival’s closing-night gala screening discovered, very personal.
“What you all saw on that screen, was me,” Walker explained as his emotions starting getting the best of him. “It was like I was telling my own personal story.”
As the first time actor broke down in tears, the crowd began to applaud.
“Randy Rousseau is like millions and thousands of young male guys (and females) out there that are so confused,” Walker continued. “They feel like they can’t tell their parents, hey, this is who I am. All I want you to do is love me. That’s all I want from you,” Walker said as he continued to battle back the tears. “And to look out in the audience and see my father and my brother, means the absolute world to me. Because I know that I am lucky, and I am blessed to have a father and a mother and a brother and a family who support me 100 percent, because a lot of people don’t have that today.”
The film alone packed a pretty powerful emotional punch, but seeing Walker follow his on-screen performance with his on-stage outpouring of emotion was pretty damn moving, man.
We live in a world where a college athlete says he’s a homosexual before entering the NFL draft and it’s headline news for weeks. Russian President Valdimir Putin declared before the Olympics that despite the country’s anti-gay laws, gay people could “feel clam and at ease” as long they “just leave kids alone, please.”
We like to think that society’s evolved into recognizing essential, fundamental truths like all human beings deserve the same basic freedoms regardless of race, class, gender or sexual orientation, but the fact is we’re not there yet.
“Blackbird, the story, is about all blackbirds. It’s about all outsiders,” Washington said this past Friday. “It’s about people choosing to be who they are no matter what and not apologizing for it. That’s what Blackbird is all about.”
It’s a relevant message that’s gonna resonate for some time, and the film’s a good vessel to give that message some traction.
Today marks the 80th anniversary of National Repeal Day, the day that put an end to Prohibition. This act allowed Americans to drink again and ultimately led to modern cultural phenomenons like speakeasies and TV hit show, “Boardwalk Empire.”
Recently I was able to speak with renowned cocktail expert and President of the Museum of the American Cocktail Dale DeGroff. He clued me in on some great drink recipes that you can see below.
Since today is the 80th anniversary of National Repeal Day I thought I should pass Dale’s knowledge to you. He gave me some excellent ideas to make a few Prohibition-style cocktails to celebrate National Repeal Day! Known throughout the bartending community as “King Cocktail,” Dale has authored many of the most famous cocktail books in American history and has a place in New York City lore as the head bartender of the famous Rainbow Room where he brought classic cocktails back to the Big Apple in the 1980’s.
Dale said that it is great to see people come back to using ingredients in cocktails like they do when they are cooking or baking. He is happy to see the people come back to the world of craft beer and cocktails. Don’t just drink your old standby cocktail of choice, but he feels people should be adventurous when they are out drinking responsibly.
When going to a bar Dale says to look for the bartender who is there to craft the perfect drink and not just there to collect tips. Also look for bars that use real juice. When you have at least these two factors in your corner you are sure to have a great experience. So try out one of the cocktail recipes below and celebrate National Repeal Day!
Dale’s Holiday Old Fashioned
1.25 oz George Dickel No. 1
1 dash DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters
0.25 oz Dale’s Cherry Liqueur
0.5 oz Simple syrup
2 orange slices
Preparation: Muddle a cherry and orange slice with the syrup and liqueur and the dash of bitters in a bar mixing glass. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass add the whiskey and ice and stir Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.
1.25 oz Bulleit Bourbon
1 oz Dolan Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Campari
Preparation: Pour ingredients into an Old Fashioned glass and stir with ice to chill. Garnish with orange zest.
Gin & It (Amended from Frank Meier’s Recipe)
1.3 oz Tanqueray Gin
Preparation: Prepare in a pitcher 2 hours in advance and refrigerate covered. Serve in a small coup glass without ice or in a small bar glass with ice. Garnish with orange zest.
General Harrison’s Eggnog
1.3 oz. George Dickel Rye
1 dash DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters
2 oz. apple cider
Preparation: Build in a glass or mug and dust the top with nutmeg.
Bulleit Rye Sazerac
1.3 oz. Bulleit Rye
1 tsp. demerara syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
5 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Preparation: Stir over ice and strain into a chilled rocks glass.
1.3 oz. George Dickel Rye
1 maraschino cherry
0.25 oz. bitters
1 sugar cube
1 splash water
1 slice orange
1 lemon twist
Preparation: In an old-fashioned or rocks glass, muddle sugar, bitters and water. Add ice cubes and George Dickel Rye. Garnish with lemon twist, orange slice and cherry.
Crown Royal Black Manhattan
0.25 oz. Cragganmore Distiller Edition
0.25 oz. sweet vermouth
1.25 oz. simple syrup
0.25 dashes of bitters
1 piece maraschino cherry
Preparation: Stir all together in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.
While I was enjoying my time at the Big Apple Film Festival I wanted to make sure I was taking in all the sights, sounds, and tastes. Yes, that is right I said tastes. You might ask yourself what kind of tastes would there be at a film fest. Believe it or not there were some great foods and cocktails to experience at the festival.
After movie screenings there would be the occasional after party. These parties were a blast to attend. I had the good fortune to talk with some of the actors or directors of those films. These actors and directors took the time to give me some in depth analysis of the films that they were in.
Another cool aspect about these parties was the fact that everyone was so down to Earth. The actors were happy to engage in some conversation about their roles and what their mindset was as shooting began. I learned a great deal from these discussions.
The chats with the actors and directors were fun all by itself, but having the opportunity to try out some of the inspired cocktails for the film fest was icing on the cake. So for those who were not able to check out the Big Apple Film Festival, here are some of the cocktail recipes from the fest that I think you will enjoy.
1 ½ oz. Bulleit Bourbon
2 lemon wedges
3 oz. tonic
Preparation: Build in a highball glass, serve over ice.
1 oz. Bulleit Rye
.25 oz Sweet Vermouth
3 dash Angostura Bitters
Preparation: Stir. Strain. Serve over ice in a rocks glass with a cherry.
.75 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
.25 oz. East India Solera sherry
.25 oz. Ramazotti
Preparation: Stir and strain into a Nick and Nora glass. Garnish with an orange twist.